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The Fralin is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free. Click here for hours. 

The Fralin follows current UVA COVID-19 guidelines.

In the News

Draped in pearls that reflect the luminosity of their skin, the young subjects in Atlanta photographer Tokie Rome-Taylor’s images pose with family heirlooms and other meaningful objects as they evoke highly symbolic Renaissance portraits.

In “Line Up 3,” performance artist Martine Gutierrez explores ideas of beauty standards and what it means to be a woman by placing herself in the midst of a group of mannequins in matching outfits and hairstyles.

In British artist Sarah Maple’s playful images of Disney princesses in unexpected settings, Sleeping Beauty performs surgery on an anesthetized patient, Belle coaches football, Snow White performs laboratory work as a chemist and Ariel commands a meeting room while raising her voice to a coworker.

Wearing a traditional elk tooth dress and exquisitely beaded accessories, Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star upends dusty imagery of museum dioramas by tucking in such humorous touches as falling snowflakes made from plastic foam packing peanuts.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia presents a new exhibition featuring artists that utilize portraiture, satire, pop culture references and advertising techniques to critique and combat essentializing representations of feminine identities. Power Play: Reimagining Representation in Contemporary Photography, on view Aug. 27-Dec. 31, features ten recently acquired photographs by contemporary artists Martine Gutierrez, Sarah Maple, Wendy Red Star, Cara Romero and Tokie Rome-Taylor, with additional loaned works. The artists’ inclusion of heirlooms, regalia and toys placed in meticulously constructed scenes highlights the role that objects and representation play in shaping our intersectional identities.

"Harnessing the medium of photography and drawing on a wide range of visual methods, Romero, Gutierrez, Maple, Red Star and Rome-Taylor counter erasure and underrepresentation and take an active stance with fresh, poignant and powerful representations of themselves and their communities," said the exhibition curators, Hannah Cattarin, Adriana Greci Green and Laura Minton. “These photographs reference dominant narratives that have been articulated in visual culture over time, from Renaissance portraiture, Disney princesses, store window displays, to children's dolls and fashion mannequins.”

Brooklyn-based performance artist Martine Gutierrez (b. 1989) uses consumer objects, such as mannequins, dolls and magazines, to create elaborate self-portraits that investigate her personal and collective identities. In Line Up 3 from the series Line Up (2014), Gutierrez stages a group of mannequins in matching clothing and hairstyles, and places herself among them.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia has four new exhibits opening this Saturday.

The new exhibits are called, Power Play: Reimagining Representation in Contemporary Photography; Earthly Exemplars: The Art of Buddhist Disciples and Teachers in Asia; Kenji Nakahashi: Weighing Time; and Joseph Cornell: Enclosing Infinity.

The museum is open to all of the Charlottesville community, not just the UVA community.

The shadow boxes each contain a few items – a broken toy or a red rubber ball, a blue and white pottery shard or a row of tiny hooks, a seashell or a stone, tossed in a bed of blue sand or set with newsprint as a background.

Each box evokes fragments of dreams or summer memories, an alley far away or a carnival in the past, a trip in the imagination.

Joseph Cornell, an influential 20th-century American artist who died in 1972, used to wander around New York City where he lived, going to all kinds of shops – dime stores, used booksellers and secondhand shops – looking for small objects that struck his fancy or interested him in some way. He arranged them in wooden boxes, about the size of a shoebox, with other materials like sand, creating each one as if offering a small, mysterious world.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passing of Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), one of America’s most important and enigmatic artists, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia has organized an exhibition of his work. Joseph Cornell: Enclosing Infinity, on view June 26, 2022-Feb. 12, 2023, is curated by Matthew McLendon, the Museum’s J. Sanford Miller Family director. The intimate, focused exhibition will feature six boxes from The Fralin’s collection, inviting visitors to enter Cornell’s world of fantasy. 

Cornell worked in collage and film, though he is best known for his signature shadow box constructions—small worlds unto themselves made of the bric-a-brac he collected as he wandered through New York City’s dime stores, used book merchants and purveyors of back copies of newspapers and magazines. The Fralin is home to several important Cornell box constructions. While frequently linked to Surrealism, Cornell did not create his constructions through automatic or stream-of-consciousness practices. Instead, he employed meticulous planning. This deliberate process led to major groupings of some of his works, including the Soap Bubble, Sand Tray, Games and Juan Gris series, all represented in The Fralin’s collection. 

