Current Exhibitions

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Titus Kaphar, The Vesper Project, detail, 2012, Mixed media installation, Courtesy of Burger Collection, Hong Kong & Friedman Benda, New York

NEW/NOW: Titus Kaphar
The Vesper Project

Saturday, Nov. 1–Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015
Opening Reception
2-3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014
2:30 p.m. Artist Remarks

‘The Vesper Project’ is a massive sculptural statement— an encompassing installation, in which Titus Kaphar’s own work is seamlessly woven into the walls of a 19th-century American house. It is the culmination of an intense five-year engagement with the lost storylines of the Vesper family, a 19th-century family of mixed descent that passed as white. The project was “birthed in a state of extended disbelief,” according to Kaphar. As the artist’s muses, the members of the Vesper family and their histories are intertwined with Kaphar’s autobiographical details, and layered with wide-based cultural triggers of identity and truth.

In ‘The Vesper Project,’ period architecture, gilt frames, a vintage typewriter, a neglected wardrobe, and old photographs act as seemingly recognizable elements, but by employing every tool of his trade, Kaphar insinuates doubt and transports the viewer into a disrupted mental state. As the house fractures, like the lives of the Vesper family, so does the viewer’s experience. In so doing, Kaphar compresses time and history, postulating new, powerful realities.

The Museum is grateful to Max and Monique Burger for funding the Museum’s presentation of ‘The Vesper Project.’

 

The NEW/NOW Series is made possible by the generous support of Marzena and Greg Silpe



Kate Themel, New Year's Eve, 2012, Cotton, 44 x 41 in., Courtesy of the artist

Let Me Quilt One More Day
Saturday, Oct. 4–Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015
Opening Reception
2-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014
4 p.m. Remarks by Douglas Hyland

American quilting has dramatically been transformed over the past 250 years. Let Me Quilt One More Day showcases a history of the artistic practices, reinterpretations, and innovations of this age-old craft.

Let Me Quilt One More Day explores the long-standing practice and art of quilt making in the United States. This exhibition, curated by Dr. Douglas Hyland, brings together an extraordinary selection of over 40 historical and contemporary quilts ranging from traditional to modern designs and demonstrating both the practical application and artistic range found in this medium. The themes of Industry, Emotion, and Art loosely group quilts that vary greatly in material and artistic style.

The quilts speak to the lives, history, and aspirations of the artisans who created them while examples of contemporary works display how this fascinating medium has evolved and yet, in many ways, the traditions have stayed the same.

Noted quilt authority Lynne Z. Bassett, advised on the selection of objects for this exhibition, and her catalogue essay adds immensely to our understanding of this craft and art form.

The exhibition contains works from the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mattatuck Museum, New Haven Museum and Historical Society, Fenimore Art Museum, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, and Connecticut Historical Society. In addition we are fortunate to have works by contemporary quilters: Barbara Barrick McKie, Richard Killeaney, Todd Knopke, Norma Schlager, Denyse Schmidt, Marlene Shea, Kate Themel, Anna Tufankjian, and Victoria Findlay Wolfe along with works from the collections of others.

 

 

This exhibition is funded in part by a grant from the Quilter's Guild of Dallas, Helena Hibbs Endowment Fund.



Brett Weston, Horseshoe Crab, detail, 1945, Gelatin silver print, 10 x 14 in., Bank of America Collection

Group ƒ.64: Revolutionary Vision
Tuesday, Oct. 7–Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015
Opening Reception
2-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014
3:30 p.m. Remarks

Group ƒ.64: Revolutionary Vision showcases Photography by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Brett Weston and Edward Weston. Works from the Bank of America Collection

Founded in 1932, Group ƒ.64 was an informal association of Bay Area photographers devoted to promoting a new direction in photography. “ƒ.64” refers to the large-format camera aperture, which produces the maximum depth of field yielding sharply focused and graphic compositions. Their group established a challenge to Pictorialism, a movement favoring painterly, hand-manipulated, and soft-focus prints. On November 15, 1932, the work of the original eleven members of Group ƒ.64 was shown in a major exhibition at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. Group ƒ.64: Revolutionary Vision features five of the most important members of this group.

True to modernist beliefs, the members of Group ƒ.64 argued that photography could only advance as an art form if its practitioners exploited the characteristics inherent to the camera’s mechanical nature. “Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technic [sic], composition or idea, derivative of any other art form,” reads their manifesto. Photography was considered only valid when it was “straight,” or unaltered. The group preferred contact prints, made on a sheet in direct contact with the negative. This technique gave the photographs rich clarity, subtle definition and maximum tonal range.

Group ƒ.64 disbanded in 1935, but many of its members remained active and are now considered among the most influential photographers of the 20th century. This exhibition features nearly fifty works faithful to their revolutionary philosophy.

 

This exhibition is provided by Bank of America Art in our Communities program.

Bank of America logo


Nelson Augustus Moore, A Country Romance, 1865. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in., Collection of Todd and Marenda Stitzer

Nelson Augustus Moore
Connecticut Water, Hills, and Sky
Sept. 20, 2014–Jan. 11, 2015
Opening Reception
2-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014

Nelson Augustus Moore’s exquisitely beautiful 19th-century paintings of the Connecticut landscape reveal the mastery of this Kensington artist.

