Friday, October 30, 2009

Song at the Farmers' Market

This Saturday (Oct. 31) at 10 a.m. past Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art president, Paige Carmichael and her sister Faith Carmichael will be performing live at the Athens Farmers' Market at Bishop Park. The Carmichaels have been performing together for more than 10 years. Faith is an accomplished jazz singer and songwriter, while Paige has been a songwriter since age 8 and has been playing acoustic folk guitar since 14. The two sisters form a jazzy, folksy collaboration that combines their two sounds in a unique and unforgettable way. Faith will also be the featured performance at the museum's fundraising gala, Speakeasy, in February 2010. Stay tuned for more information on that exciting event.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun Furlough Weekend Internet Find

Because the artist is Japanese and his website is in Japanese, I don't know anything about the artist or the explanation behind these works, but that they were composed using different varieties of rice plants.

Opening Reception for "Southern Tableau"

Sunday, November 1, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. the State Botanical Garden of Georgia is hosting a FREE opening reception for "Southern Tableau," an exhibition featuring paintings of lush landscapes by Joe M. Ruiz. 

Ruiz was born and raised in Arizona. He realized young that he was a good artist and found that art was one of the best ways to express himself. After high school, he settled in California and received formal training in art from the Santa Barbara Community College and then at the San Francisco Art Institute.  Ruiz met his wife in San Francisco and later moved to Watkinsville, Ga., to raise a family. 

He currently paints scenes he sees on a daily basis and tries to capture the pure beauty of the Georgia countryside. Come out and view the beautiful works of Joe Ruiz with us this Sunday!

Photos from Recent Events

We want to share some recent photos taken during the 5th-grade tours at GMOA's exhibition Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection, which was on view at the Lyndon House Arts Center through October 24. We also partnered with the the Lyndon House Arts Center on Scare Up a Harvest: Help the Hungry, an event at which patrons had the opportunity to create their own scarecrows while collecting canned goods for the Junior League of Athens' signature project, Food 2 Kids. Enjoy the photos!

Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa

The 2009 Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa Holiday Market is now accepting artist applications. Everything from fine art to crafts will be accepted as long as it is handmade. Nothing imported or prefabricated will be allowed. Musicians and volunteers are also needed, so check out the Web site and apply!

The deadline for artist applications is Nov. 18, 2009, and the booth fee is $95 for the weekend; forms and payment specifications can be found online.

The market will be held (rain or shine) Dec. 5 and 6, 2009, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday in the parking lot at the corner of Clayton and Pulaski streets in downtown Athens.

An African-American Legacy Lost to Flames

In an article in its October 2009 issue, Art in America mourns the loss of an important African American, Latin American and Asian collection. Peggy Cooper Cafritz’s collection, which included works by artists Emory Douglas, Romare Bearden, Hank Wills Thomas, Nick Cave and Norman Lewis, was engulfed in a fire July 29. The entire collection comprised more than 300 works of art, mostly contemporary. Cafritz ardently supports new art but says she will never be able to afford the range and calliber of pieces she used to own. She says she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to purchase again but adds, “I don’t think that I can live without it. No matter on what level, and what quantity, I will definitely collect again.” Not only did her purchases amount to an incredible collection of modern and contemporary African American art, but they were highly philanthropic in nature: She bought pieces by artists not well known in order to boost their recognition and revenue. By buying important, well-established pieces, she says, you boost your collection and make an investment. Buying artwork by young, lesser-known artists, which she started doing more and more recently, is always a gamble. Cafritz says she was willing to make those kinds of risky purchases because she knew she was helping contemporary artists build a reputation. Because of the numerous fundraisers, political dinners and other social events that took place at her Washington, DC, home, being in her collection “was a measurable boost to their sense of themselves as an artist in the world,” says Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Cruel coincidence would have it that her collection was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine only a month after the fire. You can take a virtual tour on the magazine’s Web site.

For more information, check out the full article in the Washington Post by clicking here

Good Dirt Halloween Party

Good Dirt, Athens’ local pottery studio and gallery will be hosting its annual Halloween bash tomorrow, October 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. You’ll be able to see new work by Jeff Williams, Mike Klapthor and Sarah Visser. In addition to the exhibition, there will be magic tricks, tasty refreshments and you can even bring your instrument for or just listen to a live acoustic music jam. Don’t miss out—it sounds like a great time!

Earlier that same day, as Clarke County schools are out, Good Dirt will be hosting a special kids’ workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The kids will be able to make Thanksgiving-themed projects. Make sure to call and register your kids.

Good Dirt has various classes year-round, from basic pottery wheel classes to glass fusing. Good Dirt also hosts birthday parties and can even bring workshops to your event. The studio and gallery are both located on the corner of Thomas and Dougherty Streets, north of the Classic Center. Call 706.355.3161 or email for more information.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sebastião Salgado’s New Exhibition Looks at the True State of Africa

In a new exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Sebastião Salgado presents his latest work, “Africa.”

The exhibition takes a look at the true state of Africa through Salgado’s eyes. Many regions in Africa suffer from endless wars and environmental degradation; however, some of the cities featured in the exhibition are experiencing rapid economic growth. The exhibition also highlights the continent’s vast natural resources. Through his work, Salgado seeks to ask the universal question of how to respond to the widening gap between the rich and poor in Africa.

Salgado is a pioneer of the photo-documentary genre. He started his career as an economist and began photographing Africa in the 1970s. Recently, Salgado has been traveling the world to document places never visited by westerners for his “Genesis” project, which will be his last major work.

The Pop-Up Gallery Trend

“It depresses me when people spend their day writing funding applications. They won’t do anything unless they have a big budget, so they’re always waiting for money. It’s much more interesting to just get on with things.”-Katie Guggenheim, an aspiring artist and self-propelled gallery organizer

You might have noticed that I have been placing special focus in my blog posts recently on how the art world is faring in the contemporary economic tempest. Museums and galleries have gone through fundamental changes, displaying pieces from their permanent collections before seeking out traveling exhibitions or paying good money to borrow important works to bump up attendance. The art world is not only working with, but in some ways benefiting from the steady decline in funding. An article in the Art Newspaper features a new surge in art galleries and impromptu shows going on in poor London neighborhoods, abandoned warehouses and even prime real-estate property that can’t rent or sell otherwise. This pattern vaguely resembles cyclical gentrification patterns: art galleries take up spaces in cheap, abandoned warehouses in poor neighborhoods and establish a cool factor in said neighborhoods; then, young middle-class people start moving in because of cheap real estate and a new vibrant cultural and artistic presence. The current situation is a bit different, however, because these art galleries are not necessarily moving into cheaper, poorer neighborhoods; they are establishing themselves in rich neighborhoods where the real estate is priced too high to sell at the moment. Gallery organizers pay a small price to rent the spaces or nothing at all. Some aspiring art dealers, like James Tregaskes, are even using their empty apartments as galleries. I always pay special attention to the comment section in articles, and this one had particularly interesting takes on the subject. Dr. Krishna Kumari Challe, from Hyderabad, India, writes that the new monetary accessibility of art spaces could also revolutionize foreign art, in particular Indian art, in the West: “This sounds very interesting. Because artists from third world countries should be millionaires & billionaires to organize shows in the West. Only well established artists can have shows there now. Upcoming & new artists can only dream about the shows there. So the exposure of art works of these artists in the West is almost nil! Now they too can have shows at least in London.” These free and cheap galleries have the potential to revolutionize contemporary art by giving more artists with humble pecuniary backgrounds the potential to exhibit. Moreover, the low gallery rent is allowing artists to place less emphasis on drawing in a large audience in hopes of paying off gallery costs. Essentially, this means that with less focus fund raising, artists will place more emphasis on developping a more sincere result. How exciting is that?

Art Around Athens

Looking for something arty to do tonight and not scared of tattoo shops? Walk the Line, which is downstairs from Sideways bar on Broad Street downtown (the side with Your Pie and the Office of University Architects) is hosting an opening of a Halloween-themed exhibition tonight (Wed., Oct. 28) from 8 to 10 p.m. After dinner... BRAINS!!! includes work by locals Jeff T. Owens, Joe Havasy, Dustin Hill, Keith Rein and more. Costumes are encouraged, and the event has a Facebook page you can check here. With all of our recent posts by intern Aurelie Frolet about art moving into unexpected and inexpensive locations, it's nice to see a bit of that borne out locally.

The National Gallery’s New Audio Tour Features Sound Art

According to an article from Art Daily, this Friday, October 30, the National Gallery in London will launch its new tour, “Sounds of the Gallery.”

For the new tour, various artists will introduce clips of “sound art” to coincide with paintings in the collection. The goal is to allow an imaginative engagement with the works in the collection and to provide an opportunity for visitors to think about how painters strive to engage all of our senses with their creations.

