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Djawid C. Borower: Portraits of Money
October 17, 2000 - February 18, 2001

Like many contemporary artists currently living in Vienna, Austria, Djawid Borower adopts a critical relationship to the traditions that have dominated the Austrian art scene for the past forty years, rejecting trends influenced by both expressionistic and pop ideas. Taking conceptual art as his point of departure, Borower appropriates images in order to explore notions of style, representation, and power. The resulting paintings have a rich and visceral presence that tempers their discursive content.

... beyond was something heaving, stirring, forever below, forever before his words ...
Painting of a Belgian Franc , Oil on Canvas, 78 x 70 inches

He was glad that the truth was finally out in the open, and he welcomed the upheavals and changes that followed as a consequence of that truth.
Painting of a US Dollar, 2000, Oil on Canvas, 78 x 70 inches

Taking imagery directly from bank notes, Borower's Portraits of Money represent faces we know but rarely study. Each nation identifies and represents itself through the continued reproduction of these iconic faces on bank notes, yet their significance as images of people disappears under the rubric of monetary denomination. After meticulously copying these portraits onto a large scale, Borower then scrapes away the surface of the paint, smearing it with a squeegee. The finely crafted object is forced out of balance by this process, creating a tension between the desire to read the image as a recognizable portrait and the painting's endorsement of its own material condition. The depicted individual is given center stage in these works but the painting will not relinquish its hold on the image as oil and pigment. This throws the certainty of representation into question and destabilizes a reading of the portrait as a true picture.

Although various, Borower's pictures are, in a certain way, always the same. They appear as layers within which cultural signs are broken, dissolved, and subjected to critical abrasion. As representations they are fragile, floating on the edge of disappearance. But, it is this very fragility that allows the viewer to engage both formal and expressive issues in a dialogue about the meaning of identity and representation.

Djawid C. Borower was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1958. He studied philosophy and history at the Universities of Cologne, Germany, and Vienna, Austria. He currently lives and works in Vienna. Featuring nine large-scale paintings of such famous figures as George Washington, Queen Elizabeth, and Alberto Giacometti, Portraits of Money will be on view in the museum's Sculpture Court through February 18, 2001.


Beyond the Walls – December 1, 2000 to January 31, 2001
The Speed is launching a major new initiative–Connecting with the Community. Connecting with Community programs transform the museum experience and extend it outside of the museum. Beyond the Walls, our first program, brings contemporary art of the highest caliber into the community and integrates regional work with that of artists with international reputations.

There is a growing interest in the redeployment of styles of Pop and decorative art within a post-modern framework. Younger artists have been appropriating the style and look of Pop in order to deal with issues of identity and have been producing works that both depict and symbolize aspects of modern living. The four artists selected for Beyond the Walls reflect this in differing ways. While their works bear some resemblance to advertising, the images remain ambiguous. Normally we expect advertising media to endorse the consumption of certain products or enforce some partisan message. The images in Beyond the Walls fulfill neither of these criteria. Instead, they are images that use the medium of advertising to question our expectations, encouraging us to explore how images and representations influence our daily lives.

The project uses four advertising mediums and each artist has been assigned a particular format. Each artist's image appears on all of the sites allocated for that format.

Claudia Hart
Claudia Hart is a New York artist who lived and worked in Berlin for many years. Developing away from conceptual art, she started to become interested in the way in which things like fairytales can be decoded on a subliminal level, thus revealing the equivalent of the psycho clown of popular culture such as the Joker in Batman. Her book project A Child's Machiavelli (1995) brought together fluffy fairytale images with a new interpretation of the 16th-century philosopher's notorious writings.

More recently, Hart's work has become subtler with brightly colored images of pigs, which are animated by a control button on the computer. She has also been working on a series of long format works that take the more demonic images of fairy tales and defuse them through dislocation.

Bryce Hudson
Born in 1979, Bryce Hudson moved from Cincinnati to Louisville two years ago.

Hudson's work achieves the look of formalism while suggesting that there is more to representation than meets the eye. Each work displays stylistic traits that place it within the framework of a certain type of history, whether this be geometric forms that suggest post-painterly abstraction and the influence of De Stijl, even Zen, or a pixelated face that reminds us of Chuck Close's work. What interests Hudson is the way that he can disrupt stylistic recognition. His titles, such as Virus and Erica Squared suggest that there is more to his iconography than pure formal construction.

Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido
Elizabeth Mesa-Gaido is from a Cuban family. Her father came to the United States as a political exile in 1960.

Her works focus on the exploration of cultural identity and, most recently, she has been making works which portray floral motifs. These works she describes as the Cultural Migrations series, where she uses flora to conceptually trace the cultural lineages and migrations of diverse individuals.

