Thursday, December 20, 2018

Exhibition Provides Extensive Look into Tsar Nicholas II’s Life

Portrait of Nicholas II
When asked to describe the Georgia Museum of Art’s newest exhibition, “The Reluctant Autocrat: Tsar Nicholas II,” head preparator Todd Rivers said that it stands out to him in two distinct ways. First, the show consists of “artifacts from all walks of Nicholas II’s life: birth, childhood, coronation and legacy,” he said. Rivers also noted the show is comprehensive in that it “encompasses almost every form of art including ceramics, lithographs, photographs, icons, medals, uniforms, paintings, jewelry, coins and more.”

The exhibition, which focuses on Alexander III and the final Russian emperor, Nicholas II, opens this Saturday, December 22. It is arranged in a logical, easy-to-follow design across five galleries for all visitors to enjoy, regardless of their level of background knowledge. “I love this show because it tells such a clear story,” preparator Elizabeth Howe said, “You get to see the same people, the same clothing and the same imagery across all of the different works, and you can easily recognize the narrative.”

For visitors who wish to gain a deeper understand of the show, however, Howe strongly recommends attending one of Asen Kirin’s tours. The Parker Curator of Russian Art has a detailed familiarity with not only the works of art, but also the subjects and events surrounding them.

Visitors can come to Kirin’s “Tour at Two” on January 23 at 2 p.m. should they want to witness this extensive knowledge firsthand. Other programs related to this exhibition include Elegant Salute XVI, 90 Carlton: Winter, Toddler Tuesday: Treasure Hunt and Family Day: Russian Embroidery.

The holiday season is in full swing, and this free exhibition is the perfect experience for both friends and families who are in Athens for a few days and locals who are looking for fun destinations this winter. The museum will be closed on December 25 and January 1, but will otherwise hold normal hours. “The Reluctant Autocrat: Tsar Nicholas II” will be on view December 22, 2018, through March 17, 2019.

Taylor Lear
Department of Communications

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Museum Staff Go “Down the Lane” to Steffen Thomas Museum

Peter Loose, Marilyn Estes and Bucky
Just over 45 minutes away from the Georgia Museum of Art and tucked into a landscape of green fields is the Steffen Thomas Museum in Buckhead, Georgia. Dedicated to Thomas’s immense collection, the museum houses sculpture, mosaics, furniture, paintings, metal works, prints, ceramics and more. The German-born artist emigrated to the United States in 1930 and built his career to much success until his death in 1990. 

On December 11, members of the Georgia Museum of Art staff were able to not only experience Thomas’s work for the first time, but also to view “The Great Folk Art Parade: Down the Lane to Steffen Thomas Museum of Art,” the largest exhibition of self-taught artists of the South in recent history. Joined by Lauren Fancher, Marilyn Estes (and Bucky the King Charles Spaniel), the small group was given a personal tour by the exhibition’s curator, Peter Loose, whose perspicacious knowledge on the artists and works shown was incredibly immense.  

Pointing to any of the 200+ works, the visitors were instantly met with specific, sometimes first-hand, stories of the artist’s background, technique or personality. From a large yellow painted lard can by Carter Lee Wellborn to “Dolly the Goat,” who was made from hundreds of recycled Barbie heads by Jim Shores, the exhibition was filled with vibrant, unique works from all over the South and beyond. 

Starting on the lawn of the museum and moving into a large gallery space, the show was filled with works from private collections, with many of the works for sale. Artists represented include Howard Finster, Jim Shores, Sam Granger, Clyde Jones and many more. 

The Steffen Thomas Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an admission price of $5. “The Great Folk Art Parade” is on view through January 12, 2019. 

Taylor Lear
Department of Communications

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Historic Heartland Offers Visitors’ Guide to Georgia

Historic Heartland Travel Association
The Historic Heartland Travel Association had its monthly meeting on December 5, convening in Covington, Georgia, for its last gathering of the year. Held on the first Wednesday of every month, the meetings are meant to highlight the tourism units of cities throughout the state.

Michael Lachowski explained why he sees the organization as a worthwhile use of his time as public relations coordinator for the museum. He said, “The Historic Heartland Travel Association is one way that the museum is able to keep its role as a tourism attraction in the minds of tourism professionals in our region — because in their capacities in their local tourism offices or welcome centers, attractions or lodgings, these people have opportunities to assist travelers with recommendations for other places. Monthly meetings feature speakers on a variety of tourism topics. State tourism staff assist with the association and provide updates on activities and opportunities at the state level. This is a low-cost way for the museum to reiterate its role as the official state museum of art.”

The Historic Heartland Region of Georgia consists of cities from Athens and Watkinsville to Perry and Augusta. The association aims to help visitors explore the state of Georgia through various trails and local guides.

Athens, one of the most exciting cities in the region, is well represented throughout this association. Among other stops, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Lyndon House Arts Center and Georgia Theatre all top the list of ways to spend your days in town. The most recent meeting of the association boasted new highlights for the area, including Maepole’s opening, Condor Chocolate factory tours and 600 new hotel rooms opening in the downtown area.

And, of course, the Georgia Museum of Art is a must-see stop on the Athens program. With a world-class permanent collection and rotating temporary and traveling exhibitions, our free museum is a valuable asset to local Athens residents and visitors alike.

To learn more about the Historic Heartland’s official Athens recommendations, you can view its guide here.