Monday, April 25, 2011

Former GMOA Intern Is UGA’s Amazing Student This Week

Image courtesy of UGA

Sarah Quinn, a former intern with the department of education at GMOA, has been selected as UGA’s Amazing Student this week! She has been very involved with the museum, also serving as a student docent and being selected as the Louis T. Griffith Student of the Year in 2009.

Sarah is currently studying abroad in Cortona, and she will be in Morocco with the Peace Corps after she graduates. She will be graduating in May alongside her mother, who is finishing up a master’s degree. Congratulations to the Quinns! Check out their amazing story here.

Keepin’ It Surreal Student Night at GMOA

Photos from GMOA’s second student night, Keepin’ It Surreal, are now posted on our Flickr and Facebook pages. The Georgia Museum of Art Student Association hosted the student night on Thursday, April 21, at GMOA. Circulatory System and Never played, and there was a DJ set by Stay at Home Dad. Cookies and milk were served midway through the event in the GMOA lobby, and student docents conducted tours of the exhibitions throughout the night. Elliott King, a leader in the critical study of Salvador Dalí’s work after 1940, gave a special tour of our exhibition “Dalí Illustrates Dante’s ’Divine Comedy‘” at 10 p.m. after his lecture at the museum earlier in the evening. The event was attended by 450 students!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Art Matters"

Leonard Barkin, Arthur W. Marks ‘19 Professor of Comparative Literature and Director, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts

The Princeton University Art Museum ran an inspiring article by Leonard Barkan in the guest column “Art Matters” of their quarterly publication this past fall. Here is what he has to say about the impact of university art museums:

“I came to the visual arts late. I was acting in plays, attempting the simple Chopin waltzes on the piano, and writing (terrible!) poetry by the time my age registered two digits; but I was so radically ungifted in art class that my parents were told I might have some sort of hand-eye retardation. By my teenage years, I had discovered the obvious—that it was even more satisfying for me to experience the arts than it was to produce them myself. And so I became a professional student of literature, plus all but bankrupting myself attending plays, concerts, and operas.

Even with this conversion from performer to connoisseur, though, painting and sculpture still seemed like a world beyond my capacities. Until, as a quite grown-up scholar, I realized that everything I had loved about the Renaissance literature had something to do with Renaissance art—that I couldn’t think about Petrarch without thinking about Giotto and Simone Martini, or Shakespeare without Titian, or the Renaissance rediscovery of ancient literature without the rediscovery of ancient sculpture. So I began to retrain myself as an art historian.

Then I came to Princeton, where for the first time I was able to develop close ties with a university museum. By some sort of elective affinity, I became acquainted with the superlative prints and drawings collection, masterfully managed by Curator Laura Giles and Associate Curator Calvin Brown, while, at the same time, I began work on a project that would eventually become Michelangelo: A Life on Paper. In this book, soon to be published by Princeton University Press, I attempt to understand the great artist’s inner life by looking at the combination of visual and verbal sketched on his worksheets—everything from doodles to finished drawings, from shopping lists to sonnets.

As it happens, there is in the Museum’s collection a piece of paper, containing the masterfully executed profile sketch of a young man with classical features and luxuriant ringlets, which is now fairly widely recognized as the Princeton Michelangelo. When I look at this remarkable five hundred-year old object, I am less interested in determining whether every single line of chalk was executed by the Master than I am in unlocking different sorts of enigmas. Was the artist memorializing a real person—friend? pupil? lover?—or was it rather his vision of an imaginary classical ideal? How might we understanding the nasty little hook-nosed caricature that hovers around the young man’s left sleeve? And what about the fact that x-rays have revealed a tiny architectural drawing, probably relating to a project in a much later phase of Michelangelo’s career, which suggests that he held on to this drawing for thirty years before using its flipside?

Speaking of long-term holdings, the fact that I have the chance to hold on to this drawing, just as the artist himself did, is a tribute to some 130 years of Princeton collecting—more specifically in this case, to Frank Jewett Mather Jr., director of the Museum for a quarter century and donor of this very sheet to the collection. But I’m not alone in enjoying this privilege. Visitors from the University, from the Princeton community, and from around the world not only have access to painting and sculpture in the many open galleries in the Museum; they are also welcome to make appointments to see the extraordinary holdings of work on paper.