During the 19th century, photography was positioned to compete with the efficacy of naturalistic painting. Nelson Augustus Moore (1824–1902) embraced both mediums to capture his beloved hometown of Kensington, Connecticut, where the Moore family lived and flourished for many generations. Beginning September 20, the NBMAA will feature oil paintings and photographs in the exhibition Nelson Augustus Moore: Connecticut Water, Hills, and Sky.

The paintings on display have been generously loaned by Todd and Marenda Stitzer. As they explain, "Our home in Kensington—Hillside Cottage—sits near the top of Mooreland Hill on land once owned by the Moores. Little did we know when we purchased our home that Nelson Augustus Moore was a member of this illustrious family or that he painted the very views we see from our windows. Once we made the connection, we immediately decided to bring the best of Moore's work home to Kensington where they were created. The paintings in the exhibition are the result.”

Born in Kensington in 1824, Moore studied art in New York City and later returned to open the first commercial daguerreotype business in the state with his brother. Throughout his life, Moore continued to paint idyllic landscapes of New York and New England. The paintings will be presented alongside four of Moore’s photographs of Kensington from the Museum’s permanent collection as well as contemporary images of the vistas Moore depicted.


An image from John O'Donnell's Psychedelic Pantry.

 

New Media: John O'Donnell
Sept. 6, 2014–Feb. 8, 2015
Opening Reception
2-3:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014
Artist Remarks at 2:30 p.m.
ARTIST PERFORMANCE
8-11 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31, 2014
@ Museum After Dark

Psychedelic Pantry, a new media installation created by John O’Donnell, points to moments of everyday life while highlighting the bizarre and mysterious moments we often overlook while shuffling to the toaster or coffee maker in the morning.

Appearing as a simple representation of a kitchen area or pantry, further inspection reveals there is more happening than food storage. Psychedelic Pantry is a New Media installation that reveals moments of constructed metaphysical awareness to reveal hallucinatory or surreal sensation, playing on ideas of peripheral vision and imagined movement. The aesthetic is informed by the combination of rather mundane objects typically found in a kitchen and psychedelic imagery. This installation intends to move past the typical category of drug induced awareness and speak about the potential of common items and commercial packaging to inform a heightened experience. Inspired by the brightly colored packaging of cereal boxes and other common snacks, this installation calls our attention to the hypnotic, and often times annoying, design of food items packaging. This is also a reference to the growing number of artificial additives that are found in a large portion of the food for sale in a grocery store and ultimately brought home for temporary storage before consumption.

O’Donnell, who lives and works in Connecticut, is a multidisciplinary artist and has created performance pieces for the Museum of New Art in Detroit, Proof Gallery in Boston, Flux Space in Philadelphia, and SOHO20 Gallery in New York City.


Beth Lipman, Aspects of (American) Life
(illustration 2)

Beth Lipman, Aspects of (American) Life
Wednesday, May 14, 2:30 p.m.

On view now! Beth Lipman's Aspects of (American) Life. The latest addition to the Museum's Appropriation & Inspiration series, this installation relates directly to Thomas Hart Benton's epic murals The Art of Life in America. Borrowing objects depicted in the murals, Lipman creates a monumental three-dimensional still-life sculpture from clear glass as a meditation on the good fortunes of wealth and prosperity as well as the misfortunes that ensue from their abuse.



Soo Sunny Park Concept

Soo Sunny Park
Opening Reception
2-3:30 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 9, 2014

The Museum is delighted to announce plans to unveil the third site-specific installation for February 2014 to animate the LeWitt Family Staircase where undulating, effervescent abstract forms seemingly float above the staircase landing. The artist, Soo Sunny Park, is known for creating otherworldly, immersive installations that transform their environments into seas of dancing light, reflection and shadow. Her proposal for the LeWitt Family Staircase is no exception.

As the artist explains, “The space will be filled with sinuous, large, sprawling structures on two opposing walls (units composed of weaving of metal grid and clear, iridescent, “edge glowing” Plexi glass), which transmit, reflect, and refract light while the painted dark walls of the gallery are enclosed with images that echo the shadows and reflections of the gleaming sculpture. The images are articulated with charcoal and graphite.” Changing light conditions will reveal different facets of the sculpture, so that during different times of day it will be transformed from translucent and clear to colorful and prismatic. The installation will harness daylight and artificial light as mediums with which to create, blurring the line between the physical drawing and the light drawing.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Soo Sunny Park received her BFA in painting and sculpture from Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio and a MFA in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Park is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant; Grand Prize winner of the 19th Annual Michigan Fine Arts Competition; The Helen Foster Barnett Prize, National Academy Museum, New York; Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture residency, Skowhegan, Maine; Cité Internationale des Arts studio residency, Paris, France, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts & Literary Arts Residency, Bellagio, Italy.

Her most recent installations are Capturing Resonance (2011–12), created with composer Spencer Topel for the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and Unwoven Light (2013) for Rice Gallery in Houston, Texas. Park lives and works in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she is Associate Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College.