Markus Muntean and Adi Rosenblum
Markus Muntean and Adi Rosenblum live and work in Vienna. He is Austrian and she is Israeli.

The work of Muntean and Rosenblum explores teenage angst in a most sympathetic way, juxtaposing images of young people with existentially searching texts. Often adopting the poses that appear in fashion magazines, these young people are troubled by a world that sees them only as "image." Their representation in the drawings generates a vulnerability that undermines the pose, so that what they seem to be saying in the text becomes a questioning of who they are. The drawings, of course, also speak out to the way in which we are seduced by the photographed image and forget the reality of the person depicted. The text reminds us of our relation to youth and its insecurities, to the passing of time and memory. Muntean and Rosenblum are adept at suggesting self-awareness of their teenage subjects, in contrast to the way media images objectify young people.


Victor Moscoso, Neon Rose #12, The Chambers Brothers, 1967. Color lithograph lent by Paul Prince © '67 Neon Rose. More info is available at www.victormoscoso.com

Dancing on the Edge - Psychedelic Rock Graphics from the Paul Prince Collection, September 19 - November 12, 2000

The "summer of love" may have been a short-lived affair, but it has certainly had a lasting effect upon our culture. Among all the current debates about the values that the sixties generation espoused, there is no denying that the music and art of that decade displayed a dynamic that has found little match since. Dancing on the Edge presents 60 posters and 22 album sleeves, belonging to Santa Barbara collector Paul Prince, which demonstrate the achievement of graphic art in the heyday of psychedelia.

The most important sources for this dynamic graphic work were the two major rock venues in the San Francisco area, the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore, whose concert programs were run respectively by Chet Helms and Bill Graham. By commissioning artists such as Rick Griffin, Stanley "Mouse" Miller, Victor Moscoso, Wes Wilson and Alton Kelley to create their publicity, they helped to change the landscape of poster design. At the center of psychedelic culture, these artists were able to invent and appropriate images in combination with groundbreaking typographical ideas, creating a visual world to match the music it accompanied.

The album covers include record sleeves from the music of The Beatles, Cream, Crosby Stills & Nash, Bob Dylan, Spencer Davis Group, The Grateful Dead, Arlo Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Manfred Mann, Grace Slick, The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, The Who, and Frank Zappa.

Films, lectures, and adult classes are planned in conjunction with these exhibitions, and the museum shop will offer related items such as cookbooks by Linda McCartney, catalogs, books, posters, and music compilations.


David Levinthal, From the Series Modern Romance, 1983-1985, Polaroid Land Film,
Courtesy of the artist.

Modern Romance: Photographs by David Levinthal
July 18 – November 26, 2000

Known as a pioneer of the constructed photograph, David Levinthal has become an explorer of the darker side of the American psyche through his atmospheric tableaux. The artist’s Modern Romance series (1983-1985) is a watershed body of work. After staging and lighting tiny figures in miniature sets, Levinthal photographed them with a Polaroid Land Camera. The resulting photographs represent small but pregnant moments in a fictional urban narrative–people in hotel rooms, in diners, on the street. Familiar in many ways, the depicted individuals are bathed in a light that leaves them unfocussed, suggesting the alienation that a companies much city night-life. Sometimes the works are photographed from video screens, so that they become an image of an image, a hazy surface that suggests surveillance. Here, Levinthal echoes the distancing that has already been created by his use of models but elaborates it through the frame of our own voyeuristic vision. Levinthal’s is a bleak outlook that suggests the singularity of the individual urban experience, where the soul seems lost in darkness, impenetrable. Yet the weight of this feeling remains light in the recognition that the images are only fictions.


Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era
September 19 - November 12, 2000

An exhibition of photographs by Linda McCartney–Beatle icon Paul McCartney’s late wife and an important photographer in her own right–will be on view at The Speed Art Museum September 19, 2000 through November 12, 2000. The first comprehensive showing of Linda McCartney’s Sixties photography in the United States, the exhibition includes images of such rock legends as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Young Rascals, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan and, of course, The Beatles. The timing of the show is meant both as a tribute to the artist as well as a reminder of a defining decade of the 20th century.

Linda McCartney’s Sixties: Portrait of an Era presents 47 of McCartney’s most recognizable rock n’ roll photographs. Her spontaneous images chronicle an era that was defined in large part by its popular music. The exquisite platinum, silvertone, and color prints were prepared expressly for this exhibition. Guest curator Gabriele Abbott states that "her keen eye for ‘the moment’ and her ability to capture it perfectly with available light sources became the hallmark of her photographs–a talent demonstrated nowhere with more effect than in her photographs of the sixties assembled in this exhibition."

