Creighton Michael, American, b. 1949 Tapestry Suite, 2012
Archival carbon black pigment inkjet print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Paper
18" x 18"
Gift of Creighton Michael, M.A. Art History, Vanderbilt University, 1976 in honor of Milan Mihal, Professor of Fine Arts Emeritus
Tapestry Suite: Seven Digital Drawings by Creighton Michael
(July 9- October 6, 2013. Please note that the Gallery will be closed September 13-26, 2013.)
This summer, the Fine Arts Gallery will host a special exhibition of Tapestry Suite by Creighton Michael, M.A. 1976. These seven digital drawings, selected from Michael’s larger Tapestry series, were created by the artist in honor of Professor of Fine Arts Emeritus Milan Mihal, and donated to the Fine Arts Gallery by the artist. Michael writes that he would like to thank Professor Mihal, “for introducing me to the wondrous beauty and serene sensitivity of the Far East.” He also sites his experiences in Professor Mihal’s class as an influence for much of his artistic practice over the last forty years.
Michael has explained that the Tapestry series is a collection of composite drawings, layered in time and personal marking history, employing unconventional drafting tools, such as photographic negatives, video stills, sculpture, digital scans and intaglio solar plates. The artist selected the seven works featured in Tapestry Suite as a continuous narrative and a meditation on drawing. This is a common theme for Michael who, in much of his work, has expanded traditional notions of drawing by creating works of art that approach this time-honored practice in fresh, innovative ways.
Michael received his B.F.A. in painting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1971); his M.A. in Art History from Vanderbilt University (1976); and his M.F.A. in painting and multi-media from Washington University, St. Louis (1978). His work has been featured in numerous one-person exhibitions and can be found within the collections of The Brooklyn Museum; Denver Art Museum; Hafnarborg Institute of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjördur, Iceland; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Mint Museums of Art, Charlotte, NC; among several others.
Hans Hinterreiter: A Theory of Form and Color
(July 9- September 12, 2013)
Drawn from the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery’s collection of more than forty works by the Swiss color theorist Hans Hinterreiter (1902–1989), this exhibition will be the first solo exhibition in the United States of the artist’s paintings and prints since his 1988 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Hinterreiter shared a rigorous approach to art making with the seminal Swiss architect, painter, and writer Max Bill, who stated in 1949 that “it is possible to develop an art to a large extent on the basis of mathematical thinking.” While the majority of the works selected for this exhibition were created by the artist in the 1960s and 1970s, five rare studies in gouache from the 1930s and 1940s, some with the artist’s annotated notes in the margins, will be included, along with monographs the artist has written on the subject of color and form theory.
Hans Hinterreiter: A Theory of Form and Color has been made possible, in part, by a generous donation from Leslie Cecil and Creighton Michael, M.A. '76.
Eugène Delacroix, French, 1798–1863
Méphistophélès dans les airs (Mephistopheles in the Air), from Faust, Tragédie de M. de Goethe, tr. en français par M. Albert Stapfer, 1828
10-3/4" x 9"
Vanderbilt Art Association Acquisition Fund Purchase
Difficult Art and the Liberal Arts Imagination
(September 27–December 5, 2013. Please note that the gallery will be closed October 10–13, 2013, for fall break, and November 23–December 1, 2013, for Thanksgiving.)
Difficult Art and the Liberal Arts Imaginationis presented to coincide with the fall 2013 Vanderbilt Commons Reading, College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be by Andrew Delbanco. In his book, which will be read by all incoming Vanderbilt first-year students, Delbanco defends the role of the liberal arts as a critical element of the undergraduate experience, stressing the importance of allowing students to test and discover their values and ideas among other activities and goals. One way to align the concept of difficult art with the Delbanco text is to suggest that it is in keeping with a liberal arts education that gallery visitors are exposed to “difficult” works. Through the liberal arts education, viewers are given ways of apprehending art in its various manifestations and are enabled to experience challenging works more fully.
Drawn from the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery’s extensive permanent collection, Difficult Art and the Liberal Arts Imaginationseeks to highlight works that confront the viewer with questions about the status of art, its meaning, and its purpose. Artists represented in this exhibition whose works dislocate, confront, and goad our experience of their works include Salvador Dali, Eugène Delacroix, Donna Ferrato, Jean Hélion, Lee Krasner, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Rembrandt van Rijn, Auguste Rodin, Edward Steichen, and Kara Walker. Vanderbilt faculty and staff selected several of the works in the show, and some are presented with commentary explaining why the work was chosen to represent “difficult” art.
Difficult Art and the Liberal Arts Imaginationis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Martin Rapisarda, associate dean of the College of Arts and Science.
