4/7/11 - 7/28/13

The exhibition focuses on what makes an object a work of art and what is the role of the museum in dictating this transformation. It features coins, doors, paintings, sculptures, wine goblets, as well as sacred objects and many other beautiful “things,” to consider where in their life they shifted from utilitarian or sacrosanct objects to works of art. The Object of Art asks the viewer to ponder two essential questions: What is it? and What is it doing here? The Object of Art looks at what shapes the journey that transforms an object into art.

In eight exhibitions the Williams College Museum of Art presents Reflections on a Museum with new combinations of nearly 400 works of art from the collection, joined by 50 major works on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery, through the collection-sharing initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each exhibition considers the “museum” as its subject, raising questions about the function and meaning of art across time and cultures and the role of museums in shaping understandings of art.