Black History Month: Artist Spotlight

February 3, 2015 - February 28, 2015

Teaching Gallery

The Colby Museum celebrates Black History Month by spotlighting a different work of art each week by African American artists in its collection: Joseph Norman (week one and two), followed by a single work each by Kara Walker (week three) and David C. Driskell (week four). Selected in collaboration with the Pugh Center, Students Organized for Black and Hispanic Unity, and the African-American Studies Program, these works of art offer visitors an opportunity to reflect on current and historical representations of race in the United States.

Related Programming


Banner Image: David C. Driskell, African Women, Windows, 2004, Woodcut and monoprint on paper, 19 in. x 24 3/4 in., Gift of Scott Habes, 2009.095

Terry Winters: Printed Matters

February 12, 2015 - May 10, 2015

Lower Jetté Galleries

Terry Winters made his first print in 1982 and, to date, he has created more than 110 editions, including numerous multi-sheet portfolios, working with innovative fine art presses internationally. This exhibition considers Winters’s use of the printed image as a resource for experimentation, invention, and collaboration. He views prints as equal to paintings and drawings and avoids applying a hierarchy to his various modes of working. Yet the print medium is nonetheless of special significance to an artist who has long looked to the universe of printed matter for inspiration and who consistently applies ideas generated through the printmaking process to his practice as a whole. With an emphasis on recent editions, the exhibition includes the print portfolio In Blue and a closely related painting of the same title, marking the first time that they have been exhibited together. Also featured are Winters’s most recent editions, Clocks and Clouds and Atmospheres, as well as his Notebook collages, hybrid works that combine found imagery and drawing in ways that resonate with the layered compositions of his prints.

A concurrent exhibition, Listen to this page. Works by Bern Porter from Colby College Special Collections, is drawn from the Special Collections at Colby College and is inspired by Winters’s interest in Porter’s visionary “founds,” artworks and poems gleaned from newspaper circulars, mailers, and advertisements.

Terry Winters: Printed Matters is organized in conjunction with Terry Winters Prints: 1999–2014, an exhibition at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München to which the Colby Museum is the primary lender. A related catalogue, which includes complete descriptions of Winters’s editions since 1999, is available through Prestel. In 2002, the Colby Museum became a repository for Winters’s complete printed works. View additional information on this collection.

Related Programming

Related Publications

Exhibition review: Exhibition of prints from 1999 to 2014 by Terry Winters opens at Pinakothek der Moderne, artdaily.org, December 2014


Banner Image: Terry Winters, Clocks and Clouds/1, 2013, Four color lithograph on Rives BFK paper, 36 x 46 in. Courtesy Gemini G.E.L. New York and Los Angeles, Gift of the artist, 2014.025

Listen to this page. Works by Bern Porter from Colby College Special Collections

February 12, 2015 - May 10, 2015

Lower Jetté Galleries

A Colby College alumnus and Maine native, Bern Porter (1911–2004) began his career as a scientific researcher, but his most enduring source of creative inspiration was American mass culture after World War II. Trained in physics, Porter worked on the development of the cathode-ray tube and subsequently joined the Manhattan Project, the American research team charged with assembling the first atomic bomb. Disillusioned by the great destruction wrought by this unleashed force and motivated to make art out of the printed matter (newspaper circulars, magazine advertisements, and sweepstakes mailers) that arrived in his mailbox, or that he discovered in trashcans, Porter walked away from applied science to dedicate his life to the creation of “founds,” visual poems constructed out of cut, pasted, and torn papers. One of these works displays the appropriated phrase “Listen to this page,” capturing Porter’s indefatigable ability to ascertain the marvelous in the mundane.

Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Terry Winters: Printed Matters, Listen to this page. Works by Bern Porter from Colby College Special Collections includes a selection of the original collages that the artist published in the irreverent compilations The Book of Do’s and Here Come’s Everybody’s Don’t Book. It also features several of Porter’s uniquely prescient artist’s books, one of which, 468B (1966), consists of bound computer printouts of codes that he provocatively suggested could be deciphered for their “psycho-visual” potential. Porter composed two other books, both dated 1961 and titled Aphasia (or the loss of ability to understand or express speech), from bound newsprint whose textual and visual densities presaged the content overload that is now commonly associated with Internet culture. The artist’s book Scandinavian Summer and a travel scrapbook represent Porter’s lifelong fascination with international travel, much of it aboard cruise ships. Additional publications and a selection of the artist’s writings are also available for visitors to peruse.

Initiated following Winters’s inclusion of Porter’s work in the group exhibition Roving Signs in 2013, Listen to this page highlights the extensive holdings of Porter’s papers and related works by the Special Collections at Colby College. For information on this collection, go to The Bern Porter Collection of Contemporary Letters, housed in Colby’s Special Collections. Other collections of Porter materials can be found at Bowdoin College, The Museum of Modern Art, and UCLA. In addition, Mark Melnicove, poet, writer, and literary executor of the Porter Estate, maintains a comprehensive and evolving website dedicated to Porter’s life, art, and collaborations. Special events organized in conjunction with the exhibition include a noontime talk on March 31, a found poetry workshop on March 14, and a Community Day celebration on April 11.

