12412 - 20170122 - Exhibition explores faith and culture in South America during the colonial period - Sacramento - 23.10.2016-22.01.2017


South American artist, Trunk Decorated with Spanish Colonial Paintings, 18th century. Oil on canvas over wood, 20 x 38 x. 21 in. Roberta and Richard Huber Collection. Photograph by Graydon Wood, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Featuring more than 100 paintings, sculptures in wood and silver, ivories, and other decorative arts, “Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection” examines the many intersections between culture and faith in the high plains of South America in the 17th and 18th centuries. Drawn exclusively from the distinguished collection of Roberta and Richard Huber, the exhibition highlights the role of art as a medium of creative expression and cultural exchange between European powers and South American lands. Organized by the San Antonio Museum of Art, “Highest Heaven” is on view at the Crocker Art Museum from Oct. 23, 2016 to Jan. 22, 2017.

The exhibition is composed of articles of faith and civic life that adorned churches and private dwellings in colonial South America, most of which had an explicit devotional function or incorporated religious symbols. The grandeur of forms and materials — rich expanses of red, gold and silver as well as brightly-colored canvas — emphasize the impact of faith in a time of social transition and interaction between native and European populations.

“With its wealth of visual history from cultures stretching from Argentina to Peru, ‘Highest Heaven’ will be a revelation to those who see it,” says Crocker curator William Breazeale. “Such a splendid exhibition will inspire our broad and diverse audience in some of the same ways these objects inspired their South American viewers so long ago.”

In the exhibition are fashionable paintings such as the “Portrait of the Countess of Monteblanco and Montemar,” attributed to the Peruvian painter Cristobal Lozano. A member of élite Peruvian society, the countess addresses the viewer with a steady, knowing gaze framed by her finery of flowered silks and lace. Her jewelry in finely worked silver and gold, the sources of Peru's wealth, adds to the portrait's splendor. A more humble, human image is the 18th-century Bolivian version of the Holy Family on its “Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” which portrays Joseph hugging the lively Christ child while Mary washes diapers, all surrounded by a rich South American landscape populated by native animals.

Organized thematically, the exhibition is co-curated by William Keyse Rudolph, Mellon Chief Curator and Marie and Hugh Halff Curator of American Art; and Marion J. Oettinger Jr., Curator of Latin American Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art. It will travel to the Worcester Art Museum in March 2017.


12411 - 20170505 - University of Richmond Museums opens new ceramic exhibition - Richmond, VA - 15.09.2016-05.05.2017


Hound Handle Hanging Game Pitcher, American, unmarked (attributed to Taylor & Speeler, Trenton, New Jersey), circa 1852-1858, brown glaze with variegations on earthenware body, 11 x 12 x 8 ½ inches, Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums, Gift of Emma and Jay Lewis, R2012.01.138.
19th-Century American Jugs: Relief-Molded Pitchers from the Collection is on view September 15, 2016 through May 5, 2017 in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums. During the nineteenth century, relief-molded jugs were produced in vast quantities in the potteries of America, as well as abroad, and were extremely popular vessels for domestic use. Jugs, the common name for pitchers during that time, were used for water, milk, and a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, and were given as presentation gifts to be displayed rather than used. Produced for the utilitarian purposes of holding and serving liquids, these beautifully designed decorative jugs with sumptuous glazing were in great demand by the buying public.

Although often serving practical household needs, these pieces were also expressions of cultural identity and social roles. As objects of material culture, these jugs are texts through which we are able to interpret the past and to better understand aspects of American society in the nineteenth century. Historian Bernard L. Herman defines material culture as “the discourse of objects,” where “the element of discourse focuses on the expressive or textual aspects of artifacts.” The ceramics on view show variations of several popular designs, produced using the technique of relief-molding in their creation and manufacture. These jugs were designed with motifs, from flora to fauna, that would have elicited appreciative responses from the owner, the user, and visitors to the home.

The exhibition explores variations of several designs and looks at the technique of relief-molding used by the designers and potteries in the creation and production of these ceramics. Highlighting nineteenth-century American jugs, the exhibition was selected from the ceramics that were donated by New York collectors Emma and Jay Lewis in 2012. Their gift to the Lora Robins Gallery of more than 200 pieces established the largest museum study collection of American Rockingham pottery on the East Coast. This exhibition, the second installation drawn exclusively from the collection, is concurrent with the long-term installation devoted to nineteenth-century American ceramics in another part of the museum.

The exhibition, organized by the University of Richmond Museums, was curated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums.


12410 - 20170422 - Major survey exhibition of the work of Brooklyn-based artist KAWS in Fort Worth, TX -20.10.2016-11.01.2017

KAWS, PASS THE BLAME, 2013. Acrylic on canvas. Unframed: 120 × 196 × 1 3/4 in. (304.8 × 497.84 × 4.45 cm). Private Collection, New York.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents a major survey exhibition of the work of Brooklyn-based artist KAWS (American, born 1974), on view in Fort Worth, Texas, October 20, 2016, through January 22, 2017, and traveling to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, China, March 10 through July 31, 2017. Organized by the Modern's curator Andrea Karnes in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS and the accompanying catalogue explore the breadth of the artist's career from the 1990s to the present, revealing critical aspects of his formal, conceptual, and collaborative developments. The exhibition includes approximately 100 works, with key examples of KAWS's paintings, drawings, large-scale sculpture, graffiti, and products such as toys and apparel.

Over the last two decades KAWS has built a successful career with work that consistently shows his formal agility as an artist, as well as his underlying wit, irreverence, and affection for our times. By straddling the normally separate divides between art and design, he holds an atypical position, but not without art historical precedent, between the commercial and fine art worlds. Like artists such as Andy Warhol and Keith Haring before him, KAWS is one of the most influential artists of his generation, and his imagery is highly sought-after by his fans outside of the art world, making him a pop culture sensation.

Working within the tradition of Pop art, KAWS draws inspiration from art history and the animated cartoons he grew up watching. He is best known for his cast of characters with X's for eyes and skulls and crossbones for heads that convey universally understood aspects of human nature. Executed in a clean, graphic, and energetic style, his work is instantly recognizable. Though KAWS has invented many characters, his three most iconic figures are COMPANION, inspired by Mickey Mouse; CHUM, a derivative of the Michelin Man; and ACCOMPLICE, an adorable bunny that resembles a plush toy with long ears.

KAWS explains, "COMPANION is a figure in the world now, and it's not all great out there. He deals with life the way everyone does. Even though I use a comic language, my figures are not always reflecting the idealistic cartoon view that I grew up on, where everything has a happy ending. COMPANION is more real in dealing with contemporary human circumstances. He reflects attitudes we all have. I think when I'm making work it also often mirrors what's going on with me at that time. Things change -- sometimes it's tense in the studio, other times things are happy. I want to understand the world I'm in and, for me, making and seeing art is a way to do that."

Karnes comments, "KAWS's toys and larger-than-life sculpture of hybrid cartoon/human figures are the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. They reflect emotions and situations we can all empathize with in presentations that are balanced with humor, heartening in their cartoon aesthetic."

Blurring lines between high and low art and fashion, and selling on all levels of the market, the artist has been wildly successful and enthusiastically collected by his massive fan base, which includes a large faction of youth around the world (from the Japanese otaku culture to China, Latin America, and the United States), as well as significant art collectors, also on a global scale. KAWS's work is exhibited in prestigious institutions and collected by important museums internationally.

In 2011, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth featured KAWS's work in a small-scale solo exhibition as part of the FOCUS series. From that exhibition, KAWS's painting WHERE THE END STARTS, 2011, was acquired for the museum's permanent collection. In 2012, his work returned to the Modern when his much-loved COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH), 2010, was installed outside the museum's main entrance. Now five years after KAWS's work debuted at the Modern, he is back on a grand scale with this twenty-year survey exhibition, with WHERE THE END STARTS occupying the entire first-level galleries, with some sculpture situated on the museum grounds.



12409 - 20170315 - Exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the early career of Peter Voulkos - New York - 18.10.2016-15.03.2017


Peter Voulkos, Cross, 1959. Museum of Arts and Design, gift of the Johnson Wax Company, through the American Craft Council, 1977. Photo: Ed Watkins. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

The Museum of Arts and Design presents Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years, on view from October 18, 2016, through March 15, 2017. Spanning the years 1953–1968, the exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the early career of Peter Voulkos, whose radical techniques and ideas opened up new possibilities for clay that are still being felt today.

