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Three newly awarded National Endowment for the Arts grants will help the University of Virginia build its momentum in advancing and supporting the creative arts.

NEA Art Works grants have been given to the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia and a collaborative multimedia project between poet Rita Dove and the McIntire Department of Music.

“When I grab a stick, I get a bunch of good ideas. I feel alive,” said University of Virginia artist-in-residence Patrick Dougherty in his documentary, “Bending Sticks.”

Dougherty—the guest of The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, the McIntire Department of Art and the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts—spent three weeks working with students and community volunteers installing his “stickwork sculpture” exhibit in front of the Ruth Caplin Theatre on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds.

The Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting has awarded its Sotheby’s Book Prize for a Distinguished Publication on the History of Collecting in America to Get There First, Decide Promptly: The Richard Brown Baker Collection of Postwar Art (Yale University Art Gallery, 2011). The book’s general editor, Jennifer Farrell, shares the prize with essayists Thomas Crow, Serge Guilbaut, Jan Howard, Robert Storr, and Judith Tannenbaum. The Frick’s Director, Ian Wardropper, commented, “Within recent years, the history of collecting art has found acceptance as an academic field, and we are very proud of the role that the Center for the History of Collecting has played in that development. Established at the Frick Art Reference Library six years ago, the center has fostered a high level of discourse through symposia, oral histories, publications, and fellowships. Furthermore, its book prize, generously supported by Sotheby’s, strengthens this area of study by acknowledging—and perhaps inspiring—new publications. We offer congratulations to Jennifer Farrell and her colleagues for this wonderfully researched publication and look forward to presenting the award to her formally at a reception hosted at Sotheby’s in January.”

Piedmont Council for the Arts Blog

Symposium Explores Experiences of African Americans in Soviet Union

Oct 21, 2013

“In the Shadow of Stalin: African American Artists and Intellectuals in Soviet Russia” will examine the diverse experiences of African Americans who both visited and immigrated to the Soviet Union during the first half of the twentieth century.

“In the Shadow of Stalin: The Patterson Family in Painting and Film,” an exhibit at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia running through Dec. 22, examines a 1932 journey by Langston Hughes and several of his African-American peers to the Soviet Union.

The Daily Progress

Artist Patrick Doughtery Creates Stickworks At UVa

Oct 21, 2013

Students and community members gave a hand to artist Patrick Doughtery and his creation of a Stickworks installation Wednesday on the lawn of the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at the University of Virginia. The installation involves weaving of tree saplings and sticks into towering nest-like sculptures. The project is expected to be completed October 18th and will remain on grounds for more than a year.

If you’ve been in the vicinity of the Ruth Caplin Theatre and the Arts Commons at UVA, you’ve no doubt noticed some unusual activity in the bowl-shaped area between the buildings. Renowned installation artist Patrick Dougherty, together with a group of community and UVA volunteers, is hard at work weaving a sculpture made from locally harvested twigs and saplings collected by Dougherty, in a collaboration with UVA sculpture professor, Bill Bennett, and his class.

If you drive around the University of Virginia's drama building, you might be surprised by what you see. A sculpture more than 10 feet high is being built out of tree saplings and branches in front of the Ruth Caplin Theatre on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds.

Born in 1878 in the town of Saint-Étienne near Lyon, France, Émilie Charmy was groomed for the proper profession of teaching. But Charmy, whom I had never heard of before the Fralin show, had other ideas, taking up painting instead. Initially, she focused on traditional scenes of domestic life in an Impressionist style. But, she soon began painting subjects that had been the province of male artists. One of the first paintings in the show, Charmy’s shimmering “The Salon,” c. 1900, features naked prostitutes in a brothel—though you might never know it, given the decorous soft focus with which they’re painted.


