A Year at the IU Art Museum

Throughout the 2011-2012 school year, Indiana University’s student run newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, regularly featured the IU Art Museum. The beginning of summer is a great time to look back on the museum’s accomplishments and the ways it involved IU students and the Bloomington community. Below are some of the museum’s most memorable appearances in the IDS.

August:  Explore IU’s diverse food, music at Culturefest

The museum helped kicked off Welcome Week by holding an after party for Culturefest.

September:  Gallery Talks explores history of collection during WWII

IU Art Museum curator, Jenny McComas led a gallery talk about the “Art in Nazi Germany” exhibit.

Museum pole sheds new light

The IDS featured the museum’s light totem and its recent interactive changes by interviewing the project supervisor, Linda Baden, an IU student, and the light totem’s designer, Robert Shakespeare.

January:  Art, chocolate combine at Week of Chocolate event

The museum participated in IU’s Week of Chocolate with the Art of Chocolate event which benefitted local non-profit organizations.

March:  IU Art Museum displays MCCSC student artwork for Youth Art Month

Artwork from Monroe County Community School Corporation students was displayed at the museum to help celebrate Youth Art Month.

April:  Contemporary dancers create original choreography, music based on artwork in the IU Art Museum

Students in the Contemporary Dance Program at IU created and performed dances inspired by artwork in the museum.

May:  Mellon Foundation grant helps IU Art Museum endow position

The Mellon Foundation grant helped the museum fund its senior academic officer position to provide students with more museum-based courses.

Keep updated on the IU Art Museum through IDS Arts online: http://www.idsnews.com/news/arts.aspx

Total Eclipse of the ART

Image via.

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.

 Image via.

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!


Art Work of the Week: Caillebotte’s Effect of Rain

The very first time I visited the IU Art Museum two years ago, this was one of the pieces that resonated with me the most. Even without knowing much about Gustave Caillebotte at the time, I could appreciate the rhythmic juxtaposition of the ripples across the water, caused by the steady fall of a summer rain. This painting made me feel peaceful, and almost like I could smell the warm, humid air. When I was young, one of my brother and my favorite summer activities was to play in the rain, splashing through puddles in our neighborhood streets and mostly disregarding our umbrellas.
(When cars weren’t coming, of course. Safety first)

Gustave Caillebotte
French, 1848–1894
Yerres, Effect of Rain, 1875
Oil on canvas, 31 5/8 x 23 ¼ in.
Gift of Mrs. Nicholas H. Noyes, 71.40.2. Image via.

According to the Masterworks of the Indiana University Art Museum (pg. 298), Caillebotte’s family estate was located in Yerres and he enjoyed painting the river near the family property. Yerres, Effect of Rain was Caillebotte’s first work to focus on water as the dominant element of the composition. The abandoned canoe across the water recalls canoes/skiffs found frequently in Caillebotte’s other paintings, typically manned by bourgeois citizens. Unlike the rest of his oeuvre (body of work), this painting does not incorporate any human figures into the composition.

Propriété Caillebotte à Yerres. Caillebotte lived here. Yikes, that’s nice. Image via.

Caillebotte was the son of a wealthy textile merchant, and utilized his inheritance in order to financially support his Impressionist artist friends through exhibitions and publications. He was at the forefront of the movement, this painting being produced during his most prolific painting period. When the Impressionist group dissolved in 1882, Caillebotte’s painting output diminished and he turned instead to designing and building racing yachts similar to those he had depicted in his paintings. Today, Caillebotte is remembered as a pivotal member of the Impressionist movement.

If you really enjoy this painting, Angles Café and Gift Shop sells an umbrella with its printed image. The large, high quality Caillebotte umbrella has a fine, curved wooden handle and sells for $39.99.

You can find the real painting in the first floor Art of the Western World gallery!


Last Noon Talk of the semester a success!

Our final Noon Talk of the semester was yesterday, May 2nd, from 12:15 to 1:00 p.m. in the first floor Art of the Western World gallery. History of Art Professor Janet Kennedy spoke to a crowd of over 45 attendees(!) about a set of four drawings, received by the museum in a recent bequest, by Russian-born theatrical designer and painter Pavel Tchelitchew (1898–1957).

Above, our Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator for Works on Paper, Nan Brewer, introduces Dr. Kennedy.

These works highlight some consistent themes throughout Tchelitchew’s work, specifically the human body integrated with nature.

Look at that amazing turnout!

Tchelitchew is most well-known for a particular painting owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, called Hide and Seek. After the MoMA acquired the painting in 1942 and put it on display in the 3rd floor lobby, it was a magnet for viewers for around 5 decades. Unfortunately, it was moved to storage after renovations in the early 2000s.

I spy a Swing Landscape

Professor Kennedy is retiring from the History of Art department this spring after many years of dedicated service to her field, the IU student body, and the Bloomington community. We are thrilled that she agreed to give this talk, and the turnout was outstanding, a testament to her positive, far-reaching influence here at IU. Thank you for everything, Dr. Kennedy!