In the words of Glenn Adamson, the co-curator of the exhibition, "Nearly everyone involved in ceramic art has a Voulkos story to tell. He was a charismatic figure, and his influence was tremendously important for the history of the medium. This exhibition gets past the personality, and follows the progression of his ideas in this crucial period of his career. It is fascinating to see him wrestling his materials into new forms, producing one breakthrough moment after another."

Initially trained as a traditional potter, Voulkos defied mid-century craft dictums of proper technique and form to completely reinvent clay as a medium. He combined wheel throwing with slab building, traditional glazes with epoxy paint, figuration with abstraction, and made huge sculptural structures with complex internal engineering. Rocking Pot, an iconic early example, is a massive upside-down bowl punctured with saber-like forms penetrating the exterior walls. Intentionally kinetic, the sculpture is a mockery of the rule that properly made ceramics should never rock on a flat surface.

Though Voulkos would continue to work in bronze, paint, and printmaking for the remainder of his career, ceramics was the medium he always found the most instinctive: "Now me and a ball of clay, we'll get together and it's perfect," he once said. "I almost feel I could take a pile of rough sand and make a pot out of it." The exhibition will feature approximately 30 examples from this crucial body of early work in ceramic, most of which have not been exhibited on the East Coast for four decades. Also included will be three of the artist's rarely seen mixed-media paintings, which help to demonstrate how Voulkos developed his ideas concurrently in painting, sculpture, and pottery.

Voulkos is a central figure in the history of MAD, featured in numerous past exhibitions, including two monographic surveys, and an exemplar of the cross-disciplinary thinking that the Museum supports. Both the exhibition and accompanying scholarly catalogue provide a detailed account of the breakthrough works from Voulkos' vital period of experimentation.

Exhibition highlights include:

• Standing Jar (c. 1956), which reflects Voulkos' interest in contemporary painters such as Jack Tworkov and Franz Kline. Thick strips of clay act as three-dimensional brushstrokes and colored drips are allowed to trickle downward. The combination of thrown and slab-built elements soon became a cornerstone of Voulkos' working practice.

• Rocking Pot (1956), an iconic example of the artist's "pot assemblages," now in the collection of the Renwick Gallery. Voulkos' colleague John Mason coined this term to describe works that Voulkos assembled and joined after first throwing them on the wheel and then pounding them out of the round, improvising as he went. A massive upside-down bowl with cutout holes and saber-like forms that penetrate the exterior walls, the sculpture is notionally kinetic, fitted with two tapered skids, a mockery of the rule that properly made ceramics should never rock on a flat surface.

• Sitting Bull (1959), Little Big Horn (1959), and Tientos (1959), complex amalgamations of wheel-thrown and slab forms that have been paddled, gouged, or cut open. These three works, borrowed from prominent West Coast museums, represent the monumental height of Voulkos' achievement in his breakthrough period.

• The iconic Cross (1959), the Museum of Arts and Design's most important work by the artist. Voulkos energetically addressed the surface of this totemic sculpture by scratching through slips and glazes and using unexpectedly bright colors.

• The rocket-like Red River (c. 1960), which was acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art shortly after it was made. For Voulkos, painting and sculpture were always in dialogue, and in 1960 he began making this connection more explicit by adding epoxy-based paint to the surfaces of his ceramics after they had been fired. This was a highly unorthodox maneuver by ceramics standards, but it helped him to achieve some of his most complex relationships between volume and surface composition.

• A group of Voulkos' 1968 blackwares, which marked a return to monumental pot forms and an emphasis on tactility. These works made for a dramatic finale to his breakthrough years, and are reunited for the first time since their initial presentation.

Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years is co-curated by Glenn Adamson, former Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum of Arts and Design, and Andrew Perchuk, Deputy Director of the Getty Research Institute, with Barbara Paris Gifford, Assistant Curator at MAD.

Following its run at MAD, Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years will be on view at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, from April 7 through August 20, 2017.

Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years is part of MAD Transformations, a series of six exhibitions presented this fall that address artists who have transformed and continue to transform our perceptions of traditional craft mediums. The MAD Transformations exhibitions consider fiber, clay, and jewelry and metals—disciplines (along with glass and wood) that compose the bedrock of the Museum's founding mission and collection, and that continue to morph in the hands of contemporary artists today.



12408 - 20170312 - Phoenix Art Museum presents rare overview of Argentine artist Horacio Zabala's work - Phoenix, AZ - 19.10.2016-12.03.2017


Horacio Zabala, Hacha (Axe), 1972-1998. Iron ax, printed map, wood base. Courtesy of the artist and Henrique Faria, New York and Buenos Aires, and Estudio Giménez-Duhau.

Phoenix Art Museum presents the exhibition Horacio Zabala: Mapping the Monochrome, the first expansive overview of this artist’s work at a major U.S. museum. Featuring original scholarship by Lampe Curator of Latin American Art, Dr. Vanessa Davidson, the exhibition includes nearly 40 artworks from the 1970s to today. Horacio Zabala was one of the most important conceptual artists to emerge in Buenos Aires during the latter part of the 20th century, and is still a revolutionary today.

“With its strong Latin American art collection, Phoenix Art Museum has become a center for the presentation of art from the southern hemisphere. With this exhibition, we continue to present to our audiences contemporary international art that reflects many of the issues surrounding social justice that ripple throughout our global community,” said Amada Cruz, the Sybil Harrington Director. “We are particularly excited to have the artist with us during the opening of the show.”

Although Zabala’s works are internationally acclaimed and featured in many of the most important global collections of Latin American art, he has long been under-recognized in the U.S. His last exhibition here was Horacio Zabala/Eduardo Kac: Spaces of Repression and Liberation at Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York, in 2014, though he recently had a major retrospective at the Buenos Aires Museo Colección Fortabat. Born in Buenos Aires in 1943, Zabala was educated as an architect, but has been active as an artist since the late 1960s. He has long been fascinated by the ways in which space is defined, be it architectural, cartographic, or the spatial relationships between viewers and artworks. In the 1970s, he graphically modified maps of Latin America to reflect Argentina’s socio-political turmoil under repressive dictatorships—oppression also in force in neighboring countries like Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile, covering the continent like a black cloud. In addition to maps obscured by monochromatic rectangles of paint, he stamped the word “CENSORED” across their surfaces, burned gaping holes through the paper, and made drawings of the continent crumbling into the sea.

To escape persecution, Zabala went into self-imposed exile in Europe in 1976. He would not return to Argentina for 22 years. Upon returning to Buenos Aires in 1998, he continued to explore the idea of mapping space, this time adopting a completely new visual language: monochromatic paintings structured in sequences by ready-made mathematical or punctuation marks. Now untethered from geography, his recent monochromes are entitled Hypotheses. They invite us to visualize art as linked to other systems of thought, even beyond math, language, and logic. These works, along with examples from his early period, will be included in the exhibition.

“With a broad cross-section of maps, monochromes, sculptures, and site-specific works, the exhibition presents an in-depth exploration of Zabala’s production, both historical and contemporary,” said Dr. Davidson, who curated the exhibition. “It reveals the artist’s ongoing journey to seek innovative ways to engage viewers with art objects that are immediately accessible because they are familiar to us, but altered to reflect deeper socio-political undercurrents. Many of his recent works also evoke art-historical references, sometimes subtle, sometimes overt.” Zabala summed up this intent elegantly: “Although my works are concrete presences, my intention, and my attention, are not only oriented toward what is effectively seen, but also toward what is thought about what is seen.”



12407 - 20170114 - Contemporary Icelandic art reflects on sustainability in exhibition on view at Scandinavia House - New York - 15.10.2016-14.01.2017


Anna Lindal, The Power of Knowledge.

Borrowed Time: Icelandic Artists Look Forward presents the work of contemporary Icelandic artists currently engaged in the global dialogue on sustainability and the issues that surround it. Featuring photography, video, collage, and installation, the exhibition invites viewers to challenge their assumptions and explore new modes of seeing. The exhibition is on view from October 15, 2016 through January 14, 2017 at Scandinavia House in New York City.

Global communities are constantly in flux. As the world’s population continues to grow, artists are increasingly engaging in the international dialogue on sustainability and the intricately-connected, if not overlapping, issues— environmental, economic, cultural, and social—that surround it.

The artworks featured in Borrowed Time reflect on and interrogate the idea of sustainability from a variety of perspectives, with the aim of challenging our understanding of our place in the world and influence on it.