Sound artists such as film composer Simon Fisher Turner, musician and sound curator David Toop, wildlife sound recording artist Chris Watson and students from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication used paintings such as Claude Monet’s “Thames Below Westminster,” John Constable’s “Cornfield” and Paul Gauguin’s “Vase of Flowers” as inspiration for the sound pieces.

Art Daily sees this new tour as an exciting opportunity to break down the barriers between different kinds of art.


We knew the Athens Banner-Herald had sent a photographer for Spotted to The Art of: Music, but after the event the photos took a few days to go up and we forgot to keep checking back. Well, they're up now, 41 photos from a lovely evening that really help capture some of the magical feel of Stan Mullins's studio. Thanks, ABH!

MFA Updates

Jen Bandini, MFA UGA '07, is a finalist in a juried exhibition in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, with the work pictured above, and has a chance to win the people's choice award. If you like her work, vote for her! If she wins, they may ask you to comment on her work. Bandini also blogs semi-regularly from New York. As her artist's statement says, she trained as a painter, and if you remember her work from the 2007 MFA exhibition at GMOA, that's how we still think of her. Her painting site is here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"A Dios Momo" / "Goodbye Momo"

The Latin American Film Series is coming to an end this week. Don’t miss out on the final movie, “A Dios Momo” / ”Goodbye Momo.” This story follows Obdulio, an 11-year-old Afro-Uruguayan boy who sells newspapers to support his family. Between fending off bullies and supporting his grandmother and two sisters, Obdulio has little time for school and, as a result, is illiterate. One day, Obdulio meets a night watchman named Maestro at the newspaper office who teaches him to read and write. Obdulio’s tale takes place during the wild and festive Uruguayan Carnival celebrations. Directed by Leonardo Ricagni, “A Dios Momo” is in Spanish with English subtitles and runs 90 minutes.

Co-sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Art and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute, this film will be shown on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, at 7 p.m. in the Zell B. Miller Learning Center, room 150.

Mark Your Calendars

A little more than a week from today, on Wednesday, November 4, at 6:30 p.m., Francis Naumann will be giving the museum's Alfred Heber Holbrook Lecture in the UGA Chapel on North Campus, to be followed by a reception in the Visual Arts Building on Jackson Street, where GMOA's offices are located temporarily during construction. Naumann is the author of numerous articles, exhibition catalogues and books, including, most recently, “Conversion to Modernism: The Early Work of Man Ray” (Rutgers University Press, 2002). He currently owns and operates his own gallery in New York City. Previously Naumann was an independent scholar and curator. Francis Naumann Fine Art specializes in 20th-century American art as well as European art from the Dada and Surrealist movements, and Naumann's lecture, "Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons: An Exercise in Circular Reasoning," addresses his area of expertise. The Alfred Heber Holbrook Memorial Lecture is an annual event sponsored by the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. The lecture began in the late 1970s after the death of Holbrook, who founded GMOA in 1945 with a gift of 100 paintings in honor of his wife Eva Underhill Holbrook. He also served as the first director of GMOA past his 90th birthday. The lecture normally takes place in November to coincide with Eva's birth month. We are very excited to have a lecturer of Naumann's caliber, and the lecture is free and open to the public. We really hope you can make it, and if you'd like to give us a call to RSVP at 706.542.0830, we'd appreciate it, even though it's not necessary.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nazi Loot Found at SMU

Recently, more evidence has come to light about the looting of art owned by Jewish families during World War II. The ownership code on two paintings, estimated to be worth more than $10 million, indicates that they originally belonged to the Rothschilds, an old Jewish family with German origins that established finance operations throughout Europe. The Monuments Men Foundation, an organization established to prevent art from being destroyed as a side effect of war, continues to work out the provenance of the pieces.

Provenance is a tricky issue in itself. As the author of an article on the Art Law Team Web site writes,

the heightened sensitivity surrounding the provenance, or ownership history, of valuable works of art is a relatively recent phenomenon. While provenance and the related but distinct issue of legitimate title have always been factors in the assembling of art collections it was only in 1998 that the Association of Museum Directors issued guidelines for museums to first determine the provenance of their works to the best of their ability, and then to disclose it.

Many collectors may assume that any works of art created after the Second World War are largely immune from provenance and title problems, but that would be a wrong assumption. The Art Loss Register, the most comprehensive international database of stolen, missing and looted artworks, adds around 14,500 art works each year. Of the more than 250,000 items in their database over 15 percent were created after 1945. In addition to maintaining records, the Register actively searches the exhibits at all major art fairs and scrutinizes the inventories of upcoming auctions. Insurance companies and art dealers routinely subscribe to the Register to check for items that have been stolen. Discoveries can be surprising: an $80,000 painting was recovered in 2007 at the Palm Beach Fine Arts fair that had been stolen in 1995 from the Buffalo Club in New York State .


