Friday, May 27, 2011

Decatur Arts Festival

If you're looking to get out of Athens this long weekend, why not check out the Decatur Arts Festival, which is holding its artists' market Saturday and Sunday? The cute poster and t-shirt design, pictured above, is by Mary Pousner, who was featured in an article on Decatur Patch.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Dorothea Lange!

Born May 26, 1895. in Hoboken, N.J., Dorothea Lange was an important documentary photographer during the Great Depression. Lange studied photography at Columbia University but is best known for her portrait work of migrant workers in southern California. Hired by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program, Lange documented the desperate conditions of those suffering from the tragedies of the Great Depression. Her iconic images brought the misfortunes of the rural poor to the public’s attention.

Her work is considered both portraiture and documentary due to its emotion-invoking nature. Her best-known image, “Migrant Mother, Nipoma, California, 1936,” is a perfect example of this combination. Lange was able to bring out emotion in her images, in a way that did not always exist in photography. Sadly, Lange passed away in 1965, but her work will forever be remembered for its impact on society as well as the visual arts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Explosive Art

“From Winter Wear to Spring Wear” – “Yarn Bomb” in
Washington, D.C. created by the group The Warm and Fuzzies.

This relatively new art form is blowing up in New York, Philadelphia, Paris and even in our very own Athens, Ga. Yarn Bombing is a new form of graffiti that is more “feminine and cozy” than what you typically see on walls, streets or practically any surface in the urban landscape. According to a New York Times article published recently, Jessie Hemmons, who knitted a pink vest for the statue of Rocky located outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, says that her art is “like graffiti with grandma sweaters.” This oxymoronically named art form got its surge when Mandy Moore (not the one you’re thinking of) and Leanne Prain published a book of photos and tips for up-starters called Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009). Since then, many have taken up the cause and have created breath-taking and time-consuming projects all around the globe. You can even spot a “bomb” outside the Lamar Dodd School of Art on UGA’s Campus. Whimsical, crocheted smoke clouds escape the cigarette repository outside the front doors of the building.

A "Yarn Bomb" outside UGA's Lamar Dodd School of Art

The message that these artists communicate is somewhere between political activism (acknowledging a feminine side of a typically male-dominated art) and revitalizing the ideas surrounding knitting and crochet. The temporality of the pieces is another thing that draws artists to the medium. The yarn does not hold up in the elements for more than a few weeks and the objects are sometimes quickly removed, but ephemeral qualities make it so exciting. What a great way to spruce up the neighborhood. UGA graduates Francesca Valente and Carrie Mumah chronicle their Yarn Bombs around Washington, D.C., in a group called “The Warm and Fuzzies.”

To learn more about this urban phenomenon, read the article, which also shows a video of a woman “bombing” the bull statue near Wall Street. All we can say is that we love this creative outlet and it is certainly not your average warfare.

"Use Art to Turn the World Inside Out"

The story of the French street artist who goes by the name JR is not unlike that of most graffiti artists. At the age of 15, equipped with a can of spray paint, he began scribbling his name on every building he came across. He never viewed his activity as an art form, rather as a way of making his mark on history. Over time, JR began photographing his adventures and those of his friends. But then something changed. At the age of 25, JR found himself in the midst of the social unrest that was taking place in Paris. He decided it was a time for change, and he began contributing the only way he knew how. With the use of paste and a photocopier, JR began illegally posting massive portraits of Parisian “thugs” on the walls of city buildings. The public was confronted with towering images of the people they feared most and sought to avoid. JR used his art silently to provoke conversation. During his 2011 lecture for the TED organization, he commented that, “it was there that I learned the power of paper and glue. So could art change the world?”

Since then, JR has viewed the world as his gallery space, using everything from streetcars to synagogues as his canvas. He pastes up portraits of members of the community as a way to raise questions. He is interested in documenting the community, not the conflict, which is what separates him from most photojournalists. He has traveled to the Middle East during the heart of the Palestinian conflict and to war-torn nations in Africa. When anyone asked what he was doing, he simply responded with, “art. I’m just doing art.”

Due to the nature of the medium, his work becomes the property of the viewer after he leaves. Decay is part of the process. The passer-by is welcome to graffiti over his work and, over time, weather wears the image down to nothing more than a memory. His art is not meant to change the world; it is meant to change the way we see the world.

He said, “What we see changes who we are. So I hope that, together, we’ll create something that the world will remember. And this starts right now and depends on you.”

Friday, May 20, 2011


We're still refining and revising aspects of our wonderful new website (designed by the Adsmith), and one of the most recent parts to go live is the section where you can browse our newsletter in a full-page format. Just click to read it, then click again to zoom in.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

David Matheny named the M. Smith Griffith Volunteer of the Year

Congratulations to David Matheny, who was named the M. Smith Griffith Volunteer of the Year, an award also known as the "Smitty," at the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 17.

