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MONTCLAIR ART MUSEUM’S ADVANCE SCHEDULE OF EXHIBTIONS

THROUGH SUMMER 2019

 

Artists Address Important Issues of Our Times

In exhibitions by Kara Walker, Ben Jones,

works from MAM’s Permanent Collection

and New Directions in Fiber Art

 

 

 

MONTCLAIR, NJ, June 22, 2018 – The 2018-2019 season at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) features two solo exhibitions by African American artists, works from the permanent collection discussing issues of identity and New Directions in Fiber Art, a project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Montclair Art Museum.

 

Kara Walker: Virginia’s Lynch Mob and Other Works is built around the monumental wall installation Virginia’s Lynch Mob (1998), a recent major acquisition of the Montclair Art Museum.  This exhibition centerpiece, a nearly 40-foot-long cut paper work, uses Walker’s iconic silhouette form to depict a lynching about to happen. The renowned contemporary artist Kara Walker explores issues of race, gender, sexuality, and violence in American history and contemporary culture in all her works. This exhibition will provide audiences with context for both the breadth and depth of Walker’s artwork by presenting a sampling of the different media in which she works.  MAM will also be offering a broad range of related programming to foster an active and open community discussion and broader understanding of the critical and challenging topics presented through Kara Walker’s work.

 

Fall 2018 also marks the opening of Constructing Identity in America (1766-2017), a show that complements the themes of Kara Walker through an exhibition of 86 paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the Museum’s permanent collection, considering a broad range of definitions of personal identity.  On view through January 2020, highlights of this show include Charles Willson Peale’s Portrait of George Washington (1783) to a newly acquired portrait, Matar Mbaye (Study 1) (2007), by Kehinde Wiley (who painted the portrait of President Obama that was recently hung in the National Portrait Gallery).

 

MAM’s Laurie Art Stairway will exhibit the monumental composition Envision Empower Embrace by African American artist, activist and educator Ben Jones through the summer of 2019.  This mural, based on selected imagery from Jones’ recent paintings, which address events related to social justice, climate change and environmental disasters, is a powerful

aesthetic and political statement, intended to inspire thought and action on the part of viewers

 

From February through mid-June 2019, MAM will be exhibiting New Directions in Fiber Art, the New Jersey Arts Annual exhibition highlighting New Jersey’s visual artists sponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  This juried show will consist of works created in the array of traditional and contemporary fibrous materials and methods all completed since 2015.  Work must be submitted by August 1, 2018 for consideration by the jury.  As humanity relies increasingly upon technology, there is a growing appreciation of the personal, sensuous delivery of mood and content through the familiar components of fiber.  Putting forth the discoveries of their world and times, these artists engage the expressive potential of ancient methods with contemporary voices.

 

Following are descriptions, current as of this date, of the exhibitions.

 

KARA WALKER: VIRGINIA’S LYNCH MOB AND OTHER WORKS

 

September 15, 2018 – January 6, 2019

 

“The work is difficult because the history is hard. But don’t you want to see it?”
—Kara Walker

 

About the Exhibition

 

Kara Walker is a leading contemporary artist best known for her innovative use of the silhouette form. Kara Walker: Virginia’s Lynch Mob and Other Works seeks to contextualize the monumental wall installation Virginia’s Lynch Mob, a recent major acquisition of the Montclair Art Museum.

 

Walker explores issues of race, gender, sexuality, and violence in American history and contemporary culture in all of her works. Virginia’s Lynch Mob, as the centerpiece of the show, is a nearly 40-feet-long, cut paper work that uses her iconic silhouette form to depict a lynching about to happen. The piece invokes the brutal racial violence of American history to reckon with its ugly truths. Walker maps multiple elegant, imposing, life-size figures into scenes of brutality that draw audiences inside of the trauma. It will be displayed on a curved wall, enhancing the immersive experience of the life-size figures and referencing 19th-century panoramic paintings.