“Joseph Cornell remains one of the most beloved and influential artists today,” said McLendon. “By providing our audiences the opportunity to spend sustained time with his signature constructed boxes, we hope to highlight and celebrate his legacy. In these small, enclosed spaces, Cornell created windows into whole worlds which continue to spark our imaginations.” 

The New York-based Henry Luce Foundation—named after and established by the founder of Time, Fortune, Life and Sports Illustrated magazines—has awarded the Fralin Museum a $250,000 grant that will support new research into its Native American collection, conducted in collaboration with Indigenous scholars and artists.

A $250,000 grant given to an institution bearing the name of a prominent Roanoke family will help to give those of us who live in the Roanoke Valley a better understanding of our pre-colonial history.

In Roanoke, the name Fralin frequently pops up in connection to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, the center of an ongoing effort to shift this city from an economy built around a railroad hub to one that thrives on cutting edge scientific breakthroughs. Roanoke business leaders and philanthropists Heywood and Cynthia Fralin, along with the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust named after Heywood’s late brother, accelerated the biomedical institute’s development in 2018 with a $50 million gift, the largest in Virginia Tech’s history.

Six years before, the Fralins set a different kind of record at the site of Virginia Tech’s longtime sports rival, the University of Virginia. The couple donated a 40-piece collection of American art to what was then the U.Va. Art Museum. It was the largest single gift of art in U.Va. history, and thenceforth the museum has been known as the Fralin Museum of Art.

[ ... ]

Reconnecting to Native communities

And now the news: The New York-based Henry Luce Foundation — named after and established by the founder of Time, Fortune, Life and Sports Illustrated magazines — has awarded the Fralin Museum a $250,000 grant that will support new research into its Native American collection, conducted in collaboration with Indigenous scholars and artists.

The grant will be paid out over three years. The additional resources will allow Green to more precisely document where the collection’s artifacts first were obtained and who made them, and use that information along with new photography to create print and online catalogs. These new publications also will include essays from Native American experts to provide even more insight and context.

“The point that’s really key here is shared stewardship and honoring the fact that these communities still have access,” said Fralin Museum Director Matthew McLendon. The project means to make the collection more accessible to all, but in particular to make sure “the source communities of these objects have access to them either in person or digitally or through scholarship or through catalogs, on as many different platforms as possible.”

This spring, Matthew McLendon, the director of the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, taught a class on a largely shadowy subject: museum collecting. Along with sections on repatriation and deaccessioning, McLendon took his students through the complicated process of acquiring artworks.

Over the past semester, students researched objects proposed by curators at the Fralin and presented reports recommending objects for acquisition. The idea, McLendon told Artnet News, is to "think critically about how art museums have and continue to build collections and how the philosophy around collection-building has evolved."

McLendon's class got us thinking: how exactly do museum acquisitions work, anyway?

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia (UVA) has received a $250,000 American Art Program Responsive Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to focus on the Museum’s Native North American Collections Project. The initiative will support new research and interpretation of the Native American collection to invigorate and advance the understanding and presentation of these artworks through engagement with Native scholars, artists and knowledge holders.

The work undertaken for this project will foster new approaches to presenting the collection that are informed by Indigenous perspectives, leading to the publication of a major scholarly text, enhanced online presence and the development of an innovative exhibition co-curated with Native collaborators.

“We are grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for its support of this project and its recognition of the importance of the objects that have yet to be properly studied and made public,” said Matthew McLendon, J. Sanford Miller family director of The Fralin. “I know I speak for all at the Museum when I say we look forward to partnering with Native experts, learning from them so we can properly steward what is in our care.”

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia announces the establishment of The Ruth C. Cross Endowment for Acquisitions and Collections Care. The $1 million endowment is created by the late museum donors’s family. The Fralin Museum of Art’s longstanding patron, volunteer and friend, Ruth Cunningham Cross passed away in 2021.

A lifelong learner, Ruth and her second husband Robert (Bob) Dougherty Cross moved their academic life to UVA in 1972. She and Bob lived in Pavilion VI and were popular residents on the Lawn. Ruth often recounted hosting Lawn students for breakfast at their pavilion.

Ruth’s numerous contributions to the Charlottesville community started at the museum, where she was instrumental in its reopening in 1974. She worked for the museum for more than 20 years and then continued as a volunteer in various roles for another 20 years. In 2003, the Fralin Museum of Art honored Ruth and Bob as significant benefactors.

Since The Fralin Museum of Art at UVA was built in 1935, it’s had to close its doors a few times—once during World War II and again in the ’60s when the space was requisitioned for classrooms. In 2020, the growing pandemic shut the museum down for a third time.

“There’s certainly nothing in anyone’s living memory that could have prepared us or given us a guidebook on how to deal with a global pandemic, as a museum or any kind of institution,” says Matthew McLendon, the museum’s director and chief curator.

When The Fralin reopened its physical galleries on August 28, 2021, it was a changed world, and the museum found itself changed within it. “What we take from art depends on where we are in our own lives and what we need from it,” McLendon says. Art can be a source of change, a source of defiance, a source of beauty, or a source of renewal. 

At first glance, a four-minute video loop at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia resembles any number of news conferences a viewer might see on television on a given day. But once the speaker portrayed by artist and activist Alicia Grullon begins her remarks, it’s clear that the plans she outlines of using official means to restore rights and control to indigenous people is a vision of a bold new future.

Curated by Hannah Cattarin, assistant curator at The Fralin, the new “Alternate Futures” exhibition will bring in four different video projects to prompt deeper consideration of people who often get excluded from power and autonomy, and to encourage envisioning circumstances in which everything could change.

In her 2018 video work “Breaking News,” Grullon plays the role of a speaker who steps in to conduct a fictional United Nations press conference and announces a sweeping set of changes to restore power to marginalized people around the world and fight genocide, war, rape and environmental damage.

The Fralin Museum of Art has four new exhibits that opened February 6. They range from contemporary to ancient, with one installation even exploring what the future may look like.

The Fralin wants to bring together a collection of art that comes from diverse artists and backgrounds. The four exhibits will be up until the end of July, so there is plenty of time to take a look.

“The main thing we want people to take away when they come to the Fralin is the diversity of perspectives and representation we are working to bring into our gallery, the diversity of voices,” said Matthew Mclendon, the J. Sanford Miller Director at the Fralin Museum of Art.

The Fralin is free and open to the public.

The fall semester brought back some of the University of Virginia’s favorite clubs, events and traditions, thanks to vaccines that helped blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fralin Museum reopened after more than a year and a half, University Guides led in-person tours of Grounds, and intramural sports teams got back on the field. These scenes were quite different from last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced UVA and universities around the country to hold most of their classes and events online.

The pandemic continues, but high vaccination rates among UVA students, faculty and staff allowed for students to return to full, in-person classes for the first time since the spring of 2020. The Lawn resumed its traditional role as a meeting place, libraries had students and staff back at work, and the Grounds felt alive.

We caught up with five students and staff members to look at how things have changed.

The Magazine Antiques

Current and coming: Towers of Power at the Fralin

Dec 03, 2021

In 1921 the British painter and printmaker C. R. W. Nevinson declared that “The most beautiful products of the modern world are a Rolls-Royce car and a skyscraper.” Nevinson was not alone in making a connection between modern consumer products and the skyscrapers then going up in New York and other American cities. A current exhibition at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Skyscraper Gothic, shows how Jazz Age skyscrapers with their characteristic stepped-back profiles grew, in part, from the emulation of Gothic architecture.

Not the first, but perhaps the most notable expression of skyscraper Gothic arrived with the Woolworth Building on lower Broadway in 1913, designed by New York architect Cass Gilbert. The exhibition features many highly detailed working drawings for the building, on loan from the collection of the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, which will launch a scaled down version of the show in early 2022. Dubbed the “Cathedral of Commerce” by some critics, the Woolworth Building was equated with modernity and the commercial success of new multinational corporations such as dime-store chains. The tower built between 1923 and 1925 for the Chicago Tribune Company on North Michigan Avenue from a design by the firm of Hood and Howells, the winners of its international architectural competition, was the next great expression of skyscraper Gothic, but also the style’s swan song: in the 1930s, partly as a result of the immigration of European modernist architects fleeing an increasingly hostile political climate abroad, the use of such a historic style for a fundamentally modern building type came under increasing critical fire.

The New Criterion

Aiming for the skies

Dec 03, 2021

If you have an extra twenty-three million dollars rattling around, you can buy the recently listed five-bedroom apartment on the twenty-ninth floor of the historic Woolworth Building in New York. From this well-appointed aerie, you can peer through the architect Cass Gilbert’s Gothic tracery or take the elevator down to Frank W. Woolworth’s basement pool. Or you can save the money and visit the Fralin Museum’s compact exhibition on the skyscraper as an idea, one that began, arguably, with the corporate home of that humble five-and-dime store1.

“Skyscraper Gothic” tells the story of the skyscraper not as a technological marvel made possible by Otis elevators and Bessemer steel, but as a uniquely American cultural artifact that came to stand alongside the Liberty Bell and the Founders as a symbol of national identity. The evolution of skyscraper symbolism is shown through paintings, prints, and photographs, as well as through decorative objects, commemorative items, furniture, and ephemera such as games, postcards, sheet music, and magazine covers. The result is a nuanced understanding of a form of architecture that expressed élan vital, the romance of the city, and economic and technological supremacy—the very idea of American modernity.

Knight Time

What is The Little Museum

Nov 29, 2021

The Little Museum at the Fralin Museum of Art was a unique exhibit at the gallery that is like no other. Student writer Mariette Hollins interviewed the Special Projects Coordinator at the museum Lisa Jevack, who was more than happy to tell the students at CHS about The Little Museum and everything it has to offer.

“The Little Museum is quite literally a little museum made of six little galleries that are being used to showcase and exhibit little works of art. The Little Museum is outside on the plaza in front of the Fralin Museum of Art and one of the great things about it is unlike the big museum inside, it is open 24 hours a day. So you can come at any time, any day, and see the works of art.“

Virginia Business Magazine

100 People to Meet in 2022

Nov 29, 2021

These are Virginians who feed and delight us, nourishing body and soul through arts and entertainment, media, food, hospitality and tourism.

Matthew McLendon

Director and chief curator, Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia

Charlottesville

At the University of Virginia’s art museum, no two days look the same, director Matthew McLendon will tell you. One afternoon, he’ll deliver a talk; the next day, he’ll take a key supporter to lunch. The variety, he says, “really keeps me on my toes and keeps me energized and motivated.” Nearly five years have passed since the Florida State University and University of London alum arrived in Charlottesville from Florida, where he worked as curator of modern and contemporary art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, but he still gets a thrill strolling through the exhibits. “When I see people in the galleries, especially young people, that reminds me how lucky I am to have this job,” he says.

The Cavalier Daily

The Art in Life — When textiles meet art

Oct 17, 2021

The first speaker of the night was Diane Kappa, a pattern designer who previously designed for Nordstrom and is now the founder of Diane Kappa Designs. Working with mediums like block printing and digital illustration, Kappa’s unique designs appear on everything from clothing to wallpaper in retail. 

Mili Suleman was the second speaker of the night. Born in India and raised in the Middle East, she started off as a graphic designer, later pivoting to exploring the world of textiles in the home space. Her “KUFRI” line was inspired by a visit to an Indian hill station which shaped her passion for handloom weaving. Suleman spoke about what textiles in her art mean to her, calling textiles a "connector."

The Wall Street Journal

Skyscraper Gothic’ Review: A Spire is Born

Oct 14, 2021

‘Jumping Man,” a relief sculpture carved in pine, is a curious relic of an advertising campaign. Under the shadow of a looming skyscraper, we see a young businessman, depicted life-size, as he earnestly jumps on the open bottom drawer of a vertical file cabinet.

That the sculpture is comically bad—the bounding businessman is as inert as a cigar-store Indian—hardly matters. It does just what it was made to do: show that the file cabinets of Shaw-Walker Furniture Co. were “built like a skyscraper.” There could hardly be a better opening to “Skyscraper Gothic,” the small but charming exhibition now on display at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia.

The heyday of Skyscraper Gothic began around 1900, when architects found that the forms of Gothic architecture—slender buttresses that rose without interruption to a pointed arch aimed skyward—suited the skyscraper, and gave it a visually satisfying vertical thrust that no other style could match. To tell this story, curators Lisa Reilly and Kevin Murphy have assembled some 95 objects in a variety of media, including 41 works on paper and 25 items of decorative art.

 

Skyscrapers, in our modern imagination, are glitzy glass needles. It wasn’t always that way. The nation’s first towers were ornate and detailed. Intrinsically American, the designs embodied the qualities we like to associate with our national image: We’re can-do, bold, strong, technologically advanced, and audacious.

The Fralin Museum’s new show, “Skyscraper Gothic,” explores the history of these early skyscrapers. The curators, Lisa Reilly from UVA and Kevin Murphy from Vanderbilt, have brought together a wonderfully comprehensive assortment of prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, toys, models, illustrations and decorative arts to showcase the prevalence of both the Gothic style and the skyscraper motif in contemporaneous culture.

The Cavalier Daily

Miniature means more with the Little Museum of Art

Sep 24, 2021

It’s a known fact that everything miniature is undeniably cute. Tiny homes, pets and foods have always garnered a great amount of attention in popular culture, usually for good reason. Who knew miniature museums could have the same awe-inducing allure? The Fralin’s new exhibit certainly shows the joys of the miniature.

The Little Museum of Art exhibition is the epitome of small art that packs a big punch. It’s truly impressive how many swirling details each artist conveyed in such a tiny amount of space — see the impressive exhibition for yourself right outside the Fralin until Nov. 28. If potential viewers somehow miss this generous window of time, the exhibition will reopen with vigor in spring 2022.

 

 

Washingtonian

Charlottesville: The Foodie Road Trip

Sep 02, 2021

Charlottesville residents have very strong opinions about food. When my wife and I moved there from Northern Virginia three years ago, every single person we met told us which restaurants we had to try. It was sort of a “Welcome to C’ville—now start eating” greeting.

Post-pandemic, the city remains a great place for DC foodies to spend a weekend away. Folks in these parts enjoy dining out, largely because there’s so much of it. Consider that Charlottesville and State College, Pennsylvania, both college towns, are roughly the same size. According to industry research published by the Barnes Report, Charlottesville has twice as many eating establishments—237 surround UVA, versus 119 around Penn State.

HuffPost has placed Charlottesville in the same ranks as New York and San Francisco for the most restaurants per capita.

The Daily Progress

Fralin reopens with 'Skyscraper Gothic' and more

Sep 01, 2021

In the early years of the 20th century, the skyscraper captured the American imagination in a way that went far beyond its utility as a modern office space.

In “Skyscraper Gothic,” a new exhibition at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, the influence of the iconic buildings on fine art, decorative arts and even toys and games is explored through paintings, prints and other artifacts.

The exhibition is curated by Lisa Reilly, Commonwealth Professor of architectural history at the University of Virginia, and Kevin D. Murphy, Andrew W. Mellon chair in the humanities and professor and chair of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Vanderbilt University. They teamed up to edit a new book, “Skyscraper Gothic: Medieval Style and Modernist Buildings.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia is reopening Saturday, August 28.

The museum has undergone renovations, including replacing the roof and working to make the building more energy efficient.

Staff members say they’re excited to welcome the public back into the galleries after being closed for 17 months.

“We are so excited to hear voices in the galleries again, to see work back up on the wall and throughout the museum. You know, we’ve been spending the last 6 to 8 weeks really reinstalling the museum, getting ready for this moment,” J. Sanford Miller Family Director Matthew McLendon said.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia is set to reopen Saturday after 17 months of renovations.

Renovations included a brand new roof and an environmental systems overhaul, which was critical to preserving artwork inside the museum as well as improving energy efficiency. Cosmetic upgrades included a fresh coat of paint inside and re-finished terracotta floors.

