This is the second installment of a new series in which students, community members, and staff share their favorite works at the IU Art Museum. This week’s feature is by Lydia Schmitt, a freshman at IU Bloomington majoring in Arts Management with minors in Art History and English. Lydia selected Pablo Picasso’s oil painting The Studio (1934), which is on permanent display in the museum’s first floor Gallery of the Art of the Western World. Here is what she had to say:
I vividly remember the first time I saw it. It was welcome week of my freshman year and my friends and I had spent the whole day exploring IU’s campus when I finally convinced them to go to the art museum with me. I was pumped to see what the museum had and they were excited for the air conditioning.
I could hardly contain my excitement as we explored the different galleries. We passed different pieces, each of us trying to recall facts we had learned in art history classes. I remember thinking it couldn’t get any better, and then I saw it. We were rounding the end of the first floor exhibit and as my friends and I were joking about Marcel Duchamp’s urinal (Duchamp’s famous Readymade statue, The Fountain), I caught a glimpse. I couldn’t even believe it. A Picasso? Here? I made a beeline for it.
I stood in front of The Studio mouth agape while my friends quickly followed behind me. A choir of “I don’t see it” ascended. “Well look at this, and this, and look at how these connect to make this,” I explained while frantically gesturing with my arms trying to make them get it. After every explanation I tried to give, I kept seeing new parts of the painting connect. It was like building a puzzle. I was mystified and would have been able to sit there the rest of the day just figuring it out and piecing it together.
Months later, and I am still entranced by Picasso’s The Studio. What an amazing blessing it is to have such impressive pieces here at Indiana University’s art museum. I frequently visit the museum just to sit and stare at this painting. It’s like visiting an old friend but I’m still able to learn something new about it every time.
Many thanks to Lydia for her contribution. If you would like to share your favorite work, please contact Abe Morris, the IU Art Museum’s Manager of Public Relations and Marketing, at: email@example.com
This is the first installment of a new series where students, community members, and staff share their favorite works at the IU Art Museum. This week’s feature is by Alexandra “Sasha” Sokolchik, a freshman at Indiana University Bloomington majoring in Economic Consulting. Sasha selected Mountain Landscape with Travelers, a large oil painting on canvas, attributed to Jan Hackaert (Netherlandish, 1628-in or after 1685), and Adriaen van de Velde (Netherlandish, 1636-1672), located in the museum’s first floor Gallery of the Art of the Western World. Here is what Sasha had to say:
What I love most about this painting is how small it makes me feel. Not insignificant, but rather, all of my problems become so trivial, so irrelevant. My world expands and I am reminded of the bigger painting all around me. I will not be here in a hundred years and I cannot say with certainty how much longer our world will look the way it does today, how long these trees will stay rooted, or these mountains unbroken, but I do know that life will continue no matter the form it decides to take.
I am brought back to reality every time I take in Mountain Landscape with Travelers, remembering that this life is about simplicity. Without bounds, it is everlasting yet I find myself caught up in every day monotony at times. Without a constant mnemonic I casually forget about the fact that I am simply human. A human, just as the millions before me and the millions after me. It serves as a reminder that I should not carry burden on my shoulder and simply live to expand my knowledge and happiness.
I always wonder where the traveler sitting on the side of the dirt road has come from. What is in that bag that he tosses over his shoulder and carries with him along his adventures? What are his thoughts as he sits turned to the lake and mountains under the shade of a tree? More exciting than that; where is this man headed? My future, like his, is up in the air waiting for the wind to blow it in the right direction.
I am excited for whatever my compass needle decides to show but for now, I know that the IU Art Museum will always have a place for me to come ponder and reflect. It is always comforting when a book seems to have been written about you, or a song sung about your life; but through a painting, the text is written into every brush stroke and the song is sung with every color, bringing out those emotions with an entirely new intensity. These are just my sentiments though and I am only a simple observer sitting at the top of a hill by the side of a dirt road.
Many thanks to Sasha for her contribution. Stay tuned for more stories in “Your Favorite Things.” If you would like to contribute to the series, contact Abe Morris the IU Art Museum’s Manager of Public Relations and Marketing at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In January, solar panels were installed on the roof of the IU Art Museum to generate enough power to offset the electricity used by our iconic sculpture Light Totem, created in 2007 by Rob Shakespeare, IU professor emeritus in Lighting Design. This project was the initiative of the IU Art Museum Green Team led by the efforts of Jeanne Leimkuhler. The project was funded by a grant from the Indiana University Student Sustainability Council, with additional funding provided by Facility Operations, a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities, and the Office of Sustainability at Indiana University. This project is a tremendous example of collaboration between students, faculty, and staff across multiple departments at Indiana University. We hope that Light Totem can now be seen not only as a shining beacon for the arts at Indiana University, but also as an inspiration for future endeavors to make our campus and world a greener and more sustainable place.
“The request was for a PV [photovoltaic] system that would offset 100% of Light Totem‘s annual energy consumption, which is estimated at 4700kWH. The system installed is estimated to produce 5083kWH annually, so our goal is exceeded. We will be able to track actual energy production to see if the system performs as expected.”- Eric Goy, Senior Electric Engineer at Indiana University, Facility Operations, a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities
“There is a lot to like about the project from a sustainability perspective, but I’m particularly impressed by the cross-campus collaboration that allowed this to happen. The project started with the Art Museum’s Green Team proposal to the Student Sustainability Council. After the council voted to fund the project, Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities Tom Morrison, generously supplemented the council’s contribution, which allowed this project to happen from a financial standpoint. It is a great story of students, faculty, and staff collaborating to bring more renewable energy to IU.”- Andrew Predmore Associate Director of Sustainability, Office of Sustainability, Indiana University
“The Student Sustainability Council is proud to have supported this project with the student sustainability fund. Our member organizations were in unanimous support of this exciting project; it is an iconic part of the Bloomington campus and the project makes a statement about the importance of transitioning to renewable energy use.”- James French, Indiana University Student Sustainability Council
“The Greening of the Light Totem was brought about by the IU student body and now they will know, as they are enjoying the ever-changing colored wall at night, that the sculpture is being powered with clean energy from the sun. As we all move toward a more sustainable energy future, it is exciting to see the IU Art Museum leading the way with this very colorful project.” – Jeanne Leimkuhler, former IU Art Museum Green Team President and Works on Paper Preparator
A group of local community, university, and business leaders, headed by Donald Griffin Jr., broker/owner of Griffin Realty, has formed a coalition to help the IU Art Museum build its collection of works by African American artists. These first acquisitions of what is hoped to become an annual endeavor include an ink drawing by Benny Andrews and prints by leading contemporary artists Kerry James Marshall and Martin Puryear (featured above). The installation containing these works is currently on view in celebration of Black History Month in February, and continues through July 11. You will find this installation in the museum’s Gallery of the Art of the Western World, on the first floor, just to the left of the gallery entrance. You can see a number of other works by prominent African American artists such as Thornton Dial and Robert Colescott on display in the gallery as well. For more information about works by African American artists in the museum’s collection check out our web module on African American art. If you like the new works, you can find more of Martin Puryear’s work in an exhibition currently happening at the Art Institute of Chicago, that runs through May 3. Kerry James Marshall has an exhibition of his work opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago on April 23.
Image: Martin Puryear (American, born 1941). Phrygian (Cap in the Air), 2012. Color soft-ground etching with spit-bite aquatint, aquatint, and drypoint on paper. Museum purchase with funds from Donald, Nicole, and Dexter Griffin, Janice and William Wiggins Jr., Mary E. Wiggins, Kevin and Dianne Brown, Beverly Calender-Anderson, Frank Motley and Valeri Haughton-Motley, Jay and Kenndra Thompson, and Tanya Mitchell-Yeager in honor of Black History Month, and the estate of Herman B Wells via the Joseph Granville and Anna Bernice Wells Memorial Fund, 2015.159
The IU Art Museum’s conservation department purchased an Osiris infrared camera in 2015 with funds awarded to the museum from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. The infrared images made with the camera allow conservators to look through the surface paint layer of a painting at any underdrawing. This is used to understand the artist’s process and is a unique tool in authenticating works of art as well. WTIU’s program The Weekly Special interviewed Margaret Contompasis, the IU Art Museum’s Beverly and Gayl W. Doster Conservator of Paintings, and Conservation Assistant Ellen Lyon, about the new camera, and their current project analyzing twenty-nine paintings in the IU Art Museum’s permanent collection attributed to the nineteenth century American painter Thomas Chambers. Watch the video below. For more information you can also read a feature about the new camera at Inside IU.
Education is at the heart of the IU Art Museum’s mission. We strive to use our collection to help students better understand the world through the language of art. In 2014, almost 4,000 primary and secondary school students and over 11,000 college students toured the IU Art Museum. Here is a story of one student whose tour led to something even greater.
Towards the end of the 2015 school year, University Elementary’s first grade class toured the IU Art Museum. While in the Doris Steinmetz Kellett Gallery of Twentieth-Century Art, one student in particular, Arlo Altop, fell in love with Chicago artist John Himmelfarb’s painting of a truck, titled Forbearance. Apparently trucks are one of Arlo’s favorite things and he was so excited by the painting he saw that he went home, started drawing trucks, and asked his mother, Rebecca, the name of the artist whose painting had seen at the museum. She did a little research and contacted Mr. Himmelfarb to tell him how his work had impacted her son. To her surprise, she received a reply from Himmelfarb soon after, inviting Arlo and the family to Chicago to attend the opening of his most recent exhibition No Exit: Thirty Years of Trucks, Icons and Weird Drawings at the McCormick Gallery in Chicago. The Altops were able to attend the opening and Mr. Himmelfarb was both pleased and surprised that they were able to make it. He spent a good deal of time showing Arlo around the exhibition (as you can see from the photos included here). Himmelfarb informed us that the sculpture in these photos is largely comprised of parts from a 1951 International truck that was given to him by none other than the IU Art Museum’s Director Emerita Heidi Gealt. As Arlo’s mom, Rebecca, said of the trip “Art is so important, I am just happy that my first grader has already had the experience of being moved by it.”
You can find out more about John Himmelfarb and his work at his website. You can also of course stop by the IU Art Museum, where Himmelfarb’s Forbearance is on permanent display.
(Special thanks to Rebecca Altop for sharing this story with us and providing the photos seen here.)
Image: Paul Gauguin (French, 1848 – 1903). The Invocation, 1903. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., gift from the collection of John and Louise Booth in memory of their daughter Winkie, 1976.63.1
The IU Art Museum is pleased to announce that it will display a painting by French artist Paul Gauguin (1848‒1903) during the 2015‒16 academic year. The painting, entitled The Invocation, 1903, is on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The work is being loaned in exchange for the IU Art Museum’s painting The Yerres, Effect of Rain by impressionist Gustave Caillebotte (1848‒1894) which will appear in the National Gallery’s exhibition Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye.
The Invocation will be featured in a special installation in the IU Art Museum’s Gallery of the Art of the Western World. The installation, From Paris to Polynesia: Paul Gauguin at the IU Art Museum, opens October 1, 2015. Three prints by Gauguin, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, will also be on view.
Considered one of the most important French artists of the 19th century, Paul Gauguin was a leading member of the Symbolism movement, which rejected realism in favor of spiritual and dreamlike imagery. Gauguin developed a style characterized by pure, flat color, simplified forms, and spiritual subject matter.
