Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Word from Our Interns

We try to write most posts on this blog in first-person plural, as a lot of different people contribute to it, but our wonderful interns do quite a bit of the writing. Lauren Kelley, who's been helping out in the PR department this summer, wrote the following for us about her recent trip to New York:

Last weekend I ventured to NYC (via Airtran U--if you’re between ages 18 and 22 you can fly standby for $69 each way--I recommend you use it while you can) to visit one of my best friends. She's studying art and art history at UGA and was probably the best hostess to have in the city. Not a minute was wasted. Reflecting on my jaunt, I realized that we experienced three very distinct and specific art encounters, one each day.

On Friday amongst our walking, window-shopping and catching up we meandered to a gallery she had on her list to visit. In the SoHo area, The Spencer Brownstone Gallery is hosting a special exhibition presented by VICE magazine. On view are photographs coinciding with the VICE Photo Issue 2009, taken by Terry Richardson, Ryan McGinley, Jerry Hsu, Keiichi Nitta, amongst others. The small, contemporary gallery was the perfect blank canvas for VICE's youthful, raw and intimate exhibit.

The art encounter of day two began after an L train ride south to Brooklyn. That night one of my friend's classmates from UGA was performing at Monkeytown, a dining and video performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I saw, or experienced rather, Brian's performance at the Lamar Dodd School of Art exit show last May, and was ecstatic to see him perform again. He uses his interactive new media skill set to trigger and manipulate sounds, which interact with visuals projected onto a screen. This performance space bordered with overly comfortable couches and four wall-to-wall projection screens was the perfect frame for Brian's interactive art and music. It's difficult to describe this work, so check out his website for detailed descriptions, videos and updates, and if you ever have the chance to see him perform live, don't pass it up.

My friend and I took the more traditional route on day three and visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With not nearly enough time to even begin a thorough visit, we did manage to view the entire Model as Muse exhibition, which showcases 20th-century photographs, videos and couture and serenades you with corresponding tunes. The overwhelming amount of beauty really makes you appreciate the art of fashion.

Creating a Library

If you read Alexis Richardson's blog posts this summer, you know that she mostly worked on scanning publications for us. Well, her efforts are starting to see fruit. If you visit our library on Issuu, you'll see that we've compiled some of the pages she scanned into several pdf files and uploaded them for reading, searching, embedding and more. Past brochures on Rembrandt, French floral drawings, the sculptures of Andrew T. Crawford and more are up, and we'll continue to add more as we finalize scans. We think it's going to be a great resource for scholarship and publicity.

"Lord Love You" installation

Installation-in-progress photographs will appear on here soon. Below [click it to make it larger and clearer] is an image showing my (second) rough draft plan for the installation of the 83+ objects in the exhibition.

As a monograph of Miller from a single, private collection, the display is to be arranged along themes (selected via subject matter and meaning): introduction to the artist, popular culture, animals and critters, Blow Oskar and patriotism, religion and millennialism (which I can't spell), and personal life.

Although I did plan for specific objects to be placed in very specific locales within the Lyndon House's upper atrium, I also permitted myself a bit of conceit in leaving the process somewhat organic. What looks good next to what else? Long sight lines? Short sight lines? Interesting combinations and juxtapositions of objects as talking points?

Edit: Photos are now on Flickr and can be viewed below in a slideshow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Posters and Installation

We've been working on installing the exhibition Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection over at the Lyndon House (opening to the public August 8), with (we hope) some photographs to come of that work. Limited-edition posters, which will look like the above, be printed on heavy Mohawk Superfine stock, measure 18 by 22 inches and be hand numbered in white Prismacolor at the bottom from 1 to 100, will arrive soon and retail for $50 each. Those will be available from our Web shop and at the Lyndon House gift shop.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GMOA in the News

The Young Dawgs program has posted its summer 09 newsletter, which includes an interview with Alexis Richardson, who was our student this summer.

Lynn's Europe Travel Pics on Flickr

As promised in an earlier blog post, I’ve begun my “highlights reel” with photos from my recent research trip to Europe posted on Flickr. So far, it’s days 1-3 in Barcelona. Pics from Montserrat will be up tomorrow, and from Menorca on Thursday. France will be next week, so keep checking back for more.

In addition to the wonderfully accommodating museum professionals I thank in the photo captions, I would like to acknowledge two funding sources that made this trip possible: the Program for Cultural Cooperation between the Spanish Ministry of Culture and United States Universities, administered by the University of Minnesota, and the Pierre Daura Center here at the Georgia Museum of Art. The GMOA staff and I are immensely grateful to both for their support of this important project, which allowed me to undertake essential research for our upcoming exhibition Cercle et Carré and the International Spirit of Abstract Art and to carefully study much of Pierre Daura’s oeuvre in person in preparation for a number of other projects. This work will be subjects of blog posts to come, but this series allows me to share one of the perks of the trip, the picturesque backdrops for it all:

Eco-friendly art?

After seeing an article in the Athens Banner-Herald this morning about how Georgia's drought may be returning, it's a nice coincidence that Flavorwire plugged Scott Wade's dirty car art today. Drawn in the dust on car windows, Wade's works inspire us not only with their surprising beauty (they go way beyond "Wash Me"), but with the way they can make not washing your car an aesthetic as well as an environmental act.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Updates from Ronnie

It's time for your weekly update from Ronnie.

