Monday, September 29, 2014

Parthenon Exhibition Helps Solve Some of Art History's Mysteries

Dr. Katherine A. Schwab is not just a professor, an archaeologist, and an artist- she is also an art history detective. Her work, which combines all three disciplines, reconstructs some of the most damaged parts of the relief sculptures of the famous Greek temple the Parthenon and discovers some of the sculpture's missing pieces.

In the Georgia Museum of Art exhibition "An Archaeologist's Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab," Schwab's intensely careful drawings have for the first time taken the destroyed parts of the Parthenon's metopes (the large panels of the frieze above the columns) and "filled in the holes." She has used her archeological background to reimagine these metopes, which tell the mythological stories of famous characters like Odysseus and the Greek Gods, and finally display the complexity that they would have shown back in their glory days before they were damaged in the 6th and17th centuries.

Schwab's drawings use a new method of graphite and pastel on paper, a process she began working with in 2005. The multimedia exhibition, which runs from Sept. 13 through Dec. 7, combines these drawings with photographs of the original sculptures by Socratis Mavrommatis and a full size plaster cast of one of the better preserved metopes, allowing visitors to gain a full understanding of how complex these sculptures truly are.

Some museum visitors have already had the opportunity to get up close with the exhibition. On Sept. 13, the museum hosted a Parthenon-themed Family Day for younger visitors. Kids could not only spend some time with their families in the galleries but were also able to try their hand with sculpting tools, take photos dressed up as Greek gods and goddesses and create their own metope drawings.

Future events about the exhibition include the annual Shouky Shaheen Lecture, which Schwab will deliver on Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m., entitled "The Parthenon Sculptures: Reimagining Lost Narratives." Two tours will also be offered: one on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. by undergraduate honors classics student Chiara Tondi Resta, and one by Mark Abbe, guest curator of the exhibition, on Nov. 14 at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Georgia Museum of Art Celebrates Elephant 6

On October 4, the Georgia Museum of Art will be opening a new exhibition that, in tandem with other events and exhibitions at various Athens art locales, celebrates and unveils a group central to the heritage of the Athens arts scene. The Georgia Museum of Art's portion of this citywide commemoration, "The . . . of E6, Part of Athens Celebrates Elephant 6," will include art from album covers, works inspired by these individuals and their music, and other pieces influential to the artists honored and the culture they represented and galvanized.

The Elephant 6 Recording Company was formed in the early 1990's by Robert Schneider, Jeff Mangum, Will Hart, and Bill Doss, four friends from Ruston, La. who moved to Athens. The first EP from the recording company came from Schneider's band, the Apples in stereo, and began a new Athens aesthetic that has become ingrained in the town's artistic heritage. Other bands, such as Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel, were borne out of the movement, with band members often switching between groups. A sub-genre of music can still be traced back to these origins today, with bands such as of Montreal and Elf Power.

Lynn Boland, curator of the exhibition, said in a UGA news article, "For many of us, the scene surrounding the collective defined Athens of the 1990s; not just the music, but the entire creative endeavor and its collaborative spirit. I would say it largely defined my formative years and it has been a great honor and undeniable pleasure to work on this exhibition."

The exhibition will be shown from Oct. 4, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015. During this period the museum will host a number of events focusing on this topic. On Oct. 8 at 2 p.m., Boland will present a public tour; museum event 90 Carlton: Autumn will feature the exhibition (free for members, $5 for nonmembers) on Oct. 10; Oct. 11's Family Day will be music-themed and children will be able to create their own band posters; at Museum Mix on Oct. 16 DJs will use this collective as inspiration; on Nov. 6 a film screening of "The Past is a Grotesque Animal," a documentary about Kevin Barnes, of Montreal's frontman, will be shown; and the exhibition will also be the theme of Teen Studio on Nov. 6, where teenagers can workshop with a local artist.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Terra Verte" Exhibition Transforms Nature into Art

Artist Patricia Leighton grew up primed to appreciate the wonders of the natural environment, a quality highlighted in her exhibition "Terra Verte," on display in the Georgia Museum of Art's Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden until May 2015.

Her interest and attachment to the natural environment are indelibly present in her sculptures. "Terra Verte" consists of six steel-framework cubes raised above the ground and filled with plants that transmute in color and texture over time, contrasting the starkly stagnant mechanical with the vibrantly evolving natural.

Leighton explains, "Having grown up surrounded by Scottish hills and mountains of ever-changing color, texture and light; having traveled Britain and Europe viewing ancient sacred sites like the Ring of Brogar in Orkney or Hagar Qim in Malta, I have experienced first-hand a sense of timelessness and hidden mysteries. I seek to capture this sense of presence in my work and the intrinsic echoes of the landscape.”

Leighton's sculptures, which are created with a supporting team of ecologists, engineers, architects and landscape architects, have been installed around the world in places such as Scotland, England, South Korea, Bulgaria and New York City. Her husband, Del Geist, is also an artist, and his sculpture "Stone Levity" is installed in front of the Performing Arts Center in the quad during the same period that "Terra Verte" will be on display.

The Georgia Museum of Art will be hosting a lecture by Leighton on Sept. 25 entitled "Art and Place" at 5:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Art gallery tours led by new guiding voice

Gallery tours are an amazing opportunity for art patrons to learn about and deepen their appreciation of art.  From the context of the piece to the life of the artist, the information given in a gallery tour is often vital to understanding the art. 

However, even with experts personally walking guests through the museum, particular challenges can limit and inhibit the museum experience.  Whether it’s problems with audio volume, articulation or foot traffic, gallery tours are subject to a variety of factors within the museum on that particular day.

David Behringer, owner of the New York City gallery The Two Percent, decided to use modern technology to combat the limitations of gallery tours.

With the use of the antenna-based audio systems company Antenna International, Behringer has transformed his gallery tours into an audio-led experience. Using the technology, Behringer transmits his voice and other multimedia content directly to the tour participants.

These tours, which Behringer calls “Audio Hops,” allow tour participants to wander freely, taking their time with the art that strikes them. People are allowed to spread out, clearing the gallery of the clumps of people gathered, attempting to hear a single, and often straining, voice.

Whether the gallery is empty or full, Behringer can pre-record the audio tour and adjust volume accordingly. He can not only record himself providing the appropriate context and background for the art; he can also record the artists themselves giving patrons even more details. 

In addition to allowing an easier flow of information between the tour guide and the participants, the technology also enables the use of multimedia to help create an interactive, rich tour experience. When appropriate, Behringer uses music or videos to further contextualize work for the guests.  This helps to highlight the intricacies of a method or influence that would otherwise be lost in a traditional tour.

Behringer still gives Audio Hops primarily through beta-testing; however, he has started to allow up to six patrons to register online to participate in tours. And as many possibilities as this type of tour present, he is still figuring out what works best, attempting to optimize the gallery experience for all guests. 

All images from psfk.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Iron Horse Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Athens and the University of Georgia share a history richly saturated in art and, usually, art appreciation. But, as a notable Athens moment proves, this has not always been the case. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Iron Horse, one of the most infamous artistic disasters in both UGA and Athens history.

On May 25, 1954, Chicago artist Abbott Pattison's large iron sculpture, depicting an abstracted horse, was revealed on the quad outside of Reed Hall. The sculpture was one of five that the art department had commissioned Pattison to create for the university's campus (the first in this series, "Mother and Child," is still on display behind the Fine Arts building).

The very night the horse was installed, mischievous UGA students immediately began the work of defacing it. They shoved hay in its mouth, dropped manure around it, vandalized it with paint, and eventually lit a fire underneath it. Art, especially modern art, was a new focus at the university at this time, and many thought the delinquent behavior was a response to its introduction on campus. Others attributed it to negativity toward the artist himself. Pattison had written an article in the Red & Black (UGA's student newsaper), shortly before the installation of the Iron Horse, criticizing what he viewed as substandard academics and the student body's lack of appreciation for culture. In either case, the students had a perfect target for some personal expression.

Unsurprisingly, when Pattison found out about the destruction and disrespect he was both insulted and infuriated. He complained to publications such as the Atlanta Journal, saying, "I wanted Athens, Ga., to have a piece of sculpture to look at. And I think the least I could have expected, even if they didn't like it, was a little Southern courtesy." Word about the incident spread quickly, with publications such as Time Magazine reporting the story and interviewing Pattison.

Only a few days after the horse was unveiled, it was quietly taken into hiding. Four years later, in 1958, a university professor of horticulture named L.C. Curtis offered to take the horse to his farm, where it could be viewed by people driving by on the road. The horse would still be considered university property, but it would be out of the way from pranksters until the university decided it wanted it back on campus. Although the idea of returning the sculpture to UGA property has been discussed on occasion over the years, it has remained in Watkinsville with the Curtises.

In honor of this piece of local history, the Georgia Museum of Art and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives will co-host a free screening of the 1980 documentary "Iron Horse," directed by Atlanta filmmaker Bill VanDerKloot. The event, which starts at 4 p.m. and will be held in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries auditorium, as part of UGA's 2014 Spotlight on the Arts, includes interviews with alumni who were involved in the incident and will end with a discussion with VanDerKloot, Lamar Dodd School of Art faculty and Georgia Museum of Art staff.

Sources: OnlineAthens, Roadside America, Brown's Guides

Saturday, September 13, 2014

NY Fashion Week nods to Pucci's bold designs

With New York Fashion week upon us, there are plenty of notable looks on and off the runway. The Spring 2015 collections flaunt bold floral prints, dreamy pastels and strong lines for days. The colorful, fun garments combine the conceptual with the conventional as we ooo and ahh at the creative, theatrical runway shows.

