To honor sacked Sun-Times photographers, museums could follow Gardner Museum

To honor sacked Sun-Times photographers, museums could follow Gardner Museum
Empty frames at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. David L Ryan/Boston Globe

Anyone who has visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston since the notorious March 18, 1990 art heist knows the haunting power of the museum's decision to leave empty frames hanging on the walls where masterpieces once appeared.

Absence -- particularly when it is literally framed with ornate detail -- can be at least as gripping and breathtaking as presence, and the simplicity of the decision to memorialize and call attention to the looted works by outlining the void where they once hung is, I think, a very classy and mature way of subtly ensuring that the yet-to-be-resolved theft remains on the minds of museumgoers.

Luckily for all parties involved, no Chicago-area curators check in with me to ask my opinions on anything related to art, but if I were planning an exhibit somewhere, I think I'd want to collaborate with the laid off Sun-Times photographers on an exhibit of empty frames.

Who knows if anyone would come -- let alone pay admission fees -- but it's what occurred to me as I saw this side-by-side comparison of Tribune and Sun-Times cover photos (to the detriment of the latter), as well as the gorgeous shots on Rob Hart's excellent site.

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Tags: Sun-Times, Tribune

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