I took advantage of that hospitality during the spring semester of 2009 by teaching an undergraduate seminar on Story-Telling in Pictures and Words, in which we moved back and forth between literary forms—short stories from Boccaccio to Grace Paley—and pictorial narratives, such as those based on the Bible and on Greek mythology. The highlight of our semester was a series of visits to Prints and Drawings. It wasn’t Michelangelo who occupied us, though. Early in the term, we did sit around the study room table contemplating the beautiful series of Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress; then, with the help of John Pinto, we unrolled and examined Piranesi’s amazing nine-foot etching of Trajan’s Column. But the visits that will remain most vividly in our minds involved the opportunity to study a different sort of work on paper, by Bud Fisher, Rube Goldberg, and Walt Disney.

From Piranesi to Pinocchio, from Michelangelo to Mutt and Jeff: that’s my idea of a great university museum.”

Barkan does an excellent job of illustrating how much impact university museums can have on their communities, as both a teaching tool and a place of enjoyment. We at the museum hope that we can be as much of an inspiration to those in the Athens.

Santa Fe / Los Angeles

Last week, our director Bill Eiland and I were on a week-long airplane and car trip out West.

On Monday night, I met him and a few museum patrons in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On Tuesday we strolled the galleries: Zaplin Lampert, Gerald Peters, Aaron Payne, and Peyton Wright, among others. Then, it was to Albuquerque to get ready for an early flight.

On Wednesday, we flew to LAX (via Salt Lake City) and immediately took the drive out to Palm Desert to meet with private collectors and view their collection. The collection will likely appear in a Georgia Museum of Art exhibition in the future.

On Thursday, we returned to Los Angeles, visited three galleries and the home/studio of DeWain Valentine. On Friday, we returned cross-country to ATL.

A very nice and productive trip...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GMOA in the News

Gordon Szymanski from the Red & Black contributed a nice article that ran today on our exhibition "The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection." His take is that it's not just for art people, but for anyone who's interested in history, geography, travel and so on. The exhibition closes May 2, so you have about a week and a half left to come see it if you haven't yet. Today's Tour at Two focuses on it and is a great opportunity to view the 153 prints and drawings it encompasses with the help of a well-educated guide.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GMOA Exhibition Travels to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

Part of the Airport Art Program, Department of Aviation, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, “All Creatures Great and Small,” a special exhibition from the Georgia Museum of Art’s permanent collection and the collection of Carl Mullis, features works of art depicting animals created by self-taught American artists. Paintings, sculptures and mixed-media creations by such folk masters as Howard Finster and Mose Tolliver and by such outstanding but relatively unheralded contemporary artists as Jim Lewis and Ted Gordon will soon be on display in the Atlanta airport’s T gates. The majority of artists featured have spent their lives in the South, including the following artists from Georgia: Michael Crocker, Finster, Willie Jinks, R.A. Miller and O.L. Samuels. Watch here for news on when the exhibition will be open.

Lecture with Arielle Saiber and Elliott King

Thursday April 21, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

"Hyperdimensionality in Salvador Dalí's Illustrations of Dante's 'Paradiso'"

This lecture, held in conjunction with the exhibition “Dalí’ Illustrates Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy,’” features two experts from the field: Arielle Saiber, scholar of Italian literature and the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Villa I Tatti Fellowship from the Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies; and Elliott King, a leader in the critical study of the artist’s work after 1940 and guest curator of “Dalí’: The Late Work,” a major exhibition recently on view at the High Museum of Art.

GMOA in the News

Our thanks to Howard Pousner, who turned in a wonderful article on our Dalí exhibition. We're always happy to get coverage of any kind in the AJC, but Howard is a stellar writer and a very nice guy to boot, and we love working with him. Our galleries are closed today, but come see the Dalí show tomorrow, or, better yet, come to the lecture at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and stick around for Student Night: Keepin' It Surreal that evening.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

GMOA in the News

The Red & Black has been calling us up left and right lately, and here's one of the articles that's resulted, on our exhibition "Dalí Illustrates Dante's Divine Comedy." It also includes some racy talk by curator Lynn Boland!

