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Detroit Institute of Arts Exhibitions October 2008–December 2009

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

When the DIA had its grand opening last November, the star of the show was the museum’s remarkable collection. Continuing on that theme, several exhibitions of works from the DIA’s collection are featured in the coming year, including 20th-century prints, 18th-century drawings, and photographs of visual, literary and performing artists. Other offerings include an eclectic mix of paintings by modern masters, exquisite chess sets and some of the finest examples of Baroque art from around the world. Images are available upon request.

Exhibitions are free with museum admission unless otherwise noted.

Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Saturdays and
Sundays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Museum Admission: $8 for adults, $4 for ages 6-17, $6 for seniors (ages 62+).

Jane Hammond: Paper Work
October 1, 2008–January 11, 2009
The exhibition features Hammond’s unique works on paper made over the last 15 years from a myriad of techniques and materials, along with prints and books. All of the objects rely on the artist’s “vocabulary” of 276 borrowed images which she has manipulated endlessly to produce visually rich and mentally stimulating compositions that provoke thought, feeling, and new meaning about interaction and communication. Zany and mysterious, the works are flat and three-dimensional, large and small, painted and drawn, photographed, and printed. Jane Hammond: Paper Work was organized by the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue were made possible in part by the Lucy P. Eisenhart Fund, the Susan B. Weatherbie (class of 1972) Exhibition Development Fund, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum Friends of Art, and a generous grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Monet to Dalí: Modern Masters from the Cleveland Museum of Art
October 12, 2008–January 18, 2009
This exhibition chronicles one of the most fascinating periods in the history of art—the gradual shift from a reliance on artistic tradition to an insistence on individual innovation at the turn of the 20th century. Drawn from the important collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the 70 paintings and sculptures illustrate the creative experimentation that would come to be known as modern art.

In the Impressionist years (mid-1860s to mid–1880s), where this exhibition begins, gloriously light-dappled landscapes by Claude Monet and elegant portraits by Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas explore the effect of light and color. The Post-Impressionists (mid-1880s–1920) feature three paintings each by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne, great masters who emphatically transformed the ethereal ideas of the earlier generation, pointing the way toward the modern world. Expressive sculpture from Auguste Rodin and his followers mirrors these advances in three dimensions. The 20th century is marked by seven works by Pablo Picasso, including a rare large-scale Blue Period painting as well as an Analytical Cubist
painting, and important works by Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, culminating with a characteristically Surrealist painting by Salvador Dalí from 1931. Together these exceptional examples of works by some of the most acclaimed artists of the period remind us why modern art has so captured the popular imagination. Tickets are $18 for adults $8 for ages 6-17.

In Detroit, this exhibition will augment and amplify the DIA’s own strong collection and allow visitors to experience the wide range of styles and approaches pursued by so many artists at this time. This exhibition has been organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. In Detroit, the exhibition is proudly sponsored by Bank of America.

In the Company of Artists: Photographs from the DIA’s Collection
November 19, 2008–February 15, 2009
In the Company of Artists is a survey of more than 90 portraits and candid photographs of visual, literary, and performing artists by more than 30 photographers who have had access to the interesting places and people in the world of art. Photographers such as André Kertész, Man Ray, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman and Robert Mapplethorpe took portraits of artists, their families, friends, and surroundings, along with writers, models and others from artistic and bohemian circles from the late 1890s to the present.

A highlight is a portfolio of portraits by contemporary photographer Ari Marcopoulos, who immersed himself in underground life on New York’s lower east side throughout the 1980s and 1990s. His portraits are informal and intimate depictions of famous artists such as Andy Warhol and young art stars like Jean Michel Basquiat, who was photographed shortly before his untimely death in 1987. Also included are portraits made during visits to other artists’ studios, including Kiki Smith, Michael Heizer, Richard Serra, the elusive David Hammonds, and the eccentric Jeff Koons.

The exhibition also includes portraits of renowned artists of the past. French photographer Paul Cardon’s (1859-1941) series of Paris’ cultural elite around 1887 includes a quiet portrait of the notoriously flamboyant painter and American artist James McNeill Whistler, who appears in his studio on the Rue Notre Dame des Champs in 1892, the year he settled in Paris. Also on view is selection of portraits by Armenian-born Yousuf Karsh, recognized internationally for his portraits of politicians, writers, athletes, and artists. In one of his most famous photographs, Karsh traveled from Ottawa, Canada, to Abiquiu, New Mexico, to meet Georgia O’Keefe in 1956. He hoped to find in her “some of the poetic intensity of her paintings.” Instead, he found “the austere intensity of dedication to her work.” He made a quiet portrait of the distant O’Keeffe during a moment of repose in her home.

