Friday, April 30, 2010

AthFest 2010

Mark your calendars for the 14th annual AthFest, June 23–27 in downtown Athens. The festival showcases Athens-based music and art.

AthFest always has one main stage for performances and is adding a second this year. The main-stage headliners have just been announced and include Bubba Sparxxx, Perpetual Groove, Modern Skirts and others. Click here to see the full performer list.

GMOA will have a lot going on at AthFest, so make plans to come and see us! We will have a table at KidsFest on Saturday, June 26, where you can design your own 2-D guitars. We’re also organizing a performance by Amelia Winger-Bearskin, an assistant professor of studio art at Vanderbilt University in the areas of video and performance art. Visit her website and click here to read an essay about her written by GMOA’s own Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art.

In addition to GMOA’s presence, there will also be a lot of other cool things happening, such as an art market that is free and open to the public and includes ceramics, drawings, folk art, furniture, glasswork, jewelry and more. KidsFest features everything from interactive projects to a petting zoo and bungee jumping, and best of all, it’s also free!

Another exciting event at AthFest is the Flagpole Music Awards. This is the 12th year of the event, which incorporates awards chosen by Flagpole’s readers and musical performances. Film is also recognized at AthFest. TeenScreen shows films created by teenagers in Athens area schools. The cover charges for both the Flagpole Music Awards and TeenScreen have not yet been announced, but all cover charges are discounted with an AthFest wristband.

The actual festival takes place once a year, but AthFest has a constant presence in the community. AthFest, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with the mission to “educate citizens and visitors about music and arts in general, and about Athens music and arts in particular.” For example, AthFest InSchool and AthFest AfterSchool are two series that began last year and take local performers to middle schools and after-school centers. All proceeds from AthFest and other events support educational efforts in the Athens community.

For more information about scheduling, locations and prices, visit the AthFest website.

The Great Picture

The nonprofit Legacy Project in Orange County produces documentation of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. The project began in April 2002 and will continue to document the conversion of the air station into the Orange County Great Park, which will include housing and a large urban park. The Legacy Project uses photographs, video and oral histories to “provide a unique record of an extraordinary development in the history of southern California.”

In the summer of 2006, six Legacy Project photographers presented the world’s largest photograph, which took nine months to create. The picture was produced with the world’s largest camera, a shuttered F-18 fighter plane hangar, also created by the artists. The camera is about 44 feet high, 79 feet deep and 161 feet wide with an aperture size of a one-quarter-inch pinhole fifteen feet above the ground. It took two months to transform the hangar into a camera.

The 3,375-square-foot photograph (3 stories high by 11 stories long) is of the El Toro control tower, twin runways and the future Orange County Great Park. The San Joaquin Hills and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park are in the background. The exposure took 35 minutes beginning at 11:30 a.m. on July 8, 2006. A custom Olympic-sized tray was used for developing the photograph.

Check out the Legacy Project’s site for more information.

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

It's one of those beautiful mid-spring weekends that leads to art events happening all over, especially those that take place outside, so here's a selection of what's going on in the Athens area.

The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center is putting on its annual "Madison in May Spring Tour of Homes & Gardens," a self-guided tour of homes and churches that are mostly within walking distance of the center, Friday (April 30) and Saturday (May 1), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 per day, unless you bought yours in advance. There's also a Plein Air Paint Out Saturday that features Georgia artists painting the tour venues, then offering their work in a silent auction on the Cultural Center lawn at 5 p.m., and you can see a list of the venues on the MMCC's site.

Tonight, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Healing Arts Centre, author and psychologist Baraka Elihu signs copies of her book, "Birthing Ourselves into Being: A Year Long Women's Empowerment Program," while local quilter Sarah Hubbard, whose work is featured in the book, displays her unique art quilts.

Friday evening, Flicker Theatre and Bar will have a closing reception for "Zigzagland," an exhibition featuring paintings by John Stidham.

Saturday and Sunday (May 1-2), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation will hold its Southworks Artist Market and Arts Festival, featuring 65 of the region's top arts and craft persons selling original works in a juried market that includes pottery, paintings, fiber art, stained and fused glass, jewelry, sculpture, photography and woodwork. There's also live music, a children's activity area and food vendors.

If you want to venture as far as Buford, Slotin Folk Art is having its Spring Masterpieces Sale. The auction starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday, and the full catalogue is linked from the Slotin website.

In Athens, the spring version of the Indie Craftstravaganzaa takes place Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. in the parking lot at Clayton and Pulaski streets downtown, with nearly 100 vendors and DJ Kurt Wood spinning awesome records while you browse.

Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Lamar Dodd School of Art is the premiere of "Specters of the Outer Spaces," Athens artist Marie Porterfield's collaborative film project about the importance of the human belief in the unseen, followed by a reception.

Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. at the downtown location of Transmetropolitan, is "She's Crafty!" an artists' market hosted by the ladies of Transmet. Check out jewelry, cards, gifts and more, then come home and relax for the last few hours of the weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

A few art events are taking place today (Thursday, April 29).

