Regular readers of this enewsletter know from this “Staff Pick” series that many museum staff members develop varying degrees of connectedness with at least a few pieces in the collection. This may not be truer than with the security department.

Our security officers are here when it’s still dark and linger after everybody else has gone. They clock more hours of actually being in the galleries than anyone else, and it is their responsibility to keep watch over every piece of art in the museum at all times. Some of them have art backgrounds too, like Security Supervisor Lars Tellander, who holds a B.A. in Art History. Lars also has a smile that is impossible to erase—seriously, walk up to him and ask him almost anything, I guarantee his response will be accompanied by a laugh and a smile. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on his favorite work in the museum.

“My specialty is Hindu and Buddhist art of South and Southeast Asia. That is the first reason I chose this Mon Dvaravati Buddha head from Thailand. The serenity and placidness of this work make it almost ethereal, which make it a perfect escape on hectic days. The craftsmanship is also exceptional given the hardness of the stone and the intricacy of the detail. The glossy dark patina of the piece belies the volcanic nature of the stone and creates a reflective surface that ensnares the viewer and raises questions of identity. Who is the Buddha? Who is the viewer? Are we the observer or the observed?”

Buddha Head
Thailand, Mon Dvaravati style, 8th-10th century
Gift of Jon Kostiner, 2010