Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions provided overall management of the tour and oversight at each venue. Surveying one hundred years of craft making in America, this exhibition showcased more than one hundred eighty of the most important examples of American craft, including works in ceramic, glass, wood, fiber, and metal. This landmark historical survey featured more than two hundred works, spanning a period of nearly two hundred years. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, the exhibition explores the many cultures and movements that have contributed to the development and refinement of American crafts during the last two centuries. Integrating the various media of handcrafted furniture, ceramics, fiber and textiles, basketry, glass, wood, jewelry and metal, the exhibition represents a broad base of craft-makers including: traditional craft makers, designer craftsmen of the Arts & Crafts Movement, the artists of the WPA programs of the 30s, post World War II studio craft pioneers and contemporary studio craft artists.
This ambitious exhibition presents a chronological survey of the Greenes’ lives and careers over a nearly 90-year period. Representative objects from 30 of the brothers’ commissions, including significant examples from the best-known period of their work between 1906 and 1911, explores important points in the evolution of their unique design vocabulary. In all, the show features approximately 140 objects from the collections of The Huntington, the Gamble House, and other private and institutional lenders. Many of the works on view have never before been seen by the public. Included are examples of beautifully inlaid furniture, artfully executed metalwork, luminous art glass windows and light fixtures, and rare architectural drawings and photographs.
The Becker Archive contains approximately 650 hitherto unexhibited and undocumented drawings by Joseph Becker and his colleagues, nineteenth-century artists who worked as artist-reporters for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. They observed, drew, and sent back for publication images of the Civil War, the construction of the railroads, the laying of the transatlantic cable in Ireland, the Chinese in the West, the Indian wars, the Chicago fire, and other aspects of nineteenth-century American culture. Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection is the first opportunity for scholars and enthusiasts to see selections from this important and unknown collection and appreciate these national treasures as artworks.
A collaborative art work created by Eugenia Butler
Curated by Corazon del Sol
Eugenia P. Butler (1947-2008) was a Los Angeles-based artist who played a formative but often overlooked role in the inception of American Conceptual art. Book of Lies is a collaborative project with works by seventy-six contributing artists. It is curated by Butler’s daughter, Corazon del Sol.
Begun in 1991 and continued until Butler’s death, the project is an examination of how we use “the lie to explore our relationship with the truth.” Butler held three artist dinners, where she asked her guests to consider the questions “What is the lie with which I am most complicit?” and “What is the truth that most feeds my life?” A wide range of artists and poets responded in unique and provocative ways, and a three-volume set of works was created.
Each contributing artist hand-made eighty versions of their artwork, which were then compiled into limited-edition artists’ books. The exhibition showcases these works as framed articles, but their significance is bound to their essentially interactive and tactile nature. The pieces themselves resonate with the time, love, and laborious processes that played a critical role in their creation. The project as a whole serves as a testament to Butler’s vision of “recalibrating” oneself to distinguish the truth within from the lies that surround us.
Each volume is a work of art unto itself that developed from the process of creating it, from the individual works themselves and from the relationships between the parts and the whole. At a certain point a bigger vision broke through – something beyond previous understandings – surpassing the initial ideas to become a singular artwork consisting of discrete and powerful works of art. Its subject matter is truth, lies, and the intimate power of a true work of art. — Eugenia P. Butler
Restoring the Spirit: Celebrating Haitian Art is a landmark survey of Haiti’s complex visual traditions from 1940 to the present, a portrait of its artists’ devotion to creative endeavors in the face of national adversity. Recent generations of self-taught Haitian artists have invented a distinct style of art-making that reveals traditional values and belief systems. Ranging from vibrant paintings and sequin-covered textiles to sculpture created from reused oil drums and aluminum pans and other found materials, the works put vodou bliefs and practices into a contemporary context, document historical and political events and individuals, and provide details from small town or rural life, gatherings, and celebrations that are essential to Haitian culture. Perhaps most interesting is the critical function that many of these works played for the collective imagination: fantastic paintings of hallucinatory landscapes populated by exotic animals and vibrant culture serve as an escape from the reality of Haiti’s environmental and political woes. Image-making acts as both a removal from reality and a proposal for utopia.
