HIS­TORY ON VIEW

High­lights for the 2018 ex­hi­bi­tion sea­son from mu­se­ums across the United States

American Fine Art Magazine - - My View - By John O’hern

Henry James wrote,“live all you can; it’s a mis­take not to. It doesn’t so much mat­ter what you do in par­tic­u­lar, so long as you have your life.” Isabella Ste­wart Gard­ner lived life to the fullest and had the means to do it. Her art ad­vi­sor, Bernard Beren­son, wrote,“she lives at a rate and in­ten­sity, with a re­al­ity that makes other lives seem pale, thin and shad­owy.”

The Isabella Ste­wart Gard­ner Mu­seum, once her home in Bos­ton, is the site of the ex­hi­bi­tion Henry

James and Amer­i­can Paint­ing through Jan­uary 21.The ex­hi­bi­tion il­lus­trates the re­la­tion­ships among the lu­mi­nar­ies of the turn of the 20th cen­tury with works by John Singer Sar­gent, John La Farge, Lilla Cabot Perry and oth­ers.as part of its con­tem­po­rary in­stal­la­tions, the Gard­ner is dis­play­ing a piece by Elaine Re­ichek on the façade of the mu­seum. Ever Yours, Henry James, on view through Jan­uary 16, fea­tures the af­fec­tion­ate clos­ings of James’ many let­ters to Mrs. Gard­ner on a mon­u­men­tal ban­ner.

Let­ters fea­ture in an­other woman’s home turned mu­seum, the Florence Gris­wold Mu­seum in Old Lyme, Con­necti­cut. Pen to Pa­per:artists’ Hand­writ­ten Let­ters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of Amer­i­can Art will be at the mu­seum Fe­bru­ary 9 to May 6.“Dur­ing the hey­day of the Lyme Art Colony, let­ter writ­ing was an im­por­tant tool used by Florence Gris­wold and vis­it­ing artists to com­mu­ni­cate and con­firm their travel plans. Once artists ar­rived at the Gris­wold board­ing­house, cor­re­spond­ing by mail was an im­por­tant part of colony life.” Women artists fea­ture in sev­eral ex­hi­bi­tions across the coun­try. Penn­syl­va­nia Academy of the Fine

Arts in Philadel­phia will show

Graphic Women through Fe­bru­ary

18. It is “fo­cused on the ef­flo­res­cence of pro­fes­sional women artists in Philadel­phia that oc­curred in the decades be­tween 1880 and the early 20th cen­tury, this in­ti­mate ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures the work of Vi­o­let Oak­ley, her teacher Ce­cilia Beaux, and their con­tem­po­raries Mary Cas­satt, Su­san Mac­dow­ell Eakins, Mary Nimmo Mo­ran,alice Bar­ber Stephens and Lil­ian West­cott Hale, among many oth­ers.”

The Na­tional Mu­seum of Women in the Arts in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., will show Mag­netic Fields: Ex­pand­ing Amer­i­can Ab­strac­tion, 1960s to To­day through Jan­uary 21. Fea­tur­ing artists who worked be­tween 1891 and 1981, it “places ab­stract works by mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions of black women artists in con­text with one an­other—and within the larger his­tory of ab­stract art—for the first time. Evoca­tive prints, un­con­ven­tional sculp­tures, and mon­u­men­tal paint­ings re­veal the artists’ role as un­der­rec­og­nized lead­ers in ab­strac­tion.” Ge­or­gia O’ke­effe: Art, Im­age, Style at the Pe­abody Es­sex Mu­seum in Salem, Mas­sachusetts, runs through April 1.The ex­hi­bi­tion ex­plores “the art, im­age and per­sonal style of one of Amer­ica’s most iconic artists.”

Faith Ring­gold: An Amer­i­can Artist will be shown at the Crocker Art Mu­seum in Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia, Fe­bru­ary 18 through May 13. It fea­tures four decades of the artist’s work in many me­dia.“it in­cludes story quilts, tankas (in­spired by Ti­betan tex­tile paint­ings called thangkas), prints, oil paint­ings, draw­ings, masks, soft sculp­tures, and orig­i­nal il­lus­tra­tions from the artist’s award-win­ning book Tar Beach.”

The Crocker will also be show­ing Power Up: Corita Kent’s Heav­enly Pop, Fe­bru­ary 25 through May 13. Corita (1918-1986) was the sub­ject of the first ex­hi­bi­tion I ever cu­rated.the mu­seum calls her “nun, print­maker, ac­tivist.” She cre­ated col­or­ful screen­prints com­bin­ing quotes and el­e­ments from pop­u­lar cul­ture to de­liver a mes­sage of joy in the con­text of pur­su­ing so­cial jus­tice.

Sev­eral ex­hi­bi­tions deal with the po­lit­i­cal and so­cial un­rest of the early decades of the 20th cen­tury.

1917/1918: Look­ing Back­ward, Step­ping For­ward at the Los An­ge­les County Mu­seum of Art through

April 1, looks at the art be­ing cre­ated away from the bat­tle­fields of World

War I in Ger­many and Aus­tria.“as seen here, artists built on the lega­cies of Nat­u­ral­ism and Ex­pres­sion­ism to evoke the tex­ture and mood of a chang­ing so­ci­ety ag­i­tated and en­er­gized by change.they also pro­vided im­agery for posters and pe­ri­od­i­cals, graphic forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that in­serted art into ev­ery­day life.”

The Rob­bers: Ger­man Art in a Time of Cri­sis will be at Maine’s Port­land Mu­seum of Art, Fe­bru­ary 16 to July 15. It fo­cuses on two port­fo­lios on prints pro­duced around WWI by Ge­orge

Grosz and Lo­vis Corinth, each based

on Friedrich Schiller’s 18th-cen­tury play The Rob­bers.the mu­seum ex­plains,“the in­stal­la­tion also of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to con­trast the styles of Ger­man Ex­pres­sion­ism and ‘New Ob­jec­tiv­ity.’ Ex­pres­sion­ists of­ten de­picted emo­tional re­sponses to the mod­ern con­di­tion, fre­quently high­light­ing themes of angst, in­ner tur­moil, and so­cial alien­ation.the lead­ers of New Ob­jec­tiv­ity, how­ever, rooted their prints in a type of bit­ing, provoca­tive re­al­ism, of­ten re­ly­ing on satire and car­i­ca­ture.”

On this side of the At­lantic, in the early years of the last cen­tury, artists were de­vel­op­ing an Amer­i­can art. Grant Wood (1891-1942) painted his famed Amer­i­can Gothic, 1930, as a trib­ute to the stead­fast­ness of the Amer­i­can char­ac­ter es­pe­cially that of his na­tive Mid­west and Iowa. It was seen by the pub­lic, how­ever, as satire. Nev­er­the­less, the paint­ing be­came one of coun­try’s best known and most loved paint­ings. Grant Wood: Amer­i­can Gothic and Other Fa­bles at the Whit­ney Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art, March 2 through June 10, posits that “Wood’s ca­reer con­sists of far more than one sin­gle paint­ing.”wood’s har­mo­nious worlds, meant to as­sure a shaken na­tion af­ter the Great De­pres­sion, also re­flect “the anx­i­ety of be­ing an artist and a clos­eted gay man in the Mid­west in the 1930s. By de­pict­ing his sub­con­scious anx­i­eties through pop­ulist im­ages of ru­ral Amer­ica,wood crafted im­ages that speak both to Amer­i­can iden­tity and to the es­trange­ment and iso­la­tion of mod­ern life.”

Cult of the Ma­chine will be at the de Young Mu­seum in San Fran­cisco March 24 to Au­gust 12.The ex­hi­bi­tion “fea­tures over 100 master­works of Amer­i­can Pre­ci­sion­ism by such artists as Charles Sheeler, Ge­or­gia O’ke­effe, and Charles De­muth. Pre­ci­sion­ism emerged in the 1910s and flour­ished in the United

Coun­ter­clock­wise from top: Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Rolling Power, 1939. Oil on can­vas, 15 x 30 in. The Smith Col­lege Mu­seum of Art, SC. 1940:18. Cour­tesy the Fine Arts Mu­se­ums of San Fran­cisco. On view at Cult of the Ma­chine at de Young Mu­seum.;...

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