Art Daily writes, 

These paintings (The Rothschild paintings) among tens of thousands looted by the Nazis, were later transported to Germany and Austria where they were discovered in the closing days of the war by the Monuments Men, a small group of men and women - museum directors, curators, artists, architects and librarians - who volunteered for service in an unprecedented effort to protect the great cultural treasures of western civilization from the destruction of the war and theft by the Nazis. This group, empowered by President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower, formally known as the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section (MFAA), counted among its key members Lt. James J. Rorimer (future director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Private Lincoln Kirstein (future founder of the New York City Ballet), and Lt. George Stout (future director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), among others.

The rest of the Art Daily piece regarding the SMU discovery deals with the possible destinies of these paintings by the Spanish master Bartolome Esteban Murillo. Depending on the specifics of provenance, their voyage could take a completely different turn. If provenance is something that interests you, this is an excellent article tracking the steps that need to be taken when delving into the ownership history of a piece. Essentially, Lawrence Shindall, CEO of the ARIS Coorporation (an insurance company dealing with fine art), says it best: "Just because you bought it doesn't mean you own it.”

Updates from Ronnie

Here's your weekly update from construction supervisor Ronnie Green, for the week ending Friday, Oct. 23, 2009.

Current week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery / Connector
• Continue framing the roof parapet and sky lights.
• Continue to form and pour the site retaining walls.
• Finish the gallery outriggers, tube steel and brick relief angle.
• Continuing erecting the connector structural steel.
• Continued to prep for SOG pour.
• Improved the site erosion control.

Existing Building Renovations
• Continued with the CW piping installation inside the 1st floor mechanical room.

Storage Bar
• Continued to install the new 4” CW lines to the storage bar.

Next week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery / Connector
• Install 2’ band of roofing sheathing and vapor barrier at skylight.
• Continue framing the roof parapet and sky lights.
• Continue to form and pour the site retaining walls.
• Continuing erecting the connector structural steel.
• Continue gallery SOG preparation.

Existing Building Renovations
• Continue to demo / relocating the existing building systems.

Storage Bar
• Completed the underground C.W. piping

Slab on grade prep

Skylight framing

Sculpture garden

Exterior stud framing

Famous now, or maybe later?

I am currently working on an education packet that relates art to literature in the classroom. This involves finding pieces of art in GMOA's permanent collection and creating assignments that follow the Georgia School Board's English and Language Arts standards while also linking the art piece to an English assignment in a fun and creative way for the student. I've been doing research trying to find works of art I would like to use—works that I feel will move and inspire students in different ways—and I've noticed something interesting.

Many of the art books I've been looking at that feature artists are "retrospective exhibitions" of the artists and their works. This makes me wonder, why are many artists more famous after their time than during it?

One example of this can be found a feature article on the Art Daily Web site today. The first thing you see is a picture of the "Bust of Renoir" and the article that follows is about a French artist by the name of Aristide Maillol who now has a retrospective exhibition of more than 120 works of art in Barcelona. 

While Maillol was, and still is, known in Paris for his work, he was not famous throughout the art world until recently, when Barcelona opened its exhibition. But why did he have to be “rediscovered” to become famous for his work? Why wasn't he known during his time throughout the art world for his beautiful bronze sculptures and incredible tapestry work?

Johannes Vermeer is another example. Vermeer is known throughout the art world now for his use of lighting in his paintings and his transparent coloring. He joined the Guild of Saint Luke in 1653 and slowly became known in his hometown, but after his death his fame died out as well. Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Thoré Bürger, who wrote an essay attributing 65 works of art to him in the 19th century.

Why did it take so long for Vermeer to be recognized for the art he created? I wonder how many unknown artists are alive today who won’t be when they become famous for the art they created?

Many people think that artists are born well before their time. With the research I've been doing, and all the books of exhibitions done as retrospective views of artists' works, I'd have to say I agree. 


