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12505 - 20170521 - "Adios Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950" in Houston - 05.03.2017-21.05.2017


On March 5, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, debuted Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950. The landmark exhibition of Cuban art is a project conceived by the Cisneros Fontanals Fundación Para Las Artes (CIFO Europa) and The Cisneros Fontanals Arts Foundation, CIFO USA. The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Featuring more than 100 of the most important works of painting, graphic design, photography, video, installation, and performance created by Cuban artists and designers over the past six decades, Adiós Utopia looks at how Cuba’s revolutionary aspirations for social utopia—and subsequent disillusionment—shaped nearly 60 years of Cuban art.

With Cuban art increasingly visible in the United States and abroad, Adiós Utopia provides an unprecedented context for understanding the recent surge of interest in the art of Cuba around improved US/Cuba relations. Rather than offer a historical survey, the exhibition presents a thematic narrative focused on Cuba’s utopian aspirations and failures. It focuses on the experiences of Cuban artists who lived and trained on the island, examining how they commented on and confronted the social and political programs set in motion by the Cuban Revolution through pivotal artistic movements from the 1960s to the 1990s. The narrative also provides access, in some cases for the first time, to the work of avant-garde pioneers of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s that continues to influence Cuban artists.

Conceived by CIFO Europa, the exhibition is curated by Cuban independent curators Gerardo Mosquera, René Francisco Rodríguez, and Elsa Vega. Museum advisors on the project are Olga Viso, executive director at the Walker Art Center; and Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art at the MFAH, who organized the U.S. tour.

Abstraction: Universalism and Artistic Language
Adiós Utopia opens with an introduction to Cuba’s lesser-known “Concrete” art movement. Artists Sandú Darié, Loló Soldevilla, and others in the 1950s sought to establish an avant-garde art group to introduce a universal approach to art, following a spirit of modernization. These artists engaged with Constructivist counterparts abroad, abandoning representational art in favor of using line, color, and form as autonomous elements in their work. This is evident in Soldevilla’s geometric reliefs of the 1950s, Darié’s Pintura transformable [Transformable painting] (c.1950), and Mario Carreño’s Sin título [Untitled] (1954). More recent works—such as Yaima Carranza’s Malevich, de la serie Tutoriales de esmalte de uñas [Malevich, from the series Nail Polish Tutorials] (2010), which transposes 20th-century compositions by Russian artist Kazimir Malevich into nail-polish patterns—turn a critical eye towards the gaps between revolutionary ideals and reality.

Cult and Destruction of the Revolutionary Nation
The next section traces the development of Cuba’s revolutionary icons—including the Cuban flag, national leaders and rebel soldiers—from their origin in the 1960s to their various re-interpretations throughout the decades. Historical photographs by Alberto Korda, Raúl Corrales, and other major documentarians of the 1960s are brought into dialogue with monumental paintings, video, and sculpture, by key artists such as Servando Cabrera Moreno and his dramatizations of peasants and workers in his painting Rebeldes de la Sierra [Rebels of the Sierra] (1961) and Raúl Martínez with his serialized portraits of political leaders in the painting Rosas y Estrellas [Roses and Stars] (1972). Contemporary reinterpretations of national iconography include Tania Bruguera’s Estadística, de la serie Memoria de la postguerra [Statistics, from the series Memory of the Post-War Era] (1995–2000)—a Cuban flag made of bundles of hair sourced from her neighbors and friends—and Tomás Esson’s Bandera cubana [Cuban flag] (1990), which depicts the flag as a sinuous, physical body. Also on view in these galleries are key works from the 1980s generation of artists who pioneered a new, more conceptually focused Cuban art (Nuevo Arte Cubano), characterized by the successful merging of revolutionary imagery with references to highly personal topics based on their experience of Cuban social and political reality. Most notably, this includes Juan Francisco Elso’s For America (José Martí) (1986), a wooden sculpture that presents 19th-century revolutionary leader José Martí as a religious martyr.

Poster Art
One of the strongest visual elements of the Cuban Revolution remained its extensive use of posters to promote political ideals, cultural events, and solidarity with struggles for independence in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Not merely used as tools for propaganda, Cuban posters became international reference points for innovations in graphic design and political messaging. In this section, a selection of approximately 50 posters that defined the so-called “Golden Age” of Cuban poster design (from 1960 to 1972) are represented, with subject matter ranging from political figures to cultural events involving music, literature, and cinema. Well-known posters designed by Olivio Martínez, Antonio Fernández Reboiro, and Alfredo Gonzaléz Rostgaard, among others, are included.

The Imposition of Words: Discourse, Rhetoric, and Media Controls
This group of works focuses on the role of speech and discourse in shaping revolutionary ideology, as well as themes of censorship and media controls. Opus (2005), a video installation by José Ángel Toirac featuring sound clips of Fidel Castro delivering elaborate statistics, opens this section. Other large installations, including Glexis Novoa’s Sin título (de la Etapa Práctica) [Untitled, from the Practical Stage] (1989), continue to explore the ways that rhetoric and language have defined Cuban art and national identity. Iconic works like Él hace puf [He goes puf] (1967) and Tú haces plaff [You go plaf] (1967) by Umberto Peña and La Bola o el Discurso (1989) by Tomás Esson use the mouth and tongue as metaphors for addressing the limits on social customs in Cuban society. This section also focuses on the influential work of Santiago “Chago” Armada, a political cartoonist of the 1960s whose work was intermittently censored on several occasions by the Cuban government.

Sea, Borders, Exile
From 1959 onward, the waters surrounding Cuba acted as both a gateway to the rest of the world and as a barrier to insulate the country from external influences. This section of the exhibition focuses on territorial tensions—specifically between Cuba and the United States—and mass migrations as represented by the sea. Many of the works included relate to the humanitarian crises in the 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union left the island without its key trade partner. Tonel’s well-known installation El bloqueo [The blockade] (1989) sets the tone for this gallery, featuring a set of cinder blocks set in the shape of Cuba, the layout giving the impression of an island at risk of sinking. Photographs by Manuel Piña and José Figueroa round out the presentation, providing dramatic documentation of Cubans as they sought to escape the island.

Lost Illusions and Inverted Utopia
Though the Cuban Revolution sought to create a new, utopian social order, reality was often characterized by paradox, strife, and disillusionment. The final section of Adiós Utopia presents works created over the past 40 years that chart the unraveling of the utopian dream. In Jeanette Chavez’s video performance Autocensura [Self-censorship] (2006), the artist methodically ties knots of string tightly around her own tongue. Photographic works from Ricardo Elías’s Oro Seco [Dry Gold] series (2005–09) document the decay of the factories and transportation systems that upheld Cuba’s once profitable sugar industry, ,while Yoan Capote’s Stress (in memoriam) (2004–12) sandwiches hundreds of human teeth between two concrete blocks to suggest the teeth-gritting stress of everyday life in Cuba. In the final gallery of the exhibition, visitors experience two haunting works, both created by the artist collective Los Carpinteros. Conga irreversible [Irreversible conga] (2012), a video of a performance piece staged during the 2012 Havana Bienal, shows a traditional Cuban street procession performed in reverse; the marchers and the crowds who blindly follow are a metaphor for the uncertainty of the country’s future. The collective’s sculptural piece, Faro tumblado [Felled lighthouse] 2006), recalls the iconic lighthouse of the Morro Castle in Havana, a prominent feature of the cityscape and a national monument. Here, the icon is laid on its side, questioning its function as a guiding light.


12504 - 20170402 - Artworks examine a dramatic shift in how women artists in the 1990s redefined the 'self' in their art practices- Newport Beach, CA - 07.01.2017-02.04.2017

Rachel Lachowicz, Homage to Carl Andre (After Carl Andre's "Magnesium and Zinc," 1969) 1991. Lipstick and wax, 3/8 x 72 x 72 inches. Collection Orange County Museum of Art, Museum purchase with additional funds provided by Eileen and Peter Norton
The last decade of the twentieth century marked a brief, but significant moment of intense, rapid sociopolitical, economic and cultural transformation, particularly for women. Forms of Identity: Women Artists in the 90s on view at the Orange County Museum of Art presents a selection of artworks from the museum’s permanent collection created by sixteen significant women artists working in this time period whose artistic practice shifted from the political to personal. The exhibition is on view through April 2, 2017.

