Triad Brilliant, Passaic River Hills

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Spring 2014

British Watercolors from the Permanent Collection
January 7–May 4, 2014

Francis Towne, On the River near Bath, 1783, pen and ink with watercolor and graphite on paper, 79.141.

Although painting with watercolor reaches as far back as the sixteenth century in Europe—Albrecht Dürer’s animal and bird studies come immediately to mind—the medium blossomed as an autonomous approach only in the middle years of the eighteenth century. Watercolor became particularly attractive in England, where the acceptance of landscape as an appropriate subject matter, coupled with the widespread availability of readily portable cakes of water soluble pigment that allowed artists to work sur le motif, led to a tradition that, by the early years of the nineteenth century, grew to rival oil painting in beauty and desirability.

This exhibition celebrates the so-called Golden Age of British watercolors, the period spanning roughly from 1750 to 1850, when the medium reached its pinnacle in the hands of artists such as John Varley, Francis Towne, David Cox, and Peter de Wint, all of whom are represented in the exhibition. Also on view are several early sketches by John Ruskin, the English critic whose devotion to nature harmonized with many of the more practiced watercolorists, and two picturesque studies of southern China by George Chinnery.

 

Forging Alliances
January 7–May 11, 2014

Junichiro Sekino, Fukuroi: Annual Growth Rings, No. 28 from Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido, woodblock print. Gift of Bruce and Marilyn Shobaken, UC 96.10.

 

In the years following World War II, one of the ways Japan attempted to reshape its world image was by presenting an idea of modern Japanese culture rooted in tradition. This effort took place both in Japan, where individual artists were encouraged to develop new approaches to long-established forms of Japanese art, and in the West, where art audiences were encouraged to value new Japanese artistic expressions as part of a global culture of modernism associated with creative individuality. Forging Alliances draws on the Palmer Museum’s collection of postwar mingei ceramics, many of which were acquired for the University by the late professor of art Ken Beittel during his historic 1967 sabbatical in Arita to study with Manji Inoue, and mid-twentieth-century woodblock prints from the “Creative Print Movement,” a western-influenced trend that emphasized a more individualized approach to Japanese printmaking.

The works featured in Forging Alliances were selected by Christopher Reed, professor of English and visual culture, and Jonathan Abel, assistant professor of comparative literature and Asian Studies. The exhibition served as the subject for their fall 2013 seminar, Mapping Identity, Difference, and Place, in which students researched and provided didactic information for each of the pots and prints on view.

 

Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades
January 21 –May 11, 2014

Judy Chicago, Hitch Your Wagon to a Star, from Resolutions: A Stitch in Time, 2000, painting, appliqué, embroidery, and quilting. Needlework by Jacquelyn Moore Alexander, Jane Thompson, Pat Rudy-Baese, and Mary Ewanoski. © Judy Chicago. Photo © Donald Woodman. Judy Chicago, Hitch Your Wagon to a Star, from Resolutions: A Stitch in Time, 2000, painting, appliqué, embroidery, and quilting. Needlework by Jacquelyn Moore Alexander, Jane Thompson, Pat Rudy-Baese, and Mary Ewanoski. Judy Chicago. Photo Donald Woodman.

 

The Palmer Museum of Art is delighted to present Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades, a major exhibition charting the remarkable—and ongoing—career of the indefatigable Judy Chicago. One might add intrepid, controversial, and inspirational to the list of adjectives characterizing this artist whose name and considerable reputation are inextricably connected to the feminist art movement and whose magnum opus, The Dinner Party (1974–79)—the centerpiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum—remains one of the iconic works of the twentieth century.

Rather than pigeonholing her as a meteoric phenomenon and powerhouse of the 1970s, this five-decade survey considerably expands our understanding of the trajectory of Chicago’s career and reveals the remarkable breadth of her output from the late 1960s to the present. Early abstract spray paintings like Pasadena Lifesavers Yellow Series #1, 1969–70, demonstrate Chicago’s early exploration of industrial materials in the midst of the “Finish Fetish” movement, but also anticipate the pulsating vibrancy and “core imagery” that define much of her later work.

Chicago’s definitive shift to figuration in the years immediately following the popular success of The Dinner Party is amply demonstrated in the cosmically matrilineal Earth Birth (1983, from the Birth Project), a mural-scale piece produced in collaboration with textile and needlework artists; and Cartoon for The Fall (1987, from the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light), an equally monumental canvas signaling the artist’s renewed engagement with the human condition and an expanded, indeed global, context of injustice and oppression.

Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades features numerous works drawn from private collections, including a selection of test plates and thirty-nine process drawings for The Dinner Party; a suite of prints surveying her career; and recent sculptures in bronze and cast glass that confirm Chicago’s continued determination to discover or revisit processes that best serve her emotionally compelling, narrative-driven, multimedia works.The exhibition is part of the campus-wide celebration of the artist’s seventy-fifth birthday and the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, an important collection of archival material on feminist art education now open to the public at the University Libraries.

Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades was organized by the museum in partnership with A.R.T. Corp.