Here's what he told us they're working on right now and in the near future:
  • Beginning demolition on the staircase (inside)
  • Continuing footing excavation
  • Installing storm piping and manholes (you can see some of these in the photos below)
  • Continuing to excavate and haul off excess dirt
  • Disconnecting some electrical systems inside to prepare for demolition
They've also closed the road up to the security entrance of the museum entirely. Later this week, they hope to start putting down the gravel and asphalt base for the building area, depending on the weather (i.e., if it doesn't rain too much), and next week or the week after they'll start structural steel.

GMOA in the News

Art Daily has covered both the acquisitions Paul detailed below on this blog (the Billups portraits) and the award of a $50,000 grant by the NEA to GMOA to fund a curator of decorative arts.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded the Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA) a $50,000 grant through the 2009 NEA Direct Grants: Museum-Recovery Act. Recognizing the importance of the nonprofit arts industry on the economy, the Recovery Act provides stimulus funds, which the NEA uses in an effort to preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector that are threatened by the current economic downturn. GMOA is one of only nine nonprofit arts organizations in Georgia that received a grant, which will provide salary support for positions deemed critical to an organization’s artistic mission. Only organizations that were awarded NEA funding over the past four years were eligible.

The stimulus grant will provide a year of salary and benefits to fill the vacant position of curator of decorative arts. The curator directs the museum’s Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts, which has as its primary focus the decorative arts and material culture of Georgia. Founded in 1998, the Green Center produces exhibitions, publications and educational programs that reach audiences in Georgia and well beyond the region, thus serving a critical role in the museum’s mission and its long-range and strategic goals.

“Happily, this very timely grant allows us to continue the work of the Henry D. Green Center without missing a beat,” said the museum’s director, Dr. William U. Eiland.

Among the first duties of the interim curator of decorative arts is to plan and present the fifth biennial Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts, “Neighboring Voices: The Decorative Culture of Our Southern Cousins,” on January 29-30, 2010, and edit the presentations for publication following the event. The curator will design the display of the permanent collection of decorative arts in the museum’s new gallery wing and formalize the Henry D. Green Center with the new GMOA humanities study centers, opening in early 2011. The curator will resume development of a major survey exhibition and catalogue of the decorative arts in Georgia, circa 1750-2000, along with other original exhibitions, and will direct new acquisitions of decorative arts, with an emphasis on works made in Georgia, the South and the United States.

Monday Morning Amusement

Amy Miller, our shop manager, passed along this link to Worth 1000, a site that runs regular Photoshop contests. This one involves incorporating celebrities into famous works of art.

Friday, July 24, 2009

GMOA Acquires Two Works Significant to Georgia History

I have been waiting some time, while all the donor wishes and wording details got formalized, to post about this:

The Georgia Museum of Art at UGA Acquires Two Works Significant to Georgia History

ATHENS, GA – The Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA) acquired two important American paintings at the sale of the Florence and William Griffin Collection at Brunk Auctions in Asheville, N.C., Saturday, May 30. Between 1945 and the 1980s, the Griffins amassed an exceptional collection of southern furniture, silver, pottery, books, paintings, prints and decorative arts significant to Georgia history.

The purchase, with winning bids and buyer’s premiums totaling $133,400, was made possible by an anonymous donation in honor of George-Ann and Boone Knox. The paintings depict Robert Ransome Billups and his wife, Elizabeth Ware Fullwood Billups, circa 1827 and were painted by Edwin B. Smith (active 1815 to 1832).

The portraits have extensive exhibition and publication histories and were displayed in the traveling exhibition Missing Pieces: Georgia Folk Art 1770-1976, organized by the Atlanta Historical Society and shown at a number of venues in 1976 and 1977.

A classic example of early American portraiture, the half-length view of a seated Mr. Billups is set against a backdrop of lush, rolling hills with hunters and dogs chasing a wounded stag. In contrast, the more austere image of Mrs. Billups shows her seated in an interior with drapery wearing a black dress with a silver belt buckle and delicate lace collar.

Married in 1818, Robert Ransome Billups and Elizabeth Ware Fullwood were early residents of Clarke County. Mr. Billups, the nephew of Capt. John Billups, was killed on June 9, 1836, in the Creek Indian battle at Shepherd’s Plantation in Stewart County. His son, Edward Swepson Billups, married Mary Richardson, daughter of Richard Richardson, owner of the Eagle Tavern in Watkinsville, Ga., where the paintings hung until 1956, when the building was given to the State of Georgia.

“The personal biography of Mr. Billups, the rich iconography of the hunters and the stag, and even Mr. Billups’ elaborate coiffure will likely make this painting among the favorites of our patrons,” said William U. Eiland, director of the Georgia Museum of Art.

The acquisition of these two portraits supports and strengthens the museum’s collection of American paintings, a collection begun by Alfred Heber Holbrook in the 1940s. With works such as Samuel F.B. Morse’s Portrait of Mrs. Catherine Munro (ca. 1818) and Charles Bird King’s Portrait of William Harris Crawford (1823), these paintings are among the earliest images in the American collection.

“The portraits will serve as an excellent means to encourage the discovery of new knowledge about Georgia’s visual and material culture, especially of the early American republic,” said Paul Manoguerra, curator of American art at GMOA.

In addition, the portraits of the Billupses will be anchors for the museum’s collections of Georgia’s decorative arts and American portraiture in the galleries devoted to the permanent collection within the new wing of the museum that will open to the public in early 2011.

I had the pleasure of serving as the museum's representative on the floor at Brunk Auctions back on that Saturday in late May in Asheville. It truly was a thrill -- and very nerve-racking -- to be able to win these great portraits and return them to Athens and the people of the state of Georgia.

Images: Edwin B. Smith (active 1815–1832), Robert Ransome Billups, ca. 1827. Oil on canvas, 30 x 31 1/8". GMOA 2009.89; and Edwin B. Smith, Elizabeth Ware Fullwood Billups, ca. 1827. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 23 1/8". GMOA 2009.90

Also posted on Classic Ground.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

GMOA in the News

Art Knowledge News has something about Lord Love You, complete with a really cute R.A. Miller painting that's not in the exhibition. Does it belong to someone who works there?

Apollo Magazine also has the exhibition listed in the "What's On" section of its website.

We've spent the morning playing around with the Art Institute of Chicago's new Pathfinder Web app, as prompted by Art Daily. We can't imagine having such an abundance of space (four levels!), but it's a really interesting and, it seems, fairly useful online map, with panoramic views of the galleries, mapping of routes (both on foot and with handicap accessibility in mind) from one area to another, location of amenities and so on. Would it be useful to you if we provided our general information brochure and gallery map online, or is GMOA not large enough to make that necessary, even post-expansion?

Local Art

One site we've been enjoying a lot lately is Bob Brussack's Athens View, which serves as a forum for his photographs of our hometown. Whether they show the slow awakening of a sleepy downtown or young athletes at the skate park or local jazz musicians, they make us feel connected to the Classic City.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The South in Black and White: A Slideshow

We took some newsletters, GMOA on the Move calendars and rack cards for the R.A. Miller exhibition to the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum and also toured the exhibition The South in Black and White: The Graphic Works of James E. Routh Jr. In case you can't make it, these photographs should show you how beautifully it's arranged, but seeing the works in person is a whole different experience. The museum is open Monday through Friday during regular working hours, and the people staffing it couldn't be nicer. We hope you'll join us at the artist's reception Sept. 17, but you'll get a more intimate experience if you pop in before then.

GMOA in the News

Campus architect Danny Sniff has a guest editorial in the Athens Banner-Herald this morning in which he mentions the Georgia Museum of Art as an example of a building project on campus that utilizes a surface lot and, therefore, attempts to preserve existing trees. We have done our best to try to keep as many trees as possible in the area surrounding the museum, and the sculpture garden planned for the expansion and renovation will add to green space.

Also today, Art Daily is covering Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection, which opens in less than three weeks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Did you know MOMA had a YouTube channel?

This video is part of a series in which the museum's staff tried to convey something about the institution in 30 seconds. There are also sections of the channel devoted to videos about new exhibitions.

The Georgia Museum of Art also has a YouTube channel, but it's much smaller. Still, you can watch our introduction to Second Life and slideshows of the 2008 and 2007 MFA exit shows. Maybe we should add some cartwheeling?

Don't forget

Tonight at 6 p.m.!

Monday, July 20, 2009

To Free or Not to Free

Whenever we read about Bank of America's Museums on Us program, which offers free admission to a growing list of museums one weekend a month to account-holders, we're a little envious of the museums that can brag about being on its list. The Georgia Museum of Art is always free, so we can't participate, but Art Daily did run an interesting article about free admission to museums and what it means to the public. Museums in the UK have had no admission fees since 2001, and the Art Fund has been studying the results of that decision (its publication is available here as a pdf). The implementation of free admission has led to a doubling in the number of visitors to museums in the UK, and it makes the public feel they have a stake in the collections, but other barriers remain to visitorship increasing still more, such as a sense of exclusion or anxiety about a lack of knowledge. Free is great, but it's not the only answer.

The American Scene on Paper: Opening Reception in Columbus

Most of us couldn't be at the opening reception for The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection, which opened in Columbus, Ga., this past weekend, but our grants writer, Betty Alice Fowler, was able to go and took some pictures for us, including a couple of Jason Schoen, whose wonderful collection has made this exhibition possible.

Updates from Ronnie

We just received another weekly report from Holder Construction Company, and we want to keep you up to date!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Updates from Ronnie

Today the hard hat area prohibited us from talking to Ronnie, but we have a photo update. For now click on the images to expand the Holder Construction Company Photo Report and view the Flickr album. We'll have a written update soon!

GMOA Exhibitions on the Move

GMOA has three traveling exhibitions opening this weekend and Monday, so please, if you're in the following areas of the state or country, stop by and check them out.

The Pensacola Museum of Art, in Fla., is opening Passport to Paris: 19th-Century French Prints today and will run it through Sept. 12. The 46 prints in this exhibition, drawn from the collection of the Georgia Museum of Art, offer visitors a voyage through the printmaking phenomenon that took place in 19th-century France. Europe in the 19th century experienced a new appreciation for printmaking, one in which its artistic merit became widely regarded as equal to painting and other art forms, and France became the center of this printmaking revival. During this period, there was a great deal of activity by artists interested in etching, lithography, and woodcut. Spurred by the democratic impulses that continued after the French Revolution, artists began to depict a much greater variety of subjects, finding material to ignite their imaginations in the diverse nature of city streets, countryside, and foreign lands. Printmaking in 19th-century France is often characterized by the portrayal of modern life. This exhibition presents examples of that theme, as well as many of the techniques and styles representative of that era. Included in the 46 prints on display are works by such venerated artists as Eugene Delacroix, Mary Cassatt, Honore Daumier, Paul Cezanne, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. In addition, it may well be your last chance to see this popular touring exhibition before it is retired, as GMOA will be revamping all its regularly available traveling exhibitions.

As we've mentioned numerous times, the Columbus Museum, in Columbus, Ga., is opening The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection to the public on Sunday, July 19, and keeping it up through Sept. 27. To read a press release about the exhibition, click here or go here to find images for use by the press.