Related Programming


Banner Image: Bern Porter, Untitled from Here Comes Everybody's Don't Book, 1984, Collage on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 in. The Bern Porter Collection, Colby College Special Collections

Two Works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres

February 12, 2015 - June 7, 2015

William D. Adams Gallery, Museum Lobby

The theme of travel runs throughout the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, a Cuban–born, American artist who immigrated, via Puerto Rico, to the United States in 1979. In conjunction with Colby College’s 2014–15 Humanities Theme of “Migrations,” the Colby Museum is presenting two of Gonzalez-Torres’s stack pieces, works composed of printed sheets of paper that visitors may keep, display, or give to others. In the two-part piece “Untitled”, 1989/1990, one stack of papers features the sentence “Somewhere better than this place.”, while the other reads, “Nowhere better than this place.” In “Untitled” 1992/1993, the sheets of paper are printed with a black-and-white image of a bird in the sky based on a photograph by the artist. Public programs associated with the presentation of these works will include a Noontime Art Talk and other events to be announced.

Related Programming


Banner Image: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled”, 1989/1990. Print on paper, endless copies, 26 in. at ideal height x 29 x 56 in. overall. Two parts: 26 in. at ideal height x 29 x 23 in. (original paper size) each. © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation; Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York

Paper Trail: Contemporary Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the Collection

May 30, 2015 - September 6, 2015

Davis Gallery

Featuring numerous recent acquisitions, this exhibition presents selections from the Colby Museum’s holdings of contemporary works on paper. Many of the artists represented are new to the collection and have entered it through their accomplishments in printmaking. These include Tomma Abts, Glenn Ligon, Raymond Pettibon, Vija Celmins, Lee Bontecou, Julie Mehretu, Amy Sillman, and John Baldessari. Drawings by Richard Serra, Elizabeth Murray, Ed Ruscha, and Terry Winters, among others, offer vibrant evidence of that medium’s continued relevance and centrality. Photography, an area of the collection experiencing tremendous recent growth, is also amply represented by such artists as Richard Misrach, Loretta Lux, Philip Lorca diCorcia, Robert Polidori, and An-My Lê.


Banner Image: Robert Polidori, Music Theory Classroom in School #5, Pripyat, 2001, Fujicolor crystal archive print on paper, 40 in. x 48 in., Promised gift of Dr. William and Nancy Tsiaras, 138.2004

Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s

July 11, 2015 - October 18, 2015

The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz

The 1950s saw American artist Alex Katz (b. 1927) take up and master painting directly from nature, lay claim to Abstract Expressionism’s size and scale on behalf of figurative painting, and innovate with collages and cutouts. It was a decade in which he looked to the portraiture of Édouard Manet for lessons in the relationship between figure and ground, and the one in which he met Ada, his most enduring model. Given the overwhelming popularity of painterly abstraction, this was also a period when he destroyed hundreds of canvases, and those that survived had little to no audience. This major exhibition will introduce audiences to an overlooked body of work and consider it within the context of the aesthetic commitments of the decade. Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s features sixty-five paintings, cutouts, and collages, including many on loan from the artist and major public and private collections.

Details about the exhibition tour coming soon.

Related Publications

katz-1950s_catalogue

Brand-New & Terrific

Alex Katz in the 1950s

Diana Tuite

 

Celebrating an experimental decade in the career of Alex Katz, this book introduces audiences to a relatively unknown body of his work.

 


Banner Image: Alez Katz, Jack’s Fancy Fruit and Veg., 1951-1952, Oil on masonite, 36 in. x 16 in., Gift of the artist, Art © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, 1995.091

Whistler and the World: The Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler at the Colby College Museum of Art

September 15, 2015 - January 10, 2016

Lunder Wing, Southeast Gallery

In his “Ten O’Clock Lecture” in 1885, the American James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) presented himself as an artist set apart from the public, bearing no relation to the historical moment he lived in. However, the myth of artistic independence that Whistler developed was but one part of a complex and highly significant relationship he had with the world around him. As a painter, printmaker, designer, traveller, and performer, Whistler engaged with a variety of places, people, and ideas that stretched from the United States to London, Venice, and Japan. Drawn entirely from the renowned Lunder Collection, this comprehensive exhibition will place eighty-five featured art works, including the finest examples of his prints, into a dynamic international and cosmopolitan context. The exhibition and its accompanying catalog will explore how Whistler transported his immediate surroundings into the “realm of art” while he, in turn, was shaped by the encounters he had as he traversed the global art worlds of the nineteenth century.

Related Publications

Artist feature: Ann Landi, Whistler: The Original Art StarArtnews, December 2014


Continue Exploring

Related exhibition: “Whistler in Paris, London, and Venice.” Yale University Art Gallery. 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06520. Friday, January 30, 2015–Sunday, July 19, 2015.


Banner Image: James McNeill Whistler, Chelsea in Ice, 1864, Oil on canvas, 17 3/4 x 24 in., The Lunder Collection, 2013.293

Aesthetic Harmonies: Whistler in Context

September 17, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Lower Jetté Galleries

Aesthetic Harmonies explores the many artistic, social, and historical contexts in which we can situate the artist James McNeill Whistler. Drawing from the museum’s rich collections of European, American, and Asian art, the exhibition reexamines Whistler’s relationship to the Etching Revival in Britain, French Realism, American Impressionism, and transatlantic Aestheticism. It also places the artist’s experiments with color, form, beauty, and nature in dialogue with early American modernism, mid-twentieth-century abstraction, and contemporary art. Aesthetic Harmonies thus constructs a history of modern art through Whistler’s diverse practices, philosophies, and influences. This exhibition is curated by Associate Professor of Art Tanya Sheehan and the students in AR497 (Fall 2014); Maria Bowe ’15, Catherine Maguire ’15, Caroline Pelham ’17, Francesca Soriano ’16, Veronica Vesnaver ’15, and Marina Wells ’15.


Banner Image: Edward Steichen, Moonlight on the Narrows, 1905, Oil on canvas, The Lunder Collection, 2013.268