A number of the artists examine the issues of waste and consumption: The Icelandic Love Corporation (ILC), a democratic artist group comprising Sigrún Hrólfsdóttir, Jóní Jónsdóttir, and Eirún Sigurðardóttir, focuses on the social and cultural factors—globalization, pop culture—surrounding sustainability. In the installation Evolution (2010), ILC uses deadstock Nylon pantyhose as both subject matter and medium, highlighting waste and the fabric’s long decomposition timeline. Working in a similar vein, Hrafnkell Sigurðsson photographs swathes of bubblewrap floating in turquoise Icelandic lakes, commenting on the West’s culture of packaging and its contribution to phenomena like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive gyre of marine debris located in the North Pacific Ocean.

Artist Hildur Bjarnadóttir and artistic partners Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson also reflect on culture and sustainability, with a focus on tradition. In the series Giving Back (2007-2009), Bjarnadóttir photographs mittens she has knitted for her grandmother, all crafted with Icelandic wool that is hand-dyed by the artist with pigment derived from her grandmother’s decades-old plants, pointing both to the dominance of synthetic color in the modern world and society’s fading interest in traditional craft. In Untitled (2006-), Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson address the effects of heavy industry on Icelandic culture, photographing themselves outfitted in the Icelandic women’s national costume standing beside the country’s first aluminium plant.

A number of the artists highlight developing environmental crises: In her series of collages entitled You’ve got a face with a view, artist Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir raises questions about the environmental effects of Iceland’s booming tourist industry, while Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir & Mark Wilson, in their video You Must Carry Me Now (Houston) (2014), investigate the tensions between and cooperative efforts of the scientific, public, and corporate stakeholders managing U.S. wilderness.

The exhibition also features work by Kristín Bogadóttir, Bjarki Bragason, Rósa Gísladóttir, Ásthildur B. Jónsdóttir, Anna Líndal, Ólöf Nordal, and Pétur Thomsen. 



12406 - 20170423 - Tacoma Art Museum exhibits highlights from the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection - Tacoma, WA - 09.10.2016-23.04.2017


Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941), SeaformSet, 1982–83. Blown glass, dimensions variable. Tacoma Art Museum, Promised gift of the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. Photo © TAM, photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis.
Tacoma Art Museum opened The Beauty of a Shared Passion: Highlights from the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection, on view through April 23, 2017. This special preview exhibition unveils 65 major works of art from the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection. These pieces are among 225 works along with $14 million included in a promised gift to TAM, announced on Mrs. Benaroya’s 93rd birthday (January 14, 2016). The funds will support the care of the collection and construction of a new wing at TAM. Olson Kundig will design the museum expansion, planned to open late fall 2018.

Visitors will see stunning paintings, works on paper, sculptures and studio art glass by Northwest and international artists. In fact, this gift places TAM in the top 5 museums nationwide with a collection of American studio glass of this caliber. The exhibition provides an opportunity to see in one location major works by Deborah Butterfield, Kenneth Callahan, Dale Chihuly, Kyohei Fujita, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, Ginny Ruffner, Lino Tagliapietra, Cappy Thompson, and many other internationally acclaimed artists.

TAM’s Executive Director Stephanie Stebich said “Becky Benaroya made an extraordinary gift to our community. This preview exhibition will give visitors an exciting taste of Becky and Jack’s impressive collection, with plenty of surprises in store for the future. Becky’s generous gift honors her late husband Jack by ensuring their collection will remain together and can be enjoyed by all for generations to come. TAM is privileged to share the Benaroyas' passion and collecting vision.”

TAM’s Chief Curator Rock Hushka shared, “The quality of this collection cannot be overstated. There are treasures by artists who are already in TAM’s collections, as well as some who have been on our wish list. We are grateful for this precious gift and eager for visitors to experience it.”

Becky and Jack Benaroya built their phenomenal collection over the course of 35 years, starting in 1980 with Dale Chihuly’s blown glass Tomato Red Basket Set. The couple followed their passions and acquired seminal works from Northwest artists who have had national and international impact. Each work in the collection evokes a special memory for the Benaroyas. They often formed lasting friendships with the artists, and purchased several works by each.

“I am very much looking forward to seeing Jack’s and my collection on view in the galleries at Tacoma Art Museum. So many people at the museum have been working diligently to share our story and the stories of the artists we have so dearly appreciated. It will be exciting to see our collection in the galleries at TAM, and I am so pleased to share our love of Northwest artists with the region,” shared Becky Benaroya.


12405 - 20170326 - "A Feeling of Humanity: Western Art from The Ken Ratner Collection" on view at Museum of the Big Bend - Alpine, TX - 17.09.2016-26.03.2017

Erin Hanson, Monument Clouds, 2013. Oil on linen board, 8 x 10.
A Feeling of Humanity: Western Art from The Ken Ratner Collection, is on display in the main gallery of the Museum of the Big Bend, located on the Sul Ross State University campus in Alpine, Texas. The exhibition features 70 works by both contemporary artists along with works by early 20th century painters including Kenneth Miller Adams, John French, Boardman Robinson, Georges Schreiber and Bettina Steinke. This exhibit explores and celebrates the beautiful in the ordinary. Included in the show are works by contemporary Texas artists Julie Davis, Tony Eubanks, David Forks and V…. Vaughan.

In 2014, museum director Liz Jackson and museum curator Mary Bones traveled to New York City to meet with Ratner to discuss the potential of exhibiting his unique collection at the Museum of the Big Bend. Enamored by Ratner’s story and collection, Jackson said, “We knew that his collection would be an extraordinary exhibit that we could bring to our patrons, visitors and community.”

Growing up in a Harlem housing project, Ratner came from very humble beginnings. As a young boy, he felt empathy for the poor, the homeless, and those who lived on the edge. These experiences shaped both his career and the art that he collected: he was drawn to humanity. He initially collected works by the Ashcan School of artists--urban realists who documented street scenes of New York City in the early twentieth century.

After 20 years of collecting the Ashcan School artists, Ratner felt the need to support the artists of today. In 2008, or so, he attended a Sotheby's preview of important American paintings. There he came across two paintings by Gary Ernest Smith of western agrarian scenes that floored him. When he later learned of Smith's comment that "art is a way of addressing humanity," it heightened his interest in Smith and other western painters who had a humane response to their environment.

The Museum of the Big Bend is open from Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Admission and parking are free.


12404 - 20170226 - Exhibition features the most complete surviving example of a Gothic table fountain - Cleveland, OH - 09.10.2016-26.02.2017


Table Fountain, c. 1320–40. France, Paris. Gilt-silver, translucent enamel on basse-taille, opaque enamel; 31.1 x 24.1 cm. (weight 2.7 kg). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of J. H. Wade 1924.859.   
Myth and Mystique: Cleveland’s Gothic Table Fountain, for the first time, presents the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gothic table fountain as the focus of a single exhibition. The table fountain is being displayed among a group of objects including luxury silver, hand-washing vessels, enamels, illuminated manuscripts and a major painting. Each informs some aspect of the fountain’s history, functionality, presumed use and context, materials, technique, dating and style. Some of these works are important international loans, notably Jan van Eyck’s painting Madonna at the Fountain from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, which also comprises part of the museum’s centennial loan program. Van Eyck is considered the most significant Northern Renaissance artist of the 15th century, and only about 25 surviving paintings can be confidently attributed to him; Madonna at the Fountain is one of them. Since most of van Eyck’s paintings are rarely permitted to travel, this is only the second time in history that a work by the artist has been exhibited in Cleveland.

Also on view are the Grandes Chroniques de France from the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Commissioned by the French king Charles V (reigned 1364–80), this rarely traveled and light-sensitive manuscript is a vernacular history of the French kings assembled from translated Latin chronicles and other medieval documents. Due to the sensitivity of the object, the Grandes Chroniques de France will only be on view until January 9, 2017. Myth and Mystique: Cleveland’s Gothic Table Fountain is co-curated by Stephen N. Fliegel, curator of medieval art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Elina Gertsman, professor of art history at Case Western Reserve University. Admission to the show is free, and the exhibition will remain on view in the Julia and Larry Pollock Focus Gallery through February 26, 2017.

