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Airing out Wellesley’s Kepes panels

Wellesley Library Kepes PanelsThe latest issue of WellesleyWeston Magazine is out, and if you haven’t had a chance to cruise through it, there are a few Wellesley-focused pieces worth checking out, including a profile of ambitious local author Nichole Bernier (Having a hard time linking directly to online versions of the stories from WellesleyWeston’s website.). There’s also a roundup of cool gifts you can buy in Wellesley, and we surmise that they’re either all free or more likely fall into the category of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford them” judging by the lack of any prices listed.

But the piece I really want to call your attention to is about   those earthen-toned slabs of enamel — dubbed Kepes panels — adorning the back exterior of the Wellesley Free Library as well as the Wellesley High School Visual Arts stairwell. It never even would have occurred to me and my nonexistent artistic eye that these were some sort of significant art if I hadn’t been told so over the years. But Sylvia Hahn-Griffiths, who is on the town’s Kepes Panel Committee, writes about the  panels’ history and efforts to ensure that some 50+ panels don’t wind up deteriorating in the basement of the library or getting shipped off to Hungary, where the late artist Gyorgy Kepes was born. The multi-talented Kepes, who taught at MIT, was commissioned in the 1950s to create the panels and work them into architect Carl Koch’s design for the old Wellesley Free Library.

Hahn-Griffiths reveals that ideas have been floated about situating some of them along the Fuller Brook Path, at Wellesley commuter rail stops and into Wellesley High’s landscape.  It seems Wellesley has some valuable works on its hands, as Kepes’ art is displayed in museums around the world from the MFA in Boston to the new Gyorgy Kepes Museum in Hungary.

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