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Montgomery Museum of Fine Art

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Category: Exhibition

Last Call/Art in Concert

last-call-septThe Junior Executive Board of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts welcomed more than 100 young professionals to Last Call on September 1 in conjunction with the exhibition Photorealism. Guests sampled IPA and Pilsner from Railyard Brewing Company. They also dined on Red Beans and Rice and Jambalaya from The Seafood Bistro. All were encouraged to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a stock the cellar prize package or VIP tickets to Art in Concert that will be held on Friday, October 14, 2016. The JEB raised more than $600 to support the Artist in Residency Program–Learning Through Art at Wares Ferry Road featuring the likes of Barbara Davis and Darius Hill.

AIC16_OnExhibit ad_3x4Looking to the fall, the JEB is very excited to announce Daniel Elsworth and the Great Lakes as the featured band for the 5th annual Art in Concert.  Previous artists have included St. Paul and the Broken Bones and The FUTUREBIRDS. For the first time, there will be a VIP Tent sponsored by Pine Bar and Vintage Year offering free food and drink to those who purchase a $50 VIP ticket. General admission tickets are $15. All tickets can be purchased in advance here. We will be selling general admission tickets at the gate the night of the event. As always, this event is rain or shine! Please bring blankets and chairs, but no outside food or drink. Both will be available during the concert for purchase using either cash or card. Make sure to follow the JEB on Facebook (MMFA Junior Executive Board) and Instagram (mmfajuniorboard) for updates on food vendors, band information, and ticket flash sales!

last-call-sept-2-2Are you interested in joining the JEB?  The Junior Executive Board works to advocate the programs of the MMFA to young professionals in the River Region. Through significant fundraising events, the JEB supports major exhibitions and the Education Department of the MMFA. We are always looking for new faces to be part of this board of young people. If you would like to be considered for the 2017 board, please submit a cover letter and resume to Blake Rosen between October 1 and November 11  via email at brosen@mmfa.org. The new board will be announced December 1.

We hope to see everyone October 14 for Art in Concert!

Blake Rosen
Special Events Coordinator

Summer Exhibitions Opening Reception 2016

Summertime is always a welcome season at the Museum—the galleries offer a cool respite from the heat and our staff takes a mini-break from the nonstop activities of the fall and spring. Nevertheless, there’s plenty to see and do at the MMFA, and this coming Thursday, July 14, offers a perfect opportunity for you to join as we celebrate five wonderful exhibitions now on view with a reception from 5:30 to 8:00 P. M..

Four of the shows are rarely seen objects from our own permanent collection—Photorealism, Harmonics: Joe Almyda’s Works on Paper, Taking It to the Streets, and Women’s Work: Prints from the Collection of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.  Our fifth show, Lynn Saville: Dark City, Urban American at Night features the work of a photographer who is also represented in the collection.  We have a number of exciting programs scheduled in conjunction with these shows, including a post-reception talk on Thursday evening beginning at 7:00 P.M. by Professor Kathleen Spies of Birmingham-Southern who is sharing her thoughts on the evolution of women as professionals in the art world.

Dr. Spies’s focus in her talk will be the creative spirit and accomplishments of women in the American art world, inspired by our Women’s Work show. This exhibition showcases forty-seven prints by twenty women artists from the Museum’s works on paper collection. The artists include the Alabamians Anne Goldthwaite and Clara Weaver Parrish from the earliest part of the century, to modern printmakers such as Jennifer Bartlett, Pat Steir, and Lesley Dill.

Below are a few examples of the works on view which you’ll be able to enjoy when you join us Thursday night!

 

Blog.Thomson.SummerOpening2016Laquita Thomson, November 13, 1833, 1990, 1995.12.5.5

Thomson is a member of the faculty at Freed Hardeman University in Clarksville, Tennessee.  While a Masters degree candidate at Auburn, she created a series of lithographs titled Celestial Happenings—Stars Fell on Alabama, in which she documents events such the one here— “the night the stars fell” was a meteor shower that inspired the popular song “Stars Fell on Alabama.”