"Dalí and the Surrealists: An Introduction"

Join us today from 4 – 5 p.m. for a gallery talk featuring Dalí and the Surrealist movement.

In conjunction with the exhibition “Dalí Illustrates Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy,’” organized by the Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, N.M., Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art, will provide a brief history of the Surrealist movement and its underlying theories along with an overview of Dalís art. Boland will also explore the turbulent relationship Dalí had with other Surrealists, which colored his later career. This event is free and open to the public.

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989)
The Waterfall of the Phlegethon
Inferno, Canto 34
22 5/8 x 19 7/8 x 1 inches
© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2011

Friday, April 08, 2011

New Exhibitions Start Opening This Weekend

Here's how the press release reads:
"Dalí Illustrates Dante's Divine Comedy" on view at Georgia Museum of Art
April 10 to June 19, 2011

Writer/Contact: Jenny Williams, 706/542-9078,

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will exhibit “Dalí Illustrates Dante’s Divine Comedy,” organized by the Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, N.M., April 10 to June 19.

The exhibition at GMOA is part of a 10-city national tour during a three-year period containing all 100 prints from Dalí’s Divine Comedy Suite. The exhibition also features text panels in English and Spanish. The tour has been developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company from Kansas City, Mo.

In 1957, the Italian government commissioned Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) to illustrate Dante Alighieri’s (1265-1321) “Divine Comedy.”Dalí’s watercolors were to be reproduced as wood engravings and released as a limited-edition print suite in honor of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s birth. Often considered to be the greatest work of medieval European literature, the “Divine Comedy,” written between 1307 and 1321, describes Dante’s symbolic journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Heaven (Paradiso). The epic poem comprises three books of 33 cantos each, plus an introductory canto.

Upon receiving the commission, Dalí immediately began creating a series of 100 watercolors, each one illustrating a canto from the poem. When the project was announced to the public, Italians were outraged that a Spaniard had been chosen for it, and the commission was rescinded. Dalí, confident that a publisher could be found, continued to work.

To translate Dalí’s watercolors into printed plates, two artists hand carved 3,500 blocks, an average of 35 separate blocks per print, a process that lasted five years. French publishers Éditions les Heures Clairesand Éditions Joseph Horet jointly produced the Divine Comedy Print Suite in 1964. Dalí considered this project one of the most important of his career.

As a young artist, Dalí moved freely among various forms of art, including traditional painting, cubism, futurism and metaphysical painting. A visit to Paris introduced Dalí to artists and writers influenced by the controversial theories of Sigmund Freud. His artistic activities also included sculpture and film, and he is credited with contributions to theater, fashion and photography.

Born in Florence in 1265, Dante is regarded as Tuscany’s greatest poet. His first written work, “La Vita Nuova,” was completed in 1294 as a tribute to his love and muse Beatrice, who guides him through Paradiso in the “Divine Comedy.” Dante began composing the “Divine Comedy” in Verona, Italy, where he was living in political exile, and completed it in 1321, shortly before his death in Ravenna, Italy.

“The interdisciplinary nature of this exhibition especially befits a university museum,” said Lynn Boland, GMOA Pierre Daura Curator of European Art and the exhibition’s in-house curator. “In addition to connecting 14th-century Italian literature and 20th-century visual art, the suite also makes references to, for example, hyper dimensional geometry.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a large-scale bronze by Dalí entitled “Angel of Victory” from the museum’s permanent collection will be on view in the Patsy Dudley Pate Balcony.

The exhibition also will offer insights into other artistic representations of Dante’s Commedia—from Botticelli to Robert Rauschenberg—with a reading area organized by Boland.

Guerrilla Dance

This dance performance, which was presented at the CURO (Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities) Symposium, takes place largely in the museum's volunteer parking area, with a bit in the Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden, too. Who knew our spaces were so well suited to this kind of thing!