Apr 172024
 

Currently Tampa Museum of Art is showing work from Garry Winogrand’s book, Beautiful Women. The photographs are from the 1960s and 1970s and are a fascinating glimpse of this time period. His ability to find and capture these brief moments is impressive.  At the same time, some of the photos of these women feel invasive and, as said in the museum’s statement on the work below, voyeuristic.

From the museum-

Garry Winogrand was a master at photographing the unseen, extraordinary moments of everyday life. With his Leica camera, Winogrand photographed both up close and at a distance, but spontaneously as the image came together. He liked to break the rules of photography by ignoring traditional horizon lines and shooting at titled angles to create compositional allure.
Described as one of the 20th-century’s most influential street photographers, Winogrand often defied social decorum by getting into the space of his subjects – sometimes unknowingly to the person and at other times to their great annoyance. He captured life in the 1960s and 1970s in the blink of an eye, preferably with his 28mm lens which allowed more of what was in front of him to be featured in the frame. Winogrand once remarked, “I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs.”

Women are Beautiful represents of one Winogrand’s most celebrated yet controversial artworks. His magnum opus, Women are Beautiful was first published as a book in 1975 and later printed as a portfolio in 1981. Comprised of 85 photographs, the works were shot over a ten-year period between 1965 and 1975, notably at the height of second-wave feminism and the sexual revolution, the anti-war movement, and the civil rights movement. As the title suggests, women served as the inspiration for the project. Winogrand culled images from his extensive archive that emphasized the confidence, vibrancy, and individuality of the American woman. While the photographs have been lauded as artifacts of their time, the works have also been criticized as voyeuristic and invasive to women’s privacy. Both observations deserve consideration in viewing this body of work.

The presentation of Women are Beautiful in this gallery follows the format of the book, which is now out of print. Winogrand selected the images and organized the photos without reference to subject, date, and place. Apart from the first photograph in the series, the images are presented as pairs to represent Winogrand’s book spreads. This arrangement aims to highlight how the photographer viewed and read his pictures. While women anchor the photographs, Winogrand looked at the total image-such as the other people in the photo or the quietness of solitude, the surrounding landscape, and the objects featured in the frame. At quick glance, the connections between images may not appear readily visible but it is in these photographs that Winogrand invites viewers to take a longer, closer look at the pictures. Subtle gestures such as the common angle of limbs and facial profiles, or shadows, corners, and lines – even the shared shading of a hat and tree-inspired Winogrand’s paired selections. Viewed together, the photographs reveal a deliberate sequencing and pacing, like a storyboard or film. Winogrand’s Women are Beautiful offers insight into the vantage point of one the 20th-century’s most accomplished photographers.

Below are some of the pairs from the show.

This exhibition closes 4/21/24.

Mar 222024
 

Pictured is Jacob Hashimoto’s This Particle of Dust, on view at Tampa Museum of Art through 2025.  At first glance, it may seem monochromatic, but on closer inspection the blue color and star patterns begin to emerge on the darker pieces. It also changes depending on the viewer’s vantage point and the changing natural light.

From the museum about the work-

The artist takes inspiration from cloud formations and the cosmos, with each navy blue kite featuring star-like markings. Depending on the time of day and the natural light filtering through the atrium skylights, the kites will shift in color intensity. This Particle of Dust explores the visual poetics of light and dark, color and form, as well as space and architecture.

Created from over 2,500 handmade kites, This Particle of Dust is a site-specific installation and unique to the Tampa Museum of Art’s architecture. The installation represents Jacob Hashimoto’s exploration of abstract landscape and his interest in blurring the boundaries between painting and sculpture. This Particle of Dust evokes the experience of observing the night sky through various cloud clusters. Thousands of transparent and opaque white discs hang suspended from a bespoke armature. Navy blue kites, imprinted with white and cerulean blue star patterns, hang amidst the cloud shapes and catch the light as the sun rises over the Museum and dips into the horizon over the Hillsborough River. Depending on one’s vantage point, either from the lobby, stairwell, or galleries, the experience of This Particle of Dust shifts—from below the cloudscape appears to drift into the sky while at eye-level the viewer looks directly into the stars.

Hashimoto began making kite sculptures twenty-years ago while an art student in Chicago. Inspired by traditional Chinese kite making in the city of Weifang, where the artform of sculptural dragon kites originated, Hashimoto has made hundreds of thousands of kites from Japanese paper and resin. He appreciates kites as a universal object of joy that is recognized across the globe. Transformed into monumental artworks, Hashimoto’s kites convey happiness, wonder, and serenity.