Linda McCartney’s career as a rock photographer began in 1966 with The Rolling Stones. Her black and white and color shots of The Stones propelled her to gigs as house photographer for New York’s Fillmore East and as first staff photographer for Rolling Stone magazine. Her easy-going personality and candid photographic style gave her access to most bands playing in New York and later led her to jobs with major record labels on both coasts. Before her death in 1998, Linda McCartney had earned notoriety as one of the most distinguished women photographers of her time. Her work has been exhibited in over fifty galleries worldwide, published internationally in magazines and newspapers, included in such collections as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Britain’s National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Photographic Society in Bath, England, the Reiss Museum in Mannheim, Germany, and the City Museum of Leipzig, Germany. In 1987 she was voted "U.S. Woman Photographer of the Year" by Women in Photography.

Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era is organized by the Estate of Linda McCartney in cooperation with the Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences, Greenwich, Connecticut.


Beautiful Landscapes:
The Speed Presents Two Early American Landscape Exhibitions June 27-August 27

This summer, the Speed presents two marvelous exhibitions featuring American landscapes from the 19th century.

Art and Nature: The Hudson River School

Art & Nature offers 27 beautiful landscapes representing all the major artists associated with America’s first school of landscape painting.

The Hudson River School artists derived their inspiration from the upper Hudson River valley and are known for their dramatic depictions of nature and subjects ranging from sublime views of wilderness to pastoral scenes and allegorical pictures with moral messages. At the height of the movement, paintings were meant to celebrate the presence of God in nature. In keeping with the tenets of Romanticism, these artists saw the natural American environment as a source of divine expressions. This exhibition also focuses on the changing meaning of Hudson River School paintings over time.

Sanford Gifford, Mt. Merino and the City of Hudson in Autumn, Oil on canvas Albany Institute of History & Art

America’s first school of landscape painting begins with Thomas Cole in 1825 and ends by the late 1870s. Toward end of the 19th century interest in the Hudson River School declined and the paintings were considered old fashioned.

Over the years, the school has witnessed three distinct revivals. Post-World War I patriotism sparked an interest in the paintings, which were viewed as evidence of the simplicity and independence of life in the U.S. The environmental movement in the 1960s and ’70s often used the images as reminders of a lost, pre-industrial paradise. Today, Hudson River School artists are appreciated on many levels for their meanings related to American art, history, and culture.

In addition to Cole, the exhibition features works by Asher B. Durand, Frederic E. Church, Jasper Cropsey, Sanford R. Gifford, James Hart, William Hart, John Kensett, Homer D. Martin, David Johnson, John Casilear, and George Inness.

The exhibition was organized by the Albany Institute of History and Art in Albany, New York and is being circulated to seven museums in the United States by Smith Kramer, Inc., a fine art service company located in Kansas City, Missouri.

Karl Bodmer's Eastern Views: A Journey in North America

Karl Bodmer’s Eastern Views showcases the works of this 19th-century Swiss artist’s career and his views of the eastern United States from 1832—34. Featuring nearly 100 watercolors, drawings, prints, and documents, Karl Bodmer’s Eastern Views depicts

beautiful views from the eastern segment of Bodmer’s 1832-34 expedition to North America from Boston to St. Louis with the German Prince Maximilian.

Many will be drawn to Bodmer’s images about this part of the country. Bodmer stopped in Louisville, was in New Harmony, Indiana, for several months, and recorded his impressions of Louisville, Portland, and nearby towns and countrysides.

When Maximilian and Bodmer steamed into Louisville on October 14, 1832, they would have been welcomed by a thriving city. Indeed one 1830s visitor called Louisville "...the greatest place of business upon the western waters."

Louisville impressed many visitors from the Eastern cities as well as Europe. Caleb Atwater, traveling through Louisville in 1829, found a robust economy. "Main Street, for the distance of about one mile, presents a proud display of wealth and grandeur. Houses of two and three lofty stories in height, standing upon solid stone foundations, exceed any thing of the kind in the Western States. The stores filled with the commodities and manufactures of every clime, and every art, dazzle the eye. The ringing of the bells and the roaring of the guns, belonging to the numerous steam boats in the harbor, the cracking of the coachman’s whip, and the sound of the stage driver’s horn, salute the ear."

Leaving Louisville on October 15, 1832, Maximilian and Bodmer made their way to New Harmony, Indiana, where they stayed through the winter. Nestled along the Wabash River, New Harmony was founded in 1814 by members of the Rappite Society. While the intention of creating a communal society ultimately failed, New Harmony did become a great scientific center in America, with most of the research being conducted there between 1824 and 1856. At one time, the U.S. Geological Survey was even headquartered there.

The exhibition is part of the Maximilian-Bodmer collection at Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, which is internationally recognized as a priceless record of early 19th-century America.

