Exhibition | Visitors to Versailles

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 13, 2018

An earlier posting included information for the exhibition at Versailles, but here’s information for the exhibition at The Met, including details for the English edition catalogue, distributed by Yale UP:

Visitors to Versailles: From Louis XIV to the French Revolution
Château de Versailles, 24 October 2017 — 25 February 2018
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 16 April — 29 July 2018

Curated by Bertrand Rondot and Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide

The palace of Versailles and its gardens have attracted travelers ever since it was transformed under the direction of the Sun King, Louis XIV, from a simple hunting lodge into one of the most magnificent and public courts of Europe. French and foreign travelers, including royalty, ambassadors, artists, musicians, writers, scientists, grand tourists, and day-trippers, all flocked to the royal palace surrounded by its extensive formal gardens. Versailles was always a truly international setting, and not only drew visitors from Europe and America, but also hosted dignitaries from as far away as Thailand, India, and Tunisia. Their official receptions at Versailles and gift exchanges with the king were among the attractions widely recorded in tourists’ diaries and court gazettes.

Bringing together works from The Met, the Château de Versailles, and over 50 lenders, this exhibition will highlight the experiences of travelers from 1682, when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, to 1789, when the royal family was forced to leave the palace and return to Paris. Through paintings, portraits, furniture, tapestries, carpets, costumes, porcelain, sculpture, arms and armor, and guidebooks, the exhibition will illustrate what visitors encountered at court, what kind of welcome and access to the palace they received, and, most importantly, what impressions, gifts, and souvenirs they took home with them.

Daniëlle O. Kisluk-Grosheide and Bertrand Rondot, eds., Visitors to Versailles: From Louis XIV to the French Revolution (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), 392 pages, ISBN: 9781588396228, $65.

Exhibition | France, Between Enlightenment and Gallantry

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 11, 2018

From the Städtischen Museen Freiburg:

La France, Zwischen Aufklärung und Galanterie: Meisterwerke der Druckgraphik​
La France au siècle des Lumières et de la galanterie: Chefs-d’œuvre de la gravure
La France, Between Enlightenment and Gallantry: Masterworks of Graphic Reproduction
Augustinermuseum, Freiburg, 24 February — 3 June 2018

Das französische Bürgertum des 18. Jahrhunderts liebte gute Unterhaltung: galant und charmant, mit Witz und scharfem Verstand. Reich bebilderte Bücher erfreuten sich größter Beliebtheit. Die Verlage druckten Romane, Gedichte und Theaterstücke mit Illustrationen und gaben Graphikserien heraus, gestochen nach Gemälden des Rokoko.

Angespornt durch die große Nachfrage schufen die Künstler der Zeit wahre druckgraphische Meisterwerke. Das Haus der Graphischen Sammlung zeigt Zeichnungen, Graphiken und illustrierte Ausgaben galanter Literatur, satirischer Romane und moralischer Fabeln aus der Schenkung des Freiburger Sammlers Josef Lienhart, darunter Radierungen von François Boucher und Bilderfindungen Antoine Watteaus.

Hélène Iehl and Felix Reusse, eds., La France—Zwischen Aufklärung und Galanterie: Meisterwerke der Druckgraphik aus der Zeit Watteaus (Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2018), 192 pages, ISBN: 9783731906339, $53. [French and German Text]

Exhibitions | Colony: Australia and Colony: Frontier Wars

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 9, 2018

Press release (6 February 2018) for the exhibitions:

Colony: Australia 1770–1861
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 15 March — 15 July 2018

Colony: Frontier Wars
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 15 March — 2 September 2018

NGV Australia will host two complementary exhibitions that explore Australia’s complex colonial history and the art that emerged during and in response to this period. Presented concurrently, these two ambitious and large-scale exhibitions, Colony: Australia 1770–1861 and Colony: Frontier Wars, offer differing perspectives on the colonisation of Australia.

Richard Browne (illustrator), Insects, 1813, p. 52 in Select Specimens from Nature of the Birds Animals &c &c of New South Wales collected and arranged by Thomas Skottowe, 1813, watercolour (Sydney: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, SAFE/PXA 555).

