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February 17, 2012 

Contact: Karen Cardinal

Accounting, Marketing and Web Manager 

Telephone 413/542-2551     

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College to Reveal the
"Hidden Underbellies" of Museum Masterpieces
Backs and Bottoms S2012

AMHERST, Mass.-On Feb. 26, 2012, the Mead Art Museum will commence "Backs and Bottoms," a series of presentations on five Sunday afternoons throughout the spring. Attendees will have the rare opportunity to examine with curators the back sides and undersides of a wide range of objects from across the collection-Greek pots, Tibetan thangka, European and American paintings, photographs, Russian drawings and more. Meetings will take place in the museum's galleries as well as the William Green Study Room, a space designed and outfitted for the close study of art objects.


About the "Backs and Bottoms" series, Elizabeth E. Barker, the Mead's director and chief curator, remarked, "Recent research into the Mead's collections has yielded fascinating discoveries about countless museum treasures. Yet many of the most exciting clues remain invisible once the objects are installed in our galleries. In this Sunday afternoon special series, our curators will invite museum visitors to don their own detective hats and share in the excitement of artistic and historical discovery."


Visitors at every level of expertise-from first-time museum-goers to art history experts-are welcome to attend any or all of these free, public events. Each presentation takes place on a Sunday at 4 p.m. The presenters and topics will be:


Feb. 26: Ancient Greek pots and Roman lamps with Pamela Russell, the Andrew W. Mellow Coordinator of College Programs

March 11: A Tibetan tangka (scroll painting) and a painting by William Blake with Elizabeth Barker, director

March 25: 20th-century photographs with Maggie Dethloff, the Andrew W. Mellow Post-Baccalaureate Curatorial Fellow

April 15: American drawings by John Trumbull and James McNeill Whistler with Randall Griffey, curator of American art

April 29: Russian drawings with Bettina Jungen, the Thomas P. Whitney Curator of Russian Art


The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight and on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a complete schedule of the museum's exhibitions and programs, as well as driving directions and additional information, please visit the museum's website,, or call 413/542-2335.