Installation | Brian Tolle’s Eureka

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 3, 2018

Press release, via ArtDaily (30 June 2018). . .

Brian Tolle’s Eureka
Federal Hall National Memorial, Wall Street, New York, 27 June — 8 September 2018

The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service, announces the presentation of Brian Tolle’s Eureka, on view from June 27 until September 8, 2018, in Federal Hall, the iconic memorial to democracy on Wall Street. Eureka is part of a new art initiative, curated by Bonnie Levinson, inviting contemporary artists to investigate themes that resonate with the history and legacy of Federal Hall, melding the past and present, to serve as a catalyst toward the reinvigoration of civic life and a platform for free expression.

For this presentation of Eureka, Tolle has chosen to exhibit his work alongside a rare viewing of the Flushing Remonstrance, the 1657 New Netherland petition for “liberty of conscience” that served as the precursor to religious freedom, as cemented in the First Amendment written at Federal Hall over a century later. Not seen in Manhattan in over 30 years, the Remonstrance shares a room with the Bible from President Washington’s 1789 inauguration at Federal Hall.

Tolle’s 40-foot tall sculpture, reflecting a rippling and distorted facade of a 17th-century Dutch canal house, pays homage to the legacy of 40 years of Dutch rule in New York. Originally created for Jan Hoet’s city-wide exhibition, Over the Edges, 2000, in Ghent, Belgium, its re-presentation in Federal Hall blurs the site’s architectural and political history with the contemporary in the conceptual artwork.

Brian Tolle describes the work: “Eureka is a sculptural play with illusion—a facade of a facade. Its Dutch-inspired form points to New York’s early history and its fluid, but troubled, transformation from a Dutch seat of power to British colony, to an American platform for diversity and democracy. The sculpture is an apparition, a mirage of a building that has been displaced and no longer exists. Like the Dutch buildings of lower Manhattan and the canal that was once Broad Street—erased with only the street names lingering as a reminder of their existence—Eureka serves as a marker of Federal Hall’s complex history. Its thin veil floats upwards, into the neoclassical dome of Federal Hall, evoking the strife between form and object, as well as the tension between political volley and social action.”

The artwork’s title is inspired by the brilliant Greek polymath Archimedes’s exploration of displacement. After finding the upward pressure on a submerged object created buoyant force, Archimedes ran through the streets of Syracuse, Sicily, shouting, “Eureka! Eureka!” or “I found it! I found it!” Tolle envisioned Eureka as a metaphor for Archimedes’s principle of leverage. With the right tools, Archimedes believed all was possible. “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to stand,” he said, “and I shall move the world.”

The nation’s Founders leveraged principles as powerful as Archimedes’s when they codified the historic events that occurred at Federal Hall, including: the acquittal in 1735 of the newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger for libel, after he exposed government corruption, which established the foundation for freedom of the press; the 1765 Stamp Act Congress, which protested taxation of then British colonies without representation, and sowed the seeds for the union to come; and the passing of the first amendments to the Constitution, which cemented in perpetuity individual rights.

“The National Park Service is honored to host Tolle’s magnificent edifice Eureka and the Flushing Remonstrance, a transformational document to establishing the governing principles of the United States,” said Shirley McKinney, Superintendent for Federal Hall National Memorial. “As the site where George Washington took the oath of office as our first President and the site of the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices, Federal Hall is the appropriate venue to bring the two together to spark conversations about history through a contemporary lens.”

“As we embark on a new day for Federal Hall, this installation highlights this historic site’s potential as an ever-evolving arena for public discourse through the arts,” said Marie Salerno, President of the Harbor Conservancy. “Federal Hall must be steeped, but not stuck in the past. This will be a place where artists with diverse perspectives will be invited to interpret the ideas, ideals and flaws of our democracy forged here.

Brian Tolle’s sculptures and installations emphasize a formal and iconographic dialog with history and context. Using a variety of media, his work draws from the scale and experience of its surroundings, provoking a rereading by cross-wiring reality and fiction. Drawing ideas from a broad-based conceptual analysis, Tolle blurs the border between the contemporary and the historical. His approach involves in-depth research, which is then distilled and directed creating an intuitive personal response.

Tolle is acclaimed for his major permanent public artworks including the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City, New York; Miss Brooklyn and Miss Manhattan at the entrance of the Manhattan Bridge, Flatbush, Brooklyn; and his recent appointment as the lead artist of the East Midtown Waterfront Project, an esplanade between East 53rd and East 59th Streets along New York City’s East River. Tolle’s works have been exhibited in the Whitney Biennial; the Tate Modern; the S.M.A.K.; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Queens Museum of Art, New York; and the Invitational Exhibition at the American Academy of Arts. The artist is currently represented by C24 Gallery.

Lecture | David Saunders on Museum Lighting

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on July 3, 2018

From the Eventbrite page:

David Saunders | A Clearer View: New Thinking on Lighting in Museums and Galleries
21st Annual Plenderleith Memorial Lecture, Icon Scotland Group
Dundee, 29 November 2018

Lighting in museums and galleries has long been a contentious subject. Too much light can cause damage to artworks, too little creates a poor visitor experience. In the forty years since The Museum Environment by Garry Thomson was first published, much has changed in the field of museum lighting. David Saunders will discuss how our understanding of the effects of light on collections and the lighting needs of our visitors have changed. He will explore how new approaches and developments in museum lighting affect practices and strategies for both display and conservation. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception and preceeded by the Icon Scotland Group Annual General Meeting between 5.00 and 5.45pm to which Icon members are invited to attend.

Dr. Saunders was recently Keeper of Conservation, Science and Documentation at the British Museum (and previously, Principle Scientist the Scientific Department of the National Gallery, London). He is presently writing a major work on lighting in museums and galleries which is expected to be published in 2018.

Exhibition | Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 3, 2018

Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre, Pan and Syrinx, 1746, oil on canvas, 90 × 141 cm
(Boston: The Horvitz Collection, P-F-57).

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Now on view at the Cummer Museum:

Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida, 25 May — 29 July 2018
John and Marble Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, 9 September — 2 December 2018
Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield, Connecticut, 25 January — 29 March 2019

Curated by Alvin Clark

Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection combines two exhibitions: Imaging Text: Drawings for French Book Illustration and Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century French Paintings, from one of the world’s finest private collections of French art. Created between the 16th and 19th centuries, and ranging from mythological and biblical studies to more playful imagery, the 80 works included in the exhibition vary in terms of style, genre, and period. Captured in crisp and swift pen strokes, finely modulated chalk, or brilliant colors, these captivating compositions were produced by some of the most prominent artists of their time, such as Charles Le Brun (1619–1690), Charles-Nicolas Cochin, the younger (1715–1790), and Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806).

The exhibition is curated by Alvin L. Clark, Jr, Curator, The Horvitz Collection, Department of Drawings, Division of European and American Art, Harvard Art Museums.

Alvin Clark and Elizabeth M. Rudy, Imaging Text: French Drawings for Book Illustration from The Horvitz Collection (Boston: The Horvitz Collection, 2018), 76 pages, ISBN: 978-0991262533, $15.

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Note (added 10 January 2018) — The posting was updated to included Fairfield University Art Museum.

Colonial Williamsburg Acquires Portrait by William Dering

Posted in museums by Editor on July 3, 2018

Press release (2 July 2018) from Colonial Williamsburg:

William Dering, Portrait of Joyce Armistead Booth (Mrs. Mordecai Booth), oil on canvas, ca. 1745 (Colonial Williamsburg, Gift of Julia Miles Brock, Edward Taliaferro Miles and Georginana Serpell Miles in memory of their mother, Alice Taliaferro Miles, 2018-165, A&B).

In the first half of the 18th century, William Dering was a well-connected dancing master and artist who lived and worked in Williamsburg, Virginia. Today, only six of Dering’s paintings are known to survive; four, including the artist’s only known signed and dated portrait, are in Colonial Williamsburg’s collection, the largest assemblage of his work. Now, through a generous gift from the sitter’s descendants, Joyce Armistead Booth (Mrs. Mordecai Booth), ca. 1745, a large-scale, oil on canvas, joins Dering’s other works at Colonial Williamsburg, including the well-known portrait of the subject’s son, George Booth. Until now, the painting of Mrs. Booth, which is in remarkable condition and survives in its original frame, has descended through the Booth family.

“Rare early works by local artists such as William Dering expand the depth and breadth of our collections and better enable us to share America’s enduring story,” said Mitchell Reiss, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are particularly grateful for gifts such as this since they allow us to teach history in a very human and personal way.”

