This spring the Art Museum puts the focus on Greece with the major international loan exhibition The Berlin Painter and His World. The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue celebrate ancient Greece and of the ideals of reason, proportion, and human dignity that are its legacy to all the peoples of the world.
The current installation in the Museum’s gallery of contemporary art, revolves around two important paintings currently on loan to the Museum: Tan Tan Bo – In Communication (2014) by Takashi Murakami and The Little Star Dweller (2006) by Yoshitomo Nara.
Building on the success of last fall’s upper-level seminar on Paul Cézanne, John Elderfield is teaching a course this fall that addresses aspects of the work of the American artist Willem de Kooning, in particular the relationships in de Kooning’s practice between painting and drawing and between abstraction and figuration.
The art and life of Solomon Nunes Carvalho, one of the first American-born Jewish artists, speak to the extraordinary and unaccustomed degree of freedom available to Jews in antebellum America. His eleven paintings and photographs on view in By Dawn’s Early Light serve as a lens into the exhibition and into the period, a time of exceptional experimentation and change for American Jews.
The American Arts and Crafts movement emerged full force in the years before and after 1900, at a time when diametrically opposed views of the future clashed. Many Americans believed in the power of the machine, the growth of capitalism, and the heroicization of rich captains of industry. Others, by contrast, idealistically looked back to an earlier age thought to be more ethical and religious, when communal interests prevailed, and all that was good was made by hand. This visionary, utopian movement could be found across the Northeast and the Midwest, but it also took root in the South and West. The handicraft shops established at the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College in New Orleans, Louisiana, were an integral part of the movement and are the subject of Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise, an exhibition featuring the exceptional ceramics for which Newcomb Pottery became best known as well as less familiar textiles, metalwork, jewelry, graphic arts, and bookbinding.
Currently on view in Pastures Green and Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape are scenes of the agricultural, pastoral, and wild regions of the British Isles together with views of the industrial and mining operations that launched the Industrial Revolution and then made Britain its dominant power. There are also scenes of another sort—cityscapes that record the appearance of urban areas where the British population was increasingly concentrated, especially London, the archetypical modern metropolis.
Taking inspiration from Blake’s poem for its title, the exhibition Pastures Green and Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape examines the tensions between nature and culture, country and city, that would play a decisive role in British art and literature in the following two centuries.
For decades, the sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard has explored organic and inorganic materials, the familiar and the unfamiliar. The works by von Rydingsvard on view illustrate a concern for the aesthetic potential and emotional power of materials that is shared by several other contemporary artists whose work is found in the Museum’s collections.