The Commercial Bank (at 1000 Moore's Grove Rd., in Winterville) is having a free reception and auction of art by local middle and high school students at 6 p.m. We believe this is the bank's annual Art Makes Cents program but haven't been able to confirm.

Phi Beata Heata, the jewelry and metals student organization at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, is having one of its semiannual jewelry sales, which began yesterday and will continue today on the second floor of the Miller Learning Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Over at ATHICA, from 7 to 8 p.m., curator/director Lizzie Zucker Saltz is leading a free informal talk about the gallery's spring exhibition, "Deluge," which explores climate change and the politics of land management.

And at Ciné Barcafé, there's an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. for "Frisky Box," Michael Lachowski's new project, which features, according to Flagpole, "large, standing images on display and a screening of a short film starring a box, a boy and five gold balloons."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Athens Sculpture Festival

The Classic Center Cultural Foundation has announced the names of the artists that will participate in the first annual Athens Sculpture Festival. The festival will take place June 24–26 at the Classic Center in downtown Athens.

Participating sculptors will be: Beverly Babb, Matt Boland, Travis Christopher, Jaclyn Enck, Will Eskridge, Ted Gloeckler, Donald Goldstein, Ann Hamlin, Sarah Heath, Joshua Jordan, Mike Jones, Steve Lobar, Doug Makemson, Benjamin McKee, Stan Mullins, Karol Patterson, Tony Ransom, Andrew Rosen, Daniel Sizemore and Abraham Tesser.

Each artist will display a maximum of four pieces at the juried exhibition. Prizes include $1,000 for “Best in Show,” $500 for second place, $250 for third place, $250 for honorable mention and $1,000 for the People’s Choice Award.

All sculptures presented at the festival will be available for sale. The Classic Center Cultural Foundation will purchase at least one piece for its permanent collection. Future plans for the Classic Center include a sculpture park featuring permanent and touring works of art.

“Art is so important. It provides an intangible but extra dimension to daily life,” said Julie Walters, director of the Classic Center Cultural Foundation.

The Classic Center Cultural Foundation works to provide resources to entertain and educate the community by supporting shows that expand the cultural offering of the Classic Center, supporting programs that broaden the exposure of the arts to people of the community, providing funds to purchase art from local artists to hang in the Classic Center, awarding grants to performing arts groups and scholarships to local art students and maintaining the Classic Center in pristine condition.

Call 706.208.0900 or visit for more information.

High Museum’s new curator of modern and contemporary art, Michael Rooks

Earlier this year, Michael Rooks became the High Museum in Atlanta’s new curator of modern and contemporary art. The Illinois native previously worked as the chief curator and director of exhibitions and artist relations at Haunch of Venison (the Christie’s gallery in New York), as curator at the Contemporary Museum Honolulu and as curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Rooks’ responsibilities at the High will include working on the museum’s multi-year collaboration with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and co-organizing a contemporary art exhibition to be drawn from MOMA’s collection. More important, Rooks will work to mend the museum’s frayed relationship with the contemporary art community. Rooks says he plans to work with local artists, teachers and collectors to build excitement in the community.

His first day on the job, Rooks met with art consultant Mary Stanley and then spoke at a meeting of her Young Collectors’ club attended by local collectors, artists and art advocates. Rooks spent hours talking and listening to artists at the meeting.

Rooks is known for putting on exhibitions the public can relate to. While working in Chicago, he organized the exhibition “Like War, What is it Good For” about the Iraq war, which mixed works by local artists and national figures.

Rooks plans to spend his first six months at the High Museum getting to know his way around before starting on larger projects, although he has already begun making acquisitions.

Those working with Rooks are impressed. “I think he will be able to ignite excitement and get more people involved,” says collector Sara Schlesinger.

GMOA in the News

The Albany Herald has a nice article about collaboration among museums that mentions GMOA's collaboration with the Albany Museum of Art on numerous things, including the AMA's exhibition of works by Lamar Dodd, plus GMOA director William U. Eiland's lecture there tomorrow on Dodd at 6:30 p.m.

Art Around Athens

Looking for some new accessories that show how arty you are? Phi Beata Heata, the student jewelry and metals organization at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, is having one of its semiannual sales starting today on the first floor of the Dodd on East Campus, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sale will continue tomorrow, moving to the Miller Learning Center, so it's not your only chance, but if you want first dibs, you should get there early.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Edible art / CC BY-NC 2.0

Last Thursday, April 22, the Brooklyn Ball celebrated the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition “American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection,” which introduces the long-awaited debut of a costume collection that is the result of a partnership between the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The buzz surrounding the Brooklyn Ball was all about the edible art. Artist Jennifer Rubell created a series of edible food installations called Icons. Each installation is inspired by works by 20th-century artists. Icons was “an interactive food journey through the Museum including drinking paintings, suspended melting cheese heads and more.”

The most-discussed piece of the event was a 20-foot-tall piñata in the shape of Andy Warhol’s head (based on his 1986 self-portrait). Rubell told the New York Times that the piñata would “contain the vernacular of American treats.”