 

This exhibition will provide audiences with context for both the breadth and depth of Walker’s artwork by presenting a sampling of the different media in which she works. The 24 works span from 1997, the year in which Walker won a MacArthur Genius grant, to the present, with a maquette of The Katastwóf Karavan, the artist’s contribution to the recent Prospect 4 in New Orleans. The diversity of Walker’s artistic practice is highlighted with selections from the lithograph series Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) (2005); The Emancipation Approximation (Scene #18), a screenprint from 1999–2000; the 1998 linocut African/American; an additional 1998 cut paper piece Consume; Testimony, a short film and photogravure stills (2005); Freedom, a Fable a 1997 pop-up book; and drawings such as two works from the Negress Notes series (1997) and Sketch for an American Comic Opera with 20th

Century Race Riots (2012).

 

The exhibition is organized by Guest Curator Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Associate Professor of American Art and affiliated faculty in Africana Studies, Cinema Studies, and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker (2004), with the assistance of Gail Stavitsky, MAM Chief Curator.

 

In order to foster an active and open community discussion and broader understanding of the critical and challenging topics presented through Kara Walker’s work, the Museum is offering a range of related programming. The Museum worked closely with MAM’s African American Cultural Committee (AACC) and other community members on the public presentations and programming for the exhibition.  Resulting programs and opportunities include presentations and discussions related to race and identity at the Museum’s Free First Thursdays, a reflection space allowing Museum visitors to participate in the conversation by adding their own words and images in response to the exhibition, and the preparation of a guide for parents and caregivers to speak about exhibition content with their children.  Lectures/panel discussions will include the annual Julia Norton Babson Lecture and a joint offering with Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media that will explore the intersection of media, social justice and race.  

 

About the Artist

 

New York-based artist Kara Walker is best known for her candid investigations of race, gender, sexuality, and violence through silhouetted figures that have appeared in numerous exhibitions worldwide. Born in Stockton, California, in 1969, Walker was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, from the age of 13. She studied at the Atlanta College of Art (BFA, 1991) and the Rhode Island School of Design (MFA, 1994). She is the recipient of many awards, notably the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award in 1997 and the United States Artists Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship in 2008. In 2012, Walker became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2015, she was named the Tepper Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.  Her work can be found in numerous museums and public collections including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Gallery, London; the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI), Rome; and Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt. 

 

Walker’s major survey exhibition, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, was organized by The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis where it premiered in February 2007 before traveling to ARC/ Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris; The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; and the Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at the Art Institute of Chicago; Camden Arts Centre in London; and Metropolitan Arts Center (MAC) in Belfast.

In spring 2014, Walker’s first large scale public project, a monumental installation entitled A Subtlety: Or… the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant, was on view at the abandoned Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Commissioned and presented by Creative Time, the project – a massive sugar covered sphinx-like sculpture – responded to and reflected on the troubled history of sugar. 

 

 

Related Programs

 

 

32nd Annual Julia Norton Babson Lecture

Kara Walker: Virginia’s Lynch Mob and Other Works

 

Brittney Cooper, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Guest Curator and Associate Professor of American Art, University of Pennsylvania discuss the art and life of Kara Walker.

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 7 pm

 

The Intersection of Media, Social Justice and Race

A panel discussion presented jointly by MAM and the Montclair State University School of Communication and Media

 

The panel will explore the intersection of race and communication, discussing the critical and challenging topics presented through Kara Walker’s work as well as using the 50th anniversary of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy – and their respective coverage – as a backdrop for discussing important questions involving race relations and the media.

October 2018 at the Montclair State University School of Communication and Media.  Date, time and panelists to be confirmed.

 

 

 

 

CONSTRUCTING IDENTITY IN AMERICA (1766-2017)

 

September 15, 2018 – January 2020

 

“Sculpture allowed me to put in, in a more natural way, things that people were saying you weren’t supposed to put in art, like race and politics.”

-Mel Edwards

 

Constructing Identity in America (1766-2017) is an exhibition of 86 paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the Museum’s permanent collection considering a broad range of definitions of personal identity throughout American history, from the 18th century to today. The works on view are organized into a range of themes including:

  • Civic Identity
  • Cultural Identity
  • Artistic Identity
  • Religious Identity
  • Professional Identity
  • Identity and Sense of Place
  • Identity and Personal Space
  • Group/Tribal/Community Identity
  • Identity/Non-Conformity
  • Socio-Political Identity and Cultural/Ethnic Identity

 

Highlights of this show, which will be on view through January 2020, range from Charles Willson Peale’s Portrait of George Washington (1783) to Matar Mbaye (Study 1) (2007), a newly acquired portrait by Kehinde Wiley (who painted the portrait of President Obama that was recently hung in the National Portrait Gallery).

 

 Other highlights by leading contemporary artists include:

 

  • Nick Cave, Soundsuit (2015). Sculptor, dancer, and performance artist, Nick Cave is best known for his Soundsuits - wearable fabric sculptures that are bright, whimsical, and otherworldly, and bear a resemblance to African ceremonial costumes and masks.
  • Willie Cole, Silex Male, Ritual (2004). New Jersey native Willie Cole shows in this work front and back views of himself, digitally covered with the scorch marks of a Proctor Silex (one of Cole’s favorite brands.) iron—a trademark image in his work referencing the domestic work of women in his family. The artist explores cultural stereotypes as he transforms himself into an exotic, ritual-possessed tribal specimen.
  • Juan Sanchez, Once We Were Warriors (2000). This print honors the social activism of The Young Lords and the Puerto Rican movement of self-empowerment.  
  • Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, What is An American? (2003). Made in the wake of the September 11 attacks this piece brings together symbols of white America with those of Native Americans, alluding to the mixing of these two very different cultures and the concern that past violations of Native America have been forgotten. 
  • Jack Whitten, Bessemer Boogie (1993).  Issues of apartheid and lynching are addressed in Whitten’s works.
  • Mel Edwards, Mamelodi (1986).  Edwards’ pivotal series Lynch Fragments, began in 1963 as a reaction to the civil rights struggle in which he actively participated.  Edwards has observed, “What I am doing is taking fragments of the intensity of a lynching, turning it around, changing it into an object that is creative and positive.”  His work thus informs and broadens the viewing experience of Kara Walker’s Virginia’s Lynch Mob. 

The exhibition is curated by Gail Stavitsky, MAM Chief Curator.

 

Related Programs

 

Family Day: Celebrating American Identity

Treat your favorite doll to a fun-filled day at the museum! Featuring a special story time with American Girl author Denise Lewis Patrick, who will read selections from her Melody books, along with other favorites, and lead participants in making accessories and other items for their dolls. Don’t have a doll? No problem - you can make one here! Super heroes and action figures are also invited!

Sunday, October 14, 1-4 p.m.

 

Family Learning Lab

Inspired by the exhibition Constructing Identity in America, visitors are invited to create an individualized self-portrait to add to a collaborative installation in MAM’s family learning gallery.

 

 

 

Take the Podium at Macon Reed’s A Pressing Conference

 

A Pressing Conference brings MSU students and members of the broader Montclair community together to address the intersection of identity, current policies of immigration and nationalism inside artist’s Macon Reed’s brightly-colored, hand-made sculptural installation based on the White House press briefing room. In the format of a press conference, four groups of students will responds to a particular question inspired by MAM’s concurrent exhibitions on view-- "Constructing Identity in America" and "Kara Walker: Virginia Lynch Mob and Other Works,” followed by an open invitation for the press and public to ask questions and have a conversation about how to best move forward together in response to the current political climate.

 

Multimedia artist Macon Reed’s art practice includes sculpture, installation, video, radio documentary, painting, and participatory projects. Her work has been shown at PULSE NYC, The Kitchen, Chicago Cultural Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Mana Contemporary, among others. Presented in partnership with Montclair State University’s Department of Art and Design where Reed is working closely with students and faculty to present this ongoing community project.

 

Educators earn 2 hours of PD credit

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 7 p.m.