Fritz Eichenberg’s life was shaped by his firsthand experience of World War I in Cologne, Germany, and his immigration to the United States in 1933 as Germany was preparing for another war. Eichenberg was a highly sensitive person with a quick eye, a sharp wit, a passionate love of literature, and an equally intense commitment to the truth. He combined these qualities to produce several careers’ worth of work as a political cartoonist, book illustrator, religious radical (he was a major contributor to the newspaper of the Catholic Worker, a left-leaning movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Marin in 1933), and distinguished educator. His images, published in newspapers, magazines, portfolios, and more than one hundred books, have reached countless numbers of people. He was, in the best sense of the word, a popular artist, one who communicated to a wide audience his unique vision while maintaining the highest technical and ethical standards.
The focus of Fritz Eichenberg—Artist of the Book will be portfolio illustrations Eichenberg created for twelve classic works of literature. A set of original publications will be featured along with a self-portrait of Eichenberg with many of the authors illustrated in this exhibition, thanks to a generous loan from a local collector. Additionally, this loan will include Eichenberg's preparatory drawing, final print, and original woodblock for the cover of The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of Dorothy Day, along with the book itself, allowing visitors a glimpse into the artist's process. The gallery will also present selections from Eichenberg’s 1972 work In Praise of Folly (Encomium Moriae) from its permanent collection.
Fritz Eichenberg—Artist of the Bookis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.
Max Klinger, German, 1857-1920 Der Künstler in der Dachstube (The Artist in the Attic)
Etching and aquating (on thin wove paper)
5-3/4" x 2-3/8"
Dr. and Mrs. E. William Ewers Gift for Fine Arts Fund Purchase
History's Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identity
(March 13 - June 5, 2014)
An opening reception will be held Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 5 to 7 pm in Cohen Memorial Hall.
Presented as the first survey of German art from the Fine Arts Gallery’s collections, History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identity addresses the role of history in shaping German art and how that history has influenced the formulation of German identity. This exhibition will also address how we, in turn, view German art through a lens ground in our complex relationship with the German past, with World War II still coloring how many Americans and Germans alike view Germany, its culture, and its art.
While not a comprehensive survey of German art, History’s Shadow spans five hundred years, with particular attention given to political and cultural events and the way these events “cast a shadow” on both the artists and the art created by them. The earliest German work in the Fine Arts Gallery’s collection is the melancholic Rhenish Pietà, a late medieval work, ca. 1450–1460. Old Master prints are well represented beginning in the fifteenth century with works by artists such as Michael Wolgemut, Albrecht Dürer’s teacher, and Dürer himself. Several works by artists called the kleine Meister, or “Little Masters,” a group of German artists active in the first half of the sixteenth century who produced a wide range of small-scale, intricately worked prints, nearly all of which were engravings, are also featured. Artists from the period leading up to and immediately following World War I, such as Erich Heckel, Max Klinger, Conrad Felixmüller, and Käthe Kollwitz will be included, reflecting the impact of the war on Germany and its artists. Art of the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is represented by Sigmar Polke, the conceptualist Thomas Locher, and an excerpt from Christiane Baumgartner’s 1 Sekunde, a meditation on time and contemporaneity.
History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identityis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director. This exhibition has been made possible by a generous gift from Leslie Cecil and Creighton Michael, MA ’76.
Presented as a companion exhibition to History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of Identity, Farandole brings together two European cultural figures of the latter part of the twentieth century, artist Hans Hartung (1904–1989) and novelist and poet, Jean Proal (1904–1969). Published in 1972 as a portfolio of lithographs by Hartung with an accompanying poem by Proal, Farandole plays a set of aggressive abstract images against a poem with equal amounts of force and presence. Farandole, the title of Proal’s poem and the collaboration itself, is taken from the name of an open-chain community dance popular in Provence, France.
Farandole—An Artistic and Literary Collaborationis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.
Curiouser and Curiouser—Avant-garde Polish Theater Posters from the 1970s
(June 19 - August 28, 2014)
The Gallery will be closed May 24 - 26, 2014 for Memorial Day.
Presented in honor of the late Don Evans, who for much of his professional career taught art at Vanderbilt University, Curiouser and Curiouser—Avant-garde Polish Theater Posters from the 1970’s features over twenty posters from a particularly rich period of Eastern European graphic art design. Some artists went on to receive significant notoriety for their work, such as Jan Sawka, whose theatrical posters had provoked the polish government to expel him in 1979. Many of the posters reflect an aesthetic begun in the 1960s under the influence of Pop art and experimental theater of the period. These posters, as well as those from the 1960s, influenced a wide range of creative figures, including the filmmakers, the Quay Brothers who this past year were featured in a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art New York where several similar posters from the period served as a context for their innovative film
Curiouser and Curiouser—Avant-garde Polish Theater Posters from the 1970s is organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.
