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

Jerry N. Uelsmann

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:

Continue reading

#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

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

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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

What’s the big deal about touring the Brooks in 3D?

Membership Manager Dr. Genevieve Hill-Thomas explains how 3-D glasses are relevant to the museum’s permanent collection.

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Dr. Stanton Thomas gives his stereoscopic analysis

Since American Paper Optics was kind enough to donate 3D glasses to the museum, what else could we do but organize a member’s tour through the permanent collection that uses these optical devices? Gimmicky? Perhaps. Ironic? Definitely! Regardless, we’ll explore the science of art and optics throughout history, from the Renaissance to present day.

Although 3-D shades seem like a new thing, or at least new since the 1950s, complementary color (red-cyan) anaglyph glasses, or 3-D glasses, actually were invented in 1852 by Wilhelm Rollmann in Leipzig, Germany.[i]  Yep, 1852, not 1952. Rollman realized that the human brain uses stereoscopic processing to compile two distinct images from each eye.  Materials for 3-D viewing are printed as two overlapping images corresponding to the perspective of each eye, each using contrasting colors (such as red and cyan). They are superimposed upon each other so that when the proper filters are placed over each eye, your mind combines them in a manner so that you perceive depth.  Of course, these types of images are specially designed to be used with anaglyph glasses—something that is not true of most art in major metropolitan art museums.

So what’s the point of wandering through the galleries with 3D glasses? Continue reading

West Side Story in Memphis

©Amy Boyle Photography

For everyone who has been engrossed in Hispanic Heritage along with us at the Brooks, to those who cannot resist a narrative as old as time (this pretty much covers everybody, now), Memphis’ Grand Opera House, the Orpheum, has the perfect dénouement for fall.

Before it was Romeo and Juliet, it was Tristan and Isolde–two fated lovers whose origins were Persian, or Celtic, depending on who you ask. For purposes here, the tragic tale started on the Upper West Side and is now running on Main and Beale Street, in Bernstein and Sondheim’s West Side Story, through November 10th.

Betwixt and between Maria and Tony, West Side Story‘s  Romeo and Juliet, are the “Sharks” from Puerto Rico and the Polish-American “Jets”. The opposing groups are defined by their respective roots and mutual dislike of one another; a strong use of color delineates this on stage. The “Sharks” appear clad in shiny purple, lit by cool blues turning fuschia when passion is at play. The “Jets” are a working-class ruffian crew, and the yellow and orange of sun-up follow them as they shuffle to the sounds of the orchestra, leap, sing, and shout. Of course the moral of the story is what happens when the two groups, themselves of light and dark skin tones, meet and mix, attract and repel. Continue reading

Rhodes CODA Stages Takeover Of Brooks’ Instagram Account

Rhodes College senior Annie Herman on her plans to mobilize Memphis’ Spanish-speaking community–online and off.
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Do you “Instagram”….or have you always wanted to learn?  I hope you will join me this Saturday November 2nd at the Brooks for the Día de los Muertos Community Day celebration.  My name is Annie Herman and I am a fellow at the Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA) at Rhodes College. The Center aims to foster leadership, vision, and innovative thinking in Rhodes students with a passion for the fine arts. CODA fellows complete ten hours of community service each week in the Memphis Community related to arts outreach. Continue reading