“The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gothic table fountain is one of the rarest and most significant objects in the museum’s renowned medieval collection,” said William M. Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “We are fortunate to showcase this treasure among other iconic masterworks including Madonna at the Fountain and the Grandes Chroniques de France. These objects establish a rich context for the table fountain and answer questions about its origin, history and functionality. By bringing these artworks together, the exhibition speaks to the global influence of the museum and offers a true, once-in-a- lifetime opportunity for visitors.”

“The exhibition explores one of the world’s rarest medieval objects––the last surviving Gothic table fountain––and the only exemplar of its genre,” said Fliegel. “It is elucidated in the context of two royal manuscripts, the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux and the Grandes Chroniques de France, commissioned by the French king Charles V in 1378, both of which rarely travel. The presence of a small painting by Jan van Eyck, the greatest northern painter of the 15th century, illustrates conceptually how the Cleveland fountain may have originally been deployed. The loan of the van Eyck by the Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp is unprecedented.”

Impressive in their sheer technical wizardry, table fountains are mechanical devices with moving parts that spouted (sometimes perfumed) water, and are known especially from inventories. Once thought to have graced banqueting tables, they were more likely placed on pedestals in strategic locations in palaces, where they were exhibited as spectacles of ingenuity by their owners to delight their guests. Such objects did not originate in the European West, but were probably introduced through the Byzantine and Islamic worlds.

Conceptually and stylistically, the Cleveland table fountain is a stunning piece of Gothic architecture in miniature, with parapets, arcades, vaults, pinnacles, columns and arches with tracery. The goldsmith responsible for this object was unquestionably inspired by the great Gothic buildings of his time. The Cleveland table fountain is a three-tiered assembly featuring cast and chased elements to which were attached a series of enamel plaques representing grotesque figures, some of which play musical instruments. Water wheels and bells were added to capture motion and sound. The rich detail and ornamentation of this object suggest it would have been expensive to produce and highly treasured by its original owner.

Cleveland’s table fountain is datable to about 1320–40, and was likely produced in Paris for a person of high status, perhaps a member of the royal court. It is internationally recognized as a unique example of a genre now understood primarily through documentary sources. These fountains existed in the 14th and 15th centuries in substantial numbers. They assumed various forms but were always made from precious metals and sometimes embellished with colorful enamels or semiprecious stones. Table fountains were probably returned to the goldsmith’s shop for conversion into vessels or coinage once they ceased to function or the fashion had passed, accounting for the scarcity of surviving examples today.


12403 - 20170226 - Greenwich Historical exhibition examines the influence of Japanese art and culture - Cos Cob, CONN - 12.10.2016-26.02.2017

Genjiro Yeto (1867-1924). Untitled [Young Girl Practicing Calligraphy], 1914 Gouache and pencil. Museum purchase with donor funds in memory of Noboru Uezumi, 2008.04.
In 1854 U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry established a treaty with Japan that opened trade between the United States and Japan, a nation that had been closed to the rest of the world until that point. Within a year, French artist Félix Bracquemond "discovered" the woodblock prints of Hokusai and circulated them among his Paris art circle. Their influence was immediate, and visiting Cos Cob artists John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir and Childe Hassam all took note. Within a few years, a fascination with Japanese art and culture began to sweep Europe and, following the Civil War, the phenomenon took America by storm as well.

Through paintings, prints, photographs, carvings, ceramics and textiles, the Historical Society's new exhibition, An Eye to the East: The Inspiration of Japan, looks at the influence of Japanese art and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a special emphasis on the Cos Cob art colony. The contribution of Genjiro Yeto, who studied under John Henry Twachtman at the Art Students League in New York and spent part of each year from 1895 to 1901 at the Holley House, is explored in a separate gallery and features a recent and important donation of his work to the Historical Society by his granddaughter Yukiko Tanaka.

Coinciding with the opening of An Eye to the East: The Inspiration of Japan, the Historical Society will offer "The Curator's Eye" tours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:15 pm. These informal, 20- to 30-minute docent-led gallery tours will focus on exhibition highlights, themes and background stories that provide a framework for better understanding the art and objects on display. Docents will also answer questions and help visitors zero in on particular points of interest. These value-added tours are included in the price of admission. A number of exhibition-related programs are planned, including a lecture on karesansui (Japanese stone gardens), two musical performances by Duo YUMENO and a "Sushi and Sake" event. For program details, and reservations, visit www.greenwichhistory.org. Information about this exhibition in Japanese is also on our website.

"An Eye to the East: The Inspiration of Japan" runs from October 12, 2016 through February 26, 2017 at the Storehouse Gallery, Greenwich Historical Society, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807. Exhibition hours are from noon to 4:00 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors; admission is always free to members and children under 18 and free to all on the first Wednesday of each month.


12402 - 20170212 - Exhibition explores the curious blend of science and spirituality known as alchemy - Los Angeles - CA - 11.10.2016-12.02.2017

Strip-Mining Sulfur at Pozzuoli Anton Eisenhoit (German, 1553/4–1603). Engraving in Michele Mercati, Metallotheca Vaticana (Rome, 1717), pl. after p. 78 The Getty Research Institute 2915-542
Long shrouded in secrecy, alchemy was once considered the highest of arts. Straddling art, science, and natural philosophy, alchemy has proven key to both the materiality and creative expression embedded in artistic output, from ancient sculpture and the decorative arts to medieval illumination, and masterpieces in paint, print, and a panoply of media from the European Renaissance to the present day.

Drawing primarily from the collections of the Getty Research Institute as well as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the exhibition The Art of Alchemy examines the impact of alchemy around the world on artistic practice and its expression in visual culture from antiquity to the present.

“Alchemy is a fascinating subject that cuts across continents and epochs,” said Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute. “It is because the Getty Research Institute collections are so diverse and intricately connected that we are able to deeply investigate and present this often misunderstood subject. This exhibition reflects the human ambition to explore and understand the wonders, the materiality, and the laws of nature since the earliest times. Imagination, curiosity, scholarship, enchantment, science, philosophy, and chemistry amalgamate in the artistic processes of Alchemy.”

On view at the Getty Research Institute from October 11, 2016, through February 12, 2017, The Art of Alchemy features more than 100 objects, including manuscripts and rare books, prints, sculpture, and other works of art dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 20th century and coming from across Europe and Asia. The exhibition was organized in partnership with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, where it will be on view in 2017, and is curated by David Brafman, associate curator of rare books with assistance from Rhiannon Knol.

The Art of Alchemy approaches the subject from a global perspective, tracing how alchemy historically bonded art, science, and natural philosophy in visual cultures throughout the world. From its origins in Classical and Eurasian antiquity to the advances made and spread throughout the Islamic world and the ‘silk’ routes of Central Asia, material and intellectual exchange across cultures reached mediaeval Europe, and catalyzed alchemy’s ‘golden age’ from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. The persistence of its spirit is still present in artistic expression and technocratic trends of the modern day, and the historical echoes of this chemical obsession with artificial reproduction also resound throughout more modern technologies of art, from chromolithography in the Industrial Age to the media that now claim artistic boasting rights as the ultimate chemical mirrors of nature: photography and the liquid crystal displays of the digital world.

“Alchemy was a science tinged with spirituality and infused with a spritz of artistic spirit. Most people think of alchemy as a fringe subject when really it was a mainstream technology and worldview that influenced artistic practice and expression throughout the world,” said David Brafman, curator of the exhibition. “Alchemy may well have been the most important human invention after that of the wheel and the mastery of fire. Certainly it was a direct consequence of the latter.”

The exhibition is presented in three parts: “Alchemical Creation,” “Alchemy and Creativity,” and “Alchemical Culture.”

Alchemical Creation explores alchemy’s origins in Greco-Egyptian antiquity, illustrated by ancient artifacts reflecting alchemical theories and techniques, including a second-century mummy portrait painted with red lead, an early example of synthetic pigments with both medicinal and artistic applications. This union of Greek and Egyptian thought flourished in the ancient city of Alexandria, producing the legendary sage Hermes Trismegistos, whose fabled Corpus Hermeticum provided the philosophical blueprint of alchemical theory. At the same time, the flow of materials and technologies between the ancient Mediterranean, Middle East, India, and China along the Silk Routes of Eurasia spread these ideas widely, inspiring dazzling glass imitations of precious stones and gems, as well as scientific developments in the use of mysterious metals like mercury to create synthetic gold—or at least, its appearance—through gilding techniques.