Haute couture found its way into the theatre in 1924, when Sergej Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872-1929) invited Coco Chanel to design the costumes for Le Train Bleu, a new ballet for the legendary Ballets Russes company, based on an ironic story conceived by Cocteau depicting the seaside escapades of upper class Parisians holidaying on the Côte d'Azur; the stage design was by Picasso.
During the twentieth century Italian fashion was also involved in theatre. From the early eighties onwards the most prestigious opera and ballet companies collaborated with the great Italian stylists: Armani, Balestra, Capucci, Coveri, Fendi, Ferretti, Gigli, Marras, Missoni, Prada, Ungaro, Valentino and Versace.
Through sketches, drawings, costume designs and videos of performances, this exhibition examines one of the most glamorous moments of modern international theatre, thus bringing together for the first time the theatrical output of some of the greatest contemporary designers.
"On Reading", a series of photographs made by legendary Hungarian photographer Andre Kertész in Europe, Asia, and the United States over a fifty year period, illustrates the artist's penchant for the poetry and choreography of life in public and also private moments at home, examining the power of reading as a universal pleasure. Balanced between geometric composition and playful observation, it is easy to understand how these glimpses of everyday people and places changed the course of photographic art.
The 104 photographs in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago. Approximately half where published in the book On Reading (Grossman, New York) in 1971, and subsequently republished by W. W. Norton in 2008.
Over the past three decades, the art of Cuba has had a remarkable impact on emerging global contemporary art. Drawing on a variety of experimental, conceptual, and postmodern strategies, contemporary Cuban artists have challenged accepted artistic and political discourse not only in their own society but in the international arena, reversing conventional art-world notions of “center” and “periphery” and embodying a provocative, ironic, and omnivorously critical approach.
Cuba Avant-Garde encompasses the full scope of contemporary Cuban art beginning with the crucial period of the early 1980s, which saw the resurgence in artistic production and political openness that marked the birth of “New Cuban Art.”
The exhibition includes significant works by internationally renowned artists such as José Bedia, Antonio Fernandez (Tonel), Los Carpinteros, Tania Bruguera, Carlos Garaicoa, Alexis Leyva (KCHO), Luis Cruz Azaceta, Magdalena Campos Pons and Elsa Mora. The artworks presented in Cuba Avant-Garde encompass a broad range of media: large-format paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and mixed-media. Collectively, the exhibition highlights the cultural mixing, aesthetic diversity and critical voice that reflect the influence of international contemporary art, but more importantly, emerge from the distinct circumstances of Cuba itself.
Widely regarded as Japan’s greatest living photographer, Eikoh Hosoe explores the strata of the human subconscious through a powerfully evocative use of visual metaphor. META, a retrospective exhibition spanning three decades, presents ten different chapters of Hosoe’s innovative work, charting his remarkable evolution as an artist whose iconoclastic images have consistently questioned the identity of the individual in Japanese society.
Hosoe was 12 years old at the time of the savage destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, events that resulted in unprecedented destruction and the psychological upheaval of a nation. When he began making photographs six years later, Japanese culture was still in the midst of radical change hastened by the omnipresence of the American forces. Finding himself at odds with the restrictive social disciplines of Japanese society, Hosoe sought to express himself through the development of an idiosyncratic photographic style. In the early 1950s, he was a key contributor to a new expressive movement that had emerged as a reaction against the documentary and pictorialist traditions prevalent in Japanese photography at that time. Hosoe and a group of similarly-minded artists were influenced by the American notion that photography could be a medium of personal orientation, and experimented with photographic materials and techniques as a means of achieving greater interpretative ends.
In 1960, Hosoe produced a body of work that shocked Japanese audiences and earned him international attention. Titled Man and Woman, this work graphically and sensually conveys the physical and emotional conflict of the sexes. With powerful erotic gestures, Hosoe depicts scenes of primal gender confrontation. The combined effect of the physicality of the bodies, a disturbing sense of space, and Hosoe’s overt manipulation of the photographic process evokes tensions at the heart of male-female relationships.
Other bodies of work include: Kamaitachi (1965–1968), a meditation on Hosoe’s wartime evacuation from Tokyo to the place of his birth; and Embrace (1969–1970), in which intertwined bodies form sculptures that evoke simultaneous emotions of pleasure and sensuality, pain and aggression.