Dougherty Stickworks

Sep 26, 2013

Aired on Thursday September 26, 2013, Jennifer Farrell, curator of exhibitions and contemporary art at The Fralin Museum of Art, and Bill Bennett, associate professor of studio art in the McIntire Department of Art, discuss Patrick Doughtery's Stickworks, U.Va.'s site-specific sculpture made of locally harvested twigs and saplings in front of the Ruth Caplin Theatre and the Arts Commons, the latest additions to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds. Farrell and Bennett also talk about U.Va. and community volunteers helping with the build and an exhibition at The Fralin featuring models and photographs of Dougherty’s earlier projects, as well as preparatory drawings for the installation at U.Va. Soundboard is WTJU 91.1 FM's discussion program about news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area.

Listen to the interview

The Émilie Charmy retrospective currently on display at the Fralin Museum of Art is perplexing.

Most of her paintings have a fierce inquisitive quality. Her application of paint gives expressive life to simple compositions. Single thick brush strokes resolve into a small elegant wrist or a delicate twist of hair. Although a few paintings, like "Nu tentant son sein," seem merely fast and crude, her work cultivates a rough and layered visceral quality. The show culminates with a painting so thickly built, it brings to mind the Balzac story "Unknown Masterpeice." Mounds of paint construct an obscure image, a self portrait, which viewers experience more through the care of each brush stoke than the foggy edged figure which haunts the picture plane.

Though one of the most compelling female voices in French modern art, Émilie Charmy remains largely unrecognized. Curator Matthew Affron hopes to change that with an exhibition at U.Va.’s Fralin Museum of Art, the first U.S. retrospective of her work. The exhibition runs from Aug. 23, 2013 through Feb. 2, 2014, then travels to the Arts Club of Chicago, where it will run from Feb. 27 through May 17, 2014.

Affron, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and formerly The Fralin’s Curator of Modern Art, said, “Charmy’s painting engaged with major artistic currents, from Impressionism and Post-Impressionism to Fauvism before World War I.” She pursued an expressive, sensuous, modernist naturalism thereafter.

Ansel Adams’ photography is one of those things that’s easy to dismiss because we’ve seen so much of it reproduced in calendars, outsize posters, and the like. But after spending time with the actual photographs now on view at UVA’s Fralin Museum in Ansel Adams: A Legacy through October 13, I rediscovered the magic in Adams’ images of desert, mountain, and forest.

Printed in the 1960s and ’70s by Adams for the San Francisco Friends of Photography, the Meredith Collection of photographs is, in effect, a retrospective of Adams’ career from his early explorations of the medium in the 1920s, to familiar masterworks. The photographs came into the Merediths’ hands in 2002 after the SFFOP was dissolved. At the time, Tom Meredith, a committed conservationist from Austin, Texas, was looking to acquire four prints for his wife, Lynn. With the auction of the SFFOP holdings looming, the couple was talked into purchasing the entire collection in order to keep it intact.

The oil painting of a black Russian man lay quietly for years in a back corner of an antique shop in a dingy walking mall in Moscow.

Andy Leddy, a white American working on a U.S. government contract for a refu­gee program in 1992, a year after the Communist Party lost power, pulled the canvas out and unrolled it.

An exhibition set to open this month at the University of Virginia will examine the family history of Lloyd Patterson, an African-American who emigrated to the Soviet Union in the 1930s and whose son became a child film star and a well-known Soviet poet.

Titled In the Shadow of Stalin: the Patterson Family in Painting and Film, the exhibition “will examine the Patterson family’s history in order to engage larger issues,” according to the university’s Fralin Museum of Art in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is hosting the exhibit from Aug. 23 to Dec. 22.

Today’s American West looks very different from the pristine wilderness documented in the photographs of Ansel Adams.

In conjunction with the new Ansel Adams: A Legacy exhibit, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia opens Looking at the New West: Contemporary Landscape Photography, on Friday. The exhibit, running through Dec. 15, focuses on six contemporary photographers’ explorations of the ever-changing scenery of the American West.