This article from the Wall Street Journal provides a comical explanation of the Brooklyn Ball and how the “fashionable crowd” interacted with the installations. Check out the Brooklyn Museum’s Flickr page to see photos of all the edible installations.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Winterville Marigold Festival Parade

The Winterville Marigold Festival is seeking participants for its parade to be held at 10 a.m. on May 15. This family-friendly event welcomes anything from floats to horses, antique vehicles, tractors and walking groups. Businesses, civic and church organizations, schools, families, individuals and music/talent groups are encouraged to participate. The parade’s theme for this year is, “Marigolds, Music & Memories,” and the use of marigolds by those planning to participate in the parade is encouraged. Entry is free and prizes will be awarded to those with the most creative floats in relation to the parade’s theme. Entries must be submitted by May 11 to participate. For an entry form, please visit Winterville is about 15 minutes east of Athens. Last year’s festival featured an exhibition of sculptures by Doug Makemson cosponsored by GMOA.

Google Goggles' New Acquisition

(Picture from

Plink has joined Google Goggles! For those who don’t know what in the world Google Goggles is let alone Plink, have no fear: this new program might intrigue and fascinate even the most ardent traditionalists or at least spark debate about the role of docents and the gradual phasing out of basic human communication. In essence, Plink Art is a smartphone application created by Mark Cummins and James Philbin that lets its user take a picture of any well-known work of art and immediately discern its title, artist, which museum or collector houses it, etc. After the work is identified, the application provides a link to, in case of adoration and absolute urge to acquire a likeness of the work.

Philbin explains how Plink's technology works: “‘It picks out repeatable elements from the image you take and comes out with a statistical representation of them.’ That process works even at different angles and different lighting conditions" Cummins adds "You can start doing some really interesting things when you have recommendation data, like personalized tours based on your favourite paintings. Museums are very interested in social sharing and Facebook."

Google Goggles, Plinkart’s buyer, is a subsidiary group of Google that works to develop instant recognition programs. That is, you take a picture with your phone of whatever object you want to find out more information on—the application currently recognizes wine, logos, places, artwork, business cards, books, and landmarks—and the application will give you a compiled list of stats, prices, and general information regarding the object or place.

Although you need a smartphone for the Plinkart application (the Google Goggles program is limited to Android phones), the concept is still pretty incredible and is most certainly an idea to watch. Both teams will be working together to develop a search engine that identifies and researches more and more of the objects, scenes, and people that make up our surroundings.

Construction Updates from Holder

Here's the weekly construction update, for the week ending April 23, 2010:

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Installed all electric floor boxes in the gallery.
• Finished ceilings and painted walls in the connector.

Existing Building Renovations
• Finishing ceilings and painting walls.
• Completed the waterproofing repairs to the existing North wall on 3rd floor.

Storage Bar
• Completed the vapor barrier / spray insulation on the 2nd floor.
• Started interior framing / hanging drywall on second floor.

Site / Sculpture Garden
• Continuing to excavate and remove rock for the cistern tanks.
• Installed the irrigation mains and built up soils in the sculpture garden.

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Install wood flooring sleeper system and complete finish mock-up.

Existing Building Renovations
• Start below SOG vapor barrier at the east alternate entry.
• Start roofing / gutters for the east alternate entry.
• Continue to finish walls and prime paint.

Storage Bar
• Finish roof installation on the 2nd floor.
• Hang drywall in the 2nd floor.

Site / Sculpture Garden
• Continue to excavate cistern tank and water pump tank.
• Install the water vault for the fountain in the sculpture garden.
• Complete concrete hardscape mock-up.

Floor box installation in gallery

Existing 1st-floor interior ceiling framing

Connector finishes and ceiling progress

Friday, April 23, 2010

Update: Georgia Council for the Arts

The full Georgia Senate voted to approve the Appropriation Committee’s recommendation, which includes restoring $890,735 to the Georgia Council for the Arts. This will save the GCA and allow the agency to match its federal grant and retain its regional funding. Differences between the House and the Senate’s budgets must be reconciled by a Conference Committee made up of equal members of both bodies before the final budget can be sent to the Governor for approval.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Visiting Artist Lecture Tonight!

Kelly John Clark will be giving a lecture tonight on his drawings, prints and installations. The lecture will be at 5:00 p.m. at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Room N100. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend!

Sculpting Workshop offered in Athens this May

Sculpt Across America, a sculpting tour traveling the country, will be in the Athens area this May to bring attention to sculpture and the art of sculpting and to get people working in clay!

The tour includes a sculpting workshop for local artists. The two-day workshop focuses on intensive figure/torso sculpting. Artists can tackle the full figure or just the torso. Either option will teach artists the techniques and approach needed to achieve accuracy and naturalism. The workshop will introduce techniques called “The Speed in Which Form Turns” and “Triangulation” and will explain specific sculpting methods that will increase accuracy, anatomy, process and modeling techniques with a naturalistic approach reminiscent of the Old Masters.

