Event: “Joel Barber: The Most Susceptible Bird,” featuring Kory Rogers, Chief Curator, Shelburne Museum
Date & Time: Thursday, April 4, 6 p.m.
Location: Giant Screen Theater · Peoria Riverfront Museum · 222 S.W. Washington St. · Peoria, Ill.
Cost: Free and open to the public
PEORIA, Ill. – The world’s leading museum expert on waterfowl decoy art and history, Kory Rogers, chief curator, Shelburne Museum (Vt.), will give a presentation on the pioneering decoy art collector, author and carver Joel Barber, Thursday, April 4, 6 p.m. at the Giant Screen Theater, Peoria Riverfront Museum.
The presentation, “Joel Barber: The Most Susceptible Bird,” explores the life and artwork of Barber (1876-1952), and is free and open to the public.
Barber, a modernist Manhattan architect and non-hunter, was one of the first collectors to appreciate the formal artistic qualities of decoys, which he called “floating sculptures.” Barber exhibited his collection publicly to shine a spotlight on decoys, including duck shows, art exhibitions and the establishment of the world’s first decoy museum in 1947. After his death in 1952, Barber’s 400 decoys and personal archives were purchased by Shelburne Museum, becoming a cornerstone of the institution’s renowned collection.
Rogers recently curated a monographic exhibition “Joel Barber & the Modern Decoy,” which was the first of its kind to focus on the life and artwork of Barber. He will debut his latest research discoveries at the presentation, piecing together Barber’s unfinished second book.
See some of the Shelburne’s decoys in the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s current exhibition, “American Decoy: The Invention,” through April 22, including the "holy grail" of decoy collecting, the "Dudley Ruddy," duck hen (Lee Dudley, circa pre-1900).
For more information about the museum or the event, call 309.686.7000 or visit RiverfrontMuseum.org.
Kory Rogers, Chef Curator, Shelburne Museum
As head curator at Shelburne Museum for the past 15 years, Kory Rogers, MA, is focused on design arts with an area of specialization in circus and decoys. His recent publications and exhibitions include: “Birds of a Feather: Wildfowl Decoys at Shelburne Museum,” “Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art,” “Shelburne Museum’s Circus Collection,” “Shaker Design: Out of This World,” and the current exhibition, “Playing Cowboy.”
Founded in 1947 by sugar heiress and pioneering folk art collector Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888–1960), Shelburne Museum is the largest art and history museum in northern New England and Vermont’s foremost public resource for visual art and material culture. The museum features Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education and Webb Gallery with important American paintings by Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Grandma Moses, John Singleton Copley and more. For more information, visit shelburnemuseum.org.
Peoria Riverfront Museum
The only multidisciplinary museum of its kind in the nation, the Peoria Riverfront Museum uses art, science, history and achievement to inspire confidence, lifelong learning, and talent. Since opening in 2012, the privately funded museum has provided more than one million experiences through major exhibitions, a permanent collection, interactive galleries, a dome planetarium, giant screen theater and educational programming including curricula-related student visits. The AAM-accredited, Smithsonian-affiliated private nonprofit museum is supported by more than 4,000 members and donors, and is housed in a county-owned LEED Gold-certified building on a campus overlooking the Illinois River. The museum has been designated one of the 200 great places in Illinois by the American Institute of Architects.