The Reverend, His Lover, Their Monet, and The Museum is a multimedia project by artist Cathy McLaurin rooted in archival research. In 1911, Congregational minister Reverend Wolcott bequeathed a collection of 17 mostly Impressionist paintings to the White Fund in Lawrence, Massachusetts. His will stated that his intention in leaving the collection was “to create and gratify a taste for fine arts, particularly among the citizens of Lawrence,” and that until such time that an art museum exists in the city of Lawrence, the paintings should be loaned to the MFA for the purpose of exhibition. Thus, Lawrence’s “museum,” for all intents and purposes, is the basement storage room of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – the location where the paintings have spent the majority of their time since 1911.
McLaurin will construct Lawrence’s Museum, which will consist of a miniature scaled building that, not unlike a museum, echoes religious architecture: a rooftop dome pointing heavenward, and interior columns and arches that reference the spectacle of high modernism. Scaled framed reproductions of the 17 White Fund paintings will hang salon style on the museum’s walls. The museum will be activated by a sermon on art. Rather than being a religious sermon, this sermon will adapt that structure and speech in order to generate dialog and raise questions around a faith in art. Lawrence’s Museum will be installed in several locations in Lawrence, and possibly beyond, starting late spring 2018.
This work has received funding from The Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, Puffin Foundation, and the Berkshire Taconic Foundation’s Artist’s Resource Trust.
McLaurin was a participant in Prospectus artist Alfredo Jaar’s Public Interventions workshops.