The workshop will be taught by Karen Cope, a figurative sculptor from California. Cope was classically trained at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. She has taught figurative sculpture at her alma mater, the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, Disney’s Circle Seven Studios and Cope Studios (her private studio where she develops her work and teaches a variety of classes, workshops and private lessons).

The workshop will be offered at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) located at 34 School Street in Watksinville, May 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break each day. Cost is $225 per person, and there are still a few spots open. To secure reservations, contact Gary at 706.225.9082 or e-mail

GMOA Associate Curator of Education, Judge and Jury

On Sunday, April 11, Georgia Museum of Art associate curator of education, Carissa DiCindio, traveled to Valdosta, Ga. to judge the Spring into Art exhibition at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts. Nancy Bookhart, an art professor from Paine College who received her M.F.A. at UGA in 2005, and DiCindio took the entire afternoon to decide which 65 works out of 400+ submissions would be chosen for the juried exhibition. In addition to that, the two judges chose the best of show and decided the winners in 6 categories: drawing/painting, printmaking, photography, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, and jewelry/craft. All entries will be in an exhibition through May 26th, followed by an exhibition of the juried works opening on June 7, where the winners will be announced.

"There were a lot of excellent entries, and we had to make some very difficult choices in our selections," said DiCindio of her experience. "My favorite part about judging is that I feel like I got to know the artists in the region through their works. The staff members of the Turner Center were gracious hosts, and it was a wonderful trip."

Read more about Spring into Art in The Valdosta Daily Times.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council provides valuable workspace for local artists

This week, 30 visual and performing artists in New York City will have the opportunity to move to Governor’s Island, an area in lower Manhattan, where they will begin a year-round artist studio program hosted by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC). Since 1997, the Artist Residencies department of LMCC has partnered with real estate owners in lower Manhattan to address the critical needs of local artists for studio, rehearsal and presentation space. The LMCC has worked to secure donations of temporarily vacant spaces to transform them into art studios. Artists in this year’s program will live in the newly renovated Building 110, where they will have access to 20 studios, two rehearsal areas and a large exhibition space with views of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor. Artist residencies will run from March to July and from August to December. Space is granted through open applications. The LMCC feels that placing artists into the lower Manhattan landscape serves the art community at large and enhances downtown Manhattan’s cultural environment. The LMCC works to invigorate the arts in the local community by selecting and commissioning works of art, producing and presenting performances, all the while working to maintain a vibrant arts community.

Athens Street Show 2010

Athens Street Show, an exhibition in downtown Athens presented by students in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, started yesterday and is on display through May 2.

The students are in Didi Dunphy’s Professional Practices Seminar, which received an Athens Arts Unleashed grant for the project. The class teamed up with local retailers to show pieces in shop windows downtown. There will also be a curator-led “Art Walk” from 6 to 7 p.m. this Sunday, April 25 (more information below).

The class been preparing for this project for a month. The students were split up into eight curatorial teams and paired artists with downtown spaces (the artists are not in the professional practices course). The Athens Street Show reflects the Arts Unleashed program and “presents art existing in challenging and surprising locations to create an art exhibition for all.”

The windows downtown are designed to tie in with both the art displayed and the retailer. Various disciplines of art are presented, and the students involved come from many different backgrounds. To view a full list of participating student curators, artists and locations, click here.

Athens Street Show’s website describes the seminar and the exhibition:

Professor Didi Dunphy's Professional Practices seminar is a course at the Lamar Dodd School of Art designed to introduce students to the wide possibilities of creative fields available for artists and creative entrepreneurial minds. Athens Street Show 2010 is a project undertaken with this in mind, to celebrate the relationship between the art by the students of Lamar Dodd, and the greater Athens community. Athens Street Show 2010 bridges the gap between art and community spaces.

The curator-led “Art Walk” (Sunday, 4/25) will begin at 6 p.m. at the Arch on Broad Street. The group will walk to each site and listen to student curators and artists as they describe the works and answer questions. The walk will end with a celebration at Farm 255. The event is free and open to the public.

Art Around Athens

In honor of Earth Day, come check out the Georgia Review's Second Annual Earth Day Celebration and Spring Issue Release Party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cecil B. Day Chapel, State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Writers Judith Ortiz Cofer, a 2010 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, and George Singleton, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, will read; photographs by associate professor Michael J. Marshall, the Review’s Winter 2009 featured artist (above), will be on display; local musical duo Hawk Proof Rooster will perform; and copies of the Review will be available for purchase, both individually and via subscription.

Friends of the Museum Annual Meeting

We're mailing out postcard invitations to this upcoming event, too, but if you're not on our mailing list please know that the annual meeting of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art is free and open to the public and scheduled for May 14 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be preceded by hard-hat tours of the new building, which require a reservation (call 706.542.GMOA [4662]) and that you dress appropriately, in pants and closed-toed sturdy shoes. Click on the image above to see it full size and look for the same in your physical and e-mailbox.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Georgia Senate may rescue the Georgia Council for the Arts

The Georgia Council for the Arts can breathe a little easier. The Senate Appropriations Committee has decided to restore Governor Sonny Perdue’s budget recommendation of $890, 735 for the GCA. This amount is already down from the current budget of $2.52 million, making the GCA one of the most under-funded councils in the nation. Pending a vote of the full Senate, the budget will allow the Council to remain intact and match its federal funding.

This will come as a relief to many who feared that the elimination of the GCA would jeopardize funds allocated by the National Endowment for the Arts. These fears stemmed from the budget passed by the Georgia House on Wednesday. In it, the House calls for the elimination of the GCA, which would make Georgia the only state in the U.S. without an arts agency. Granting funds of nearly $250,000 would then be transferred to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for administration.

Concerned members of the NEA worry that if the House’s version of the budget were to pass, the Department of Community Affairs would not be able to uphold the NEA Partnership Agreement. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this agreement requires, among other things, that the “administrating agency be able to implement an NEA-approved state arts plan, make fair funding decisions that consider artistic excellence and merit ‘primarily through a panel process,’ and make the arts accessible to neglected communities” as well as provide a dollar-for-dollar match in state government funding.

Image: City of Atlanta Online

Picasso's "The Actor" Returns to Met Walls

After a a damaging accident in January, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rare Rose Period Picasso,“The Actor,” returned to the institution's walls last week. A six-inch vertical tear was caused when a woman taking an adult education class accidently fell into the painting. Three months of work went into repairing the now barely visible tear and the 105-year-old painting can now be included in the museum's exhibition "Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art" opening next Tuesday. Except this time, "The Actor" will be behind a protective sheet of plexiglass.

The exhibition will include nearly all of the Met's collection of Picasso's oeuvre: paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and ceramics. You can read the whole article on "The Actor" in the NY Times today.

Hard Times

Most articles that have appeared over the past year or so detailing the financial straits of museums and, as a result, their turn to permanent collection shows (and it is an entire genre of articles by this point) have focused on the positives of such a move, but the Wall Street Journal's "Picasso to the Rescue" takes the unusual tack of pointing out some negatives.
Exhibits drawn entirely from permanent collections can sometimes feel incomplete or unsatisfying, museum observers say. "Very few museums have got a deep enough collection to pull this off convincingly," says David Gordon, the former director of the Milwaukee Art Museum who now works as a museum consultant. He adds that the Met's extensive holdings make it one of the possible exceptions.
It's unclear whether Gordon is speaking specifically about blockbuster permanent collection shows like the Metropolitan Museum of Art's upcoming Picasso exhibition or generally. He has a far better point if he means the former than the latter, which would suggest that museums shouldn't even bother with permanent collections beyond what's on the walls at all times. Author Candace Jackson mentions one reason permanent collection shows can be valuable: namely, fragility.
Most museums display less than 10% of the artwork in their collection at any given time. The works in storage often include a mix of museum-worthy pieces that can be pulled out for special exhibitions, and others that aren't fit for public viewing because they are fragile, damaged or simply no longer considered examples of great art. The Met has 34 Picasso paintings, but usually shows only 25 to 28 of them at a time. The artist's drawings and prints are generally not on view at the museum, because they are more fragile, but they will be included in the spring exhibit.
She also uses an exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis as a positive example of a creative permanent collection show:
Though not every museum has a closetful of Picassos to draw from, institutions across the country have come up with creative ways to put together shows from their own storerooms. At the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, museum-goers can take another look at the museum's permanent collection—using binoculars. The "Benches & Binoculars" exhibit features a salon-style gallery, hung floor to ceiling with works from of the museum's collection, like "Office at Night" by Edward Hopper. Visitors are encouraged to view the works through binoculars. Chief curator Darsie Alexander says the exhibition was meant to be "experimental, maybe even light-hearted," and to her surprise, has become one of the most popular galleries in the museum, requiring additional security guards because of the crowds.
The quote from Gordon actually follows this paragraph immediately, which makes it even more (potentially) insulting. Not all exhibitions aim to be comprehensive, and it's doubtful that even the Met's will be. Part of the appeal of permanent collection shows comes from seeing how a collection is built, not from rehashing the same old masterpieces once again, and these shows can be interestingly focused in a way larger exhibitions rarely are.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Smithsonian redesigns guide to include price tag and coupons

The Smithsonian Institution recently redesigned its official, and formerly free, visitor guide, goSmithsonian. The guide is now available for $2 and includes exhibitions highlights, descriptions and floor plans for all the museums within the Institution. However, visitors should not be discourage from purchasing the new and improved guide as the publishers have also included $40 worth of coupons and each museum still offers free floor plans. The decision is definitely an interesting sign of the times as more and more museums play the game of balancing visitor satisfaction with decreasing budgets. 