Below is Tampa Museum of Art’s video of the artist discussing this installation.

Hashimoto is also showing several wall-mounted sculptural works for his solo exhibition, Fables, at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago. It will be on view until 4/20/24.

Feb 142024
 

Esterio Segura’s Goodbye My Love, 2013, three sculptures created with fiberglass and automobile paint, are currently on view at Tampa Museum of Art.

From the museum about the work-

A new acquisition to the Museum’s permanent collection, Goodbye My Love represents Esterio Segura’s (Cuban, b. 1970) ongoing exploration of the meaning of airplanes and flight. Produced in multiple editions at different scales, this version is nearly the largest. In describing the series, Segura explained,  “In this work, the reference to the airplane hybridizes with a reference to another well-known universal symbol: a simplified image of the heart. This is fused with an easily understood title with several meanings, from the most corny and sentimental to the most controversial, from a political and social standpoint. With this work, I reference the experience of uprooting, nostalgia, memory, loss—how we experience the breakdown of everything we love.”

He discusses the work in the video below in a bit more detail.

Jan 022024
 

Frank Weston Benson, “Natalie”, 1917, Oil on canvas

Childe Hassam, “Gathering Flowers in a French Garden”, 1888, Oil on canvas

Luther Emerson Van Gorder, “In the Park”, before 1894, Oil on canvas

Tampa Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Frontiers of Impressionism: Paintings from the Worcester Art Museum, features paintings by American and European impressionists and is a lovely reminder of the extraordinary works these artists created during this time period. The enduring popularity of the impressionists throughout the years makes sense when walking among these paintings. The use of color and brush work, as well as the details and beauty of the subject matter (not to mention the wealth and comfort often depicted)- make the viewer feel like they are being transported through time to the artist’s idyllic world.

From the museum-

In 2024, the term “impressionism” celebrates its 150th anniversary. Such a significant occasion inspires reflection on the profound impact that a relatively small group of artists in Paris made by positing a new mode of painting: one that favored painting outdoors over in a studio, immediacy over planning, the everyday over the grand, and the fleeting over the eternal. In doing so, the impressionists upended centuries of traditions in European art. This exhibition explores the radical impulses behind impressionism and its seemingly endless adaptability, as artists from around the world came to Paris to study and returned to their homelands, assimilating what they had absorbed and propelling the movement further.

The Worcester Art Museum pioneered new artistic horizons by embracing impressionism early in its history. The French and American impressionism collections at the Worcester Art Museum have long drawn visitors to the galleries. The first directors purchased works by Monet from his Parisian dealer, Durand-Ruel, as well as directly from American impressionists, making the Museum one of the first in the United States to collect impressionism actively as contemporary art. Over the past 125 years, this collection has grown, encapsulating the story of the movement’s roots and emergence in France and its subsequent expansion to the United States, Germany, Scandinavia, and beyond. Highlighting more than 30 artists, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, and Max Slevogt, this exhibition demonstrates impressionism’s international allure, captured in subjects as far-flung as Monet’s famed Giverny lily pond to the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon.

Below are a few more selections from the show.

Max Slevogt, “Selbstbildnis im Garten (A Self-Portrait in the Garden at Godgramstein), 1910, Oil on canvas

Max Slevogt, “Selbstbildnis im Garten (A Self-Portrait in the Garden at Godgramstein), 1910, Oil on canvas (detail)

Paul Signac, “Golfe Juan”, 1896, Oil on canvas

Thomas Cole, “View on the Arno, near Florence”, 1837, Oil on canvas

Lovis Corinth, “Vordem Spiegel (At the Mirror)”, 1912, Oil on canvas

John Singer Sargent, “Katherine Chase Pratt”, 1890, Oil on canvas

About the unfinished painting above (from the museum)-

A successful society portraitist, Sargent painted the elite from his international social circles. In June 1890, Sargent visited Worcester, Massachusetts, where he was inundated by requests for portraits. The sitter’s father, Frederick Pratt, a noted collector and eventual acting director of the Worcester Art Museum (1908 and 1917), became friends with the artist and invited him to return a few months later to paint his daughter, Katherine- although the idea for Katherine’s portrait originated in Sargent’s first trip to Worcester, when he had made a sketch of hydrangeas. Sargent’s vision of Katherine against a backdrop of flowers, however, proved less than satisfactory for his client and he abandoned the painting for another, more formal depiction. As an unfinished work, this painting reveals the immediacy of Sargent’s process, with careful attention to broad swaths of color and patterns in the brushwork to convey flower petals or folds of clothing.

