Fall for Five New Free Exhibitions This Month from the Cleveland Museum of Art
There is always something new at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and this month we are excited to present five new exhibitions opening throughout October. Soon-to-be on view, enjoy American painting to provocative photography, and explore a marriage of mixed media that engages our sense of sight and smell. Read on to learn more, and plan your next visit to the CMA and Transformer Station!
Maine Sublime: Frederic Church's "Twilight in the Wilderness"
Opens Saturday, October 4 at the Cleveland Museum of Art
Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860. Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Oil on canvas; 101.6 x 162.6 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1965.233.
Famed landscape painter Frederic Church (1826-1900) had a long-standing love affair with the natural beauty of Maine, which he described as “magnificent both land and seaward.” Over the course of three decades, he visited often, creating intimately scaled sketches in a variety of media that served to inspire his major works, including Twilight in the Wilderness (1860), one of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s most esteemed masterpieces. This exhibition showcases the painting alongside a group of nearly 25 sketches recording Maine’s rugged interior, rocky coast, and windswept islands. Some on public view for the first time, these sketches in pencil, gouache, and oil are lent from the collection at Olana, the artist’s home and 250-acre designed landscape. > Read more from the curator
Landscape No. 15 (Mutant Ninja Chernobyl), 1991. Julia Wachtel (American, born 1956). Oil, flashe and screen ink on canvas; 152 x 335 cm. ©Julia Wachtel. Photo: Alan Wiener. Private collection.
Rising to prominence in the early 1980s, Julia Wachtel focuses her artistic practice on the visual language of mass culture. The first institutional solo exhibition in 20 years, Julia Wachtel features the works for which she became known as well as recent paintings. Influenced by her Pictures Generation counterparts and the 1960s protagonists of Pop Art, Wachtel appropriates popular imagery to critique an increasingly media-saturated society. Her use of newspaper and magazine photography has given way to employing images now primarily culled from the Internet, making her paintings more relevant than ever. By juxtaposing grotesque and irritating painted cartoon characters with images of pop stars, nuclear power plants, and masks from so-called primitive cultures, Wachtel’s artwork grapples with the function and significance of images in modern society and the socio-political landscape of our time.
Life Serves Up The Occasional Pink Unicorn, 2013. Anicka Yi (Korean, b. 1971).Tempura-fried flowers, resin, plexiglas, stainless steel shelves, chrome-plated dumbbells; 243.84 x 629.92 x 15.24 cm. Photo courtesy of 47 Canal, New York. Photo: Daniel Portnoy.
Anicka Yi creates art that poetically speaks to the experience of everyday life and the things that govern it—whether they are major corporations like Monsanto or emotions such as those tied to loss. While her art often takes the form of sculpture, it hardly behaves as such, decomposing before our very eyes or wafting away in the form of a handmade perfume. Running throughout Yi’s work is a deep interest in all of the senses a human body can experience—and thus one can often smell a work by Yi before seeing it in the gallery. Engaging with viewers on an intellectual, emotional, and even sensual level, her work is simultaneously alluring and curious. > Read more from the curator
Jacob Lawrence: The Toussaint L'Ouverture Series
Opens Saturday, October 11 at the Cleveland Museum of Art
General L’Ouverture collected forces at Marmelade, and on October the 9th, 1794, left with 5,000 men to capture San Miguel, 1938. Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917–2000). Tempera on paper; 48.3 x 29.2 cm. Courtesy Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, Aaron Douglas Collection.
Influenced by the Harlem Renaissance, Jacob Lawrence (1912–2000) believed that art should be a quest for both personal and communal identity, a philosophy he advocated throughout his long and distinguished career. On several occasions, he developed multi-paneled series of works exploring heroic stories and themes. His first of these monumental efforts, The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, created in 1936–38, is showcased in this exhibition. Consisting of 41 images—for which Lawrence also composed captions—the series brings to life L’Ouverture’s feats in emancipating Haiti from European rule, thereby establishing the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.
Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography
Opens Sunday, October 19 at the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Crystal Ball (La Boule de Verre), 1931. Jacques-Henri Lartigue (French, 1894–1986). Gelatin silver print, toned; 23.7 x 29.9 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund 2007.149. Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture - France / AAJHL
Through 167 photographs and illustrated books, Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography, tells two stories: one of a radical moment in early twentieth-century art and the other of an impassioned collector whose adventurous spirit and vision harmonized perfectly with his subject. Beginning in the 1990s, art collector and filmmaker David Raymond judiciously sought out vintage prints from the 1920s through the 1940s that reflect the eye in its wild state (l’oeil a l’état sauvage), remaining true to the spirit of André Breton, a founder of surrealism. Raymond’s holdings of surrealist and modernist photography were distinguished by their quality, breadth, and rarity of subject matter. Vertiginous camera angles, odd croppings, and exaggerated tones and perspectives are hallmarks of the two principal photographic movements of the period, surrealism and modernism. As with surrealist efforts in other media, artists making photographs also aimed to explore the irrational and the chance encounter—magic and the mundane—filtered through the unconscious defined by Sigmund Freud. Eventually, photography became a preeminent tool of surrealist visual culture.
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