Visitors to the BYU Museum of Art’s newest photography exhibition will find themselves surrounded by a familiar make-believe world created from buttons, dice, marbles, rubber frogs, toy robots and other whimsical items.
“Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic” will feature the work of Walter Wick, author and photographer of more than 30 children books that include the popular “I Spy” (with Jean Marzollo) and “Can You See What I See?” series.
This exhibition will consist of 40 large-scale photographs selected from Wick’s books, five models that Wick used to create some of the images and a behind-the-scenes video presentation that will help visitors understand how Wick creates the images in his books. The exhibition also includes a number of visual puzzles that will involve visitors in a search for gizmos and toys hidden in various photographs in the gallery.
This exhibition will be on view on the museum’s lower level from Thursday, Feb. 26, through Saturday, Aug. 1. Admission is free. More information is available at wick.byu.edu.
Walter Wick will join in the fun at the opening of this exhibition at the BYU Museum of Art on Feb. 26. During a special event for families from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wick will talk about his photographs in the MOA Auditorium at 4:15 p.m. and the rest of the time will be available to talk to museum visitors, and museum docents will give free tours of the exhibition. There will be games and activities for children, including a reading table with Walter Wick books, and BYU’s Kinnect dance group will perform
Wick will also present a lecture about his work on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Museum of Art Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.
Patrons can continue the celebration with a fun interactive presentation celebrating the works of Walter Wick featuring the BYU Kinnect Dance Company March 12, 19, 26 and April 2 at 7 p.m. in the Museum of Art Auditorium.
“In this exhibition, photographs and models escape the book to assume a larger-than-life presence that magically draws both children and adults into a world of make believe,” said Diana Turnbow, BYU Museum of Art curator of photography. “Wick then pulls back the curtain and invites his audience on a backstage tour — giving viewers the opportunity to explore the making of the images through the photographs, models, and videos that are a part of the exhibition.”
Wick draws on the picture book tradition to weave together stories, puzzles, and optical games in a way that invites the playful interaction of his audience with pictures and words. His visual puzzles tantalize readers — of all ages — honing observation skills and encouraging a creative and complex relationship between language and image.
Starting with a concept for a series of images that will ultimately form a book, Wick collaborates with model makers and scene artists to construct individual compositions that are then photographed. The whimsical objects that populate his photographs come from the vast collection of beads, clips, shells, games pieces, plastic animals and more that fills his Connecticut studio.
Walter Wick began his career in the 1970s photographing products for catalogs and advertising. An interest in puzzles and optical illusions led him to work for “Games” magazine in the 1980s. Wick’s playful photographs of toys and household objects came to the attention of veteran writer and editor, Jean Marzollo, and in 1991 the two collaborated on “I Spy: A Book of Picture Riddles.”
Since that time, Wick and Marzollo have co-authored more than 20 “I Spy” books. Wick also pursued his own creative ideas with the camera resulting in “A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder, Optical Tricks,” and the popular “Can You See What I See?” series.
“Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic,” organized by the New Britain Museum of American Art, will be on view in the Warren & Alice Jones and Paul & Betty Boshard galleries on the museum’s lower level. Admission to this exhibition is free of charge. For more information about the museum, visitors can call (801) 422-8287 or visit moa.byu.edu.
Free docent-led tours of “Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic” will be conducted during regular museum hours and must be scheduled at least one week in advance. Tours usually last about one hour. Call (801) 422-1140 to schedule a tour.
Writer: Angela Fischer