Here are some of our favorite looks from 2014 NY Fashion Week:

Zero + Maria Cornejo Spring 2015

Cushnie et Ochs Spring 2015
Jason Wu Spring 2015
Victoria Beckham Spring 2015
Carolina Herrera Spring 2015
These inspiring looks from Fashion Week resemble the sleek designs and bold patterns of Emilio Pucci, whose designs will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art.

"Emilio Pucci in America" will be on view Oct. 18, 2014 - Feb. 1, 2015, in the museum's Charles B. Presley Family and Lamar Dodd galleries. The exhibition celebrates of Pucci's short tenure at the University of Georgia as well as his 100th birthday.

The Italian designer's easy-to-wear, comfortable fashion may be a few decades old, but his designs still retain relevancy in the fashion world.

Friday, September 05, 2014

"Machine Wall Drawing" Exhibition Combines Order and Chaos

Tristan Perichs “Machine Wall Drawings” are one of the first exhibitions visitors to the Georgia Museum of Art encounter, on display on the Patsy Dudley Pate Balcony from March 20 to Nov. 18, 2014. Repeat visitors may notice something particularly unusual about these works of art: they change over time. The New York-based contemporary composer and artist has created a uniquely self-directed work of art that combines the control of a coded machine and the randomness of the influence of physical elements to highlight the role of both in visual compositions.

The drawings take up a 60-foot wall, on which they are completing themselves over the course of six months, using a machine designed and coded by Perich to introduce the impact of a carefully planned system while allowing physical elements to interfere at random and alter the final creation.

Perich explains on his website: “Varying levels of randomness — the probability the pen will change directions — produces the difference between straight lines or dense frenetic motion. While the motors’ movements are the result of the code executed precisely by machine, the final drawings come from the motion of pen on surface, and are wedded to the effects of the physical world: the ripple of the string connecting pen to motor, the gradual depletion of ink, the texture of the paper.”

This month, on Sept. 17, the museum is offering a Tour at Two focusing on “Machine Wall Drawings” for visitors interested in learning more about this exhibition. The museum is also hosting a special event the following day at 5:30 p.m. to premiere director Russell Oliver’s documentary about the drawings. The screening will conclude with a live Q & A with Perich.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Ancient statues fall victim to selfie trend

Living in a time of technology and social media, the selfie craze is nearly impossible to escape. From young to old, anyone with access to a front-facing camera has dabbled in the art of selfies —including art itself.

At least it would appear that way after Reddit user Jazus_ur_lookin_well took four pictures of statues at Ireland’s Crawford Art Gallery at some particularly interesting angles.

The clever Reddit user strategically placed the camera to look as if the statues were taking selfies, and the expressions on the faces of the statues only add more humor. 

The statue selfie became so beloved, other Reddit users hit the museum to take similar shots, and an entire subreddit dedicated to the trend was born. 

Now, the original user has launched a website and a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to travel, visit more museums and create more selfie masterpieces. The cheeky pictures have successfully brought ancient artifacts into the modern age, and the trend has encouraged hundreds of people to visit museums and take a closer look — at some unique angles  at art.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Infamous hat now on view at Newseum

Every now and then, someone does something that captivates the world through social media and becomes a national, or even global, phenomenon. Such was the case when Pharrell Williams showed up to the Grammys last February in a now famous, oversized Vivienne Westwood hat. 

The hat sparked thousands of conversations on social media, most notably Twitter, where fans made multiple comparisons, photoshopped parodies and masterfully crafted memes. The Internet community also couldn’t help but notice similarities between Pharrell’s hat and the Arby’s logo. The fast-food restaurant did not miss the opportunity to engage in the global conversation. Arby’s took to Twitter to tease Pharrell about “borrowing its hat.” 

After wearing the hat to a number of events and sparking endless conversations, Pharrell chose to use the notoriety to publicize his charity and raise some money. Pharrell put the famous hat up for auction through eBay, challenging Arby’s to get its hat back. 

Arby’s took the bait and bought the hat for $44,100, the proceeds from which went to Pharrell’s charity, From One Hand to Another, which develops educational programs for kids in at-risk communities. 

The hat is now on view at the Newseum, a Washington, D.C., museum is dedicated to showcasing history made by news and journalism, on loan from Arby’s through October 26. The museum is displaying the hat to highlight the abilities of social media to sensationalize even the most mundane of objects. 

The global conversation that resulted from the hat not only engaged fans with Pharrell and the famous brand, but also raised money for a worthy charity. The object’s ability to spark widespread conversation shows the power of images and their potential to provoke conversation around the world through channels like social media.