A supplement of 19th century portraits from the collection of Novi, Michigan-area collectors Leonard and Jean Walle will also be on view. Highlights include several rare cartes-de-visite portraits (small albumen prints mounted on 2 ½ x 4” cards) of artists including Rosa Bonheur, George Lance, and John Millais.
This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Master Pieces: Chess Sets from the Dr. George and Vivian Dean Collection
December 26, 2008–March 22, 2009

This exhibition includes more than two dozen sets from the world-renowned collection of Dr. George and Vivian Dean. Ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries, these chess sets represent exquisite examples from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

Featuring a wide range of materials and designs, the pieces and boards demonstrate how differently artists throughout history and across the globe have interpreted the game of chess. The artists’ superb craftsmanship and creativity are explored, with sections featuring ivory and porcelain examples, including sets by Sèvres and Meissen. Some sets include tiny insects, sea creatures, and a variety of precious bejeweled objects.

Several themes are explored in the exhibition, including the ideological oppositions that the game of chess has been used to evoke, such as Good vs. Evil or Communism vs. Capitalism; the fascinating stories of set ownership, such as one commissioned from Fabergé and another once owned by Catherine the Great; and the variety of artistic styles, including abstract and modern. Some of the modern artists featured are Man Ray and Salvador Dalí. This exhibition has been generously supported by Dr. George and Vivian Dean.

Learning by Line: The Role and Purpose of Drawing in the Eighteenth Century
February 18–June 15, 2009
Learning by Line highlights 18th-century European drawings in the DIA collection, organized to tell the stories of the makers and collectors of drawings in this revolutionary era. At a time when artists and tourists traveled extensively throughout Europe, especially Italy, drawings circulated as both souvenirs and as inspiration for artistic creations. Drawings of the Italian countryside and of ancient monuments testify to this phenomenon, while inventive sketches of fantastic scenes by artists like Canaletto demonstrate the associative power of drawings. Works are organized into the three key categories: landscape (classical, fantastic, and pastoral); portraiture; and history (religious, ancient and medieval). Also included are fine examples of pastel portraiture that illustrate interest in personal character and biography in the 18th century. Drawings by Jean Valade, Daniel Garder, and Jean Étienne Liotard are exceptional examples of portraits that celebrate the skill of the artist and the artistic taste of the sitter.
This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell
March 8–May 31, 2009
American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell explores Rockwell the artist, his images, and their enduring role in the American imagination. Forty-four paintings and all 323 of his original Saturday Evening Post covers explore the popularity and broad appeal of Rockwell’s imagery through six decades of his career (1910s-1970s). From his beginnings as a magazine illustrator, Rockwell honed his skills at pictorial storytelling, often setting his imagery in an idealized rural America of the early 20th century. His ability to appeal to emotion through characterization and gesture helped propel him from the stable of Saturday Evening Post illustrators to one of America’s most beloved and recognized artists.

The exhibition will feature many of Rockwell’s signature works: No Swimming (1921); Christmas Homecoming (1948); Triple Self Portrait (1959) and the justly famous The Problem We All Live With (1963), showing young Ruby Bridges walking in to a newly desegregated school in New Orleans escorted by federal marshals.

The exhibition is organized to explore the themes that made Rockwell’s images popular. In both illustrative and commercial art, Rockwell understood how the innocence of childhood tapped strong emotion among his viewers. Some of his most poignant and affecting images contrast the idealization of childhood against the far more complicated world of adults, as when the Girl at Mirror (1954) tentatively applies make-up or when the boy in The Discovery finds a Santa suit in his father’s lower dresser drawer.
Rockwell’s pictorial stories are often situated in family settings and he excelled in describing the affections and petty tensions of family relationships through a telling glance or gesture. When creating images of families and extended family groups caught up in the dramas of day-to-day life, Rockwell anticipated and helped shape one of the most enduring categories of American storytelling in popular media: the family-based drama or situation comedy popularized in countless movies and television programs.

