Sunday, February 20, 2005

Current exhibits at Columbus Museum of Art

After church today we drove downtown to see this winter's group of exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland December 11, 2004 - March 6, 2005

The Allen Sisters: Pictorial Photographers 1885-1920 January 15 - March 20, 2005

Claude Raguet Hirst: Transforming the American Still Life January 15 - April 10, 2005

Bringing Modernism Home: Ohio Decorative Arts 1890-1960 January 28 - April 17, 2005

and the photographs of Art Sinsabaugh, which for some reason don't have a link on the museum page.

The Hanson sculptures are amazing and eerie. Because there are guards sitting around very still close to the sculptures, sometimes you're not sure--is this a real person or a sculpture. The woman reclining in a lawn chair in her bikini had a sun burn and cellulite! The museum was full of families--many peering into the faces of these lifelike. . . forms. Looking more real than most real people.

The photographs of the Allen sisters make me want to go through the few old Ladies Home Journals I have from the early 20th century (my grandmother's). They did a lot of photographs for magazines, and the exhibit shows the changes in their art over the years. Ms. Hirst's still lifes were also very interesting--particularly the ones she did of books, and her uniquely female way of painting of "bachelor art" a genre that appealed primarily to men.

My favorite was the Ohio Decorative Arts exhibit, and the Sunday morning lark became a bit more expensive (also included lunch in the museum restaurant, designed by my husband) when I couldn't resist buying the book, Bringing modernism home; Ohio decorative arts, 1890-1960, by Carol Boram-Hays (Ohio University Press, 2005). Because of the large number of glass and pottery companies in Ohio, it really is possible to build a very large collection with just Ohio artists (although many were immigrants from Europe and Japan).

"Bringing Modernism Home illuminates how Ohioans were influential in bringing international vanguard movements such as Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Art Moderne out of the rarefied atmosphere of art galleries and museums and into the domestic realm. Included are works by nationally regarded figures such as Russel Wright and Viktor Schreckengost, as well as renowned creations by the important studios and manufactories Rookwood Pottery, Rose Iron Works, Hall China, and the Libbey Glass Company." Read more.

Art Sinsabaugh's photographs, which we just stumbled into, included many scenes we remember from the Champaign, Urbana, and Rantoul area. At first he didn't like the flatness of central Illinois, but soon found it beautiful, and by cropping his 12 x 20 negatives, he was able to achieve the far horizon/big sky those of us who lived in that area recognize. Also the Chicago scenes from the 1960s are wonderful.

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