Fairfield University's art gallery director falls head over heels at sculptor's exhibition opening


Who would have thought art could be dangerous, physically, that is.

Dr. Diana Mille, the director of Fairfield University's Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, now knows what perils may await one who's spatial focus has lapsed.

Sunday, June 17 was the festive opening reception for the gallery's new sculpture exhibition, "Emptiness," by Michael Rivera whose medium is welded steel. Rivera achieves an intrinsic delicacy to his nature-inspired pieces and yet, individual sculptures can often weigh 125 pounds or more.

As Dr. Mille chatted with the enthusiastic crowd, her office phone began to ring and in her haste to answer it, she bumped into the podium holding "Vestige" (2006; 2'2" x 2'3" x 2'2"; welded steel tubing). She tumbled to the floor as the 180-pound sculpture fell from its perch, grazing her as she twisted away from it. Fortunately, a small bandage covered the scratch on her leg and though she needed a tetanus shot, she won the respect of several spectators. "Thank you," one smiling man said as he threaded his way to her, "I will never again be intimidated at an art exhibition. If the director of the gallery can knock over a piece of sculpture with such grace, there is no reason for me to be nervous around art."

The exhibition runs until Sunday, July 29. The Walsh Art Gallery hours are, Sunday from Noon to 4 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and all are welcome.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 25, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 245