Opening Feb. 3, 2012, To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection features more than 100 works by 75 important artists, including outstanding paintings by Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Maurice Prendergast, John Sloan, Edward Hopper, Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Adolf Gottlieb and Robert Motherwell. The exhibition will remain on view through May 6, 2012.
The paintings in the exhibition range in date from 1845–1965 and represent a magnificent survey of American painters and their work. The exhibition begins with great heroes of nineteenth-century American art, including Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins whose works set the course for modern art in the U.S. The exhibition concludes with works by the Abstract Expressionists whose efforts to create a new visual language in the 1940s caused the art world to turn its attention from Paris to New York and made American art a significant global force.
“Nashville first experienced The Phillips Collection in 2004, with From El Greco to Picasso: European Masterworks from The Phillips Collection, which has been one of the Frist Center’s most popular exhibitions,” said Frist Center Executive Director Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D., “and it is no wonder. The Phillips Collection is one of the nation’s museum jewels. Duncan Phillips was a collector without peer in his time and still has much to teach us about how to appreciate, enjoy and collect art.
“This is the first time The Phillips Collection has organized a comprehensive selection of its American treasures for exhibition outside the museum. The show has been an international sensation in Roverto, Italy; Madrid, Spain and Tokyo, Japan. Nashville is the first of only two U.S. venues to host the show before it returns to Washington, D.C. To be able to bring such magnificent art to the Southeast is a joy for us,” she concluded.
The paintings will be arranged in 10 thematic groups: Romanticism and Realism (with works by Edward Hicks, George Inness, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Albert Pinkham Ryder); Impressionism (Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, John Henry Twachtman, William Merritt Chase, Maurice Prendergast); Forces in Nature (Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, John Marin, Harold Weston); Nature and Abstraction (Arthur Dove, Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Kent, Marin, Max Weber); Modern Life (Robert Henri, George Luks, Walt Kuhn, Edward Hopper, Guy Pène du Bois); The City (John Sloan, John Marin, Charles Sheeler, Ralston Crawford, Edward Hopper,); Memory and Identity (Grandma Moses, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Rufino Tamayo); Legacy of Cubism (John Marin, Karl Knaths, Stuart Davis, John Graham, Ilya Bolotowsky); Transition to Abstract Expressionism (Morris Graves, Jackson Pollock, Milton Avery, Alexander Calder); and Abstract Expressionism (Adolf Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston). The public programs supporting To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection celebrate American art forms from the late nineteenth through the twentieth century and will include lectures, gallery talks, music, art-making workshops, presentations of poetry and readings of the play Red, a work about the life and career of artist Mark Rothko.
Duncan Phillips and The Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1921, nearly a decade before the Museum of Modern Art (est. in 1929) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (est. 1930) opened in New York. From its inception, The Phillips Collection championed the very best in American art and artists. Its in-depth holdings of American paintings are broad in scope, yet cannot be characterized as either encyclopedic or strictly historical. Rather, The Phillips Collection is a reflection of the tastes and friendships of collector Duncan Phillips (1886–1966) who purchased many of the works from the artists while they were still actively exhibiting. Many of the artists became Phillips’ good friends.
A well-regarded art critic in addition to being a collector and museum director, Phillips believed we benefit by giving ourselves over to the direct experience of the work of art. In this way one enters the artist’s world, learning to see as artists see. In his extensive critical writings, Phillips made it clear that he sought “artists of creative originality and of sincere independence.”
Many of the artists in this exhibition were influenced by and captured in their work some of the biggest changes transforming society during their lifetimes: the rise of industry and new modes of transportation, the growth and electrification of cities and the invention of everyday objects.
Throughout this exhibition, specific paintings will be connected to inventions and innovations that changed the world. These include: the Erie Canal (Arthur B. Davies, Along the Erie Canal, 1890); the electric light bulb (John Sloan, Six O’Clock, Winter, 1912); tube paint (Theodore
Robinson: Giverny, ca. 1889) and acrylic paint (Helen Frankenthaler, Canyon, 1965); skyscrapers (Edward Bruce, Power, ca. 1933); the egg beater and electric fan (Stuart Davis, Egg Beater, No., 4, 1928) and mobiles (Alexander Calder, Red Polygons, ca. 1950).
