UPCLOSEWITH ‘ I SPY’
ARTIST WALTER WICK’S WORK ON DISPLAY AT LYMAN ALLYN
IIt is the great parental conundrum: Playing games with kids can be fun, but eventually someone gets bored… and it’s almost always the adult. Enter I Spy – not the “on the road” game, but the children’s book series.
These observational classics can enrapture both the old and the young, and it’s not a game you have to “let” the child win. More often than not, their ability to see the forest for the trees is keener than yours. It is both a demoralizing and proud moment for a parent to lose a round of I Spy.
The artist behind the books, Walter Wick, has a studio in Hartford and has taken his work on the road to museums. Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London has landed the exhibit, which is open now through Jan. 26.
On hand will be a dizzying assortment of sets and large-scale photographs thatWick has designed for the books. The three-dimensional look is what makes I Spy (andWick’s Can You See What I See series) so unique, and the work he puts into the photographs becomes even more evident when you see the set pieces.
“I think it’s going to be huge,” said Susan Hendricks, director of communications at the museum. She pointed out that the exhibit attracted 20,000 visitors to the New Britain Museum of American Art over its three-month run there, yet an informal poll showed that very few people from this area made it up to the Hardware City for the show.
Wick is promoting his latest Can You See What I See book, “On a Scary Scary Night,” and the elaborate sets will be perfect for Halloween. The six galleries in the museum will be dedicated to more than 60 examples ofWick’s work, with the main gallery featuring a street scene from the new book.
Hendricks explained that whatever room you are in will feature a picture from a book, with the text on the wall of what to find and the sets representative of the picture. The three-dimensional look will make you appreciate how much work goes into making the picture.
“(Lyman Allyn interim director) Nancy Stula and I went to see the studio in Hartford,” Hendricks said. “Every floor was dedicated to a different set and the shelves contained tackle boxes of things that (Wick) uses for the books. They were on floor-to-ceiling shelves and each one was marked. It was amazing.”
Hendricks is also a representation of the all-ages appeal of the show.
“It turns every adult into a great big kid,” she said. “In not one of these presentations that he will have on display could I find everything. It’s so much fun, and a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to do together. So, instead of ‘Mom and Dad bringing the kids,’ it’s ‘Mom and Dad playing with the kids.’”
The museum is also adding a bilingual component to the exhibit in an effort to bring more New Londoners to their hometown museum.
“We make a point to reach out to the community of New London,” Hendricks said. “Anyone who lives here can get free admission with ID that says they are from New London.”
The museum is also the host for Wick’s book launch on Oct. 19 (he’ll be there to sign his book) and will have special events such as lectures, book signings and a “Whittle LikeWalt” day.
There is an admission charge for adults (except for the Free First Sunday occurring on the first Sunday of the month); children under 12 are admitted free.
THIS PAGE, A VARIETY OF SETS AND DETAILED PHOTOGRAPHS THAT REPRESENT WALTER WICK’S ART WILL BE ON DISPLAY AS PART OF THIS EXHIBIT. PHOTOS COURTESY OF LYMAN ALLYN ART MUSEUM.
YOU’LL SEE THE SETS THAT COMPRISE THE “I SPY” BOOKS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL IN THE LYMAN ALLYN GALLERIES. PHOTO COURTESY OF LYMAN ALLYN ART MUSEUM.