Exhibition | Flesh and Bones: The Art of Anatomy

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 11, 2022

Love & Hate, 19 August 2012, OG Abel (Abel Izaguirre), graphite on paper, 12 1/2 × 19 1/2 × 3 inches (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2013.M.8. Gift of Ed and Brandy Sweeney © OG Abel).

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From the press release for the exhibition opening this month at The Getty:

Flesh and Bones: The Art of Anatomy
Getty Research Institute, Getty Center, 22 February — 10 July 2022

Curated by Monique Kornell

Featuring works of art from the 16th century to today, the Getty Research Institute exhibition Flesh and Bones: The Art of Anatomy explores the theme of anatomy and art and the impact of anatomy on the study of art.

Flesh and Bones celebrates the connection between art and science and the role of art in learning,” said Mary Miller, director of the Getty Research Institute. “This exhibition draws on the Getty Research Institute’s rich and varied holdings to tell the story of two disciplines that have long been intertwined. I believe visitors will find meaningful connections with the way artists and scientists have inspired one another for centuries.”

From spectacular life-size illustrations to delicate paper flaps that lift to reveal the body’s interior, the body is represented through a range of media. In Europe, the first printed anatomical atlases, introduced during the Renaissance, provided new visual maps to the body, often composed of striking images. Landmarks of anatomical illustration such as the revolutionary publications of Vesalius in the 16th century and Albinus in the 18th century are represented as well as little-known rarities such as a pocket-size book of anatomy for artists from over 200 years ago. The exhibition, which explores important trends in the depiction of human anatomy and reflects the shared interest in the structure of human body by medical practitioners and artists, is organized by six themes: Anatomy for Artists; Anatomy and the Antique; Lifesize; Surface Anatomy; Three Dimensionality; and The Living Dead. The last looks at the motif of the representation of the dead as living, with skeletons and anatomized cadavers capable of motion rather than inert on a dissecting table.

“Artists not only helped create these images but were part of the market for them, as anatomy was a basic component of artistic training for centuries,” said exhibition curator Monique Kornell. “Featuring selections from the GRI’s impressive collection of anatomy books for artists as well as prints, drawings, and other works, this exhibition looks at the shared vocabulary of anatomical images and at the different methods used to reveal the body through a wide range of media, from woodcut to neon.”

For artists of the modern era, anatomy is often a medium of expression and a signifier of the body itself, rather than purely an object of study. Robert Rauschenberg’s Booster (1967) and Tavares Strachan’s Robert (2018) are two life-size anatomical portraits as well as symbols of the passing nature of life. Echoing the composite prints of Antonio Cattani’s remarkable life-size anatomical figures from the 1700s in the exhibition, Booster is a fractured self-portrait based on X-rays of the artist that have been joined together.

Strachan’s Robert is not an exact likeness of the man it immortalizes, Major Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the first African American astronaut, who tragically died in a training accident. In choosing to represent the hidden interior of the body in neon and glass, Strachan, a former GRI artist in residence, makes visible the unique history of Lawrence, while demonstrating an inner structure that equalizes all people.

Anatomists and artists have approached the problem of how best to describe the body’s complex and invisible interior with a variety of representational strategies, ranging from the graphic to the sculptural and, recently, the virtual. From paper-flap constructions that allow viewers to lift and peer under layers of flesh to stereoscopic photographs that mimic binocular perception and project anatomical structures into space, three-dimensionality was inventively pursued in the pre-digital age to cultivate an understanding of anatomy as a synthetic whole.

The exhibition is curated by Monique Kornell, guest curator; guest assistant professor, Program in the History of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, and is accompanied by a richly illustrated publication.

Monique Kornell, with contributions by Thisbe Gensler, Naoko Takahatake, and Erin Travers, Flesh and Bones: The Art of Anatomy (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2022), 249 pages, ISBN 978-1606067697, $50.


Exhibition | Grand Design: 17th-Century French Drawings

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 11, 2022

Antoine Coypel, The Crucifixion, 1692, red and black chalk with white gouache heightening on beige paper, 41 × 58 cm
(Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 88.GB.41)

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From the press release for the exhibition now on view at The Getty:

Grand Design: 17th-Century French Drawings
Getty Center, Los Anageles, 8 February — 1 May 2022

Curated by Emily Beeny

Presenting the Getty Museum’s collection of 17th-century French drawings in its entirety for the first time, Grand Design: 17th-Century French Drawings addresses the emergence of a distinctly French school of art and explores the role that drawing played in the process.

“Today we recognize drawings by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain as landmark achievements of 17th-century European art,” says Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “But in fact, drawing lay at the heart of all artmaking in 17th-century France, from the decoration of palaces and churches to the illustration of books. Drawing was where it began.”

Charles de la Fosse, Studies for a Ceiling Decoration with the Apotheosis of Psyche (detail), ca. 1680, pen and black ink and brush and watercolor over red chalk on paper, 26 × 36 cm (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.47).

French art came into its own during the 17th century, often called the Grand Siècle, or Great Age, of France. This period witnessed a series of violent political upheavals at home, the first stages of colonial expansion overseas, and the rise of authoritarian absolute monarchy. This turbulent century fostered artistic activity on a scale previously unimagined. Expatriate French artists achieved fame in Rome; a Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture was founded in Paris; and vast building projects—most notably, the Palace of Versailles—employed whole generations of artists.

This exhibition includes drawings made by Jacques Callot, Simon Vouet, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Charles Le Brun, Hyacinthe Rigaud, and many others. These artists made drawings for many different purposes: designs for ceiling paintings, altarpieces, sculptures, and prints; landscape sketches made outdoors; and nude studies drawn in the studio.

“Drawing helped 17th-century French artists make sense of the world around them, think through compositional ideas, and prepare finished works,” explains Emily Beeny, curator of the exhibition. “Each of these sheets invites us into its author’s creative process, whether observing nature, capturing a portrait likeness, designing a print, or preparing a painting.”

Grand Design: 17th-Century French Drawings is curated by Emily Beeny, curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and former associate curator of drawings at the Getty Museum. This exhibition is presented concurrently with another exhibition focused on 17th-century French art: Poussin and the Dance.

The checklist is available as a PDF file here»

Installation | In Dialogue

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 11, 2022

Left: Coulson Family, 2008, by Deana Lawson, pigment print, 33 × 43 inches (Getty Museum, 2021.53.2. © Deana Lawson). Right: John, Fourteenth Lord Willoughby de Broke, and His Family, ca. 1766, by Johann Zoffany, oil on canvas, 40 × 50 inches (Getty Museum, 96.PA.312).

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Closing this weekend at The Getty:

In Dialogue
Getty Center, Los Angeles, 9 November 2021 — 13 February 2022

In Dialogue is a series of temporary installations in the Museum’s permanent collection galleries. This presentation places photographs made during the past fifty years by five women from Japan, Mexico, and the United States in conversation with European paintings, decorative arts, and sculptures created predominantly by men before 1900. Through compelling and sometimes unexpected juxtapositions, these installations invite visitors to engage with diverse perspectives and recurring themes across different media, styles, cultures, and time periods. Look for photographs by Diane Arbus, Chris Enos, Deana Lawson, Asako Narahashi, and Daniela Rossell, in the North, East, and South Pavilions.

Left: Pink Roses, 1980, by Chris Enos, Polaroid dye diffusion print, 24 × 21 inches (Getty Museum, 84.XP.465. © Chris Enos). Right: Vase of Flowers, 1722, by Jan van Huysum, oil on panel, 32 × 24 inches (Getty Museum, 82.PB.70).
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