We had a few staff members go to the Southeastern Museums Conference annual meeting recently, and Christy Sinksen responded to our query about what they learned very informatively:
I went to a session on collections database issues and much of what was said relates directly to our goals for funding and installing a new collections database. The speaker's own challenging experience as she attempted to convert data from an existing database platform to a new one has directly influenced the way we are looking at implementing our eventual database upgrade, potentially saving us very significant amounts of time and money.
This past week, Paul Manoguerra attended the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) annual conference, where the museum received yet another award for the exhibition and catalogue The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection, the certificate for which appears below. Let us reiterate how tremendously proud we are of the exhibition (mark your calendars for 2011, when you'll be able to see it at GMOA) and the publication, which put forward important research on many lesser-known artists, and we are pleased as punch to see them both being recognized by others.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Art Around Athens

The opening reception for the First Annual Juried Student Exhibition at the Lamar Dodd School of Art will take place on Friday, Oct. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. in galleries 101 and 307 of the Dodd, on UGA’s East Campus. Undergraduate and graduate students were asked to submit two works to be judged by Julian Cox, curator of photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Cox selected 82 works from 292 submissions, and they will be on display at the school of art from Oct. 23 to Nov. 10.

ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art will host the event “Head Lines: News-themed Stories and Poems,” on Friday, Oct. 23, 2009, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. “Head Lines,” organized by Matt Forsythe, Andy Frazee and Ida Stewart, is part of the VOX Reading Series; in keeping with the theme of ATHICA’s current exhibition, “Free Press in Free Fall,” eight local writers will read selections that address the effects of news on the lives of its consumers. The participating writers are Erin Christian, John English (reading from “Good News, Bad News”), Jeff Fallis, Michael Ford, Matt Forsythe, Andy Frazee, Kyle Garrett and Nicole Higgins. Refreshments will be provided at intermission, and a donation of $3 to $6 is suggested.

This Saturday, Oct. 24, come see the scarecrows in the exhibition “Scare up a Harvest: Help the Hungry Scarecrow,” at the Lyndon House Arts Center. Bring your pop-top cans of ravioli to pay your entry fee and support the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Visitors will get the chance to vote for their favorite scarecrows and make their own miniature scarecrows with Georgia Museum of Art volunteers. This event is sponsored by the Lyndon House Arts Center, the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, the Junior League of Athens and the Georgia Museum of Art.

“Brick House Studio Exhibition, Fall 2009,” opens this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25, from 1 to 5 p.m. Works by Tex Crawford, D.M. Kirwin and Brian Reade as well as an ongoing sculpture installation by Doug Makemson will be on view through Nov. 22 at the Brick House Studio at 1892 Athens Rd., Crawford, Ga.

Sunday, Oct. 25, the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation will host its 10th Annual Wine Fest fundraiser at the Ashford Manor Gardens in Watkinsville, Ga., from 3 to 6 p.m. Along with the wine-tasting activities, there will be live music and a silent auction and raffle of original artwork, pottery, vacation properties and airline tickets. For more information, visit the OCAF Web site.

How Works of Art Get Their Names

Brian Palmer from Slate has written an interesting article about the process of naming old paintings. Until the middle of the 17th century, it was uncommon for an artist to name his or her own painting. Usually, descriptive names like “Profile of a Young Woman” were given for record-keeping purposes, but the names we know today (like “Mona Lisa” or “La Belle Ferronniere”) were given posthumously by art historians. When historians needed to refer to certain pieces about which they were writing, the original vague descriptions became obsolete. The growing conversational and academic focus on pre-17th-century paintings also called for a shorthand way to refer to the paintings—usually a more succinct and specific name, short and to the point. Moreover, some of these paintings, like Botticelli’s “Primavera,” bore different appellations throughout the centuries:
Botticelli's Primavera was described as a "Painting by Botticelli with Nine Figures" in a 16th-century catalog of the Medici family's holdings. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the same painting is described in other collectors' catalogs as The Garden of the Hesperides. Modern scholars adopted the current name in accordance with the interpretation of 16th-century art historian Giorgio Vasari, who described the painting's subject as the arrival of spring (in Italian, primavera).

Some artists, like Jan Vermeer, occasionally christened their paintings with interesting and peculiar names, but most paintings were nameless. Much of how we look at paintings today, or at least how we remember and think of them, has to do with their names. The name of a painting lends itself intensely to that work’s identity. When Mona Lisa’s other name, La Joconde or La Gioconda, is used I feel slightly uncomfortable, as La Joconde carries a much more formal tone—Gioccondo was her husband’s family name. Part of the charm in Mona Lisa, to me, and I’m sure to a great many people, is the informality of her gaze and her pose. It seems like using her first name is more fitting. Palmer also delves into the changes that took place within academy system and how and when artists gained the control to name their own pieces.