Whereas feminist movements prior to the 90s primarily addressed issues between the two genders, postmodernism and women artists in the 90s expanded the critique of being ‘the other’ within womanhood, examining race, age, and gender politics. Women artists began to shift from more radical direct approaches to more covert poetic gestures. The exhibition includes eighteen works, eight of which are recent donations to the permanent collection, including a recently acquired, room-size installation by Los Angeles artist Liz Craft.

Artists featured: China Adams, Laura Aguilar, Polly Apfelbaum, Leslie Brack, Jessica Bronson, Liz Craft, Meg Cranston, Jacci Den Hartog, Dawn Fryling, Diane Gamboa, Rachel Lachowicz, Helen Pashgian, Erika Rothenberg, Alexis Smith, Linda Stark, and Millie Wilson.

The artists in this exhibition all worked in the 1990s and addressed topics surrounding the self. Disassociated from the politics of feminism, artists Jacci Den Hartog, Dawn Fryling, Helen Pashgian, and Linda Stark asserted their individuality by creating works with unconventional materials, deliberately emphasizing the art object’s formal properties. China Adams, Polly Apfelbaum, Liz Craft, and Meg Cranston explored their own personal, interior worlds of thought, place and memory. At the same time, Laura Aguilar, Jessica Bronson, and Diane Gamboa directly addressed culture, race, and gender identity politics, and Leslie Brack, Rachel Lachowicz, Erika Rothenberg, Alexis Smith, and Millie Wilson investigated female identities within the context of popular culture and the art world.

Women artists working in the last decade of the twentieth century owe a debt to earlier feminist activism. Feminist Revolution activists in the 1960s and direct action artist groups like WAC (Women’s Action Coalition), through protest and performance, publicly confronted barriers to women’s rights in a male-dominated art market. By the 90s, feminists expanded their critique to subcategories of marginalization within womanhood. Building on early efforts by these politically active feminist groups, women artists gained new freedom to create art through a more familiar and personal shape: their own identity.


12503 - 20170722 - Chinese ceramics from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on view at the Vincent Price Art Museum - Los Angeles - 24.01.2017-22.07.2017


Tea Bowl (Chawan) with Hare's Fur Pattern, Southern Song dynasty, 1127-1279, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch Collection (M.51.2.1). Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced today that works from the museum's Chinese art collection will be on view at the Vincent Price Art Museum in a special exhibition. Chinese Ceramics from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on view January 24–July 22, 2017, will present 50 ceramic masterpieces with examples from the Neolithic period to the 19th century that exhibit a variety of styles and techniques, including works made of low-fired earthenware and high-fired stoneware and porcelain. This exhibition is part of a new LACMA initiative that launched in summer 2016 called On-Site: Neighborhood Partnerships with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, On-Site is an example of LACMA’s commitment to making its collection and programs accessible to the communities of Los Angeles County, in the hopes of broadening participation in cultural experiences. By building on existing partnerships, establishing new relationships, and seeking community input, LACMA aims to create educational and shared experiences that resonate with community members.

"This collaboration with the Vincent Price Art Museum and East Los Angeles College is the first time LACMA has presented an exhibition dedicated to Chinese ceramics from its permanent collection in another part of Los Angeles,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “This is an important component of our On-Site program—sharing the transformational power of art with the local community.”

Pilar Tompkins Rivas, director of the Vincent Price Art Museum, said, "We are thrilled to partner with LACMA to showcase these important works of Chinese ceramics at the Vincent Price Art Museum. We are embedded within an important and thriving Asian American cultural center in Los Angeles County, and we believe this exhibition will have deep resonance for our local community and for the diverse student populations that we serve at East Los Angeles College. This is an exciting opportunity to share these masterworks through the exhibition and its related educational programs.”

"This is the first opportunity in over a decade to view a superb selection of LACMA’s Chinese ceramics ranging in date from the Neolithic period (c. 2500 BC) to the late Qing dynasty (1644–1911),” said exhibition curator Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art and Department Head, Chinese & Korean Art at LACMA. “The ceramics on show include some of the first examples of Chinese art to enter LACMA’s collection in the 1920s and ’30s, presenting a chance to view some of the most important styles and techniques in Chinese ceramic history, a wide range of symbols commonly found in Chinese art, and a fine selection of ceramics designed to be exported to countries outside of China.”

This exhibition, comprising works from LACMA’s permanent collection, presents an introduction to Chinese ceramics, with examples from c. 2500 BC (Neolithic period) to the 19th century, and is curated by Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art and Department Head, Chinese & Korean Art.

Chinese Ceramics from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is divided into three sections: The first provides a survey of the technical development of Chinese ceramics, including the three basic types of clay—earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain—and decorative techniques, such as glazing. The second section focuses on some of the symbols and narratives embedded in the decoration of Chinese ceramics, including designs key to understanding Chinese cosmology, religion, history, and society. The exportation of Chinese ceramics to other parts of Asia began as early as the seventh and eighth centuries, and to Europe in the 16th century. The third section presents ceramics exported to Japan, Southeast Asia, the Near East, Europe, and the Americas between the 14th and 19th centuries.


12502 - 20170709 - The Davis Museum presents first U.S. retrospective of the works of Carlo Dolci - Wellesley, MASS - 10.02.2017-09.07.2017

Carlo Dolci, St. Matthew Writing His Gospel, 1640s. Oil on canvas, 52 5/8 × 44 3/4 in. (133.7 × 113.7 cm). Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum, inv. no. 69.PA.29. Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.
The Davis Museum at Wellesley College will present The Medici’s Painter: Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence, the first-ever exhibition in America devoted to the luminous and meticulously rendered paintings and drawings of 17th-century Italian artist Carlo Dolci (1616–1687), and the Davis Museum’s most ambitious Old Master project to date. Dolci was arguably the most important artist in Florence during the 17th-century and the exhibition brings together for the first time in the U.S. the artist's sophisticated devotional work, pictures and drawings of the highest pictorial, technical, and spiritual qualities. On view in the Camilla Chandler and Dorothy Buffum Chandler Gallery and the Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman Gallery, The Medici’s Painter will open on February 10, and run through July 9, 2017.

The exhibition includes more than 50 paintings and drawings, on loan from the most important public and private collections in the U.S. and abroad, and from otherwise inaccessible private collections. Works will travel from the Uffizi Gallery and Pitta Palace in Florence, the Louvre Museum in Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. The exhibition will travel for presentation at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in August 2017.

The Medici’s Painter is organized by Dr. Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, Head of European Art Department & Elizabeth and Allan Shelden Curator of European Paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts, with Dr. Francesca Baldassari. Straussman-Pflanzer was previously the Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Collections at the Davis Museum.

“The exhibition will consider Dolci’s art in depth as well as consider art as a critical diplomatic, political, and cultural tool from the early modern period to the present,” said Straussman-Pflanzer. “It provides the first opportunity in the United States to study the life and oeuvre of the most important artist in 17th-century Florence.”

Best known for his half-length and single-figure devotional pictures, Dolci was also a gifted painter of altarpieces and portraits as well as a highly accomplished draughtsman. He created his first works of art in the mid-1620s, after entering the studio of the Florentine painter Jacopo Vignali (1592–1664) in 1625. Among his first patrons were members of the Medici family and foreign nobility, who immediately recognized his reverence for detail, brilliant palette, and seemingly enameled surfaces.

New Scholarship
This exhibition moves beyond the notion of Dolci as a sentimental painter or an exclusively devotional one, and returns to an appreciation of the aesthetic merits, naturalistic underpinnings, and cultural context of the artist’s work.

Exhibiting Dolci’s oeuvre chronologically with attention to autograph works by the artist, the exhibition will exceed longstanding prejudices by presenting the artist’s exquisite surfaces and breathtaking palette alongside preparatory drawings. Such juxtaposition will reveal the sheer technical virtuosity of the artist as well as the naturalistic vein that forms the foundation of his entire legacy.

An exhibition catalogue, published by the Davis Museum at Wellesley College and distributed by Yale University Press, will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue will be edited by Julia P. Henshaw with contributions by early modern scholars Francesca Baldassari, Edward Goldberg, Scott Nethersole, Lisa Goldenberg Stoppato, and Eve Straussman-Pflanzer.


12501 - 20170529 - Laguna Art Museum presents spring exhibitions - Laguna Beach, CA - 19.02.2017-29.05.2017

Helen Lundeberg, Untitled, 1960. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. Gift of The Feitelson/Lundeberg Art Foundation. 2014.012.
Laguna Art Museum presents three new exhibitions: From Wendt to Thiebaud: Recent Gifts for the Permanent Collection; The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-55; and Stanton Macdonald-Wright: The Haiga Portfolio. The exhibitions close May 29, 2017.

From Wendt to Thiebaud: Recent Gifts for the Permanent Collection
The museum presents a selection of about eighty works of art that are recent gifts for the permanent collection, many of them displayed for the first time. Like most museums, Laguna Art Museum grows and strengthens its collection largely through works of art donated by collectors and artists. Over the past five years it has reaped the benefit of extraordinary generosity, adding museum-quality paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, and prints from all periods of the history of California art. The exhibition is a celebration of the museum’s progress as it approaches its centennial year of 2018 and an expression of gratitude toward the donors who have contributed through their gifts to Laguna Beach’s artistic legacy.

The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-55
Between 1945 and 1955, a fortunate group of students at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco studied under a faculty that included some of the great photographers of the age—Ansel Adams, Minor White, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, and Lisette Model. Many of the students went on to distinguished photographic careers themselves. Accompanied by a beautiful and informative book, the exhibition showcases about sixty choice examples of the work of teachers and students active at the CSFA during this remarkable midcentury period.

Stanton Macdonald-Wright: The Haiga Portfolio
Following World War II, this distinguished figure of the American avant-garde became fascinated by Japanese art. In 1966-67 he spent a period in Kyoto and worked with a master of traditional Japanese woodblock techniques, Clifton Karhu, to create a portfolio of twenty haiga, or illustrations to haiku poems.


12500 - 20170529 - Metropolitan Museum exhibition focuses on Seurat's 'Circus Sideshow' - New York - 17.02.2017-29.05.2017

Georges Seurat (French, Paris 1859-1891 Paris), Pierrot and Colombine Ca. 1886–88. Conté crayon on paper, 9 3/4 x 12 3/8 in. (24.8 x 31.2 cm). Kasama Nichido Museum of Art.
Taking as its focus one of The Met’s most captivating masterpieces, this thematic exhibition affords a unique context for appreciating the heritage and allure of Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque), painted in 1887–88, by Georges Seurat (1859–91). Anchored by a remarkable group of related works by Seurat that fully illuminates the lineage of the motif in his inimitable conté crayon drawings, the presentation explores the fascination the sideshow subject held for other artists in the 19th century, ranging from the great caricaturist Honoré Daumier at mid-century to the young Pablo Picasso at the fin de siècle. This rich visual narrative unfolds in a provocative display of more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints, period posters, and illustrated journals, supplemented by musical instruments and an array of documentary material intended to give a vivid sense of the seasonal fairs and traveling circuses of the day. Among the highlights is Fernand Pelez’s epic Grimaces and Misery—The Saltimbanques (Petit Palais, Paris), of exactly the same date as Seurat’s magisterial work and, with its life-size performers aligned in friezelike formation across a 20-foot stage, a match for his ambition. Seurat’s Circus Sideshow is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, from February 17 to May 29, 2017.

Circus Sideshow is one of only a half-dozen major figure compositions that date to Seurat’s short career. More compact in scale and more evocative in expression than his other scenes of modern life—which he regarded as “toiles de lutte” (canvases of combat)—the painting effectively announced the Neo-Impressionist’s next line of attack on old guard turf, signaling a shift in focus away from the sunlit banks of the Seine to the heart of urban Paris. Circus Sideshow initiated a final trio of works devoted to popular entertainment and led the fray as the first to tackle a nighttime setting with the benefit of his innovative technique, alternatively called pointillism or divisionism (the former term emphasizing the dotted brushwork, the latter, the theory behind separating, or dividing, color into discrete touches that would retain their integrity and brilliance). It was his singular experiment in painting outdoor, artificial illumination. The result is disarming. In relying on his finely tuned approach to evoke the effects of ethereal, penumbral light in this evening fairground scene of the Corvi Circus troupe and their public at the Gingerbread Fair in Paris, Seurat produced his most mysterious painting. From the time it debuted at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris in 1888, it has unfailingly intrigued, perplexed, and mesmerized its viewers. Seurat’s closest associates, seemingly dumbstruck, largely confined their spare remarks to its novelty as a “nocturnal effect.” The laconic artist never mentioned the picture.

Circus Sideshow depicts the free, teaser entertainment set up outside the circus tent to entice passersby to purchase tickets—known in French as a parade and loosely translated as the “come-on” or sideshow. At far right, customers queue up on the stairs to the box office. On the makeshift stage, under the misty glow of nine twinkling gaslights, five musicians, a ringmaster, and clown play to the assembled crowd of onlookers whose assorted hats add a wry and rhythmic note to the foreground of this austere and rigorously geometric composition. As viewers, we observe the show—as if from the rear of the audience, a part of the crowd.

Seurat took a raucous spectacle that depended on direct appeal, the banter of barkers and rousing music, jostling crowds, and makeshift structures, and he silenced the noise, rendered the staging taut and ordered, hieratic and symmetrical, exquisitely measured and classically calm. Enveloped by the hazy gloom of night, the players and public are presented with the solemnity of an ancient ritual.

For all its uncommon beauty and striking invention, Circus Sideshow courts conventions and associations that were commonplace in representations of the parade. Throughout the 19th century it had been a stock motif in popular print culture, notably for social and political caricature, where it became an acute device for parodying politicians, who like saltimbanques, are trying to sell something. During the 1880s, the parade subject gained ground: it was given a contemporary edge by popular illustrators; it was painted with riveting descriptive detail by artists who sought success at the annual Paris Salon with works that had broad appeal; and it was mined, with spirited stylistic rivalry, by artists who jockeyed for position in the avant-garde. In the 1890s, the great era of the poster, the subject attracted a new wave of creative talents eager to establish their reputations through success in the commercial world. The poster was modern printing technology’s extension of the time-honored parade; both functioned to pull the public into the show. The presentation brings this rich illustrated history to bear on Seurat’s Circus Sideshow in a context designed to elucidate the genesis of his composition and to puzzle out the sources and parallels for his haunting and enigmatic work.

The exhibition is organized chronologically, with Circus Sideshow at center stage. It is being displayed in tandem with 17 works by Seurat that exceptionally reunite the painting with the conté crayon drawings most closely related to his conception, including preparatory studies, independent sheets that trace his exploration of the motif, and the glorious café-concert drawings that were shown alongside the picture at the Salon des Indépendants in 1888. The same venue featured Seurat’s Models (Poseuses), now in The Barnes Foundation (and precluded from travel), which is being represented in the exhibition by the gemlike small version (private collection). This core group of works is seen with relation to contemporaneous images of the Corvi Circus and the Gingerbread Fair, offering a keen sense of time and place.

As the exhibition highlights, through loans from nearly 50 public and private collections, Seurat’s choice of subject attracted a steady stream of artists in the 19th century—from caricaturists, popular illustrators, and poster designers to painters of like ambition—determined to make their mark on the Paris art scene. Daumier, who set a powerful precedent at mid-century, is handsomely represented by satirical lithographs, as well as pithy paintings and watercolors that chart the saga of itinerant circus performers dependent on the fickle whims of the public. His pace-setting imagery and initiatives find a recurrent echo throughout the exhibition, which is punctuated by a veritable encore performance in the cast of players showcased in graphic works by Henri-Gabriel Ibels dating to the early 1890s.