Some of Rockwell’s most powerful images stem from illustrations made in support of America’s involvement in WWII. Rockwell’s heroes are rarely depicted on the front-line; he preferred to show the quiet heroism of those who waited for loved ones left behind, such as the miner with two sons in the military featured in the poster Mine America’s Coal (1945). When Rockwell created images for the extremely successful war bond posters, Four Freedoms, based upon the Franklin D. Roosevelt address intended to remind Americans of what they were fighting for, he shows citizens at home enjoying the liberties that America fought to preserve.

At the height of his fame and recognition, Rockwell sought out difficult themes of the day in what he referred to as “big pictures.” He used his illustrative and storytelling skills to make injustice visible. His image of Ruby Bridges in The Problem We All Live With (1963) or three civil rights workers in Murder in Mississippi (1965) are still powerful reminders of America’s struggle for civil rights for all.

A fully illustrated catalog is available in the DIA Museum Shop: soft cover, $30; hard cover, $45.

Tickets include museum admission and audio tours for adults and youth.
Adults: $18; Youth ages 6-17: $8

American Chronicles has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  Additional support has been provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Masterpieces Program. Publication support has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Media sponsorship has been provided by the Curtis Publishing Company and by the Norman Rockwell Estate Licensing Company. Conservation support has been provided by the Stockman Family Foundation.

Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky
April 18–July 12, 2009
This exhibition, organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, includes around 90 black-and-white photographs taken by two photographers: Roman Vishniac, who photographed throughout Poland’s Jewish communities in the mid-1930s, and Jeffrey Gusky who photographed many of the same Polish sites during the 1990s.

In 1935, Russian-born photographer Roman Vishniac was commissioned by the American Joint Distribution Committee (a Paris-based relief agency) to photograph Jewish communities in the cities and villages of Poland as well as other areas of Eastern Europe. He took over 16,000 photographs (around 2,000 have survived) depicting the people, life, homes, schools, and trades of these communities. The photographs, in turn, were to be used to help raise money for humanitarian aid for individuals in areas that were becoming increasingly destitute.

In 1996, Jeffrey Gusky, an amateur photographer and doctor of Russian-Jewish descent set out on a personal journey in search of Jewish identity and culture in Eastern Europe. He made the first of four trips to Poland where he traveled to cities and villages where Jews had lived and worked for centuries. Gusky photographed what remained of Jewish culture in Poland focusing on the ruins of synagogues, cemeteries – many of which were desecrated, and the empty and still streets. This exhibition is organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Rauschenberg, Johns, and Dine: Redefining 20th Century Printmaking
July 15–October 25, 2009
Size, scale, sources of inspiration, methodology, media, materials…many of the principles of art that we take for granted today were introduced, addressed and reinterpreted with unprecedented vigor and imagination by Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Jim Dine over the course of the last half century. Rauschenberg’s death in May of 2008 marked a real moment of pause to reflect on the course of American printmaking since the early 1960s. This exhibition takes stock of his achievements and those of Johns and Dine, two close allies of equally independent spirit. Over 70 prints from the DIA collection include examples in all the major media and themes associated with each artist. This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence
September 20, 2009-January 3, 2010
This exhibition looks at the magnificence and splendor of Baroque art, one of the most opulent styles of the 17th and 18th centuries, as the first global style that flourished in Paris and Rome and spread throughout Europe and to the colonial world of South Asia and Latin America. Around 180 objects will be on display including paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver and textiles. The exhibition will look at the importance of performance and spectacle in creating the Baroque style, the role of Baroque in the religious world from St. Peter's Basilica to churches in Mexico, and the majestic interiors of Baroque palaces such as Versailles, in which illusion and spectacle were used as political tools. This exhibition is organized by the V&A, London. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for youth ages 6-17, free for DIA members.

Worth a Thousand Words: Prints and Drawings Related to Books
November 18, 2009–February 21, 2010
Telling stories through pictures, specifically with prints and drawings, is the subject of this exhibition organized from the DIA collection. Selections from many familiar series, portfolios, and books, as well as several examples that have rarely or never been seen at the museum will be on view. Included are David Hockney’s Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, three volumes of Moby Dick with illustrations by Norman Rockwell, a copy of the 15th-century Nuremberg Chronicle, Wassily Kandinsky’s Klange, Henri Matisse’s Parsiphal, Jim Dine’s Picture of Dorian Gray, and many more European and American works on paper from a variety of eras. This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

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The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), located at 5200 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, is one of the premier art museums in the United States and home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth.

Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899