There are six new exhibitions on display inside the museum. One such exhibit is called "Skyscraper Gothic," which investigates how European Gothic architecture was used to create a new language of skyscrapers, and is a curatorial collaboration between Lisa Reilly, commonwealth professor of architectural history at UVA, and Kevin Murphy, Andrew W. Mellon chair in the humanities and professor and chair of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Vanderbilt University.

The Fralin Museum is ready to welcome the people of Central Virginia back inside its galleries.

The Magazine Antiques

Openings and Closings: August 25 to August 31

Aug 25, 2021

Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

When you picture a skyscraper, what do you see? Presumably, sleek lines, walls of windows, and maybe an indoor waterfall. However, the architectural language of the most iconic skyscrapers in the US was defined in the early twentieth century by European Gothic models. Such soaring edifices as the Woolworth Building in New York or Chicago’s Tribune Tower became symbols of colossal national growth and immense cultural shift. An exhibition at the Fralin Museum of Art — Skyscraper Gothic — celebrates the illustrious history of these beautiful buildings. Examining a vast array of documents and artifacts — from prints, drawings, and photographs to toys, models, and decorative arts — the exhibition examines how Gothic design informed material culture in the early 20th century. To see this monumental exhibition in person, check here to plan your trip.

The Fralin Museum of Art hosted an art camp for students this summer and the student summer art at New City Art is worth coming to see, which is something one of the artists is barely able to do herself.

“It helps me to express my feelings,” artist Raquel Monroe said.

Monroe lost most of her vision four years ago after being diagnosed with hydrocephalus and a brain tumor. However, it has not stopped her from using art as a gift.

The Little Free Libraries, those book-sharing boxes that have popped up all over the world in the last decade, have inspired another open-access method of sharing media: miniature outdoor art museums, such as the one now on display outside The Fralin Museum of Art in Charlottesville. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

By 6 p.m. on Friday, there were about 40 people milling around on the red brick terrace outside the Fralin Museum, each waiting for their turn to peer into six small cubicles that make up the Little Museum of Art. This was the first exhibit the Fralin has hosted since last March. Lisa Jevack is the museum's special projects coordinator.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia is opening The Little Museum of Art at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 16.

This exhibit is inspired by the little free libraries and the idea of take a book leave a book.

Once this exhibit ends, the artwork will move to the free museum store, where the public can take or leave an art piece of their own.

The art is from Charlottesville and UVA artists.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia has received a gift of $2 million from Dr. Carol R. Angle. The gift will supplement her previous gift establishing the Angle Exhibition Fund in 2016, the first named endowment to support exhibitions at the Museum. The fund is an example of sustained donor engagement that leads to thoughtful and mission-supporting philanthropy. 

This contribution marks Angle’s ongoing dedication to the Fralin. Most recently in 2020 she endowed the Carol R. Angle Academic Curator position currently held by Jordan Love. 

The Angle Exhibition Fund supports the Museum’s wide-ranging permanent collection and enhances the Fralin’s efforts to mount outstanding exhibitions. The Museum is committed to creating vibrant and intellectually engaging exhibitions that serve the university student, as well as increasingly diverse community and national audiences. 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- As University of Virginia (UVA) students were sent home due to COVID-19 in March, the staff at the Fralin Museum of Art had to get creative to finish a semester-long docent training course preparing students to lead tours in the museum. The Fralin scheduled students to lead practice tours for each other via Zoom. As the docents gained confidence, they were eager to try their skills with real students, so the Fralin team lined up 30-minute tours with elementary students for the docents to teach. These sessions yielded rich conversation; the elementary students were enthusiastic and talkative, and their teachers immediately requested additional programs. 

American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

What Can Medical Students Learn from the Art History of Epidemics?

Jul 27, 2020

It is an unusual feeling as a medieval art specialist for my subject to suddenly feel globally significant. I suspect some of my colleagues in Renaissance art feel this as well. For those of us who have studied art created after the Black Death of 1348, or the Plague of London in 1665, or during the wave of epidemics that washed over Italian cities every few years between 1500-1700, our current pandemic has felt familiar and brought our knowledge to the forefront.