The appeal the parade motif held for Seurat’s Parisian contemporaries is seen to great effect. In addition to works by other vanguard artists, such as Louis Anquetin, Emile Bernard, Pierre Bonnard, Jules Chéret, Louis Hayet, Lucien Pissarro, and Paul Signac, or those on the cusp, such as Jean-Louis Forain and Jean-François Raffaëlli, the presentation features recently rediscovered pictures shown in the Paris Salons of 1884 and 1885, long lost from sight by artists little-known today, as well as the unprecedented showing in the United States of Fernand Pelez’s monumental Grimaces and Misery—The Saltimbanques (Petit Palais, Paris), which was on view at the Salon of 1888, the same spring as Seurat’s brooding masterpiece debuted at the Salon des Indépendants.

As a reminder that the “show goes on,” the exhibition ends with early works by two artists who continued to explore the parade and its timeless portrayal of the pathos of comic spectacle well into the 20th century: Picasso’s moody nighttime scene, Fairground Stall (Museu Picasso, Barcelona), painted on his first visit to Paris in 1900, and Georges Rouault’s bravura Sideshow (Parade) of ca. 1907-10 (Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris).

Seurat’s Circus Sideshow may be seen as the natural successor to exhibitions that have had as their focus other great paintings by the Neo-Impressionist artist: Seurat and The Bathers in 1997 at the National Gallery, London, and Seurat and the Making of La Grande Jatte at The Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. The scale and scope of The Met’s presentation have been tailored to vivify a painting that is smaller in size and highly evocative in subject. The current one-venue show may also be appreciated with relation to other recent projects, such as Cézanne’s Card Players (2011), Madame Cézanne (2014–15), and Van Gogh: Irises and Roses (2015) that have likewise furnished a fresh context for appreciating the heritage of best-known and loved 19th-century paintings in The Met’s collection.

Seurat’s Circus Sideshow is organized by Susan Alyson Stein, Engelhard Curator of Nineteenth-Century European Painting, Department of European Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and guest curator Richard Thomson, Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh, with the assistance of Laura D. Corey, Research Assistant, Department of European Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


12499 - 20170521 - 'Spectacle and Leisure in Paris: Degas to Mucha' at Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum - St. Louis, MO 10.02.2017-21.05.2017

Henri de Toulouse-­‐Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), La clownesse assise (Mademoiselle CHA-­‐U-­‐KA-­‐O) (The Seated Clown [Mademoiselle CHA-­‐U-­‐KA-­‐O]), from the portfolio Elles, 1896. Lithograph, 20 7/16 x 15 15/16". Saint Louis Art Museum, Given Anonymously, 34:1991.
A woman peers down through round opera glasses, scanning the stage or perhaps the audience. A stiff-collared companion glances at her sideways. We — the viewers — look up to scrutinize them both.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s “La loge au mascaron doré (The Box with the Gilded Mask)” (1893) is a witty masterpiece of triangulated gazes, blurring the line between observer and observed. For Parisians at the end of the 19th century, to attend the opera, the ballet or the Moulin Rouge — to wander the Tuileries Gardens, or to cheer the horses at Longchamp — was to see but also to be seen.

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis is presenting “Spectacle and Leisure in Paris: Degas to Mucha.” Featuring a broad selection of prints, posters, photographs and film — many of which have rarely been on public view — the exhibition explores how visual artists at once documented, promoted and participated in the distinctive entertainment cultures that defined the Belle Époque.

In many ways, the stage was set decades before. In the 1850s, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, at the direction of Emperor Napoléon III, commenced a massive program of public works. Just as Republican politics promoted values of equality and economic progress, Haussmann’s vast network of Parisian parks, squares and broad boulevards encouraged circulation and emerged as important sites for the mixing of social classes.

Low rents and a raucous atmosphere drew many artists to the outlying region of Montmartre, which Paris annexed in 1860. Famed for its cabarets, dance halls, art galleries and drinking establishments, the district fostered a distinctive celebrity culture. Posters by Toulouse-Lautrec and Jules Chéret, among many others, hailed performers such as Loïe Fuller, Yvette Guilbert and, in his trademark red scarf, impresario Aristide Bruant. With her flaming hair, feathered hat and black leg-of-mutton sleeves, the woman in “La loge au mascaron doré” is identifiable as dancer Jane Avril, who also can be seen in a delicate pastel by Pablo Picasso — one that has not been publicly exhibited in the United States in more than 35 years.

If Montmartre represented the city’s working class and bohemian energies, venues in central Paris had long served the middle and upper classes. In “Chanteuse de café-concert (The Café-Concert Singer)” (1875–76), Edgar Degas captures a white-gloved Emélie Bécat at the Café aux Ambassadeurs, near the entrance to the Champs-Elysées. Édouard Manet’s “Lola de Valence” (1862–63) depicts the visiting Spanish dancer while Alphonse Mucha’s posters for “The Divine” Sarah Bernhardt immortalized the actress’s tenure at the Théâtre de la Renaissance.

Perhaps no performer understood the power of visual advertising — or personified the era’s investments in spectacle and celebrity — better than Bernhardt, whom the exhibition also represents through film and photography. Yet other works employ a different visual strategy. Rather than focusing on individual figures, Manet’s “Les courses (The Races)” (1884), Pierre Bonnard’s “Le canotage (Boating)” (1896-97) and Edouard Vuillard’s “Une galerie d’un Théâtre du Gymnase (A Balcony at the Théâtre du Gymnase)” (1900) capture the movement and energy of the crowd — and highlight our own participation as viewers. For Parisians of all classes, the city’s true character could only be glimpsed through the pulse and speed of public life


12498 - 20170731 - Selby Gardens' Marc Chagall exhibition features works on public display for the first time - Sarasota, FLA - 12.02.2017-31.07.2017

Installation view. © Matthew Holler.
Flowers have been a focus of artists worldwide throughout the history of art. Rarely, however, is the floral-inspired artwork by one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists displayed in a garden setting while showcasing paintings never before publicly displayed.

An exhibition of Marc Chagall’s nature-inspired artwork is on view in a world-renowned Florida botanical garden in an immersive exhibition that introduces a new way of examining the artwork of the prolific artist. Included in the exhibition are the masterwork painting The Lovers (1937), on loan from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, along with two additional paintings, loaned from a private collector, that have not been publicly exhibited before.

“For this artist, flowers were life itself,” said Dr. Carol Ockman, curator at-large for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Art at Williams College. “They [flowers] are a response to Chagall’s traumatic life experiences, as well as the source of his boundless hope displayed in his artwork.”

Marc Chagall, Flowers, and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida will be on view through July 31, 2017. The paintings are accompanied by the artist’s personal effects – including vases from his private home – along with a collection of archival photographs that chronicle Chagall’s life.

Visitors at the 15-acre, bayfront garden will wander through a glass house conservatory where reproductions of Chagall’s nature-inspired stained glass are being displayed among living plants. The grounds of the gardens are being enhanced with flora such as orchids, bromeliads, bougainvillea and citrus trees that evoke the south of France, the land that inspired Chagall and where he spent much of the later part of his life. Accompanying cultural performances, special events, classes and lectures will be part of the exhibition, which encourages visitors to use all five senses, immersing themselves in the dream world created by Chagall in his artwork.

“Evoking Chagall’s last home, the fairytale village of Saint Paul de Vence, The Color of Dreams capitalizes on the sun-kissed climate of Sarasota to conjure the French Riviera, which long has had a special lure for artists,” Ockman said.

The two private paintings making their public debut in the exhibition are Bouquets de Lilas à Saint Paul de Vence (Bouquets of Lilacs at Saint-Paul) (1978) and Couple aux Muguets (Couple with Lilies of the Valley) (1973). Lilas features two large vases containing lilacs that tower over the distant sunlit village framed in the background, and a figure stretched out in the left foreground. In Couple aux Muguets a man and woman standing behind a light-filled window affectionately embrace – a theme common in Chagall’s work – behind two vases holding abundant bouquets of white lilies-of-the-valley nestled in their large emerald-green leaves. Above Chagall’s signature, the piece is inscribed to his daughter Ida: “Pour Ida, Papa.”