La Bella PrincipessaLa Belle Ferronniere

Marketplace this weekend

Marketplace, hosted by the Junior League of Athens will take place this weekend, October 23–25, at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. The event features local and area vendors, including the Georgia Museum of Art Shop. This will be the fifth year of Marketplace. Make sure to stop by some time over the weekend—it will be a great chance to get started on your holiday shopping!

The first event of Marketplace is preview shopping, which is free to the public and is from 4 to 6 p.m. this Friday. A kick-off party begins at 7 p.m. Tickets for the kick-off party are $15 and include a catered dinner, wine tasting, entertainment and a silent auction. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday! Feel free to support another Junior League of Athens project by bring pop-top cans of ravioli for the Food2Kids program in partnership with the Northeast Georgia Food Bank .

On Saturday, shopping hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Activities will include pictures with Santa, Santa Secret Shop and free registration for the Georgia Child Identification Program, or GACHIP. Shopping hours on Sunday will be from 12 to 5 p.m. Santa Secret Shop will also take place on Sunday. Click here for the schedule.

In addition to GMOA, some of the vendors will include Fire & Flavor, the UGA Alumni Association, Entourage Clothing & Gifts, Homemade Gourmet and many others. Go to the Marketplace blog to check out all of the vendors.

Email or call 706.549.8688 with any questions.

Storage Solutions

Art Daily has an interesting (although brief) article up today about some new approaches to long-term storage solutions for works of art that MFA-Houston and Rice University came up with together. Pictured above, the storage is transparent, which allows curators, registrars, etc., to view the work in question; it is modular (the pieces assemble like Tinkertoys); it is endlessly reusable; and it doesn't gas off in the way that wooden crates can, making it potentially better for the art it holds. The first thing that sprang to our mind, though, is that it won't serve for travel, for security reasons, and we asked some of our registrars and preparators for their views on its other advantages and disadvantages. Responses appear below:
It doesn't seem very weatherproof. It seems impossible to have any moisture barrier . . . but interesting to say the least.

What a great project for the students and how cool is the end product? Very. Cost would be my concern . . . wood is cheap. Those materials look expensive; however, in the long run it may be cost effective because they probably will last forever. As a registrar I have packed many a piece with the recent transition, but I think the preparators are really the folks who would either build them or order them and understand the logistics of fitting works into crates a bit more than I do. I'm certainly open to the idea if we can find the funds some day.

Interesting. The article never really said what materials they used. I like the idea for long-term storage, but not so much for transportation. I think for transportation you really don't want anyone to see what you're shipping. But I like the idea of tinker-toy-like parts that can be put together or taken apart and re-used. If the materials are appropriate for long-term storage it might be a nice idea for items that we box in storage. I wonder how heavy the materials are?

Very interesting article and research. My first thoughts are that the prototype is too large for the sculpture. It would take a lot of acid-free material to shore up the object to be used for shipping purposes and the waterproofing issues that Todd mentioned. The design seems more suited for long-term storage; however, size and weight may be an issue for space and shelving units. Reusable and flexible construction is a plus!
Any other thoughts, museum employees, patrons, readers, etc.?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ben Shahn at the GMOA

I wrote about Cy Twombly and his new work at the Louvre. As of late, I’ve been very interested in Black Mountain College and the artists this institution that thrived in the 1950s produced, and it turns out Twombly participated in the program when it was rife with brilliant minds, including Willem de Kooning, Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Twombly’s break from the Minimalist, Pop Art and Abstract Expressionist wave during the ‘50s and ‘60s is quite impressive and adds a touch of independence and distinctiveness to his pieces. The same strand of artistic sovereignty resonates in the work of his fellow Black Mountain College schoolmate and art pioneer Ben Shahn. I’m interested in Shahn because, first, like Twombly, he broke away from the dominant art movements of the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. Second, the museum owns four of his works, all overflowing with social and political implications.

