Princeton University Art Museum Advance Exhibition Schedule 2019–2020


Name:  Helen Frankenthaler Prints: Seven Types of Ambiguity
Dates:  June 29-Oct. 20, 2019
Curator:  Mitra Abbaspour, Haskell curator of modern and contemporary art, and Calvin Brown, associate curator of prints and drawings

Summary:  Helen Frankenthaler Prints: Seven Types of Ambiguity celebrates the generous gift of 10 prints and five related trial proofs from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation to the Princeton University Art Museum, drawing these gifts into conversation with additional works spanning five decades and more than a dozen distinct technical processes. The exhibition considers the continuous and generative role of printmaking in Frankenthaler’s oeuvre while also tracing the ascendance of the American Print Renaissance and the emergence of a critical discourse for abstraction in the latter half of the 20th century. Featuring approximately 50 objects in total, the works on view variously represent Frankenthaler’s compositional language, working process, collaborations, evocations of place or historical referents – revealing the vitality of Frankenthaler’s work in prints throughout her remarkable career.

Name:  Legacy: Selections from the Gillett G. Griffin Collection
Dates:  July 20-Oct. 6, 2019
Curator:  J. Michael Padgett, curator of ancient art

Summary:  Celebrating the life and career of Gillett G. Griffin (1928-2016), this exhibition highlights a selection of artworks and artifacts from the thousands that Griffin donated and bequeathed to the Princeton University Art Museum. Griffin was not only a respected curator, scholar and collector but also a beloved teacher – and one of the most memorable figures in the history of the university and the Princeton community. Among the 55 objects in the exhibition will be Greek, Roman, Egyptian, ancient Near Eastern, Islamic, African, Chinese, Japanese and Pre-Columbian antiquities, as well as European and American prints, drawings, and sculptures, as well as a handful of paintings and drawings that attest to Griffin’s own talents as an artist.

Name:  The Eternal Feast: Banqueting in Chinese Art from the 10th to the 14th Century
Dates:  Oct. 19, 2019-Feb. 16, 2020
Curator:  Zoe S. Kwok, assistant curator of Asian art 

Summary: The Eternal Feast: Banqueting in Chinese Art from the 10th to the 14th Century brings to life the art of the feast during three transformative Chinese dynasties, the Song, Liao and Yuan, which together enjoyed a thriving economy, cultural flourishing, and the intermingling of foreign and native traditions. Focusing on a rare group of surviving paintings from the period – along with ceramic, lacquer, metal and stone objects as well as textiles – the exhibition reveals feasts to be singularly positioned to illuminate one of the most enduring and significant facets of the Chinese tradition: the continuum between life and the afterlife. The exhibition features 50 objects arranged in sections that focus on ladies banqueting in the past, gentlemen feasting in the present and dining in the afterlife. Several other aspects of elite feasting – including costume, cuisine, music and dance, as well as burial customs, architecture and gardens, artistic patronage, and painterly practice – are also explored, offering a window into life, death and art during a period whose cultural influence extends in China to the present day.

Name:  States of Health: Visualizing Illness and Healing
Dates:  Nov. 2, 2019-Feb. 2, 2020
Curator:  Veronica White, curator of academic programs, and Laura Giles, Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, curator of prints and drawings

Summary:  Throughout history and across cultures, concepts of illness and healing have been given concrete form through art. States of Health features more than 80 works of global art, from antiquity to the present – including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs and multimedia – that collectively illuminate the role that art plays in shaping our perceptions and experiences of illness and healing. Provocative cross-cultural juxtapositions throughout the exhibition consider both broad issues and specific historical events, such as the bubonic plague and the AIDS crisis, from a visual perspective. Functioning variously as document, metaphor, fantasy, protest, invocation and testimony, the selected works of art examine societal anxiety around pandemics and infectious disease, respond to mental illness, present the hopes and dangers associated with childbirth, and explore the complexities of care.

Name:  Life Magazine and the Power of Photography (exhibition travels)
Dates:  Princeton University Art Museum (Feb. 22-June 7, 2020)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (TBD)
Curators:  Katherine A. Bussard, Peter C. Bunnell curator of photography, and *Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh curator of photographs, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Summary:  From the Great Depression to the Vietnam War, the vast majority of photographs printed and consumed in the U.S. appeared on the pages of illustrated magazines. Life magazine was both wildly popular and visually revolutionary. This exhibition and accompanying catalogue will be the first scholarly consideration of Life’s remarkable relationship to photography and its impact on the way the American public understood photography – and experienced important historical events – in the middle decades of the 20th century. Exploring both historically specific moments such as the Cold War and cross-decade topics such as racism in the U.S., the exhibition features approximately 150 photographs and photo essays by the likes of Margaret Bourke-White, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Charles Moore, NASA, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith and Abraham Zapruder.