Matheny began his service to the Georgia Museum of Art during the late 1990s, when he was first asked to serve on a fundraising committee for a museum event. He was nominated to the board of directors of the Friends of the Museum in 2002, on which he served for six years. He was president of the board of the Friends from 2006 to 2008. He continues his service on the Nominating Committee and as a committee member for the next Friends’ fundraiser.

Matheny has also contributed professionally to the Georgia Museum of Art. He was an architectural consultant for the museum’s 1996 building, and when the first plans for Phase II were being drawn, his expertise was invaluable. He is also a principal in the Armentrout Matheny Thurmond architectural consulting group and was the primary architect for the renovation and expansion of Barbara and Vince Dooley's house.

As a result of his service to the museum, Matheny was nominated in 2008 to serve on the Board of Advisors of the Georgia Museum of Art. He is currently an active member of the board and serves on the Public Affairs and Outreach committee.

Matheny has distinguished himself in one area in particular: fundraising. Since his first committee assignment, he has served on every fundraising committee for every major Friends’ fundraiser during the past decade. During 2006, 2008 and 2011, he was the chair of the Elegant Salute fundraising committee, setting new records for fundraising and a new standard for the Friends. During the past year, his tireless efforts netted almost $100,000, much of which will be directed toward educational programming.

Museum Manners

The Chicago Tribune ran an article last week called "Museum Manners" on how to behave yourself in a museum, and, while we know you all have Judith Martin's entire library of books, a reminder never hurts:
With the assistance of an etiquette expert and a collection of museum employees, who, trust us, have seen it all, we have compiled a brief guide to museum manners in the age of iPhones, bucket-size coffee drinks and handbags you could pitch a tent in.

The good news is that Chicago's museum employees say you are pretty close to perfect just the way you are. They don't care what you're wearing as long as it's not a backpack. There is nothing you could say about their exhibits that would offend them; they're just happy to have started a conversation. They're flattered that you want to take their picture.

. . . Museum manners, however, have to take into account one fairly unique circumstance. "You're dealing with priceless objects. It's one of the few places that is true."

Which is why, at the Art Institute of Chicago, public affairs director Erin Hogan says, pens, flash photography and backpacks are unwelcome. Also, she says, "we are not a huge fan of pointing," which can lead to jabbing, which runs the risk of unintentional contact with artwork.
Our favorite sentence in the article? "Jeffrey Arnett, manager of development and marketing for the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago says he is frequently forced to mediate the conflict between modern visitors' hydration needs and the more arid requirements of a photography collection."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GMOA featured in “Hilltop Photo of the Week”

We were excited to see this GMOA photo featured as Birmingham-Southern College’s “Hilltop Photo of the Week”!

The photo, taken at this January’s Elegant Salute XII, depicts two Birmingham-Southern alumni: Anna Burns Dyer (’70), and our director, Bill Eiland (’70; right). Eiland was also the recipient of Birmingham-Southern’s Distinguished Alumni Award at the school’s Homecoming/Reunion Weekend festivities this past fall.

The BSC Photo of the Week website also featured a short blurb about the museum’s reopening and expansion. To check it out, click here. Thanks for the shout out, Birmingham-Southern College!

May 18th - International Museum Day

Established in 1977 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), International Museum Day is a day on which people around the world take a moment to reflect upon the important role that museums play. ICOM is made up of more than 30,000 museums in over 100 different countries. From Costa Rica to Malaysia, museums in many different countries are taking a day to open their doors and educate the public.

This year’s theme is “Museum and Memory: Objects Tell Your Story,” which highlights the role that objects play in society’s collective memory. Museums aren’t just big buildings filled with old junk; they are visual showcases of humanity’s time spent on this earth. History builds upon itself, and the absence of the precious artifacts housed in museums would be indescribable. Restoration, conservation and curatorship are all integral parts of museums. So on May 18, take an hour or two to visit your local museum (like the Georgia Museum of Art) and appreciate the beauty that has been preserved and displayed for the benefit of you, your community and the future members of society.

Also, don't forget to stop by the gift shop after your visit to the GMOA. We're offering a 20% discount in the shop, both online (with the code MUSEUMDAY) and in person.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New exhibitions to open Saturday

This Saturday, May 14, we have two new exhibitions opening at the museum: "American Watercolors from the Permanent Collection" and "The Art of Disegno: Italian Prints and Drawings from the Georgia Museum of Art." The former received some coverage from Art Knowledge News this week and covers a wide range of some of our more delicate works, rarely on display because of their fragility. Some of these are featured in our recently published catalogue "One Hundred American Paintings," such as the John Marin image pictured above, Jasper Francis Cropsey's "The Palisades, Hudson River," Arthur B. Davies' "Castles in Spain" and Charles Burchfield's "October Wind and Sunlight in the Woods."

