Saturday, July 17, 2010

MONTCLAIR ART MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

Engaging with Nature: American and Native American Artists (A.D. 1200-2004)
May 16, 2010 – September 25, 2011.
(Left: Mummy Cave, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, 1978 by Philip Pearlstein (b. 1924). Sepia wash on paper. Gift of Philip Pearlstein, Montclair Art Museum, 2009.1)



This is the first exhibition ever presented by the Montclair Art Museum to integrate—around a central theme—all time periods and American and Native American art represented in the Museum's collection. More than half of the nearly 40 works have never or rarely been displayed. The works in the exhibition encompass an astonishing variety of art and artifacts, from prehistoric Native American ceramics to historical 19th-century landscape paintings to contemporary staged photographs, suggesting various conceptions of landscape and nature.

The works in the exhibition encompass an astonishing variety of art and artifacts, from prehistoric Native American ceramics to historical 19th-century landscape paintings to contemporary staged photographs, suggesting various conceptions of landscape and nature.


America’s diverse geography is evoked in western landscapes by Thomas Moran, Philip Pearlstein, Charles Simonds, and Albert Lorey Groll, while New Jersey and the East are subjects of works by Charles Warren Eaton, Charles Burchfield, Dennis Oppenheim and Montclair-born Lois Dodd. Also included are Native American works created from the land and plants that are often depicted in landscapes. Ancient vessels from the Puebloan cultures in the Southwest offer fine examples of prehistoric ceramics made for everyday use.

Imaginary landscapes are prevalent in the show, beginning with the expressive, dreamlike works of Ralph Albert Blakelock and James Lavadour, who, like George Inness, believed that nature was imbued with the mystical presence of divine forces. Imaginative, spiritual interpretations of nature are also evident in the work of Oscar Bluemner, Charles Burchfield, Dan Namingha, Kenzo Okada, Steve Grapber, and Emmi Whitehorse. Nature as a vehicle for exploring ancient, universal themes of ritual, magic, myth, and the origins of life fascinated Mark Rothko, Harry Fonseca, Tony Abeyta and Kay WalkingStick.

Contemporary landscapes often challenge earlier, more literal or romanticized concepts of nature. In the 1970s, pioneering Earthwork artist Oppenheim created ephemeral manipulations of nature that exist only in the form of photo-documentations. More recently, Louise Lawler, Hiroshige Sugimoto and Justine Kurland use photography as a medium to explore ideas of reality and illusion.

Upcoming exhibits

Living for Art: Works from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection (September 26, 2010–January 2, 2011), featuring 50 gifts of minimal and conceptual art MAM recently received as the one museum in New Jersey selected to be part of the National Gallery of Art’s Fifty Works for Fifty States initiative.

American Icons: Andy Warhol and Cars (February 6–July 17, 2011), a first-time look at Warhol’s longtime fascination with automotive vehicles as products of consumer society in this survey of drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, and related archival documents spanning his career from 1946 to 1985, including MAM’s pivotal but little-known silk screen painting Twelve Cadillacs (1962).

MONTCLAIR ART MUSEUM
3 South Mountain Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey 07042-1747
973.746.5555

Hours: Wednesdays–Sundays, Noon–5 PM
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and major holidays