Teen Brooks: Time Well Spent

The Teen Brooks program comes to an end this week. Below is a recap from two-year Teen Brooks alum Ashton Arroyo.


I have been involved in Teen Brooks for two years now, since the program started. The meetings have always been fun for me. Mostly due to the new people I meet, I happily anticipate each upcoming meeting. All of us who participate have an interest in art, and many of us find that we have other similar interests as well. Interacting with the other members is very refreshing for me because I feel comfortable and act as my casual self (rather than acting shy, which may come as a shock to some members, who may say that I remain shy!).  My favorite activity in Teen Brooks was when the whole group worked on creating an exhibition. We unanimously decided to have an ‘Artpop’ theme. I enjoyed every process in creating the exhibition, right up to the opening day.

More information on the Teen Brooks program
Teen Brooks Museum on Facebook
Teen Brooks on Flickr

Lewis Carroll meets Louis Malle


This weekend, Brooks Films salutes Dalî: Illustrating the Surreal, and “Louis Malle meets Lewis Carroll in a bizarre and bewitching trip down the rabbit hole” with Malle’s Black Moon.

Synopsis: “After skirting the horrors of a mysterious war being waged in the countryside, beautiful young Lily takes refuge in a remote farmhouse, where she becomes embroiled in the surreal domestic life of an extremely unconventional family. Evocatively shot by cinematographer Sven Nykvist, Black Moon is a Freudian tale of adolescent sexuality set in a postapocalyptic world of shifting identities and talking animals. It is one of Malle’s most experimental films and a cinematic daydream like no other.”

Despite winning two César Awards upon its release, Black Moon is the least-screened film in Malle’s oeuvre. Heralded as an elaborate surrealist fantasy, it juxtaposes bizarre relationships (an androgynous, incestuous couple portrayed by Alexandra Stewart and Joe Dallesandro), animals (including a badger, snakes, a tame rat and a unicorn), and surrealist images (ants crawling over a block of cheese, a piglet in a high chair) with a quasi-science fiction plot that is rife with sexual allegory.
“It is a tale of a young girl’s sexual awakening, explicitly modeled on Alice in Wonderland, which dictated, among other things, Malle’s choice of the British actress Cathryn Harrison (granddaughter of Rex Harrison) and his preference for filming it in English,” writes Ginette Vincendeau, professor of film studies at King’s College London. “Throughout the film, a series of images reflects both her sexual curiosity and her sexual fears: most obviously, the unicorn but also the horse on which the sister Lily is seen, the snakes that erupt from drawers, the frequent echo of Lily’s behavior in that of the animals, and such violent images as the decapitation of the eagle. The literate spectator can thus enjoy decoding these images—including the opaque symbolism of the ‘black moon,’ an astrological hieroglyph connected with the unicorn and female sexuality—as well as the abundance of painterly, literary, and cinematic references that Black Moon offers (for instance, the heroine is at various points seen sitting in languid poses by the open fire, a clear nod to Balthus’s 1930s erotic paintings of young girls). ButBlack Moon is not confined to such intellectual games, and we can actually see it also as a film of its moment, both in terms of the culture at large and of Malle’s own trajectory.”

Black Moon
Saturday, April 12 | 2 pm
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Buy Tickets to Black Moon

Top 5 Reasons to Be “Uncorked”

Wine bottles at Brooks Uncorked

Well, there are at least 15 reasons right here….

Early each Spring, Brooks Uncorked marks the unofficial beginning to the heartiest portion of the Memphis Wine + Food Series (MW+F). In case you are unfamiliar, MW+F is the major fundraising effort supporting the museum’s education and community outreach programs. Following Uncorked, the MW+F spring season hosts a dinner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, a Private Winemaker Dinner at Spring Creek Ranch, and the Grand Auction, which rounds it all out May 9th on the Brooks plaza. Of all the events, Brooks Uncorked is the one that most says “party.” It draws a younger crowd, and although the ticket isn’t cheap (about the price of a proper trip to the grocery store), all in attendance can say they are a benefactor to the arts. Further, it’s a reasonable investment considering all the specialty wines, heavy hors d’oeuvres provided by local restaurateurs, choice setting, company, and rocking after party. Brooks Uncorked aims to nurture a generation that will continue to live and give in Memphis into their years. Here are 5 more specific reasons to be in attendance:

5. The Bottle Pull – Remember the rubber ducks you could pick out of a kiddy pool at the fair to win prizes? The Bottle Pull is like that, except it’s for adults and we would never cheat you. Throw down $20, pick a bagged bottle of wine, and you can’t lose. No bottle is worth less than $20, and some are worth upwards of $100!

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Sampling the wines before the bottle pull

4. The Salvador Dalí Blood Orange Mojito
– Courtesy of Prichard’s, and inspired by our current exhibition, Dalí: Illustrating the Surreal. Need we say more?

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No photo of the “Blood Orange Mojito” yet, so we snuck in a sixth reason.

3. Silent Auction Items
– Fancy an hour on the Fed Ex flight stimulator? A pair of Chanel sunglasses? Family summer membership to Rhodes College pool? Fine art? All these things, and more, will be part of the silent auction.

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No “Blue Dog” paintings here!

2. A chance to say you had a “night at a museum”
–  Or at least, that you went to an after party at one. When the wine tasting ends, the party begins. Outdoors on the Brushmark terrace: Mingle with like-minded wine aficionados, foodies, and fellow benefactors to the arts. DJ Mark Anderson will pump out the jams.

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No smartphones on the dance floor! (But if you must, #brooksmuseum)

1. Your contribution to arts education in Memphis
– Our community outreach is far and wide. The Brooks educates Memphians in all corners on the beauty of art-making and art history.

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The Brooks Education gallery

Tickets are $90 for Brooks Members / $110 for General Admission
Day of Event and Door Pricing is $125

For tickets and more information, visit http://memphiswineandfoodseries.org/events

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See you there!

This is What “Soulful” Means

Harding Academy junior Anna Rogers won a Silver Key for photography in this year’s Mid-South Scholastic Exhibition.  The awards ceremony is Saturday, February 1st, starting at 11 am.


Anna Rogers, Soulful, Harding Academy, Silver Key Award, Photography

Art has always been a hobby of mine. In elementary school if I wasn’t getting in trouble for talking during class, I would get in trouble for doodling. I received my first digital camera when I was in the fifth grade, and I filled my two-gigabyte memory card almost instantly. As the years went on, high school gave me the opportunity to take more advanced and in depth art classes than the once-weekly art class elementary offered, and I was elated. Unfortunately, I skipped my 2D art credit during my sophomore year so that I could take a journalism class, but when I returned this year as a junior, it was almost as though I had picked up my paint brush right where I left off.

Of course, as the years have progressed, my life has as well, and I have been introduced to more passionate emotions: through thrilling, sorrowful, frustrating, exciting, and terrifying feelings, art provided a medium through which I could grasp my emotions, and that is how I have always seen each piece I created. Having said that, words cannot convey the excitement that rushes through an artist’s body when he or she uses a new set of paintbrushes or colored pencils because he simply can’t wait to create a piece of himself on the paper. My sophomore year, after a summer of excruciating yard work and babysitting, I purchased my first DLSR camera. Again, words can not express my exuberance as I explored this new medium, learning the technical terms for different aspects of a picture, and through images and footage I captured, I learned a new mode of self-expression.

