Friday, October 31, 2014

Redon's Prints Show the Darkness in Art

Odilon Redon, Print from "The Temptation of St. Anthony" (series 3). 1896. 

Odilon Redon's noir lithographs are a testament to the hugely influential role psychology plays in art. Redon himself described his works as representations of "the ghosts of his own mind." The Georgia Museum of Art's upcoming exhibition "The Nightmare Transported to Art: Odilon Redon's 'St. Anthony'" provides a unique collection of these peeks into the artist's soul with the full set of Redilon's third series of prints depicting scenes from Gustave Flaubert's book The Temptation of St. Anthony.

The temptation of St. Anthony was often chronicled in medieval, renaissance, and even modern art. However, Redon's prints that will be on display from Nov. 1, 2014 to Jan. 25, 2015 stand out among the rest for their black-and-white palette (an extreme difference from the Impressionists, his contemporaries) and the focus on things outside the visible realm, from tiny microorganisms to the sublime supernatural.

This is the first time the Georgia Museum of Art has displayed the full set from 1896; in 1991, the museum hosted an exhibition that contained part of the prints, but this is the first time visitors can see them as  a complete series.

The exhibition is curated by Laura Valeri, associate curator of European art, and is part of UGA's 2014 Spotlight on the Arts festival. The festival takes place over nine days and is organized by the UGA Arts Council.

For those who want more information and the chance to hear from an expert about the exhibition, Valeri will give a tour on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Emilio Pucci in America" exhibition brings designer back to UGA

Group photo of early Emilio Pucci hostesses uniforms for Braniff. Braniff Airways Collection, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Italian designer Emilio Pucci and the world of fashion he belonged to and helped shape may seem to be a universe away from a simple southern college town and the state university that braces it. However, without the inspirations that were borne from his time at the University of Georgia, many of Pucci's pieces and his signature style may not have come to fruition.

The Georgia Museum of Art, in honor of this relationship between Pucci's design work and UGA, as well as the designer's 100th birthday, is hosting an exhibition curated by independent curator Mary Koon entitled "Emilio Pucci in America" from Oct. 18, 2014 until Feb. 1, 2015. It features collaborative pieces from Pucci's work with various American companies and institutions, from flight attendant uniforms commissioned by Texas-based Braniff Airlines to dresses sold at stores like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue to the patch he designed for NASA's Apollo XV lunar mission.

Pucci came to the United States in 1935 from Florence, Italy, at the behest of his father. He attended UGA for a year as an agriculture and horticulture student, which his father hoped would help with their agribusiness back home. He then transferred to Reed College in Portland, where he began his career in design by creating the uniforms for the school's skiing team. From there, he continued to develop his pieces, and many cite his affinity for American culture, industry, and atmosphere as one of the most influential forces shaping his ready-to-wear clothing.

The Georgia Museum of Art will be offering a number of events in connection to this exhibition. Koon will lead tours of the exhibition on Nov. 7 and Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. The museum's Family Day on Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. until noon will offer the opportunity for children to create Pucci-style ornaments. The Pucci-themed after-party for "Elegant Salute," called "Get Your Pucci On," will take place on Jan. 31, 2015 and will have a fashion show put on by Agora Vintage and music provided by DJs Alfredo and Z-Dog.

Monday, October 13, 2014

P(art)y the Night Away at Museum Mix

William Cullen Hart, Black Foliage.

If you've ever secretly dreamed of a late-night rendezvous in a museum, a la the children's novel From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum, look no further than Museum Mix at the Georgia Museum of Art. The thrice-yearly art party, which will be held on Oct. 16 from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, will spotlight the theme of the exhibition "The ... of E6," the Athens-based recording collective Elephant 6.

Attendees can visit the art galleries during these special hours, which follow the museum's Student Night event that takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event will also feature some special guestsJamey Huggins, John Fernandes, Dottie Alexander, and Bryan Poolewho were members of the E6 movement and will serve as DJs. Refreshments will be provided and drinks will be available to guests 21 and up who have valid identification. Earth Fare will provide snacks for Museum Mix.