This exhibition will be on view until 1/7/2024.

Oct 122023
 

Above is “A very anxious feeling”, 2007, by assume vivid astro focus, part of Tampa Museum of Art’s 2022/3 exhibition All in Favor: New Works in the Permanent Collection.

From the museum about the artist collective and the work-

A very anxious feeling by the collective assume vivid astro focus (avaf) conjures both sense of worry and whimsy. In this vibrant neon artwork each letter is rendered in a different color-ranging from pastel pinks and blues to bright primary colors. The final letter, a yellow capital “G,” appears to fall away from the text.

Eli Sudbrack founded the collective assume vivid astro focus in 2001 and works collaboratively with fellow artist Christophe Hamaide-Pierson. A very anxious feeling represents a prime example of their art, as they are known for their colorful, kaleidoscopic paintings, drawings, sculptures, and light installations. assume astro vivid focus explores notions of free speech, gender identity, and civil rights in their artworks and projects. The collective often partners with other creative types, including musicians, dancers, and designers.

 

 

Sep 282023
 

With all of the recent Sarasota posts, I thought I’d put up this fun painting, Spirit of Sarasota by Asa Cassidy, for “Throwback Thursday” this week. The painting was part of  Tampa Museum of Art’s 2022 exhibition, Poetry in Paint: The Artists of Old Tampa Bay.

From the museum about the painting-

Asa Cassidy was a New York City lithographer who, in 1924, sold his lithography interests and moved to Sarasota to devote his life to painting. Cassidy loved the beauty of Sarasota Bay and built a home on Bay Island. His painting “Spirit of Sarasota”, depicting a 1920’s bathing beauty riding a tarpon in Sarasota Bay, hung in Sarasota City Hall for years.

Sep 082023
 

Mary Ann Carroll (1940-2019), “Untitled (Backcountry Twilight)”, n.d., Oil on Masonite board

Harold Newton (1934-1991), “Untitled (Painting of the Indian River)”, c. 1958, Oil on Upson board; Alfred Hair (1941-1970), “Untitled (Marshland with palm), c. 1958, Oil on Upson board

James Gibson (1938-2017) “Untitled (Moonlit palms)”, n.d., Oil on Upson board

In early 2021, Tampa Museum of Art presented the work of Florida’s famous Highwaymen painters in the exhibition Living Color: The Art of the Highwaymen.

From the museum-

The Highwaymen are a group of African American artists celebrated for their distinctive paintings of Florida’s natural environment. Working in and around the Fort Pierce area beginning in the 1950s, these self-taught artists depicted the state’s scenic coastline and wild backcountry, often in dazzling combinations of color and tone. Brilliant tropical sunsets, windblown palms, towering sunlit clouds, and blooming poinciana trees are among the many subjects that have become iconic images of Florida in part because of the paintings that the Highwaymen created. In the state’s postwar boom years their paintings found an enthusiastic audience among a growing population of new residents and visitors. Unrecognized by the region’s art establishment of galleries and museums, the Highwaymen by necessity catered directly to their patrons, selling their paintings door-to-door along such thoroughfares as Route 1. It was from this practice that the name “Highwaymen” was later coined.

The popularity of Highwaymen paintings waned in the 1980s as the vision of Florida was reimagined by an ever-increasing population and once-pristine landscapes were lost to development. Then in the mid-1990s a new generation of collectors, with fresh eyes, rediscovered the paintings and began to assemble significant collections. These collectors saw the art of the Highwaymen as an important artistic legacy and together with several writers, scholars, and enthusiasts began the process of establishing the historical context and reevaluation of their work. Books and articles followed, bringing a new level of recognition for the achievements of these artists and, with that, growing popular acclaim. The contribution of the Highwaymen to the cultural life of Florida was formally recognized in 2004 when the group of 26 artists was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.

Living Color: The Art of the Highwaymen brings together 60 paintings by a core group of the Highwaymen including Al Black, Mary Ann Carroll, Willie Daniels, Johnny Daniels, James Gibson, Alfred Hair, Roy McLendon, Harold Newton, Sam Newton, Willie Reagan, and Livingston Roberts.

