Thursday, July 28, 2016

Guided Mini-Tour: “Paper in Profile: Mixografia and Taller de Gráfica Mexicana”

Although our permanent collection is currently undergoing some new changes, there are still plenty of things to see at the Georgia Museum of Art. Our exhibition “Paper in Profile: Mixografia and Taller de Gráfica Mexicana,” which runs through August 21, focuses on the artistic processes of the Mixografia workshop, a print studio that takes traditional art making outside of the box.

With 60 artists and over 130 works, you might find yourself short on time or lacking direction; so we’ve put together this guided mini-tour of this extensive exhibition to help you make the most of your visit.

Pablo O'Higgins, Dos Mujeres, 1973
The exhibition begins in the Boone and George-Ann Knox Gallery I. Many different prints line the walls, but focus on the first print to your right: Pablo O’Higgins’ “Dos Mujeres.” O’Higgins was the first artist to encourage the Rembas on their journey into the art world. His work with their printing business was a precursor to the birth of Mixografia.

Continuing into the Rachel Cosby Conway Gallery, you’ll find many works by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. Luis Remba worked with Tamayo to create a process to show texture and depth. From this collaboration, Mixografia was born. Due to its sheer size, you won’t have any trouble noticing the work hanging on the center wall to your right: Tamayo’s “Dos Personajes Atacados por Perros” For the print, the workshop made the world's largest lithographic stone, which weighs more than four tons (a record it still holds).

Next, in the Alfred Heber Holbrook Gallery, if you look to your right you’ll see two large works by Helen Frankenthaler: “Guadeloupe” and “Hermes.” Frankenthaler was well known for her large abstract works, and she often used unconventional materials when applying her strong, flowing colors. For these, she used warm wax.

On the left wall of the Charles B. Presley Family Gallery, you’ll see a 3D work from French artist Arman. “To Garcia Lorca (Red)” was based on a model made by dismantling a guitar and reassembling them on a canvas in eccentric ways. Federico Garcia Lorca was a poet executed in Spain by fascist militia in the 1930s. Colored resin drips down the pieces of the instruments, emphasizing the 3D effects and recalling the blood spilled by the firing squad.

The Lamar Dodd Gallery leads you to its left wall where you’ll see Karel Appel’s “The Cry.” While Mixografia specializes in paper prints, they also make sculptural multiples like Appel's cast metal sculpture here. Appel moved to making sculpture in the latter part of his career. Prior to this time, Appel was known for rejecting conventional ideas about art and creating paintings that were colorful and abstract. “The Cry” features unusual materials cast in copper and bronze, with some items tipped in glowing red.

John Baldessari, Stonehenge (With
Two Persons) Yellow
, 2005
In the Philip Henry Alston Jr. Gallery, you’ll find two works by American artist Frank Stella: on the left wall, “Bamboo Trophy II,” and in the center of the room, “Dadap I,” both made in the early 2000s. These are examples of assembled sculptural multiple. Stella adopted the curved shapes of his works from previous decades for these sculptures. Both “Bamboo Trophy II” and “Dadap I” use curved bamboo and metal hardware to create fluid shapes that suggest movement.

The last space, the Virginia and Alfred Kennedy Gallery, showcases Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari, two big names in contemporary art and longtime collaborators with Mixografia. On the wall to the left hangs Ed Ruscha’s “Ghost Station,” a revision of his popular work “Standard Station.” “Ghost Station” uses the same composition of “Standard Station” but with raised shapes instead of color, to create a more haunting effect.

Past the temporary wall and to the right, you’ll see the “Stonehenge” series from artist John Baldessari, which uses his trademark dots over the faces of people. By covering the faces, Baldessari takes away the individuality of each person and renders them as indistinct units of a crowd or group. Here, the work is duplicated six times with varying colors of dots and a contrasting colored Stonehenge in the background. Each of the six versions also has a different arrangement of depths.

This guided mini-tour ends with the “Stonehenge” series and we hope you enjoyed the highlights from this exhibition. An accompanying catalogue, published by the museum, can be purchased in the Museum Shop or by phone at 706.542.0450.

Benjamin Thrash
Publications Intern

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Table No. 25: The Georgia Museum of Art at UGA’s Freshman Orientation

Over the summer, eager “baby dawgs” and their parents pour onto the University of Georgia campus for their first official look at the life of a college student: Freshman Orientation. Recognizable by their red lanyards, nametags and red tote bags, the soon-to-be UGA students walk into the Grand Hall at the Tate Student Center to learn about all of the new opportunities the university has to offer. 

UGA Orientation with student
Lawson Boling (right)
Bright and early twice a week, the museum’s communications team and I head to the Tate Student Center for UGA Freshman Orientation. We grab our cart of supplies from a meeting room, ride the elevator to the fifth floor and make our way to table number 25 in the Grand Hall. Ten minutes later, the Georgia Museum of Art table is ready to go.

We stand at attention and either greet students or let them approach us. Accompanying our table are two large banners, a large display of the museum’s Snapcode for Snapchat and an abundance of brochures and publications. When one of us catches the eye of a parent or student, a simple “Hi, how are you doing?” draws them to the table.