This section also explores alchemical ideas about the nature of creation itself, which was the secret alchemists worked to unlock in order to harness the powers of nature for their own imaginative ends. Renaissance books depict the act of divine creation as analogous to that of a draftsman or an artist, linking the creativity of the artist (or alchemist) with that of the prime mover and igniting centuries of debate over the scope and legitimacy of the art of alchemy.

The section Alchemy and Creativity illustrates how practical alchemy and its larger scientific and spiritual concerns crucially influenced both artistic practice and expression. The centerpiece of this section is the twenty-food long Ripley Scroll, a cryptic, hand-painted 18thcentury manuscript scroll named for a Catholic clergyman and poet George Ripley. This unusual art object is filled with fantastical allegorical symbolism depicting the operations of alchemy and the creation of the fabled “philosophers’ stone.”

Alchemical techniques for the synthetic production of color became an industrial mainstay for artistic applications in medieval and renaissance Europe, the most important of which was mercury sulfide: vermilion red— often referred to by alchemical texts as the philosophers’ stone itself. While alchemists experimented with the production not only of all the colors of the rainbow, but also effects in glassmaking, inks, dyes, oil paints, ceramic glazes, and metallurgical techniques, their laboratory pursuits in turn inspired psychedelic symbolic imagery for the expression of science through art. Images such as the hermaphrodite, or the “Chemical Wedding,” were used to depict chemical bonding—a metaphor which appears in both European and Chinese art—while various other chemical actions and substances were depicted as dragons, lions, birds, and even tiny humans within laboratory vessels. Their vaunting ambitions of playing God increasingly inspired alchemists to create and commission elaborate works of art encompassing their understanding of the entire universe through an alchemical lens, from the operations of the heavens to the anatomy of the human form.

While some of these chemical techniques were the purview of expert alchemists toiling in their labs, some of the techniques were simple and could be duplicated by the average artist, craftsman, or apothecary. By the Renaissance, diaries with scribbled notes and diagrams became commonplace, as did a publishing market for ‘secret’ recipe books for both art and medicine catering to not just artists but also female heads of household, such as the “Secrets” of the Venetian woman Isabella Cortese, published in 1565. Also on view in the exhibition are the personal notebooks of the artists Hans Hanberg and Francesco Boccaccino, containing designs for furnaces, laboratory notes, and even a few accidental stains and singes.

The third section of the exhibition, Alchemical Culture, explores how the successes achieved by the experimental spirit of alchemy continued to spark creative inspiration from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, while advances in technology continually fed the ambitions of the human imagination. Alchemists’ expertise in the management of mines and the other material resources of empire building attracted rulers whose technocratic ambitions were fueled by the discovery of a new world and its bounty of untapped natural resources. Patrons were not motivated simply by the possibility of filling the treasury with gold made to order, however; alchemical efforts also included perfecting the soul, relieving pain and sickness, and even proposing social utopias modeled after the divinely designed intelligent order of the cosmos.

The spirit of alchemy persisted into the Industrial Age, even after its transformation into the field of chemistry. The Bayer pharmaceutical company developed a rainbow of aniline coal tar dyes from petroleum waste, while at the same time working on a new, more effective painkiller—which would eventually be patented as “heroin.” The age of plastics also renewed the alchemical urge to imitate nature, offering the possibilities of imitation horn, ivory, and gemstones for the creation of everything from costume jewelry to life-saving medical devices. The discovery in 1888 of liquid crystals, which now provide the primary canvas of our digital world, inspired the scientific illustrator Ernst Haeckel to write Kristallseelen (“Crystal Souls”), on display at the Getty, proposing that this new form of matter—which although not alive, seemed to move and grow in response to stimuli—was a sign of the ultimate unity of all matter, animated by a divine creative spark.

Concurrent with the GRI exhibition, the Getty Museum will present the complementing exhibition The Alchemy of Color in Medieval Manuscripts , which looks at how book illuminators drew from alchemy for pigments and inks as well as imitation gold for lavish manuscripts.


12401 - 20170319 - MIT Museum presents the utopian visions of Grazia Toderi and Désiré Despradelle - Cambridge, MASS - 28.09.2016-19.03.2017


Désiré Despradelle, Preparatory sketch for the Beacon of Progress, c. 1894.
Despite careers separated by a century, architect Désiré Despradelle (1862–1912) and artist Grazia Toderi (b. 1963) share a conception of the city and urban architecture as spectacle. Presented together for the first time, Toderi’s video diptych Red Babel (2006) and Despradelle’s drawings for the Beacon of Progress (1893–1900) are utopian visions, both in dialogue with the Tower of Babel.

Grazia Toderi and Désiré Despradelle: Spectacular Cities is on view at the MIT Museum through March 19, 2017 in the Kurtz Gallery for Photography. The exhibition was organized by the MIT Museum and curated by Gary Van Zante, with the assistance of Jonathan Duval.

Grazia Toderi (b. Padua, 1963)
Grazia Toderi is one of the most recognized visual artists working in Italy today. Trained as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, she turned to media art in the 1990s. Like many artists raised on television imagery, she was fascinated by the potential of the video medium. Some of her early work attempted to capture the spectacle of global network television broadcasts, such as the first moon landing, shared by millions of people simultaneously. Her interest in the spectacle of media culminated in Red Babel, an anamorphic projection that is her interpretation of the Tower of Babel myth.

Toderi gained critical attention in media art at the Venice Biennale, where she was awarded Italy’s Golden Lion in 2009 for her installations. As well as being invited to participate in group exhibitions around the world, she has had solo exhibitions at venues in Europe, the United States and Australia. She lives and works in Milan and Turin.

Red Babel/Rosso Babele (2006)
Red Babel is composed of two contiguous ovals that mimic human binocular vision and are also an homage to the planisphere, an ancient tradition of terrestrial and celestial mapping. Tower figures, one upright, the other inverted, rise and fall in a never-ending cycle. The lights of an apparently boundless urban space appear as a kind of swirling, glowing magma, while jets of light flare up and fade. Whether beacons or comets, the flares—like all of Red Babel’s imagery—are ambiguous. Terrestrial or celestial, they enigmatically suggest a duality like the Tower of Babel itself, which bridged the earthly and heavenly domains.

The myth of the Tower of Babel has captivated artists for centuries. The ultimate source for this subject matter is the reference in Genesis to “a tower whose top may reach into heaven.” The heavenly skyscraper was a provocative concept that allowed for great flights of artistic invention, most famously in the work of the sixteenth-century Netherlandish painter Peter Bruegel the Elder. In many conceptions of the Babel myth, the city that rose at the Tower’s base became a utopian vision of the ideal city.

Toderi’s interpretation of the Tower of Babel developed through dozens of preparatory drawings in the summer of 2005. She took from Bruegel the conical tower form, adding her own conception of an urban utopia by superimposing aerial still and video photography of actual nocturnal cityscapes. The resulting multilayered video diptych she called Red Babel after the predominant red hue of the sodium vapor streetlights of contemporary cities.

Red Babel has been exhibited at the Pavilion of Contemporary Art, Milan (2006); the Museum of Contemporary of Art, Tokyo (2008); the Serralves Foundation, Porto (2011); and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington (2011). It is currently on permanent view in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rovereto, Italy.

Constant Antoine Désiré Despradelle (Chaumont-sur-Yonne, France, 1862–Boston, Massachusetts, 1912)
At his death in 1912, MIT Professor Constant Désiré Despradelle was recognized as one of the leading architects in the country and one of the profession’s esteemed teachers of design. In his nineteen years at MIT he had a profound influence on the design of MIT’s Cambridge campus and on Boston architecture through a partnership with Stephen Codman. His greatest achievement as a designer was the unbuilt Beacon of Progress (1893–1900), a spectacular expression of his aspirations as an architect and one of the most ambitious monuments of the nineteenth century.

Trained at the prestigious École de Beaux-Arts in Paris, which had been educating architects since the seventeenth century, Despradelle was acknowledged as a brilliant designer nearly from the moment he enrolled in 1882. Monumentality, order, careful detailing, and highly skilled presentation characterized even his earliest designs. As a student he won numerous awards including a competitive first prize for a tall office tower.

Despradelle came to the attention of MIT while in his first professional position as inspector of state buildings in Paris. The Institute recruited him in 1893 to teach architectural design. He joined the MIT faculty in what was the first and, at the time, one of only a small number of academic programs in architecture in the country. He brought to MIT not only the prestige that came with his École training, but also teaching methods that were a model for the new academic architectural programs springing up across the country, elements of which are still in use in pedagogy and practice today.