Gauguin spent most of the 1890s in Tahiti, where he incorporated Polynesian imagery and spiritual allusions into his work. Disappointed that Tahitian traditional culture had been largely destroyed by European colonialism, Gauguin moved to the more remote Marquesas Islands in 1901, where he died less than two years later. One of his final works, The Invocation, alludes to the displacement of traditional Polynesian beliefs by Christianity. The painting depicts a nude female figure standing before a verdant landscape with her arms stretched upwards. Her pose of prayer or invocation contrasts with the figure behind her, who wears the long, loose dress introduced to Polynesia by Christian missionaries, and with the small Catholic church visible in the background.
In conjunction with the loan, the Gauguin biopic, The Wolf at the Door, is scheduled to be shown at the IU Cinema on January 10, 2016. Plans are also underway for additional programming to take place during the spring semester. Please check the museum’s website, www.artmuseum.iu.edu, for additional information.
Last month IU Art Museum painting conservation technician Ellen Lyon attended a week-long technical art history workshop at the University of Delaware, taught by Brian Baade and Kristin deGhetaldi. The workshop was sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to highlight the working methods of Early Italian tempera painters. Each participant created a small-scale reconstruction of a 14th century Italian egg tempera painted panel by Giovanni Del Biondo from the Kress Collection at the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico (The IUAM has its own Kress Collection of 14 works, a 1961 gift of the Kress Foundation, many of which are on permanent view in our first-floor gallery.)
The Biondo panel of the Hebrew Prophet was originally part of The Coronation of the Virgin high altarpiece in the Oratorio di San Lorenzo at San Giovanni Valdarno in Arezzo, in the Tuscany region of Italy. The outer pinnacle on the right wing (outlined in blue) is the Hebrew Prophet featured in this years’ workshop.
The reconstruction is made to reveal the many layers below the image that are needed to create this type of work. The artist and/or studio began with a sanded and sized wooden panel and each subsequent layer on the reconstruction shows one or more steps in the process:
2. Animal glue sizing
4. Gesso grosso
5. Gesso sottile
6. Scraped gesso
7. Underdrawing with charcoal and then reinforced with black ink/incised lines/red bole
8. Burnished gold and areas of underpainting
9. Finished painting and punchwork added to gilding
Ellen’s reconstruction (photo to the left) shows each of these layers as a vertical band, enabling viewers to see clearly the order in which these materials were applied.
In the fall, Ellen will be sharing her workshop experience, finished panel, and pigment set with Tavy Aherne’s class, Artists’ Materials and Techniques. There are future plans for a presentation to the IUAM docents and a Noon Talk that will be open to the public. Please watch our calendar for the date.
Debra Hess Norris, chair and professor of Art Conservation at the University of Delaware describes the program in this way: “Since 2009, the University of Delaware has been awarded a series of grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to support the design and creation of digital and physical historically accurate reconstructions of selected paintings from the Kress Collection. Use of these didactics and associated lesson plans, as well as sample sets of historic pigments and their raw materials available upon request from the Kress Foundation, will inform and inspire scholars, students, and the general public about the making of art and the value of technical art history.”
A remarkable collection of over two hundred examples of the traditional arts of Kenya was recently acquired by the Indiana University Art Museum, making it the premier art museum in the country for research on traditional Kenyan visual arts.
The objects were field-collected in Kenya between 1973 and 1979 by Los Angeles collector and dealer Ernie Wolfe III. The collection is particularly strong in the arts of pastoral peoples, especially the Turkana and the Maasai, but it includes objects for everyday and special occasions from all over Kenya. About half of the collection consists of jewelry—bracelets, armlets, necklaces, earrings, labrets—and garments of hide, beads, ivory, and metal. Containers for food, drink, and personal items made of wood, calabash, hide, basketry are also well represented, as are stools and headrests. Walking sticks, shields, weapons, and tools round out the collection. A similar collection could not be assembled today because many of the objects are no longer being made or used.
As Ernie Wolfe considered a permanent home for this collection, his long friendship with Roy Sieber, who taught African art history at Indiana University from 1962 until his death in 2001, made Wolfe think of the IU Art Museum. Indeed, the collector has noted that Roy Sieber encouraged him to keep careful documentation of objects as he acquired them, and, as a result, each of the Kenyan objects has come to us with information about when and where it was acquired as well as how it was used.
Acquisition of this collection was made possible by the Raymond and Laura Wielgus Fund, which supports the arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Native and Pre-Columbian Americas at the IU Art Museum, with generous assistance from the IU Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. Additional objects in the collection made of ivory, which can no longer be sold in the U.S., were given to the IU Art Museum by the Wolfe family in honor of Roy Sieber.
First shown in 1979 at the National Museum of African Art, this remarkable collection of the arts of Kenya will be on view in the IU Art Museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery in spring 2016. Plans are also currently underway for a website to make images of the objects and information about them available worldwide.
Diane Pelrine Raymond and Laura Wielgus Curator of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific,
and the Americas.
Aimee Pflieger is an Indiana University success story. After completing both a BA in Art History in 1999 and an MA in modern American art in 2001 at Indiana University, Aimee has been moving up in the world of art. During her college years she got a start working at the IU Art Museum as a Fess Graduate Assistant in the Works on Paper Department. After her time at IU, Aimee worked in galleries in Chicago and Philadelphia before beginning a significant tenure at Freeman’s Auction House. In 2015, Aimee was hired by Sotheby’s in New York, where she currently works as a Specialist in the Photographs Department. You might have even seen her on Antiques Roadshow when in April of 2015 she appraised the highest-valued photographs in the history of the show. Aimee was kind enough to take some time out of her busy day to discuss her current role at Sotheby’s and her time at IU and the IU Art Museum:
Indiana University Art Museum: What was your degree at IU, and what areas of study/topics were your focus?
Aimee Pflieger: I pursued a Master’s degree in art history, with a specialization in the history of photography. I also took a good deal of coursework in German, studio art, photojournalism, religious studies, and literature.
IUAM: Why did you attend IU? What drew you to IU and Bloomington?
AP: I had always heard about how fantastic IUB was for fine arts–music, theater, studio art, and more. As I was researching college options, I began to read more about the art history department at IUB and was impressed by the instructors and facilities and I knew that it would be a good choice for me. It turned out to be a better fit than I could have imagined, as I quickly learned how great it was to have a world-class, encyclopedic art museum on campus, as well as the wonderful Fine Arts Library a few paces from my dorm room.
IUAM: What was your first experience at the IU Art Museum?
AP: I visited the museum as a freshman in an art history survey class, and Ed Maxedon, the curator of education, gave us a tour of the museum highlights. His enthusiasm was infectious and he really made the collections come alive. It was at that time that I started looking into opportunities to work there in some capacity during my studies.
IUAM: Tell me about your time working at the IU Art Museum?
AP: I was very fortunate to have received the Fess Graduate Assistantship as a graduate student, which afforded me the opportunity to work with the works on paper area. Nan Brewer, the curator of works on paper, really went out of her way to mentor me, and I learned a great deal from her. I spent many hours cataloging photographs by Art Sinsabaugh, whose archives are held at the museum. I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the fact that I was able to see an artist’s entire body of work in one place until later in my career, when I realized how unique that situation truly was.
IUAM: What is your current position at Sotheby’s?
AP: I am a Specialist in the Photographs Department.
IUAM: How did you land the job?
AP: I saw the opening advertised on their website, and simply applied! It is a rare for an opening in that department to become available, so I knew I would have to jump at the opportunity. There was a series of interviews with the department to make sure that I was a good fit for the team, both in terms of my expertise but also my personality, since it’s a small, close-knit department.
IUAM: What is a typical day in your role at Sotheby’s?
AP: My workdays never look the same! Some of my responsibilities include visiting or speaking with potential consignors regarding their photographs and providing auction estimates for the works in their collections. I also advise buyers interested in particular lots in upcoming sales, since they may have questions about provenance or condition of an artwork. I assist with client appraisals for insurance purposes. Sometimes I spend time researching in our library and writing essays for our catalogues.
IUAM: How did your education at IU help prepare you for your role at Sotheby’s?
AP: Having access to such a wide range of coursework with world-renowned scholars was a boon to my career. After all, the history of art is really not just about art appreciation, but is composed of many different fields of study, such as language, religion, politics, and history.
IUAM: How did your experience at the IU Art Museum help you prepare for your job at Sotheby’s?
AP: During my fellowship I learned the basics of cataloging, doing condition reports, and handling artwork properly. That hands-on experience was invaluable.
We are happy to welcome David A. Brenneman as the new director of the Indiana University Art Museum beginning July 1. In commenting on his appointment, Brenneman said “I feel immensely proud and honored to be the next director of the Indiana University Art Museum, one of America’s top university art museums. I will succeed a distinguished and esteemed colleague in Heidi Gealt, and I am delighted to take the reins of such a noteworthy collection and excellent staff from her. I foresee a very bright future for this important cultural treasure house. Over the summer, I look forward to getting to know the staff and friends of the museum as well as the larger university community and to settling into Bloomington with my wife, Ruth, and two children, Ivy and Leo.”
David Brenneman received his PhD in art history from Brown University and also graduated from the Getty Museum Leadership Institute in 2004. He brings more than twenty years of experience at art museums and almost thirteen years as a senior administrator at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where he was most recently the director of collections and exhibitions. Among his many accomplishments at the High, he led the curatorial team that planned and executed the 2003 renovation and reinstallation of the museum’s Richard Meier-designed building, as well as the 2005 installation of the permanent collection in Renzo Piano-designed galleries. In addition, he worked with Emory University art history faculty to secure a Mellon Foundation grant to fund object-centered research by Emory University graduate students, and he led the Louvre Atlanta project, a three-year series of exhibitions and programs from the Musée du Louvre in Paris.
Following a national search, David Brenneman becomes the fourth director to lead the museum since its founding in 1941. Henry Radford Hope, the museum’s first director, and his successor Thomas T. Solley established the museum’s encyclopedic collections. Brenneman succeeds Adelheid (“Heidi”) M. Gealt, whose accomplishments include leading the museum in the development of programming to engage the university and local communities.
Both collections and engagement are important to Brenneman: “Museums need to be a part of their communities and to reflect and lead the diversity and ideals of the communities they serve,” he said. “Bloomington attracts faculty and students from around the world. The IU Art Museum ‘s collection is special because it contains masterpieces from throughout human history and from all corners of the earth– and just about everybody’s background is relfected.
As we welcome a new director, David Brenneman, I am filled with pride and gratitude to all those who helped grow the IU Art Museum into the noteworthy institution it is today, one that can attract a leader of David Brenneman’s outstanding caliber. From President Michael McRobbie and first lady Laurie McRobbie, to Provost Lauren Robel, to Vice President Thomas Morrison, to Chief of Police Laury Flint– IU’s leadership has embraced the IU Art Museum, helping it to continue to thrive as my predecessors, Henry Radford Hope and Thomas T. Solley, envisioned.
To the IU Art Museum staff, heartfelt thanks for your professionalism, your dedication, your hard work, and your participation in the team efforts that led to so many excellent projects over the years. I wish I had space to name you all individually here, and I hope you all know how truly grateful I am to each and every one of you.
