Wyeth, Welty and whys 

Arkansas art lovers have reason to hit the road this fall.

click to enlarge PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST: At Walton.

The sometimes haunting American realism of Andrew Wyeth, the contemporary expressionist faces of British artists, the South of the 1930s as captured by Eudora Welty’s photographs. Contemporary graphic works from national artists. Political posters by Robert Rauschenberg and Arkansas college students.

Count these and others as the main draws this fall for Central Arkansas’s art lovers to get out and about, including to galleries in Fayetteville, Conway and Jonesboro.

Closer to home, on Sept. 22, the Arkansas Arts Center opens its major show for the season, “Something waits beneath it,” watercolors, tempera paintings, illustrated letters and ink sketches made by Wyeth from 1939 to 1969.

Arts Center Director Ellen Plummer said the American realist’s work is “undergoing one of its period reassessments” by the critics; “Something waits beneath it,” featuring seldom-exhibited work from Wyeth’s time on the Maine coast and in eastern Pennsylvania, allows Arkansas viewers to do the same.

The show was organized by the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, and will stay at the Arts Center through December. Admission is $6 ($4 for children) for nonmembers; members get in free.

Opening Sept. 15 at the Arts Center is “Chaim Gross: 100 Works on Paper,” two-dimensional works by the famed carver of figurative moving sculpture. The show traces seven decades of Gross’ work and was organized by the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation Inc. of New York City and curated by Townsend Wolfe, former director of the Arts Center. Wolfe will give a gallery talk on the show at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Jeannette Edris Rockefeller Gallery.

For more information, call 372-4000 or visit online at www.arkarts.com.

“Face to Face: The Borchard Collection of British Self-Portraits in the 20th Century,” now on exhibit at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, is composed of 100 portraits by artists (five of them women) whose names aren’t likely to be recognized here but who’ve, for the most part, gotten critical acclaim in Great Britain. Ruth Borchard, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany, started buying “outsider” portraits in the 1950s — some of them the first works the artists ever sold — and preferred Expressionists to “anything smacking of America,” according to a biographer. She never paid more than 22 British pounds for a portrait. The exhibit, organized by a London gallery, runs through Nov. 25.

The Walton follows that show with the exhibit “Passionate Observer: Photographs by Eudora Welty,” a show of more than 50 photos Welty took in the 1930s, in December. For more information, call 479-443-9216, or check out the gallery listings at www.waltonartscenter.org.

Aficionados of printmaking will want to head to Jonesboro this fall for Arkansas State University’s “2006 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition,” its nationally recognized juried show that opens Oct. 19. Etchings and lithographs by artists from all over the country will be featured in the show. Judith Hecker, assistant curator for prints and illustrated books at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, juried the exhibition. The show runs through Nov. 17 in the Bradbury Gallery. For more information, call Les Christensen, 870-942-3471.

In Conway, the Baum Gallery at the University of Central Arkansas will mount “2006 Baum MFA Biennial Competitive: Juried Bodies of Work” Thursday, Sept. 14. The show, judged by David S. Rubin, curator of visual arts at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, features MFA thesis work: drawings and paintings by Judy Rushin (Georgia State) and photographs by Jaime Kennedy (Ohio State). The artists will give gallery talks and classes Oct. 17 and 18; the show runs through Oct. 26.

The Baum also opens two shows on political posters Thursday: “Robert Rauschenberg, Artist-Citizen: Posters for a Better World,” the artist’s own posters, created between 1969 and 1996, and the award winners from STAND2006, Arkansas’s first college-level social-issue poster design competition.

To learn more about the Baum’s fall lineup, call Barbara Satterfield at 501-450-5793 or go to http://www.uca.edu/cfac/baum.


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