Thursday, January 21, 2021

News from the Princeton University Art Museum



An Art Curator Explains the Resonance between the US Capitol's Masterpieces and the Riots
A Commentary by Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding Curator of American Art


Following the recent attacks on the US Capitol, National Geographic published an essay by Karl Kusserow, the Art Museum’s John Wilmerding Curator of American Art, that examines what political portraiture can tell us about the presence of the past in the present.
Kusserow considers an image of one of the now-notorious Capitol insurgents sitting beneath the portrait of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner—who, after delivering an antislavery speech in 1856, was beaten nearly to death by South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks. He writes, “The portrait attests to the fact that the Capitol has witnessed great trauma before, and, like Sumner, recovered from it. Outside of this, what coheres these two events—the near-fatal attack on Sumner and the siege on the Capitol—is race. Who can deny that beneath both lie the cry of entitled white men railing against the dilution of their authority by a push for a more diverse, more equitable nation?” Click here to read the full essay.




Writing Workshop
A Long Look at Love: Venus and Amor by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Thursday, January 21, 5:30 p.m. (EST)


An art object asks us to reply to it: It returns our gaze, and it compels action and reaction from us. In this interactive writing workshop, we will discover that a slower, closer look at Cranach's complex mythographic portrait of Venus and Amor exposes an extraordinary range of subjects. We will engage these subjects through a guided program of prompts, writing our responses to Cranach's work. Presented by Sarah M. Anderson, lecturer in English, the Medieval Studies Program, and the Freshman Seminar Program, Princeton University. Details and free registration here.




Art Making
Drawing Classes

Thursdays, beginning February 4


The Art Museum is partnering with the Arts Council of Princeton to provide free online art-making experiences. Weekly classes are taught over Zoom so participants can join live, using materials available at home. Each week’s lesson features works from the Museum’s collections and is introduced by a Student Tour Guide. This series will be held Thursday evenings, February 4 through March 4. Details and free registration for the February 4 class here.




Save the Date
Yoga and Art

Thursday, February 4, 5:30 p.m. (EST)


Join us for a virtual yoga class inspired by the abstract art of Alexander Calder. Yoga instructor Tricia Adelman will guide this all-levels yoga practice through a series of moves and poses imbued with elements of Calder’s style, such as his signature bright colors and geometric forms. Participants will view the artwork as they connect breath and movement, focusing on flexibility, balance, and physical challenges. Offered in partnership with Princeton University Campus Recreation. Details and free registration here.




Film Lecture
Losing Picasso: The Challenges of Condensing a Life

Thursday, February 18, 5:30 p.m. (EST)


The filmmakers Ismail Merchant and James Ivory faced almost insurmountable challenges in producing the film Surviving Picasso, which takes as its subject the relationship between Pablo Picasso and his companion Françoise Gilot. This lecture with Caroline Harris, associate director for education, investigates the resulting depiction of the painter, providing a larger context for the period portrayed. Watch the film at your leisure, then join us on Zoom on February 18 for the live lecture. Presented in partnership with the Princeton Garden Theatre. Details and free registration here.




Save the Date
Artist Talk: Glenn Ligon and Hilton Als

Thursday, March 11, 5:30 p.m. (EST)


The artist Glenn Ligon, whose work draws on literature and history to explore race, language, desire, and identity, joins the Pulitzer Prize–winning author and critic Hilton Als to discuss the ways in which art can engage and rethink the most urgent issues of our time. Details and free registration here.


Image credits

Capitol insurgent Aaron Mostofsky from Brooklyn, New York, sits beneath a portrait of Senator Charles Sumner and alongside a bust of Vice President Richard Nixon on January 6, 2021. Photograph by Mike Theiler, Reuters 

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Venus and Amor, ca. 1518–20. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, gift of George L. Craig, Jr., Class of 1921, and Mrs. Craig
Alexander Calder, Five Disks: One Empty, 1969–70. Princeton University Art Museum. The John B. Putnam Jr. Memorial Collection, Princeton University. © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Pablo Picasso, La Minotauromachie (Minotauromachy), 1935. Princeton University Art Museum. Gift of Margaret Scolari Barr. © 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Glenn Ligon, Self Portrait at Eleven Years Old, 2004. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, Kathleen Compton Sherrerd Fund for Acquisitions in American Art. © Glenn Ligon