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Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times: American Modernism from the Lane Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Opens Oct. 2, 2009
Exhibition Explores American Identity; Includes Works by
Ansel Adams, John Marin, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley
NASHVILLE, TENN. – (August 13, 2009) – The Frist Center for the Visual Arts closes the 2009 exhibition year and welcomes the new with Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times: American Modernism from the Lane Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on view in the Ingram Gallery from Oct. 2, 2009 through January 31, 2010.
Featuring 45 paintings and eight photographs by such American masters as Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, Arthur G. Dove, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, and Ansel Adams, the Lane Collection is considered by many to be one of the greatest museum collections of American Modernism. William H. Lane (1914–1995), owner of a small Massachusetts manufacturing plant, formed this pioneering collection in the early 1950s when these artists were little appreciated, though today they are considered to be among the most important American artists of the early twentieth century.
“Like the exhibitions we had from the Phillips Collection and the Cone Collection from Baltimore, Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times reflects the passions of a collector who was guided by his deep love for art, friendships with artists, and desire to introduce audiences around the country to these wonderful expressions of the modern spirit,” according to Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala.
Included in the Lane Collection are paintings such as O’Keeffe’s Deer’s Skull with Pedernal, Sheeler’s Ore into Iron, and Dove’s That Red One, which rank among the most significant and appealing works that these artists ever produced.
The works in the exhibition will be arranged by themes that were favored by William Lane as he acquired the collection.
Section 1: Abstraction and Nature
During the first half of the twentieth century, modern artists in the United States embraced new images and styles that they felt captured the spirit of their times. Artists such as O’Keeffe, Dove, Marsden Hartley, and John Marin strove to convey the essence of nature through the distillation of its images and forms into works that balanced abstraction and realism. This section of the exhibition will include an entire gallery dedicated to the works of O’Keeffe, with subsequent galleries featuring major paintings by Dove and other modern artists who sought to infuse the essence of nature with their own emotions.
Section 2: Expressionism in American Art
In the early to mid-20th century, many American painters were influenced by expressionistic styles from Europe that employed strong colors, visible brushstrokes, and distorted forms to create psychologically compelling images. A frequent subject was the human figure, which was often painted with raw, agitated brushstrokes that suggested the dissipation of the body by equating its carnal substance to heavy pigment. Lane collected very few figurative paintings. Many of those he acquired dealt with difficult themes of suffering or martyrdom, such as Hyman Bloom’s Female Corpse, Back View and Karl Zerbe’s self-portrait as the Biblical Job.
The theme of the still life is also well represented in this section. Many American artists used modern styles to translate everyday objects into dynamic relationships among shapes, colors, patterns, and textures. The intense colors and expressive brushstrokes associated with Fauvism and Expressionism appear most notably in Hans Hofmann’s Green Bottle and Max Weber’s The Red Poppies.
Section 3: Defining Modern America
For some artists, America’s combination of democratic idealism and technological innovation epitomized the promise of progress in the 20th century. This was conveyed by paintings by Stuart Davis and Patrick Henry Bruce that depicted manufactured materials in geometric still lifes, as well as landscapes defined by the functional geometry of modern architecture. While inspired by Cubism and other European art movements that transcribed the world into a language of pure form, works by such artists as Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford portrayed American subject matter using a clean, sharp-edged style to convey the fresh and optimistic spirit of the early 1900s.
Thomas Hart Benton in Story and Song to Open Concurrently
In addition to Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times, the Frist Center will open Thomas Hart Benton in Story and Song. Benton (1889–1975) is celebrated for his colorful animated realism, with which he portrayed his vision of the simplicity, humor, and dignity of life in rural America.
This exhibition presents works that were inspired by two aspects of American culture: vernacular literature and music. The first section, organized to coincide with the Nashville Public Library’s city-wide celebration of beloved author Mark Twain, includes original illustrations of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1939, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1941, and Life on the Mississippi in 1944. Like his fellow Missourian Twain, Benton employed a direct and often humorous tone to convey the quintessentially unpretentious character of the American heartland.
As an extension of the American storytelling tradition, Benton cherished American folk, or “hillbilly” music found in the Midwest and Southeast. He often incorporated portrayals of musicians and country ballads into such images as Wreck of the Ole ’97, which is based on a 1924 ballad recounting the fatal crash of a Southern Railroad train in 1893. His last work, the mural-sized painting The Sources of Country Music (1975) at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, depicts formative influences on country music, including a church choir, dulcimer player, cowboy fiddler, and black banjo player. The final study for the mural, along with studies and maquettes, is one of the highlights of the exhibition.
“We thought these two exhibitions worked well together,” says Scala. “They provide contrasting views of American identity as it changed from a rural agricultural economy to one defined by industrial, technological, and cultural advances during the first half of the 20th century. These and other dichotomies continue to occupy the nation’s political, cultural, and sociological landscape. At the Frist Center, we always encourage visitors to ‘connect with art,’ to find its meaning through their own experiences. How might an artist, a musician, or anyone, capture the contradictions that animate contemporary American life?”
