Yale Art Gallery

Yale Art Gallery

25th Anniversary Book

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of its benefactor organization, the Friends of American Arts at Yale, the Yale University Art Gallery wanted to go beyond showcasing the most extensive collection of American art and artifacts in any university museum. The gallery hired Peter to advise it on a creative approach for a publication; with his guidance, the decision was made to produce a book that viewed the collection through the eyes of people who had been profoundly affected by direct, intimate interaction with the artwork at crucial periods in their lives. Peter interviewed students and professors, collectors, scholars, schoolchildren and community members who, because of the gallery's unique academic mission and accessibility, had the opportunity to drink beer from an 18th-century silver tankard, eat with an antique spoon, closely examine chisel marks in a sculpture and brush strokes in a painting, and sit in chairs from different periods in American history and consider the cultural attitudes reflected in how the furniture forced them to hold their bodies.

A Great Panorama: Twenty-Five Years of American Arts at Yale, is a 62-page book that captures the experiences, emotions and endeavors of people whose close encounters with art at the Western Hemisphere's oldest university art museum changed their lives. Interspersed with photographs showing items in the gallery's American Arts collection are the thoughts of a collector whose family donated more than 7,000 pieces of silver and of another who contributed hundreds of works of contemporary art on the 60th anniversary of his graduation. A deputy director of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., puts the Yale gallery's collection, exhibitions and impact in perspective. Former graduate students describe how the collection inspired them to become art scholars. A high-school student tells the story of how, as a 15-year-old, his close examination of a Chris Burden sculpture at the gallery moved him to put more feeling into his own work and how, as a result, he had sold more than 50 of his paintings within two years of his visit.