Stamps are not my passion, but I admire those who collect them. So I drove to the Straube Center to buy a copy of Win Straube’s surprising collage, made with hundreds of stamps. (The original is $60k, the poster copies are $20.)
Straube had warned, nay, tantalized me with the admonition that “there will be a surprise for you.”
I thought there might be an additional sculpture in the outdoor garden and wasn’t prepared for the brain boggling experience of The Shed.
The Shed is an unprepossessing looking structure, a little taller than the usual garden tool shed, the work of Geneva Anastasio.
Open the door and you are confronted with wall to ceiling to floor mirrors, cut in patterns. In the center is a round column, lit from the inside, with the light coming through thousands of pinprick holes and hundreds of little Christmas tree bulbs. Close the door, somebody turns on the switch, and the column slowly turns in the darkened space, a phantasmagoric planetarium or an acid trip without the chemicals or a blissing out spa experience.
It is titled “It’s What’s Inside That Counts.” I like what Hildegard Straube dubbed it, “The Glitter Shed.”
If it were to be sold, the price would be $25,000. But for now, anyone can come to the Straube Center — during business hours — and ask Alisandera Wederich, gallery curator, to open the door.
The awe I felt from being in this room was comparable to my visit to the re-creation of a room, the Merzbau installation, built by German modernist Kurt Schwitters. I saw it almost by accident, because I attended a Princeton Regional Chamber reception in the Princeton University Art Museum and wandered into the Schwitters exhibit.
Someone will be able to write about Anastasio’s installation in a lucid way, but not I not now. I’m just trying to tip off my friends before the formal opening.
Photograph of the Schwitters room: Mayra Beltran for the Chronicle
Photograph of the Anastasio installation: provided by the Straube Foundation