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The visual and performing arts merge when Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens "The Art of American Dance" on Oct. 22. The exhibition features 90 works by such masters at John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase, whose careers spanned the late 19th and 20th centuries, and contemporaries Nick Cave, creator of costumes that make music, and the multitalented Faith Ringgold.
The show, organized by the Detroit Institute of the Arts, includes dance-themed work — both figurative and abstract — in all media, from 1830 to today, and they are as different in style as dance can be: For example, there's William Holbrook Beard's "The Bear Dance," an 1870 oil depicting ursine gamboling in the woods; Arthur Bowen Davies' nearly 7-by-11-foot cubist painting "Dances"; Paul Manship's bronze sculpture "Dancer and Gazelles" (1916); San Ildefonso Pueblo artist Abel Sanchez's "Deer and Buffalo Dance" watercolor (20th century); and two from Crystal Bridges' collection, Marisol's wood and plaster sculpture "Portrait of Martha Graham" (1977) and Nick Cave's toy-covered "Soundsuit" (2010). There will be images of Native Americans dancing (George Catlin), couples dancing (Raphael Soyer), cowboys dancing (Jenne Magafan), and bars of gold dancing (Diego Rivera). From abstract expressionist sculptor David Smith, "Terpsichore and Euterpe" in bronze.
Special events to be held in conjunction with the exhibit include a gallery talk by Michael Bearden, executive director of Ballet Arkansas (1 p.m. Oct. 22) and a performance by the company (4 p.m. Oct. 23); a lecture by Jane Dini, associate curator of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who is currently working on a book about Sargent (2 p.m. Oct. 22); and a talk by Cave on his work (7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 2). The exhibition runs through Jan. 16, 2017.
For people who haven't gotten enough politics this election year — and even for those who have, Crystal Bridges is also showing "Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies," an exhibition about candidate marketing, including buttons, flags, posters and novelty items from the earliest beginnings of the union to the Obama presidency.
The Arkansas Arts Center will open two enameling exhibitions on Oct. 7, including a retrospective of work by longtime Art Center registrar Thom Hall and, in a happy coincidence for folks who plan to visit Bentonville, a work called "Dancer," an enamel vessel by June Schwarcz.
"Little Dreams in Glass and Metal: Enameling in America 1920 to Present," organized by the Los Angeles Enamel Arts Foundation, will feature 121 works by 90 artists and is the first national traveling show of enamel art in 50 years, the Arts Center said. The pieces include jewelry, sculpture and wall-mounted and three-dimensional work. The artists, more than half of them women, explore themes of religion, nature, urban life; some of the work is abstract.
"Glass Fantasies: Enamels by Thom Hall," inspired by the artist's own life, will feature more than 40 enamels in the Limoges and cloisonné styles, including portraits of Hall's alter-ego Sylvia Moskowitz, bar interiors and beach scenes featuring, as the Arts Center press release puts it, "strapping young men either lounging or playing a variety of sports."
On Oct. 7, Harold B. Nelson, co-curator of "Little Dreams," will give a talk, "Dreaming Big: Enameling and the Enamel Arts Foundation," at 6 p.m. in the lecture hall. A reception and preview of the exhibition at 6:30 p.m. follow. The event is free for members, $15 for nonmembers.
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