Passport Wine Tasting: South Africa

Tonight, Ciné is presenting its first destination in its new Passport Wine Tasting Series: South Africa. Each ticket to the event will include a tasting of five different varieties of wine typical to the region, as well as a few light food pairings from The National. As part of the event, there will be a slideshow featuring original photographs depicting South African vineyards, which represent the culture of the South African wine industry. The event will also include a presentation describing each wine featured in the tasting. There will be two tasting sessions tonight, one at 7 p.m. and another at 9 p.m. Tastings will take place in the lab at Ciné and will last about an hour and a half each. This series is meant for everyone, and you do not have to know a lot about wine to attend! Tickets are $17 each and available in advance online or at the door. GMOA will be hosting an “Art of: Wine” event this fall. We will keep you posted regarding the details in a few months!

New children's book about contemporary art

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA) recently published a new children’s book on contemporary art called “Breaking the Rules: What is Contemporary Art?” by Susan Rubin. According to MOCA, the book is “the first to make the museum’s world-renowned permanent collection accessible to young audiences.”

The book introduces the work of artists from MOCA’s collection, including that of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chris Burden and Maurizio Cattelan, among others. The book uses full-color print reproductions of the pieces along with quotes, texts and artists’ biographies to give children a better understanding of contemporary art and interpretation.

MOCA director of education Suzanne Isken describes why the book stands out from other children’s art books:

Breaking the Rules” fills a gap in the kind of art presented to young audiences. While art books for children about Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein multiply, texts about the more contemporary artists are few and far between. “Breaking the Rules” expands the canon and includes leading contemporary female artists as well as a multicultural group of some of the most groundbreaking and exciting artists of our time.

MOCA has about 6,000 works in its collection created since 1940 in all visual media. The 64-page hardcover book introduces 25 contemporary artists and “explores some of the most intriguing works in the museum’s holdings, leading young audiences to examine the creative process of artists working today.” The book showcases works that “break the rules” of traditional art.

MOCA plans to donate 200 copies of the book to Los Angeles County Schools as part of the museum’s Contemporary Art Start program (CAS). “Breaking the Rules: What is Contemporary Art?” is available online or at MOCA Store locations for $14.95.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't touch the art!

Most seasoned museum-goers have experienced the cautionary warning from a museum attendant after leaning in too close to scrutinize a painting or sculpture, and visitors would never dream of blatantly touching a work of art on display. These understood standards of behavior don’t seem to resonate with all viewers of performance art. The Museum of Modern Art’s “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” on view through May 31, employs a number of nude performers to reenact pieces performed by Abramovic and others in the 1970s.

Having live beings on display as opposed to inanimate objects brings up interesting problems and issues. These performers are works of art for a short span of time and then return to being people. Their protection in the museum setting does not stem from the traditional fear of damage and need for preservation but from concerns of harassment, molestation and damage to their images. Violations by visitors range from inappropriate touching to photography of nude performers (which is forbidden) and stalking on social media such as Facebook. Performers are also subjected to degrading or inaccurate comments about their physical appearance. These interactions and accidents such as stumbling into participants or stepping on their feet usually cannot be prevented.

Despite the risks and discomfort, the performers are often exhilarated by their experiences and have, overall, a positive view of their involvement. An article in the New York Times provides accounts from performers who say “there are plenty of magical moments with strangers, including those who innocently touch bare skin, whisper ‘thank you’ or do improvisational little dances that have the usually stoic performers cracking up.”

One performer, Gary Lai said, “You get immediate feedback. You’re causing a definite reaction in the audience, different from the typical reaction you want in a regular stage performance. This is more about human nature.”

Photograph: Suzanne DeChillo,The New York Times

Director of GMOA inducted into Sigma Pi Kappa

On Friday, April 16, William U. Eiland, director of the Georgia Museum of Art, was inducted into Sigma Pi Kappa, the only national honor society focused entirely upon preservation. Founded in 1991 on the University of Georgia campus, Sigma Pi Kappa has 13 chapters across the United States.

Eiland was nominated for his efforts in identifying and preserving all aspects of creative art, in particular paintings, sculpture, and all of the decorative arts. He is also commended for his professional leadership in raising awareness and understanding of the values of art preservation as well as promoting education about the importance of art to society. One of his most significant contributions is the expansion of the Georgia Museum of Art, which will provide more space to preserve and display its growing collections.

The induction ceremony was held in the historic Demosthenian Hall on UGA’s North Campus and was followed by the “April is Preservation Month @ UGA” barbecue and the annual preservation lecture.

Chris Peterson, a member of the board of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, was also inducted into Sigma Pi Kappa at this time.

European art from Boston to Tokyo

Monet paintings in Tokyo from MFA Boston. EPA/EVERETT KENNEDY BROWN

Paintings from the collection of European art from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have traveled to Tokyo for an exhibition at the Mori Art Center. The exhibition presents 80 masterpieces by about 50 such prominent artists as Rembrandt, Velazquez, El Greco, Picasso and van Gogh.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a collection of about 1,600 European paintings, which normally do not leave the museum.

The exhibition in Tokyo covers 500 years of European art and showcases different themes, including portraits, religious paintings and still lifes. The exhibition has different sections. First is the portrait gallery, with works by Rembrandt, Manet and Picasso.