Organized by the Key West Museum of Art and History at the Custom House, Florida
“I have some pictures tonight, and will have more tomorrow…”
—Walker Evans, from a handwritten note to Ernest Hemingway
These cryptic words, from Evans, the great American photographer, to Hemingway, the great American writer, are part of a mystery that is only now coming to light. A friendship between Evans and Hemingway began in Havana in May 1933. The three weeks they spent together in Cuba left a lasting imprint on both men. The events they witnessed, the political upheaval they observed, and their numerous late-night discussions persuasively affected both of their sensibilities and powers of observation for the rest of their lives.
These never-before-exhibited photographs, teamed with newly found Hemingway letters, photographs from family albums, and artifacts from private lenders will form the heart of this new exhibition. Museum visitors will be able to walk into the world of Hemingway and Evans through re-creations of several photographs. The Havana market square, with its shoeshine stands and street vendors, will come vividly to life. Scenes of Key West during the Great Depression will also serve as a backdrop for the words and works of these two influential cultural figures. It was during this period that Hemingway wrote To Have and Have Not, his only full-length novel set in America. Many of Evans’s photographs are directly related to scenes in this book.
This exhibition will help expand our understanding of the relationship between these two men and animate the world in which Evans and Hemingway lived, the events they experienced together, and the impact each had on each other’s creative style.
Curated by Judith Bettelheim
Organized by the San Francisco State University Fine Arts Gallery
AFROCUBA: Works on Paper, 1968-2003 is a groundbreaking exhibition of fifty-six prints and drawings by twenty-six artists from Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The artists in this exhibition represent a cross section of Cuban society, and their works exhibit a diverse range of subject matter, styles, and techniques, including lithographs, collographs, woodcuts, screen prints, and ink and crayon drawings. Organized thematically and following a loose chronological order, this exhibition is the first to focus on AfroCuban artists and themes through a historical-thematic lens—and the first time this work has been grouped together in a major exhibition outside of Cuba.
The exhibition features contributions by artist-members of Grupo Antillano, which evolved in the late 1970s and whose work underscores Cuba’s African heritage; artists who were sent to Africa, particularly Angola, either as combatants in revolutionary struggles or as cultural attachés; artists whose imagery is derived from AfroCuban religious expressions, including Santería; as well as artists whose works comment on Cuban politics and race and social relations today.
The exhibition is curated by art historian Judith Bettelheim, Ph.D., author of two books and numerous articles about Caribbean art and culture. Dr. Bettelheim has worked in Cuba since 1985, and for this exhibition she interviewed numerous artists and collected work that attests to these artists’ involvement in AfroCuban culture.
Curated by Linda Benedict-Jones and Barbara Hitchcock
Ansel Adams & Edwin Land: Art, Science, and Invention features pristine, one-of-a-kind black-and-white Polaroid prints made by Adams, lively correspondence between Adams and Land, humorous postcards, and rare examples of Adams’ early commercial work. The exhibition also presents more than 80 prints, including vintage enlargements of Adams’ famed images Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941), andMoon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (1960), as well as five photomurals of the American landscape. In all, the works in this show demonstrate the uncommon beauty that can occur through the conjunction of science and art.
Drawn from the Private Collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg
Graham Howe, Curator
Edward Weston: Life Work is a 99-image survey of this great American artist, containing an outstanding grouping of vintage prints from all phases of Weston’s five-decade career. Previously unpublished masterpieces are interspersed with well-known signature images. A striking 1909 outdoor Pictorialist study of his wife Flora is perhaps Weston's first nude. A 1907 landscape features a cow skull in the Mojave desert and presages by thirty years his later interest in death in the desert. A smoky view of the Chicago River harbor, from 1916, pays homage to Coburn and Stieglitz, and anticipates the urban modernism famously captured by Armco Steel, Ohio, 1922, which marked Weston’s final break from the confines of Pictorialism and studio work, and the emergence of a sharply focused style.