Featuring an unprecedented assemblage of loans from major public institutions around Australia, Colony: Australia 1770–1861 is the most comprehensive survey of Australian colonial art to date. The exhibition explores the rich diversity of art, craft, and design produced between 1770, the arrival of Lieutenant James Cook and the Endeavour, and 1861, the year the NGV was established.

The counterpoint to Colony: Australia 1770–1861, Colony: Frontier Wars presents a powerful response to colonisation through a range of historical and contemporary works by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists dating from pre-contact times to present day. From nineteenth-century drawings by esteemed Wurundjeri artist and leader, William Barak, to the iridescent LED light boxes of Jonathan Jones, this exhibition reveals how Aboriginal people have responded to the arrival of Europeans with art that is diverse, powerful, and compelling.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV said: “Cook’s landing marks the beginning of a history that still has repercussions today. This two-part exhibition presents different perspectives of a shared history with unprecedented depth and scope, featuring a breadth of works never-before-seen in Victoria. In order to realise this ambitious project, we have drawn upon the expertise and scholarship of many individuals from both within and outside the NGV. We are extremely grateful to the Aboriginal Elders and advisory groups who have offered their guidance, expertise and support,” said Ellwood.

Port Jackson Painter, Half-length Portrait of Gna-na-gna-na, ca. 1790, gouache (Canberra, National Library of Australia, Rex Nan Kivell Collection NK144/D).

Joy Murphy-Wandin, Senior Wurundjeri Elder, said: “I am overwhelmed at the magnitude and integrity of this display: such work and vision is a credit to the curatorial team. The NGV is to be congratulated for providing a visual truth that will enable the public to see, and hopefully understand, First Peoples’ heartache, pain and anger. Colony: Australia 1770–1861 / Frontier Wars is a must-see for all if we are to realise and action true reconciliation.”

Charting key moments of history, life, and culture in the colonies, Colony: Australia 1770–1861 includes over 600 diverse and significant works, including examples of historical Aboriginal cultural objects, early watercolours, illustrated books, drawings, prints, paintings, sculpture, and photographs, to a selection of furniture, fashion, textiles, decorative arts, and even taxidermy specimens.

Highlights from the exhibition include a wondrous ‘cabinet of curiosities’ showcasing the earliest European images of Australian flowers and animals, including the first Western image of a kangaroo and illustrations by the talented young watercolourist Sarah Stone. Examples of early colonial cabinetmaking also feature, including the convict made and decorated Dixson chest containing shells and natural history specimens, as well as a rarely seen panorama of Melbourne in 1841 will also be on display.

Following the development of Western art and culture, the exhibition includes early drawings and paintings by convict artists such as convicted forgers Thomas Watling and Joseph Lycett; the first oil painting produced in the colonies by professional artist John Lewin; work by the earliest professional female artists, Mary Morton Allport, Martha Berkeley and Theresa Walker; landscapes by John Glover and Eugene von Guérard; photographs by the first professional photographer in Australia, George Goodman, and a set of Douglas Kilburn’s silver-plated daguerreotypes, which are the earliest extant photographs of Indigenous peoples.

Colony: Frontier Wars attests to the resilience of culture and community, and addresses difficult aspects of Australia’s shared history, including dispossession and the stolen generation, through the works of Julie Gough, Brook Andrew, Maree Clarke, Ricky Maynard, Marlene Gilson, Julie Dowling, S. T. Gill, J. W. Lindt, Gordon Bennett, Arthur Boyd, Tommy McRae, Christian Thompson, and many more.

Giving presence to the countless makers whose identities have been lost as a consequence of colonialism, Colony: Frontier Wars also includes a collection of anonymous photographic portraits and historical cultural objects, including shields, clubs, spear throwers and spears, by makers whose names, language groups and Countries were not recorded at the time of collection. Challenging global museum conventions, the exhibition will credit the subjects and makers of these cultural objects as ‘once known’ rather than ‘unknown’.

Colony: Australia 1770–1861 / Frontier Wars (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2018), 394 pages, ISBN: 9781925432503, $50.