The other exhibition, "The Art of Disegno," was organized by the museum some years ago, with the help of guest curators Robert Randolf Coleman (of Notre Dame) and Babette Bohn (of Texas Christian University), but has not been on display here. It previously traveled to the Snite Museum at Notre Dame and will be on view at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, Calif., in November. The exhibition culls 53 prints and drawings from the 16th through 18th centuries to look at the growing importance of disegno (or "drawing") during that time. It is accompanied by a catalogue the museum published a couple of years ago.

We hope you'll join us for both these wonderful exhibitions, as well as for "Dalí Illustrates Dante's Divine Comedy," already up in the galleries.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

All Creatures Evidence

Our director was passing through the Atlanta airport this week and made his way over to the T Gates, where our exhibition "All Creatures Great and Small" is on view until April 2012. He snapped some photos with his phone, so you can see how it looks on display, with the video running.

If you're heading out on exciting journeys any time soon, please stop by the T Gallery and take a look. If you email us your photos at, we'll post them here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Film Screening: Salvador Dalí

This Thursday, in conjunction with the exhibition “Dalí’ Illustrates Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy,’” the museum will screen two of the best-known Surrealist films of the avant-garde. Both films are collaborations between Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí: “Un Chien Andalou” (1929), a silent film (French with English intertitles, 16 minutes) and “L’Age D’Or” (1930), Buñuel’s first feature film (French with English subtitles, 63 minutes).

The films will be screened in the M. Smith Griffith Auditorium at the Georgia Museum of Art, from 7 – 9 p.m. For more information, please click here.

Sneak peek:

Spotlight on: Grace Allen Polaneczky

Image courtesy of

We’re always excited to learn more about our visitors, so we were thrilled to find this article about 12-year-old Grace Allen Polaneczky, a Georgia Museum of Art enthusiast and Athens Patch’s “Whiz Kid” of the week.

Grace is a homeschooled sixth-grader who enjoys playing guitar, geocaching and photography, among other things. She also writes a column for the Athens Banner-Herald and maintains a blog called The Kid Reader. How has a sixth-grader already accomplished so much? Grace credits Athens’ artsy atmosphere:

“If I were in a really big city, I probably wouldn't be able to write for the newspaper. Living in a small town means I have a lot more opportunities. Athens is very welcoming of independent and up and coming artists and musicians."

Speaking of artists, Grace referred to the Georgia Museum of Art’s very own Anthony Goicolea exhibition as a source of inspiration. She attended Goicolea’s artist’s talk that took place at the museum in February and was inspired by the meaning behind his photography.

To read the Athens Patch article on Grace and check out some samples of her art, please click here.

Thanks, Grace, for the shout out and we hope to see you again soon!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Celebrating Our Collectors

Friday night's event, Celebrating Our Collectors: A 10th Anniversary Bash, was a great time for all involved. The Collectors is a sub-group of the Friends that requires an additional membership fee in exchange for unique educational opportunities that focus on collecting and learning more about art. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since the group was founded, and they have given many wonderful works of art to the museum's collection through the funds they raise during that time.

This year's fundraiser celebrated the group's 10th anniversary, beginning with a champagne toast at the Lyndon House Arts Center in honor of Peg Wood, who has a retrospective of her paintings on display there. Attendees then made their way to GMOA for dinner, dancing, cocktails and a silent auction of works of art, designer handbags, jewelry and more. Betty Myrtle, Judith Ellis and Carol Dolson chaired the event, and Magdalena Williams of European Floral Design did the amazing floral arrangements, some of which were taller than our shorter staff members.

Click through the photos below to see everyone in his or her finest and thank you to everyone who made it out for a beautiful evening. For more information on becoming a member of the Friends or the Collectors, click here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small is up!

Y'all, after much planning and then quite a bit of work, including a late-night install at Hartsfield-Jackson International Atlanta Airport, the exhibition "All Creatures Great and Small" is up. Featuring works by self-taught artists that depict animals and are drawn from GMOA's collection and from the collection of Carl and Marian Mullis of Atlanta, it will be on display in the T Gallery at the airport's T Gates through April 2012, so if you're going to be in the airport, build some extra time into your visit to stop by and take a look.

Larry Forte, who installed the exhibition along with curator Paul Manoguerra, head preparator Todd Rivers and David Vogt and Katherine Marbury of the Airport Art Program, made this short video from the photographs he took during the install. What they don't reflect is how late at night most of this was.

The other major part of the exhibition was the production of a film that will loop alongside the display, directed by David McClister of Lampshade Films, who has worked with the Avett Brothers among many other famed musicians. The first part covers general information about the museum, and the second part features interviews with many of the artists whose work appears in the exhibition.