While Chagall’s work has been examined many times and in many ways, from his Jewish upbringing to his origins in Lithuania, and as a modern artist inspired by his life in France, this is the first time an exhibition removes those classifications and reviews the artist as a naturalist. The Archives de Marc et Ida Chagall have endorsed the exhibition’s unique study of Chagall’s love of nature. The estate is managed in part by Chagall’s granddaughters, Bella and Meret Meyer.

“My grandfather was in awe of flowers,” said Bella Meyer, who is also the founder and artistic director of Fleursbella in New York City. “When we were children, together with my mother we would always bring him an armful of flowers from a nearby market, when visiting him in the South of France. How exciting to have an exhibition devoted to his love for flowers at the center of a botanical garden where viewers will be able to be inspired by both his art and the color and light of the natural world around.”

This is the inaugural exhibition in the Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series at Selby Gardens. Each installation of the series will blend nature and botanical-inspired master artworks. Marc Chagall, Flowers, and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams is presented by The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

“Our Gardens has the opportunity to immerse people into the landscape of flowers and seaside beauty that creates the inspirational dreamscape of Marc Chagall,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens. “This is a one-of-a-kind experience to come to a garden, encounter Chagall’s international works of art and be immersed in the natural world that inspires so many.”


12497 - 20170528 - Vancouver Art Gallery presents the most extensive solo exhibition of artist Susan Point - Vancouver - 18.02.2017-28.05.2017

Point-08 Susan Point Scanned Salmon, 2008 screenprint on paper Courtesy of the Artist Photo: Kenji Nagai, Courtesy of Spirit Wrestler Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery is presenting Susan Point: Spindle Whorl, the most extensive exhibition to date featuring the work by this pre-eminent Musqueam artist. On view from February 18 to May 28, 2017 at the Gallery, this exhibition covers the artist’s prolific career of three and a half decades, including over a hundred print and sculptural artworks that take the spindle whorl as their starting point.

Since the early 1980s, Susan Point has received wide acclaim for her remarkably accomplished oeuvre that forcefully asserts the vitality of Coast Salish culture, both past and present. She has produced an extensive body of prints and an expansive corpus of sculptural work in a wide variety of materials that includes glass, resin, concrete, steel, wood and paper. The range of techniques she has employed is as diverse as her selection of materials, including screen and wood-block printing, wood carving, paper casting and industrial methods of cutting steel. At the same time, the scale of her work ranges from the intimacy of jewelry she produced in the early 1980s to the monumental public sculptures she first undertook in the 1990s and continues to make today.

The Coast Salish spindle whorl has been a persistent motif in Point’s work since the beginning of her career. Comprised of a small (usually) wooden disk with a rod inserted through the centre, this tool was traditionally used by Coast Salish women to prepare wool that would be woven into garments and ceremonial robes. Point has drawn upon the spindle whorl to provide a formal structure for her art while combining this motif with a uniquely Salish vocabulary of circles, crescents and curved triangles, elements that distinguish the art of her people from the formline-based art of northern First Nations peoples.

“While Susan Point’s practice is informed by a profound respect for Coast Salish traditions, she has pushed the boundaries of tradition in her desire to articulate Salish culture in contemporary terms. Although her work has been highly visible in British Columbia for decades—in part through her important public commissions—no consideration of the full range and richness of her practice has ever been mounted by an art museum. Susan Point: Spindle Whorl is intended to address this deficiency and to acknowledge and celebrate her extraordinary accomplishment,” says Kathleen S. Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “As this exhibition shows, Susan Point has continually pushed the traditional form of the spindle whorl in extraordinary new directions.”

“I have to say that I have been fortunate in that my artistic expression is rooted in my Coast Salish cultural foundation; however, I consider myself a contemporary artist. Traditionally, the Salish peoples on the Northwest Coast never ever exploited the stories or meanings behind their cultural pieces (which we now call art), as they were private portrayals of family and history. When I design and work on a piece, regardless of medium, there are countless stories, thoughts and memories that go through my mind. I am redesigning the artwork all the time…to challenge myself and to experiment and express my ways of always being original,” says Susan Point in her artist statement.

Susan Point: Spindle Whorl is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Ian Thom, Senior Curator-Historical and Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art. It is accompanied by an extensively illustrated 160-page hardcover book with essays by Bill McLennan on the historic role of the spindle whorl in Musqueam culture, Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse on the perspective of Susan Point’s aesthetics, Myrtle McKay on the place of Point’s work in contemporary Musqueam culture, and Thomas Cannell discussing Point’s important role as a teacher, as well as a text by Grant Arnold. The book is co-published by Black Dog Publishing and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Born on the Salish Sea in 1952, Susan Point grew up on the Musqueam First Nations Reserve. Originally trained as a legal secretary, she entered the art world in 1981 when she enrolled in a jewelry-making course at Vancouver Community College. She quickly moved from working with metals to printmaking—making her first screenprints on her kitchen table—and sculpture. At the same time, she began to research traditional Coast Salish art under the guidance of Michael Kew, her uncle by marriage and an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology. Over the years, Point has produced countless works in a variety of media, such as wood, stone, glass, bronze, copper, bone and silver. Point’s work has been shown in over 60 group exhibitions (a number of them international) and 12 solo shows. Notable solo exhibitions include Salmon People, Coast Salish Fishing on the Fraser River, Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Steveston (2010); Susan Point: Coast Salish Artist, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver (2000); Susan Point, Motherland Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan (1999); and New Visions: Serigraphs by Susan Point, Coast Salish Artist at the Museum of Anthropology, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1986).

Her work has also appeared in Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON (2009) and Visions of British Columbia: A Landscape Manual at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2010). She has received over 35 commissions for public art pieces, notably at Vancouver International Airport, Stanley Park, Langara College, the University of British Columbia, Museum of Anthropology and the Victoria Conference Centre. She has had nearly 50 commissions from institutions, associations and private collectors.

Point is an Officer of the Order of Canada and holds numerous honours and awards, among them an Indspire Achievement Award, a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, a BC Creative Achievement Award and a Civic Merit Award from the City of Vancouver. She holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia and Emily Carr University of Art + Design.


12496 - 20170521 - Georgia Museum of Art shows prints by Atlantan Michael Ellison Athens, GA - 18.02.2017-21.05.2017


Michael Ellison (American, d. 2001), Waiting Room, 1999. Linoleum cut, 23 x 34 3/4 inches (image). The Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection of African American Art
The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia presents the exhibition “Michael Ellison: Urban Impressions” from February 18 through May 21, 2017. Organized by Shawnya Harris, Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art, it features block prints and collage works on paper by the Atlanta-based printmaker. This exhibition is part of the museum’s commitment to presenting single-artist shows by under-recognized African American artists.

Ellison was born in New York City but grew up in Collier Heights, a middle-class African American neighborhood in southwest Atlanta. He studied art at Atlanta College of Art on the GI Bill, where he learned printmaking. The title of the exhibition comes from the way in which one of Ellison’s early printmaking instructors, Norman Wagner, described Ellison’s subject matter, referring to his prints as “urban landscapes and/or impressions.”

Ellison continued his education at Georgia State University, graduating with a master’s degree in visual arts. In 1985, he moved to teach at South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University) and later started an artist-in-residence program and taught at Clafin College. His passion for printmaking flourished, and he developed a style that layered ink thickly enough to create texture as well as bright colors.

Harris says, “Michael Ellison's work represents an important piece to the discussion of not only only African American printmakers, but also the history of Georgia-based printmakers, their unique narratives and their contributions to the medium.”