Judy Chicago at Penn State logo

Summer 2014

Mining the Store: American Prints from the Permanent Collection
May 13–August 24, 2014

Mining the Store: American Prints from the Permanent Collection is on view May 13 through August 24, 2014Ellison Hoover, Rough Water, 1940, lithograph. Gift of J. Fred Beamer, 92.49.

 

Like many museums, the Palmer Museum of Art displays only a portion of its collection at any given time. The remainder of its holdings is relegated to storerooms. The hiatus is often temporary for paintings and sculpture, many of which find their way back on view with regular reinstallations of the permanent galleries. For works on paper, however, the tenure in storage can seem almost interminable. Because of their sensitivity to light, prints, drawings, watercolors, and photographs can spend years, even decades, tucked safely away in darkness. Unless granted temporary parole for a special exhibition, class visit, or scholarly study, they remain out of sight, and, far too frequently, out of mind.

For Mining the Store, the museum has dug deep into the permanent collection to unearth a number of lithographs and intaglios by American artists that have not been on view in recent years. It will be interesting to learn from inveterate visitors when they last recall seeing Peter Milton’s enigmatic Daylilies, Daniel Garber’s etching of the oft-painted Stover’s Mill, or the untitled drypoint by Robert Rohm that was acquired by the University in 1968—which is to say, four years before the museum first opened its doors.

 


Seeing America: Photographs from the Permanent Collection
May 20–August 10, 2014

Seeing America: Photographs from the Permanent Collection is on view May 20 through August 17, 2014W. Eugene Smith, Pittsburgh at Night from the Allegheny River, 1955, gelatin silver print, 2000.32.

 

This exhibition examines the rich fabric of people and places that constitute America as captured by notable photographers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Chronologically spanning well over a century, the photographs on view graphically attest to the geographical diversity of the United States as well as to the remarkable range of inhabitants who call this land home. From Ellis Island immigrants, industrial workers, a “Kentucky Colonel,” and residents of Harlem to vistas of the Montana Territory, Pennsylvania rivers and cities, and the Great Smoky Mountains, Seeing America invites viewers to see a few of the citizens and sites captured on film by some of this country’s most important photographers.

Featured photographers include Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Edward S. Curtis, Elliott Erwitt, Walker Evans, David Graham, Lewis Hine, William Henry Jackson, Consuelo Kanaga, Bart Michiels, Gordon Parks, Eliot Porter, Charles Sheeler, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, Florence Vandamm, James Van Der Zee, Carleton Watkins, and Marion Post Wolcott.

The exhibition is being organized in conjunction with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts’ presentation of First Person: Seeing America, which is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.



Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier
The Phelan Collection
June 10–August 31, 2014

Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier, The Phelan Collection is on view June 10 through August 31, 2014Louis Akin, Hopi Maiden, c. 1910, oil on artist's board. The Phelan Collection.

 

Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier features a large selection of paintings and watercolors from the private collection of Arthur J. Phelan of Chevy Chase, Maryland. A lifelong student of American history, Phelan began collecting views of the American West several decades ago, eager to better understand the relevance of the frontier to the American psyche and its role in the construction of the nation’s identity.

Spanning the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, the collection features works by many well-known artists—Albert Bierstadt, Karl Bodmer, Frederic Remington, and Carl Wimar—as well as works by lesser-known men and women who recorded their observations of the West. The exhibition highlights three themes: the natural wonder of the western landscape; the steady encroachment of settlements into once open territory; and the remarkable individuals, many of them anonymous, who populated the frontier as it moved westward.

Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier, The Phelan Collection, was organized by Exhibits Development Group, USA.

 

Fall 2014

Lanny Sommese: Image Maker
August 26–December 21, 2014

 

The Palmer Museum of Art is proud to celebrate the eminent career of Lanny Sommese, Distinguished Professor of Graphic Design, with an exhibition that brings many of his best-known posters and other graphic creations together with the studies that helped to bring them to fruition.


Henry Varnum Poor
Studies for the
Land Grant Frescoes
September 2–December 21, 2014

Henry Varnum Poor, Study for the Land Grant Frescoes, 1939, ink, charcoal, graphite, and tempera. Gift of Miss Anne Poor, 82.154.  Henry Varnum Poor, Study for the Land Grant Frescoes, 1939, ink, charcoal, graphite, and tempera. Gift of Miss Anne Poor, 82.154.

 

To celebrate the completion of the recent conservation efforts on the Land Grant Frescoes in Old Main, the Palmer Museum of Art will place on view several studies made by Henry Varnum Poor for the frescoes in preparation for their painting in 1940 and then again in 1948-49.

 

 

 

 

Marcellus Shale Documentary Project
September 23–December 14, 2014

Brian Cohen, A frack water pipe traverses a field belonging to Tim Grossik, digital archival print © Brian Cohen. Brian Cohen, A frack water pipe traverses a field belonging to Tim Grossik, digital archival print © Brian Cohen.

 

The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project features photographic images that tell the personal stories of Pennsylvanians affected by the Marcellus Shale gas industry. By creating a visual document of the environmental, social, and economic impact of the drilling, the work aims to engage communities in the current Marcellus Shale debate while providing important historical images for the future. Organized by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

 

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