“To survey chronologically his oeuvre is to witness a purposeful and heroic shelling away of subjective addenda, of all the trimming that, to the average observer, transmutes a photograph into a work of art,” wrote the Mexican painter Jean Charlot in the 1932 monograph. In the mid-1920's Weston unleashed his newly trimmed-down approach in Mexico with Tina Reciting, Heaped Black Ollas, and Excusado. Upon his return to Glendale in 1927, Weston continued to experiment with pure form and disconcerting scale shifts in his long exposures of shells, peppers, mushrooms, radishes and kelp. These studies segue naturally into a remarkable set of sculptural nudes done in 1933 and 1934.
The Happenings of the 1950s began a movement of staged activities in art in which the photograph played an integral role. Performance and conceptual artists in the 1960s and 1970s often orchestrated events specifically for the camera, events as art intended to occur only once at a given moment in time. The resulting images then became documentary records of the events, and in some cases, art objects in themselves.
Curated by Craig Krull, Action/Performance and the Photograph is an ambitious attempt to follow the evolving role of the photograph in these movements. “This photographic perspective,” Krull writes in his introduction to the catalogue for the exhibition, “considers the inherent technical qualities of the camera, its ability to stop or manipulate time, the question of truth vs. fiction, the symbolic or abstract quality of the still image, the act of photography as an action in itself, and the myriad conceptual differences that lie between catching action and orchestrating it for the camera.”
Curated by Graham Howe and Ingrid Schaffner.
Dream, metaphor, fetishism, nonsense, and play were among the defining characteristics Julien Levy (1906–1981) ascribed to Surrealism; they are also, fittingly, among the marvels of this exhibition, based on Levy’s collection of Surrealist art.
Levy was one of Modernism’s pre-eminent art dealers, operating from his eponymous gallery in New York City. Mentored by the great American dealer and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, Levy opened his gallery to showcase a Surrealist approach to photography. As embraced by Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, and Lee Miller, this approach favored psychological complexity over pictorial clarity. Levy’s second “godfather” was the artist Marcel Duchamp, with whom Levy shared a love of gizmos, graphics, and games. Levy was an active participant in the creative lives of the artists he represented, making Surrealist films, composing a Surrealist history, and even initiating a Surrealist “fun house” for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. His most sustained project, however, was amassing a collection of Surrealist art ranging from paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, sculptures, and books to toys, seashells, cabaret posters, and chessboards. As sampled through the singular thread of works on paper, the art in this exhibition attests to Levy’s vigorous appreciation of Surrealism as a whole. A great number of the works in the show were made by artists Levy promoted, including the subjects of the gallery’s first and last shows: Max Ernst in 1931 and Arshile Gorky in 1949. Levy’s collection also prominently featured women, both as artists (Leonora Carrington, Leonora Fini, Mina Loy, for example) and as subjects (the Surrealists fetishized women as muses to all manner of unrestrained activity). One of the most provocative (and entertaining) art movements of the twentieth century, Surrealism sought to depict (and see) reality destabilized, whether through shocking juxtapositions, biomorphic abstractions, theatrical excess, or comic satire—all of which are in evidence here. For Julien Levy, Surrealism was, quite simply, a way of being.
Organized by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
University of Texas at Austin, Ulrich Keller, Curator
In August of 1936, two staffers from Fortune magazine, writer James Agee (1909–1955) and photographer Walker Evans (1903–1975), made arrangements to stay at the home of an “average white” sharecropper-family in Hale County, Alabama. For the next 21 days, they strove to produce a collaborative work aimed directly at the Great Depression’s social problems, while also pushing the limits of literature and photography. As Agee was keenly aware, the project was, from the start, fraught with ambiguities:
Since the Stone Age, shamans have been the conduits of spiritual power for peoples across Asia, Europe, and America. Shamans, who mediate between earth and the spirit world, have their earliest roots in Northern Siberia, an area considered to be the cradle of shamanism. During a special ritual called a kamlanie (“shaman act”), the shaman enters a state of ecstasy and crosses over into the spirit world. For many tribes, spiritual life centered—and, in many cases, continues to center—around this pivotal figure and this transformative act.
The Shamans: Spirit Guides of Siberia traces the fascinating spiritual and cultural history of the shaman, focusing particularly on the tribes of Northern Siberia. The exhibition draws from The Russian Museum of Ethnography’s collection of art and artifacts from Northern Siberia and the Far East, which includes cultural material, drawings, and photographs from over 20 ethnicities, among them the Evenk, Nanaian, Khanti, Yakut, Khakass, Buryat, and Selkup peoples.
The exhibition presents items such as shamanistic clothing and paraphernalia, which hold unique significance in ritualistic practices; these garments and accessories symbolize the universe and the various spirits that help the shaman communicate with the world of the higher beings. Another area of the exhibition documents the stages of a shaman’s development, often expressed in clothing or objects that mark each level of his advancement. Of special interest is a complete set of a Buryat shaman’s garments.
Graham Howe, Curator
As captured by Robert Doisneau, Paris at mid-century was a city filled with uninterrupted performance: a humanist theater, equal parts comedy and melodrama, tragedy and farce. One of France’s most respected and prolific reportage photographers, Doisneau (1912–1994) roamed the boulevards, streets, and banlieues (suburban fringes) of his beloved city, chronicling street life with his camera—an extension of his formidable wit. Doisneau’s photographs rendered a vision of human life as a series of fortuitous and droll juxtapositions, the staged and the real commingling as one.
Doisneau photographed the Occupation and Liberation of Paris, and after the war, provided coverage for French and international periodicals: Le Point, Action, Regards, LIFE and Vogue. In 1949, his joyous homage to his roots, La Banlieue de Paris, was published, and subsequently referred to by Doisneau as “his self-portrait.” Scores of his images have endured as testaments to the French way of life. The most well-known example, Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville(Kiss at the Hotel de Ville), 1950 has become, perhaps more than any other picture, an icon of young, boisterous love. Robert Doisneau’s Paris presents 117 images from the photographer’s grand humanist oeuvre, in which the city and its people, both entering a new era, dramatize and improvise the life around them.
Organized by the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester
Marjorie Searl and Ron Netsky, Curators
rom 1920 to 1924, George Bellows (1882–1925) and his family spent a part of every year in Woodstock, New York, where he was inspired by the mountains, lakes, and fields surrounding the tiny village that was fast becoming a center for landscape artists. Bellows ventured out regularly to paint the local scenery, often doing sketches that he took back to New York with him in the winter to use as studies for finished paintings. Woodstock interiors appear as backdrops for well-known portraits of his family and friends. Photographs of the period show the Bellows family at the center of activities, including the annual bohemian Maverick Festival. Here he found the perfect combination of nature and neighborhood that imbued his work with the maturity and vision that characterize his final five years.
Organized by Mills College Art Museum
Halley K. Harrisburg, Curator
The paintings, sculptures and drawings that compose True Grit: Seven Female Visionaries Before Feminism were made between 1949 and 1976 by seven female artists, all of whom were making radical art before the term “feminism” had even entered the cultural lexicon. To this day, their individual works when seen outside of a group context exude a disciplined purity and aesthetic toughness; when viewed collectively, this compilation of work assumes a remarkable historical and cultural importance. Taken, with a degree of gleeful irony, from the title of a 1969 John Wayne movie, True Grit surveys the varied, independent oeuvres of these seven artists. These women seized on their right to make art, persevered in their field, and in the process influenced and inspired a new generation of artists.
True Grit places in a renewed context the work of this diverse group: Lee Bontecou, an assemblage artist of striking originality; Louise Bourgeois, the pre-eminent post-WWII sculptor who continues to startle and invent; Jay DeFeo, who, working in a broad range of media, explored provocative organic forms; Claire Falkenstein, a crafter of “structural” objects which combined her interests in molecular biology and topology; Nancy Grossman, a collagist known for her leather-covered sculptures and mixed-media totems; Louise Nevelson, whose trademark painted-black wooden constructions suggest existential puzzles; and Nancy Spero, a painter of emotionally-charged, politically-themed tableaus featuring the human figure.
The exhibition assumes nothing about these artists according to their gender. Their idiomatic eccentricities make any single classification of the seven artists difficult and imperfect. It is perhaps this very “ungroupability” that informs the character of the ensemble. What can be said with assurance, however, is that these seven visionaries are among the best of their generation and have created bodies of work that are deep, absorbing, engaging, and lasting.