Name:  Cézanne: The Rock and Quarry Paintings (exhibition travels)
Dates:  Princeton University Art Museum (March 7-June 14, 2020)
Royal Academy of Arts, London (July 8-Oct. 8, 2020)
Curator:  *John Elderfield, former Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, distinguished curator and lecturer

Summary:  From the mid-1860s until shortly before his death in 1906, Paul Cézanne created some 27 canvases that take rocks as their principal subjects. Among the artist’s most extraordinary landscapes, his paintings of rock formations have never been the exclusive subject of an exhibition or publication. Featuring some 15 of the most important works – including scenes of the rocky terrain of the forest of Fontainebleau, the Mediterranean coastal village of L’Estaque and the area around Aix-en-Provence – this exhibition will explore the character and development of these works, the Romantic or picturesque fascination with the unusual or inhospitable landscape, and the close relationship of this motif to the artist’s numerous paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire, both shaping and shaped by the radical changes that he made in his art over the final decade of his life.

Name:  Basquiat in the Studio: The Blue Ribbon Paintings
Date:  Oct. 3, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021 (Tentative)
Curator:  Mitra Abbaspour, Haskell curator of modern and contemporary art

Summary:  This exhibition centers on a remarkable group of eleven paintings from 1984 that represent the full maturity of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s studio practice. In this suite of untitled works, exhibited only once and now known as the Blue Ribbon paintings, Basquiat developed a mode of working with silkscreen on canvas that synthesized an array of his art-making techniques and processes, including collage, drawing, poetry and painting. A selection of paintings, drawings, prints and archival materials from the years leading up to the creation of this masterful body of work reveals the myriad practices and multifaceted interests Basquiat wove together in his Blue Ribbon paintings.


Art@Bainbridge is a gallery project of the Princeton University Art Museum, featuring the work of contemporary artists in an intimate domestic setting. Art@Bainbridge is located in historic Bainbridge House (1766) in downtown Princeton, a brief walk from the Museum at the heart of the Princeton campus. In its inaugural year, Art@Bainbridge will offer a series of installations and exhibitions that consider constructs of domesticity in the context of one of the most historic buildings in Princeton.

Name:  Jordan Nassar: Between Sky and Earth
Dates:  Aug. 17, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020
Curators:  Alex Bacon, curatorial associate, with Mitra Abbaspour, Haskell curator of modern and contemporary art

Summary:  New York-based artist Jordan Nassar’s colorful hand-embroidered textile pieces address notions of heritage and homeland. Using geometric patterning adapted from symbols and motifs present in traditional Palestinian hand embroidery, Nassar creates idealized landscapes that evoke, in his words, “a dreamland or utopia.” A number of the works were produced in collaboration with Palestinian craftswomen who began the compositions, which Nassar then responded to and finished. Meticulously hand stitching colorful compositions across carefully mapped-out patterns, Nassar treats traditional craft more as medium than as subject. He roots his practice in a geopolitical field of play characterized by both conflict and unspoken harmony, broadly treating such as ethnicity, cultural ownership and exchange, truth, nostalgia and dreams.

On the Road

Name:  Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment (Traveling exhibition)
Venues:  Princeton University Art Museum (Oct. 13, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019)
Peabody Essex Museum (Feb. 2-May 5, 2019)
Crystal Bridges Museum of Art (May 25-Sept. 9, 2019)
Curators:  Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding curator of American art, and *Alan C. Braddock, Ralph H. Wark associate professor of art history and American studies, College of William & Mary

Summary:  Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment offers a compelling new vision of American art from 1710 to the present, exploring for the first time how diverse artists have both reflected and shaped environmental understanding. Reframing more than 300 years of artistic practice in North America, this pioneering exhibition traces evolving ideas about the environment – and our place within it – from colonial encounters between Indigenous beliefs and European natural theology through the 19th-century notions of progress and Manifest Destiny to the emergence of contemporary ecological ethics. Featuring more than 100 works of art – including iconic masterpieces as well as rare and seldom exhibited works – Nature’s Nation unites art with ecology and environmental history to provide a timely new way of looking at the history of American art.

About the Princeton University Art Museum

With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, with collections that have grown to include over 100,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. Intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, the Museum offers a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

*Indicates a guest curator outside the staff of the Princeton University Art Museum

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