In 1991 an electrical fire badly disfigured the artist. As he began to recover and re-learn how to make prints, he created works with striking colors focusing on scenes of isolation and community in urban landscapes. The Coca-Cola Corporation, the Federal Reserve, Georgia Pacific, and the High Museum of Art all collected Ellison’s work. He enjoyed success through the end of the decade, creating a mural in the Five Points district of Atlanta and producing solo exhibitions at the Hammonds House Galleries and Georgia Institute of Technology. Ellison passed away from heart complications at the age of 48 in 2001.


12495 - 20170514 - Crocker Art Museum to show Japanese American internment photographs by Ansel Adams, Leonard Frank - Sacramento,CA - 19.02.2017-14.05.2017


Ansel Adams, Calisthenics, Manzanar Relocation Center, 1943. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
Following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, the governments of the United States and Canada forcibly relocated citizens of Japanese ancestry. Two renowned photographers – American Ansel Adams and Canadian Leonard Frank – documented the relocation and internment of their fellow citizens. On February 19, 2017, exactly 75 years to the day after Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the order authorizing the imprisonment of Japanese Americans, the Crocker Art Museum will open Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank. This compelling collection includes more than 60 images taken by Adams and Frank in the incarceration camps. To coincide with the exhibition opening, the Museum will also host a Day of Remembrance, to honor the resilience of Japanese Americans imprisoned in the camps.

While San Francisco-born photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) was widely known for his landscape images, his documentation of the lives of Japanese Americans imprisoned in a California internment camp is itself a collection of high artistic as well as historical significance. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the designation of military zones along the West Coast, and effectively led to the incarceration of some 120,000 Japanese Americans in camps scattered through the American West.

Driven by anger and distress at the government’s treatment of Japanese Americans, Adams made numerous trips at his own expense to photograph daily life inside one of the camps -- the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California’s Owens Valley. Surrounded by barbed wire and armed guard towers, people at Manzanar lived in small barracks that provided minimal shelter against the extreme desert temperatures, which could be scorching hot in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter. Adams’ photographs emphasize the resourcefulness of the 10,000 prisoners who overcame defeat and despair, and created a community with schools, farmland, a newspaper, a co-op store, and several essential services. Adams exhibited the photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and published them in his controversial 1945 book Born Free and Equal. He gave the complete collection to the Library of Congress in 1965.

“This is a rare opportunity to see a different side of Ansel Adams,” says Crocker Art Museum Associate Curator Kristina Gilmore. “He’s known for his majestic landscapes, but these photographs are about humankind – and America – at its best and worst. The people pictured are suffering a terrible injustice, but the photos show their courage and upbeat spirit in spite of it all.”

As a German-born Jew, photographer Leonard Frank (1870-1944) moved to Alberni, British Columbia, Canada, in 1894. During World War I he had personally endured racism, which forced his move to Vancouver in 1916. Renowned for his commercial and industrial photography, the British Columbia Security Commission contracted him to record the removal of Japanese Canadians from the coast. Frank documented many who had been given 24 hours to pack one suitcase each before being separated from their families, their property sold without their consent. At Hastings Park, the internment camps in British Colombia, and other incarceration sites, Frank’s stark and disturbing photographs capture the institutional forces at work, with people living in makeshift bunk rooms crammed into agricultural buildings and horse stalls.

Gilmore adds, “Leonard Frank’s photographs reveal some of the grim environments of several holding areas and camps. It must have been especially disconcerting for him to see this happening in Canada because several of his own family members were being persecuted in Nazi Germany. His sister managed to escape Germany and survive the holocaust, but other relatives were ultimately killed in the extermination camps.”

Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank will be on view at the Crocker Art Museum from February 19 – May 14, 2017. The exhibition was organized by Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.


12494 - 20170507 - Exhibition features early works, objects, and documentation of Jean-Michel Basquiat's formative years - Denver, CO - 11.02.2017-07.05.2017

Painted television in the apartment, c. 1979–1980. Photograph by Alexis Adler.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver announces Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980. The exhibition includes the entire cache of works made by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the year he lived with his friend Alexis Adler in a small apartment in the East Village. This archival material provides rare insight into the artistic life of Basquiat before he was recognized as a prominent painter in the early 1980s. While living in this apartment, Basquiat’s creative impulses moved fluidly from his SAMO tags on the surrounding streets and neighborhood into a more sustained practice in their shared home. Through paintings, sculpture, works on paper, a notebook, and other ephemera, as well as Adler’s numerous photographs from this period, this exhibition explores how the context of life in New York informed and formed Basquiat’s artistic practice.

As Adler notes, “From mid-1979 to mid-1980, I lived with Jean in three different apartments, but for most of that time in an apartment that we moved into and shared on East 12th St. This was a time before Jean had canvases to work with, so he used whatever he could get his hands on, as he was constantly creating. The derelict streets of the East Village provided his raw materials and he would bring his finds up the six flights of stairs to incorporate into his art. Jean was able to make money for paint and his share of the rent, which was $80 a month, by selling sweatshirts on the street. He knew that he was a great artist."

Spanning four galleries on the first floor of MCA Denver, the exhibition and book present New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s through the prism of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art and provide a window into the art-rich time that he emerged from as well as impacted so profoundly. It sharpens and deepens our understanding of this artist at a vital yet mostly unknown, or at least under-discussed, moment of his career. Ultimately, this exhibition attests to Basquiat’s virtuosity in formation—the creative impulses that yielded a distinctive voice, but also the many diversions or paths he explored as he was developing a signature style.

Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 is on view from February 11, 2017 to May 7, 2017. The exhibition is curated by Nora Burnett Abrams.


12493 - 20170521 - Exhibition at New Orleans Museum of Art provides a glimpse into Venetian life in the 1700s - New Orleans, LA - 16.02.2017-21.05.2017.


Joseph Heintz the Younger, Perspective Map of Venice, c. 1648 – 1650, Oil on canvas, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Museo Correr.
The grandeur of Venice comes to America’s most historic city in “A Life of Seduction: Venice in the 1700s”, an exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art February 16 – May 21. NOMA is the sole venue in the United States presenting this exhibition of objects providing a glimpse into the pageantry, ceremony and extravagance of Venetian life in the 1700s. “It is with great pleasure that NOMA brings this remarkable exhibition to our public. Venice is presented through an elegant, multi-disciplinary installation featuring an exceptional selection of objects, costumes, and paintings that illuminate an extraordinary time in the history of Venice”, says Susan M. Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman Director at the NOMA.
“A Life of Seduction” illuminates 18th century Venetian life and pageantry during the century of Casanova, Canaletto, and Tiepolo, and countless others who spread Venetian taste and style throughout the world. Visitors to the exhibition will see objects depicting the opulence of the time, when the city was a cultural mecca. Three-hundred-year old carnival masks, costumes and robes, shoes, handbags, and regal glass objects are displayed among exquisite paintings by Canaletto and Guardi. “A significant strength of this exhibition is its historical and cultural point of view and the distinctive range of objects that tell the story”, says NOMA Curator Vanessa Schmid.

Fittingly, “A Life of Seduction” arrives in New Orleans at a time when parallels between the two cities are apparent: just before Carnival and the spring festival season. Guest-curated by the former director of the Civic Museums of Venice, Giandomenico Romanelli, the exhibition presents four themes: A City that Lives on Water, the Celebration of Power, Aristocratic Life in Town and Country, and the City as Theater. The festivals and celebration unique to Venetian culture are depicted in detailed paintings of a city transformed at carnival. Gondola models illustrate the exquisite craftsmanship and elegance of canal life and travel. Palace and country living are brought to life by resplendent costumes, silk waistcoats, gloves and handbags, as well as furnishings and delicate, rare Venetian glass objects, for which the city is still so well known. Theater and opera, vital elements in Venetian life and imagination, are represented through paintings, decorative arts and a full-scale puppet theater lent by the Casa Goldoni of Venice especially for this exhibition.

“It is our hope that visitors will be inspired by the focus on festivals, pageantry and ceremony that present parallels between Venice and New Orleans”, says Susan M. Taylor.

The exhibition is originated by NOMA, organized by the Contemporanea Progetti, and Guest-Curated by Giandomenico Romanelli.


12492 - 20170417 - Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum surveys career of pioneering artist and author Rosalyn Drexler - St. Louis, MO - 10.02.2017-17.04.2017


Rosalyn Drexler (American, b. 1926), Night Visitors, 1988. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 1/8". Private collection, Westport, Connecticut. © 2017 Rosalyn Drexler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
A kiss. A punch. A body braced for impact. The paintings of Rosalyn Drexler exude uncanny stillness, anticipation and, frequently, the dread of imminent violence. Moments of intimacy and conflict are frozen, sliced and readied for examination — excerpts from narratives whose conclusions can only be guessed.

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis is presenting “Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is?”, the first full-career retrospective for the multitalented artist. Surveying six decades of work, the exhibition features major paintings and collages alongside rarely seen early sculptures. Also included are books, photographs and other materials documenting Drexler’s wide-ranging and colorful career as a novelist, playwright and — briefly — professional wrestler.

Born in the Bronx in 1926, the self-trained Drexler began creating brightly hued sculptural assemblages in the mid-1950s. She received critical praise for her first solo exhibition, at New York’s short-lived but influential Reuben Gallery, which also showcased such experimental artists as Claes Oldenburg, Allan Kaprow and Lucas Samaras. But, in 1961, the gallery closed and Drexler, watching as male colleagues secured representation elsewhere, turned her attention to painting — a practice she would continue intermittently until the present day.

Drexler appropriated figures and subjects from a wide variety of popular sources, especially print media and film. Indeed, her use of cinematic imagery would anticipate the work of Pictures Generation artists such as Sarah Charlesworth and Robert Longo. Yet Drexler’s work also emphasized a sense of material and physicality. Rather than project and trace images onto canvas, as would some of her Pop Art contemporaries, several of whom had commercial backgrounds, Drexler cropped, enlarged, printed and collaged her source material, then applied acrylics on top. This method allowed Drexler to envelop and erase the photomechanical image while paradoxically imbuing it with a tactile sense of the artist’s hand.

Early works such as “Lovers” (1963) and “Self-Portrait” (1964) are striking for their electric palettes and critical exploration of gender roles. “Embrace” (1964) and “Love in the Green Room” (1963) play with Hollywood romantic conventions while “Rape” (1962), “I Won’t Hurt You” (1964) and “Put it This Way” (1963) — the latter of which depicts a woman recoiling from a man’s slap — expose undercurrents of abuse and domestic violence pervasive in popular media. Yet Drexler also captures moments of strength and defiance. In “Self-Defense” (1963), an armed woman knees her presumed attacker to the floor while “The Winner” (1965) raises her arms in triumph.

Works such as “Sorry About That” (1966), “Lear Executive” (1967) and “Decked Him” (1991) subvert and critique the iconography of male authority and power. With their liquid blacks and acid yellow backgrounds, “The Syndicate” (1964) and “Nuclear Blast/Amusement Park” (1998) are twin studies in malevolent ambiguity. “This is My Hell” (2013), one of Drexler’s most recent works, depicts a woman hoisted aloft by two dark-suited men, their heads framed by licks of fire, who seem to carry her toward the flames.

Drexler’s paintings can be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Walker Art Center, among others.

In addition, she won the first of three Obie Awards for her one-act musical “Home Movies” (with music by Al Carmines), which premiered at the Judson Poets’ Theater in 1964. For several months in 1950, she toured the United States as part of the women’s wrestling circuit, performing as “Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire” — an experience that later inspired her novel “To Smithereens” (1972), as well as Andy Warhol’s series of silkscreen portraits “Album of a Mat Queen” (1962).

Drexler’s other novels include “I Am the Beautiful Stranger” (1965), “One or Another” (1970), “Art Does (Not!) Exist” (1996) and “Vulgar Lives” (2007). In addition, she has published five novels under the pseudonym Julia Sorel, including a novelization of the film “Rocky” (1976), and she was part of the team of writers who received an Emmy award in 1974 for Lily Tomlin’s television special “Lily.”


12491 - 20170709 - Tastemakers of ancient China explored in Nelson-Atkins exhibition - Kansas City, MO - 12.08.2016-09.07.2017


Vaisravana, Guardian King of the North, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) or early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Chased, engraved and gilded bronze. Overall: 14 1/8 x 7 1/2 x 5 in. (35.8775 x 19.05 x 12.7 cm). Purchase: the Asian Art Acquisition Fund in memory of Laurence Sickman.
A new exhibition offers visitors a rare chance to view fragile treasures, some of which have not been seen in decades, from the internationally-acclaimed Chinese collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Emperors, Scholars, and Temples: Tastemakers of China’s Ming and Qing Dynasties, explores the art of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties from the perspectives of the three groups that were most influential in its production. The free exhibition gives insights into the canons of taste formed during a period of 500 years.
“Some of the treasures in this exhibition were acquired by Laurence Sickman, the museum’s first curator of Asian art and a Monuments Man who later became the Nelson-Atkins Director,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “Sickman was a visionary with an unparalleled eye who lived in China when he acquired many magnificent objects for our collection.”

The 66 works in the exhibition are arranged in three sections: Emperors presents imperial luxury objects that would have been used in the Forbidden City, Scholars illustrates the world of the educated elite, and Temples showcases examples of architectural ornaments, paintings, sutra covers and devotional figures inspired by Buddhism.

“These sumptuous objects afford a tantalizing glimpse into the sophisticated life and rich culture during the Ming and Qing dynasties,” said Colin Mackenzie, Senior Curator of Chinese Art. ““The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to view pieces that have never or rarely been on display before, including two imperial Buddhist objects that are recent donations. One, a bequest of the late Lee Lyon, is an exceedingly rare red lacquer and gold inlay sutra cover, and the other an exquisite gilt bronze figure of Green Tara (Shyamatara) from the bequest of William A. Scott.”

Foremost among the imperial objects is a rare court robe known as jifu (“auspicious dress”) decorated with nine five-clawed dragons on a cream background dating to the reign of the Kangxi (1662-1722) or Yongzheng (r.1723–­­­1736) emperors. Because of light sensitivity, the robe will only be on display until the end of January and then won’t be seen again for many years. Other notable objects include a court official’s winter fur hat with peacock feather plume, badges of rank, and exquisite ladies’ jewelry of precious materials such as opal, jade, pearl and kingfisher feathers.

Also displayed are a variety of porcelains used at court showing decorative designs and techniques, including underglaze blue, overglaze enamels, and stunning monochromes. The Emperors section also includes a painting, Six Worthies of the Bamboo Stream by Jin Tingbiao (d. 1767), that was formerly in the imperial collection.

The Scholars section explores the cultural life of the educated elite that dominated Chinese society outside the court. The centerpiece is a desk with scholars’ objects dating from the late Ming and Qing, antiques including an ancient bronze ritual vessel and a seven-stringed zither of the type that scholars would have played. Scholars were not just consumers of art, however, but also creators, and the exhibition includes works by two of the most famous scholar-painters of the Ming dynasty, Wen Zhengming (1470–1559) and Shen Zhou (1427–1509). Shen Zhou’s Farewell to Lu Zhi shows the two friends taking leave of each other on a bank by a river. A painting by Gao Fenghan (1683–1749) is unusual in that it was painted with his left hand after he lost the use of his right arm. The emphasis on expressive brushwork in all three of these paintings anticipates European movements such as Impressionism and Expressionism by almost three hundred years.

In the Temples section, a stunning five-foot-tall glazed ceramic roof ornament in the form of two dragons chasing a flaming pearl, two tiles with cavalry surmounts and a large figure of an official evoke the architecture of Buddhist temples during the Ming and Qing dynasties. A different strain of Buddhism is represented by three objects commissioned by the Yongle Emperor (1403–1425), a devotee of Tibetan Buddhism. These include a lacquer and gold inlaid sutra cover, an exquisite gilt-bronze figure of Shyamatara (Green Tara) depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus spray and a spectacular embroidered thangka depicting Akshobhya Buddha, one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas. These three works reflect Tibetan styles quite distinct from those of traditional China and their origins can be found in Indian art.