Ben Shahn was born in Kovos, Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, and with his mother and two siblings immigrated to the United States after his father was implicated in a scandal and exiled to Siberia. Shahn was not drawn to the the minimalist, Pop and Abstract Expressionist themes in modern art but instead became enraptured with socio-political issues and could not help but infuse his passion into his work. His paintings, drawings and prints are examples of social realism, a strand of art that depicts brutally honest subjects with the intent of unraveling social and economic injustices and truths. Social realism was especially widespread during the Great Depression, when artists like Dorothea Lange and Walt Kuhn documented the horrors of a penniless government and peoples—dirty children crying, mothers gripping their desperate children, hunger-stricken beggars, etc. Shahn won the attention of Diego Rivera in 1932, who asked him to assist in a mural in Rockefeller Center in New York City (which elicited great controversy for its depiction of Vladimir Lenin). Americans were outraged at the communist messages in the mural, and it was quickly destroyed. The government also asked Shahn to participate in making art for the New Deal, and he accompanied Lange and other photographers to document southern life during the Depression. We are incredibly lucky to have works by Shahn, and even more so to have works that illustrate such powerful scenes and events.

One work of Shahn’s the museum owns is a print of his portrait of Martin Luther King Jr., which Time magazine published on its cover in 1965.

Below, Shahn's "Sunday Morning", part of our collection

"The Clinic" , also part of our collection

"Chac: Dios de la lluvia"

The Latin American Film Series, co-sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Art and the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Institute continues tonight with the showing of “Chac: Dios de la lluvia” or “Chac: The Rain God” at 7 p.m. in room 150 of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center.

“Chac: Dios de la lluvia,” written and directed by Rolando Klein, is a film about the journey of 12 people and their attempt to save their home. Their village is plagued by a severe drought so a brave group of villagers goes to get help from a mysterious seer who is said to practice ancient ways. The seer leads the people on a ritualistic quest for rain.

Brent Berlin, professor emeritus of anthropology will present an introduction to the film. We hope to see you there!

Spanish and Tzotzil with English subtitles. 95 minutes, 1974.

More People Are Visiting Museums During the Recession

According to an article from, the recession has had a positive impact on attendance at Great Britain’s museums and galleries this summer. The Art Fund, an independent art charity, conducted a nationwide survey that found half of UK museums and galleries saw an increase in visitors between March and September of this year.

Though the survey results seem positive in these tough times, museum budgets are actually being cut, staff is under pressure, and the basic costs of keeping these institutions running are increasing.

Free entry to Britain’s national museums was a clear incentive for cash-strapped families this past summer. Sixty percent of museums that saw an increase in attendance offer free admission to their permanent collections. At the same time, a quarter of all publicly funded museums saw a cut in funding and more than a third of museums funded by a local authority experienced cuts in funding. In addition, running costs are climbing. About 30% of museums said they spent more this year than they did in the same period last year. Increases in utility costs and the money necessary to cater to the increase in visitors were both reasons for the rising costs of running Britain’s museums.

Due to budget cuts, recruitment freezes and posts being merged, 22% of museums in the survey reported a reduction in their numbers of paid staff. About 25% of museums surveyed said they have recently increased their reliance on volunteers.

The recession has taken its toll on museums. Some have already had to cancel activities, and future exhibitions may have to be less ambitious. Many are concerned that the economy will cause collections to suffer.

Director of the Art Fund, Andrew MacDonald, feels that during tough times like these, cultural institutions offer a great value to people because of their low or free costs and the distraction they offer from financial worries. He is concerned that investment in museums and galleries is decreasing when they have the most to offer people. MacDonald says, “We need to be vigilant to ensure that the quality of what our museums and galleries can offer does not suffer as a result of their need to economize.”

Check out the pictures from last night!

Last night’s event, “The Art of: Music,” was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came out! GMOA would especially like to thank Athens Blur Magazine and Stan Mullins for sponsoring the event. “The Art of: Music” was hosted by the Young at Art committee of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art as part of the GMOA series “The Art of.” The event was held at Stan Mullins Studio on Pulaski Street and featured live music from Grammy Award winner Art Rosenbaum, as well as the Around-the-Globe Sea Shanty Singers and Hawk-Proof Rooster.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kennedy Center plans to reinvent art education

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is planning to launch a program to reinvent art education programs for schools struggling with budget cuts. The program will link local art groups with schools to help revamp art education for students in grades K-8.

Plans to launch the “Any Given Child” project were recently announced for schools in Sacramento, Calif. Ideally, the program could be expanded to at least three cities each year. The Center plans to keep costs low for local schools and will spend about $500,000 to get the program started.

Local arts groups involved with the project will draft plans specific to each city with the goal of making sure all young students have access to music, theater and the visual arts. Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser wants to find “an affordable approach to systematic arts education.” He believes that schools need a comprehensive way of teaching the arts, the same way they do with other subjects.

