Museum Launches First Virtual Exhibition — Howard Skrill: Monumental Follies 

Museum Launches First Virtual Exhibition — Howard Skrill: Monumental Follies

Howard Skrill, "Removal of Columbus from LA," 2018, ink, gesso, gouache, pencil on paper.

New York artist Howard Skrill's exhibit at the Fairfield University Art Museum explores the impact of public monuments: their creation, their removal, and their absence.

The Fairfield University Art Museum has recently opened its first-ever virtual exhibition, featuring almost 40 works by New York artist Howard Skrill.

The exhibition, Howard Skrill: Monumental Follies, explores the impact of public monuments: their creation, their removal, and their absence. Speaking about the exhibition, the museum’s Executive Director Carey Weber said, “The timeliness and relevance of this exhibition, in relation to the ongoing social unrest, was unanticipated. We stand in solidarity with everyone who condemns violence and racism, and hope that the museum can be a space for difficult conversation around these issues of social and racial justice.”

In his drawings and paintings, Skrill documents figurative public statuary, surveys their destruction or relocation, and explores the fractured nature of personal and public memory, as well as the contemporary reaction to — and protests of — these historical works. Many of his works were painted en plein air (open air), recording not just the monuments, but the constant changes of light and color encountered around them out-of-doors. After the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville (August 2017), when protests against monuments and removals started proliferating, Skrill chose to record the important events, even when he could not paint them on site.

The exhibition was created using Kunstmatrix, a unique tool that helps to create virtual 3-D exhibitions for the digital presentation of artworks. The viewer can choose to explore the exhibition one work at a time in any order they want, or take a guided tour. Additional features include information tabs with wall label text for each object. An audio tour with clips for select paintings, created and narrated by Skrill, is also available on the museum website.

According to Weber, this first-ever online exhibition is a response to the current social isolation due to the pandemic. “While it is disappointing that the works cannot be viewed in-person in the galleries, this virtual presentation will make these important works accessible to a much larger digital audience,” said Weber. “Anyone, anywhere, will be able to go online and tour the exhibition, enlarge the works to look closely, and enjoy related commentary through the 'Current Exhibitions' tab of our museum’s website.” 


About the Artist

Skrill (b. 1962) is an artist and art professor at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Essex College in Newark, N.J.  He has exhibited extensively throughout New England, and his pictorial essays and other works have appeared in publications worldwide.

Related Lecture

Complementing the Skrill exhibition, art historian and expert on public art Harriet Senie, PhD, will give a virtual talk on October 8, followed by conversation and questions for the Quick Center’s Open Visions Forum Espresso Series entitled "Memorials Today: New Subjects, New Forms, and the Public Process." Dr. Senie will unpack the complex and often opaque bureaucratic processes underlying how decisions are made when shaping the memorials that occupy our prime public spaces. Dr. Senie is director of the MA program in art history and art museum studies at City College, CUNY, and she teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Senie was a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and the She Built NYC advisory committee.

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