 

 

 

BEN JONES: ENVISION EMPOWER EMBRACE

 

September 15, 2018 – Summer 2019

 

“I want to lift people up, give them a sense of empowerment and redemption.”

-Ben Jones

 

Ben Jones’s mural Envision Empower Embrace, to be installed in the Laurie Art Stairway, is based on selected imagery from his recent paintings which address events related to social justice, climate change, and environmental disasters.  The central image of a fish is derived from a painting of 2010 with the same title, which floats over the surface of the mural.  As Jones has observed, “the fish image is used because throughout history many civilizations have used it to represent Life.” The fish frames an image of the renowned jazz singer and political activist Nina Simone who is the subject of Ben Jones’s commemorative painting Nina Simone High Priestess of Soul (1972).   Jones overlays the fish and the surrounding space with the text of a poem, “Mother Earth,” by Denise Tansley.  The poetic, lyrical expressive yearnings of this eco-poetry about the desecration of nature are reinforced by the loose, expressive, colorful paint spatters and the incorporation of oriental calligraphy and ancient African symbols.  

 

The fish is flanked by excerpts from Jones’s painting of 2012 entitled Thank You BP (Wall Paper).  This multi-layered work aesthetically investigates the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Stylized images of fish, butterflies, birds, and other creatures symbolize the victims of this environmental disaster. The all-over painterly composition evokes the action painting of Jackson Pollock, while the use of corporate logos of BP, Mobile, Exxon, Shell, and others evokes Pop art and mass media culture. The background text is comprised of excerpts from the poem “Are You Fit?” by Basanta Lohani.  She admonishes corporations, observing that their “greed acts the rider to tip the balance” towards depletion, pestilence, war, and crime. This call to action to save the planet is reinforced by the final images to the left and right which are excerpted from the painting Destruction, 2017.  The Deepwater Horizon tanker and ignited oil spills are accompanied by images of floating dollar bills evoking corporate greed, as well as fish, seashells, and a seagull, representing its disastrous ecological impact.

 

The international prohibition sign in red on each side of Envision, Empower, Embrace suggests that swimming or other activities are not permitted in these damaged areas.  At the same time, the inclusion of images of Donald Trump, Trayvon Martin, and Sandra Bland extends this powerful work into the realm of racism and social justice. The image of Martin is derived from Jones’s wallpaper installation of 2016, What’s Going On?, exploring his senseless murder in 2012. Jones also memorializes Sandra Bland, another of too many victims of police brutality and racial profiling, who died in 2015.  The inverted image of Trump evokes the idea of an indictment of the current President, related to the Black Lives Matter movement and the de-regulation of environmental protections.   

 

Ben Jones’s mural is a powerful aesthetic and political statement, intended to inspire thought and action on the part of viewers.  We are invited to contemplate his work by occupying the chair that is to the right of the large central fish, as if to complete the mural.  This notion of collaboration is central to the creation of this digitally produced mural. The photographer and artist Peter Jacobs, a longtime resident of Montclair, worked with Ben Jones to create this work by taking pictures and editing them into this particular monumental composition.  Peter Jacobs himself is well known for his daily practice of creating collages.  Thus, his collage aesthetic truly complements that of Ben Jones. 

 

About the Artist

 

Ben Jones (b. 1941) is an artist, activist, and educator, who has used his art to bring awareness to the plight of humanity throughout the world.  His work is inspired by revolutionary struggles, especially of the people of Cuba. For forty-three years, Ben Jones was a professor of art at New Jersey City University where he taught Advanced Drawing, Life Drawing, Color Theory, as well as African and African American art. 

 

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Jones’s socio-political consciousness developed early as he began to create art that expresses the social conditions of his time as a key part of his activism. Works from the 1970s onwards reflect the artist’s exploration of his African American heritage, including African spiritualism and ritual, body-painting traditions, as well as Jazz and Soul music.  His longtime engagement with the Black Power/Black Arts movements as evidenced by depictions of Malcolm X and others, has broadened over the years to encompass his deep concern for the environment and survival of all life forms.  Ben Jones is a founding member of MAM’s African American Cultural Committee (AACC) and will be in residence at MAM throughout the fall and spring thanks to generous support from The Abington Foundation..

 

 

Related Programs

 

All About Ben: A Celebration of Ben Jones

Join us for a celebration of the life and art of Ben Jones, highlighted by Jones’ latest film Resistance. The program will honor Jones for the international scope of his artwork and the knowledge imparted to his students

Thursday, October 25, 7 p.m. 

 

 

Ben Jones Master Class

 

Spend the day at MAM learning, creating art, and touring the galleries with artist, mentor, teacher, and activist Ben Jones. Learn about what inspires and drives this New Jersey born artist. Ben Jones uses his art to bring awareness to the plight of people throughout the world. His artistic journey through social activism began during the Civil Rights Movement.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 

 

NEW DIRECTIONS IN FIBER ART

2019 NEW JERSEY ARTS ANNUAL - CRAFTS

 

February 9, 2019 – June 16, 2019

 

The New Jersey Arts Annual is a unique series of exhibitions highlighting the State’s visual artists. One exhibition takes place each year in either fine arts or crafts, in alternating sequence and location. These exhibitions are open to any artist currently living or working in New Jersey. The Arts Annual series is sponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

 

In recent years, artists have been actively contributing to an international renaissance in fiber arts with powerful, cultural associations.  The formerly strict boundaries between so-called fine and applied arts have become increasingly blurred.  Renowned artists such as Sheila Hicks and Lenore Tawney working with textiles and fiber transcend simple and assumed distinctions between art and craft.   Whether emerging or established, the artists chosen for this year’s Crafts Annual should manifest the striking diversity and vitality of New Jersey fiber work.  The examples chosen will encompass a variety of media and techniques and also address a multiplicity of technical, aesthetic, and social concerns.  As humanity relies increasingly upon technology, there is a growing appreciation of the personal, sensuous delivery of mood and content through the familiar components of fiber.  Putting forth the discoveries of their world and times, these artists engage the expressive potential of ancient methods with contemporary voices. 

The exhibition theme comprises works created in the array of traditional and contemporary fibrous materials (yarns, natural or synthetic, cloth, felt, threads, wire, etc.) and methods (weaving, needlework, sculpture).  The prospectus requires that work be designed as wall hangings (2-D or 3-D), free standing sculptures intended for floor or pedestal display or small works for glass cases.  Freedom of style and expression are encouraged.  Fiber art has many possible techniques, voices and colors but fibrous materials must be present in the artist’s visual style.

Works for this exhibition will be selected by the jurors, Carol K. Russell, a tapestry artist, teacher, curator and writer and Judy Wukitsch, artist, arts administrator, curator and educator.  All work will have been completed since 2015.  Work must be submitted by August 1, 2018 for consideration by the jury. 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Montclair Art Museum (MAM)

The Montclair Art Museum (MAM) boasts a renowned collection of American and Native American art that uniquely highlights art making in the United States over the last 300 years. The Vance Wall Art Education Center encompasses all the Museum’s educational efforts, including award-winning Yard School of Art studio classes, lectures and talks, family events, tours, and the mobile MAM Art Truck. MAM exhibitions and programs serve a wide public of all ages, from families and seniors to artists, educators, and scholars.

 

Address: 3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042

Website: montclairartmuseum.org

Phone: 973-746-5555

 

Gallery & The Store at MAM Hours: Wednesdays through Sundays, 12–5 p.m.

Free First Thursday Nights: 1st Thursday of the month (October–June), 5–9 p.m.

Student & Senior Fridays: 1st Friday of the month, 12–5 p.m. Free admission for students and seniors with valid ID

 

Admission:

FREE members

$12 nonmember adults

$10 seniors, students, and veterans with valid ID

FREE children under 12

 

All Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, Carol and Terry Wall / The Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.

 

 

 

 

 

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