To the IU Art Museum National Advisory Board, so ably chaired by Robert LeBien and Anthony J. Moravec, bless you and thank you! You have helped transform our museum with your gifts of time, advice, advocacy, and philanthropy! To my friends at the IU Foundation, thank you for embracing a novice academic and patiently giving me the expertise to help sustain and advance the goals of the museum. I have had the opportunity to meet truly remarkable and generous people who, because they love IU, have reached out to the Art Museum and have become lifelong and treasured friends. As director (soon to be emerita) I speak for all our visitors who have benefited from your support of the IU Art Museum.
To all the students and faculty who have engaged with the IU Art Museum during the past twenty-five years, thank you for the fun of collaboration, of shared learning, of exchanging views and perspectives regarding a collection that is infinite in its possibilities for research and discovery! To the artists, present and past, who make something out of nothing–your creativity is at the heart of our museum.
To quote Dr. Herman B Wells, a steadfast friend of the IU Art Museum, whose vision launched our museum, I’ve been truly lucky.
The Indiana University Art Museum has won the 2015 Visit Bloomington Award for “Best Attraction” in Bloomington. The award was decided by a popular vote; thank you to all who voted for us! IU Art Museum Director Heidi Gealt, accepted the award on the museum’s behalf at a special awards luncheon last week held at the Four Winds Resort and Marina. We would also like to extend a big congratulations to the other Visit Bloomington award recipients:
Best Restaurant or Bar: Michael’s Uptown Cafe
Best Attraction: Indiana University Art Museum
Best Festival or Event: Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market
Best Retail or Gift Shop: Global Gifts
Best Lodging Property: Grant Street Inn
Tourism Partner of the Year: Zac Strabbing, Markey’s Exposition Services
Tourism Partner of the Year: Sean Hanlon, Fairfield Inn
In the special exhibition Brush Ink Paper, calligraphy and paintings from China and Japan are displayed coming from the collection of Dr. Thomas Kuebler. Though one may not speak or read the respective languages from these countries, a visitor can still enjoy the aesthetic and beauty of the works presented.
The written language, particularly in China, is very old, dating back to the Bronze Age. While we can focus on the language’s history, I’m more concerned with the style and the evolution of the appearance of written characters. In this post, I will be discussing four styles of script: seal, clerical, running, and cursive. Each new way of writing seems to have come about organically throughout the ages but at the same time rules governed the way characters were formed. The different styles mixed, evolved, and sort of “grew up” together in early China.
Seal script is the oldest style from the latter part of the Shang Dynasty, around 1200 BCE. As you can see from the image, seal script is very rounded at the ends of strokes. It is also symmetrically balanced and each line is of equal thickness.
Today this style is used on signature seals such as this one from the National Taiwan University.
From seal script evolved clerical script, which was dominant in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE –220 CE). Now we have characters that are looking more modern and recognizable—and it’s only 206 BCE! But, of course, there are still differences and unique characteristics. The brush strokes create very wide lines, and some of the more dominate lines—like the one in the bottom character – end in a wavelike flare. This style is also still used today, usually as an artistic choice in advertising.
Running script was developed from clerical script during the Han Dynasty as well. This type of writing is quite different from the previous two. Strokes are allowed to run into one another; they are also more fluid and abstract as compared to the angular style of clerical script. While writing, a calligrapher’s brush often does not leave the paper but flows from one stroke into the next, as you can see in the top character.
Finally, cursive script, which also developed in the Han Dynasty and further refined in the Jin Dynasty (265–420 CE), is a child of clerical script. Here, characters are highly simplified and the calligrapher’s brush does not leave the paper at all. Certain lines in a character are usually modified or eliminated to create this fluidness. The objective for this script is to emphasize its aesthetic appeal more than the characters themselves. This also makes it so it is not particularly legible to the untrained eye and therefore is not often used outside the realm of artistic calligraphy.
My goal with this post was to make it somewhat easier to identify and understand some of the styles that calligraphers use. Though these four styles represent just the very tip of the iceberg, I hope this post sparked new interest in calligraphy.
How many times have we recognized a painting almost immediately, but cannot quite recall the artist’s name? If we do know the artist’s name, how much do we actually know about him or her or their life? An artist’s personal experiences and surroundings influence their work and specific style.
Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to really delve into the life of the current artist on display: Pierre Daura. The special exhibition, which runs until December 21, focuses on how Daura’s family inspired his work throughout his career. Typically the lives of artists are quite fascinating and sometimes scandalous. It is history and facts that you can’t make up. Daura is no exception. He had a life affected by the times and events happening around him.
Born Pedro Francisco Daura y Garcia in 1896, Pierre grew up in Barcelona, Spain. The name Pierre only came about when he moved to Paris in 1914 and was issued his French identity papers. He sold his first painting when he was only fourteen and worked with Emile Bernard, a French Post-Impressionist painter, after he moved to Paris. Unfortunately, in 1923, Pierre’s left hand was badly injured and became useless after his scaffolding collapsed while working on a mural in Normandy. Tragedy struck again in 1927 when Daura’s and Gustavo Cochet’s batik material business burned down.
In 1929, Pierre helped organize a group of artists calling themselves Cercle et Carré, or Circle and Square. This group “promoted geometric construction and abstraction in opposition to Surrealism.” They and their one exhibition in Paris were completely ignored by the French press in 1930. Individually though, Pierre had several exhibitions in both Spain and France from 1928 to 1935.
Soon after, he signed up to fight in the Spanish Civil War against the dictator Francisco Franco. Six months later, he was severely injured and sent back to France, and he refused to return to Spain causing him to lose his citizenship. The war also affected his viewpoint on life and things such as fame became of little importance.
Daura and his family left Europe in 1939 for Virginia, where his wife was from. He no longer sold his art in commercial galleries but from his home and academic venues. Daura created both abstract and representational sculptures and paintings throughout his life. He passed away in January 1976 and is buried in Virginia.
In his later years Daura said:
All I have ever wanted to do is to find a way to paint. I have painted. I have worked. I have given myself to my art. That is what I have wanted since my very early age…to be an artist, good or bad…that is what I am.
According to Lynchburg College, where Daura was once the chairman of the Art Department, “Pierre Daura’s strength as an artist was that he understood, experimented with, and absorbed diverse influences, distilled from them what was significant to him, and developed his own distinctive way to paint.”
Davis, Virginia Irby. A Biography of Catalan-American Artist Pierre Daura 1896-1976. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, Ltd. 2001.
Macià, Teresa. Pierre Daura (1896-1976). Barcelona: Àmbit Serveis Editorials, S. A., 1999.
Pierre Daura Archive, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia.
Pierre Daura: His Life, Daura Gallery, Lynchburg College.
The spring semester is coming to a close but before the IU Art Museum begins to embark on summer festivities, events, and programming, we are taking a look back at this year’s newsworthy topics written about by students like you in the Indiana Daily Student:
This year’s first Special Exhibition, Advancing American Art: Art Interrupted, recreated an exhibition from the World War II era. The original exhibition intended to exhibit to foreign nations the ideas of American art, freedom, and democracy, but was considered by many to be too controversial due to the employment of artists who were perceived as leftist and due to artistic styles. The United States Congress ultimately cancelled the exhibition and auctioned it off. The traveling exhibition featured 117 paintings from the original exhibition that were on view through December.
In October 2013, a temporary exhibit took root in the IU Art Museum’s Thomas T. Solley Atrium. Presented by the members of the Indianapolis Bonsai Club, this pop-up exhibition presented a unique artistic experience on sculpture demonstration in the IU Art Museum atrium for the Bonsai Tree Exhibition. Visitors to the museum were invited to learn the skill behind this Japanese art form as Scott Yelich, the president, demonstrated to visitors how to craft these whimsical creatures of Mother Earth.
More life entered the IU Art Museum in the Gallery of the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World as theater professor and shadow puppet performer, Jennifer Goodlander, enlivened the Indonesian shadow puppets as part ofStories with Shadowy Figures. Having studied in Indonesia last summer, Goodlander talked with museum visitors about the ancient performance art and about her opportunity to learn the tradition.
Among the new events and exhibitions taking place at the IU Art Museum this year, museum visitors were assured that the annual Art of Chocolate gala would not be forgotten. This year’s gala celebrated the Art of Chocolate’s 10th year running and its ongoing support for LIFEDesigns, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults with disabilities. Leslie Abshier, LIFEDesign’s community development officer said it best, “who doesn’t like chocolate?”
Launching the first of many second semester exhibitions, the Faculty Artists From the IU’s Hope School of Fine Artsopened in the Special Exhibitions and Steward Hexagon Galleries in January. Having “something for everyone,” as curator Jenny McComas described, this exhibition represented nearly all artistic mediums including sculpture, photography, and graphic design. This exhibition provided visitors and students the chance to see contemporary works by IU faculty in one space that have been exhibited in a variety of public and private exhibitions.
Exploring the IU Art Museum’s three permanent galleries, museum docent Monica Kindraka-Jensen began eye-ing in on works through her thematic tour, The Eyes Have It. Beginning in the third floor gallery, Raymond and Laura Wieglus Gallery of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas, Jensen explored with visitors the role of eyes in art across diverse cultures. Various eye shapes and types were discussed such as “coffee bean eyes” and the “curse of the evil eye.”
March marked the celebration ofYouth Art Monthwith the opening reception welcoming approximately 600 student artists, their families, and community members in support of local youth artists from the Monroe County Community School Corporation. Commemorating the IU Art Museum’s 19th year hosting Youth Art Month in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium, children ages kindergarten to sixth grade were invited to display their water color, pastel, colored pencil, paper cutouts, and other works of art.
More colorful works filled the IU Art Museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery with the opening of Matisse’s Jazz and Other Works from Indiana University Collections. Acclaimed as one of the most important modern artists of the 20th century, this exhibition highlights Matisse works from the last 30 years of his life during which he had to re-invent himself as an artist.
In the first floor atrium, students from the Giving Back to Africa Student Association showcased their month-long photographs of Beta Histoire, which opened in early April. These photos depicted children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their daily lives with the goal of the exhibition aimed at educating IU students about the political, social, and economic issues in the DRC.
Wrapping up the spring semester, more educational experiences took place at the IU Art Museum in conjunction with theEvan F. Lilly Memorial Lecture Competition. Four IU students selected pieces from the IU Art Museum’s permanent collection, researched, and composed a paper and lecture on their findings. Objects and ideas explored included male nudes, ancient Roman religion, hermaphrodites, and bilingual eye cups.
The Faculty Artists from IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts will be on display in the Special Exhibitions Gallery and Judi and Milt Steward Hexagon Gallery through March 9. There is less than one week to get one last look at IU Faculty’s amazing artworks at the Indiana University Art Museum:
Jawshing Arthur Liou
Associate Professor, Digital Art
Saga Dawa, 2012
1080p high definition video
(55 minute loop)
Just five minutes short of an hour, this gently enchanting “action picture film” (above) utilizes technical skills in digital imagery to bring to the forefront a topic of global cultural relevance, Saga Dawa (the celebration of the Buddha’s birth on the Tibetan lunar calendar.)