“Executed in saturated, well-preserved reds, blues, and golds, and measuring more than four feet in height, this likeness of Joyce Armistead Booth is visually arresting,” said Ronald Hurst, the foundation’s Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator and vice president for collections, conservation and museums. “The portrait commands the viewer’s attention, and in so doing, provides a window into the goals and aspirations of early Virginia’s planter aristocracy.”

This Dering portrait is significant to ongoing research that Colonial Williamsburg’s experts are undertaking. Laura Barry, Juli Grainger curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture, and Shelley Svoboda, senior conservator of paintings, are at work on a comprehensive study of the artist and his work from both historical and technical perspectives. The portrait of Joyce Armistead Booth, especially due to its pristine condition, informs this research and will help the experts to better understand the nuances in Dering’s other canvases.

“This generous gift gives us an extraordinary opportunity to reunite two family portraits, more fully tell the story of this important Virginia artist and to better understand the context of William Dering’s body of work,” said Ms. Barry. Along with the additional works by this artist in the collection, including the portrait of Elizabeth Buckner Stith (an oil on canvas dating from 1745–49, the only signed and dated Dering example and for years was the only means by which to measure his work), Ms. Barry and Ms. Svoboda are able to study the individual qualities of each painting as well as to examine them together as a group.

Little is known about William Dering in his early years, but he arrived in Williamsburg from Philadelphia in 1737. He advertised in the Virginia Gazette that same year, the first of several occasions he did so, to announce the opening of a dancing school at the College of William and Mary. By 1744 his success enabled him to purchase two lots and move into the Thomas Everard House on Palace Green. The following year, Dering advertised twice to promote “an assembly at the Capitol… during the Court,” a ball held when the capital city was busy with visiting elected representatives from across the colony. During his time in Williamsburg, Dering also befriended William Byrd II, a Virginia planter and Renaissance man who owned one of the largest art collections in the American colonies. During his many visits to Byrd’s James River estate, Dering painted his daughter Anne Byrd Carter. (Her portrait is also in the Colonial Williamsburg collection.) The artist’s extravagant lifestyle led to debt, however, and he was twice forced to mortgage his property. Ultimately, Dering departed Williamsburg for Charleston, South Carolina, leaving his wife and son behind for a year to handle the public sale of his possessions. Little is known about Dering or his family after 1750.

The portrait of Joyce Armistead Booth is a gift from Julia Miles Brock, Edward Taliaferro Miles and Georginana Serpell Miles in memory of their mother, Alice Taliaferro Miles. It will be included in a future exhibition of the artist’s portraits to be held at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

“The painting of Joyce Armistead Booth, my five-times great-grandmother, has been a part of my life for all 74 years, but Miss Joyce (as we were taught to call her) is nearly 300 years old,” said Julia Miles Brock of Virginia. “My brother, sister, and I decided it was time she was in a museum with its attendant care, proper storage, and an appreciative audience.”

Call for Papers | Reading the Country House

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 3, 2018

From the CFP:

Reading the Country House
Manchester Metropolitan University, 16–17 November 2018

Proposals due by 31 August 2018

County houses were made to be read—as symbols of power, political allegiance, taste and wealth. This places emphasis on the legibility of their architecture and decorative schemes, and the paintings, collections and even the furniture they contained. It also draws our attention to the skills required to decode—to read—these signs and symbols. The messages and processes of reading were carried further by the growing number of images of country houses produced through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: in private sketchbooks and journals and as engravings published as collections or incorporated into written guidebooks. These allowed the country house to be read in very different ways, as did its appearance in the pages of novels, sometimes as the backdrop or stage for the action, but also symbolic of social structures and relations. This conference seeks to explore all of these perspectives on reading the country house and links them to how the country house is read today, by house managers and visitors and by viewers of period dramas.

We invite papers on any aspect of reading the country house, but we especially welcome papers which examine:
• The country house and the novel
• The presentation of country houses guidebooks and gazetteers
• Visitors perceptions and readings of the country house, both historic and present day
• Processes of reading the architecture and aesthetics of the country house
• Engravings and paintings, both as representations of the country house and as collections in the country house
We are particularly keen to encourage contributions that take a comparative approach: national, international and across time.

Keynote Speakers
Prof. Phillip Lindley (Loughborough) and Prof. Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford)

If you would like to present a paper, then please send a title and 200-word abstract together with a very brief biography to Prof. Jon Stobart: j.stobart@mmu.ac.uk by 31 August 2018.

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