Crystal Bridges Museum president Don Bacigalupi has written a come-hither piece about the Donald Judd work that has been installed on the grounds of the Bentonville museum in the Huffington Post. Bacigalupi says the work at CBM, "Untitled, 1989 (Bernstein 89 24), is what Judd called a "specific object."
Judd called these mature works "specific objects" rather than sculptures or works of art, to indicate their distance from traditional ways of making sculptural art. These were "specific" because the artist carefully orchestrated their shape, scale, proportions, and materiality. And they were "objects" because they were fabricated — rather than sculpted — by the artist.
The Judd was acquired along with Andy Warhol's "Hammer and Sickle" at an auction at Sotheby's.
Here's a link to the Judd Foundation website, where you can learn more about the "specific objects."
At the Old State House Museum, Geoffrey Robson and David Gerstein will perform duos by Kodaly and Handel for violin and cello. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center opens its Juneteenth celebration with "Voices from the Front Porch," a theatrical performance by S. Juain Young.
And, as previously mentioned:
Butler Center Galleries, 401 Clinton: "Get a Simple Landscape," drawings by Jerry Phillips, along with the "Arkansas Art Educators Youth Art Show."
Hearne Fine Art, 1001 Wright Ave.: "Reflections in Silver: Silverpoint Drawings by Aj Smith and Marjorie Williams-Smith."
Gallery 221, Pyramid Place: Work by Gino Hollander, Jennifer Cox Coleman, EMILE and Mary Ann Stafford.
Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third: "Arkansas Made," “Reflected by Three: William Detmers, Scott Lykens and G. Tara-Casciano,” and “Painting in the Open Air: Day and Night,” work by Jason Sacran. Parkstone will provide music.
The Edge, 301 B Clinton: Work by "Avila," a.k.a. Fernando Gomez, Eric Freeman.
Silverpoint drawings by Aj Smith and Marjorie Williams-Smith, two of Arkansas's biggest talents, are on exhibit at Hearne Fine Art in a show called "Reflections in Silver." The gallery will be open for 2nd Friday Art Night tonight, 5-8 p.m.
The silverpoint technique, making the finest of lines with a silver or other metal stylus on reactive paper, allows the artist to create portraits (as Aj Smith does) or drawings of nature (as Marjorie Williams-Smith does) of diffuse, glowing light. They are quite beautiful.
Hearne Fine Art is celebrating its silver anniversary with this silverpoint show. The gallery opened 25 years ago in 800 square feet downtown, and today has the finest work by African-American artists in Arkansas, or even outside Arkansas.
Here's a great link to an online exhibition of in the show.
Now Phillips brings a collection of drawings, "Get a Simple Landscape," to the Butler Center Galleries, which opens with tonight's 2nd Friday Art Night reception from 5-8 p.m. As the gallery explains the exhibition, the drawings are both about landscape and "the metaphorical kind of 'scape,' as it reflects on the artist himself.'" As you can see from the image above, the work is ephemeral ... but then, so are we.
Phillips' work also appeared in last year's exhibition at the Historic Arkansas Museum, "Arkansas Contemporary: Selected Fellows from the Arkansas Arts Council." HAM was in good company: Phillips' has work in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His most recent exhibition was in Geneva, in "Works on Paper" at Blondeau & Cie in March.
A sampler stitched in 1828 by a young Cherokee girl at Dwight Mission, a Presbyterian school on the banks of the Arkansas in the early 1800s, will be just one of the fine objects on exhibit tomorrow as the Historic Arkansas Museum opens its new Arkansas Made Gallery. There will be a reception as part of 2nd Friday Art Night, 5-8 p.m., with music by Parkstone.
The objects are both old and new: A painting by contemporary artist Sylvester McKissick hangs next to an early 20th century oil by Adrian Brewer (1891-1956), and Native American pots are juxtaposed with a basket by Arkansas Living Treasure Leon Niehaus.
I got a peek today at the sampler, stitched in silk on linen in 1828 by Nancy Graves. Deputy Director and Chief Curator Swannee Bennett provided the following information on the sampler:
This rare example of Arkansas Made needlework is the earliest documented Native American-made sampler known to exist anywhere in the United States. Nancy Grave’s Cherokee name was Ku-To-Yi, and she was 11 years old when she made this sampler. She was one of dozens of young Cherokee girls who attended the Presbyterian school known as Dwight Mission, located on the banks of the Arkansas River near present-day Russellville. There they learned the three “R’s” and the various aspects of domestic economy, which included needlework, and the making of samplers. Most samplers are constructed with three major components — the alphabet, numbers and verse. As a result, the student was taught to sew, spell, read and count.
The school was established in 1820 by the Reverend Cephas Washburn. One of its stated purposes was to serve as a school to educate and Christianize the Cherokee moving west with their families from their homes in Tennessee and Georgia. Ultimately, the “Americanization” of Native Americans in this country resulted in the wholesale loss of language and culture for tens of thousands of American Indians.
Alice Walton has nothing on Bennett. Walton famously bid on a painting at auction at Sotheby's while on horseback during a competition. Bennett bid on the sampler in January from a duck blind, ducks quacking in the background all the time, a fact Sotheby's revealed to the auction audience after HAM secured the bid.
Bennett and Director Bill Worthen have authored a couple of books, "Arkansas Made," vols. 1 and 2, about objects the HAM staff has identified over many years as being Arkansan in origin and which reveal what life was like in 19th century Arkansas. They prove Arkansas was not, as Louise Loughborough is quoted as saying on one wall of the exhibit, not just a place with fiddles and leaky roofs.
Gallery 221, in the Pyramid Place at Second and Center streets, has opened a new gallery on the second floor, the Gino Hollander Gallery. A grand opening of the gallery, which will feature paintings and works on paper, will be held 5-8 p.m. June 27 and will include music, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
Hollander, 89, describes himself as an abstract expressionist, though there are figurative elements in his work as well. Gallery 221, which will be open for 2nd Friday Art Night tomorrow night from 5-8 p.m., is showing paintings by Hollander now, along with work by Jennifer Cox Coleman, EMILE and Mary Ann Stafford.
The Edge, opened recently by Fernando Gomez at 301B President Clinton Ave., has joined the 2nd Friday Art Night lineup and will be open 5-8 p.m. tomorrow for what it calls a "Sangria Blitz."
Most of the contemporary art gallery is devoted to Gomez' own work, but other Arkansas artists are represented as well, including Eric Freeman.
Gomez invitation to 2nd Friday says the gallery "will be ready to show you something new ... and that is no bull" (see above).
There is something kind of wonderful that the exhibition "Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893" is being displayed at Lakeport Plantation, south of Lake Village, Arkansas's only antebellum home along the Mississippi left standing and a place where 95 slaves once toiled.
The traveling exhibition, produced by the Arkansas History Commission and the Black History Commission of Arkansas, tells the story of the 1868 constitution that allowed black males to vote and hold office, as well as the later election law "reforms" that white Arkansans voted in to end African American representation in the legislature. It runs through June at Lakeport.
Eighty-five African Americans served in the General Assembly in the 19th century, among them professionals, merchants, ministers, farmers and others. Voters in Chicot County, where Lakeport is located, and other southeast Arkansas counties elected more than 12 men to the legislature. Dr. Blake Wintory, assistant director at Lakeport, will give a talk about the men who represented Chicot County from 1868 to 1893 at 5:30 p.m. June 27.
For more information about the exhibit at the Lakeport Plantation, call Wintory at 870-265-6031 or email email@example.com.
As a sign that the Arkansas Arts Center feels its ship has been righted and is now on course, the Board of Directors voted today to include 3 percent raises to staff, both management and non-management, in its 2014 budget.