A new publication featuring highlights of The Phillips Collection’s holdings—and most of the works in this exhibition—will be released this month and available for purchase in the Frist Center’s gift shop. Entitled Master Paintings from The Phillips Collection, it includes essays by Eliza Rathbone and Susan Behrends Frank and texts on more than 100 pictures from the Collection.
The exhibition is accompanied by an audio tour which brings the “voice” of collector Duncan Phillips into the exhibition. The 35 stops let visitors hear how he described selected paintings, why he collected them and what he loved about them.
This exhibition has been organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Special thanks to Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios and Belmont University for their donation of recording time and professional expertise in the production of the exhibition audio tour.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Curator’s Perspective: “Duncan Phillips: Champion of American Art” Presented by Susan Behrends Frank, Ph.D., The Phillips Collection
Friday, February 3
Seating is first come, first served.
In this talk, Susan Behrends Frank, Ph.D., associate curator for research at The Phillips Collection and curator of To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection, will speak about the extraordinary vision of Duncan Phillips. The collector made an institutional commitment at the end of World War I to champion American art and encourage American artists of independent vision who looked beyond the strictures of the academy at a time when other institutions were unwilling to do so.
Founded in Washington, D.C. a decade before the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art opened in New York City, The Phillips Collection has championed the very best American art and artists since opening its doors in 1921. For more than 50 years, until his death in 1966, Phillips promoted the work of living American artists, giving them his
patronage and encouragement when they needed it the most. In so doing, Phillips, and the museum that carries his name, became a significant force in American modernism, advocating for an American art that could find unity in a diversity of voices.
Adult Studio Workshop: Monoprinting, Guest Artist: Mark Hosford
Thursday, February 9
Frist Center Studios
$45 members/ $75 non-members
Cost includes all supplies and gallery admission.
Advance registration required.
Please call 615.744.3355 to register.
Monoprinting is a process in which painting and printmaking processes are used in combination to create one-of-a-kind, unique works on paper. In this introductory workshop, participants will learn the basic process of creating monoprints and monotypes. Participants will be given a tour of To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection to explore ideas for their own prints and will then head back to the studios to explore a variety of techniques and methods using oil-based inks on Plexiglas.
Mark Hosford is also one of the artists whose work is included in the exhibition Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination, on view in the Frist Center’s Upper-Level Galleries from February 24 through May 28, 2012 and Metamorphoses: Drawings by Erin Anfinson, Kristi Hargrove, Mark Hosford, and Chris Scarborough, on view in the Conte Community Arts Gallery from June 8 through October 28, 2012.
Kids Club: Through the Eyes of O’Keefe
Saturday, February 11
10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m.
Frist Center Studios
Free. Call 615.744.3357 to reserve a space
Inspired by the exhibition To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection, participants will look closely at objects from nature to create colorful artworks that reflect a larger-than-life scale and the style of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Participants will create viewfinders to get “up close and personal.”
Curator’s Tour, To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection
Thursday, February 16
Meet at exhibition entrance
Free with purchase of gallery admission
Join Katie Delmez, curator at the Frist Center, for a tour that surveys American painting from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century.
Educator Workshop, To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection
Tuesday, February 21*
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
$20 for Frist Center members
$25 for non-members.
Advanced registration is required.
Download the teacher workshop registration form at http://fristcenter.org/learn/schools-educators/educator-workshops“>http://fristcenter.org/learn/schools-educators/educator-workshops.
Cost includes all materials, teacher resources, color reproductions, gallery admission, parking validation in Frist Center lots and lunch.
To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection provides an overview of the Phillips’s renowned American collection by highlighting more than one hundred paintings by more than 75 American artists. During this full-day workshop, educators will examine original works of art on a curator-led tour, participate in studio activities and develop teaching ideas for the classroom. Educators will receive related resources and teaching materials including sample lesson plans and color art reproductions. Frist Center educator workshops are open to educators of all subjects, pre-K–12.
