Spectacular Silver: Yachting’s Goelet Cups

Spectacular Silver: Yachting’s Goelet Cups

This exhibition presents a multimedia sweep of one of the great chapters in sailing competition and trophy craftsmanship: the Goelet Cups and the sailboat races held in Newport from 1882 to 1897 for which they were the prize. The races were among the first American sporting contests to attract national media attention and the elaborate silver trophies, made by leading firms such as Tiffany & Co. and Whiting Manufacturing Co., are considered a high point in nineteenth-century American silver. Locating the cups within the context of the sailing events and the sporting culture of the Gilded Age, Spectacular Silver  features a range of historic materials: from yacht models and marine paintings to press clippings and scrap books, culminating in a select presentation of Goelet Cups from major private and institutional collections.

Organized by the New York Yacht Club in partnership with the Redwood Library & Athenaeum, Spectacular Silver brings the Goelet Cup races to life in the original context of Newport in celebration of the NYYC’s 175th anniversary.

Curators: Alice Dickinson and Benedict Leca

June 14 – October 6, 2019

Van Alen Gallery


Norwegian artist Per Barclay presents three bodies of work at the Redwood this summer: a site-specific commission, Oil Room(Redwood) (2019) in Abraham Redwood’s eighteenth-century summer house; Untitled (2018), a 7-foot glass house where pumped water sloshes gently and rhythmically around the interior walls and ceilings in Redwood's Delivery Room; and monumental photographs that document his earlier site-specific installations in the Peirce Prince Gallery. These include a library reflected with stunning clarity in a mirror of oil Rue Visconti # 14 (2010, above), a Swiss bank vault seemingly floating atop it, La Banque, Geneve, 2005, and other oily interventions.


Oil Room(Redwood) will transform the original floor of the summer house into a dark mirror – a viscous pool of oil – that will reflect incoming light through the windows, even as it might prompt questions about our complicated dependency on this “black gold.”  The transparency of glass house, Untitled, offers a visual counter to the opacity of oil, yet the core content of the work – the diminishing resource of water – probes similar questions of sustainability. Moreover, Barclay sees the glass structure as “an extension” of his oil rooms in that both deny the audience the possibility of entry, forcing them to inhabit the space outside, and attenuating a tactile, olfactory and sensory experience into a purely optical one. As he puts it: “to some extent, the greenhouse is a three-dimensional version of the oil room where the continuous relationship between the inside and outside, the active and the passive, always is present.”


Barclay’s work poses oil as mirror onto the underside of late modernity, pooling it into a literal and metaphoric ground that invites us to pause, and to behold this omnipresent, but largely invisible substance that powers our lives. The artist, by displacing a substance of the present into a structure from the past, calls attention to the shape and history of specific, culturally embedded architectural forms, such as a summer house, or a greenhouse. If the summer house is an emblem of Newport leisure, the Victorian greenhouse, stuffed with tropical specimens, embodies the extraction of resources driving today's consumer culture.

Curtaor: Leora Maltz-Leca, Ph.D.

June 28th  September 28th, 2019