Humans of the Art Museum – Talking to an SAB Insider, Oliver Nusbaum ’22

Oliver visiting the Parthenon
   Willem de Kooning, Black Friday, 1948

What is your favorite memory at the Art Museum? 

“In a class on modern and contemporary art one week when we were studying Robert Rauschenberg we went into a back room of the Museum and they pulled out two works by Rauschenberg and a work by Jasper Johns that the Museum owned that captured all of the interesting things we were learning about these works. We were able to look at the works up close and you could see all of these details that you normally might not be able to see because it’s often hard to get that close to a work and really be there with it. The fact that the Museum lets students get access to works that are not even on display is amazing, and the fact that they have such high quality works to show students made me incredibly impressed and excited to be an Art History major after that day.” 

What is your favorite piece at the Art Museum? 

“Black Friday (1948) by Willem de Kooning because I think de Kooning’s work is really powerful- I love the way he uses thick brushstrokes and stark colors and the piece has this interesting historical connotation in that it depicts the experience of the Black Friday stock market crash.” 

How are you staying connected to the Art Museum, or to art in general, during these socially distanced times?

“Right before a snowstorm I went into the city and I met up with my grandmother who hasn’t been leaving the house much because of Covid-19. We went to the MOMA together and saw an amazing Donald Judd exhibit and the best part was the whole Museum was empty because of the storm and we had the whole place to ourselves- it was a fantastic experience.” 

What are you most looking forward to about the new museum? 

“I’ve heard that there is going to be an interesting conservation studio with glass walls that will let students look at and be part of the art conservation process. This is a major part of how we look at works of art, but it normally takes place behind closed doors so I am excited to get a broader view of how that process works.” 

Shelby Kinch ’22

Willem de Kooning, American, born the Netherlands, 1904–1997
Black Friday, 1948
Enamel and oil over paper collage on pressed wood panel in painted wood frame
125.0 x 99.0 cm (49 3/16 x 39 in.)
frame: 128.3 x 102.2 x 7.0 cm (50 1/2 x 40 1/4 x 2 3/4 in.)
Princeton University Art Museum. Gift of H. Gates Lloyd, Class of 1923, and Mrs. Lloyd in honor of the Class of 1923
© 2013 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York