Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Political Posters as Art

As we enter into an election year, political ad campaigns run rampant. You can’t turn on the TV or listen to the radio without hearing some election buzz. In the spirit of things, here are two propaganda posters from World War II that have been memorialized.

This poster was created in 1939 and displayed during World War II in an attempt to raise the morale of British citizens. Many people feared invasion by German armies, and the “Keep Calm and Carry On” logo was designed to inspire a sense of trust in the government. The poster was lost for 61 years, only being rediscovered in 2000. Since then, it has been reproduced on everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs and planners. GMOA even uses a version of it in a sign we put up in the lobby while setting up for events!

Designed and produced in 1942 by artist J. Howard Miller, Rosie the Riveter encouraged women to become involved in the war effort. Many women worked in factories producing weapons, munitions and other war materials.

When it was first produced, this image was known as the “We Can Do It!” poster rather than Rosie the Riveter. The poster was rediscovered in the early 1980s. It was renamed “Rosie the Riveter” based on a popular song of the same name written by Redd Evans in 1942. The poster has since become an image of women’s empowerment and feminism. 

Although these images were originally intended as propaganda pieces, they have become internationally known works of art. Images of popular culture can often transform into art when they comment on important contemporary social issues. The Georgia Museum of Art currently displays a number of works relating to political and social issues, including many in the Marilyn Overstreet Nalley Galleries in particular.

Virtual Mount Rushmore

If a quick trip to South Dakota seems a little out of reach, have no fear. With the help of three-dimensional laser technology, Internet goers are now able to take an in-depth tour of Mount Rushmore from the comfort of their own home. The monument was scanned in 2010 as a part of a five-year project with help from the Kacyra Family Foundation. The foundation has documented nearly 50 different historical sites in an effort to promote education and aid in preservation. What’s interesting is that cyber visitors may, in fact, have a more in-depth experience than those who visit the actual site. Even the most remote locations are available for exploration online.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art Present "An Evening with the Blues"

Jay Robinson's "Billie Holiday Singing the Blues"
The Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art are excited to present “An Evening with the Blues.” The Feb. 16 dinner event will celebrate Black History Month and honor Larry and Brenda Thompson.

Kicking off with cocktails at 6 p.m., the evening will include a gallery talk by chief curator and curator of American art Paul Manoguerra. The talk focuses on Jay Robinson’s painting “Billie Holiday Singing the Blues.” Dinner will be catered by The National and followed by a performance by Kyshona Armstrong in the M. Smith Griffith Grand Hall. 

Larry and Brenda Thompson will be honored for their recent donation to the museum. The donation consists of works of art by African American artists, many of which were featured in the exhibition “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art.” The couple has also graciously funded an endowment to create a new curatorial position at the museum. GMOA honors an African American leader in northeast Georgia every year, selecting those who have given back to the African American community and supported the arts. 

The cost of the evening is $40 per person. Be sure to RSVP to 706.542.0830 by Thursday, Feb. 9 if you are interested in attending!

For more of Kyshona Armstrong's music, visit
“An Evening with the Blues” is generously sponsored by the Athens Chapter, The Links, Incorporated, in memory of Lillian Lynch; Mr. Todd Emily; Julie and Ira Roth; UGA Alumni Association; UGA's Office for Institutional Diversity; and Ashford Manor B&B and Event Facility.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Family Day Photos

Larry Forte took all these great pictures at Family Day: Let's Move! Art, Animals and Yoga this past weekend (Jan. 21, 2012). He also made a video that features many of them. Kids learned about animals in art in the permanent collection, did yoga poses based on animals, ate produce from local farms (after being bribed with stickers), had fun with Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful and created their own animals out of clay you could color.

The weather didn't cooperate, but we still had 315 people show up! Thanks to everyone who participated (we hope to see you back for the next Family Day: Discover the Decorative Arts, Feb. 18) and helped to make it happen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Suitcase Tours

Docent Kitty Donnan got us this wonderful photograph of Mrs. Worthington's first-grade class at Oconee County Primary School, where our docents have been visiting all the first-graders for the last two weeks, bringing our Suitcase Tours to teach kids about art.

Suitcase Tours are a traveling tour for elementary schools in the Athens area inspired by hthe museum's founder and first director, Alfred Heber Holbrook. Mr. Holbrook used to take his collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings throughout Georgia in his “Artmobile” and share them with schools and communities around the state. Suitcase Tours are designed for students in grades K-3 and feature the works of five artists from the museum's permanent collection. Through a discussion of these paintings and related hands-on activities, students learn about the elements of art and gain a better understanding of how to look and talk about art. Follow-up activities and information about the museum are included. These presentations are 50 minutes long, free and limited to 30 students per presentation. For more information or to schedule a Suitcase Tour, please contact the education department at the Georgia Museum of Art at 706.542.GMOA (4662).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Inc. presents “Southern”

Sam Seawright, The Poet's House (Moth), 2001
ATHICA is showing its 44th exhibition, “Southern,” beginning this Saturday, Jan. 21, and running through Sunday, March 4. The exhibition features many new works exploring the emotional depth and aesthetic diversity of nine artists across four generations.

Through photography, video and sculpture, the artists present a visually rich installation that tests the boundaries between art and religion, aesthetic and documentary practice and folk and fine art.

Exhibition highlights include documentary photographs of the interior and exterior grounds of the St. Paul Spiritual Holy Temple in Memphis, Tenn.; a multimedia work addressing the relationship between the Hope Scholarship and the Georgia Lottery; and a controversial painting referencing the Ku Klux Klan that was once removed from a faculty exhibition at Gainesville College by its president.

Participating artists are Stanley Bermudez; Drék Davis; Hope Hilton; Ted Kuhn; Michael Lachowski; Judy Rushin; Sam Seawright; John Seawright; Steven Thompson; and James Perry Walker and the family of Washington Harris of the Saint Paul Spiritual Holy Temple.

The exhibition’s opening reception will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. The curator and assistant curator of “Southern” are Judith McWillie and Lauren Williamson.

"Georgia Bellflowers" photos

We had an amazing crowd for the "Georgia Bellflowers" opening reception on Sunday, including one of the most packed gallery talks ever. Many of Gene Thomas's family members were there, and the Athens Historical Society folks were a lot of fun. Lots of cookies were eaten and punch consumed. Photos are above, including several of lenders to the exhibition posing with their furniture. Also, the books are now available in the shop, for a mere $16.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Backpack Tours (Again)

Remember our last post about GMOA's Backpack Tours? Well, they keep growing in popularity, and we're posting more photos to our Flickr page of cute kids interacting with art. The felt board seems to be especially popular. Why not stop by the museum with your kids or grandkids and check it out? It's 100% free, and snacks are available for purchase from Ike & Jane Café in the lobby.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Helen Frankenthaler’s Pools of Color


Prominent color field painter Helen Frankenthaler was a leading force behind the visually engaging and dynamic American painting movement known as abstract expressionism. Frankenthaler’s new way of making art sets her apart from fellow abstract expressionist painters such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

Frankenthaler’s unorthodox technique in thinning oil paint with turpentine and then applying it to an unprepared canvas achieves an effect similar to light and airy watercolors. By diluting the oil paint and pouring the mixture directly from a coffee can onto the surface of the canvas, Frankenthaler was able to create a distinctive and unique oil on canvas in contrast to the dense and often dark works of Pollock and Mark Rothko.

Frankenthaler’s breakthrough painting entitled “Mountain and Sea” (1952) was inspired by the landscapes she encountered on her travels to Nova Scotia. The oil and charcoal on canvas is lyrical in its depiction of the sky, forest and water. The pale and mellow blues and greens defined lightly by sporadic charcoal lines are active, yet calming in appearance.

Bright pools of color that make up large, yet inviting canvases define the paintings and legacy Frankenthaler left behind when she passed away Dec. 27. 

Obituary here