B.F. Skinner's Nose Cone of a Pigeon-Guided Missile
Skinner, B. F.
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 64 cm x 57 cm x 58.5 cm; 25 3/16 in x 22 7/16 in x 23 1/16 in
During World War II, the U.S. military needed to find accurate ways to guide missiles to their targets. University of Minnesota psychologist B. F. Skinner suggested that a missile nose cone be supplied with three compartments, each with a window. A pigeon would be placed in each section, and trained to peck on the window when the target appeared. If all three pigeons pecked, the weapon would be released. This prototype was never developed, but influenced later work on animal training.
For a discussion of the instrument, see James Capshew, “Engineering Behavior: Project Pigeon, World War II, and the Conditioning of B. F. Skinner,” Technology and Culture, Vol. 34, No. 4, Special Issue: Biomedical and Behavioral Technology (Oct., 1993), pp. 835-857.
H x W x D (overall): 3.7 x 8.4 x 1.5 cm (1 7/16 x 3 5/16 x 9/16 in)
Jewelry and Ornament
probably 4th-3rd century BCE
Eastern Zhou dynasty, late Warring States period to Han dynasty
Dr. Paul Singer (1904 - 1997)
Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE)
Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)
Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE)
Paul Singer collection
The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a joint gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler
H x W x D (vessel): 17.1 × 33.1 × 23.7 cm (6 3/4 × 13 1/16 × 9 5/16 in)
11th-10th century BCE
Western Zhou dynasty
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer ((1875-1959) and (1887-1970))
Possibly the Qing dynasty imperial collection 
Marcel Bing (1875-1920), Paris, to 1915 
From 1915 to 1961
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), Washington, DC and Mt. Kisco, NY, purchased jointly with Charles L. Freer (1854-1919) from Marcel Bing through C.T. Loo, Lai Yuan & Co., New York in December 1915 
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer, 1968 
 A bronze qui with a very similar decoration and inscription has been included in the catalogue Xi Qing xujian, jiabian, one of the four imperial catalogues compiled during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, in years 1781/82-1793/94, see Xi Qing xujian, jiabian (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1911), vol. 6, p. 41a-b. See also Rong Geng, "Xi Qing jinwen zhenwei cunyi biao," Yanjing xuebao 5 (June 1929), p. 838. This bronze was possibly among the treasures taken from the Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace) by French and English troops in 1860 or from the palace in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.
 See correspondence between Charles Freer and Marcel Bing, dated November-December 1915, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, copy in object file.
See also Thomas Lawton and Linda Merrill, Freer: A Legacy of Art (Washington, DC: Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1993), pp. 220-223, 226 (fig. 160).
 See C. T. Loo, Lai-Yuan & Co.'s invoice issued to Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Meyer on December 10, 1915, copy in object file.
Shortly after the acquisition, the Meyers lent the bronze to an exhibition in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, see S. C. Bosch Reitz, Catalogue of an Exhibition of Early Chinese Pottery and Sculpture, exh. cat. (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1916), cat. 336 (ill.).
 See Agnes Meyer's Deed of Gift, dated July 24, 1967, copy in object file.
Happy, Crazy, American Animals and a Man and Lady at My Place
John Wilde, born Milwaukee, WI 1919-died Cooksville, WI 2006
oil on wood
12 x 17 7/8 in. (30.4 x 45.3 cm.)
John Wilde paints in painstaking detail, filling his small images with real and imagined creatures. He incorporates nude female figures to symbolize nature, and in this work the running woman echoes the galloping pronghorn antelope beside her. Wilde's careful technique makes all the animals appear frozen in time, but it is easy to imagine them coming back to life at any moment, screeching and thumping their way through the house. The artist himself stands in the very back of the scene, watching the madness unfold with a calm expression as if he is controlling every movement.
"I hope my attitude is manifest in my work. I 'like' to paint and I like fruits, birds, shells, stones, contradictions, naked ladies, etc. It is inconceivable for me to paint other than what I like." Artist's statement, 1962
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.