Attendees can post about Museum Mix on social media using the hashtag #museummix! Search the hashtag to see what other late night art-partiers are up to.

Friday, October 10, 2014

New gallery allows New Yorkers to "buy" street art

New York City is home to some of the world's most unique and impressive street art. Housed on the sides of buildings and in the subway, street art infiltrates the lives of city-dwellers publicly and for free.

However, a new gallery in NYC called Wall(m)-art aims to make these public works privately owned.

For a mere $150, anyone over the age of 18 can browse the online collection and purchase his/her own work or have a customized work made. Instead of taking the work home, the buyer of the art will be rewarded with a beautiful frame, a personalized plaque and a proof of ownership title.

The legality of the operation is fuzzy, but the self-described "gallery and auction house" has already sold a few pieces in Brooklyn.

Whether or not the artists or building owners are awarded a cut of the profit is unclear. However, the website does make careful efforts to explain that once the purchase has been made, no refunds will be offered. Wall(m)-art also states that while they cannot offer any refunds, they are "off the hook" regardless of what happens to the paintings or laws after the purchase is made.

Although this particular "gallery" hints at some sketchy behavior, the idea of buying or selling street art raises questions about art in the public domain that are worth considering.

Auctioning and framing graffiti in New York works off the claim that street art is, indeed, art and not just vandalism.  However, are there any rights of ownership to a work that is inherently breaking the rules through its existence? Does the art belong to the artist, the building owner, the passerby patrons, or does the art belong to a third-party who makes a stake and auctions the piece out?

Creating works to exist in the public domain implies a sense of communal ownership, but this means that the artists often goes unpaid and unrecognized for their efforts. Yet, with Wall(m)-art's tricky fine print and murky business practices, New York may have to consider new legislation outlining ownership of art commissioned illegally in the public domain.

Sources: PSFK, Wall(m)-Art
All images from Wall(m)-Art website.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Come to 90 Carlton: Autumn for an Evening at the Museum

It's that time of the year again, time for 90 Carlton: Autumn, one of the Georgia Museum of Art's quarterly receptions. Come out on Friday, October 10 for a night at the museum and enjoy viewing the exhibitions on display this fall.

The event is put on by the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art and takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are free for members and $5 for nonmembers.

The galleries that will be featured include An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab,” “XL,” “The . . . of E6, part of Athens Celebrates Elephant Six,” “Boxers and Backbeats: Tomata du Plenty and the West Coast Punk Scene,” “The Prints of Mary Wallace Kirk” and “Tristan Perich: Mind the Machine.” More information about these exhibitions can be found by following the links to the Georgia Museum of Art website.

The event offers gallery activities and door prizes, light refreshments catered by Epting Events and an "Ask the Experts" panel at 7 p.m. in which guests can ask guides and museum curators questions about the different works on display around the galleries.

To become a member of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art or to find our more information about the organization, visit or call 706.542.4662.

We hope to see you there!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Athens Celebrates Elephant Six

The city of Athens, Ga., is accustomed to keeping a strong connection with its musical heritage, defined by artists like R.E.M., Lady Antebellum and the B-52s. This year, Athenians can experience a special tributary celebration of a prominent group in the formation of the local music scene with "Athens Celebrates Elephant Six," a series of exhibitions that spotlight the famous collective. Six cultural venues around town, including the Georgia Museum of Art, will be working together in a citywide effort to document different pieces of the Elephant 6 (E6) collective's influence locally and around the art world.

"Carnival Part I" was shown at the University of North Georgia, Oconee Campus until Sept. 24. The exhibition culled a number of paintings from individuals associated with the founders of E6, from classmates to fellow performers. "Carnival Part II" opened at the same location on Sept. 30 and runs for a month through Oct. 30. This exhibition will show a second group of these paintings.
Jill Carnes. Interstellar Rooster.  University of North Georgia, Oconee Campus.
"Reverberations" is on show at the Lyndon House Arts Center until Oct. 11. Visitors can see posters, album covers and their inspirations, photography, stop motion animation, props, costumes, paintings and other works by the musicians involved in E6.
William Cullen Hart, Painted Transistor Radio. On display at Lyndon House Arts Center.