Much admired for his teaching, Despradelle was also an accomplished practitioner. His contributions to Boston architecture (with Codman) include the glazed terra-cotta Berkeley Building (1905) in Boston’s Back Bay and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (1913) on Huntington Avenue, for which he produced an innovative pavilion plan. He developed unbuilt plans for Harvard Library and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and his design for the MIT campus, although also unrealized, inspired the built plans (1913–16) of William Welles Bosworth.

The Beacon of Progress (1893–1900)
One of Despradelle’s earliest impressions of America was the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which he visited shortly before arriving at MIT in 1893. The Chicago fair was a marvel: a showcase of technological progress in a vast campus of Beaux-Arts architecture that dazzled the eye. Most impressive was the electric illumination: the Exposition site on Lake Michigan was the most electrified place on Earth and a demonstration of the utopian promise of an electrified future.

Inspired by the spectacle of the Exposition, Despradelle conceived of a monument that would supplant the ephemeral fair and memorialize its achievements, while paying homage to the country that welcomed him as a young immigrant. Called the Beacon of Progress, his monument took the form of a 1,500-foot-high obelisk, taller than any existing structure and a fitting tribute, in his words, to the “glory of the American people.” It was an over-the-top architectural image as ebullient as the “American spirit of advancement and ingenuity” that he admired and to which he dedicated the monument.

From 1893 to 1900, Despradelle produced dozens of drawings elaborating his design, which were widely exhibited. The project evolved to include a complex program of interior spaces with electrification as a rationale. At the apex of the tower was a beacon of light generated by powerful electric arc lamps engineered to be visible for 200 miles.

An occupied structure of this height was possible to achieve only with recent advances in construction technology. Despredelle designed a steel and concrete frame to lighten the building loads of his granite-faced shaft, adopting methods developed from the mid-1880s for tall office buildings in American cities. As a designer and teacher he had been swept into these architectural developments that were occurring just as he arrived in America.

The final design drawings for the Beacon were exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1900. Sending competition drawings to France gave Despradelle an international platform to demonstrate his assimilation of American architectural innovations and his maturity as a designer, confirmed by a first medal in architecture and nearly universal praise. One critic observed that the Beacon was “the most ambitious architectural project ever devised in the brain of man since the Tower of Babel.” Uncompromising in its design, Despradelle’s tower could never be built, just as the Biblical skyscraper could never be completed.


12400 - 20170226 - Cooper Hewitt opens third exhibition in its series on socially responsible design - New York - 30.09.2016-26.02.2017


Harlem Hospital Pavilion Façade, HOK and Studio JTA. Harlem, New York, New York 2005-12. Photo: © Paul Warchol.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum presents “By the People: Designing a Better America,” the third exhibition in its series on socially responsible design, from Sept. 30 through Feb. 26, 2017. The first exhibition in the series to focus on conditions in the U.S. and its bordering countries, “By the People” explores the challenges faced by urban, suburban and rural communities. Organized by Cynthia E. Smith, Cooper Hewitt’s curator of socially responsible design, the exhibition features 60 design projects from every region across the U.S.

Smith conducted more than two years of field research—traveling to shrinking post-industrial cities, sprawling metro regions, struggling rural towns, along border regions, areas impacted by natural and man-made disaster and places of persistent poverty—in search of collaborative designs for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable communities. The exhibition highlights design solutions that expand access to education, food, health care and affordable housing; increase social and economic inclusion; offer improved alternative transportation options; and provide a balanced approach to land use between the built and natural environment.

“As America’s design museum, Cooper Hewitt empowers visitors to see themselves as designers—not just of objects, but also of ideas, strategies and solutions that improve our daily lives,” said Director Caroline Baumann. “‘By the People’ will showcase the innovative and impactful actions generated through design, and inspire creative problem-solving at local, regional, national and even international levels.”

On view in the third floor Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery, the exhibition has been divided into six themes: act, save, share, live, learn and make. To orient the visitor, the complexities of poverty, prosperity, innovation and design in the U.S. are addressed in an introductory section that features a captivating video by Cassim Shepard, an interactive data visualization, “Mapping the Measure of America” and graphics that chart social and economic inequalities.

The exhibition continues in the museum’s groundbreaking Process Lab, which offers immersive experiences for visitors of diverse ages and abilities, from families with small children to design students and professionals. Cooper Hewitt invites visitors to address challenges in their own communities using design thinking and propose solutions.

The accompanying 256-page book, By the People: Designing a Better America, will be published by Cooper Hewitt and distributed in the U.S. by Artbook | D.A.P. and worldwide by Gestalten. Designed by Other Means, By the People will contain essays and interviews with featured designers and architects, in addition to highly illustrated project profiles


12399 - 20170205 - Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University mounts exhibition of important drawings by Italian masters - Bloomington, IN - 01.10.2016-05.02.2017


Domenico Tiepolo, A Centaur Playing with Punchinellos, ca. 1770. Pen and brown ink wash over black chalk on paper. The Anthony Moravec Collection of Old Master Drawings, Eskenazi Museum of Art.
This fall, the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University showcases a series of Italian master drawings, in an exhibition that highlights one of the most significant gifts of art in the museum’s 75-year history. Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo: Master Drawings from the Anthony J. Moravec Collection presents a collection of works on paper by the Venetian masters Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo—a father and son who are widely considered two of the most notable Italian draftsmen of their era—along with works by contemporaries Ubaldo Gandolfi and Giuseppe Bernardino Bison, as well as their predecessor Jacopo Palma il Giovane. Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo marks the first time that the Eskenazi Museum has comprehensively exhibited the collection of Anthony J. Moravec, an Indiana philanthropist and civic leader who spent five years building the collection in concert with Dr. Adelheid Gealt, the museum’s director emeritus, before donating his holdings to the Eskenazi Museum in 2010.

On view from October 1, 2016 through February 5, 2017, the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue provide new scholarship and curatorial insight on Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo, two of the most important artists in the Old Masters canon. The exhibition centers on a set of 12 New Testament drawings by Domenico Tiepolo, part of a now-scattered cycle of 320 drawings that is regarded as the most exhaustive and sustained visual exploration of the subject by any artist in history. Domenico’s large pen, brush, and ink drawings were dispersed after his death in 1804, and entered many public and private collections where they were prized as outstanding drawings. However, the actual series to which these individual drawings belonged was not known until two scholars— Adelheid Gealt and George Knox, professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver—spent 10 years piecing the series back together and publishing it as a newly discovered New Testament cycle in 2006.Following Moravec’s 2010 gift, which was the largest private collection of New Testament drawings to enter a public collection in recent history, the Eskenazi Museum hasbecome the world’s third-largest repository of works from Tiepolo’s New Testament series, after the Museé du Louvre and the Morgan Library and Museum.

“Anthony Moravec’s gift of his magnificent collection has dramatically enhanced the Eskenazi Museum’s holdings of 18th-century works on paper, transforming this into a major area of strength for the museum and enhancing our already-significant holdings of European art from the High Renaissance and Late Baroque periods,” said David Brenneman, the Wilma E. Kelley Director of the Eskenazi Museum of Art. “We are deeply grateful to Anthony for his generous gift, which we are proud to showcase through this exhibition.”

In addition to works from Domenico’s New Testament series, the Moravec collection also includes important works on paper by his father, Giambattista Tiepolo, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest draftsmen of the 18th century. Works by Ubaldo Gandolfi and Giuseppe Bernardino Bison round out the collection, along with a drawing by Jacopo Palma il Giovane—a previously unidentified study for his painting St. John the Baptist Preaching, which was acquired by the museum in 1964. In total, 24 works on paper are being displayed in Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo, which is a major highlight of the Eskenazi Museum’s 75th-anniversary season.

“This exhibition will reintroduce our audiences to the richness of the Italian Old Master tradition, and especially to the work of Domenico Tiepolo—a unique voice among his contemporaries whose works on paper are notable for their synthesis of Biblical and mythological subject matter with the visual vocabulary of 18th-century Venetian life,” said the exhibition’s curator Adelheid Gealt. “By showcasing our world-renowned holdings of Tiepolo’s New Testament series, the Eskenazi Museum is contributing to an ongoing reassessment of this important body of work.”

Gealt authored an illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition, which includes new scholarship on Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo. The catalogue also features an interview with Anthony Moravec about the origins and history of his collecting practice.


