A few weeks ago, curator Katherine Adamchick blew the whistle on plans to destroy one of Laumeier Sculpture Park's most beloved earthworks, Beverly Pepper's "Cromlech Glen."
Katherine Adamchick is now working at the Museum of Transportation.
Asked to comment on the circumstances of the transfer, Laumeier PR director Pete Smith passed the steaming potato to County Counselor John Ross, who promptly flipped it to Genie Zakrzewski, director of parks for St. Louis County. She refused even to confirm the change, snapping, "We don't discuss matters of personnel with the press."
That's understandable. Because the minute Adamchick's whistle-blast was reported in The Riverfront Times ("Pepper Game," Sept. 8), her job joined the Pepper sculpture on the endangered list. Sources say that Laumeier's executive director, Beej Nierengarten-Smith, took back Adamchick's keys, had her computer files wiped clean, moved her into an office one source describes as a "closet," forbade her to communicate with any artist, stripped her of curatorial duties and told her she'd be doing more with "maintenance." Loyal Laumeier employees, meanwhile, were instructed to ignore Adamchick. One source says that, when a staffer stopped to chat with Adamchick, Nierengarten-Smith barked, "She's the enemy!"
After a brief quibbling delay (Adamchick is, after all, a St. Louis County employee, and her only offense was treasonous free speech), Laumeier had her moved to the Museum of Transportation, which has already absorbed one of Adamchick's colleagues and is rapidly gaining a reputation as the Island of Misfit Laumeier Employees.
Laumeier doesn't seem to care as long as their trains run on time.