Arts Center also made its 2013 budget with $45 left over. Pretty tight management there; the Arts Center's come a long way from the curse put on it by the "World of the Pharaohs" exhibition (and some funny business by a former staffer that was settled with the Foundation), which left it with a budget deficit of $1.6 million in 2009. The 2014 budget of $6,042,000 is just slightly higher than last year's and is "conservative," board member and finance chair Mary Ellen Vangilder said. The year will be the first full year with its curatorial staff, who came on board last December thanks to a grant by the Windgate Foundation. The Arts Center will also receive a welcome infusion of money from the city of $400,000, part of its promise to voters in the 2011 penny sales tax election. The city had reduced its contribution to the Arts Center, once $800,000, to $200,000 in recent years because of its own budget problems.
The "Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: Treasures of Kenwood House, London" exhibit that opened Thursday to members and Friday to the public, had 2,125 visitors between Thursday night and Sunday. Opening night brought in a crowd of 1,250, 430 of them piling into the children's theater and the lecture hall for talks by Julius Bryant of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The show is credited with producing 87 new memberships at the Arts Center. (Members may see the show for free, among other perks.)
Attendance was up 5,567 over 2012, Herman also reported.
Staff discussed maintenance needs for the Arts Center, which are not budgeted for 2014. The Children's Theatre needs a new projector, audio and rugs; the Wolfe and Rockefeller gallery lights are obsolete — there were just enough for the Kenwood House show, Herman said. Rugs in the gift shop and restaurant need replacing. And so forth.
Herman also talked about the 2014 exhibition lineup, including:
"Face to Face," artists self portraits from the collection of Jackye and Curtis Finch, which will be paired with "Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge" from the National Gallery. They run Oct. 25 through Feb. 9, 2014, though the new website — that's another story altogether, thumbs down on the redo — says Feb. 9, 201.
"Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade," which will illustrate the development of the artist and include the 1949 "Untitled," a masterpiece in yellow, purple, black and green that Herman said is one of the most valuable paintings in the National Gallery collection. Also Oct. 25-Feb. 9, 2014.
"The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South," now showing at the Brooks Museum in Memphis (800 on its opening night last week, a record-breaker for the Brooks) and which includes several pieces from the collection of former Arts Center board member Bobby Tucker. It will run Feb. 28, 2014, to June 1, 2014.
Non-management had a 2 percent cost of living raise in 2011; management had not had a raise since 2008. In fact, management took a 10 percent pay cut in 2012. That pay was restored last month to Arts Center Director Todd Herman and Director of Operations Laine Harber. (With their new pay raise, Herman will make about $165,000 and Harber $103,000.)
Their work won't be unveiled until September, but the winners of the Bernice Garden's annual sculpture contest have been announced. They are David Carpenter ("Home: The View from Here); UAPB professor Danny Campbell of Pine Bluff ("Garden Series"); Steve Driver of Ozark ("Fish Stela"); Mia Hall and David Clemons ("The Fruit of their Labor"); John Van Horn and Erika Drake of North Little Rock ("Sealed with a Wish") and Kerrick Hartman of Stuttgart ("Burden Bearers").
The unveiling will be at the 5th annual Sculpture Party and Fall Fest, 5-8 p.m. Sept. 5.
UPDATED with a couple of images of sculpture models. Photographs by Steven Otis.
The Brooks Museum tomorrow opens a summer exhibition of works by Carroll Cloar, the pointillist Arkansan who painted what he saw around him in East Arkansas and lived his adult life in Memphis. The exhibit, "The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South" runs through Sept. 15 at the Memphis museum, which has scheduled lots of activities around the show. Here's a nice long blog item by J. Stokes-Casey about Cloar, and here's a link to numerous youtube videos about Cloar.
Gallery 26, at 2611 Kavanaugh, is showing an exhibit of mixed media work by Brad Cushman, the Little Rock artist also known as the gallery director at UALR; and collages by Amy Edgington, the artist also known as that artist who works at the Central Arkansas Library System.