12398 - 20170108 - Exhibition featuring 37 contemporary women artists opens at the National Museum of Women in the Arts - Washington, DC - 30.09.2016-08.01.2017


Isa Genzken, Schauspieler, 2013; Mixed media, 72 1/4 x 18 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts presents the exhibition No Man's Land: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection on view from Sept. 30, 2016, through Jan. 8, 2017. Born in 16 countries across five continents, 37 contemporary artists use their aesthetically diverse work to address varied political and intellectual themes. The presentation is organized by the Rubell Family Collection (RFC)/Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, in collaboration with NMWA. The exhibition in Washington, D.C., centers on the process of making as well as images of the female body—both topics that extend from the feminist art movement of the 1970s.

Among the celebrated artists whose work is featured in the exhibition are Cecily Brown, Marlene Dumas, Isa Genzken, Yayoi Kusama, Wangechi Mutu, Elizabeth Peyton, Dana Schutz, Mickalene Thomas and Rosemarie Trockel.

This highly focused selection of 59 works concentrates on painting and sculpture. These mediums are among the oldest and traditionally most revered fine art forms, yet in the hands of many contemporary artists, they are avenues for experimentation, play, and subversion.

NO MAN’S LAND brings together artists new to the Rubell Family Collection and those whose works they began collecting decades ago. Speaking about the D.C. iteration of the exhibition, Mera Rubell states, “It is especially meaningful for us to have NO MAN’S LAND open in our nation’s capital around the time when women’s leadership in all arenas is front and center in the public consciousness.”

“We are thrilled to be the first traveling venue for NO MAN’S LAND, which premiered in Miami last December,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “We have truly enjoyed collaborating with the Rubell Family Collection—one of the largest and most diverse privately held contemporary collections in the world. From the original exhibition, which extended over 45,000 square feet, our curators worked with the RFC to create a tightly focused exhibition centered on the body and the process of making. These themes define some of the most compelling works made by contemporary women artists.”

“Sharing our collection through traveling exhibitions and championing emerging artists at the forefront of contemporary art are key to the mission of our Foundation,” said RFC Director Juan Roselione-Valadez. “We are pleased to bring these works to D.C. and to work on NO MAN’S LAND with the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to women in the arts.”

The artists in the exhibition are: Nina Chanel Abney, Tauba Auerbach, Amy Bessone, Kerstin Brätsch, Cecily Brown, Miriam Cahn, Mira Dancy, Karin Davie, Marlene Dumas, Isa Genzken, Sonia Gomes, Jennifer Guidi, Cristina Iglesias, Hayv Kahraman, Natasja Kensmil, Yayoi Kusama, Li Shurui, Helen Marten, Suzanne McClelland, Josephine Meckseper, Dianna Molzan, Wangechi Mutu, Maria Nepomuceno, Celia Paul, Solange Pessoa, Elizabeth Peyton, Rozeal, Jennifer Rubell, Analia Saban, Dana Schutz, Shinique Smith, Aya Takano, Mickalene Thomas, Rosemarie Trockel, Kaari Upson, Mary Weatherford and Anicka Yi.


12397 - 20170102 - Retrospective of drawings by Jean Dubuffet at the Morgan - New York - 30.09.2016-02.01.2017


Jean Dubuffet, L’Arnaque (The Swindle), June 2, 1962, Gouache. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Stephen Hahn Family Collection, 1995. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
In the mid-1940s, French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985) shocked the art establishment with his paintings inspired by children’s drawings, graffiti, and the art of psychiatric patients. Rejecting conventional notions of beauty and good taste, Dubuffet asserted that invention and creativity could only be found outside traditional cultural channels. In his efforts to emulate the immediacy of the untrained and untutored, he often turned to drawing, a medium in which he could indulge his passion for research and experimentation.

Opening at the Morgan Library & Museum on September 30, Dubuffet Drawings, 1935–1962 is the first museum retrospective of the artist’s works on paper. The exhibition includes approximately one hundred drawings from Dubuffet’s most innovative decades and features rarely seen works borrowed from private and public collections in France and the United States. His favorite subjects were mundane activities of everyday life—taking the subway, bicycling in the countryside—but he also tackled traditional genres like the portrait, the female nude, and the landscape, all the better to subvert expectations with his outrageous depictions. Insatiably curious, Dubuffet explored unorthodox materials and techniques, instilling into his drawings a sense of adventure that has kept them vibrant and relevant to this day. The exhibition will be on view at the Morgan through January 2. It will then travel to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (January 29 to April 30). The exhibition and its catalogue will showcase extensive new research on Dubuffet's drawings by the curator Isabelle Dervaux and her colleagues.

“Jean Dubuffet’s career is marked by a fearless commitment to innovation and experimentation,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “Despite his commanding role in the postwar avant-garde and his influence on the art of the following decades, Dubuffet has received less attention than other artists of his generation, such as Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning. The recent wave of interest in art brut, or outsider art, which Dubuffet championed, has led to renewed attention to his painted and graphic work.”

The exhibition will be installed in chronological order and divided into seven sections:

I. Early Drawings
Although Dubuffet briefly took art classes in the late 1910s, he did not fully embrace the life of an artist until 1942, when he was forty-one years old. Two types of works on paper dominated his production at the time: colorful gouaches of commonplace subjects and ink drawings in which he experimented with unusual techniques.

Several of Dubuffet’s breakthrough subway scenes of March 1943—in which he ignored conventions of perspective and modeling in favor of bold, inventive compositions—are featured in the exhibition. While he tested the impact of color, he also played with texture, creating ink drawings that involved scratching and rubbing the paper. “I must learn how to draw,” he wrote in 1944. “Of course when I say draw I’m not to the slightest degree thinking of faithfully reproducing objects; … no, it’s a matter of something quite different: to animate the paper, to make it palpitate. It’s a matter of learning how to make a line, a little line five centimeters long: but a line which lives, whose pulse beats.” Several drawings in this section were included in Dubuffet’s first solo exhibition, at Galerie Rene Drouin in Paris in October 1944. Although Dubuffet’s radical approach was controversial, the show garnered much support from the Parisian intelligentsia and launched his reputation.

II. Portraits
The exhibition will feature a number of important portraits of artists and writers that Dubuffet created between 1945 and 1947. He was drawn to the particularities of his subjects: “Funny noses, big mouths, crooked teeth… I like that,” he said. He emphasized such features as Henri Michaux’s large ears and the long hands of Joë Bousquet. The portrait of misanthrope Paul Léautaud shows an exaggerated downturned mouth, evoking the reputation of the mean, caustic theater critic. Beyond caricature, however, Dubuffet was engaged in a radical rethinking of the conventions of portraiture in modern times. His grotesque heads—like Alberto Giacometti’s gaunt figures of the same period—embody the anguish and despair of the human condition as expressed by the French intellectual community during the immediate postwar years, notably in Existentialist philosophy. To heighten the graphic brutality of some of the drawings, he incised them, graffiti-like, on scratchboard. Eschewing naturalistic representation allowed him to create powerful images, more likely to strike the viewer’s imagination. Nevertheless, his subjects and viewers did not always appreciate his portrait style – Léautaud threatened to pierce his portrait with an umbrella.

III. Sahara
Eager to escape the cold winters and lack of coal in postwar Paris, Dubuffet made three trips to North Africa between 1947 and 1949. A few subjects attracted him repeatedly: Bedouins (notably the complex folds of their turbans and burnooses), palm trees, camels, goats, and flies. He was also fascinated by the sand covered with footprints—ephemeral traces that “humanize the ground.”

Most of the Sahara drawings in the exhibition date to Dubuffet’s second trip to the region, when he spent five months in the oasis of El Golea. There he made his own paint by mixing pigments with gum Arabic, a medium that frustrated him at first. “It took me several months of hard work with my glue and my powdered colors to be able to speak with them in their own language with some ease and lightness,” he wrote. Although Dubuffet did not share the interest in North African light that attracted other artists there before him—such as Eugene Delacroix, Henri Matisse, and Paul Klee—the works he produced in the desert reveal his remarkable sense of color.

IV. Corps de Dames and Radiant Lands
In 1950, partly in a spirit of provocation, Dubuffet took up the theme of the female nude, first in painting, then in drawing. “Please let’s call them Ladies’s Bodies” he told his dealer, “Women’s Bodies is too artistic.” Disregarding the prevailing idea of beauty associated with the subject, Dubuffet flattened his huge bodies across the sheet and emphasized their materiality through a flurry of small patterns and frantic linear movements. The dense network of lines was a striking equivalent to the thick matter characteristic of Dubuffet’s oil paintings at the time.