The exhibition also includes a digital interactive quiz. By playing it, audiences will discover whether they are more suited to be an emperor, a scholar or a Buddhist monk. The exhibition can be seen in Gallery 222 through July 2017.


12490 - 20170612 - Contemporary artists draw upon Asian traditions - Oberlin, OH - 26.07.2016-12.06.2017


Masami Teraoka (American, born in Japan, 1936), Hanging Rock, from the AIDS series, 1990. Watercolor on paper. R. T. Miller Jr. Fund, 1999.12.
An exhibition at the Allen Memorial Art Museum juxtaposes works by artists from China, Japan, Korea, the United States, Vietnam, and Canada. Through June 12, 2017, “Conversations: Past and Present in Asia and America” bridges wide temporal and cultural distances as contemporary artists relate to earlier times, traditions, events, and techniques.
Asian-American artist Roger Shimomura draws upon the graphic sensibilities of the Pop Art movement and Japanese 19th century ukiyo-e prints in his two 2014 works, Liz and Marilyn, which are shown alongside Andy Warhol’s iconic silkscreen works of the 1960s, Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Shimomura, however, presents images of Japanese women, rendered in an ukiyo-e style, looking into mirrors—the celebrities reflected back at them— raising questions of otherness, self-perception, and identity.

Masami Teraoka’s 1990 watercolor Hanging Rock, while also resembling Japanese prints from the 19th century, confronts the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 90s. Chinese artist Wang Guangyi’s Chanel painting of 1994 ironically juxtaposes advertising imagery with 1970s Chinese political propaganda. It is paired with a Chinese political poster and with Crak!, a 1964 lithograph by Roy Lichtenstein, who drew imagery from commercial advertising, magazines, and comic books. Works by three other contemporary artists, Dinh Q. Lê, Pipo Nguyen-duy, and Jenifer Wofford, use historical photography as a departure point for very personal takes on history, self, and memory.

A selection of ceramic works also emphasizes the robust dialogue between East and West, as contemporary artist draw on glazes and techniques from the past.

These “conversations” do not simply mimic the past, but engage it in a way that references earlier traditions while infusing them with the artist’s present reality. The discussion may take the form of respectful imitation, creative reinterpretation, bitter critique, ironic send-up, and sometimes all of these at once.

The exhibition is organized by Kevin R.E. Greenwood, who is the museum’s Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art.


12489 - 20170618 - "Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas" at the Yale University Art Gallery - New Haven, CONN - 03.02.2017-18.06.2017


Installation view.
The exhibition Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas examines the many resonances between the art-making and art-collecting strategies of the Alberses, two of the most influential figures of 20th-century modernism. Between 1935 and 1967, the couple made numerous trips to Latin America, namely Mexico and Peru, and amassed a large collection of ancient artworks from the region. The exhibition looks at these objects in depth and considers how Anni and Josef’s collection supported their aesthetic sensibilities and teaching practices. In addition to Prehispanic objects, the show gathers together dozens of works that the couple made, including textiles, paintings, works on paper, and rarely studied photographs that Josef took at archaeological sites and museums. Demonstrating the Alberses’ deep and sustained engagement with ancient American art, Small-Great Objects explores a fascinating dimension of the couple’s creative vision.

Anni and Josef’s passion for the art and culture of the ancient Americas was first piqued while the couple was still living in Germany, where they encountered Prehispanic ceramics and textiles in museums and publications. In 1922 Anni was a student at the Bauhuas in Weimar, Germany, when she met Josef, then the head of the Bauhaus glass workshop. A decade after they met, the Nazi Party rose to power, and the couple was forced to flee the country. They received an invitation from Theodore (Ted) Dreier to teach at Black Mountain College, a newly formed, progressive art school located in the hills of North Carolina, and in November 1933 they packed their belongings and immigrated to the United States. Two years later, the Alberses arranged a trip to Mexico with Ted and his wife, Barbara (Bobbie), and the two couples visited Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Acapulco. This was the first of many trips that Anni and Josef took together through the Americas, and on subsequent journeys they frequently wrote letters to the Dreiers detailing their travels. This correspondence, now housed at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, in Bethany, Connecticut, forms the archival backbone of the exhibition.

Anni and Josef began collecting Prehispanic objects and textiles during these excursions to Mexico. In the preface of her 1964 book Pre-Columbian Mexican Miniatures, Anni described a memorable episode in which she was given the opportunity to purchase either a live goat or small ceramic figurine; she went with the latter. In addition to collecting on the road, they also purchased objects from art dealers in the United States and abroad. Over a period of 30 years, they amassed a large and varied group of artworks that today exist as three separate collections: approximately 1,400 Prehispanic objects now at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the more than 100 textiles that comprise the Gallery’s Harriet Engelhardt Memorial Collection, and the Alberses’ private collection of textiles and ceramic figurines, now held at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.

This exhibition weaves together objects from all three of these collections and organizes them according to geographic location, emphasizing the stylistic differences between their sites of origin and retracing Anni and Josef’s itinerary. The Alberses traveled through Mexico on numerous occasions, revisiting favorite places such as Mexico City and Oaxaca, and they also ventured out to the Yucatán Peninsula and eventually farther south to Peru. Over time, they embedded themselves in the social fabric of Mexico City: they visited the Museo Anahuacalli with Mexican artist Diego Rivera, they exhibited Josef’s paintings alongside those of Guatemalan artist Carlos Mérida, and Josef taught courses at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

For Anni and Josef, Mesoamerican and Andean objects were anything but “primitive”; rather, they were modern in their materiality and geometric abstraction, and they provided inspiration for the Alberses’ own work. When seen alongside Josef’s photocollages depicting scenes from Mexico, the artist’s Variant/Adobe series of the 1940s and 1950s—a predecessor to his more famous Homage to the Square paintings of the 1960s and 1970s—is clearly rooted in the architecture of Oaxaca. Techniques that Anni used in her weavings, including the leno weave in Thickly Settled (1957), find an antecedent in the Andean textiles she collected.

The title of the exhibition comes from a quote in Anni’s book Pre-Columbian Mexican Miniatures, in which she praised “small-great objects” such as handheld ceramic and stone figurines. She wrote, “Today, when large size in art is carried to an absurdity, the smallness found here seems to be a special virtue, when contrasted with the arrogance of exaggerated scale.” Anni and Josef were drawn to these objects because they admired the ability of Prehispanic artists to encapsulate the human form in basic materials like clay and stone. Similarly, they marveled at the talent of ancient weavers, who used simple back-strap looms to transform cotton or wool thread into intricate patterns that are present in even the smallest Andean textile fragments. The exhibition invites visitors to look at these objects and textiles through Anni’s and Josef’s eyes, and to appreciate, as they did, the greatness of these small artworks.

“While Josef Albers is known the world over for both his art and his pedagogy, intimately tied to his transformative teaching at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, and the Yale School of Art, less is known about what Anni and Josef accomplished together as pioneering modern artists, educators, and collectors inspired by the art and architecture of the ancient Americas,” explains Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director. “The Gallery holds the largest collection of Josef’s work of any U.S. museum. Having the Alberses’ collections and archives reside in the New Haven area—at the Gallery, the Yale Peabody Museum, and the Albers Foundation in Bethany—provides an incomparable opportunity to study these artists and share their rich legacy.”

“From day one, the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation opened its doors to me and provided access to their archives and collections,” states exhibition curator Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye. “It has been a delight to work with their team on the exhibition and book, and I am grateful for their mentorship and friendship. Michael D. Coe, the Charles J. MacCurdy Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University and Curator Emeritus of Anthropology at the Yale Peabody Museum, contributed greatly to this project with his expertise in Prehispanic art, stories of his friendship with Anni and Josef Albers, and firsthand knowledge of the Alberses’ collection. On behalf of our collaborators, the Gallery is pleased to share with the public the story of Anni and Josef’s inspiring journeys.”