Eye Level had a chance to speak with Leslie Umberger, curator of folk and self-taught art, about the museum's recent acquisition of the Mingering Mike collection, comprised of well over one hundred pieces of musical ephemera made between 1965 and 1979 by a self-taught Washington, D.C. artist who has consistently chosen to conceal his true identity.
This is the ninth in a series of personal observations about how people experience and explore museums. Take a look at Howard's other blog posts on the subject.
Kerry James Marshall, whose work Sob Sob is on view in the museum's Lincoln Gallery on the third floor, chronicles the African American experience in his paintings.
Taking a stab at what defines American art, Adam Gopnik, art critic at The New Yorker, spoke to a standing-room only crowd at the museum's McE
"I'll be talking about the entire history of studio glass, all 3500 years of it, in about twelve minutes. That's 300 years per minute but I'm going to skip some centuries entirely," William Warmus, independent curator and studio glass expert said at the beginning of the recent program at the Renwick Gallery titled "Art Glass @50," that also featured the artists Toots Zynsky and Matthew Szösz.
"Is there anything left to be said about Edward Hopper? Poet of light, documentarian of alienation, isolation, angst, stasis, human disconnection and impotence?" art historian Kevin Salatino asked at the start of his talk, Edward Hopper and the Burden of (Un)Certainty the first of this year's annual Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art.
"I am not a painter, I am a poet," begins Frank O'Hara's poem, Why I Am Not a Painter written in 1957. He continues, "Why? I think I would rather be/ a painter, but I am not. Well,/for instance, Mike Goldberg/is starting a painting. I drop in."
These warm August afternoons often make me step inside of American Art not just to cool off, but to have an ah-ha moment with something that strikes me inside the museum: person or painting. Maybe it was the heat but the image that grabbed me today, Bar and Grill by Jacob Lawrence, was about quenching one's thirst while struggling with a deeper need: freedom.
About two dozen art enthusiasts gathered at American Art's Lincoln Gallery on Tuesday evening to take part in a conversation titled, "Is This Art?"
In a poem titled, "Mother to Son," Langston Hughes wrote of an African American woman's hardships, as she advises her son to never give up: "Well, son, I'll tell you:/Life for me ain't been no crystal stair..." Far from it. These steps have tacks, splinters and torn up boards. Sometimes the stairs are bare. It is these steps I was reminded of when I visited American Art's new exhibition, African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights, and Beyond, on view through September 3, 2012.
Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image, the dynamic exhibition of time-based media has been reinstalled, with new examples of video art that span the last fifty years. It has its own dedicated gallery on the third floor of the museum and is a welcoming space filled with works that fascinate, stimulate, and resonate.
Behind every good sunrise lurks an inevitable sunset. This Sunday, May 6, Something of Splendor: Decorative Arts from the White House closes at American Art's Renwick Gallery after a near seven-month run.