* This program will also be presented on Feb. 25.
REPaloud: Red by John Logan in collaboration with Tennessee Repertory Theater
Friday, February 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 25 at 2:30 pm.
Frist Center Auditorium
FREE but reservations are needed.
To make reservations, call 615.244.4878 or e-mail ” and
include the date and number of attending in the body of your e-mail.
Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s REPaloud (“Reading Excellent Plays” aloud) series features contemporary, award-winning dramas in a staged reading format. Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play, Red paints the vivid picture of master Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko who has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art—a series of murals for New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant. In the two fascinating years that follow, Rothko works feverishly with his young assistant, Ken, in his studio on the Bowery. But when Ken gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. Raw and provocative, Red is a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.
This project has been made possible with the collaboration of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre. Since 1985, Tennessee Repertory Theatre has been a critically acclaimed regional theatre, creating the highest quality professional productions and serving as a prime cultural, educational and economic resource within Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The organization produces work that is designed, built and rehearsed in Nashville by highly skilled actors, designers, directors and technicians.
Educator Workshop: To See as Arists See: American Art from the Phillips Collection
Saturday, February 25
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
$20 for Frist Center members;
$25 for non-members.
Advanced registration is required.
Download the teacher workshop registration form at http://fristcenter.org/learn/schools-educators/educator-workshops.
$20 for Frist Center members; $25 for non-members. Cost includes all materials, teacher resources, color reproductions, gallery admission, parking validation in Frist Center lots and lunch.
To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection provides an overview of the Phillips’s renowned American collection by highlighting more than 100 paintings by 75 American artists. During this full-day workshop, educators will examine original works of art on a curator-led tour, participate in studio activities and develop teaching ideas for the classroom. Educators will receive related resources and teaching materials including sample lesson plans and color art reproductions. Frist Center educator workshops are open to educators of all subjects, pre-K–12.
The Art of Songwriting: “American Songwriting in the Twentieth Century” Presented by Michael Lasser
Book signing to follow lecture
Friday, March 9
Seating is first come, first served.
Michael Lasser will explore the art of songwriting and the way in which songwriters in the first half of the twentieth century created the American popular song through the use of African-American rhythms, European melody and American speech. Representing this diversity through song, Tin Pan Alley (the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century) was quick and shrewd in response to what was going on in the world around them. Their goal was to write hit songs that would appeal to as broad a public as possible. They weren’t poets seeking to express a personal vision of the world but songwriters who were trying to express what they saw and heard within the firm conventions and limits of a popular song. A good song encapsulated a public attitude, belief, value, opinion or dream in 32 bars that, for a month or two anyway, people couldn’t get out of their heads.
Following the lecture, Lasser will be in the Frist Center Gift Shop to sign copies of his book American Songs: Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley, which is co-written with Phil Furia. The book explores how creative skills and artistry work together to create lasting songs and invites readers to look behind the popular songs of the last century in order to understand how songwriters and musicians blend words and music with sentiment and melody.
About Michael Lasser
Raised in New Jersey in the shadow of Broadway, Michael Lasser is a nationally known lecturer, writer, broadcaster, critic and teacher.
The songs featured in American Songs: Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley, are the basis for his nationally syndicated public radio program, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, winner of a 1994 Peabody Award. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he is the former theater critic for The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and for 30 years has spoken at museums and universities around the country. In 2010, he was named a Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Rollins College. He is currently preparing a 2-CD set of the early songs of Irving Berlin and is working on a new book, The Song Is Us: Love, Lyrics & American Life, 1900–1950.
Free Family Day Festival at the Frist
Sunday, April 15
Enjoy a day of discovery and creativity, filled with art activities, live music and exciting demonstrations. Bring your family and friends to share in a day filled with art and imagination! Exhibitions highlighted during the free day include To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection; Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination; and Answers to Questions: John Wood and Paul Harrison.
About the Frist Center
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery (open until 5:30 p.m. each day) features interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist Center members. Frist Center admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors, military and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of Frist Fridays), 5–9 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3247.The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5:30 p.m., with the Frist Center Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting our website at http://www.fristcenter.org.