At the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art (ATHICA), "Advice from the Oceans" highlights the alternative nature of Elephant 6. The exhibition incorporates interactive elements, such as "Ocean Telephones" by one of E6's founders Rob Schneider, that allow observers to become participants.
Sculpture by Robert Schneider. ATHICA.

"n[]cturne" is Hotel Indigo's contribution to the E6 theme. On view until Dec. 31 in Indigo's outdoor art area, the installation features a texture-centric collection of various items displayed in a segmented cube. Dana Jo Cooley, the artist behind the installation, has worked on stage and prop designs for bands.

Here at the Georgia Museum of Art, "The ... of E6" will be shown from Oct. 4, 2014 until Jan. 4, 2015. The exhibition includes artwork for album covers and others examples of visual art important to Elephant Six. Information about the museum's related events and more about the exhibition itself can be found on the Georgia Museum of Art's exhibition webpage.
William Cullen Hart,  Black Foliage. 1971. Georgia Museum of Art.

On Oct. 13, Ciné will have a screening of a portion of A Place We Have Been To, a documentary tracing the history of E6. The film, by Chad Stockfleth and Dan Efram, includes behind-the-scenes footage, performances, and interviews. Ciné will also screen a short film entitled Major Organ and the Adding Machine by Joey Foreman and have live performances by Circulatory System and Robert Schneider.
Movie poster for A Place We Have Been To
For more information on Athens Celebrates E6 and the specific events occurring, visit Flagpole's article Athens Celebrates E6 by Jessica Smith and the Athens Celebrates E6 website.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Ai Weiwei's "@Large" exhibition provokes free-thought behind Alcatraz's bars

Photo of Ai Weiwei courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
Ai Weiwei, the Beijing-based artist and activist, paired up with Cheryl Haines and the FOR-SITE Foundation to exercise full creative freedom in an exhibition called "@Large" in historically one of the world's most confining places: Alcatraz.

Now one of the US's most visited national parks, Alcatraz has a dark past as a military fortress, federal penitentiary for the nation's most notorious criminals and a site of Native American protests.

While tasked with creating works expressing the tension between freedom and imprisonment, Ai Weiwei has been confined to Beijing under house arrest, barred from leaving the country. As a result, Weiwei has been working with the curator, Cheryl Haines, and her organization, the FOR-SITE Foundation, to defy distance and restriction to commemorate the individuals who dared to express their ideas and beliefs.

Weiwei created seven unique installations throughout Alcatraz to give visitors a thoughtful experience regarding the spectrum between free expression and extreme oppression.

"With Wind" by Ai Weiwei
"With Wind" is an installation that occupies the New Industries Building, which was used for prison labor. Applying a contemporary twist on the traditional Chinese dragon kites, Weiwei constructed floating kites donned with birds and allusions to flight that weave throughout the space, suspended in air. Although the positioning of the work creates the sense of motion and flight, the figure remains frozen and immobile.

The installation colorfully represents the restriction of free expression with obvious comparisons to Chinese culture. Weiwei fearlessly interjected modern references such as this throughout the exhibition to remind visitors that although Alcatraz is now closed, government oppression is a still salient and present issue.

"Trace" by Ai Weiwei
"Trace" occupies the floor of the New Industries Building and consists of over 175 portraits constructed with LEGO bricks. Depicting the faces of some of the world's most famous activists, like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr., the installation also pays homage to and highlights the work of lesser-known or more controversial figures. The installation aims to humanize and "put a face" to the confinement of individuals and the issues they represented.

"Refraction" by Ai Weiwei

"Refraction" is a two ton sculpture made with large solar panels and housed in the lower floor of the New Industries Building. Although bolted to the ground, the sculpture evokes the symbol of flight and gives the impression of a giant winged figure about to take flight. The enormity of the figure is viewed by visitors from the gun gallery above. The visitors stand where the armed guards would have been monitoring inmates. Viewing the sculpture through the dusty, broken glass of the building's windows evokes the disparity between the powerful and the powerless.