Just before the museum closed, in fact, two epidemic-related objects from our permanent collection at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia were on view—a processional cross and a sculpture of Saint Sebastian, both from the fifteenth century.

An online course speedily organized for more than 300 medical school students who were abruptly sent home from the University of Virginia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the often overlooked connections between medical training and the arts.

Medical school professors Marcia and James Childress put together “Confronting Epidemics: Perspectives from History, Ethics, and the Arts” in a matter of days after the school’s sudden closure in mid-March.

“To provide context, under normal circumstances, medical students start checking in on patients at 5:30 or 6 a.m., stay in the hospital until between 4 and 6 p.m., and spend the rest of the evening studying for examinations,” says Lydia Prokosch, a third-year medical student who took the course. “It was jarring to go from a strenuous yet critical part of our education to having little to no structure.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Many facilities are offering online options due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

These include the National Park Service, local governments, and museums.

The art museums at the University of Virginia have also turned to online outlets.

“In times of crisis, we usually do everything we can to keep the museum open, because we know how important it is for people to have a space for those contemplative experiences, a space where they can feel connected to something larger than themselves,” said Matthew McLendon, the J. Sanford Miller Family Director of the Fralin Museum of Art. “This time, though, the best way we could serve our community was to close our doors, so we immediately turned our attention to new online offerings that could provide some of those connections.”

As it did for almost every student, faculty and staff member, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the course of this semester for the University of Virginia art museums.

Instead of exhibition galleries filled with students and community members, live tours for classes and faculty and all sorts of workshops and events, staff at The Fralin Museum of Art at UVA and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection were suddenly looking at museums full of amazing art, with no one to enjoy it.

And so they got busy, doing what artists and art lovers do best: getting creative.

“In times of crisis, we usually do everything we can to keep the museum open, because we know how important it is for people to have a space for those contemplative experiences, a space where they can feel connected to something larger than themselves,” said Matthew McLendon, J. Sanford Miller Family Director of The Fralin. “This time, though, the best way we could serve our community was to close our doors, so we immediately turned our attention to new online offerings that could provide some of those connections.”

American Alliance of Museums

Quantifying a Commitment to Representation

Mar 18, 2020

I realized last summer that after twenty years in the museum field, I felt deeply frustrated.

When I enrolled in my first museum studies classes in the late 1990s, there were audible and inspiring calls to increase diversity in museums. However, according to recent stories citing dismal statistics, little has concretely changed since then. The data from the largest museums shows that tackling homogeneity and promoting inclusivity has only made incremental progress in museum exhibitions, collections, programming, and staffing. There are many reasons for this but, in my view, a major obstacle is the absence of actionable goals against which museums and museum leadership judge ourselves.

As a relatively new museum director at a thought-leading university, with a truly remarkable group of colleagues to collaborate with, I felt the Fralin Museum of Art needed to enact meaningful change. That’s what led us to announce a new, specific commitment to enrich our exhibition landscape by presenting underrepresented artists.

For indigenous artists all over the world, the march toward representation in museums has been slow and not at all steady. It has come in fits and starts.

In North America, Canadian institutions have generally made more sustained efforts at devoting space and resources to indigenous art than those in the United States. But that has been changing of late.

A current show at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville offers American viewers a chance to see works by indigenous artists from a remote part of Australia’s Northern Territory known as Arnhem Land.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- The Fralin Museum of Art and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection partnered to present The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles. 

The Inside World, on view at the Fralin Jan. 24-May 24, 2020, presents 112 memorial poles by 55 artists from remote Aboriginal communities in the tropical northern region of Australia known as Arnhem Land. With this collaboration, which illustrates the potential impact that partnership could have on serving students, faculty and visitors, the two museums are exploring the possibility of sharing a larger space on University Grounds in the future. 

“The Inside World is an exciting opportunity for the Fralin Museum of Art and Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection — the only museum dedicated to Aboriginal art outside of Australia — to serve students, faculty and visitors in a new way,” said Matthew McLendon, the J. Sanford Miller Family Director at the Fralin. “By coming together in one location, we are able to present visual and academic experiences that advance new ideas and new ways to view the world.” 

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