The show is called "Prehistoric Daydreams"; Cushman's work, which includes polymer gravure etchings, focuses on the contemporary; Edgington recycles magazine and other materials for work that has "humor with a sting in its tail," a gallery press release says. The show runs through July 13.
Thanks to a gracious Todd Herman, director of the Arkansas Arts Center, I got a tour today of the Arts Center’s bang-up “Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: Treasures of Kenwood House, London” exhibition. It opens tonight to members and tomorrow to the public. Yes, it's ticketed, but it may be the best $12 you'll ever spend.
There is nothing like standing in front of a painting by Rembrandt. The 1665 self-portrait, made by the artist in his last years, comes from the collection of Lord Iveagh, who was simply Edward Cecil Guinness before he made a mint in the beer business and started climbing London’s social ladder in the late 19th century. The artist's soft strokes and complex hues reveal the face of a genius. Rembrandt sits, draped in a dark jacket with red vest and with palette in hand, his face framed in light. The plain mustardy background has two arcs drawn on it; Herman said the latest interpretation of this strangely modern background is that the arcs are Rembrandt's reference to 14th century Italian master Giotto, who was said to have won the pope’s commission by simply painting a perfect circle, suggesting that the artist believed himself to be the Giotto of his time. Yet this is a portrait of Rembrandt as a humble man, a jewel that is amazingly in Little Rock.
In fact, there is nothing quite like the exhibition in its entirety, especially to those of us whose travel abroad is limited. These 48 paintings have come to the United States while Kenwood House, which Guinness bequeathed to Great Britain, is restored. The 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings remind us that there was once a time when great art made grand scale was in demand. Like “slo-food,” this is slo-art, sumptuous work depicting the heroic and the wonderful. Today, people are too busy with their mobile phones and ipads and television to need great art, or music. Not so when Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Gainsborough worked, though only the wealthy few could afford such beautiful distractions.
Besides the Rembrandt, there are stunning full-length portraits — enormous paintings, seven feet tall and taller — of women in elegant finery or mythic costume by Gainsborough, Van Dyck, Sir Joshua Reynolds and George Romney; a rich Turner seascape; exquisite Dutch paintings of ships (including the 1630 painting of the London Bridge by Claude de Jongg); a pair of sexy Bouchers celebrating romantic love (see the two cherries dangle from the young lover's finger); portraits of beautiful children that Herman said denote what he called the "renaissance of the child," when they came to be viewed not as miniature adults but innocents. Reynolds' "Mrs. Musters as Hebe" is a gorgeous painting of Sophia Musters as the cup-bearer to the gods, a portrait painted for Mr. Musters after the painting he commissioned ended up with Mrs. Muster's lover, the Prince of Wales.
Guinness collected these paintings for his stunning home in Hempstead Health in only four years and from the same dealer, Herman said. Lucky dealer. The show will run through Sept. 8; reserve tickets at the Arts Center's website.
The finance committee of the Arkansas Arts Center board of directors today approved a 2014 budget proposal of $6,041,058 million for 2014, an increase of $137,705 over 2013. The budget will be presented to the full board on Monday.
Arkansans love Norman Rockwell. (I especially love the Rockwell in the image above.)
During its 11-week run, the exhibit "American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell" drew more than 121,000 people to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the museum said today — more than any other visitors at any of the 12 museums it traveled to before coming to Arkansas. (Around 100 of them traveled to the show on the Arkansas Times' artbuses.)
Next up: "Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th Century American Art," 72 masterworks from the Newark Museum, and "Surveying George Washington," historical documents, both June 29-Sept. 30.
A&E Feature / To-Do List / In Brief / Movie Reviews / Music Reviews / Theater Reviews / A&E News / Art Notes / Graham Gordy / Books / Media / Dining Reviews / Dining Guide / What's Cookin' / Calendar / The Televisionist / Movie Listings / Gallery Listings