Visiting Assistant Professor
Good Morning Commuters!, 2012
Oil and watercolor on panel
Grant Whipple has a unique take on mixed media combining both oil and watercolors onto the same canvas. Whipple also takes a new perspective on visual orientation. Looking at the work, the viewer questions at which point to enter the foggy and swirling imagery with semblances of faces, machinery, and forms. To see this work and others created by Whipple, check out his portfolio: http://www.grantwhipple.com/paintings2011.html
Visiting Assistant Professor Sculpture
Daniel Patrick, 2011
plaster and my brother’s high school trumpet
Mike Calway-Fagen’s work can easily be defined as unique. This conceptual work, composed of plaster and a high school trumpet, leaves room for interpretation and contemplation as it is the only work within the exhibition that acts as its own pedestal. To see Calway-Fagen’s installation among his other projects you can visit his online portfolio: http://mikecalway-fagen.com/Daniel-Patrick
Danielle C. Head
Visiting Assistant Professor
Et in Arcadia Ego, 2013
Archival digital print
Danielle C. Head encapsulates a static moment in time that has more than meets the eye. Like peeling away the layers of an onion, Hood’s digitally crafted narrative intertwines the viewer in deciphering their own time, place, and identity. To see this digital print and the rest of Head’s portfolio, take a look at her website: http://www.daniellechead.com/
Senior Lecturer, Painting
Poinsettia Mirror, 2011
Oil on canvas
Tim Kennedy shows his mastery in the language of paint through his articulation in thick strokes and specificity in the details. Approaching this portrait through a voyeur’s lens, the audience finds themselves a part of the scene with the poinsettia mirror and the unaware nude figure. This work among Kennedy’s other paintings can be found on his online portfolio: http://www.timkennedypaintings.net/appearances01.html
Looking at the calendar for March, I came across an interesting and delightful event: Youth Art Month. Not knowing what exactly this was all about—and wishing I had heard about this when I was a child— I went ahead and sought out more information about it.
The month of March is dedicated to highlighting the importance of art education and the support of art in schools. It was established in 1961 and promotes “self-esteem, appreciation of the work of others, self-expression, cooperation with others, and critical thinking skills,” according to the Council for Art Education, Inc. (p. 1).
In Bloomington, Youth Art Month has been celebrated since 1973 and involves a partnership between the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC), the IU Art Museum, and the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. Kindergarten through sixth grade students will display their artwork in the museum’s Thomas T. Solley Atrium, from March 1–31.
Cheryl Maxwell, an art teacher with the MCCSC, provided more background about this month-long observation of youth art in the community. Originally, the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center exhibited all K–12 artworks, but the event became so popular that they needed two shows to accommodate all the students and families. Today, the Waldron focuses on displaying local junior high and high school students’ works.
In 1995, Ed Maxedon, the Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Education, and Cheryl Maxwell developed an elementary show for the IU Art Museum. In the beginning the only space they had to install an exhibition was the hallway on the mezzanine level, the former “Children’s Corner.” They were able to present thirty pieces of student work. The exhibit received rave reviews from parents and teachers and soon the show grew to include 110 to 120 works from Monroe County schools from grades K–6.
Maxwell also mentioned how MCCSC art teachers are continuously searching for ways to demonstrate the “rich and diverse art” produced by the students. They feel it is important to participate in Youth Art Month as it celebrates young artists. The MCCSC teachers are proud of the partnership with the IU Art Museum. In addition, students also benefit from strong arts programs in all Monroe County schools as well as from art classes at both the Ivy Tech Waldron and IU School of Education.
Cheryl ended our conversation with this statement:
The Youth Art Month show is our chance to demonstrate an advanced art education program taught in the elementary schools. Elementary art teachers meet twice a month in a Professional Learning Community meeting to discuss goals and keep our students current with state standards and best practices. Several [of these] teachers are professional artists as well as teachers. You know you are doing well as educators when you consistently hear parents say each year, “Wow! I didn’t learn things like that until high school.”
On Saturday, March 1, from noon to 1:30 p.m., the IU Art Museum will host a family celebration featuring art-making activities, drawings for prizes, and recognition of the student artists and their teachers. There will also be 7 fifteen-minute tours tailored for each elementary grade level.
With arts education being diminished around the nation, Youth Art Month is a great way to promote the arts and their importance to society and child development.
The Indiana University Art Museum presents 38 artists in a special exhibition titled “Faculty Artists from IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts 2014.” Their work is on view in the Special Exhibitions Gallery and the Judi and Milt Stewart Hexagon Gallery this winter.
The Opening celebration held on January 24, 2014 welcomed the artists to celebrate their successful careers as exhibiting artists and as professors at Indiana University with their friends, families, and museum guests. On display through March 9, 2014, this exhibition presents a diversity of subject matter and materials in both traditional and new media disciplines.
Despite the freezing temperature, students, colleagues, and local Bloomington art-goers came to show their support, filling both the atrium and gallery spaces. Catered appetizers by Feast complimented the eventful evening as guests circulated in and out of the gallery, discussing the works amongst their peers.
Do not miss the opportunity to see what the Hope School of Fine Arts’ professors have been up to outside of the classroom walls. This special exhibition will be on view at the IU Art Museum through the first week of March.
Alfred T. Palmer
Fingers of Destruction, ca. 1942–43
Gelatin silver print
Henry Holmes Smith Archive
“Rosie the Riveter” is an illustration that many people may recognize. It is the face of a strong and determined fictional young woman during World War II. The image, often displayed in the form of a poster or other portrait, portrays the young woman with a distinct red bandana and with her flexed arm muscles ready for combat. Often times, this image is paired with the phrase “We can do it,” which was aimed to encourage women to earn and care for families as the men were away at war. This was a precursor for the role reversals that women tackled during World War II.
The black and white photo installation, curated by Nan Brewer and a museum intern from the Department of Communication and Culture Maura Campbell-Balkits and on view in the Gallery of the Art of the Western World, shows real life examples of “Rosie.” Including photographs by Howard Liberman, Andreas Feininger, David Bransby, and Alfred T. Palmer, the group of six photographs shows white women and women of color working in industrial settings, creating parachutes, working with armaments, and putting together bombs.
Originally part of a larger selection of photographs that included men working as well, these photos were taken as propaganda for the Office of War Information. The point of the photographs was to mobilize citizens to participate in war efforts and to display national strength to the rest of the world. Brewer and Campbell-Balkits found it to be essential to showcase the unique range of inclusion in the 1940s. This series is particularly notable as the jobs that these women and minorities were undertaking in the photographs were jobs that were usually reserved for white men at this time. However, with the men at war, white and minority women were the ones left to support families and to help supply the military.
Manoower: Negro navy yard worker.
In a sea of silk, this woman worker is making parachutes for
America’s paratroopers. She is one of many Negroe employees
in the aircraft factory of an Eastern navy yard. May 1942
Gelatin silver print
Henry Holmes Smith Archive
After speaking with Brewer and Campbell-Balkits, it is clear that this new era was progressive for the United States. The photographs in this series were utilized to make America appear modern and powerful, with all hands on deck for the war. According to Brewer, this was potentially a factor in the forward movement of the civil and women’s rights movements and was one of the first times in history that photographs of people of color were circulated in news publications.
However, as progressive as the photographs appear to be, there are always aspects of the truth that remain regressive. Campbell-Balkits said that the photographs do not show the hardships of these groups, only the positives. For example, Brewer said that although women and minorities were doing the same types of factory jobs that white men had done prior to the war, there was still a wage gap that was unequal to what white men had been paid. Additionally, there was the issue of the post-war effect. According to Brewer, the end of the war meant white men returned to their jobs in the factories, leaving women and minorities without these positions once more.
These photographs say more than what women and minorities were doing during World War II; this series also highlights the effects of the war. After developing more capabilities to work for themselves throughout the war, women and minorities strove to further that ability both legally and socially. Indeed, once women and minorities had the knowledge that “they can do it,” the empowering image of “Rosie” and the phrase “We can do it” became a progressive way to think for those who had been told otherwise.
When I sat down with Juliet Istrabadi, I wasn’t sure what to expect – I’ve never interviewed a curator before. What I received was an energetic and eager response to all my inquiries. She clearly has a passion for her work and I learned a lot while conversing with her.
Juliet actually began as a student here at IU Bloomington and worked as a graduate assistant at the IU Art Museum. This was how she first became familiar and connected with the museum’s collection. Istrabadi has always had a love of art and is an artist herself. She enjoys, “What [art] shows about us and our history,” and believes, “That talking and thinking about art is just as creative as making it.” This belief along with the experiences she had working at the museum led her to the career of being a curator.
In her four years here, she has been the curator of two exhibitions and is currently working on another for 2014 with Julie Van Voorhis, Associate Professor of the Department of History of Art. This exhibition will be titled Colors of Classical Art and will involve input and collaboration from students. Cooperation with other professors, curators, and staff is a big part of what goes into almost any event at the IU Art Museum.
Being the curator of ancient art, Juliet has a wide variety of objects to keep organized and to arrange. The timeline of these objects dates back to about 5,000 BC with a host of different countries and cultures represented. She estimates that about 500 objects are currently on display with the total amount of objects in the collection at 10,000! That’s a lot of pieces to take into consideration.
The museum also has one of the largest collections of ancient jewelry in North America! This includes pieces that are only half-made or have only one part, for instance, one earring or a piece of a necklace. These parts are important because, as Juliet puts it, “they help us understand how jewelry was made in the ancient world.” Another interesting fact is that many of the coins and gems in the collection are very tiny and yet still have greatly detailed scenes carved into them. What’s even more fascinating is this being done during an era without magnification!
Istrabadi feels that she is very lucky to have this job and is right at home amongst the collection and culture of the museum. Every day is a new experience and a new finding.
Luluwa peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Female Figure, Lupinga lua Luimpe
Wood, incrustation, kaolin
H. 17 in. (43.2 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 75.91
A woman does not always have to be soft and delicate. This statement seems self-evident, yet, as a student of gender studies, I am always amazed at how often modern American media equates femininity with delicacy and softness. Many times, you will find television shows or magazine articles about wedding dresses and cupcakes directed at the female population from early childhood through young adulthood. These media streams are what teach women to be “correct” mothers throughout their lives. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, there is something fascinating to me to see how gender roles throughout the world have evolved and changed during the course of history.
This is probably what led me to Female Figure (Lupingu Iwa Bwimpe) by the Luluwa peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tucked away in the Raymond and Laura Wielgus Gallery of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas, this sculpture is as distinctive as it is beautiful. It was created around the second half of the nineteenth century and portrays femininity and motherhood within the Luluwa culture, which made me want to learn more about it.
The figure, made of wood, incrustation and kaolin, is a fertility figure used amongst the Luluwa peoples as part of a cult directed toward mothers and their newborns. This cult is a small religious group that uses the carved figures as a way to protect the fertility of the mother and to ensure the beauty and health of the newborn child. Spiritually charged—and recharged when necessary—the figure is said to protect the mother and child from harm and is a conduit for ancestral aid.
The notions of motherhood portrayed in this piece are similar to how we typically think of motherhood in America today: the mother as the nurturer, the selfless beacon, the caretaker. However, there is a particular look of power and determination in the eyes of the figure that tells that there is more to the story of Luluwa motherhood.
In the Luluwa culture, a woman who is a hard worker is often favored. This is portrayed with the large head (which symbolizes intelligence) and the muscular arms and calves of the figure. Motherhood is more than being gentle with the Luluwa; it is also about being strong and powerful.
This, to me, is powerful imagery. It is a great reminder that femininity and delicacy are not the only traits women and mothers possess—despite how our media might portray women in current American society.
American, born Cuba, 1921–1999
Green Shutters, 1998
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Emilio Sanchez Foundation, 2011.69
Emilio Sanchez was born in Cuba in 1921, but he moved to New York when he was twenty-three years old to study at the Art Students League. His artwork features various landscapes and buildings from the tropics as well as cityscapes from New York City.
In an interview conducted by Arlene Jacobowitz, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Sanchez was asked what fascinated him about the houses he painted. He replied that he was “struck by the patterns in the little houses… and…when the sun is turned on, it’s absolutely incredible.” He was also quoted as saying that he liked tropical landscapes better, though, and when asked if this had to do with his Cuban background, he answered, “I suppose so, although I’ve been a terrible Cuban: I’ve never lived there [as an adult].” He said he grew more aware of the country when he was away and began to miss it. It was visiting Cuba that led to him becoming more interested in Cuban subjects and their beauty.
Green Shutters is one example of the many architectural paintings that Sanchez completed in his lifetime. I was drawn to this work because of its bright yellows and greens as well as its straight lines. I was impressed by its sharpness and perspective (two things I have trouble with in my own paintings). My curiosity, though, was mainly about the bright and vibrant colors and if they were truly representational. In the interview is where I found my answer, Sanchez states, “I have to tone things down.… What is most interesting is how the sunlight will bring up contrast because…right in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest, the sun can wash the color out completely.… So just a little earlier or later I get this wonderful rich shading, especially with yellow that seems to be the best color.… Sometimes I have to wait for the sunny day to get the effect I want.”
I find it amazing that sometimes he actually had to tone down the colors. So when you look at these brilliant depictions of doors and windows, just think that they may be even more brilliant in person.
The IU Art Museum thanks you for your support this fall attending and participating in our various programming, events, and exhibits! Take a look and see if you spot yourself in our Fall-In-Review Photo Archive.
News from Home, 1944
Oil on canvas
The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
Advancing American Art Collection
Vibrant colors, playful strokes, and thick paint dominate Paul Burlin’s work—all of which reminded me of a child’s imagination. However, when I read the description on the label, I realized that there was nothing juvenile about this World War II-era piece.
At the time Burlin painted News from Home, the Auschwitz concentration camp had not yet been liberated, and the true extent of the Nazis’ destruction and brutality was not yet comprehended. However, though the true degree of destruction and death had not been actualized, Burlin’s piece News from Home shows the chaotic and uncertain nature of a tumultuous war.
The black lines clearly outlining the situation and confining the colors, the masked figures with fangs, and the fiery scene in the background serve as an illustration and new definition of war.
As Burlin demonstrates through this work, color does not necessarily reflect beauty. Through this artistic metaphor, Burlin asks the viewer to delve deeper into themselves as human beings and to examine their role in a global society. This work is a vision of the world gone wrong, and Burlin delivers this message to the audience with force.
The Couple, 1946
Oil on canvas
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
The University of Oklahoma
Purchase, U.S. State Department
Gottlieb uses a contrasting color palette and black and white lines to compose a graphic yet painterly work. Before further close inspection of and introspection into the components of the work itself, I did not truly realize the deliberate implications of the angular and curved shapes that seem childish in execution. There is no simplicity in human nature.
Through the medium of paint and graphic structure, Gottlieb comments on both the growing existential crisis immediately following World War II and the effects of the Holocaust. Taking a step back from the painting, you can see that there are two people within the frame, a man and a woman. Their claws and teeth penetrate each other’s bodies, and you start to see the violent, bestial nature of the work.
Even the simplest pictures have deep-seated roots. With every stroke, Gottlieb interacts with the post-World War II audience. Mirroring Burlin’s message to his audience, Gottlieb reiterates that not everything is as it appears, and that we must be aware of the world around us to recognize how mankind is its own worst enemy. This painting, like the black and white outlines of a tattoo, marks the permanent scars the war has left behind. Gottlieb, through a brush and a canvas, is trying to get the viewer to truly recognize the implications that the war has left behind, the gash it has left on the flesh of humanity.
Both Burlin and Gottlieb express war and their effects on people in very different manners but ultimately end up achieving the same goal. They show that lines and forms cannot contain the destruction of a fragmented and vicious world. Their execution in color, line, and form are temporary façades that eventually reveal the ills of a global society. They may cover the wounds left behind, but the pain, the suffering, and the residue of a treacherous war will seep through, just like the imagery and symbolism in their works do.
Stop by the Special Exhibitions Gallery to see these works and to learn more about the other works in the traveling exhibition, Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy. But don’t wait! This special exhibition is only at the IU Art Museum through December 15.
Starting the year off right, guests gathered at the IU Art Museum’s first Coffee House Night of the season. Visitors began the night sampling an assortment of cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. The sweet treats paired with a selection of tea and coffee provided by the IU Art Museum’s very own Angles Café (located on the second floor).
Taking a step into the Gallery of the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World, visitors were immersed in dreadlocks, beads, and good spirits. Local Bloomington musicians “banded” together for a night of musical collaboration and traditional Indian tunes.
Inside the gallery, visitors also enjoyed a scavenger hunt. Given clues and hints, visitors paced around the gallery in hopes to be the first one done.
Did you miss this week’s Coffee House Night? Good news! The IU Art Museum will be hosting two more on September 16 and on September 25 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Come join the festivities!
Collaborating with the Uralic National Resource Center, the Chinese Calligraphy Club, henna artists, and the local Bloomington band Plateau Below, the night was filled with exploration covering many artistic mediums.
The Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World was open after hours for this special event. This month’s theme focused on the globalization and influx of ideas that spread as a result of the Silk Road, connecting Asia to the rest of Europe. With a pencil and a pad of paper in hand, visitors were free to roam around the gallery and take what they were seeing before their eyes and turn them into their own masterpiece
Liked what you saw in the galleries? Great! Visitors took their sketches and rendered them into their very own personalized postcard designs. The Chinese Calligraphy Club also made their mark, literally. With ink and paper visitors learned how to translate English words into Chinese characters. You could even keep some of the art with you, or maybe I should say, on you. Henna artists joined the crew to add to the night of many art forms.
Filling the atrium with their own unique sound, Plateau Below graced the atrium’s stage. A local Bloomington band, these four boys are not shy to let loose and put on a quirky and entertaining show.
If you missed this month’s Open Sketch Night, not to worry, the IU Art Museum has two more coming this semester! Mark your calendars from 8:00-10:00 p.m. for October 3 as the museum takes on the “Great Greeks” and November 7 with the “Birth of Modern Art.” Admission, food, refreshments, art activities, and live performances are all free!
This summer marks the IU Art Museum’s 22nd Annual Jazz in July concert series. For the past two weeks, Bloomington and Indianapolis area bands have been bringing the community together for nights filled with jazz, art, and good company.
Craig & The Crawdads opened Jazz in July with performances of songs from a variety of genres. The band even played swing and New Orleans R&B.
The weather was perfect for relaxing on the Sculpture Terrace. Visitors had the option to purchase refreshments from local vendors and the museum’s Angles Café & Gift Shop.
Harpist Jan Aldridge Clark led the Hip Harp Jazz Trio the next Friday. Their unique sound of jazz, rock, and even Irish music attracted one of the largest audiences the museum has seen at Jazz in July.
Audience members of all ages enjoyed the trio’s performance, which included some hits.
If you didn’t have a chance to see any of the performances pictured above, be sure to join us for the last two Jazz in July nights of the summer. This Friday, the Indianapolis-based Tonos Triad will be performing. On July 26, Valeria DeCastro and Fareed Mahluli will close out the series on the museum’s Sculpture Terrace beginning at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to arrive early, however, since seating is limited.
“Of course I was interested about the Renoir family, but I made this movie because I discovered the story of Andrée Heuschling.” In his interview with London’s Red Carpet News TV, director Gilles Bourdos reflects on his inspirations for his award winning film Renoir, the greatest being the young muse for Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s late paintings and Jean Renoir’s critically acclaimed silent films. If you are familiar with Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s paintings, like Blonde a la rose or The Bathers, you may recognize Andrée. Her alabaster skin and red hair were often featured in Renoir’s late paintings.
Bourdos had some difficulty in casting the role of Andrée until he met actress Christa Theret. In Theret’s interview with Red Carpet News TV, she explains her struggle to find proper modes of research before the filming of Renoir began. After searching bookstores in Paris, Theret explained she finally realized how little importance has been placed on Andrée Heuschling even though Bourdos presents her as the driving force of both Renoir’s careers.
On Saturday, July 13, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Renoir will be screened in the Hope School of Fine Arts Auditorium. Nan Brewer, the Lucienne M. Glaubinger curator of Works on Paper, will present a pre-screening gallery talk on several Renoir prints (including the print below). To attend, meet in the Gallery of the Art of the Western world at 2:00 p.m. the day of the screening. A limited number of complimentary tickets will be distributed first come-first served at the talk.
The talk and film are presented in partnership with the Ryder Film Series. Click here for more information.
Richard Bell confronts the plight of the Aboriginal through his assertive, hard-to-ignore paintings and installations. Bell’s work is deeply rooted in his experiences growing up Aboriginal in Queensland, Australia. Bell describes his work as “big, bold, and brash”, encompassing a universal theme of adversity. The Australian Government issued a formal apology to their country’s native people and its Stolen Generation. Until 1967, the Aboriginal population was considered “floral and fauna” on the Australian census, and children of Aboriginal decent were moved into white homes in hopes to assimilate the children into the European-influenced society stemming from Australia’s colonization. Bell discusses the continuing discrimination of Aborigines through Australian media and the difficulties of instigating social change after decades of accepted oppression. However, as Bell puts it, “The world changes one person at a time. And I’m aboriginal, I know how to wait.”
I was given the opportunity to sit down with the artist during his visit at Indiana University. This interview explores America’s reaction to Richard Bell’s Uz vs. Them as it wraps up its U.S. tour, as well as examines the university’s role in the artist-activist’s fight against human injustices.
Chloe Bohlander:Uz Vs. Them has toured the country since 2011, reaching audiences across four states in the U.S. How has exhibiting in university museums and galleries given a voice to your activism?
Richard Bell: Well ‘cuz its on the walls [laughs], the universities’ been getting me to come here and talk about them, about the show, about the paintings, the videos, what the rationale is behind the practice and all that stuff.
CB: This is the fourth university campus Uz vs. Them has made an appearance. What was the motivation behind exhibiting solely in an academic setting?
RB: I haven’t had any input into that that was the American Federation of Arts.
CB: You’ve been using visual arts to advocate Aboriginal injustice since 1989. Over the past 23 years, what progress or social change can be seen surrounding Aboriginal rights? Have other artists emerged over the years with similar goals?
RB: Well that’s two questions [laughs]
CB: I know, I snuck one in on you.
RB: There has been change, unfortunately it’s for the worst, you know like uh, one of the biggest problems for aboriginal people has been our treatment in the mainstream media, particularly back home. So that’s gone backwards but we’re not alone there, that seems to be the case globally. There are plenty of other artists coming through dealing with similar issues.
CB: Do you think they get as much attention as you internationally? Or, in the States?
RB: They will be. Like Vernon Ah Kee, he’s about to exhibit a show in New York next month. He’s also in the first Indigenous Quinquennial [exhibiting at the] National Gallery of Canada. So you know there’s plenty more back home who take a different approach to what I do, but it’s pretty much the same sort of stuff.
CB: Has exhibiting in multiple countries shifted focus from Aboriginal rights to more of a universal message about the treatment of indigenous people?
RB: It’s probably expanded to include not only indigenous people, but the disadvantaged everywhere, including women. I think the message has become sort of globalized; the application fits very well into all these other areas.