Suzanne McClelland asks a lot of her audience. Her exhibition STrAY: Found Poems from a Lost Time, currently at the Fralin Museum of Art, is dense, complicated and poetic. For a casual viewer it may appear obtuse and contemporary in the worst possible way. For another viewer willing to invest time into closely exploring and examining the work, it opens windows to the grinding mechanisms of history and language.

One of America’s great art connoisseurs and patrons, Paul Mellon was quoted as saying that he and his wife “almost never buy a painting or drawing we would not want to live with or see constantly.” Having cut his teeth on father Andrew Mellon’s renowned art collection (which formed the nucleus of the National Gallery of Art), Paul Mellon was graced with an extraordinarily refined eye.

This is evident in Corot to Cézanne: French Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts now on view at the Fralin.

The butterfly of Becoming the Butterfly, The Fralin Museum's current exhibition of etchings and lithographs by James Abbott McNeill Whistler refers to the stylized butterfly that Whistler used to sign his work and the exhibition. Curated by Emilie Johnson, the show provides a succinct yet effective window into Whistler's evolution as an artist. This is the first of two shows at the museum focusing on the American 19th century master's prints (through April 28). The second (opening April 30), will feature portraits.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1834, Whistler began studying art when he was 9 in St. Petersburg, Russia, where his father, an eminent civil engineer, was employed by the Moscow-St. Petersburg Railway. Following the death of his father when Whistler was 15, the family returned to America.

Inside the dark room, six young girls huddle around a green glow. The glow comes from a green laser refracting through a large crystal that redirects beams to bounce off several carefully positioned small mirrors. A fog, produced by a hand-made machine that one girl continuously thumps, makes the beams more visible; the girls take digital pictures, adjusting the crystal or the laser to create a new shot.

Their enthusiasm is audible—besides the beat of the fog machine, the girls' exclamations fill the smoky green darkness as they move around, testing new angles with their cameras to get the perfect photograph. Afterward, in a brightly lit hallway, the girls talk excitedly about the images they captured before moving on to the next workshop.

The British Society for the History of Science

The British Society for the History of Science Great Exhibitions 2012

Sep 13, 2012

The Fralin's Making Science Visible: The Photography of Berenice Abbott was awarded third place in the small exhibitions category of the British Society of the History of Science's Great Exhibitions 2012.

Jean Hélion: Reality and Abstraction, currently on view at U.Va.'s Fralin Museum of Art presents a small, yet rich collection of this under-appreciated artist's work. The eight paintings and numerous works on paper are both handsome works of art and revealing souvenirs from Hélion's artistic journey "through and then away from abstract art."

Curated by Matthew Affron, associate professor, McIntire Department of Art, the exhibition provides an excellent showcase of [French artist, Jean] Hélion's strong compositional sense. Whether working in oil on canvas, or watercolor, charcoal, and ink on paper, his abstract shapes have real authority. In his oils, Hélion uses alternating flat areas of color with volumetric modeling that recalls the work of Fernand Léger. Deftly arranged on the picture plane, these shapes achieve Hélion's ideal of "a surface fully organized and optically integrated." This compositional skill continues in Hélion's representational work where the unexpected placement of figures and objects in space adds drama and interest. Hélion uses a striking combination of cool and warm tones in his paintings. His works on paper rely on strong lines with subtle smudges and washes of watercolor and gouache.

Making Science Visible: The Photography of Berenice Abbott, which opened Aug. 31 at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, explores how the photography of Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) has been used in both artistic and scientific contexts.

Abbott's images are important in art, science, documentaries and the history of science education. Trained in New York as a sculptor, she left for Europe in 1921. In Paris, she became the Surrealist artist Man Ray's photographic assistant and saw the photographer Eugéne Atget's work. In 1929, Abbott returned to New York and began a series of documentary photographs of the city and directed the "Changing New York" project for the Works Progress Administration in 1939.