In the following years, Dubuffet applied the technique to landscape in Radiant Lands, a series of about forty sheets begun in New York in January 1952. The graphic exuberance of these drawings, which absorbs sky, land, and figures into a single texture—collapsing the traditional distinction between figure and ground—may have been influenced by the crowded compositions typical of art brut, or outsider art, which Dubuffet studied and collected with particular intensity in the late 1940s.

V. Butterfly Collages and Assemblages of Imprints
Always in search of modes of drawing that did not require traditional skills and could be performed by anyone who had never learned how to draw, Dubuffet developed two techniques in the 1950s: the collage and the imprint—a form of transfer. Butterfly wing collages, which the artist began making in 1953, were the inspiration for his assemblages of imprint or collages of pieces of paper cut from large sheets previously covered with imprints. Dubuffet made them by placing various materials—sugar, grains, threads, plants—on a table covered with ink before pressing a sheet of paper over it. He then cut up the sheet and arranged the fragments into landscapes and figures, creating eerie and mysterious compositions, which he sometimes completed with pen and ink. Dubbing the process “an extremely efficient means of invention” Dubuffet refined it throughout the decade. The technical diversity of the assemblages epitomizes Dubuffet’s experimental approach to drawing.

VI. Textures and Beards
Toward the end of the 1950s, Dubuffet’s interest in matter and texture led him to create his most abstract drawings. Characterized by a profusion of small elements filling the sheet to the edge, they suggest microscopic visions or fragments of a cosmic world. Moving effortlessly between abstraction and figuration, Dubuffet used fragments from such drawings to compose collages devoted to the subject of beards. At once comical and solemn, these monumental figures oscillate between articulated puppets and biblical prophets. Some of their titles, such as Beard Garden, point to the affinity between man and nature, a connection Dubuffet explored in another group of collages made at the same time called Botanical Elements. In them, nature became the very material of drawing as Dubuffet arranged leaves, stems, and flowers into imaginary landscapes.

VII. Paris Circus
The exhibition concludes with a group of lively gouaches from Dubuffet’s Paris Circus series. “I have turned the tide… and decided to start all over again from the beginning,” Dubuffet wrote in 1961. That year, in a dramatic about-face, he abandoned the austere palette of the late 1950s to embark on a series of colorful depictions of the city. Although the theme harked back to his 1940s street scenes, the new urban environment was strikingly different. Instead of graffiti, the words that fill the Paris Circus gouaches are witty and brightly painted store names the artist invented. Overflowing department stores evoke the consumer society brought forth by the recent economic boom, as seen in Rue des Petites-Champs. Yet, in these crowded compositions, cars, strolling pedestrians, and shop windows are caught in the labyrinthine texture of the city just like figures were entangled in Dubuffet’s Radiant Lands of the early 1950s. In both series, the world appears like a giant jigsaw puzzle in which every element is part of the same structure.


12396 - 20170102 - Carnegie Museum of Art stages colorful, spectacular, immersive exhibition of Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica - Pittsburgh, PA - 01.10.2017-02.01.2017


Hélio Oiticica, “Metaesquema 4066,” 1958, gouache on cardboard, Digital Image (c) The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY.
Visitors to the exhibition of Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980) at Carnegie Museum of Art can expect to walk across sand and pebbles, traverse bold, colorful structures, and say hello to a friendly Amazon parrot. That’s part of the experience of Tropicália (1966–67), a massive, multisensory installation at the heart of Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium.

If Tropicália is a kind of journey into the artist’s immersive work, then Eden (1969) is the destination. This huge installation includes spaces and structures for relaxation, reading, conversation, and music. Its surfaces provide tactile experiences for bare feet: strewn with sand or leaves, a pool of water. Occupying the majestic Hall of Sculpture at CMOA, it is rarely staged due to its size and complexity. The exhibition is the most complete retrospective of the artist to date, and the first to explore in depth his New York years (1971–78). Ambitious in scale, it presents a stunning array of paintings, interactive sculptures, audiovisual works, and environments across the museum’s expansive Heinz Galleries and Hall of Sculpture.

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Oiticica first painted compositions made of geometric shapes that seemed to dance off the painted surface. He soon moved into creating immersive, experiential works, exploding color into three dimensions. For the artist, these works were completed only when viewers interacted with them. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Oiticica moved further and further toward art that is intended for the viewer to manipulate, wear, and inhabit, including Parangolés, works to be carried or worn that often contain poetic or political messages only visible when the wearer is in motion, or Penetrables, colorful structures inspired by makeshift dwellings in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. While living in New York, Oiticica extended his work into filmmaking, slide show environments, and concrete poetry. Shortly before his return to Rio he again began inventing structures for human interaction.

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium brings visually arresting, wholly original artwork to Pittsburgh for an experience unlike any other. After its CMOA presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Hélio Oiticica is organized by Lynn Zelevansky, Henry J. Heinz II Director, Carnegie Museum of Art; Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art; James Rondeau, Dittmer Chair and Curator, Department Modern and Contemporary Art, The Art Institute of Chicago; and Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art; with Anna Katherine Brodbeck, Associate Curator, Carnegie Museum of Art.


12395 - 20170219 - Exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art illustrates the evolution of the California coastline - Pasadena, CA - 25.09.2016-19.02.2017


Roger Kuntz, Interior with Figure (from Girl Against the Light series), 1966. Oil on canvas, 40 x 48 inches. Gary Lang Collection.
Even before California became a state in 1850, artists responded to the diverse views and experiences of the 840 miles of coast. Continuing its tradition of showcasing the breadth of California art, the Pasadena Museum of California Art is presenting In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture. Illustrating the evolution of the landscapes, lifestyles, and industries of the California coastline from the mid–1800s to present, the exhibition assembles approximately 90 oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings and prints as well as magazines, posters, photographs, and other ephemera.

“Like the coastal communities of Newport Beach, Balboa Island, Laguna Beach, and San Francisco, Pasadena has attracted and inspired a significant number of artists, yet the creative outputs vary from sea to Seco,” says Gordon McClelland, the exhibition’s curator and an acclaimed California art historian and writer. “Pasadena is just far enough away from the shoreline that when artworks depicting and created on the Pacific Coast are viewed there, they take on a fresh, inland context and a distinct meaning.” 

On view in the PMCA’s Main Gallery, In the Land of Sunshine celebrates the varied artistic visions and interpretations of the coast and culture as well as the way industry and society shape the landscape and its people, giving California its mystique and defining it as a coastal haven. Borrowing its name from The Land of Sunshine, a Los Angeles periodical published from 1894 through 1923 that portrayed a potent and alluring illustration of the Pacific Coast, the exhibition showcases art that bloomed in the dazzling California sunlight. The historic and contemporary works from In the Land of Sunshine depict the commercial practices of the fishermen, canning operations, and cargo ships alongside the leisure lifestyles of the surfers, sailors, and sport fishermen.

Organized chronologically and by medium, the works trace the formal and historical developments occurring within the state. Moving from early representational views of an idealized West to Joseph Duncan Gleason’s traditional fundamentals of beauty, Alson S. Clark’s impressionistic scenes of the shoreline, and Marion Wachtel’s light-infused watercolors, the exhibition segues to Phil Dike’s playful abstractions and Roger Kuntz’s captivating oscillation from representation to abstraction in his large-scale works. In addition to galleries dedicated to watercolors and oil paintings, the surf culture gallery punctuates fine art with ephemera related to the Southern California beach lifestyle. With Alexandra Bradshaw’s dynamic 1930s-era watercolor of surfers in Laguna Beach, Bill Ogden’s more recent fantastical and hypnotic ocean paintings, and the 1960s psychedelic surrealism of Rick Griffin, the surf gallery highlights the influence of California’s free spirit on mid-twentieth-century culture. The exhibition closes with contemporary work demonstrating the continuing dynamism of the Golden State with the energetic and synesthetic watercolors of Keith Crown and unpopulated urban landscapes by Suong Yangchareon.

The distinct physical and cultural aspects of California’s coastal development have visually stimulated and emotionally inspired artists for over 150 years. The highly creative works in In the Land of Sunshine celebrate the wide variety of artistic approaches used to capture the ever-changing look and mood of the Pacific Coast’s communities. They demonstrate the influence of California as both an artists’ haven and a center of industry and culture.

In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Gordon T. McClelland.