Once I have sparked their interest, I hand them a museum brochure or a copy of Facet, our quarterly publication, then give them a quick rundown about the location, current and upcoming exhibitions, the opportunities for students and the fact that entry to the museum is free (which tends to be the most surprising part).

My favorite, yet most challenging, part of this experience is to call out “Follow us on Snapchat!” to the students passing by the museum’s orientation table. I will either get a laugh and some sincere interest, or be blatantly ignored. The museum team gets a good kick out of it, but it works.

All in all, being present at UGA’s Freshman Orientation has been great. If the new freshmen and their parents did not know the museum existed before, they do now. We have met many parents at orientation with interest in our collection, exhibitions, opportunities for their child or children and questions about that strange poster in the middle of our table. The incoming students love the Snapchat poster and show enthusiasm for opportunities for student involvement at the museum.

Morgan Tickerhoof
Public Relations Intern

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Chesnut Receives 2016 Smitty Award

Linda has chaired the museum’s Decorative Arts Advisory Committee (DAAC) since 1999, and she has been a tireless advocate for the power of the decorative arts. Every year, at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, one special person receives the M. Smith Griffith Volunteer of the Year Award (the Smitty, for short). In 2016, the award committee, which is made up of Friends members and Friends board members, was astonished to discover from nominations by staff that Linda Chesnut had never received the award.

Linda Chesnut with Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts
Linda has chaired the museum’s Decorative Arts Advisory Committee (DAAC) since 1999, and she has been a tireless advocate for the power of the decorative arts. Her contributions as its leader have helped the Henry D. Green Center for the Decorative Arts grow into a regional and national voice in the field. Linda is always willing to write a letter, make a phone call, donate a treasured object or talk another collector into doing so. She is both strategic in her aims and unafraid of doing the nitty- gritty grunt work that often needs to take place to ensure lofty goals become reality.

Linda’s leadership is a huge part of the Green Center’s success. In previous years, she received both an award for volunteerism from the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries and the Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities, presented to her by Governor Nathan Deal. She has lent her time and efforts to the DeKalb County Historical Society, the Georgia Archives, the Georgia Trust and alumni groups from regional colleges and universities, as well as to our museum, and they are equally appreciative of her hard work.

Upon hearing that she had won the 2016 Smitty, those DAAC members who were unable to attend the annual meeting chimed in with enthusiastic congratulations via email, repeatedly using the word “gracious” to describe Linda’s manner and leadership style. It is that willingness to yield the spotlight and focus on the mission of the museum rather than on herself that makes Linda Chesnut a most deserving addition to the list of those volunteers who have received the Smitty.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Pardon the Mess: Reinstallation of the Permanent Collection

Five years ago, the Georgia Museum of Art opened a wing dedicated to its permanent collection as part of a large expansion and renovation project that also added the Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden, enlarged the museum’s public spaces and expanded storage. On stark white walls, the museum laid out highlights from its American and European collections, including many old favorites. It was clean. It was fresh. It was something new for us.

But 5 years is a long time. Since January 2011, we have welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors into those galleries, our curatorial staff has changed and expanded, and our collection has grown by about 25 percent. We have new priorities and new visions. It’s time for us to shed our old skin in favor of a new one. This August, after a two-month closure of the eight galleries on the south side of what the staff still call the “new wing,” we will reveal a reimagined look at our permanent collection. The white walls will get some colored paint, and removable walls will create defined spaces within the galleries. We’re doing away with the hard line between American and European artists, partially because it feels somewhat arbitrary (where would you put Mary Cassatt?) and partially because incorporating them all into the same art historical timeline just makes sense.

One thing we’ve realized in the past 5 years is that many of our visitors are first-timers not only to our museum but to any museum, which means that we need to do a better job of explaining why particular works of art are grouped together. If you have an art history degree, it’s not hard to recognize a wall of American impressionist paintings, but if you don’t, you may not understand why our Paul Revere spoons are next to 18th-century portraits. New wall text will make these connections clear, and new labels should be easier to read for everyone.

Inclusivity is a buzzword in the museum community these days, but in our position as the official state museum of art, we feel very strongly about its value to what we do. If you feel unwelcome somewhere, it is unlikely you will come back. To develop and diversify the next generation of museum lovers, we need to meet them where they are, not where we wish they would be.

Are you worried that your favorite painting is going into storage? You probably don’t need to be. Although works will be shifted around among galleries, the most well- known ones will still be on view. More works by African American artists, especially those from the collection given by Brenda and Larry Thompson in 2012, will join the story, creating a richer narrative of art history. The museum also has an especially strong collection of works on paper, and more prints, watercolors and photography will be on display. Though these fragile, light-sensitive objects cannot stay on view for as long as hardier oil paintings or works of decorative art, the upside of having a regular rotation is that the look of the galleries will change frequently, rewarding return visitors with new discoveries.

Check in with us through our Tumblr and other social media for updates on our progress, and we hope you’ll enjoy the results.

Hillary Brown
Director of Communications