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ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection

Main Galleries

June 01, 2019 - August 07, 2019

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection celebrates the ubiquity of tools in our everyday lives with art that transforms utilitarian objects into works of beauty, insight, and wit. By profiling 28 visionary artists from the Hechinger Collection, including Jim Dine, Jacob LawrenceClaes Oldenburg, and Phyllis Yes,  this exhibition breathes life into the unexpected subject of tools.  

In the 1980s, John Hechinger bought a new company headquarters for his booming chain of hardware stores. To beautify the barren office space, Hechinger began collecting tool-inspired art created by a diverse group of prominent twentieth-century artists. Some of these artists treat tools with reverence to accentuate their purity of design. Others transform and distort tools to highlight their declining relevance in a technological age. Some of the pieces carry a tone of humor and irony, while others remind us that the infrastructure of civilization rests on the shoulders of those who use tools. But all of the works remind us that tools symbolize the can-do spirit of America and the universal quest to improve our world.

John Hechinger was dedicated to art that was accessible to all audiences. This exhibition furthers his mission by showcasing the range of ideas, materials, forms, and creativity that constitute modern art. To capture this range, ReTooled includes 43 original paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs, divided into four themes: Material Illusions, Objects of Beauty, An Extension of Self, and Instruments of Satire.

The Colonnade Gallery accompanying the main art exhibition features hands-on activities related to ReTooled and fascinating objects on loan from the LSU Rural Life Museum, including medical tools, weaving tools, and blacksmithing tools.


Exhibition sponsored by 


ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection was organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC. Gift of John and June Hechinger.


This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, funded by the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President and Metro Council.