Feature Articles

September 2013

Furman University in Greenville, SC, Features Works by Peter Wexler

Furman University in Greenville, SC, is presenting Creating a Digital Museum: The Art and Theatre Work of Peter Wexler, featuring works by this renowned New York theatre designer, producer, painter, sculptor and photographer, on view in the Thompson Gallery of Furman University’s Roe Art Building, through Oct. 5, 2013.

The exhibition is the product of an ambitious large-scale project involving the digitization of Wexler’s professional art and design work by the Digital Collections Center of Furman’s James B. Duke Library. The digitization project is made possible through a donation from Furman University trustee Todd Ruppert and his wife, Karen.

The exhibition centers around Wexler’s work on the grand opera “Les Troyens” (“The Trojans”) by Hector Berlioz and performed by the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1973. The opera depicts the ill-fated love affair between Aeneas and Dido and how the fall of Troy portended the birth of Rome.

Wexler assisted with the production concepts for “Les Troyens” and was responsible for set design, costume design, special effects, and film direction. As such, the exhibit materials include his costume design sketches, 3-D scale models of the set pieces, paint elevations, a Trojan helmet, and sculpture inspired by “Les Troyens.” These physical pieces will be shown along with their digital counterparts displayed on a large flat-panel TV.

Rick Jones, manager of the library’s Digital Collections Center, is leading a team of students who are photographing, scanning and editing more than 6,000 pieces of Wexler’s art spanning more than 50 years. The materials are related to opera, theatre and concerts developed for clients such as the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Boston Pops. Among the items in Wexler’s collection are 3-D scale models of sets, costume design sketches, paint elevations, sculptures, photographs, 35mm slides, drawings, paintings, posters, documents and other ancillary materials.

Wexler loaned these items from his New York studio to the Digital Collections Center which is converting materials to digital format using high-quality digital cameras and flatbed scanners. Once complete, the digitized items will be paired with rich descriptions and made accessible through a truly unique and interactive website. The finished Peter Wexler Digital Museum will simulate the feeling of strolling through an art gallery in an online environment, and will provide the Furman community and general public a valuable resource for research, instruction and learning. The Peter Wexler Digital Museum is expected to be fully accessible by Sept. 2014.

The exhibition is funded in part by the Duke Endowment.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call the Furman University Department of Art at 864/294-2074. For more info about the Peter Wexler Digital Museum, contact Christy Allen, Assistant Director for Discovery Services, Furman University Libraries by calling 864/294-2258 or e-mail to (christy.allen@furman.edu).

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