Scientific and Cultural Contexts of Karl Bodmer’s Eastern Views"

In conjunction with the exhibition Karl Bodmer’s Eastern Views, John Sears will present a lecture on Thursday, August 24 at 6 PM.

Karl Bodmer arrived in the United States in 1832 with his employer, Prince Maximilian von Wied-Neuwied, a German naturalist on an expedition to study the flora, fauna and native peoples of the American West. They found themselves in a developing country poised for rapid takeoff into industrialization, urbanization, and agricultural development, but still, in many respects unspoiled and unrecorded. Sears will discuss Bodmer’s role as an artist on a scientific expedition, his manner of depicting the American landscape and the transformations taking place in it, and the differences between his work and the paintings of 19th-century American landscape artists.

Sears wrote one of the primary essays for the exhibition catalog and is a renowned expert on the history of American tourism. His publications include Sacred Places: American Tourist Attractions in the 19th Century, and he served as editor for the Penguin Classic edition of Henry James’ American Scene. Dr. Sears received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard and has taught at Tufts, Boston University and Vassar College. He was most recently the Executive Director of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, New York.


From Adam and Eve to Bubbleboy: Selections from the Collection
December 28, 1999 - May 2000

This exhibition features more than seventy works of art from the Speed’s permanent collection. Works included in the exhibition span the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, ranging from French artist Jean-François De Troy’s painting Adam and Eve of 1730 to contemporary American glass artist Richard Marquis’s d’Marquis Bubbleboy #2 of 1998. Representing a wide range of subjects and styles, this exhibition includes painting, sculpture, and decorative arts by such artists as: François Boucher, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence, Mary Cassatt, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Constantin Brancusi, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Marc Chagall, Robert Rauschenberg, John De Andrea, and Barbara Kruger.


May 22, 1999 – July 23, 2000
Prodigal
Son Tapestry installed in the Tapestry
Gallery of the Satterwhite Wing.



Dinh Q. Lê, Untitled (Cambodia: Splendor and Darkness) #12, 1999, C-print and linen tape, 58 1/4 inches x 40 1/4 inches, Courtesy of Shoshana Wayne Gallery

Cambodia: Splendor and Darkness–Photographs by Dinh Q. Lê
May 9 – July 5, 2000

This exhibition features six large-scale photographs by Vietnamese artist Dinh Q. Lê, whose photographic artworks combine two major events in Cambodian history: the Angkor period (9th through 12th centuries), when hundreds of monuments were built and then left as ruins for 400 years, and the autogenocide committed by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1978 under the dictatorship of Pol Pot. By combining these events, the artist collapses the distance between the historical monuments and social abuses that were committed and, as a result, creates memorials in the remembrance of its victims. Lê photographs decorative details from the Angkor Wat and the Bayon monuments in Cambodia and appropriates images of the Khmer Rouge's victims from the notorious Tousleng death camp in Phnom Phen. He then slices the images into thin strips and weaves the strips together. Depending on the observer's viewpoint, the images merge or disappear. The edges of the photographs are burned, melting the separate strips together, giving the piece a weathered appearance, as if it had survived a catastrophic event. This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Houston Center for Photography and Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica.


This exhibition features a selection of masterworks from Dulwich Picture Gallery, England's oldest public art museum and one of the most magnificent collections of Old Master paintings. Rembrandt to Gainsborough highlights 90 of the gallery's most famous paintings – many of which have never been seen in the United States – by such artists as Canaletto, Gainsborough, Poussin, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens, Tiepolo, and Watteau. The exhibition and its national tour are made possible by Ford Motor Company. The exhibition is organized by The American Federation of Arts (AFA) and Dulwich Picture Gallery. The exhibition is presented in Louisville by Brown-Forman Corporation's Woodford Reserve. Accompanying Rembrandt to Gainsborough is a small exhibition focusing on the unique architectural history of Dulwich Picture Gallery and the career of its renowned architect, Sir John Soane.


Dulwich Picture Gallery and Sir John Soane’s Poetry of Architecture
January 25 - April 9, 2000

HELD OVER TO APRIL 23!

Accompanying the Speed’s blockbuster exhibition Rembrandt to Gainsborough: Masterpieces from England’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, this exhibition of nearly twenty photographs focuses on the unique architectural history of Dulwich Picture Gallery–England’s oldest public art museum–and the creative genius of its architect, Sir John Soane (1754-1837). The exhibition examines Soane’s innovative design for the picture gallery and how the picture gallery continues to influence museum design today. In addition to photographs of Dulwich Picture Gallery, the exhibition features other noteworthy projects by Soane, including the architect’s fascinating house and museum at 13, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The exhibition is sponsored by AIA Central Kentucky, a Chapter of The American Institute of Architects.

 

 
 
 


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