 

Blog.Harshman.SummerOpening2016Melissa Harshman, 2nd Place, 2004, 2005.4

Prior to the twentieth century, the traditional roles of women and girls centered on the home and the domestic duties associated with homemaking.  In this screen print Harshman copies images from popular periodicals of the early twentieth century to illustrate how these roles were taken for granted, insuring that professionally many women were relegated to 2nd place.

 

Blog.Hartigan.SummerOpening2016Grace Hartigan, On a Tar Roof, 1960-1961, 1995.2.3.2

Grace Hartigan is recognized internationally as a leader in the second generation of Abstract Expressionists.  Hartigan broke away from the constraints of expressionism to explore not her personal emotions, but those derived from an outside sources such as poetry, in this case a work by the poet James Schuyler titled Salute.

 

Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, curator of Art
and
Sarah Graves, collections information specialist

Photorealism

Blog.PhotorealismgalleryThe first thing you notice about the new Photorealism exhibition is the big, bold, colorful images of planes and motorcycles, movie marquees, and cityscapes. The show includes only 20 items and fills only two galleries, but it is an eyeful. Indeed, there is more than meets the eye’s initial inspection. Each image invites close looking.

Some viewers may marvel at the images’ high degree of mimesis—the fidelity with which they mimic their subject. The vivid array of reflections in the cowl of a motorcycle, the nuanced shades of grey enveloping the fuselage of a P-51 Mustang sitting under an overcast sky, the glittering gold and patriotic colors of a Fourth of July still-life composition impress viewers with their detailed representation of reality. But it is not immediately apparent that these pictures do not mimic three-dimensional reality. These are pictures of photographs—primarily photos of motorcycles, airplanes, movie marquees, and other urban imagery—hence the exhibition title, Photorealism, and the name of the style that took root in 1960s Pop Art.

Blog.Empire.PhotorealismThat’s right. Photorealist artists paint pictures of photographs. First they photograph places like banal urban views and things like cars, trucks, and other macho machines. Then they project those images onto canvas or paper, trace the forms, and fill in the colors, often with airbrushes that capture the fuzzy effects of soft-focus lenses and out of focus photos. Photorealists often crop their images to make the most of abstract design compositions, but the results always look realistic, even if artists like Robert Cottingham take some creative license with the isolation or modification of their images as he does with movie marquees like that of the now demolished Empire Theatre that once stood in downtown Montgomery (fig. 2, above). Still, the subject of the photograph remains recognizable in every Photorealist painting or print.

Photorealist prints are much more common than Photorealist paintings, which typically require many months to complete. However, Photorealist prints are similarly time-consuming to create because each usually involves a dozen or more individual screens—one for each color. One print by Tom Blackwell (whose Triumph Trumpet and 451 are in this show) required 86 separate screens and took 15 months to make. That print, Shatzi (1979), depicts a World War II aircraft and was printed on Masonite (as is Ron Kleeman’s Mustang Sally in this exhibition) because of its great scale (4 x 6 feet). It was printed by Norman Lassiter, a master printer who partnered with Louis Meisel, a New York gallery owner, to publish Photorealist prints under the aegis of Editions Lassiter-Meisel.

Editions Lassiter-Meisel also published the ten silkscreens in the City-ScapBlog.CityscapesPortfolioes Portfolio (fig. 3, to the right) that are on view in the current exhibition. Most are signed and numbered A.P. 21/30, indicating that they were the 21st of 30 artist proofs pulled in addition to 25 publisher’s proofs plus the full edition of 250. Signed and numbered print editions of this scale enabled Photorealists to sell images of their paintings for substantially less than the original paintings cost. Relatively large editions like this one also enabled Meisel to donate a few of the portfolios to museums—as he did for our museum.

So, when you go to see the new Photorealist show, don’t get blown away by the big, bold, colorful images. Take time to look closely at these prints. It’s a little like a summer “staycation,” enjoying the everyday sights without leaving the air-conditioned comfort of your hometown museum.

Michael Panhorst
Curator of Art

 

Image Credits
Figure 2: Robert Cottingham, Empire, 2009, screen print on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of the artist, 2009.12

Figure 3: Colophon and Preface, from the portfolio, City-Scapes, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Louis K. and Susan P. Meisel, 2014.5.8

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