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Radio Chipstone: The Question that Devours

Chazen Museum of Art
"The Question That Devours" by artist Beth Cavener (Stoneware 64 x 35 x 25 in).

According to research done by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the average adult spends about thirty seconds looking at a work of art. For a story on the radio, thirty seconds is a very long time. But it’s a very short time when you are looking at a painting or a piece of sculpture, especially for the first time.

Kate Wanberg is a preparator at the Chazen Museum in Madison. She is responsible for the physical care of the museum’s permanent collection, but she also prepares artworks for transportation, storage, and display. One of her goals is to get you to spend more than that average thirty seconds with at least one piece in a show.

In this edition of Radio Chipstone, contributor Gianofer Fields chats with Wanberg about her profession and one of her favorite pieces at the Chazen, a piece by Beth Cavener, called The Question that Devours. Wanberg describes the piece as an "almost a life-sized clay representation of a wolf, that is shaped into the top half as a question mark, it is jaws open coming after a rabbit that is curled into a ball."

Among other reasons, Wanberg appreciates the piece because "it jumps back and forth between the realm of reality and the realm of the psychological and the fantastical, which is a unique quality in [Cavener's] work."

Wanberg further discusses what it takes to prepare and install pieces such as The Question that Devours:

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.