By the early 1950s, Abbott was experimenting with photographs of scientific subjects, and produced images of an array of scientific processes. On display in this exhibition are photographs of magnets, parabolic mirrors, insects, soap bubbles and bones created for scientific textbooks and Science Illustrated magazine. Her images represent a unique melding of science and art, which produces an aesthetic that compels the viewer while also conveying scientific ideas.

Review of The Adoration of the Magi by Bartolo di Fredi: A Masterpiece Reconstructed organized by The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia (UVaM) on view at the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), New York.

The French painter Jean Hélion made his name as an abstract painter. Throughout the 1930s, he created extraordinary geometrical compositions that balance pristine clarity with both a strongly dynamic feeling and a sense of unceasing transformation. But by the end of the decade, Hélion turned in a different direction and began to paint worldly subjects in a realistic style.

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia explores Hélion's evolution in Jean Hélion: Reality and Abstraction. The exhibit, curated by art history professor Matthew Affron of the College of Arts & Sciences, who is also the museum's curator of modern art, runs from Aug. 31 through Dec. 16.

Hélion helped found an international artists' group called "Abstraction-Création" in Paris, participated in many important exhibitions in Europe, and forged connections with modern art circles in the United States. He spent much of the 1930s shuttling back andforth across the Atlantic and between studios located in Paris, New York City and Rockbridge Baths, Va. His evolution is more complicated than it might first appear, Affron said. "The abstract compositions had contained configurations of form, which were ultimately converted into recognizable figures and objects. And the newer figurative pictures possessed strongly formal qualities. Hélion complicates any simple opposition between notions of abstract art's detachment and realism's involvement in social immediacy."

The artistic alchemy of ancient and modern Chinese masters will be presented in a major exhibition... Included are paintings so skillfully rendered as to make water appear to flow and trees radiate with life. Minimal brushstrokes animate a bird and contrast a green praying mantis with the hue of autumn leaves.

Delicate wisps of fog materialize as if produced by natural forces. A featureless face, all but hidden beneath the sheer pitch of looming cliffs, reveals emotions with the cant of the head.

Unlike exhibits in which one stands back several paces to admire the paintings, Ancient Masters in Modern Styles: Chinese Ink Paintings from the 16th-21st Centuries invites viewers to draw near.

"Get close to the paintings," said Kathleen M. Ryor, curator for the exhibit, which will be on display through Dec. 16. "You'll see Chinese scholars of paintings get their face right up to it.

"That's how you see the brushwork, individual strokes, movement of the artist and the process. And it's amazing, because it's so minimal, and yet so much is achieved."

New York Times

Come Let Us Adore Him

Aug 09, 2012

...Mr. Boucher and Ms. Fiorani also deliver a masterpiece but supplement it with fresh research, probing questions and answers that try to tell us things that we (and they) didn't know. In short you get, through modest means, a big art experience: beauty, deepened by information, leading to contemplation. As I said, perfect.


Lady Like

Aug 06, 2012

July 31 — August 6, 2012

French novelist Roland Dorgelès wrote, "Émilie Charmy, it would appear, sees like a woman and paints like a man, from the one she takes grace and from the other strength, and this is what makes her such a strange and powerful painter who holds our attention." Remembered in part for her place in the early avant-garde movement, Charmy produced a body of work full of...full the body. Her sensuous, expressive portraits of the female form have remained objects of admiration....

No 237, July/August 2012

Like Caesar's Gaul, this exhibition is divided into three parts. The first is a display of paintings by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, David Johnson, Standford Robinson Gifford, John Frederick Kensett and Aaron Draper Shattuck, all mainly New York-based, who composed the first and second (and final) generations of what art historians have name the Hudson River School.

One of the must-see exhibitions of the summer is now on view at the Museum of Biblical Art ... "It's Bartolo's masterpiece," said Bruce Boucher, the director of the University of Virginia Art Museum, which first hosted the show and owns one of the predella panels. The other is loaned from the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg, Germany.

