Traffic dragged to a crawl in the southbound lanes of I-89 yesterday with the erection of the one-day Drive-Through Art Gallery at mile marker 118. The gallery, a project co-sponsored by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the All Arts Council, was conceived by exhibit curator Michel Beauregard as a "free one-two minute introduction" to Dutch artist Kees van Dongen as well as a showcase for Franklin County fine art.
      Vermont Agency of Transportation erected cones, concrete barricades, and Fitch barriers to slow southbound traffic and funnel all vehicles into a single lane. Crews rigged a series of peaked white tents from shoulder to shoulder along 528 feet of the roadway.
      "We use 'speed dating' as the model to create this exhibit," M. Beauregard said.
      Drive through art viewing is a new concept, but one that fits well in a mobile society.
Remember the Date
      The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts owns and promotes the work of Canadian and international artists to a broad segment of the public. Founded in 1860, the Museum has an encyclopedic collection that includes about 35,000 paintings, photographs, prints and drawings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative art objects. The collections include Ancient Cultures, Canadian Art, Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, European Art, Inuit and Amerindian Art. Admission to its galleries displaying works from the collections is free.
      van Dongen was born near Rotterdam in 1877. While studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts he began in oeuvre of bohemian eroticism with scenes of sailors and prostitutes. He soon turned to the style and vivid colors of the Fauves and is known for his garish and sensuous portraits.
      "Our Museum exhibit is called 'Painting the Town Fauve,'" M. Beauregard said, "so I hope this exhibit will help paint Franklin County the same way."
      The Museum reproduced their originals on ten foot panels for better viewing from cars. The tents held 16 properly spaced van Dongen reproductions as well as 12 works by prominent Franklin County artists. The exhibit opened at daybreak yesterday, April 1, and was cleared and empty by midnight. Vermont State Police estimate that 1,860 cars and trucks from 11 states and Canada viewed the works.

      Note the dates. The one-day Drive-Through Art Gallery did not actually take place yesterday, April 1. It's that time of the year again and we fooled you. On the other hand, van Dongen--Painting the Town Fauve is real. It continues at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through April 19. Admission to that exhibit is free.

Check the Date

Rest assured that it is (about) April 1
and you have been fooled.


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