Focusing on work produced from the 1950s to the 1980s, the exhibition is an in-depth examination of the group’s initial period of success when their groundbreaking style of fast painting was being developed. Fast painting is a hallmark and essential innovation of the Highwaymen. Facing limitations imposed by the racial prejudice of their time, they had little or no access to formal training or to conventional art markets. To overcome these obstacles, they produced large numbers of works which could be sold at very affordable prices. Some estimates of the group’s overall production during their heyday exceed 200,000 paintings, with certain artists creating dozens of paintings per day. Their creative response to the racism they confronted resulted in an original artistic practice.

Opening at The Woodson African American Museum of Florida in St. Pete this Saturday, 9/9/23, is Florida Highwaymen: The Next Generation – The Legacy Continues, an exhibition of work by Ray McLendon, son of Highwayman Roy McLendon, who creates Florida landscapes in the same iconic style his father used.

Aug 222023
 

Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroonian, b. 1967), “Road to Exile”, 2018. Wooden boat, cloth bundles, glass bottles, and plastic containers

Currently on view at Tampa Museum of Art is Time for Change: Art and Social Unrest in the Jorge M. Pérez Collection. The exhibition highlights art from around the world that focuses on social issues.

From the museum-

“It is enough for the poet to be the bad conscience of his age”, stated Saint-John Perse in his 1960 Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Something similar could be said when artists address the transformations of society. We should not ask for measurable political action when their role is to point out, to render evident, to shake us from indifference. Art may not provide answers, but most of the time it interrogates and proposes uncomfortable issues, almost like rubbing salt in a wound. Artists are seldom celebratory, nor do they usually provide solutions-art’s potency lays in the symbolic efficacy of the actions it proposes more than in the practical effects they entail. Paraphrasing Brazilian poet Ferreira Gullar, “art exists because life is not enough.”

Time for Change is structured around six themes or nuclei: Entangled Histories, Extraction and Flows, Artivism, State Terror, Spatial Politics, and Emancipatory Calls. The sections are organically linked and establish dialogue and correlations among artworks that do not necessarily illustrate an argument nor are they contained by one. Entangled Histories proposes essential questions: how do we remember as a society? Who is forgotten by History, and for what reasons? Extraction and Flows examines displacement of peoples (usually forced), as well as the unequal logic on the territory. Artivism: Art in the Social Sphere focuses on political unrest and public protest on the streets. State Terror signals how protest is countered with repression and violence. The fifth section, Spatial Politics, reflects on modern architecture and its role in creating segregated communities. Lastly, Emancipatory Calls summons to reclaim difference, in the understanding that a more just society can only be built on respect for one’s right to be different.

A comprehensive look at the Jorge M. Pérez Collection reveals a tendency towards art with an interest in social change- art that examines the conflicts and contradictions of contemporary society, art that critically analyzes historical events and reframes them in the present. Many of the 60 works on view, due to their size or complexity have rarely been exhibited and are shown together for the first time in Time for Change.

About the main work pictured above, Barthélémy Toguo’s Road to Exile, from the museum

In 2018, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York hosted Barthélémy Toguo’s first solo exhibition in the United States. While on site at the Parrish he made Road to Exile, a large-scale installation highlighting the plight of refugees, in particular African migrants in search of a better and safer quality of life. The installation features a life-sized wooden boat that rests on glass bottles. A metaphor of the dangerous voyage across the sea, the bottles represent the fragile line between life and death. The boat nearly overflows with bundles wrapped in brightly colored African textiles and serve as stand-ins for the body. In Road to Exile Toguo employs imagery of the boat as a means of escape rather than a vessel for exploration or adventure.

Below are images from the exhibition as well as some information on a few of the works.

Rashid Johnson, “A Place for Black Moses, (2010), bottom right sculpture, and Christopher Myers “How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood”, 2019, left wall piece

Christopher Myers “How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood”, 2019, Applique fabric

From the museum about the above work-

Storytelling anchors Christopher Myers’ artistic practice. Working in a range of media, he mines history and creates art that links the past to the present. Myers’ tapestries, such as How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood draws on the rich tradition of quilt making as a quiet yet radical form of resistance and protest. The stories depicted center on the effects of globalization on individuals and more specifically, communities of color. In How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood, Myers portrays three different natural disasters linked to climate change. With vivid color and patterned fabric, he illustrates the impact and devastation of these catastrophic events in neighborhoods with minority populations.

 

Carlos Garaicoa “La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity)”, 2003, 39 ink and pencil drawings on rice paper and toy train installation

Carlos Garaicoa “La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity)”, 2003 (detail)

Carlos Garaicoa “La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity)”, 2003 (detail)

About the above work from the museum-

Carlos Garaicoa works in a variety of media, ranging from installation, photography, and video to performance and public interventions. His early work in the 1990s focused on the urban decay of Havana as result of its political climate and economic strife. La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity), turns Garaicoa’s lens inward. In this installation, comprised of toy trains and drawings of medical instruments, the artist explores his psyche and subconscious. The train’s engine pulls words that represent Garaicoa’s negative thoughts. Each train is connected to thin red thread that acts as a vein or conduit for the negative thoughts to travel. Arrange in a curved form, the train shapes mimic brain waves or the slink of a snake. Garacoia’s drawings of medical tools serve as mechanisms in which the negatively could be excavated from one’s mind.

Esterio Segura, “La historia se muerde la cola (History Bites its Tail)”, 2015, (statue bottom left); Anamaría Devis, “Infinito (Infinite)”, 2018(upper right)

Anamaría Devis, “Infinito (Infinite)”, 2018, Ink on paper

Anamaría Devis, “Infinito (Infinite)”, 2018, Ink on paper (detail)

About this work from the museum-

Anamaría Devis’ large-scale installation Infinito (Infinite) represents the artist’s study of African history in San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia. Escaped slaves founded Palenque and it was the first free town in the Americas during colonial times. While researching this history, Devis discovered that in this region of Colombia, braided hairstyles worn by Africans served as escape maps. Braid patterns reflected safe points in the area’s topography. This silent form of resistance inspired her to look at other bodily topographies like the characteristics of fingerprints, which also had names associated with cartography such as crossing, island, and fork. Devis then began to create drawings that incorporated footprints, braid patterns, and elements of nature. From the drawings she made stamps and each panel of paper that comprises Infinito (Infinite) is rendered from Devis’ various imprints. The result is an abstract representation of the body and landscape visualized through mapping and codes.

Jonathas de Andrade, “A batalha de todo dia de Dona Luzia, de Tejucupapo (The daily battle of Dona Luzia, from Tejucupapo)”, 2022 Images printed on raw falconboard

About this work from the museum-

Jonathas de Andrade collaborated with the Brazilian theater company Teatro Heroínas de Tejucupapo to create a visual reenactment of the historic 1646 Battle of Tejucupapo. For nearly 25 years, between 1630 and 1654, the Dutch occupied the northeast of Brazil including Tejucupapo, a small community in the city of Goiana. During the Battle of Tejucupapo, a brigade of black and indigenous women forced Dutch soldiers to retreat by arming themselves with household and farm objects. The Teatro Heroínas de Teiucupapo commemorates this female-led rebellion each April by restaging the battle with local actors.

Artist Jonathas de Andrade celebrates the power and courage of Tejucupapo’s women with his large-scale photographic installation A batalha do todo dia de Tejucupapo (The Battle of Tejucupapo). The work on this wall, A batalha de todo dia de Dona Luzia, de Tejucupapo (The daily battle of Dona Luzia, from Tejucupapo), presents everyday objects from the home of one of the women participating in Teatro Heroínas de Tejucupapo. This inventory explores the daily struggles, as well as strength, of Brazil’s black and indigenous women that have spanned centuries.

This exhibition will close on Sunday, 8/27/23.

 

Jul 292023
 

The above painting is Leslie Lerner’s My Life in France: The Oceanside (The Green Day), 2002, currently on view at Tampa Museum of Art.

From the museum’s wall plaque about the work-

Paintings and sculpture comprise Leslie Lerner’s series My Life in France, a fictional travelogue of the artist’s globetrotting alter ego. Inspired by Rococo painter Antoine Watteau (French, 1684-1721), Lerner’s work nods to the idyllic and lush canvases of 18th-century landscape paintings. The Oceanside (The Green Day) depicts a man standing on a grassy cliff and facing the ocean. His size pales in comparison to the vastness of the ocean he faces. Calming shades of aquamarine blue and moss green emphasize the serene beauty of the shoreline.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Lerner developed his artistic practice in San Francisco and initially created installation art. He taught art in various colleges and universities in California for several years before relocating to Sarasota, Florida. For 15 years, Lerner served on the faculty at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Jul 272023
 

“A Cut Below”, 2000, Acrylic on canvas

Theo Wujcik’s painting, A Cut Below, is part of Tampa Museum of Art‘s All in Favor: New Works in the Permanent Collection, on view until 7/30/23.