Sunlight does peculiar things in the city. It overwhelms surfaces in ways it can't when there's more organic matter around to soak up the glare or scatter it into chaotic shadows. The portfolio of Cuban-American painter Emilio Sanchez contains a broad range of still life and natural scenes, but a collection featuring only his depictions of the built environment makes for a rewarding summer show at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia.


The Fralin Museum of Art

May 31, 2012

Heywood Fralin (College '62) and his wife Cynthia talk about their gift to the newly named Fralin Museum of Art, and the Museum's importance to future study at the College.

Watch Video

The Roanoke Times

UVa names art museum for Roanoke benefactors

May 22, 2012

The couple responsible for providing Roanoke's Taubman Museum of Art with its collection of American paintings will have an art museum named after them in Charlottesville.

The name of the University of Virginia Art Museum will be changed to the Fralin Museum of Art to honor the donation of a 40-piece collection of American art by Roanoke philanthropists Heywood and Cynthia Fralin, UVa officials announced Monday. The Fralins' gift is the largest single gift of art in the university's history.

"We're really enamored with the idea of future students being able to study American artists ... on an up close and personal basis," Heywood Fralin said Monday.

The University of Virginia has named its art museum after Board of Visitors member and former rector W. Heywood Fralin and his wife, Cynthia, after the Fralins announced the donation of their collection of American art to the university.

The University of Virginia Art Museum is allowing the public to get a behind the scene look into art conservation.

The lectures allows visitors to have a hands on experience with art pieces.

Watch video

A high-end fashion fundraiser is being held at the Main Street Arena Thursday, May 10, 2012.

The ice rink will be transformed into a runway for the Art in Heels event. Art in Heels is a benefit to help the University of Virginia Art Museum and local public television.

Top celebrity designers like Johnathan Kayne and Heidi Elnora from the show Project Runway will showcase their collection.

Pieces of historic art have been reunited for the first time in hundreds of years, and you can see them at the University of Virginia Art Museum. On Thursday, the museum hosted a preview of "The Adoration of the Magi," a 14th-century Italian altarpiece painting by Bartolo di Fredi.

Completed around 1385, the altarpiece was dismantled and broken into four pieces at the turn of the 19th century. The painting stayed in Italy while accompanying panels were scattered in museums across the world.

One of the panels ended up at UVa, and now, for a short time, three of the four pieces will be on display together in the "The Adoration of the Magi" exhibit, which opens Friday and runs through May 27.

"It's a great opportunity for us to learn about altarpieces and why our particular panel fits into this larger work of art," said Bruce Boucher, director of the UVa Art Museum

A momentous reunion is happening at the University of Virginia. No, we're not talking about alumni returning to town to relive their glory days. This goes back much further than even Mr. Jefferson himself – all the way to 14th century Italy, when painter Bartolo di Fredi took up his brush to create an altarpiece for a church in his native city of Siena. As he applied his tempera and gold leaf, he surely didn't imagine that half a millenium* later parts of his painting would scatter across the globe, nor that they would be reunited for "The Adoration of the Magi by Bartolo di Fredi: A Masterpiece Reconstructed," an exhibition opening Friday at the UVA Art Museum.

Midea, Marucs Institute for Digital Education in the Arts

iPad apps, Part 3: Pleasures of the Kin-Aesthetic, Sculptural and Journalistic

Feb 14, 2012

"... In the last post, while praising MoMA's AbEx NY app for its stunning photography and excellent design, I confessed that the sculptures were less satisfying: the works themselves are often monochrome, and we want to pivot them, see them in 3D.

It took a little known art museum at the University of Virginia, working together with Jason Lawrence, an assistant professor at the same university and co-founder of the company Arqball, to present a convincing proof-of-concept for how 360° views like the ones we saw in The Elements might convey the magic of 3D objects in art museums' collections."