This publication accompanies the two-part exhibition Colony: Australia 1770–1861 and Colony: Frontier Wars, which explores Australia’s shared history. Featuring works from the National Gallery of Victoria and key collections throughout Australia, it highlights the multiple perspectives on our colonial history through new scholarship and first-person statements from contemporary artists. This volume is a valuable addition to existing analyses of Australia’s complex colonial past.

Brook Andrew, Robert Andrew, Louise Anemaat, Alisa Bunbury, Maree Clarke, Bindi Cole Chocka, Michael Cook, Carol Cooper, Julie Dowling, Amanda Dunsmore, Rebecca Edwards, Daina Fletcher, Elle Freak, Joanna Gilmour, Dr Ted Gott, Dr Julie Gough, Genevieve Grieves, Dr David Hansen, Peter Hughes, David Hurlston, Julia Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Cathy Leahy, Greg Lehman, Dr Donna Leslie, Dr Jane Lydon, John McPhee, Kimberley Moulton, Aunty Joy Murphy-Wandin AO, Richard Neville, Sarina Noordhuis-Fairfax, John Packham, Steaphan Paton, Cara Pinchbeck, Elspeth Pitt, Dr Joseph Pugliese, r e a, Beckett Rozentals, Dr Lynette Russell, Myles Russell-Cook, Judith Ryan AM, Yhonnie Scarce, Caitlin Sutton, Dr Christian Thompson, James Tylor (Possum), Michael Varcoe-Cocks, Judy Watson, H. J. Wedge, Danielle Whitfield, Nat Williams, Susan van Wyk.

Exhibition | Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 4, 2018

From the National Portrait Gallery:

Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now
Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., 11 May 2018 — 10 March 2019

Curated by Asma Naeem

Silhouettes—cut paper profiles—were a hugely popular and democratic form of portraiture in the 19th century, offering virtually instantaneous likenesses of everyone from presidents to those who were enslaved. The exhibition Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now explores this relatively unstudied art form by examining its rich historical roots and considering its forceful contemporary presence. The show features works from the Portrait Gallery’s extensive collection of silhouettes, such as those by Auguste Edouart, who captured the likenesses of such notable figures as John Quincy Adams and Lydia Maria Child, and at the same time, the exhibition reveals how contemporary artists are reimagining silhouettes in bold and unforgettable ways.

Highlights of the historical objects include a double-silhouette portrait of a same-sex couple and a rarely seen life-size silhouette of a nineteen-year-old enslaved girl, along with the bill of her sale from 1796. The featured contemporary artists are Kara Walker, who makes panoramic silhouettes of plantation life and African American history; Canadian artist Kristi Malakoff, who cuts paper to make life-size sculptures depicting a children’s Maypole dance; MacArthur-prize-winner Camille Utterback, who will present an interactive digital work that reacts to visitors’ shadows and movements; and Kumi Yamashita, who ‘sculpts’ light and shadow with objects to create mixed-media profiles of people who are not there. With both historical and contemporary explorations into the silhouette, Black Out reveals new pathways between our past and present, particularly with regard to how we can reassess notions of race, power, individualism, and even, our digital selves.

This exhibition is curated by Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints, Drawings and Media Arts, Asma Naeem.

Asma Naeem, Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now (Princeton University Press, 2018), 192 pages, ISBN: 978 0691180588, $45.

Exhibition | Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 28, 2018

I’m late with this posting, having only recently come to understand that the eighteenth-century provenance of the paintings (of which we have no knowledge until they appeared at auction in England in the 1720s) makes the series potentially relevant for issues of collecting and the South Sea Company, Jewish civil rights in the eighteenth century, and, of course, the reception of the Spanish Golden Age. CH

From The Frick:

Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings from Auckland Castle
The Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas, 17 September 2017 — 7 January 2018
The Frick Collection, New York, 31 January — 22 April 2018

Curated by Susan Grace Galassi, Mark Roglán, Amanda Dotseth, and Edward Payne

In collaboration with the Meadows Museum, Dallas, Texas, and The Auckland Project, County Durham, England, The Frick Collection has organized an exhibition of Jacob and His Twelve Sons, an ambitious series of thirteen paintings that depict over life-size figures from the Old Testament. On loan from Auckland Castle, the works by the Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbaran (1598–1664) have never before traveled to the United States. They were first presented at the Meadows Museum in the fall of 2017, and are on view at The Frick Collection from January 31 through April 22, 2018. In preparation for this American tour, these important seventeenth-century Spanish paintings, dating from the 1640s, have undergone a year-long in-depth technical analysis in the conservation department at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, the most extensive study of the series to date.

The iconography of Zurbarán’s remarkable series is derived from the ‘Blessings of Jacob’ in Chapter 49 of the Book of Genesis, a poem that has significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. On his deathbed, Jacob called together his sons, who would become the founders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He bestowed on each a blessing, which foretold their destinies and those of their tribes. Jacob’s prophecies provide the basis for the manner in which the figures are represented in Zurbarán’s series. For his compositions, the artist drew inspiration from northern European prints.

The series was likely intended for export to the New World. In seventeenth-century Spain, it was commonly believed that indigenous peoples of the Americas were descended from the so-called ‘lost tribes of Israel’. The paintings, however, did not come to light until the 1720s in England when they appeared at auction and were purchased by a Jewish merchant. In 1756 they were acquired by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham, a supporter of Jewish rights. Trevor hung them in the dining room at Auckland Castle, where they have remained for over 250 years. A two-year restoration of Auckland Castle presents this extraordinary study and exhibition opportunity.

Comments Frick Director Ian Wardropper, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Auckland Castle and the Meadows Museum on the first North American showing of Francisco de Zurbarán’s extraordinary series Jacob and His Twelve Sons. The technical analysis carried out at the Kimbell has greatly enriched our understanding of the master’s methods, while catalogue essays commissioned for the show explore the works in historical, cultural, and religious contexts. The sheer visual power and rich narrative content of this series will draw visitors in and will be beautifully complemented by the Frick’s strong holdings in Spanish art, which include paintings by Velázquez and Murillo—Zurbarán’s Sevillian contemporaries—as well as by El Greco and Goya.”

Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings from Auckland Castle has been organized by Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator, The Frick Collection; Mark A. Roglan, Director of the Meadows Museum; Amanda Dotseth, Meadows/Mellon/Prado Fellow at the Meadows Museum; and Edward Payne, Senior Curator, Spanish Art, The Auckland Project, County Durham, England.

Susan Grace Galassi, Edward Payne, and Mark Roglán, eds., Zurbarán: Jacob and His Twelve Sons, Paintings from Auckland Castle (Seattle: Lucia Marquand, 2017), 136 pages, ISBN: 978 0998093024, $45.


Exhibition | Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2018

Press release (9 March 2018) from The Met:

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Met Cloisters, New York, 10 May — 8 October 2018

Curated by Andrew Bolton, with C. Griffith Mann, Barbara Drake Boehm, Helen Evans, and Melanie Holcomb

The Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, on view from May 10 through October 8, 2018 (preceded on May 7 by The Costume Institute Benefit) will be presented in two Metropolitan Museum of Art locations: at The Met Fifth Avenue—in the medieval galleries, Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art, part of The Robert Lehman Wing, and the Anna Wintour Costume Center—and uptown at The Met Cloisters. The thematic exhibition will feature a dialogue between fashion and masterworks of medieval art in The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. A group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican will travel to the United States to serve as the cornerstone of the exhibition, highlighting the enduring influence of liturgical vestments on designers.

“The Catholic imagination is rooted in and sustained by artistic practice, and fashion’s embrace of sacred images, objects, and customs continues the ever-evolving relationship between art and religion,” said Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Met. “The Museum’s collection of Byzantine and western medieval art, in combination with the architecture and galleries that house these collections at The Met, provide the perfect context for these remarkable fashions.”

In celebration of the opening, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 7, 2018. The evening’s co-chairs will be Amal Clooney, Rihanna, Donatella Versace, and Anna Wintour. Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman will serve as Honorary Chairs. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.

“Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “Although this relationship has been complex and sometimes contested, it has produced some of the most inventive and innovative creations in the history of fashion.”

The exhibition will feature approximately 40 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. These will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries and will include papal vestments and accessories, such as rings and tiaras, from the 18th to the early 21st century, encompassing more than 15 papacies. The last time the Vatican sent a loan of this magnitude to The Met was in 1983, for The Vatican Collections exhibition, which is the Museum’s third most-visited show.

In addition, more than 150 ensembles, primarily womenswear, from the early 20th century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters alongside medieval art from The Met collection, providing an interpretative context for fashion’s engagement with Catholicism. The presentation situates these designs within the broader context of religious artistic production to analyze their connection to the historiography of material Christianity and their contribution to the construction of the Catholic imagination.

Designers in the exhibition will include A.F.Vandevorst, Azzedine Alaïa, Cristobal Balenciaga, Geoffrey Beene, Marc Bohan (for House of Dior), Thom Browne, Roberto Capucci, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Ann Demeulemeester, Sorelle Fontana, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (for Dolce & Gabbana), John Galliano (for House of Dior), Gattinoni, Jean Paul Gaultier, Craig Green, Madame Grès (Alix Barton), Demna Gvasalia (for Balenciaga), Rosella Jardini (for Moschino), Stephen Jones, Christopher Kane, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld (for House of Chanel), Jeanne Lanvin, Shaun Leane, Claire McCardell, Mariuccia Mandelli (for Krizia), Laura and Kate Mulleavy (for Rodarte), Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Carli Pearson (for Cimone), Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli (for Valentino), Pierpaolo Piccioli (for Valentino), Stefano Pilati (for Saint Laurent), Gareth Pugh, Simone Rocha, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Raf Simons (for his own label and House of Dior), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (for Viktor & Rolf), Olivier Theyskens, Josephus Thimister, Riccardo Tisci, Jun Takahashi (for Undercover), Philip Treacy, Donatella Versace (for Versace), Gianni Versace, Valentina, and Madeleine Vionnet.

The exhibition—a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters—is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, working together with colleagues in The Met’s Medieval department: C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters; Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters; Helen C. Evans, Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art; and Melanie Holcomb, Curator. The interdisciplinary architecture and design firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) will create the exhibition design with The Met’s Design Department. Raul Avila will produce the gala décor, which he has done since 2007.

A publication by Andrew Bolton will accompany the exhibition and will include texts by Barbara Drake Boehm, Marzia Cataldi Gallo, C. Griffith Mann, David Morgan, Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, and David Tracy in addition to new images by Katerina Jebb. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

Andrew Bolton, ed., Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), 336 pages, ISBN: 978 1588396457, $65.

Exhibition | World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts across the Indian Ocean

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 23, 2018

Frederick de Wit, Portolan Chart Indiarum Orientalum, from Harmonia macrocosmica, plate 56 (Amsterdam, 1708).

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Press release (9 March 2018) from The Smithsonian (also see the “Curators’ Notes,” which includes helpful installation photographs, from Journal18, published in October 2017). . .

World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts across the Indian Ocean
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 31 August 2017 — 24 March 2018
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C., 9 May — 3 September 2018
Fowler Museum, University of California at Los Angeles, 21 October 2018 — 10 February 2019

Curated by Allyson Purpura and Prita Meier

World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean opens at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art May 9. The exhibition, on view through September 3 in the International Gallery, reveals the diverse interchanges that break down barriers between Africa and Asia in a space that physically connects the Smithsonian’s African and Asian art museums.

The Swahili coast, where East Africa meets the Indian Ocean, has long been a significant cultural, diplomatic, and commercial intersection for Africa, Asia, and Europe for millennia. World on the Horizon offers audiences an unprecedented opportunity to view over 160 artworks brought together from public and private collections from four continents. The artworks, through an intricate network of trade and diplomacy, have historically deep and enduring connections to eastern and central Africa, the port towns of the western Indian Ocean, Europe, and the eastern seaboard of the United States. One-of-a-kind objects loaned from the National Museums of Kenya and the Bait Al Zubair Museum in Oman will make their debut to North American audiences. The exhibition is thematically organized and features objects and images recognized for not only their artistic excellence, but also how they visualize wide-reaching networks of mobility and encounter. Ranging from intimate pieces of jewelry to impressive architectural elements, the exhibition includes exquisitely illuminated Qur’ans, carved doorposts, furniture, maps, and other works.

Door frame, detail, Kenya, Pate Island, Siyu, ca. 18th–19th century, African mahogany wood (Lamu Museum, National Museums of Kenya; photo: chrisbrownphoto.com).

“The arts of Africa are truly global, inspiring artists across the world,” said National Museum of African Art Director Gus Casely-Hayford. “But that inspiration also moves in multiple directions, and it includes African artists’ awareness and reflection of the aesthetic vision of other cultures. As the stunning and surprising works on view in this exhibition reveal, the seemingly rigid frontiers that have come to define places like Africa and Asia are in fact remarkably fluid, connected through the intersections of art, commerce, and culture.”

Swahili objects embody multiple cultural histories and aesthetic trends that are themselves itinerant and open to interpretation. World on the Horizon demonstrates how the Swahili coast is a vibrant site of global cultural convergence and to Africa’s contributions to the artistic vocabulary of the wider Indian Ocean world.

The exhibition is curated by Allyson Purpura, senior curator and curator of Global African Art at Krannert Art Museum in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and Prita Meier, assistant professor of art history at New York University, and overseen in Washington by Kevin Dumouchelle, curator at the National Museum of African Art. The exhibition opened at the Krannert in August 2017, and following its showing at the National Museum of African Art, it will travel to the Fowler Museum at UCLA in fall 2018.

World on the Horizon is the exciting realization of years of research, collaboration and relationship building in the Swahili coast,” Dumouchelle said. “Loans secured from public and private collections in Kenya, Tanzania, Oman, Europe and the United States represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our audiences to see these artworks together in conversation.”

Allyson Purpura is senior curator and curator of Global African Art at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research on the politics of Islamic knowledge practices in Zanzibar led to her current interest in the broader connections between knowledge and power, particularly as they play out in the representational practices of museums. In addition to her teaching and curatorial practice, Purpura has published on a range of topics, including Islamic charisma and piety in Zanzibar, script and image in African art, ‘undisciplined’ knowledge, ephemeral art, and the politics of exhibiting African art. She has a Ph.D. from CUNY Graduate Center.

Prita S. Meier is assistant professor of art history at New York University. Her research focuses on the arts and architectures of east African port cities and the histories of transcontinental exchange and conflict. She is the author of Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (Indiana University Press, 2016). Meier is working on a new book about the social and aesthetic history of photography in Zanzibar and Mombasa. She is currently the William C. Seitz Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.). Meier has a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Kevin D. Dumouchelle has served as curator at the National Museum of African Art since October 2016. He was the lead curator for Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa’s Arts (2017), the museum’s most recent, comprehensive presentation of its permanent collection. From 2007 to 2016, he was the Brooklyn Museum’s curator in charge of its African and Pacific Islands collections. At Brooklyn, he conceived two award-winning reinstallations of the African collection: African Innovations (2014) and Double Take: African Innovations (2014). He has written books and articles and curated a range of exhibitions on contemporary and historical African art, including Power Incarnate: Allan Stone’s Collection of Sculpture from the Congo (2011) at the Bruce Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum presentations of Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui (2013) and Disguise: Masks and Global African Art (2016). Dumouchelle has a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

The catalogue is distributed by the University of Washington Press:

Prita Meier and Allyson Purpura, eds., World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts across the Indian Ocean (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018), 368 pages, ISBN: 9781883015497, $50.

With contributions by Edward A. Alpers, Heike Behrend, Ann Biersteker, Fahad Bishara, Allan deSouza, Jeffrey Fleisher, Athman Hussein, Paola Ivanov, Sarah Longair, Pedro Machado, Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy, Nidhi Mahajan, Janet McIntosh, Jeremy Prestholdt, Allen F. Roberts, Stephen J. Rockel, MacKenzie Moon Ryan, and Nancy Um

Accompanying the World on the Horizon exhibition organized by Krannert Art Museum, this book is the first interdisciplinary study of Swahili visual arts and their historically deep and enduring connections to eastern and central Africa, the port towns of the western Indian Ocean, Europe, and the United States. At once exhibition catalogue and scholarly inquiry, the publication features eighteen essays in a mix of formats—personal reflections, object biographies, as well as more in-depth critical treatments—and includes never before published images of works from the National Museums of Kenya and Bait Al Zubair Museum in Oman. By approaching the east African coast as a vibrant arena of global cultural convergence, these essays offer compelling new perspectives on the situated yet mobile and deeply networked social lives of Swahili objects. Moving between the broader structural relations of political economic change to more intimate narratives through which such change is experienced, the essays throw light on the ways in which the material fabric of the arts structure Swahili people’s sense of self and community in an ever-changing world of oceanic and terrestrial movement.

Exhibition | Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 21, 2018

Press release from The Met:

Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body, 1300–Now
The Met Breuer, New York, 21 March — 22 July 2018

Curated by Luke Syson and Sheena Wagstaff, with Brinda Kumar, Emerson Bowyer, and Elyse Nelson

Seven hundred years of sculptural practice—from 14th-century Europe to the global present—will be examined anew in the groundbreaking exhibition Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now). On view at The Met Breuer from March 21 through July 22, 2018, the exhibition will explore expanded narratives of sculpture through works in which artists have sought to replicate the literal, living presence of the human body. A major international loan exhibition of approximately 120 works, Like Life will draw on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rich collection of European sculpture and modern and contemporary art, while also featuring a selection of important works from national and international museums and private collections.

Just how perfectly should figurative sculpture resemble the human body? Histories and theories of Western sculpture have typically favored idealized representations, as exemplified by the austere, white marble statuary of the classical tradition. Such works create the fiction of bodies existing outside time, space, and personal or cultural experience. This exhibition, by contrast, will place key sculptures from different eras in conversation with each other in order to examine the age-old problem of realism and the different strategies deployed by artists to blur the distinctions between original and copy, and life and art. Foremost among these is the application of color to imitate skin and flesh. Other tactics include the use of casts taken from real bodies, dressing sculpted figures in clothing, constructing movable limbs and automated bodies, even incorporating human blood, hair, teeth, and bones. Uncanny in their approximation of life, such works have the potential to unsettle and disarm observers, forcing us to consider how we see ourselves and others, and to think deeply about our shared humanity.

Thomas Southwood Smith and Jacques Talrich, ‘Auto-Icon’ of Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), wax figure built around Bentham’s own skeleton, with human hair, wool, cotton, linen textiles, straw hat, glasses, wood walking stick, table, and chair (London: UCL).

Juxtaposing well-known masterpieces with surprising and little-seen works, the exhibition brings together sculptures by artists from Donatello, El Greco, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Antonio Canova, Auguste Rodin, and Edgar Degas to Louise Bourgeois, Meret Oppenheim, Isa Genzken, Charles Ray, Fred Wilson, Robert Gober, Bharti Kher, Duane Hanson, Jeff Koons, and Yinka Shonibare MBE, as well as wax effigies, reliquaries, mannequins, and anatomical models. Together these works will highlight the continuing anxieties and pleasures attendant upon the three-dimensional simulation of the human body.

Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now) is curated by Luke Syson, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, and Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, both at The Met, with Brinda Kumar, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Met, and Emerson Bowyer, Searle Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, with the assistance of Elyse Nelson, Research Associate, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Met. The catalogue is made possible by the Mary C. and James W. Fosburgh Publications Fund.

Luke Syson and Sheena Wagstaff, with Emerson Bowyer, Brinda Kumar, Barti Kher, Jeff Koons, Schwartz Hillel, Marina Warner, and Fred Wilson, Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (New York: The Metroplitan Museum of Art, 2018), 312 pages, ISBN: 978 1588396440, $65.

A symposium explores themes raised by the exhibition on Saturday, 14 April 2018, from 10:30am until 6:30pm.


Exhibition | Thomas Gainsborough: Experiments in Drawing

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 19, 2018

From The Morgan:

Thomas Gainsborough: Experiments in Drawing
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 11 May — 19 August 2018

The eighteenth-century British master Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) is celebrated for his portraiture and for his depictions of rural landscapes. Although he was best known as a painter, he was also a draftsman of rare ability. Gainsborough experimented with various media to sketch preparatory studies, finished works, and in some cases exercises for his own enjoyment. Thomas Gainsborough: Experiments in Drawing brings together more than twenty works primarily from the Morgan’s collection that reveal the artist’s technical innovations, his mastery of materials, and his development of a new and original mode of drawing.

The exhibition is sponsored by Lowell Libson and Jonny Yarker Ltd. and generously supported by Mr. and Mrs. Clement C. Moore II and the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust.

Marco Simone Bolzoni, Thomas Gainsborough: Experiments in Drawing (London: Holberton, 2018), 84 pages, ISBN: 9781911300458, $25.

Exhibition | High Society

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 16, 2018

Press release (1 December 2017) from the Rijksmuseum:

High Society: Four Centuries of Glamour
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 8 March — 3 June 2018

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Jane Fleming, later Countess of Harrington, ca. 1778–79 (San Marino, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens).

The Dutch national museum, the Rijksmuseum, is presenting High Society with over thirty-five life-size portraits of powerful princes, eccentric aristocrats, and fabulously wealthy citizens by the great masters of art history, including Cranach, Veronese, Velázquez, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Sargent, Munch, and Manet. The centrepiece are Rembrandt’s spectacular wedding portraits, Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, which will be shown for the first time following their restoration.

Never before has there been an exhibition dedicated to this most glamorous type of portrait: life-size, standing, and full length. Loans have come from museums and private collections from all over the world including Paris, London, Florence, Vienna, and Los Angeles. High Society also gives a glimpse into the informal life of the well-to-do. More than eighty prints and drawings from the Rijksmuseum’s own collection show what went on behind closed doors: parties, drinks, gambling, and amorous encounters.

International Masterpieces
The works vary from the early sixteenth to the start of the twentieth century. Masterpieces include the impressive portraits of Henry the Pious, Duke of Saxony and Catharina, Countess of Mecklenburg by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1514), the married couple Iseppo da Porto and Livia da Porto Thiene with Their Children by Veronese (1555), Don Pedro de Barberana y Aparregui by Velázquez (ca. 1631–33), Portrait Jane Fleming by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1778/79), The Artist by Edouard Manet (1875), and of course Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt (1634).

Four Centuries of Fashion
Most of the people portrayed are very lavishly dressed, giving the exhibition an overview of four centuries of fashion: from the tightly cut trousers and doublet from 1514 to the haute couture of the late nineteenth century. Some of the subjects portrayed, however, are wearing fancy garments in an antique style. Another is wearing a kilt, yet another is not wearing trousers and one is almost completely naked. Remarkably, those portrayed often have dogs with them. One man is accompanied by a lion. One couple have their children with them. The backgrounds can be richly decorated interiors, often with columns and/or curtains, or a summer or winter landscape. One man is standing in front of an imaginary landscape with palm trees, while another is adopting a flamboyant pose in front of the Colosseum in Rome.

Whereas the life-size portraits show the well-to-do in their Sunday best, three rooms in the exhibition are devoted to activities that take place for the most part behind closed doors: parties, drinks, gambling, amorous encounters, and brothel visits. Based on the vices of Gluttony, Greed, and Lust, more than eighty prints and drawings from the collection of the Rijksmuseum have been assembled, many showing humorous and satirical scenes, often with a strong moralizing message in the inscriptions.

Photo: Rijksmuseum/David van Dam.

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The catalogue by Jonathan Bikker (Curator of Research at the Rijksmuseum) will be available at the Rijksmuseum Shop from March 2018. An edition of the journal Kunstschrift entitled Ten Voeten Uit (Full Length) will also be published to accompany the exhibition.

Jonathan Bikker, High Society (Rotterdam: NAI Publishers, 2018), 136 pages, ISBN: 978-9462084261, 25€.