“So you look and people should be able to recognize you the artist or they should be able to recognize you the writer in your work. There’s a requirement to come to know yourself. That’s part of this journey all young people set out on.”
CB: It’s no secret that Indiana, as well as Midwest America as a whole, is fundamentally conservative in policy and tradition. Knowing this, what can students 18-21 years old from Indiana expect to take away from your work?
RB: I would like to think that it’s empowering, in at least some small regard. Given the latest tour [at IU], seeing part of this minority getting shafted [laughs]. Like, I’d like them to take away the fact that it pays to be honest with your self. And if you are that’ll show out in your work. I believe that my work is a reflection of myself. Basically you look at my work you can see me. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s brash, it’s colorful [laughs]. So you look and people should be able to recognize you the artist or they should be able to recognize you the writer in your work. There’s a requirement to come to know yourself. That’s part of this journey all young people set out on.
CB: Have you been able to interact with a lot of students here?
RB: Yeah I have. A lot of my talks, more than half are Q. and Answer. I like to be able to interact with them in issues in interest to them. It’s very difficult for me to come from Australia to Midwest America and be able to tune into what the zeitgeist is here, in regard to subject matter, that sort of thing. I’m a good communicator, so I like to play to my strengths as well.
CB: What are some ways in which you hope to expand your audience, outside of the world of academia and visual arts?
RB: Well, I’m interested in putting art on walls, you know like big walls and billboards and things like that. I really like what the graffiti artists do in that they claim public space.
CB: Have you done anything like that?
RB: Well I have some of these paintings, I reckon there’s a couple of walls here I could do. Might make some of these buildings look half decent [laughs]
CB: [laughs] Yeah, they’re pretty grey.
CB: Any other thoughts about expansion of audience?
RB: Yeah. Well damn, I’ve got a TV show back home.
RB: I’m hosting an art show where I introduce eight indigenous artists.
CB: That’s a really good medium in order to get your work out there. What’s it called?
RB: Ah, “Colour Theory”.
CB: What were your feelings of Uz vs. Them going into the first exhibit at Tufts University, and how have they evolved over time and during your visit here at Indiana University?
RB: Well it’s always interesting going into a new place. I was really impressed with the professionalism shown by the museum staff, and that the kids were really interested. That’s what’s really struck me, the level of interest. And like how easily they understood it, I didn’t have to prepare a context for them, they managed to frame the show, they got it any way.
CB: I think it’s what you said, that sort of message can translate well.
RB: Yeah it does translate well. I wasn’t worried about that aspect of the whole thing, once I do it and it goes out of my studio, I don’t care [laughs]. They can hang it upside down that doesn’t reflect badly on me at all. It’s interesting to come to the museums and see all these different manifestations, the different shapes of the museums, how they hang it, how they place the works.
CB: Did you get to visit every exhibition [of Uz vs. Them]?
CB: As a society, continuous exposure to an idea can lead to collective apathy, regardless of the level of controversy. As your popularity within the art world continues to increase globally, do you find it difficult to measure audience impact of your work and its ability to instigate social change?
RB: Well I’d challenge your first assumption right from the start. Would you care to read it out again for me?
CB: Yeah, I would love to. As a society, continuous exposure to an idea can lead to collective apathy, regardless of the level of controversy.
RB: It can do that, but it can also embed. Have long-term responses. And that’s generally the case for these things. You basically have to plant the seeds, and then wait for them to grow. That’s what I’m doing, I’m planting the seeds. I don’t see any futility whatsoever there; I don’t see any negativity.
CB: Yeah, I guess I didn’t exactly mean it in a negative way, like you said when I asked you how the situation has been in Australia, you said it hasn’t really been improving either.
RB: No, that was with regards to the media. Yeah, there has been legislation passed in Australia that’s made things worse for some aboriginal people, so that’s of a concern to all of us. We share that pain with the people who are the victims of that legislation. Now what’s the second part of that question?
CB: As your popularity within the art world continues to increase, do you find it difficult to measure audience impact of your work and its ability to instigate social change?
RB: No I don’t, like I say my approach is one knowing that this is going to take time, it’s going to take collaboration from people who have engaged in my work and have had a chance to speak with me, or hear me talk. I’ve had great feedback from so many people here that has really given me lots of encouragement to continue. The world changes one person at a time. And I’m aboriginal, I know how to wait.
Katherine Paschal: So what’s next for you as an artist?
RB: What’s next? I’m coming back to America next month! [Laughs] I go home, I don’t quite recover from the jet lag, come back to America, then I’m going up to Canada for the quinquennial, then I’m going to Venice to make a film there, a short film called “Larry”.
“I’ve had great feedback from so many people here that has really given me lots of encouragement to continue. The world changes one person at a time. And I’m aboriginal, I know how to wait.”
CB: Who’s Larry?
RB: A Caucasian.
KP: We know that your show here, “Uz vs. Them”, addresses the Australian aboriginal experience. Is that one facet that you carry throughout all of your work, or is it just one part of who you are as an artist?
RB: I learned long ago that in order to advocate for aboriginal rights, I have to support the rights of other oppressed people. Like gay and gender issues, women’s rights, any minorities, I tend to be supportive of all those. I have to be, otherwise it’d reek of hypocrisy. I’m quite happy with that, I think my work translates pretty well to that. It speaks to those issues as well. Easily transferable, like I said before. What’s the other part of that question?
KP: When you’re producing and creating work, is that just one part of you as an artist? Or is an inherent part one of…
RB: No. Conceptually it’s all from my activism. The mechanics of producing the work, that’s when it gets arty. How to frame it, how to present it compositionally, those sorts of things. That all comes in at that stage. I don’t make art about art. It’s about real stuff. Not just people’s opinions.
Chloe Bohlander is the current marketing intern at the Indiana University Art Museum, under Manager of Communications and Public Relations Katherine Paschal. The quinquennial refers to the National Gallery of Canada’s upcoming exhibition, “Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art”, on view through September 2, 2013.
After attending the Noon Talk Spirit, Love, Healing Power: Renée Stout, I got a chance to learn more about Renée Stout’s photographs that are now hanging in the Gallery of Western Art and her perspective behind them. In her works, Stout addresses three main themes: self-definition, use of cultural resources, and resistance to the status quo. Although this is the framework that guides her, after the discussion and critique of her work, I walked away feeling that it was difficult to so cleanly define her artistic approach and product. I have tried to synthesize today’s Noon Talk but I left with more questions than answers. However, I think it is Stout’s goal to leave the audience with unanswered questions. Stout’s photography shows that the journey to a clear answer never ends and this eternal search is echoed throughout her body of work.
Growing up, Renée Stout was greatly shaped by the influences of her African and Creole roots as well as by her more contemporary ancestors. About every ten years, as a retrospective on herself, Stout returns to these roots. Tracking and exploring her evolution through her alias Fatima Mayfield, Stout is able to navigate through and analyze her evolution from a comfortable distance. Through the depiction of her nude self on film, Stout documents her path to empowerment simultaneously shifting her identity in time and space.
Stout’s works are not simply photographs, but they are transforming self-portraits. Beginning her journey young with expectation and waiting, she moves on to expose herself and her vulnerabilities with age. But with such exposure comes disappointment, life leaving its mark on her physical and spiritual presence. Though this pain and anguish is depicted, there is still more to her story. This hurt becomes a source of triumph as Stout has learned from her past and the past of her ancestors, morphing her into the woman she is today. The fragmented pieces that have made up her being come together to create a whole, providing answers to her existence. Though, as her works illustrate, the search for resolution will never truly end.
Barry Gealt’s massive landscape paintings are now hanging in the Special Exhibitions Gallery on the first floor of the Indiana University Art Museum and as curator Linda Baden put it, “you don’t have to know anything to feel it.” Each piece, though derived from an actual physical space, requires no prior knowledge of the scenes that Gealt depicts of Mother Nature. What’s more important in Gealt’s work is what the viewer feels when they stop to look and what they take away with them.
As I was walking through the gallery I stopped and felt sucked into one particular piece. Gealt’s “The Cave” has you peering over into a dark abyss, which draws you inward as if you are just about to fall in. The exterior of the cave with its thick layers of paint continuing past the border of the canvas, colorfully and vibrantly contrasts the immense darkness of the abyss below. Many of Gealt’s works play with this paradoxical viewpoint of nature, showing that beauty and beast can reside in the same space. The vigorous and heavy layers of brushstrokes and paint violently cover the canvas but are balanced by the fine and intuitive oil crayon marks.
To put it in Gealt’s own words: “When you look at one of my paintings, you see a perfect world. But inside that world you may also see upheaval, solitude, a sense of daring and the unknown. There are no footholds, no people. It’s just nature and my thoughts pushed out into nature. Making a perfect world doesn’t mean it’s all happy.”
These paintings are exquisite. Barry Gealt’s technique is delicate and beautifully abstract. Last Saturday I attended a Meet the Artist event with Mr. Gealt, where I learned a ton about painting and art.
“Some people only need a few colors, and I say ‘Great! No competition!’ because what they make will be dull.”
Coming from a man with over 60 jars of paint powders, Barry believes in color and variety. This is obvious in his paintings, where you can find pinks and whites and blues and purples all mixed in a scene to depict a landscape. He layers the painting, so many of them have what appears to be almost an inch thick of paint. The layers provide a strong sense of depth of field for the landscapes.
These layers add up. His bigger paintings hold about $2000 worth of paint!
Mr. Gealt does not paint outdoors, while looking at the scene. He paints a scene he knows well by memory. It’s a full place, not a piece of scene, he says. He likes to paint perceptually.
“The tools you use help the way you work, or hinder”
My favorite part about the event was his discussion of materials. In addition to all the different colors of paint, he uses several different kinds of brushes, like bulls hair brushes, bristle brushes, fresco brushes, and acrylic brushes and each provides a different effect.
He also uses baker’s palate knives, which he claims are sturdier and more durable than painter’s knives. These tools help create the perfect textures and grooves in his paintings that make you feel as though you are a part of the scene.
As an intern this summer, I saw a few of Barry’s paintings during preparation for his show. From first glance I was very excited to see the rest of the paintings. He is extremely talented and his painting style is incredible. Make sure to take a look at his work in the Special Exhibitions Gallery on the first floor of the art museum, on display until December 23rd.
Hurdy-Gurdy Music in the Art of the Western World Gallery
Thursday, September 27th, concluded the IU Art Museum’s annual Coffeehouse Nights series. Over the past three weeks, the museum featured each of its three permanent collection galleries—the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World; Raymond and Laura Wielgus Gallery of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas; and the Art of the Western World. At each Coffeehouse Night featured musical performances that related to an individual gallery.The musicians this year included Salaam, Dr.Djo Bi, and Tomas Lozana.
Out in the main lobby, the crowd came rushing in for the free coffee and desserts courtesy of Angles Café (located on the second floor of the museum) and Bloomingfoods!
After the caffeine and sugar worked its way through everyone’s stomachs, people eagerly made their way into the Gallery of Western Art with a pencil, a clipboard, and a gallery scavenger hunt in hand.
The traditional “hurdy-gurdy” music, performed by Tomas Lozana, flowed throughout the entire gallery creating an artistic atmosphere that was not only visual but musical as well.
The IU Art Museum’s new exhibition David Hockney: New Acquisitions adds both collage with color photography and digital art to the Gallery of the Art of the Western World. Heidi Gealt chose to add Paul and Margaret Hockney and My Mother Sleeping to the IU Art Museum’s collection because they both display Hockney’s tendency to use images of his loved ones in his art. Paul and Margaret Hockney also illustrates his interest in using technology through both medium and subject.
David Hockney is often named Britain’s most influential living artist and is continually creating new works that are on display around the world. He is well known for his Hollywood swimming pool images, which were popular in the 1970’s, and his colorful landscapes. Over the summer, I studied Economics in Spain through one of SPEA’s study abroad programs. My classmates and I planned a trip to Bilbao so we could experience the Guggenheim Museum and the its featured exhibition, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture. This massive exhibit of 150 landscapes took up the entire second floor of the Guggenheim. One of the features of the exhibit was Hockney’s use of digital art. In 2008, Hockney began using his desktop to create drawings because it was a faster way to do sketches. He then started drawing flowers on his iPhone each day and sent the images to his friends for opinions on his new technique. After becoming more experienced with this technology, Hockney began using his iPad to create larger landscape drawings. Nan Brewer, The Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper, says the main reason why Hockney is set apart from other living artists is because “even in his latter part of his career, he’s still pushing himself.”
Bruno Wollheim’s documentary David Hockney: A Bigger Picture features the artist at work over a span of three years. The IU Cinema partnered with the IU Art Museum in August by screening the documentary after a gallery talk during IU’s 113 Days of Summer.
The museum also has three other Hockney works in their collection, including Picture of a Portrait in a Silver Frame from “A Hollywood Collection”, 1965, An Etching and a Lithograph, 1972, and Henry Seated with Tulips, 1976. Appointments can be made to view these and other works in the museum’s collection by contacting Nan Brewer at email@example.com, or by visiting the information desk in the Fine Arts Library (appointments should be made a week in advance). David Hockney: New Acquisitions will be on display in the Gallery of the Art of the Western World until October 21, 2012.
I originally studied this piece in an Art History class my freshman year. The level of detail and beautiful lighting initially grabbed my attention, but when I looked further, I found the work even more interesting. It is rich with symbolism of wealth, mortality, and sensuality.
Pieter de Ring (Dutch, ca. 1615-1660) Still-Life with Lobster, ca. 1650
Oil on canvas.
IU Art Museum 73.22
This Dutch still-life, created circa 1650, illustrates an abundance of food and fine dishware that screams wealth. While the plums and cherries are not uncommon to this area, the grapes, melons, oranges would have been imported making them less affordable. The seafood was much more abundant in this area at the time, and therefore not a luxury like it is today. The fine cloths, ornate glass, and imported Chinese chafing dish, and the ring next to the oranges are all luxuries the wealthy might own.
However ornate, the overripe, almost spoiled food stresses the immediacy of which this food needs to be eaten. At first glance this food looks magnificent. It appears luscious and juicy. Look closer, and you see the age of the oranges, the mold on the lobster, and the brown-grey color of the plums. This combined with the very subtle African Grey parrot picking at cherries in the shadows suggests mortality and the relative importance of certain luxuries, which is a theme often portrayed in vanitas paintings. Overall, I see the almost-spoiled food and dark color palette along with the parrot as a mockery about the relative importance of these luxuries in life. The sliced melon and oysters could also indicate a sensual theme.
I find this painting alluring and interesting. It is hauntingly beautiful at first glance and then continues to hold my attention when I focus in on the details and rich symbolism of the work. Whenever I visit the gallery I spend time sitting in front of this work studying its intricate detail and almost always find something I didn’t notice before. Works like this one are special to me, because I every time I study it closely I can find something new. There is so much to look at and analyze in this painting, which constantly reminds me why I love to study and learn about art.
Transferring as a new student to Indiana University this summer, I was ready to jump in and get involved with the Bloomington community. As an arts management major with a background in studio art, my first stop was the Indiana University Art Museum. Taking a look through all of the galleries I found myself clinging to a piece by Kay Sage in the Gallery of the Art of the Western World on the first floor.
This Surrealist oil painting titled “Lost Record” (1940) seemed tiny compared to the larger works that took over entire walls in the gallery. However, though small in size with dimensions of only 36 x 27 ¾ inches, one cannot help but be drawn in by the power of Sage’s eerie, dream-like landscape. A single dying tree is the only sign of life in an otherwise barren landscape with two ambiguous rock formations and one must ask “who is this artist?” Intrigued, I decided to do some more research on the artist:
Kay Sage never stayed in one place for too long; her constant displacement started at a young age due to her parents’ divorce and her aversion to a formal education. However, Sage found a temporary home and inspiration in Paris in 1938 where she joined other artists in the Surrealist movement. Andre Breton, the group’s leader, officially accepted her as a Surrealist artist soon after; Sage was one of only a few female artists who were formally designated as part of this artistic movement. Though Sage drew inspiration from her Surrealist counterparts such as Giorgio de Chirico and Yves Tanguy (whom later became her husband in 1940), “Sage’s mature vocabulary of architectural scaffolding set in barren landscapes infused with a disquiet melancholy is intensely personal and entirely her own” (Celia Gant Edict Of Women Artists, Vol. 2). Unlike her contemporaries, Sage utilized muted colors, architectural forms, and metaphysically directly linking her works with personal suffering of inner loneliness and disillusionment with society, many pieces foreshadowing her suicide in 1963.
William Zimmerman, a nationally recognized wildlife artist and Brown County resident, passed away last fall. In honor of his artistry and passion for ornithology, the IU Art Museum has a selection of five original paintings from his book Life Histories of North American Woodpeckers (1992) on display in the first-floor Art of the Western World gallery. These beautiful pieces show Zimmerman’s meticulous nature and dedication to truth when capturing these stunning birds, along with local flora.
If this small selection inspires you when you visit, hop on over to the Jordan Hall atrium where you can see another 100 Zimmerman paintings from his The Birds of Indiana series.
You might also recognize Zimmerman’s work from the labels on local Olivery Winery’s wine bottles. Zimmerman worked with Oliver to produce their labels for many years, depicting a blue heron, hawks, and other birds, butterflies, grapes, bees, and even a fox to represent Oliver’s various wine flavors. As he was quoted at Hidden River Art, “I can always go get some wine and give it as a gift. I get a double whammy with it!”
I found a video posted by WTIU last December, no doubt in remembrance of Zimmerman shortly after his passing. I thought it best, perhaps, to let the artist himself share a little bit more about his art with you.
I came to college to study economics, but mentioned to an advisor at orientation that one of my hobbies was photography. My orientation advistor convinced me to live in the Fine Arts Living Learning Community. I took an Art History class and a drawing class with the girls on my floor, and that fall I fell in love with art and photography. I dropped my Economics major, and picked up Arts Management. My parents were skeptical about my choice, thinking it was impulsive and impractical.
Earlier this year I sat down with my mom and told her all about the different interesting jobs that I could do for a museum. She came to visit this past week, and I took her on a tour of the museum. She was amazed at the size of our collection and the interesting facts I’ve learned about many of the pieces. She saw my passion for this subject matter and really enjoyed my tour of the museum. I have always felt that my mother and I have very similar tastes, but found it really interesting to learn she had very different tastes in art.
Portrait Bust of an Emperor Septimius Severus ca. AD 201-211
IU Art Museum 75.33.1
I began to notice the differences very quickly. I could spend hours in the Gallery of Art of the Western World, but she preferred the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World gallery. She focused her attention on works that were incredibly detailed and ornate, like the golden Necklace with Eros within a Herakles-Knot Clasp and the Portrait Bust of an Emperor Septimius Severus. She loved the realistic detail of the hair in the bust, praising the technical skill in making a slab of marble look so realistically like a human. I prefer works a little more abstract like Stuart Davis’ Swing Landscape and sculptures like Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s Bust of a Woman, where the figure is simplified to a more pure, implied form.
Wilhelm Lehmbruck Bust of a Woman
IU Art Museum 81.31.29
Despite our differences in taste, we both could appreciate Balthus’ The Window. I explained that it is believed to be a parody of a German Romantic motif featuring women meditating at windows. She loved learning that the expression captured on the subject’s face was real because Balthus threw himself at the model to provoke this reaction.
Balthus The Window
Oil on Canvas
IU Art Museum 70.62
My mother is not as passionate about art as I am. She never showed any particular interest in the subject, so I generally stuck to other conversation topics. Walking her around the museum, I learned I was wrong. She loved hearing me talk about something I am so interested in and really made an effort to connect with me. The great part about art is that it can provoke basic human emotions that make it easy to connect with others, even if you have no no previous interest in the subject.
For my mom and me, it was a great bonding experience. Although we rarely felt the same way about a piece, the conversations helped me connect with my mom in a way we were never able to before.
According to National Geographic, on May 20th, an annular solar eclipse occurred in the skies of Asia and the US West. An annular solar eclipse is like a total eclipse in that the moon passes between the sun and Earth. Unlike a total eclipse, the diameter of the moon is smaller than that of the visible sun, creating a “ring of fire” around the edges of the eclipse. “Annular” refers to this “annulus,” or ring-like figure.
Rockwell Kent (American, 1882–1971). Twilight of Man, 1926.
Wood engraving on paper.
One of our new installations, Rockwell Kent’s wood engraving on paper Twilight of Man, 1926, is based on a 1922 watercolor depicting an eclipse. In ancient times, eclipses were attributed to supernatural phenomena, leading people to believe they were bad omens. Though the composition in our collection is reinterpreted here as a nightfall, the symbolism is not lessened, but strengthened, as the sun has “set” on man and civilization. Apocalyptic symbols such as the temple ruins, desolate landscape, and fallen figure in this engraving allude to this.
Much of Kent’s work had strong symbolic connotations. A solitary human figure, for example, may represent deep metaphysical concepts, such as man’s place within the universe. As Kent said, “I believe in Man as the supreme consciousness; and in the arts as the supreme expression of his spirit.”
This print will be on view in the first floor Gallery of the Art of the Western World through June.
If you missed the annular eclipse, fear not! June 5th and 6th has an even more unusual eclipse taking place as the planet Venus will pass between the Earth and the sun. Observers in North America will be able to view the eclipse at sunset on June 5th. During this event, Venus will travel as a small, dark dot across the solar disk. This will be the LAST transit of Venus of this century, the next one projected for December 11, 2117…so let’s not miss it!
The IU Art Museum’s education department and the IU Asian Culture Center presented Kabuki Night in the Galleries on April 18, in the Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World.
Museum graduate assistant Lesley Ham, curator of the Legends of Kabuki installation, discussed the stories behind the Japanese woodblock prints with IU graduate student and Japanese traditional performing artist Monica Ham.
After the performance, Lesley and Monica answered the audience’s questions and lead a group discussion. Many audience members had experience with Kabuki, while others were learning about the Japanese dance-drama for the first time.
Audience members viewed the Japanese woodblock print installation Legends of Kabuki in the second floor gallery after the discussion.
IU Art Museum staff and audience members enjoyed traditional Japanese food and drinks on the second floor of the Thomas T. Solley Atrium to conclude the event.
If you missed this event, be sure to attend Looking for Art in Contemporary China on Saturday, April 21, 2:00-3:00 pm, in Fine Arts 102. Professor Xiaobing Tang, Professor of Comparative Literature and Helmut F. Stern Professor of Modern Chinese Studies, University of Michigan will present a lecture about the different dimensions of art in China. A light reception will follow in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium.
Songs like “This Land is Your Land” pop into my head when I hear someone talking about protest songs. If you don’t like Woody Guthrie, then perhaps you think of hippies sitting in a park singing “Give Peace a Chance.” Regardless of musical preference, we all feel these songs carry universal messages surrounding the idea that people can come together and change the world. Throughout history and around the world, we can see how visual art and music disseminate ideas and act as a catalyst for social change. Some of the messages conveyed in past paintings or songs still remain relevant to today.
On Tuesday, April 17, from 7–9 p.m., the museum is hosting an event to showcase poetry and songs that have helped unify and mobilize cultural revolutions in the Middle East. Put into the context of the “Arab Spring,” it is interesting to consider that many of these mobilizing songs have been around for centuries. During the event, Dr. David McDonald and the Salaam Musical Ensemble will explore the many ways in which Arab poetry has been set to music in the service of popular protest, and our 2nd floor gallery will be open for a self-guided tour.
Knowing very little about Middle Eastern music and poetry, I decided to call Dena El Saffar, who plays in the band Salaam that will be performing at the event on Tuesday evening. El Saffar says her band normally plays love songs, but she knew of several songs in Salaam’s repertoire that aligned with the event, including music from several Egyptian composers whose songs were sang by protestors in Tahrir Square.
I’m no expert on Middle Eastern music, but I have done a little “research” via YouTube and found that a lot of current protest songs were in the form of rap songs. Deeb “Mashrah Deeb” is one of my favorites. In the short time I have been “researching”, I’ve found several videos that suddenly disappear, and it makes me consider how lucky Americans are to be able to speak their mind, be it in the form of speech, protest, or in the form of song.
Ann Fields, Guest Contributor Event Support Coordinator
It’s finally time for the Art on Tap event. The Vallures will play from 6 to 7 p.m. and again from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at the outdoor Sculpture Terrace. The Vallures member Jes Franco shared with us her excitement about the event and how The Vallures feel fortunate to live in a community that values art and music.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: How did you get involved with the event? And why did you want to get involved?
JES FRANCO: We were asked by the events coordinator Anita DeCastro to be a part of the first ever fundraiser for the IU Arts Museum. And we love supporting the art and music community in any way we can. Playing benefits are great because you know you are contributing to something larger than yourself. And it’s being held in the museum’s beautiful outdoor Sculpture Terrace so we jumped at the opportunity to play in such a unique venue for such a great cause.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: Can you describe your style of music to people who have never heard you perform?
FRANCO: The Vallures play a lot of classic soul and motown as well as popular girl group, rock, and obscure songs from the sixties. Our current catalog includes everything from Otis Redding, to Irma Thomas, with some Ronettes, Smith, and Martha & the Vandellas in between. We are working on writing our own “nu-soul” originals that have the classic sound of an oldie that no one remembers. But we’re more than just a sixties cover band, we’re an experience. We are five ladies and one bearded lady who dress the part too. The Vallures do the whole “coordinated dresses and big hair” thing that was a signature look for a lot of girl groups from that time. So, in a way it’s a little bit of theater too.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: How long have you been performing together? Has it always been in Bloomington? Does this community mean something special to you all?
FRANCO: The Vallures were formed just over two years ago right here in Bloomington,IN. And although we’ve had many lineup changes over the short time we’ve been a band we’ve created some lasting friendships. We’ve had the pleasure of playing all over the Midwest together with hopes of taking our show to more audiences in far away lands. But home is never far from our minds when out on the road, we just can’t wait to get back. The Bloomington community has been essential to our very existence as a band in more ways than one. Where else can you find a concentrated variety of talented musicians? Where else can you go see a different show every night of the week thanks to our outstanding local venues? And most recently after having all of our equipment stolen in Chicago the Bloomington community stepped up and helped us raise funds to help replace it. Local musicians and businesses loaned us equipment in the meantime and the folks at “The Switchyard” gave us their space and equipment so that we could continue to practice twice a week. So, in short we feel very fortunate to be a part of a community that values art and music and has an active role in it’s preservation.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What can people expect from you on the night of Art on Tap?
FRANCO: You can expect an amazing high energy live show with loads of singing, dancing, and hand claps coming from the audience…as well as The Vallures too!
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What are you looking forward to most?
FRANCO: Personally I’m looking forward to giving back to the community with our music. I want to be looking out over the terrace and see people smile and dance to our music, sip local beer, enjoy some delicious pork belly and watch fire spin into the night.
For more information on Art on Tap, view our previous post.
This spring, the IU Art Museum is proud to host Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine, a traveling retrospective on the lesser-known 20th century female abstract artist. This exhibition opened to the public in March, coinciding with National Women’s History Month—an opportune time to rediscover the vibrant and sophisticated work of Perle Fine, especially given that the theme for Women’s History Month 2012 was “Women’s Education—Women’s Empowerment.”
Perle Fine (1905–1988), one of only a few women in the inner circle of Abstract Expressionist artists, was mentored by abstract painter Hans Hofmann (1880–1966), who taught at New York’s Art Students League after leaving his native Germany in 1932. Hofmann strongly influenced American artists to experiment with abstraction, including the group that founded the American Abstract Artists in 1936. Through her involvement with this organization, Fine also met the great Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, whose austere geometric grids are echoed in many of her works. Fine later served as a teacher and mentor herself, employed as a faculty member in the fine arts department of Hofstra University from 1962 to 1973.
This retrospective gives a unique look at an artist’s career: the pieces trace 40 years of Fine’s work (1930–1970), as well as the evolution of her style through paintings, drawings, collages, wood assemblages, and prints. Photographs of Fine and her artist friends, taken by Fine’s husband, photographer Maurice Berezov, complement this exhibition.
To further supplement this retrospective, an abstract painting by Charmion von Wiegand, one of Fine’s female contemporaries, will be on display in the first floor Art of the Western World gallery until June 3rd, 2012. Also, there will be an educators’ workshop titled “What is Ab Ex?” on April 20th from 1:00–3:00 p.m. in the museum’s third floor conference room, in which curators, conservators, and educators will explore Abstract Expressionism.
Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine will be on display in the first floor Special Exhibitions gallery and the Judi and Milt Stewart Hexagon Gallery through May 27, 2012. The exhibition catalogue and the artist monograph are available at Angles Café & Gift Shop.
The IU Art Museum has invited students, falculty and the community to stretch their minds and bodies with a new weekly yoga program beginning from 11 a.m. to noon this Saturday, April 7, in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium on the second floor. Classes are free.
Beginner classes take place on the first and third Saturdays of every month, while experienced yoga participants should attend classes on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month through October 27, 2012.
You must bring your own mat and dress in appropriate yoga attire. This Saturday’s class will be led by an instructor from the Lynda Mitchell Yoga Studio.
Margarat Contompasis has been the IU Art Museum Conservator of Paintings for 18 years. She shares with us a typical day on the job, her favorite spot on campus, and the chemistry behind her work.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What led to your current position at IU?
MARGARET CONTOMPASIS: I was at the end of a 2 year Mellon fellowship working with the Menil Collection in Houston. I came across the job listing in the AIC (American Institute for Conservation)newsletter while I was on a courier trip in Europe returning art work that on loan for a large Magritte exhibition. While I was interested in the position the deadline had passed. In spite of the deadline I decided to take my chances and make a phone call. After a short conversation, I was offered an interview.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What do you love most about working here?
CONTOMPASIS: I appreciate all of the support—support from the museum and from the university— especially since as a conservator, in the best interest of the art work, I may recommend against a proposal or project that may have a negative impact on art. I also love the fact that I get to work with people from across the university. I wouldn’t be able to do my job without the cooperation of crews from the physical plant and campus divisions. They have never let me down.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: Describe a typical day on the job.
CONTOMPASIS: There’s never a typical day on the job. I wear a lot of different hats. There are always ongoing projects, sometimes large-scale projects such as the Benton murals or the Calder. In addition to treatment I do a lot of research on historic artist materials, artist’s techniques, art history, and chemical analysis, and I publish. It’s hard to get bored.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What has your position enabled you to do in terms of travel?
CONTOMPASIS: I sometimes travel with art from the IU Art Museum when it goes “on loan” to other institutions. Recently, I have done a bit of traveling to other museums to view Braque paintings from a particular series The Rosenberg Quartet. One painting from that series is in the collection of the IU Art Museum. Because it is scheduled to be reunited with the other paintings from the series, we are considering a major treatment of our painting. My goal was to examine the other three paintings because they remain untreated. By viewing the three untreated paintings, seeing and understanding the physical characteristics of the original paint layers, helps us make an informed decision about whether or not to treat our part of the Quartet
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What’s your favorite spot on campus and why?
CONTOMPASIS: I’ve been to many places on campus most people don’t get to see. My favorite indoor spot is the attic over the auditorium; one can run across some interesting artifacts, postmodern urban archaeology. My favorite outdoor spot on campus would be Dunn Woods. It’s a great place to both clear your head and clear your lungs of the chemicals involved with conservation.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What is one aspect of your job that most people might not know or expect?
M: Generally people do not think about all of the chemistry that conservators have to study. It’s fundamental to what we do. We have to understand the materials an artifact is made from, the agents of change, the rate at which materials react and the chemistry of those reactions and ultimately the chemistry to stop or slow the agents of change.
ARTFROMALLANGLES: What’s your favorite work of art at the museum?
CONTOMPASIS: Swing Landscape, La fenetre and the small Tarbell portrait of a woman. Swing Landscape is complicated because the artist treated it previously. So we have to decide — is its ethical if the painting is restored or changed? Is it sacred from artist’s hand, or can we do it again? Is it a part of history or do we decide it’s better for the painting if we restore it? I did very little removal of his restoration. His work is still there.
Do you love beer? And art? Well it’s about time you mesh the two. Students and members of the community are invited to join the IU Art Museum in celebrating the mash-up of local microbreweries and a collection of beer-themed artwork. The museum’s first-ever fundraiser, Art on Tap, will take place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 14 in the museum’s outdoor Sculpture Terrace.
The event will offer guests the opportunity to sample local craft beers while also enjoying live music and entertainment by the sixties cover band The Vallures and the Kali Ma Fire Troupe. Beer will be provided by Bloomington Brewing Company, Cutters Brewing Company, and Upland Brewing Company. Oliver Winery will provide samples of their hard cider, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available as well. Food pairings will also be provided by One World Catering and Happy Pig Street Food. Have you tasted their mac n’ cheese? Well if not, it’s about time!
Tickets to the event cost $35 and can be purchased at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater Box Office, IU Art Museum, Lennie’s Bloomington Brewing Company, and Upland Brewery/Restaurant. They are also available online at www.BCTBoxOffice.com.
And students, if you’re really feeling in the spirit, you can ever join the Art on Tap Street Team and volunteer! You must be 21 or older in order to volunteer. You’ll be responsible for helping to promote the event by hanging posters, handing out flyers and chalking. If you’re interested, contact Ann Fields, firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, February 17 in the third floor office, there will be a special one-hour exhibition highlighting chiaroscuro woodcuts. Artists included are Ugo da Carpi, Antonio da Trento, Andrea Andreani, Hendrik Goltzius, Antonio Maria Zanetti, Nicolas Le Sueur, John Baptist Jackson, and Charles Hazelwood Shannon. No prior registration is needed, but space is limited space. So get there early!