The next room holds religious paintings by Spanish artists El Greco and Murillo. Impressionism, a well-known movement in Japan, has its own section in the exhibition, which features works by Monet, Degas and Cézanne.

The pieces have been placed strategically to show the relationship between the different artists. For example, Cézanne’s “The Pond” (ca. 1877–79) is next to van Gogh’s “Houses at Auvers” (1890). Cézanne lived in Auvers for two years in the 1870s.

The exhibition is on view through June 20 at the Mori Art Center and will travel to the Museum of the City in Kyoto from July 6 to August 29.

Construction Updates from Holder

Here's the update for the week that ended April 16, 2010:

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Finishing MEP Trim-out in the gallery
• Started electrical / V/D floor boxes for the gallery floor
• Continued to frame & finish ceilings in the connector
• Completed brick in the connector
• Started excavation for the cistern

Existing Building Renovations
• Installed ceiling grid on the 3rd floor
• Started repairs to the existing north wall & windows on the 3rd floor
• Completed new windows & sunshades on the South side of the 3rd floor
• Erected structural steel for the east entry alternate

Storage Bar
• Finished and cleaned all the exterior brick
• Started the roof tie-in at the 2nd floor
• Installed the exterior stairwell

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Run AHU#6 to condition the gallery space
• Finish floor box rough-in in the gallery
• Hang doors in the gallery
• Finish ceilings in the connector and remove the scaffolding

Existing Building Renovations
• Start below SOG vapor barrier at the east alternate entry
• Start roofing / gutters for the east alternate entry
• Continue with the existing North wall repairs
• Start prime painting the 2nd and 3rd floors

Storage Bar
• Finish roof installation on the 2nd floor
• Finish ceilings and prime walls on the 3rd floor
• Finish vapor barrio and wall frame on the 2nd floor

Storage bar exterior stairwell

Cistern excavation

Alternate east entry structural steel assembly

The Art of: Preservation

Wow! This event was just about perfect, with a beautiful day cooperating with our desire to be outside in the sunshine but not melting in the heat. A breeze even showed up to make things yet more pleasant. If you'd like to see a slideshow of some of the fun, check out the photos below, a set we'll be adding more to as the day goes on and we round them up from our various cameras.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

Tonight (Friday, April 16) from 6 to 8 p.m., the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center will host a free opening reception for the exhibition "New Works by Gary Hudson." The exhibition was planned before Hudson passed away in December and will serve as a memorial to him and a retrospective on his work. It will run through July 9.

Also tonight, from 7 to 9 p.m., the BFA students at the Lamar Dodd School of Art in photography, printmaking and jewelry/metals will have an opening reception for their exit show. Students featured include Elizabeth Gaby, Brian Hilley, Eric Lotzer, Danielle Tobin, Gabriel Bratton, Britt Gantner, Steven Hall, Susan Kent, Goodloe Yancey, Brittany Dowdell, Lulu Gyoury, Ashley Hall, Michelle Hall, Kristen Mapes, Emily Mayo, Kaylyn Mitchell, Cynthia Nist, Travis Oneal and Lauren Smith.

On Saturday, somewhat coincident with our own The Art of: Preservation but starting earlier (it runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), so you could very well get both in, is a less traditional arts event, the annual Fluke mini-comics fest, which has moved to Ciné this year. Five bucks will get you in whether you're a consumer or a producer, and many artists set up tables and sell original art and sketches.

"The Art of: Preservation"

Don’t forget, tomorrow (Saturday, April 17) the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Athens-Clarke County Heritage Foundation (ACHF), will host, “The Art of: Preservation” at Brick House Studio from 3 to 6 p.m. The event will feature tours of the Langston-Daniel-Wood House (ca. 1829), an early and rare example of brick architecture in northeast Georgia, led by Tim Walsh, historic preservation consultant, contractor and instructor in the UGA master's of historic preservation program. The afternoon will include a reception and music by Dale Wechsler. Brick House Studio is located at 1892 Athens Road, in Crawford. Those interested in coming are welcome to buy tickets at the door. Cost of attending is $15 for Friends of the Museum and ACHF members, $20 for non-members.

No touching!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art Around Athens

At 5 p.m. today at the Lamar Dodd School of Art in room S150, Katherine Smith will deliver the next Visual Culture Colloquium (VCC) lecture, "Learning from Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, or Representing 'The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form.'"
In 1972 Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, with Steven Izenour, published Learning from Las Vegas, a seminal study of architectural symbolism, specifically in the context of the contemporary suburban landscape. This publication embraces numerous representational strategies and methodological approaches, drawing widely from social discourse and visual culture, and the architects acknowledge significant influences, including those from contemporary art.

The influence of Pop art on Venturi and Scott Brown’s architecture has been a primary focus of my research, but my current project explores the reverse, looking at the ways that Venturi and Scott Brown’s architecture has paralleled and informed the works of select contemporary artists, including Claes Oldenburg and Dan Graham.