I believe when artists pursue awards or accolades for their work rather than self-expression, their piece lacks a certain motivation and emotion, which makes the sole pursuit of an award counterproductive. That’s not to say that works created “just because” are bad or undeserving, but most pieces that Scholastics has chosen that I see exhibited in the gallery are thoughtful and deep, and most have a back story that inspired the piece. When my art teacher told me that I won a silver key for one of my pictures, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride, because when artist pours herself into her work and someone else recognizes it, they recognize a part of the artist. Even if it’s only a silver key, I am absolutely honored: honored to have won the award and to have my piece displayed with other amazing pieces created by fellow students. Of course, no masterpiece can be confined to or defined by a ribbon or award, but the recognition from fellow artists is an honor nonetheless.

Anna Rogers
Junior, Harding Academy


Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards

Elesha Newberry, Associate Director of Education at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, shares her thoughts on the Mid-South Scholastic Art Exhibition.

Perkins_I Can Feel a Difference

Esme Perkins, I Can Feel A Difference, White Station High School, winner of the Painting Award, Senior Division

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the Brooks Museum League are proud to present the 49th Annual Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards, open through February 23rd at the museum. This competition, open to all 7-12 graders in the mid-south, is a great opportunity for young artists to compete for awards, cash prizes, and scholarships. With 2,231 entries, this is one of the biggest and most successful years we’ve ever had. A panel of curators, artists, and educators had the tough task of awarding Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable mention winners from that huge number of entries. Those Gold and Silver Key winners are now on display at the Brooks. We hope you can all come out during that time and see the great things our regional youth are doing in the arts!

Facing Change: Art Therapy Access Program

Facing Change: Art Therapy is the culmination of a year’s worth of art therapy collaborations at 4 partner sites around the city. Karen Peacock and Sarah Hamil are the two art therapists who have worked with the participants to provide a meaningful outlet of self-expression.  The resulting exhibition consists of 70 masks that represent each participant. Art therapist Karen Peacock shares some thoughts and details, below:


In 2013, four community organizations participated in the Art Therapy Access Program.  Continue reading

2013: A Year In Art


This makes an awful lot of the Brooks’ ‘B’ on the page right now…

As a tidy lens of sorts, the Brooks looks back on 2013 with the Brooks Calendar at hand. This reinvented bimonthly museum guide debuted a little over a year ago with a lamp from The Brilliance of Tiffany: Lamps From The Neustadt Collection on its cover, an exhibition that lit Brooks’ galleries as 2012 turned 2013. Although these lamps were originally products of America’s Gilded Age, the Neustadt collection was amassed at a time when they were decidedly out of fashion. At the Brooks, this inspired an appreciation for the timeless art of good taste, and all the promise the Gilded Age fell short of delivering. With our own Decorative Arts Trust at the helm of enrichment programming, the Brooks’ decorative art collection is projected to grow throughout the decade. Continue reading

With Art, You Can Move The Pyramids


Jerry Uelsmann
(American, b. 1934)
Untitled, 1996
Gelatin-silver print
© Jerry N. Uelsmann

In 1982, National Geographic “moved the pyramids”. Using expensive digital technology (proto-Photoshop), layout editors scrunched two of the Pyramids at Giza together so that they would both fit on the magazine’s vertically formatted cover. The photojournalist who captured the original image noticed, complained, and controversy over the ethics of photo-manipulation ensued.

Tomorrow is the last day to view Shared Vision, and the whole of the “Subjective Inventions” section of the exhibition showcases artists who used photo-manipulation before Photoshop as well. Albeit, as Raymond Pettibon has said, “In art, impurity is not a mortal sin.”

Couples Who Art Each Other

Frida and Diego, Johns and Rauschenberg, Pollack and Krasner, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe, Lee Miller and Man Ray, … these names are familiar to us as famous art couples. But what about Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Herb and Dorothy, Cutie and the Boxer?

Through exhibitions and films, and with a little serendipity, the Brooks is currently celebrating three couples who have immersed themselves in the arts: Two power couple collectors, and a spritely artist duo.