The Kennedy Center has already successfully been working on integrating arts throughout the curriculum of schools in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Kaiser is currently working with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to hopefully expand this latest initiative of the Kennedy Center with federal support. The project will not only benefit schools and students, but also local groups like the Sacramento Theater Company and Crocker Art Museum. The mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, hopes the program will foster a new generation of patrons of the arts in the community.

For the next few months the Kennedy Center will conduct an audit of the local arts scene and existing art programs in the Sacramento area. Hopefully, the audit will map out an affordable way for the Kennedy Center to bring school districts and local arts groups together to promote art education.

Last chance to see the R.A. Miller exhibition

Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection has been on view at the Lyndon House Arts Center since August 8, and the exhibition’s last day is this Saturday, October 24. Go while you still can!

The exhibition features 83 paintings, drawings, sculptures, wind ornaments and whirligigs created by the Georgia self-taught artist Reuben Aaron “R.A.” Miller. His art is inspired by nature, popular culture and his personal life. His work shows bold colors, humorous themes and fun designs.

“This exhibition presents both typical and unique images by R.A. Miller, an important figure among the South’s contemporary self-taught artists,” said Paul Manoguerra, curator of American art and of the exhibition.

Visiting Artist Lecture

This afternoon Michael Fried will speak as a part of the Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series, sponsored by the Lamar Dodd School of Art and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Fried is an art historian, art critic, literary critic and poet whose knowledge and expertise encompass a broad range of topics. For more information about Fried, visit the Lamar Dodd Web site. The lecture will take place at 5:30 at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, room S151.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Updates from Ronnie

Here's the update from Ronnie Green at Holder Construction on the week of Oct. 16, 2009:

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Continue framing the roof parapet and sky lights.
• Continue to form and pour the site retaining walls.
• Finish the gallery outriggers, tube steel and brick relief angle.
• Continuing erecting the connector structural steel.
• Continued to prep for SOG pour.
• Upgraded the site erosion control.

Existing Building Renovations
• Continued with the CW piping installation inside the 1st floor mechanical room.

Storage Bar
• Continued to install the new 4” CW lines to the storage bar.

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Install 2’ band of roofing sheathing and vapor barrier at skylight.
• Continue framing the roof parapet and sky lights.
• Continue to form and pour the site retaining walls.
• Continuing erecting the connector structural steel.
• Continue gallery SOG preparation.

Existing Building Renovations
• Continue to demo / relocating the existing building systems.

Storage Bar
• Completed the underground C.W. piping

View from the southwest corner

Forming and pouring retaining walls

Connector steel

An American in Paris

As part of attempts to rejuvenate its archaic structure and blend old artistic traditions with new and emerging art, the Louvre recently commissioned Cy Twombly to paint a ceiling mural on the ceiling of its room of 16th-century bronzes. This project is among several others in the staff of the museum hopes will add a modern edge. Twombly, born in 1928, is an American painter who broke away from the 1950s New York art tradition to create something completely different from the pervasive ideas of Pop Art, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism. His inspirations stem from Greek sculpture and myths, giving a splendid oxymoronic modern antiquity to his works. The Yale Art Gallery describes his works as
an affirmation of a reading of the vigorous, multidirectional lines across its surface as an abstract visual language. Twombly is known for his consistent interrogation of the practice of painting as a vehicle for expression and articulation. Playing the tools of abstraction (line and form) against words and more figurative elements, the artist has developed an abstract vocabulary that is emotionally and visually dynamic.
His masterful hybridization of graffiti, painting and drawing has granted him special admiration in Europe.

During the Renaissance, it was common for painters to take in apprentices, who would sometimes paint commissioned works themselves. Twombly does just that. He has asked Barbara Crawford, a Southern Virginia University professor to help him paint the canvas that will later be fastened to the ceiling. Twombly was the primary designer of the piece, and Crawford will be its primary executor. The American Scholar describes the painting process:
Before the work commenced, studies and evaluations were conducted to judge the most effective materials and process to realize Twombly’s vision for the ceiling. Originally there were plans for panels made of fiberglass. The final decision was to have Twombly’s rendering painted in oil on strips of connected canvas, which would in turn be glued to the ceiling in a process known as Marouflage—not unlike a grand version of wallpaper, only overhead, and in a place fit for kings. It’s a process that was used quite commonly in Europe from the 16th to the 19th centuries, gradually falling out of practice in recent years.

For the first time since 1953, a living artist’s work will adorn a ceiling of the museum.

Here are a few examples of Cy Twombly's work

The following pictures document current progress on the Louvre-Cy Twombly collaboration.