Finally, The South in Black and White: The Works of James E. Routh Jr., 1939-1946 will open Monday, July 20, at the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and run through Oct. 2, with a reception for the artist on Sept. 17. James Routh was born in New Orleans in 1918 but grew up in Atlanta. Routh graduated from Oglethorpe College, now Oglethorpe University, and then studied at the Art Students League in New York. Routh then applied for a Rosenwald fellowship to fund his proposed travel through the South. He planned to gather information for a series of prints, stating that he wanted to "paint a number of pictures concerned simply with scenes of everyday life in the South." This exhibition contains the images that resulted from Routh's travel in 1940 and 1941 as a result of the fellowship. Routh sketched as he traveled through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana during the hard years of the Depression, then later created prints and paintings from those drawings. In 1940, the rural Georgia that Routh observed was dominated by the cotton industry. Even as early as the mid-19th century, Georgia's soil revealed signs of the damage cotton cultivation and its associated agricultural practices had created, and Routh's images document this damage as well as the impoverished state of the South during the Depression. Routh's prints also capture agricultural scenes that have been lost in the urbanization of Atlanta and its suburbs. Many of the landscapes in his rural images are now buried in the heart of the city. After fighting in World War II with the U.S. Army and following a career in advertising, Routh retired in 1983 to Waynesville, N.C., where he lives today. An exhibition catalogue just went to the printer and should be available next month for $20.

Please let us know if you visit any of these exhibitions. We'd love to hear about your experiences.

Art Around Athens

It's another busy summer weekend in Athens and the surrounding areas.

Tonight (Fri., Jul. 17) at Aurum Studios on E. Clayton Street down, from 6–9 p.m., is a free opening reception for an exhibition featuring work by local potter Maria Dondero (work pictured above, from her Web site), painter Joy Stanley from Macon and fiber artist Margaret Hunt from Clarks Hill, S.C.

Also tonight, at the Monroe Art Guild from 6 to 8 p.m., is another free opening reception, for the guild's Summer Members' Show.

On Saturday, Jul. 18, at Blue Tin Studio from 1 to 4 p.m., is a free open studio, where you can see what artists Erin McIntosh and Sarah Seabolt are making in the studio and consume refreshments.

Sunday, Jul. 19, from 3 to 6 p.m. at ATHICA is the closing reception for Emerges III: Journeys, which will feature a presentation by Nicholas Holt on virtual worlds, a travel photo retrospective by Robyn Waserman and a panel discussion with exhibit artists moderated by curator Mary C. Wilson, followed by light refreshments.

Family Day: Colors of Summer

Our next Family Day is tomorrow (Saturday, July 18) at 10 a.m. at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Kids will go on a scavenger hunt throughout the garden, then create collages inspired by the colors, shapes and textures they see, using photographs from the gardens and an assortment of colorful paper to assemble their own works of art. The department of education's intern, Katie Bacon, made the examples above and below. We hope to see you there tomorrow, and go ahead and mark your calendars for the next Family Day, Whirligigs, which will be held Sept. 19 at the Lyndon House Arts Center in conjunction with the exhibition Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection. Call 706.542.GMOA (4662) with any questions.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Art of: Cinema

Hey, we hope we'll see a lot of you on Tuesday at The Art of: Cinema, at Ciné on Hancock Avenue in downtown Athens (parking is available on-street and is free after 7 p.m., in one of the several decks downtown or in one of the lots run by Prestige Parking, which may or may not be charging Tuesday). Professor Richard Neupert from the UGA department of theatre and film studies will present "How to Watch a Film"; afterward, attendees can view either Away We Go (directed by Sam Mendes, written by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida and starring John Krasinski [of The Office] and Maya Rudolph) or Moon (directed by David Bowie's son Duncan Jones and starring Sam Rockwell). $15 Friends members, $20 non-members. Call 706.542.0830 to RSVP.

Online Art for the Masses

If you're feeling creative, nostalgic and patient, Hasbro has a new online Lite-Brite you can play around with.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

R.A. Miller Photo Gallery

Hey, remember how we asked you to send in pictures of your R.A. Miller works so we could upload them to Flickr and create a big virtual gallery? Well, we're starting to get some submissions, first from Daniel Peiken, a local real estate agent and man about town. He writes:
I've got some great pieces of R.A. Miller's work. I think I have some pieces that are unlike anyone else's. I'd spend hours at his house talking with him and his son.

My two "devil" pieces are about 2.5 feet tall and 2 feel wide--very cool.

I also have a huge wooden dinosaur cut out that he and I found behind his washer and dryer (it still has lint on it).

This was one of his very old pieces before he started to cut out of metal.
Check out the photo gallery here and send us pictures of your R.A.'s at gmoapr at

GMOA in the News

Art Daily has an announcement up today of the opening of The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection at the Columbus Museum. The exhibition was organized by the Georgia Museum of Art and was previously on view at the Gibbes, in Charleston, S.C. While the Gibbes showed around 50 works from the exhibition, the Columbus Museum is showing around 100, and when the exhibition opens at the Georgia Museum of Art in 2011, once renovations and expansion are complete, it will include the full 153 works that are illustrated and discussed in the catalogue, an IPPY silver medal winner for fine art. You can purchase the catalogue at the Columbus Museum's gift shop or from our web shop, and we strongly encourage you to go see the exhibition while it's up (until Sept. 27).

ACUMG Petition

The Association of College and University Museums and Galleries has a statement of support for which it is seeking signatories. We encourage you to go and add your name:
A Message Concerning University and College Museums

We the undersigned believe that:

Great colleges and universities look both forward and back; they shape our shared future by being stewards of our shared past.

They perform this service not merely through the commitment of countless faculty and other resources to the cause of teaching, learning and scholarship, but also by building, preserving, providing access to, and interpreting tangible objects, ranging from manuscripts and rare books to works of art and biological and natural-history specimens and artifacts.

Our college and university collections, found in our great academic archives, libraries and museums, are deep repositories of past and present human creativity, in all its diversity and richness.

These collections present students, teachers and local communities with unique opportunities to experience, to learn, and to grow. They speak to the youngest child and to the lifelong learner. They advance teaching and learning across the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences, while also inspiring new and exciting forms of interdisciplinary scholarship.

They engage entire communities in the perpetuation and dissemination of knowledge, in their understanding of society and culture, in the value of cultural and scientific literacy to our democracy and, thus, in the practice of developing good and educated citizens.

Archivists, librarians and museum professionals--and the array of services they provide--play an essential role in the educational enterprise by facilitating access to, as well as the appreciation and interpretation of, our college and university collections.

At the heart of many of our great colleges and universities stand museums of art, science, archaeology, anthropology, and history, as well as arboreta and other collections of living specimens. Along with our libraries and archives, these academic museums advance learning through teaching and research. They are the nation's keepers of its history, culture and knowledge. They are essential to the academic experience and to the entire educational enterprise.

Founded, like universities, to serve humankind, museums are no more disposable assets than are libraries and archives.

Great Universities have Great Museums.
Those who have signed are listed here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thanks, City of Winterville!

Doug Makemson's sculptures will be up in Winterville through August 1.

Public Art and the Media

We were checking out Flavorpill today, and it prompted some thoughts about public art. One of the daily links was to "Play Me I'm Yours," a project by Luke Jerram that involves the set up of numerous pianos around a city, in various states of repair, for the public to play. As the statement on the website says, "Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community. The pianos act as sculptural, musical, blank canvases that become a reflection of the communities they are embedded into. Many pianos are personalised and decorated." It's a neat work of art and the kind of thing everyone wants in his or her own town, right?

Flavorpill also linked to Heather Tweed's page, actually to show off her fuzzy Anubis sculptures, but poking around there, we found her "Lost not Found: Abscission," which doesn't give a lot of details but appears to be a similar use of public space for an interactive art project: "The artist will be secreting small artworks at various locations across Edinburgh City centre, finders are requested to follow the attached instructions to participate in the project and keep the artwork. Please visit again over the course of the project for updates, participants and final outcome."

So why do our buttons get so happily pushed by this kind of interactive, public art? If you're a member of the media, including bloggers, pieces of this sort are certainly easier to write about. There's more to do than just stand there and contemplate. And there's no entrance fee. But should they take precedence over more traditional gallery installations? Should we stop pointing to the efforts of artists to shake up everyday life and create consciousness about art as a living, evolving thing?

Former MFAs

Lanora Pierce, one of our preparators, recently sent along two different articles about former MFA students who had their exit shows at the museums.

Justin Rabideau, who was in the 2006 MFA exhibition (from whence the above image comes), has work in Native Offerings III, an exhibition at the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., that features four South Florida artists' interpretations of the environment as a medium or muse. Organized by Talya Lerman, the exhibition includes artists Isabel Gouveia, Brigid Howard, Justin Rabideau and Carolyn Sickles.

Chris Fennell, who showed in 2002, just moved his huge sculpture of baseball bats to a new location at the Sloss Furnaces. Its permanent home will be in Atlanta, near several baseball fields.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deja Vu

When we started reading about Jasper Joffe's latest project, "The Sale of a Lifetime," in Art Daily, it rang a bell. Joffe plans to sell "all his possessions, including his collections of paintings, drawings, teddy bears, and rare books. He will only keep the clothes he is wearing. The number 33 will be a recurrent theme throughout the exhibition, which will be installed in 33 different lots, all for sale for £ 3,333, as Biblical reference to death and rebirth."

John Freyer went about this same kind of project in a slightly different way, putting all his possessions up on eBay, including, eventually, the domain name at which he catalogued his sales. And then there's Luke 12:33, which does encourage you to sell all your stuff but doesn't, in any translations listed at that link, say anything about making an art project out of the experience.

Lord Love You opening reception invitations

These went out in the mail Friday, and you should be getting yours any day now, but in case you didn't, or you're more of a blog reader than a USPS person, here's the invitation to the opening reception for Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection, which opens at the Lyndon House Arts Center in August (click on either of the images to enlarge). The exhibition actually opens on August 8, but the reception will be August 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public. We also just sent corrected proofs for the book back to the printer, so that should be delivered (cross your fingers) by August 8. The book, which is hardback, will retail for $25 and is, we believe, the first devoted entirely to Miller's work.

Summer Film Series, Part Four: Bergman

Again, GMOA’s summer film series drew a large crowd last Wednesday for the screening of the last film of Ingmar Bergman’s “trilogy.” However, the series is not over yet, as there will be a screening this Wednesday of Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.” Easily his most renowned film, “The Seventh Seal” follows a game of chess between a knight returning home from the Crusades and death. This film, released in 1957, predates Bergman’s “trilogy” and anticipates the director’s later explorations of faith and spirituality.

One of the inspirations for Bergman’s film was a church painting by the medieval Swedish painter Albertus Pictor. This painting, pictured below, shows death playing chess – an image that Bergman borrows and transforms into the driving metaphor of “The Seventh Seal.”

Check out the trailer, and definitely come out to Lamar Dodd on Wednesday, July 15, at 7:00 p.m. for the final film in GMOA’s summer film series.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"elles@centrepompidou" exhibition

I had hoped to blog regularly during my research trip to Europe, but have run into technical difficulties [update since writing this and case in point: I’ve spent the last two hours trying to make this work…subsequent posts may have to wait for my return]. Network and computer problems have plagued me—plus a non-stop schedule—but my trusty phone lets me post on Twitter almost constantly, so you can look for me there (leboland). I started the day with the major Kandinsky exhibition at the Pompidou, giving a tweet-by-tweet of thoughts that have been much on my mind lately anyway. Since it would be a ridiculously long blog entry to describe the whole day, much less all of the last two weeks at once, I’ll still present my thoughts in installments. I’ll return to the start of the trip later, I promise, giving at least a highlights reel. For now, however, I have to write about the show that actually got me the most excited (which is really saying something, because I saw some ridiculously good exhibitions today).

"Elles@centrepompidou” is truly spectacular. All women artists from their permanent collection, and perhaps the most powerful exhibition I’ve ever seen. Period. No gender qualification necessary. In the past I’ve been hesitant about such affirmative action type shows. I felt it probably better to simply show a fair representation of work by artists of both genders. However, my wife, who until recently worked as gallery director for a not-for-profit gallery in Austin that shows only contemporary, Texas women artists—Women & their Work—showed me the statistics and the need for some sort of corrective became clear to me. This has also been a hot topic of late on NYC critic, Jerry Saltz’s Facebook page (and many other blogs re-posting and commenting on it) with regard to MOMA’s fourth and fifth floors, as I’m sure many of you are aware.

At any rate, “elles” stands firmly on its own two feet, with some of the strongest, smartest work I’ve seen. It was also really well organized thematically. I’ll admit with some shame that I was only familiar with about half of the artists before seeing the show, but I bought the catalogue (something I never do when traveling) to make sure I don’t forget those I learned of today. Some I did know. Louise Bourgeois seemed over represented to me, but the Rachel Whiteread--a perennial favorite of mine--made up for that in pure spatial volume and mass, if nothing else. Entering the exhibition, I was confronted with Agnès Thurnauer (who I didn’t know), Six Portrait Grandeur Nature, 2007-09, which is witty, direct, and completely brilliant. It’s the one picture (well, two from different angles) I got before my camera died, so you can see it for yourself above. Here’s the artist's statement that accompanied it:

The idea for this sort of work came to me when people found it impossible to grasp the question I asked them: why is the history of art and ideas almost exclusively about men? In the absence of any representation of this question, I thought the simplest thing would be to find a visual form for it. . . . So I decided to create a form opposed to the existing form, to invent a complementary art history, reversing the gender of all the best known artists from male to female, and much more rarely, from female to male. There thus appeared a new artistic population, which in being just as monolithic as the history from which it was derived, succeeded in raising the question I was asking.

–Notes d’atelier, 2009.

Not all of the work was specifically concerned with gender issues, but artists like Barbara Kruger, the Guerilla Girls, and Orlan were well-represented (Orlan still scares me). They have the best Dorthea Tanning I’ve ever seen. To the Pompidou’s further credit, it was nice to remember that Eleanor Antin’s 100 Boots was in the permanent collection exhibition the last time I was there too. Those were some of the familiar faces to me. Irma Boom was a new discovery for me and her video, By Design, 2006, was another personal favorite (and something I’d love to show). I’m always a sucker for art historical references. She reduced famous works of art to simple bands of colors--Damien Hirst, Edward Hopper, Egon Schiele, Jenny Holzer, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Frieda Kahlo, and others--resembling the test patterns that used to come on TV when the station went off the air, except that they morphed from one design to another. Other personal discoveries included Mieko Shiomi, Tara Donovan, Wendy Jacob, Delphine Reist . . . I could go on and on.

The question, I suppose, is how many of these artists will still be on view in the permanent galleries when “elles” comes down. Isn’t that where we should be heading, towards a fair representation of important work, not just famous work? I noticed that the more permanent, permanent collection a floor above featured Sonya Delaunay front and center, but then fell back into the usual story of male-dominant modernism. However, I also noticed that the galleries up there were far less populated than the newer, more challenging work in “elles,” despite rooms full of Picasso, Duchamp, and Léger. The interest in “elles” has got to be apparent to the Pompidou too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Andy Freeberg's Photography

With so many art links on the Internet, we tend to get especially hyped about meta-museum art, like Andy Freeberg's photographs of security guards at Russian museums and of receptionists at Chelsea galleries. The former consist mostly of elderly ladies dressed in bright colors, while the latter are identifiable only by a slice of scalp that shows above the ubiquitous big white desk. Freeberg's statement about the guard series reads as follows:
In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russia’s great art. A woman in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each way to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, “as old women do.” She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.
(via PICDIT)

Young Dawgs: Alexis Richardson

Our Young Dawgs intern, Alexis, has completed her internship at GMOA. We enjoyed having her and look forward to hearing her presentation on her time here next week at the Young Dawgs reception. Here is her final post to the GMOA blog:

It is so unreal that these five weeks with GMOA is officially going to be over on Monday. I have enjoyed my internship here with my wonderful supervisors and the other interns. This was a different internship compared to my internship last year, because I didn’t do office work. Instead I got to do a lot of hands -on work. I have really enjoyed writing blog posts to express what I have been doing every week. I have learned so many different things that will help not only in school but also in a career. I have learned the importance of time management, to be more independent, to not sit around and wait for my supervisor to tell me what needs to be done, to do something without being told. Along with having my own personal space, which some of the other Young Dawgs don’t have, this makes it feel like a real job. I really have enjoyed the setup in this workplace because it is way different from a regular office. I like how everybody was out in a group instead of in an office. The desks and tables are not separated by walls or cubicles, which I think is very neat. There is a big balcony where you can see all through town and works by LDSOA ceramics students below. I am so glad that the publications and pr departments took the time to have me as an intern this summer. I have really enjoyed and learned so much from my time here.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Art Around Athens

Athens-Clarke County's division of Leisure Services, which does a fantastic job community-wide at planning all kinds of events, is holding a photography contest this summer for digital photos of the season, due by July 30, for an upcoming exhibition. The winner will be announced July 31. Athens has many talented photographers, including our own former intern Victoria Slaboda, who took the GMOA on the Move photos.

Tonight (Thursday, July 9) from 5 to 7 p.m. at Jittery Joe's Coffee in Five Points) Elaine Oye is having an opening reception for an exhibition of her paintings, at which she will be present and answer questions.

Tomorrow (Friday, July 10), the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center is having a free opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. for "The Reclamation of Memory," an exhibition organized by renowned Atlanta mixed-media artist Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier in conjunction with the 2009 National Black Arts Festival. The exhibition features works by some of the most prolific and influential artists of this century as well as emerging artists and will run through Aug. 29.

Correspondence from Cortona

Our deputy director, Annelies Mondi, is currently abroad in Italy, and while we didn't get her set up blogging before she left, she did send us the following email about the 40th anniversary celebration of the program held there:
The internet at the hotel is down and so I am using a student's computer here at the school. The celebration went well. Rick Johnson and President Michael Adams presented Mrs. Willson with a beautiful ceramic hand-painted plaque honoring her for her contribution to the Cortona program. It will hang in the Kehoe center. The mayor of Cortona was there, the consul general of Florence and representatives of the major banks who have provided funding. Mrs. Willson also got to meet the recipient of the Willson scholarship. She is a student of ceramics, Krisha (sp?). We then went down the hill and had a lovely dinner (many, many courses) at Tonino's and sat on the porch overlooking the valley. The dinner was hosted by President Adams and the Kehoes. Frances Mayes and her husband were there. Sandra Menendez was at my table and we had a very nice visit.

The weather has been much cooler here and I am glad to escape the heat (and crowds) in Milan and Venice. Today we go to Gubbio, tommorow Orvieto and then I hope we can see Beverly Pepper in Todi. Then we will be off to Rome.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In the News

At Art Daily there is an article about an unusual Rembrandt exhibition at the Berlage Exhibition Center in Amsterdam. What makes this exhibition unique is the fact that it contains the entire body of Rembrandt’s work, totaling 317 paintings and 269 etchings. Yet, there is a catch – the entire exhibition is made up of digital reproductions of the works. As the article explains:

Never before has the complete body of works by an artist of Rembrandt’s stature been exhibited together. Nor have reproductions been taken so seriously. The importance of this collection of Rembrandt’s entire oeuvre in reproduction form lies in the fact that each of his works is a significantly unique creation. In the case of Rembrandt, therefore, there can be no such thing as a representative selection.

This is an interesting event to ponder, especially in light of a previous post on this blog about digital printing. Will exhibitions of the future, at museums like GMOA, feature pieces from a museum’s collection alongside a substantial number of digital reproductions? Will there come a time when digital reproduction is so widely accepted that museums no longer feel the need to risk displaying the actual works in their collections? These questions bring to mind Walter Benjamin and his essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Benjamin writes:

Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. . . . the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence.

Issues of art and reproduction have been discussed for almost the entirety of the 20th century. Benjamin was one of the first theorists to point out the huge perceptual shift caused by the rise of reproducible art. Benjamin termed the unique nature of an original piece of art in time and space its “aura.” Though Benjamin primarily discusses mechanical reproduction in terms of film, it is also an important philosophical question in terms of printmaking, a medium (which makes up a large part of the GMOA collection) based upon the idea and mechanics of reproducibility. As digital reproduction reaches a point of sophistication that allows for an entire exhibition of Rembrandt reproductions, it is essential that we as a museum again consider the role and the value of the “aura” of an original painting or sculpture, as so much of our identity is founded upon our physical collection.

Updates from Ronnie

As we promised, here is your weekly update from Ronnie. Yesterday he informed us of four major points.

First, the earth they scooped out last week is now leveled off into terraces, which will form the terraced sculpture garden. We took a picture from the inside of the museum looking out onto the terraces, but the not-so-photogenic, monochromatic earth doesn’t quite do the terraces justice.

Second, they’re about to start breaking up some of the asphalt in the current staff parking lot just above the terraces.

Third, they’ve put the bulldozers to work and have excavated eight massive boulders from the area where they’re setting the forms for concrete, which brings us to the fourth major point.

The wooden forms are set in place and they will begin pouring the concrete next week – you know what that means – establishing the base and most important part of the new expansion (besides the art inside of course).

Next week we’ll have update number three, and soon we’ll include aerial photos of the museum thanks to Holder Construction!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Digital Books

This article by Lee Shearer in the Athens Banner-Herald on UGA Press's move toward some digital printing (specifically on-demand printing of books less in demand) reminded us of a couple of related links, neither of which at first would seem to be connected. Art Daily published an article today about the British Library's digitization of the Codex Sinaiticus, the world's oldest surviving Christian bible, which dates from the 4th century. Its physical pages are scattered in the British Library, the Leipzig University Library, the Monastery of St Catherine (Mount Sinai, Egypt) and the National Library of Russia (St Petersburg), so the website the library has created is the only way to see all of them at once, let alone flip through the book. Similarly, the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore posted three high-resolution digitized Korans on Issuu (a two-page spread from one appears above).

Both these projects and the efforts of UGA Press allow us to think about the spread of works of art and books in the digital age. It's true, there's nothing like holding a physical book in your hand, but there are other ways in which digital versions are an improvement, such as the fact that they're vastly easier to search. We don't plan on relying on digital printing or digital distribution any time in the near future (color reproduction isn't there yet for the former, and the latter often doesn't have color at all, as in the case of the Kindle), but we are working on digitizing our entire collection of brochures and smaller booklets, to cut down on the storage space needed and to promote scholarship. Currently, if someone's writing a book on, for example, Earl McCutcheon, and sees that we had an exhibition of his work with a large brochure, it's difficult to go find that brochure, expensive to mail it and hard to find the space to store it. When we're finished, we should be able just to burn a CD or, better still, send a link, plus these publications will be searchable. Hooray for the future!

Truly Public Art

(image from Getty)

Amy Miller, our shop manager, passed along this great article from NPR about "One and Other," a public art project that makes use of an empty plinth in Trafalgar Square. A total of 18,000 people applied and 2,400 were chosen randomly to do whatever they like for an hour each, night and day, for the next 100 days. Results are being streamed live (and not very choppily) at this link, and photos are being uploaded here, including a guy dressed as a panda and taking cell phone calls. Can we get a plinth?

GMOA in the News

We would be remiss if we failed to mention the fact that, in a recent Wall Street Journal article titled "How to Sell a Museum Masterpiece," our director, William U. Eiland, was quoted. The article, by Daniel Grant, focuses on the criticism directed at the Orange County Museum of Art's recent sale of 18 California Impressionist paintings to a private collector in Laguna Beach, not, in this case, because of their being deaccessioned at all (procedures were followed there), but because of the way in which they were sold. The guidelines set forth by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), for which Eiland chairs the professional issues committee, do not require sale at public auction, and every situation is different, but, as Eiland put it, "At auction, there is no gerrymandering the price, no hocus pocus." We recommend you read the article, which is useful in the way it explains one of the many thorny issues of museum ethics, and we extend a high five to our fearless leader.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Survivor: The Gallery Scene

Oh my are we behind! Catching up on reading Art Daily, we saw this news release about Bravo's next reality show, being developed by Sarah Jessica Parker, which plans to do for artists what Project Runway did for designers. Auditions are coming up in L.A., New York, Chicago and Miami, and a few more details on the show's development can be found here. For casting instructions, check out Bravo's site. Project Runway and Top Chef both made sense, those fields (design and cooking) having as much craft as art to them, and Top Design sort of did, but how exactly Bravo plans to pit, say, a concept-heavy installation artist like Felix Gonzalez-Torres against a lushly impressionistic painter like Wayne Thiebaud, to give a hypothetical, is going to be interesting, and possibly confusing, to watch.

Young Dawgs: Alexis Richardson

Alexis is almost done with her internship here (she only has a week left!), and here's her second-to-last blog post:
I can’t believe that I only have just a week and a day left with GMOA. I have so much respect for art now compared to before I started working here. My favorite type of art that I enjoy looking at is the Spanish art because it tells different stories and has history and different meanings behind it. I have also learned that anything can be art and that art does not have to be pretty. It can also be ugly. Even though I just scan books it’s not boring at all to me; it’s actually amusing to me. Because the different books have different types of art that are just very eye-catching I forget that I am scanning and just go through the whole book looking at the different images. Even though I do not want a career in art, I have a different outlook on art than when I was placed at GMOA. The whole point of the internship is to see if you still want to major in this field when going to college or in the career field, so I am very glad that Young Dawgs put me here because every day I am learning different little things about art that I thought I wouldn’t be too fond of at first.

Summer Film Series, Part Three: Bergman

On Wednesday, GMOA’s summer film series presents the third in its series of Ingmar Bergman’s films. This week’s film, “The Silence,” completes what Bergman referred to as his “trilogy.” Luckily, if you missed either of the previous films, the films that make up Bergman’s “trilogy” are not a trilogy in the typical Hollywood sense. Rather, they are three films loosely related through their shared focus on spirituality and psychology.

Last Wednesday, Dr. Simon enticed the crowd to return again this week by informing us that “The Silence” was banned in many countries after its release in 1963. Considered too explicit at the time, “The Silence” has come to be regarded as one of Bergman’s masterpieces. The setting for this film is indefinite; it is in an unnamed, war-torn state. The film follows two sisters and a child as they travel across this strange and unknown country. Whereas the previous two films of the “trilogy” featured protagonists directly wrestling with questions of faith, the world of “The Silence” (initially entitled “God’s Silence”) seems utterly devoid of religious notions. As Dr. Simon noted in her introduction to “Winter Light,” Bergman’s “trilogy” charts the director’s movement away from religious themes and toward a more psychological focus.

So come out on Wednesday, July 8, at 7:00 p.m. to room 151 of Lamar Dodd for another of Bergman’s amazing pieces of cinematic art. Here’s the trailer for this week’s film:

As a side note, the Art Newspaper reports that a Swedish foundation representing the late director (Bergman died in July 2007) is looking for a sponsor to purchase the Bergman estate and to maintain it as a space open to the public. Rather than turning the estate, the shooting location for “Through a Glass Darkly,” into a traditional museum, the foundation wants to turn the space into a place for Bergman conferences and cinema workshops. For a look at the property, check the Christie’s Great Estates website.