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Cutie and the Boxer

Ushio and Noriko Shinohara
 (aka Cutie and the Boxer)
Ushio put the “action” in action painting. In the 1960s, he made a name for himself punching blotches of pigment onto large scale canvases with boxing gloves, lending credence to the moniker, “the Boxer”, as he is referred to in the title of the documentary film, Cutie and the Boxer. His wife Noriko (Cutie) had a different name for him; she called him “Bullie” in her memoir by way of graphic novel sketches. This film promises to depict all the challenges and rewards that the life of two struggling artists in love brings. Cutie and the Boxer will be showing at the Brooks on Thursday, December 12th at 7 pm. Continue reading

Mythological Creatures from Grahamwood Elementary


Grahamwood Elementary’s CLUE class visited the Brooks on Wednesday, November 20th for a day of art-making and viewing related to Greek mythology. Their itinerary included stops at the Greco-Roman Torso of Pan, 1st century B.C.E. – C.E. 2nd century; The Slaying of Medusa, ca. 1680 and The Massacre of the Children of Niobe, ca. 1680, both by Luca Giordano; and several “everyday” items from the Greco-Roman world, such as Mirror, with Scene of Venus Victrix, 2nd c. A.D. and  Finger Ring Depicting Poseidon, 1st c. B.C. – 1st c. A.D..

In the studio, the students created their own mythological creatures with additional inspiration provided by author and illustrator Eric Carle. His book, Dragons and Dragons, is full of mythological creatures with accompanying poems. Using markers, collage materials and everything they had learned, here is what they came up with:

Continue reading


Janie Peacock, 9th grader at Hutchison School, chimes in on what #MemphisShared means to her. Follow her @peacockjanie

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Flashback to six years ago, when taking a picture required pulling out the two-inch deep camera. The film held a limited amount of room for photos, so after taking a few pictures you had to deliver the film to a store specially made for printing photos. Then you waited a few days for the order to come in. Taking a photo required a lot of effort, and therefore was not done frequently by those who weren’t dedicated photographers.

Fast forward to the present day, when taking a picture requires pulling out the less-than-half-an-inch smartphone. After taking as many photos as you want, you have countless options as to how to share the photos. You could download the good ones onto your computer (also known as the downfall of the photo printing businesses), post them on various social media sites, or you could simply keep them on your smartphone to refer back to whenever you want.

The #MemphisShared exhibition shows how greatly photography has evolved over the years; the social media sites that didn’t exist even a year ago have opened new doors for anyone with a smartphone. The beauty of photography today is that you don’t even have to be a photographer to capture the essence of any small details. At the exhibit, the wide variety of snaps all taken by Memphians proves how connected people are today, and it shows how simple it is to take a picture of something in the moment. You don’t have to plan for when you take out your camera; you don’t have to replace the film or wipe off the lense. Technology today provides anyone with the ability to capture something as it is happening. Continue reading

1,440 Hours of Viewing: Looking at art with Brooks Museum Guard Lilian Woods

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Gallery Security Officer Lilian Woods has been working at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art since last December. That’s thirty-six weeks at 40 hours a week, which roughly (art school math) equals 1,440 hours on her feet–and when the galleries are not full of visitors, looking at art. Her favorite piece is Light of the Incarnation by Carl Gutherz. Smart choice for a Brooks’ employee: It was Gutherz who first committed the idea of an art museum in Memphis’ Overton Park to paper. In 1906, as a favor to Mrs. EA Neely, Gutherz sketched what would later become the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on the back of sheets of stationary. Later, when Bessie Vance Brooks endowed the project with start-up money in honor of her late husband Samuel Hamilton Brooks (Neely’s husband’s business partner, as it were) architect James Gamble Rogers based his design on this cocktail napkin-esque Gutherz sketch.

But Light of the Incarnation is no sketch. On the museum’s entry level in the 19th century American art gallery, at over 6 1/2′ x 9 1/2′, this painting demands the room. In addition to being large, there are at least 30 gilt relief halos to account for, and innumerable details which reveal themselves as gifts for committed viewers. Mrs. Woods is one of those viewers. Hear her explain what is going on in Light of the Incarnation below:

Four people who should take the SLR workshop

Molly Kennedy, whose business specializes in portraits and lifestyle shots, is leading a workshop all about digital SLR photography at the Museum on November 16. Brooks Blogger Erin Williams posed a series of different photography situations to her, and got great responses as to why everyone from the new dad to the travel ‘round the world retiree would benefit from her teachings.