Horse with Rider, Western Han dynasty
(206 BCE - 9 CE)
Earthenware with pigment
13-1/2" x 11-3/4" x 4-1/2"
Gift of Chauney P. Lowe
From Tomb to Temple: Unearthing Ancient China through the Vanderbilt University Fine Art Collection
(June 19 - October 12, 2014)
History of Art Alumni Lecture and Gallery Talk: "Chinese Funerary Art in its Cultural and Architectural Context"
October 9, 2014 at 4 p.m. in Cohen 203
In distant times, the universe, according to popular Chinese legend, was an enormous egg. One day the egg split open; its upper half became the sky, its lower half the earth, and from it emerged Pangu, primordial man. Every day he grew ten feet taller, the sky ten feet higher, and the earth ten feet thicker. After eighteen thousand years, Pangu died. His head split and became the sun and moon, while his blood filled the rivers and seas. His hair became the forests and meadows, his perspiration the rain, his breath the wind, and his voice the thunder – and his fleas our ancestors.
-Michael Sullivan, An Introduction to Chinese Art (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961) 25.
A people’s origin legends generally give a clue as to what they think is most important. The above legend is no exception. It expresses a typically Chinese viewpoint – namely that man is not the culminating achievement of creation, but is integral to the natural world. Spirituality is found in nature, from the circular dome of heaven wherein celestial bodies revolve, to the earth below on which mountains and rivers were formed. Objects on display in this exhibit represent the divine forces of heaven and earth, gods and ancestors.
China looks back upon the oldest continuous artistic tradition existing in the world today. Other civilizations predated the Chinese, but only in China does a current civilization extend back in unbroken continuity for well over four thousand years. Many characteristics of ancient Chinese art have persisted or recurred throughout centuries. This exhibition samples two concentrations that distinguish the gallery’s holdings: the personalized sculpture of the tomb, and universalized objects of the temple. It is arranged with respect to these subcategories, while emphasizing the relationship between tomb, temple, and divine mountains.
From Tomb to Temple: Unearthing Ancient China through the Vanderbilt University Art Collection is organized by the Department of History of Art in conjunction with the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery. This exhibition is curated by students of the course “Exhibiting Historical Art: The Sculptural Traditions of Imperial China” : Hana Betts, ’15; Corey Bowen, ’15; Jessica DeAngelo, ’15; Lucy Gonzalez, ’16; Emily Grant, ’16; Jenna Lindley, '14; MingYang Lu, ’15; Elisa Marks, ’14; Laura Payne, ’14; and Alex Penn, '15.
I am Unbeatable–Documenting and Celebrating Stories of Empowerment–Photographs by Donna Ferrato
(September 12 - December 4, 2014)
Donna Ferrato’s groundbreaking documentary project, Living with the Enemy, serves as a context for framing her new campaign against domestic violence, I Am Unbeatable, which takes her social activism to a new level by focusing on survivors of domestic abuse. Through a storytelling partnership with acclaimed American journalist Alex Chadwick, best known for his work on National Public Radio, and Claudia Dowling, award-winning journalist for such publications as Life magazine, Time, and others, I Am Unbeatable is an exhibition, a grass-roots effort to support women who have escaped violent relationships, and a means to speak directly to young women and girls who have yet to declare themselves “unbeatable.”
The author of five books, Ferrato is a self-taught photographer who became a freelance photojournalist in 1976. She was based in Paris and Belgium until 1978 and traveled extensively in Europe and the United States throughout the late 1970s. She was hired by Japanese Playboy in 1982 to photograph couples who epitomized the wealthy American lifestyle of the early 1980s. After witnessing the husband of one of those couples brutally beat his wife, Ferrato embarked on an independent documentation of domestic violence in the United States.
For more than a decade, she traveled with police, lived in battered women’s shelters, camped out in emergency rooms, and stayed in maximum security prisons with women who were serving life sentences for killing their abusers in self-defense. Ferrato’s photographs on this subject were published in Life, The New York Times Magazine, Time, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and were aired on the television programs Dateline and Eye on America. The culmination of Ferrato’s domestic violence project came in 1991 with the publication of her book, Living with the Enemy, and the founding of the Domestic Abuse Awareness Project, which seeks to end violence against women and children through awareness, education, and action. From the year of its founding through 2009, the Domestic Abuse Awareness project produced exhibitions on domestic violence to raise money for women's shelters.
Sarah, a survivor of domestic violence, and her children are the subject of much of this exhibition. A short film on her family will premier at the opening and be shown continually thereafter in the Gallery.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Class of 2018 Commons Reading, Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward. I Am Unbeatable—Documenting and Celebrating Stories of Empowerment—Photographs by Donna Ferrato is organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.