Ingram Gallery Sponsors for 2009:
Platinum Sponsor: The HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA and the TriStar Family of Hospitals
Gold Sponsor: First Tennessee
Hospitality Sponsor: Union Station, a Wyndham Historic Hotel
Georgia O’Keeffe and her Times Exhibition-Related Programs
Friday, October 2 Curator’s Conversation: “From Marbles to
Noon Modernism: Stories Behind the Lane Collection”
Join collector Saundra Lane and Karen Quinn, the Kristin and Roger Servison curator of
paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and curator of Georgia O’Keeffe and Her
Times, for a lively discussion of the genesis of the Lane Collection. Learn about the
Lanes’ relationships with Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, and other artists who
became their friends as they acquired American Modernist works at a time when they
Friday, Oct. 9 Lecture: Dr. Barbara Buhler Lynes
Noon Georgia O’Keeffe: Photography and an American Icon
No artist has been photographed from the beginning to the end of a career as frequently and consistently as Georgia O’Keeffe, who has been a subject for many of America’s most well-known photographers: Ansel Adams, Philippe Halsman, Yosuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Alfred Stieglitz, Todd Webb, and Andy Warhol to name only a few. Join Dr. Barbara Buhler Lynes, curator at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and The Emily Fisher Landau Director at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center, as she explores the significance of the various personas that these photographs projected of O’Keeffe during her lifetime, and the degree to which the medium of photography played a key role in defining her as one of America’s leading art celebrities.
Friday, Oct. 16 ARTini: Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times
Meet at the information desk
Free with the purchase of gallery admission
Join Anne Henderson, Frist Center Director of Education and Outreach, as she leads an informal conversation about one or two works of art in this exhibition. Complete your evening by relaxing in the Grand Lobby with beverages from the cash bar or café, listening to live music, and visiting with friends.
Sunday, Oct. 18 Family Day
Enjoy a fun-filled day of excitement with friends and family including special art-making activities, a musical instrument petting zoo offered by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, live music from Nashville’s own Westbound Rangers, and a main stage marionette production depicting the tall tales, scenes, and music from the Hill Country titled Backwoods Rambling presented by Wood and Strings Theatre.
Check out Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times: American Modernism from the Lane Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which features amazing examples of American paintings and photographs. Stroll through Thomas Hart Benton in Story and Song to see Benton’s original illustrations for Mark Twain’s books Life on the Mississippi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as well as drawings, prints, and paintings from Benton’s lifelong admiration of folk music and musicians. Visit the Upper-Level Galleries to explore the exhibition Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris, which includes photographs that evoke the mystery of the chance encounters experienced by the Surrealists as they wandered through the labyrinthine city streets of Paris.
Saturday, Nov. 7 Adult Painting Workshop: The Essence of Nature
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 8
Frist Center Studios
$50 members; $60 nonmembers; cost includes all supplies and gallery admission. Participants may bring their own lunches or purchase them in the Frist Center’s café.
Call 615.744.3247 to register.
Michele Herbert, artist and co-owner of Shimai Pottery, will lead participants in a discussion of works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Arthur Dove in the exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times, with the focus on the artists’ reduction of natural structures to their basic forms and their use of light and color to celebrate the essential character of the natural world. Participants will then move to the Frist Center studios where they will experiment, in paint, with the abstract qualities of the natural world, using O’Keeffe’s and Dove’s paintings as the impetus for these explorations.
Thursday, Nov. 12 Gallery Talk: Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times
Meet at the information desk
Free with purchase of gallery admission
Join Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala for a tour of the exhibition. Scala is well known for his delightfully animated conversational tours of Frist Center exhibitions.
Saturday, Nov. 14 Gallery Talk: Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Circle of Early
11:00 a.m. American Modernists
Meet at the information desk
Free with purchase of gallery admission
Vivien Fryd, Ph.D., professor and chair of the History of Art department at Vanderbilt University, will examine the art of the early American Modernists (Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, John Marin, Joseph Stella, and Charles Sheeler) as well as the photographers (Gertrude Käsebier, Anne Brigman, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Steichen) associated with the so-called Stieglitz circle. The styles, themes, and historical contexts of these modern images will be examined, focusing especially upon themes of sexuality, the city, spirituality, and nature.
This exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
The Frist Center recognizes Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios and Belmont University for their donation of recording time and professional expertise in the production of the exhibition’s audio tour.
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 features 21 interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and under and to Frist Center members. Frist Center admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and military, and $6.50 for college students with ID. Thursday and Friday evenings, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m., admission is free for college students with a valid college ID. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3246. The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting our Web site at http://www.fristcenter.org.
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