"Blossom" by Ai Weiwei
"Blossom"takes visitors through the hospital ward cells and medical offices. Focusing on the toilets, tubs and sinks, Weiwei filled the utilitarian fixtures with white, fragile, porcelain flowers. The bold installation is an overt reference to the 1956 Chinese campaign "Hundred Flowers," which represented a period of freedom of expression and was followed by a severe period of oppression.

"Illumination" by Ai Weiwei
"Illumination" also takes place within the hospital ward. The chants of both Tibetan monks and Native Americans resonate and haunt two of the tiled chambers of the ward. The Tibetan chants refer to the detainment suffered by the monks for defying the Chinese government, and the Native American chant refers to the exile and suffering of the people who protested on the island years before. Weiwei placed the hypnotizing chants within the hospital ward where many prisoners were determined mentally ill, stripped of their rights, confined and observed.

"Stay Tuned" by Ai Weiwei
"Stay Tuned" incorporates the 12 consecutive cells in A Block to give an auditory experience to visitors.  People are encouraged to sit in each of the blocks, where audio recordings of spoken word, poetry and music are played on a loop.  These recordings come directly from the individuals who were among those detained for the expression of their beliefs including Tibetan singer Lolo, Chilean singer and poet Victor Jara and Martin Luther King Jr.

"Yours Truly" by Ai Weiwei
Lastly, the installation "Yours Truly" gives visitors the opportunity to write postcards to current political prisoners, many of whom were featured throughout the exhibition. The postcards provided also use the symbol of flight by featuring the national birds of all of the countries where the prisoners are held. Speaking from personal experience, Weiwei uses this installation to highlight and counteract the profound isolation felt from prisoners.

This diverse and original exhibition's ability to communicate the importance of human rights as well as the persistence of governmental oppression reiterates the essential function artists and other creative thinkers pose to our societies. Weiwei uses art as a vehicle to communicate human suffering, empowerment and political issues affecting the whole world.

Details of each installment and high-resolution photographs and audio clips of the exhibition can be found on the FOR-SITE Foundation's website.

All photos are courtesy of the FOR-SITE Foundation.  Sources include: San Francisco Weekly, Design Bloom, W Magazine, and

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Tomata du Plenty's Art Comes to the East Coast at the Georgia Museum of Art

Joe Louis, painted by Tomata du Plenty. This work can be seen in the Boxers and Backbeats exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Ga. 

West Coast punk art created by a countercultural musician heavily involved in the drag world and the development of the synth-punk music scene, whose visual artistic career really only began when he found old paint supplies in a Hollywood alleyway, may seem like a strange exhibition choice for an art museum in a Southern community. However, this is exactly one of the upcoming exhibitions at the Georgia Museum of Art because here in Athens, and especially at the museum, originality and innovation is celebrated.

"Boxers and Backbeats: Tomata du Plenty and the West Coast Punk Scene" is on display at the Georgia Museum of Art from Oct. 4-Jan. 4. The exhibition includes portraits of boxers and musicians created by Tomata du Plenty, as well as a number of prints and zines from various other artists influential to the West Coast punk scene, such as Mark Vallen and Ray Pettibon.

Tomata du Plenty (known as David Xavier Harrigan before he adopted his new identity)  helped define the "punk rocker" that became popular in the West Coast in the 1970s. He was a founder of the drag theatre group Ze Whiz Kidz and the singer of the synth-punk band the Screamers. He began to delve into painting in the 80s. He welcomed his "outsider" status due to his lack of training, claiming that he would prefer to sell 100 paintings priced at $25 each than a single painting for $2500. 

This exhibition intimates one of the most unique characteristics of Athens -- its prominence in the music world and its interdisciplinary involvement with the arts. In tandem with the concurrent exhibition, "The … of E6," Boxers and Backbeats demonstrates the trans-American nature of cultural arts and helps contrast two very different but equally vivacious examples of the intersection between music and visual art. The works of art were donated by collector Gordon W. Bailey in honor of R.E.M. members and Athens musicians Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry.

A number of Georgia Museum of Art events will feature this exhibition: