Thursday, June 1, 2017

EXHIBITIONS: (Part Two of Three): Modernist riches in the heartland

For those who live in, or will be traveling through, the country's heartland
over the next few months, there are many fascinating and eclectic exhibitions of the Modernist esthetic to savor. Below are some recommended shows
in Cleveland, Milwaukee, Denver, Chicago and Fort Worth.

 Muse with Violin Screen, Paul Fehér (c. 1930)
Rose Iron Work, Cleveland Art Museum

I may just have to buy a plane ticket ASAP to catch the Cleveland Art Museum's  The Jazz Age: America Style in the 1920s -- my favorite era, my favorite art genre. (It will run through New Year's day of 2018.)

After the First World War finally ended, people were in the mood to celebrate and find joy in life again.The USA became a global shining star of innovative fashion, music, architecture, interior decoration, metalwork, decorative arts and film. Talent and craftsmanship, urbanity and experimentation flowed back and forth across the Atlantic with an influx of European émigré designers coming to America and a rush of American creative talent traveling and studying abroad. A new language of design emerged to define a cosmopolitan era of innovation and modernity—the Jazz Age—capturing the pulse and rhythm of the American spirit. Art Deco had its heyday, and is still loved and collected by many aficionados.

 Jeune Fille Vert by Polish artist Tamara deLempika, 1929 --
"the first woman artist to be a glamour star." DeLempika's art
was noted for its sensuality and magnetism.

I love this soulful painting,
a copy of which which hangs in my living room. 

"I live life in the margins of society, and the rules of normal society."
                                                                                                            ... TdL
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Have you ever wondered why some posters grab your attention and won't let go, and others barely graze your consciousness? The Milwaukee Art Museum, in coordination with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, is currently presenting a fascinating graphic exhibition called How Posters Work, which explores wide range of social functions served by posters, from promoting a book or film, to advocating a political cause to providing information to pure art. Despite the rise of digital media, the print poster remains vital and often more compelling.

How Posters Work features more than 80 rarely seen posters from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition demonstrates how some of the world’s most imaginative designers have pushed the boundaries of two-dimensional design, harnessed the mechanics and psychology of perception, and mastered the art of storytelling to produce powerful forms of visual communication. Graphic art by the great Paul Rand (see Mad for Mod's posting "Everything is Design", dated 9/29/15) is included in this jazzy show.

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Ruskin Ceramic Ware group
Works on view illustrate Howson Taylor's continual experimentation 
with innovative and challenging glaze techniques, resulting in four primary  
genres—soufflé, luster, crystalline/matte, and high-fired flambé.  

Running now through November 12 at the Denver Art Museum,  Artistry and Craftsmanship: Ruskin Pottery, Enamels and Buttons showcases the Ruskin Pottery style of hand-thrown and hand-turned ceramics bodies with innovative glazes. Founded in the early 1900s by Edward Richard Taylor and his son William Howson Taylor, Ruskin Pottery was named after watercolorist, philosopher and highly esteemed critic of the Arts & Crafts movement, John Ruskin.

Throughout its 35-year history, the pottery produced decorative vessels, tableware, buttons, and small glazed plaques called enamels, intended to be set into jewelry made of silver or pewter.  

According to a curatorial note, "This exhibition features about 80 objects from 213 works of Ruskin Pottery given to the Denver Art Museum by Carl Patterson, the museum's conservator emeritus. This remarkable gift makes the DAM collection of Ruskin Pottery one of the largest collections in the world and presents great opportunities for research, exhibition, and publication."

Bowl, 1927. Porcellaneous stoneware with luster glaze.
Manufactured by Ruskin Pottery, West Smethwick, England.

Above and below: Ruskin enamels and buttons

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Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture
Show runs March 26 through June 25. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX.  
 Watercolor of Ponte Vecchio, Florence by Louis Kahn (c.1930)

Renowned as a master of light and space, Kahn (born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky) is celebrated here in drawings, models, photographs and films. He created many singular, important buildings, including the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh (consdered "one of the top 50 architctral achievements of the modern world"), as well as numerous domestic commisions. Also on view here are watercolors, pastels and charcoal drawings Kahn created during his travels.

The Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA image courtesy of News Wise

Kahn’s most iconic project is arguably Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, the National Assembly of Bangladesh, located in the capital of Dhaka.  JSB was completed in 1982, twenty one years after construction began. Kahn was able to draw
plentiful illumination into this structure by using his remarkable sensibility
of spatial relationships and his ability to harness indirect natural light. 

 Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (National Parliament House)
 Dhaka, Bangladesh

Louis Kahn, British Art Center at Yale University

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Seen recently at the Chicago Design Museum's show
Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist
(Some assembly required)


Coming next in part 3 ...  
Denver's newly renovated Kirkland Museum
Opening Spring 2018

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