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Three widely acclaimed exhibitions will be showing at the Colby College Museum of Art this summer:

Chuck Close: Self-Portrait/Scribble/Etching Portfolio, 2000
Chuck Close: Self-Portrait/Scribble/Etching Portfolio, 2000, organized in conjunction with the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University and the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, is a presentation of the artist’s 24 proofs and one final etching that are part of his 2000 self-portrait. The exhibition is drawn from the collection of Paul J. Schupf and will be showing at the Colby College Museum of Art May 1-September 21.

Chuck Close has been making self-portraits since the late 1960s. He bases these efforts on photographs that he takes of himself and then methodically, laboriously, repeatedly — and always inventively — translates into other media: paintings, drawings, textiles, and prints. Close’s investment in such processes forms the subject of his portfolio. As Close described his intentions for the project: “…the best thing is if you can pull a rabbit out of a hat, and then stop and show somebody how you pull a rabbit out of a hat.” The portfolio serves as an exploration of artistic process as well as a finished artwork in its own right. The exhibition also presents additional works by Close, providing a greater context for this monumental project.
 
In addition to the exhibition, the Colby College Museum of Art will present director-producer Marion Carjori’s film, Chuck Close. This feature-length documentary follows Close as he creates a self-portrait, from Polaroid to final stroke. Screenings, co-sponsored by the Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) and the Art Kaleidoscope Foundation, will take place July 12 at 3:30 p.m. and July 17 at 1:30 p.m. As part of the museum’s Noontime Art Talk series, Sharon Corwin, the museum’s director and chief curator, will discuss the exhibition July 17 at 12:30 p.m., immediately preceding the film screening. Catalogue available

Joe Brainard: If Nancy Was
Joe Brainard: If Nancy Was presents 20 mixed-media works from Brainard’s provocative If Nancy Was series, a recent gift of the Alex Katz Foundation. Brainard casts Nancy, the popular comic-book character, in a variety of roles that range from the provocative to the playful. Among these roles are Nancy as a face on Mount Rushmore, as a discarded Kleenex, as a de Kooning “Woman” painting, and as a building in New York City. The exhibit will be showing June 22-August 17.

A visual artist and writer closely associated with the New York School of the 1960s and ’70s, Joe Brainard invented variations on commercial images and artifacts that have become icons of Pop art. From 1963 to 1978 Brainard created more than 100 works of art appropriating the classic comic book character, Nancy.

As part of the museum’s Noontime Art Talk series, Lunder Curator of American Art Elizabeth Finch will discuss the exhibition July 10 at 12:30 p.m. On July 19 at 2 p.m., poet Ron Padgett will read from The Writings of Joe Brainard.

Masterpieces of American Folk Art
The Colby College Museum of Art’s contribution to the Maine Folk Art Trail, Masterpieces of American Folk Art presents more than 50 works in a variety of media, from drawing and watercolor to oil painting, sculpture, and embroidery. An entire gallery of the exhibition will be devoted to the display of primitive portraits, many of which are drawn from the American Heritage Collection given to Colby by Edith and Ellerton M. Jette in 1956. Highlights are G.J. Griffin’s A View From Freeport, Maine, an original cigar store wooden Indian, a painted fireboard, and a Victorian crazy quilt. Rounding out the exhibition are works on a range of folk subjects, including landscape, seascape, ship paintings, and still life.

As part of the museum’s Noontime Art Talk Series, Curatorial Assistant Hannah Blunt will discuss the exhibition July 3 at 12:30 p.m. On August 10 at 2 p.m., the Colby College Museum of Art will play host to Ladies of the Lake, a traditional folk music ensemble specializing in instrumental tunes and ballads from Ireland, New England and Canada.

The Maine Folk Art Trail is a statewide institutional collaboration exploring the treasure troves of traditional American folk art in Maine. For more information about the Maine Folk Art Trail visit www.mainefolkarttrail.com.

A summer reception celebrating all three exhibitions, with a reading of Joe Brainard’s writings read by poet Ron Padgett, is scheduled for July 19, 2-4 p.m.

Colby College Museum of Art
Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art has built a significant permanent collection of more than 5,500 works, with a focus on American and contemporary art. Selections from this collection are displayed in the museum’s 24,000 square feet of exhibition space — one of the largest museums in Maine. The collection includes areas of extraordinary depth. Major works by American artists John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt, Mary Cassatt, and William Merritt Chase, and William Glackens form part of the historical collection; the modern movement is represented by important works John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent. The museum also features a significant contemporary collection, including works by Richard Serra, Chuck Close, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Kara Walker, Elizabeth Murray, Alex Katz, and Terry Winters, to name a few. Other areas of the collection include Greek and Roman antiquities, European prints and drawings, American folk art, and early Chinese art.

For additional information about the Colby College Museum of Art, visit its new Web site at www.colby.edu/museum.