The DART Board: Museum Exhibitions

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday February 10, 2021

Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America
The New Museum, February 17-June 6

Originally conceived by Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) for the New Museum, and presented with curatorial support from advisors Naomi Beckwith, Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, and Mark Nash. “Grief and Grievance” addresses the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss as a direct response to the national emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America. Above: Kerry James Marshall, Souvenir III, 1998

The exhibition further considers the intertwined phenomena of Black grief and a politically orchestrated white grievance, as each structures and defines contemporary American social and political life. Grief and Grievance is comprised of works encompassing video, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, and performance made in the last decade, along with several key historical works and a series of new commissions created in response to the concept of the exhibition. 

Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, The New Museum, 235 Bowery, NY, NY Info

On Tuesday, February 16, the museum celebrates the opening of Grief and Grievance with a conversation among the four curatorial advisors to discuss the exhibition, its genesis and development: Naomi Beckwith, Manilow Senior Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Massimiliano GioniEdlis Neeson Artistic Director of the New Museum, Glenn Ligon, artist, and Mark Nash, Professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz will be in attendance.

Please register via Zoom for this online program here.

Conversations in Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection
The Morgan Library and Museum, February 19, 2021 through June 6, 2021

This exhibition celebrates the collection of drawings assembled by Richard Gray, one of America’s foremost art dealers, and art historian Mary L. Gray. Amassed over the course of nearly 50 years, the collection encompasses works produced in Europe and the United States between the fifteenth and the twenty-first centuries, tracing the long and distinguished history of one medium: drawing. 

Left: Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Two Dancers, 1925. © 2021

The human figure, expressed directly and intimately, is the collection’s primary focus, demonstrating the capacity of drawing to represent and interpret the body. While there are numerous works by established artists—Rubens, Boucher, Degas, Van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse, Picasso, and Hockney, among others—the Grays were more interested in skill than celebrity, and they also collected many exceptional drawings by lesser-known draftsmen.

Often keenly aware of their place in art history, the artists in the collection engaged in lively conversations on paper with contemporaries and forebears. Other visual connections are apparent only in hindsight, a point of view afforded by the chronological breadth of the Gray Collection. Juxtaposing drawings from distinct periods and places, this exhibition illuminates the affinities and tensions that have emerged throughout the medium’s evolution.

Conversations in Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection Info

The Morgan Library and Museum, 25 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, NY, NY Info



Shapes from Out of Nowhere: Ceramics from the Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection 

The Met Fifth Avenue, February 22-August 29, 2021

This exhibition will present a selection of over 75 works from the Robert A. Ellison Jr. collection of 125 modern and contemporary ceramics given to the Museum in honor of its 150th anniversary 

The exhibition charts the evolution of abstraction in clay from the second half of the 20th century through the present. Through myriad approaches embraced by artists who have challenged the long history of clay and its reliance on the potter's wheel, featured works range from slight deviations of traditional vessel forms to deconstructions that reject utility and exploit the boundless experimentation that clay affords. Above: Robert A. Ellison Jr. at his home in Greenwich Village with some of the pottery by American masters that will be seen at The Met; photo © Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Mid-20th-century works by artists Axel Salto, Ken Price, Toshiko Takeazu, Katherine Choy, Peter Voulkos, and Wing Ng are seen alongside contemporary creations by artists who continue to expand the possibilities of the medium—Aneta Regel, Kathy Butterly, Syd Carpenter, and Lynda Benglis. Also included in the exhibition are eight striking works by the late 19th-century artist George Ohr. These loans from Ellison's private collection attest to Ohr's radical vision and foreshadow the embrace of abstraction and nonrepresentational forms by artists in the 1950s and 60s.

Shapes from Out of Nowhere: Ceramics from the Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection, The Met Fifth Avenue, Floor 1, Gallery 913, 1000 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY Info  See the video interview with Robert Ellison Jr. on The Met Collects: Info 



Mary Ellen Mark: Girlhood at National Museum of Women in the Arts
March 3–July 11, 2021   

Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015) is known for her compassionate and candid depictions of subjects living outside of mainstream society. Over the course of her career, Mark traveled extensively, creating bodies of work in diverse communities in the United States as well as India, Mexico, the former Soviet Union and other countries. While Mark photographed people of all ages and from all walks of life, she was particularly interested in children. “I don’t like to photograph children as children,” Mark said. “I like to see them as adults, as who they really are. I’m always looking for the side of who they might become.” Above: Falkland Road, Mumbai, India, 1978; © Mary Ellen Mark/The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation 

Mark did not aim to construct a particular narrative of girlhood, nor did she necessarily intend to deconstruct common stereotypes found in the depiction of girls. She rarely intervened in the poses or surroundings of her subjects, and most of the images in this exhibition come from larger bodies of work that were not specifically focused on girls. Rather, Mark observed her subjects as they were—dancing, singing, exploring, staring—and as they were becoming—witnessing death, experiencing intimacy and love, smoking or being made up. Each photograph contains a moment on the precipice, poised for whatever comes next.

Mary Ellen Mark: Girlhood, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and generously supported by the members of NMWA. Info



Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking at Detroit Institute of Arts 
March 20 - September 5, 2021

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking celebrates both the artist and the democratic and diverse creative community he developed. Blackburn was an African American artist born to Jamaican immigrants in 1920 and raised in Harlem, New York. The exhibition highlights his life and work, revealing how his innovative printmaking expertise helped define the aesthetic of the American graphics “boom.” 

Over six decades as an artist, Blackburn gradually shifted from figurative work to highly colored abstraction. His early work reflected the powerful example of the Mexican muralists and the activist view of Social Realists addressing poverty and race in the 1930s. By the 1940s, like many other young artists, Blackburn had turned to abstraction, focusing on the exploration of color, composition, and mark making. 

An influential teacher and master printer working in New York City, Blackburn explored avant-garde ideas, while promoting a new collaborative approach to printmaking. The exhibition contains over 80 works, including lithographs, woodcuts, intaglio prints, and watercolors by Blackburn and the artists with whom he collaborated, including Elizabeth Catlett, Grace Hartigan, Robert Rauschenberg, and Charles White.

Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and curated by Deborah Cullen, in cooperation with the Trust for Robert Blackburn and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts’ Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Program. The Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI Info Hear interviews with Robert Blackburn here


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