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UVA Art Museum opens four new exhibits

Jan 20, 2012

The dawn of abstract art in the early 20th century didn't mean sunset for traditional forms of art. Four new exhibitions opening today at the University of Virginia Art Museum show that there's room for plenty of different forms of self-expression under the sun.

Hopi doll with painted headdress springs to life, spinning under my finger tips on a new iPad app from the University of Virginia Art Museum (UVaM).

The delightful app presents 19 different objects in 3D, to spin and zoom, providing an immediacy that rivals seeing an object in real life. In fact, it's better in many ways than peering at an object through a protective case because the objects can be spun through a full 360°, view under bright lighting, at high resolution.

In this week's UVA Today segment, Nicole Anastasi visited the Newsplex to introduce the University of Virginia Art Museum's new iPad app.

Repeat after me: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite - anyone who's taken high school Latin knows these are the five types of columns used in Roman architecture. Right? Wrong! As the University of Virginia Art Museum's current exhibition, "Variety, Archeology, and Ornament: Renaissance Architectural Prints from Column to Cornice," shows, Roman builders were much more imaginative than later architectural experts, like Palladio and Vignola, would have us believe.

The University of Virginia Art Museum has tapped scholar and curator Jennifer Farrell, who has a long history of working at institutions throughout New York and New England, to be its new curator of exhibitions. Ms. Farrell comes to the museum from the New York-based Nancy Graves Foundation, which maintains the archive of the late sculptor and painter Nancy Graves and makes grants to artists.

Before joining the Nancy Graves Foundation, Ms. Farrell served as a fellow and then assistant curator of prints, drawings and photography at the Yale University Art Gallery in in New Haven, Connecticut.

"How to Steal like an Artist" is a humorous blog post by Texas-based artist Austin Kleon, full of down-to-earth advice for creative types. (Google it, if you're not reading this online where there's a hyperlink). Kleon writes that artists by nature constantly cop others' ideas and methods, adapting them for their own use. Examples of just such beneficent thievery are currently on view in the University of Virginia Art Museum's exhibition, New Images, New Techniques: Abstraction in British Screenprints circa 1970.

The seven artists included in the show not only appropriated silkscreen printing from the realm of industrial and commercial production, but they also snagged ideas from previous abstract artists as well as from each other. Drawn from the Museum's permanent collection, the works displayed reveal the dynamic interplay of ideas between artists working in close proximity, as they used the same medium to delve into relationships between shape and color on the page.

The Fralin Museum of Art presents a two-part exhibit in its Stair Hall Gallery titled Portraying the Golden Age. The exhibit is curated by John Hawley, Luzak-Lindner Graduate Fellow. In the first installation of Portraying the Golden Age, drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection reveal the blossoming of drawn portraiture in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century. The first installation will be on display through April 27.

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) has fundamentally challenged ideas about what art can be by focusing on everyday icons and emblems, or what the artist famously referred to as "things the mind already knows.” While perhaps best known for his paintings, Johns is also widely respected for his graphic work, which has occupied a central role in his oeuvre for over five decades. Johns’ prints not only show a mastery of the various mediums he has engaged, but also a profound sense of experimentation, which has had significant impact not only on his own art, but also on the field itself. Printmaking has allowed Johns to explore various methods for interpreting icons, emblems, and objects—such as numbers, letters, maps, targets, and ale cans—while also expanding the possibilities for printmaking. Several of his prints make reference to the artist’s work in other media, yet they are not mere copies or reproductions. Rather, Johns has consistently returned to such motifs in order to explore new methods and techniques that would allow him to reinterpret and engage these subjects again.

The weather is heavy in Suzanne McClelland's new paintings, where paint surges, lines whip and skid, and fragmentary letters and numbers collapse, inflate and slam into each other, hard. Words have a longstanding place in McClelland's work, often formed in a way that links their visible shape to their voiced sound, and to their origin in breath and body. Recently, the artist has shifted her attention from the link between spoken and written language to the juncture between letters and numbers. But as before, multitudes of ideas race through these images at speed. The works' range of social and cultural observation is matched by an extravagantly free dispersal of mediums across a variety of supports. Painting, pouring, dripping, splattering, writing and drawing, McClelland produces surfaces that are variously rococo, catastrophic, sparkly and black as dried blood.