Olympus E-30 DSLR Camera with Zuiko Digital ED 14-54mm F2.8-3.5 II. Cut model at the -30 Fair in Tokyo, December 2008, Author: Hanabi123

There is a lot going on in there…..
Olympus E-30 DSLR Camera with Zuiko Digital ED 14-54mm F2.8-3.5 II. Cut model at the -30 Fair in Tokyo, December 2008, Author: Hanabi123

Congratulations! You’ve just bought your first Digital SLR Camera. It will be perfect for capturing those ideal moments – your sister’s graduation from high school, your nephew’s first birthday, your best friend’s first live concert performance in the park. But wait – you know there’s more than one setting than ‘Auto,’ right? Your camera has the power to do more with the image in front of it than you ever imagined – and that’s before you insert it into Photoshop. Molly Kennedy, photographer and owner of Good Golly Photography, is here to show you how. “A lot of people make the big leap to the digital SLR, and then keep it on Auto the whole time,” she says. “What I’m going to be doing is showing you how your camera works, how to use it and how to get the best pictures out of what you have.”

First of all, why should we bother to take our cameras off of the Auto setting? Doesn’t that take care of everything we need in a photo?

Your camera can only do so much, and when it’s on Auto, it doesn’t necessarily know what the best setting is. It’s a very smart machine, but it can…be so much greater. The Auto settings are going to let you get by with some pretty decent pictures, but unless you really know how to use your camera you’re not going to know how to get all those creative effects. People always ask me, ‘How do you get those little round lights in the back of your pictures?’ And it’s called Bokeh. If you keep your camera on Auto you’re not going to get the bokeh. Everything is going to be in focus, everything is going to be sharp, it’s not going to naturally just give you that look. I teach you how to achieve those types of looks by taking over the controls and not just letting your camera decide what the best settings are. Continue reading

War Photographer W. Eugene Smith

National World War II Memorial, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo taken by Kmf164 on December 6, 2005.

National World War II Memorial, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo taken by Kmf164 on December 6, 2005.

W. Eugene Smith is best known for his uncompromising photo essays of the battlefield, prisoners-of-war, and U.S. Marines. Working for Life Magazine, Smith photographed the front lines of World War II and was injured several times before being unable to return to the field.

The Walk to Paradise Garden, the W. Eugene Smith photo on view at the Brooks as part of Shared Vision, is of an altogether different– sentimental, variety.

The injuries he suffered during the war were so debilitating, Smith was unsure he would ever be physically capable of picking up a camera again. It was not until his two children, emerging from a dark alcove toward the light of the sun, provided him with the perfect “decisive moment” that he found the energy to give it a shot. With their backs to him, he managed to load the film into his camera and capture an all to life-affirming photograph. He was back in the game.

RECAP: El Día de Muertos for Schools and Community


On November 1st and 2nd, the Brooks invited local schools and the community to celebrate the Mexican holiday of El Día de Muertos with Mariachi, Catrinas, Aztec dancers, face painting, and a lot of art.

As a theme of this year’s celebration, visitors made art and participated in activities inspired by the traditional folk art form of Calaveritas de azúcar, or Sugar Skulls. Traditional sugar skulls are quite labor intensive. They are made in small batches by expert candy makers using boiled sugar and clay break-away molds. Skull makers typically work 4-6 months to create enough sugar skulls for the Day of the Dead celebrations! After skulls are cast and cooled, they are colorfully decorated with icing, pieces of bright foil, colored sugars, and other adornments. Mounds of colorful skulls are sold in outdoor village markets. Continue reading