Katherine Smith is a graduate of the University of Georgia (A.B., art history, 1994) and an Assistant Professor of Art History at Agnes Scott College, where her approach to teaching draws directly on the interdisciplinary nature of her research, which focuses on thinking across media. Her scholarship addresses intersections in American art and architecture from the 1960s to the present. Her recent publications include essays in "Relearning from Las Vegas" (The University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and in Archives of American Art Journal (summer 2009).

At the same time, Ciné Barcafé is hosting a free opening reception for the exhibition "Ectoplasmic Residue," which features Ghostbusters-inspired works from Ghostbusters-inspired artists Mike Groves, Keith Rein and Joe Havasy.

Just a little bit later, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., as you can see by clicking on the scanned postcard above, there's a reception at Aurum Studios, Ltd., for an exhibition of paintings by former GMOA director Bill Paul. It's a busy Thursday evening, and we'll have more events for you tomorrow.

GMOA in the News

Art Daily ran a piece yesterday on the AAMD museums participating in International Museums Day next month (May 18), of which GMOA is one and receives a mention. Remember, we're offering a shop discount online that day of 20% on your order. Enter the code MUSEUMDAY at checkout to receive it. Click here to browse the shop's offerings.

Ceramics Mystery

There's a very cool ceramics show in the gallery at the end of the righthand hallway of the Visual Arts Building on Jackson Street, all of which appears to be by a single artist. No signage and no labels means we don't know who it is, but it's interesting stuff!

Ah-ha! The artists are Kyungmin Park and Robin Reif, who dropped off a postcard last week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Journey of Kerry James Marshall

"De Style" by Kerry James Marshall

Artist Kerry James Marshall was born in 1955 in Birmingham, Ala. When he was a child, he moved with his family moved to California (first to Watts, and then to Los Angeles) so his father could find a better job.

Marshall’s third-grade teacher sparked his interest in art. The next year, he started to learn about technique at the library and from John Ggnagy’s “Learn to Draw” television programs.

Although these events were important in Marshall’s interest in art, he says what had “the most profound impact” was his experience visiting a museum.

Marshall went on a fifth-grade field trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where he could finally see works about which he had read. He viewed two paintings by Paolo Callari Veronese and states that they were “beyond.” Marshall also saw a Senufo figure in the African Art section and says, “something about it was haunting.”

Marshall received a BFA from Otis Art Institute in 1978 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1999. His paintings and other works reflect the Civil Rights movement and African American popular culture. In 1997, Marshall won a MacArthur Genius Grant.

Marshall’s journey really shows the importance of exposing children to art. An experience as simple as a tour of a museum can change influence a child to become an artist. In fact, GMOA ensures that every fifth-grade class in Athens-Clarke County has the opportunity to visit the museum, thanks to the support of Buddy and Lucy Allen.

Check out the PBS Art 21 feature on Marshall.

Athens-based Literacyhead aims to instill a passion for literacy and the arts

Literacyhead, an Athens-based online journal committed to instilling in children a passion for literacy and the arts, recently launched its premier issue.

The journal aims to partner with teachers to help develop lessons for kids that are creative, engaging and will give them a love for reading and writing. Literacyhead offers book recommendations, graphics of literacy data, art for writing prompts and helpful graphic organizers.

The creators of Literacyhead wanted to create a source to assist teachers in helping children make connections between books and art. The site invites teachers to use their resources as a springboard for ideas and discussions, but welcomes them to tailor the materials provided to fit the needs of their own classrooms.

Sections to be included in the weekly journal include:

• The Art of Teaching and Writing: This section will present an artist whose work helps illustrate the journal’s theme of the week, including selected works to help assist teachers plan literacy lessons.

• Artful Read Aloud: This section will be based around a featured book and will include three parts that help children connect visual images to the “big idea” of the presented work.

• Coaching Matters: A resource for literacy coaches, this section will provide suggestions and ideas to expand children’s literacy strategies.

• Ten Titles: A weekly list of 10 children’s books that expand on the theme of the current issue.

• Write StARTs: Presents pieces of art from various artists to support writing specific to the weekly theme of the journal.

• The Art of Living: For adults, this section will recommend books, movies and reviews intended to fuel and nurture the creativity of grown-ups.

• Tools: Graphic organizers and visual aids to assist teachers.

• Visual Vocabulary: This section will feature five words from the week’s selected text along with images that illustrate the meaning of each word.

• Teaching Comics: A regular cartoon feature that will help students explore the various aspects of the writing process.

Those interested in Literacyhead are welcome to check out its Web site for more information, Subscriptions can be purchased for $15 for three months (12 issues), $20 for six months (26 issues) or $30 for a year (52 issues). Another option is to purchase each issue individually for $3. Those interested can also sign up for the journal’s mailing list.

MLC Sculpture Garden

If you've been near the Miller Learning Center on UGA's campus today, you might have noticed that a few sculptures have popped up in the memorial garden. If you have the chance, take advantage of the beautiful weather outside to look at some pretty cool sculptures. If you can't make it, check out the Flickr page for photos.