AUSTIN, TX. (via artdaily) – The Austin Museum of Art (AMOA) presents Modern Art. Modern Lives. Then + Now. This two-part exhibition, organized by the Austin Museum of Art, draws from AMOA’s permanent collection and local collections to explore how modern and contemporary artists merge art and life. It focuses on two distinct periods and areas: the start of modern art in the late 19th and early 20th century in Europe, and the late 20th and early 21st century from diverse cultures and art centers around the world.
“Modern Art. Modern Lives. Then+Now, comprised of rarely seen work drawn exclusively from local private collections and our own permanent collection, is one of the Museum’s most ambitious and broad-reaching exhibitions,” said Dana Friis-Hansen, AMOA Executive Director. “Never before have Austinites had the chance to see works by modern masters pushing at the boundaries of art in conjunction with the contemporary artists who are confronting the tough issues of our times.”
THEN: 19th and 20th Century Artists at the Turn of the Century, Curated by: Jim Housefield, Adjunct Curator.
Modern art was born in the 19th century out of a newly insistent sense that art and life must merge. This exhibition of works from local collections features artists whose lives changed the course of art as they examined the stories behind their artworks to reveal the social connections that guided Modernism’s course.
In the arts, “being modern,” meant pushing against the constraints of the present to envision new possibilities, especially new ways of shaping and depicting contemporary society. These new aesthetic and social forms emerge in the exhibition’s four sections Places and Spaces, Utopian Dreamers, Portraiture and Modern Temperament, and Follies and Diversions.
Places and Spaces shows the work of artists who dug into the “here and now” of the changing landscapes of modern life, and of others who fled the modern city to make their own places in nature, especially those Utopian Dreamers of artists’ colonies or distant lands. Portraiture and the Modern Temperament reveals the ordinary people who increasingly became the subjects of art: friends, family, hired models, even street performers, whose bodies became vehicles for new aesthetic expression. Experimenting with old techniques like painting and drawing or new printmaking technologies, the artists immortalized their own social circles. Artists gave new value to the fleeting experiences of modern life, even the Follies and Diversions of popular entertainments that poked fun at the foibles of modern men and women.
Famous works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh are included in this collection. Many of these works by modern masters are being shown in Austin for the first time.
NOW: Where Are We Going? Contemporary Artists Address Issues of the 21st Century
Curated by: Dana Friis-Hansen, Executive Director and AMOA Chief Curator.
The contemporary section of Modern Art. Modern Lives. Then + Now presents an open-ended exploration of how fifty artists—both world-famous and lesser known, living and working in Austin, throughout the United States, and around the world—engage with key personal, social, and political issues of our time. This rich selection of artworks embraces a dazzling variety of media, styles, and expressive languages. Offering many viewpoints and provoking viewers to consider the complex world we live in at the start of the 21st century, these modern works are grouped into four sections: Where Are We Going? features both late 19th century and contemporary explorations of the search for meaning in modern times. Artists sought the authenticity and richness of outlying regions of France such as Pont Aven, or exotic locales such as Tahiti to insprire their art (Paul Gauguin, Émile Berard, Paul Serusier). In our own era, artists’ rendering of their quests have sometimes been allegorical (Beth Cambell, Jonathan Marshall, Lee N. Smith), meditative (TreArenz, Andrea Way) or through references to our place within epic or mysterious natural realms (Vija Celmins, Isaac Julian, Owen McCauley).
Paradise: Lost and Found focuses on landscape and the ways we find our place within it. Whether distilled to the colors of a single tree or phases of culture through the four seasons (Anne Appleby, Peat Duggins), or manipulated for our recreation or resources (Ed Burntsky, Rackstraw Downes, Skeet McAuley) artists treat nature very differently in the 21st century–as another artist shows–(Chris Jordan) going forward we must take great care about how we manage our waste.
Who Are We? assembles portraits and figurative representations that address the politics of culture, race, class, and gender in a globalizing world. With pride, anger, innovation, or sharp wit, these artists reject western white male dominance to propose hybrid identities, reminding us that from now on we will all live in a richer and more diverse world. (Terry Allen, Iona Rozeal Brown, Nancy Burson, Margarita Cabrera, Michael Ray Charles, Jenny Holzer, Lance Letscher, Young Min Kang, Ed and Nancy Kienholz, Barbara Kruger, David Magee, Ana Mendieta, Wangechi Mutu, Luis Gonzalez Palma, Fahamu Pecou, Adrian Piper, Andy Warhol, Marie Watt, Kihende Wiley, Carrie Mae Weems, Miwa Yanagi, and John Yancy).
Before and After Battle reveals how the preparations for and recovery from conflict forever impact our lives in ways visible and invisible, subtle and profound. Here we find pre- and post- conflict portraits of everyday people (Paul Shambroom, Sigmar Polke), war victims (Binh Dan), and survivors (Suzanne Opton); weapons turning into ploughshares (Hayden Larsen); allegories of battle and torture (Seth Alverson, Tom Molloy, Julie Merhetu, Sarah Pickering); potentially inflammatory emblems of patriotism (Vito Acconci, Shimon Attie, John Salvo); and evidence of how readily we accept tragedy into our lives (Julie Speed).
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