NASHVILLE —The Frist Center for the Visual Arts has planned an expansive schedule for 2014 featuring exhibitions from around the world. The Center’s Ingram Gallery will feature Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan, an exploration of the Japanese influence on some of the most recognized American and European artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; Watch me Move: The Animation Show, a celebration of the creative world of animated imagery; and Kandinsky—A Retrospective, a survey of the renowned 20th century artist’s work drawn primarily from Paris’s Pompidou Centre.
The Upper-Level Galleries will present Steve Mumford’s War Journals, 2003–2013, organized by the Frist Center; Goya: The Disasters of War, a collaboration of Pomona College Museum of Art and the University Museums of the University of Delaware; Real/Surreal, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art; and Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan orders in Renaissance Italy, organized by the Frist Center.
In the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery, the Frist Center will present the work of Nashville artist Lain York in Selections from the National Gallery, a series of cut-vinyl vignettes inspired by David McCullough’s biography of President John Adams; whimsical paintings by New York artist Maira Kalman that illustrate and reflect upon the rules of grammar as spelled out in Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style; and the distinctive, luminous columns of pioneer California Light and Space artist Helen Pashgian.
The Frist Center’s schedule of exhibitions for 2014 in order of opening:
Looking East: Western Art and the Allure of Japan. Jan. 31–May 11, 2014, Ingram Gallery
The late 19th and early 20th century witnessed an explosion of interest in all things Japanese that prompted a correspondingly radical shift in modern art dubbed “Japonisme” by the Parisian critic Philippe Burty in 1872. Some of the greatest American and European artists were inspired by Japanese art and culture during this period to create works of singular beauty.
The Frist Center will be the first museum to present Looking East: Western Art and the Allure of Japan. The exhibition, which will later be seen in Japan, Canada, and San Francisco, explores the fruitful encounter between East and West by showing Japanese ukiyo-e prints and decorative arts alongside the paintings and prints of Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch and the furniture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which has one of the finest collections of both Japanese art and American and European art of this period in the world.
Looking East: Western Art and the Allure of Japan is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Lain York: Selections from the National Gallery. Jan. 31–May 11, 2014. Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery
Selections from the National Gallery is a tribute to John Adams, a Founding Father and the second president of the United States. Inspired by David McCullough’s biography of Adams, Nashville artist Lain York brings his personal interpretation to key historical events through a series of vinyl silhouetted vignettes inspired by phrases from McCullough’s text. Despite the significance of the depicted scenes, York imbues the works with nonchalant sensibility from his use of stick-on vinyl as the primary medium. The vinyl is often wrinkled or hangs loose, lightening the sense of dignity and scale that often marks traditional history paintings as important.
Lain York: Selections from the National Gallery is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville.
Steve Mumford’s War Journals, 2003–2013. Feb. 28–June 8, 2014. Upper-Level Galleries
From 2003 until 2013, artist Steve Mumford travelled to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, to create artworks documenting the experiences of American troops, civilians caught in the conflict, and prisoners being held at Guantanamo. In an effort to understand the nature of war from a variety of perspectives, Mumford captured what he calls “the spaces in between,” the long periods between combat in which soldiers and civilians strive to maintain a feeling of normalcy and community-building in the face of pending trauma. The resulting watercolors, sketches and paintings offer unflinching depictions of the extremity of sacrifices made—willingly and unwillingly—in the name of national ideology.
Steve Mumford’s War Journals, 2003–2013 is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville.
Goya: The Disasters of War. Feb. 28–June 8, 2014. Upper-Level Galleries
Featuring a complete set of the first published edition of etchings produced by canonical Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, The Disasters of War documents the horrors of the Peninsular War of 1808–14 between Spain and France under Napoleon Bonaparte. The 81 numbered aquatint etchings are grouped into three main sections: the affects of war, the Madrid famine of 1811–12, and the disappointment at the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Because of their criticism of both France and the restored Bourbon monarchy, these works were not published until 1863, three decades after Goya’s death. The etchings explore such themes as carnage, conflict, famine, heroism and retribution. The exhibition presents new scholarship on the series, reviving Goya’s original intentions for the order in which it is to be seen, interspersing themes of war’s impact on city and countryside.
Goya: The Disasters of War is a collaboration of Pomona College Museum of Art and the University Museums of the University of Delaware. It is curated by Janis Tomlinson, director, University Museums, and circulated by the Pomona College Museum of Art.
Watch Me Move: The Animation Show. June 6–Sept. 1, 2014. Ingram Gallery
In 1911, American cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay prefaced his short film Little Nemo with the invitation to “Watch Me Move,” introducing a cast of colorful characters in a playful promenade. This exhibition uses these same words to invite visitors to a celebration of animation. Watch Me Move is the most extensive exhibition ever mounted to present the full range of animated imagery produced in the last 150 years. Presenting animation as a highly influential force in the development of global visual culture, the exhibition explores the relationship between animation and film.
Cutting across generations and cultures, Watch Me Move features over 100 works, from iconic clips to lesser-known masterpieces. It brings together industry pioneers, independent film-makers and contemporary artists including Étienne-Jules Marey, Harry Smith, Jan Švankmajer, William Kentridge and Nathalie Djurberg alongside the creative output of commercial studios such as Walt Disney, Aardman, Studio Ghibli and Pixar.Watch Me Move: The Animation Show is organized by Barbican Centre, London.
The Barbican Centre is provided by the City of London Corporation.
Maira Kalman: The Elements of Style. June 6–Sept. 1, 2014. Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery
This exhibition features paintings on paper by Maira Kalman that were used to illustrate a 2007 re-publication of the authoritative American English writing style guide The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. Kalman’s illustrations whimsically embody the didactic examples of grammar rules and their breakage provided by this essential text for writers. Phrases like “But animals do not comprise (‘embrace’) a zoo—they constitute a zoo” and “None of us is perfect” inspired Kalman’s visual witticisms. Her use of flattened space, strong colors and childlike figures provide an enjoyable lesson in both literary and visual literacy.
Maira Kalman: The Elements of Style is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville.
Real/Surreal. June 27–Oct.12, 2014. Upper-Level Galleries
A survey of works from the 1920s to 1960s drawn from the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Real/Surreal looks at the way in which many American artists represented reality as a subjective and malleable state of mind rather than a fixed truth. Influenced by European Surrealists of the 1920s like Salvador Dalí and René Magritte, some American artists used the tools of illusionistic representation to subvert reality entirely, while others subtly tweaked the conventions of realism, turning the familiar into something unsettling and uncanny. The exhibition includes works by Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Man Ray and Thomas Hart Benton, among others.
Real/Surreal is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Kandinsky: A Retrospective. Sept. 26, 2014–Jan.14, 2015. Ingram Gallery
Considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Vassily Kandinsky is often credited with creating the first purely non-objective painting. Featuring over 80 paintings, watercolors, drawings and a reconstituted mural, Vassily Kandinsky celebrates some of the most significant aspects of the artist’s oeuvre. Beginning with his early paintings influenced by symbolists such as Edvard Munch, Russian folk painting and Fauvism, the exhibition also includes works the artist created while part of the Munich-based group, der Blaue Reiter, which greatly influenced Kandinsky’s stylistic shift toward pure abstraction. The exhibition also surveys Kandinsky’s work during his time in Russia through World War I and after the October Revolution, the time he spent at the Bauhaus in Germany, and concludes with late works he created in Paris.
Drawing extensively from the collection of Kandinsky’s works from Paris’s Centre Pompidou, which were donated by Kandinsky’s widow, the exhibition will also feature an additional selection of works by other der Blaue Reiter artists from the Milwaukee Art Museum, providing a context through which viewers can appreciate Kandinsky’s significance.
Kandinsky: A Retrospective is organized by the Centre Pompidou—Paris and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Helen Pashgian: Columns. Sept. 26, 2014–Jan. 14, 2015. Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery
Helen Pashgian explores the nature of perception by using natural and artificial light to illuminate reflective, translucent or transparent industrial materials such as fiberglass, polyester resin, plastic, glass and other substances. A pioneer of the Light and Space Movement of the 1960s, Pashgian and others within this small group of Southern California artists sought to make the spectators’ sensory experience the focus of their work. This exhibition presents a selection of her paired columns, luminous seven foot structures that refract light in surprising ways due to their internal copper rods.
Helen Pashgian Columns is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy. Oct. 31, 2014–January 25, 2015. Upper-Level Galleries
The first exhibition dedicated to Italian Renaissance art in Nashville since 1934, Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy explores the role of the two major new religious orders in the revival of the arts in Italy during the period 1200 to 1550. The exhibition presents drawings, illuminated manuscripts, liturgical objects, paintings prints, printed books and sculptures drawn from the collections of major American and European libraries and museums, including works of art from the Vatican Library and Vatican Museums that have never before been exhibited in the United States.
Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
A fully illustrated catalogue published by Philip Wilson Publishers in conjunction with the Frist Center will accompany the exhibition.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.