Events

All programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art unless otherwise noted.

EXHIBITION OPENING - Drawing on a Legacy: Highlights from the John Driscoll American Drawings Collection

Tuesday, January 21

EXHIBITION OPENING

Drawing on a Legacy: Highlights from the John Driscoll American Drawings Collection

The gift of 140 works on paper from Penn State alumnus Dr. John P. Driscoll in 2018 dramatically reshaped the Palmer Museum of Art’s holdings of American art. Drawing on a Legacy is the first exhibition to showcase selections from this significant collection of watercolors and drawings and will feature some thirty works by a diverse group of nineteenth-century American artists.

Early landscape views and botanical sketches, animal scenes and still lifes, and portraits and preparatory figure studies are among the subjects highlighted in the exhibition. Artists represented include many well-known luminaries of the period—John Vanderlyn, William Trost Richards, and Edwin Howland Blashfield—along with lesser-known figures whose work deserves further study. Drawing on a Legacy surveys an array of techniques and media, including graphite, charcoal, ink, and watercolor, and explores the changing cultural importance of drawing during the so-called “long” nineteenth century.

Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 -
10:00am to 4:30pm
EXHIBITION OPENING - African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting

Saturday, February 8

EXHIBITION OPENING

African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting

African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting presents a wide-ranging selection of African art from the notable collection amassed by Ambassador Allen Davis. His long career with the U.S. State Department afforded him the opportunity to build an outstanding collection representing many of the key cultures of East, Central, and West Africa. The exhibition features eighty-seven objects by twentieth-century African artists from a variety of cultures across the continent, including the Dan people of Liberia, the Mossi and Lobi peoples of Burkina Faso, the Dogon and Bamana peoples of Mali, the Akan peoples of Ghana, and the Kuba peoples of Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others. The works include carved and decorated wooden sculptures, natural fiber and beaded textiles, metalwork, and ceramic pots that represent household, community, and ritual practices.

African Brilliance will feature works from the Palmer’s permanent collection as well as loans from Allen and Barbara Davis, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of African Art, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the North Carolina Museum of Art. An online catalogue will feature interviews with Davis and local residents who have had firsthand experience with the types of objects on view, as well as essays by scholars William Dewey, Janet Purdy, and Mary Jo Arnoldi, curator emerita of African ethnology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art.

Saturday, February 8, 2020 -
10:00am to 4:30pm
LECTURE - Yoruba Masking at the Diasporic Crossroad

Wednesday, February 19, 5:30 p.m.

LECTURE

Yoruba Masking at the Diasporic Crossroad

Bolaji Campbell, Professor of African and African Diaspora Art, Department of Theory and History of Art and Design, RISD

Dr. Campbell will examine four contemporary African diaspora artists, Wole Lagunju, Moyo Okediji, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, and Nick Cave, who have appropriated Egungun iconography as an abiding symbol of their artistic vision. The four artists exhibit the complexity of traits including ambivalence, novelty, and innovativeness that are consistent with the Yoruba notion and idiosyncratic representation of the artistic personality known as Are—the tendencies for itinerancy, discovery, boldness, and disruptiveness that have come to define artistic creativity within the Yoruba universe. Co-sponsored by the Palmer Museum of Art and the African Studies Program. This event is part of the African Brilliance Lecture Series.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 -
2:00pm to 2:45pm
LECTURE - The Missionary as Collector: Dr. George W. Harley in Liberia, 1925–1960

Thursday, March 19, 5:30 p.m., during Art After Hours

LECTURE

The Missionary as Collector: Dr. George W. Harley in Liberia, 1925–1960

Christopher B. Steiner, Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology and Director of the Museum Studies Program, Connecticut College

Dr. Steiner will explore the history of African art collecting in Liberia by examining the work of American medical-missionary Dr. George W. Harley. By tracing his career in Liberia between 1925 and 1960, the lecture reveals how Dr. Harley shifted from ethnographic collecting in the 1930s and 1940s to marketing objects for a burgeoning African art market in America beginning in the 1950s. Steiner considers such issues as the ethics of field collecting, the cultural construction of authenticity, and the role of provenance in the contemporary market for "high end" African art. Co-sponsored by the Palmer Museum of Art, African Studies Program, and the Department of Art History. This event is part of the African Brilliance Lecture Series.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 -
5:30pm to 6:45pm
LECTURE AND FILM SCREENING - The Catalogue of Speculative Translations

Thursday, March 19, 7:30 p.m., during Art After Hours

LECTURE AND FILM SCREENING

The Catalogue of Speculative Translations

Abigail Celis, Marian Trygve Freed Early Career Professor in French and Francophone Studies and African Studies, Penn State

Dr. Celis will discuss and screen her experimental video project that creates an alternative sensorial world of African art objects held in museum collections, especially the Museum of Art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (MAAOA) in Marseille, France. Whether regarded as a temple or a forum, art museums tend to privilege sight as the primary mode for relating to the objects on display. The Catalogue of Speculative Translations (re)activates the textures, sounds, and affects that are muted in the museum space. Through this re-visioning, the film evokes histories of colonialism and conquest, but also community and care, that are part of the collection's biography.

Sponsored by the Palmer Museum of Art. This event is part of the African Brilliance Lecture Series.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
LECTURE  From “Nomoli” to Export Ivories: Sixteenth-century Sierra Leonean Artists and their Local and European Patrons

Thursday, April 2, 5:30 p.m.

LECTURE

From “Nomoli” to Export Ivories: Sixteenth-century Sierra Leonean Artists and their Local and European Patrons

Kathy Curnow, Associate Professor of Art History, Cleveland State University

Sixteenth-century coastal Sierra Leone included a multitude of Temne and Bullom artists who made small soapstone figures (called nomoli today), as well as wooden figures and masks and ivory trumpets. After Portuguese contact in 1462, they expanded their repertoire to make ivory saltcellars, horns, cutlery, and ecclesiastical items for these foreigners. They retained their figurative style and some motifs, but adapted their works for foreign tastes, creating a cottage industry that lasted for less than a century. Co-sponsored by the Palmer Museum of Art, African Studies Program, and the Department of Art History. This event is part of the African Brilliance Lecture Series.

Thursday, April 2, 2020 -
5:30pm to 7:00pm