The Cloar Catalogue: Crossroads of Memory

Dr. Stanton Thomas, Curator of European and Decorative Art and exhibition curator for The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South, weighs in on the origins of the exhibition catalogue, out now and available at the Museum Store.

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Every once in a while I get involved with a project that really seeps into my psyche—which is how it was with the Carroll Cloar exhibition project. Although I grew up in Northern Missouri, far from the Arkansas Delta, there was something about the artist’s paintings that was achingly familiar. Continue reading

On becoming a museum docent: 5 Things I Learned About Art From Children

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Art is so much more than just art: It can be science, culture, motion, and history, as well as color, line, and shape. Young children naturally think like artists, and their imagination is at its peak during their early development as students. Yet educators struggle with ways to develop and instill creative and critical thinking skills—crucial tools that his generation needs to utilize their creative impulses in educational and civic pursuits. As a docent at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, I work in conjunction with the Smithsonian Early Childhood Education program, engaging Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten children from Title 1 schools, where 40 percent or more of the students enrolled are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Continue reading

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.

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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 Continue reading

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! Continue reading

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.

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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. Continue reading

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.

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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:

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

2013: A Year In Art

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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

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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

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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:

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#MemphisShared

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.  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. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading