If monarch butterflies are conspicuously absent from your image feed, it’s not for their lack of flying (he he…sorry, it’s Friday)…at least not in Memphis. Since the summer started to end, Overton Park has been overcome with these majestic creatures (black and yellow, black and yellow) and it has been my lunchtime, mid-morning, and mid-afternoon break’s mission to capture a couple as they dance around each other.
Along with elusive butterflies, we are marking the end of summer with a send-off, as we enter the final week of Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South. On September 16th, the exhibition will be crated for travel to the Georgia Museum of Art. If there has never been groupies – such as those that followed a touring band like the Grateful Dead, traveling around with an art exhibition, there very well may be now. Continue reading
Urban Sketchers is an international group of self-starters committed to documenting their surroundings through the two dimensional “essence”. Put it this way: They have a manifesto. Somewhere between the Dogme 95 filmmaking collective and plein air painters, lies Urban Sketchers.
1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
3. Our drawings are a record of time and place.
4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
6. We support each other and draw together.
7. We share our drawings online.
8. We show the world, one drawing at a time.
Public Programs Manager Andria Lisle reflects on Brooks’ Art & A Movie program and interviews photographer Susan Segal.
Behind the scenes, planning our quarterly Art & A Movie programs, which are part of the larger Brooks Films program, feels a little bit like training a housecat to jump through a fiery hoop. It can be done (see: Moscow Cats Theatre), but it is often a difficult process. First, we have to choose the film and negotiate screening rights. Then we have to find a suitable art-making activity that must fit numerous criteria: It has to relate, somehow, to the accompanying film. It has to be inexpensive, interesting, and easily interpreted. It has to be open-ended enough for attendees to riff on their own. It also has to pass the eagle-eyed examination of our Chief Curator and Registrar, who have strict rules on what kind of art-making materials can be used in the Rotunda, where many works of art, including Nam June Paik’s Vide-O-belisk and photographs by William Eggleston and Ernest Withers are on view.
Paint and glue are verboten, which spurs our imagination on to more creative ideas. Make working clocks out of 45 rpm records? We did that when we screened Thunder Soul. Braid chic bracelets out of sailor’s rope? Yes, when we screened Bonjour Tristesse. Fabricate miniature chairs out of champagne cork cages? Yes, along with a packed screening of Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture. We’ve made ransom note Valentines (and liberally poured White Russians) for The Big Lebowski, and sewn felt mustaches for City Lights.
Over yonder at Summer of Cloar.com, Dr. Stanton Thomas has put together a list of essential reading for those of you who are HARD-CLOAR. There you’ll find Southern Gothic short stories coupled with paintings by Carroll Cloar that seem to tell the same story. In the spirit of interpretation – never exhaustive, here’s one more for the books.
Where the Woodbine Twineth (aka You Never Believe Me) by Davis Grubb.
It’s some pretty creepy/fantastic commentary about the fear that some people have of other cultures, despite their close proximity in daily life. In 1965, it was adapted into an episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour:
Some of you may already be familiar with Davis Grubb. He wrote The Night of the Hunter. A national bestseller in 1955 and made into a movie that same year with one-time director Charles Laughton. It’s a hard-to-categorize thriller that went on to become one of Roger Ebert’s favorite films of all-time, and is responsible for all those knuckle tattoos.
Scene from The Night of the Hunter
Brooks blogger Erin Williams talks to the artist.
Maritza Davila, Gallo Mañanero, 2008
Though we live our lives as individuals, the choices we make and the paths we choose are all shaped by the influences of those we let in our world. Our parents, future children and spouses, long lost friends, even politicians can shed light on the ways and means we decide to follow. For artist Maritza Davila, her life has been built like a sturdy home: Her parents laid the foundation, who raised her and her four sisters in her native Puerto Rico; was rounded out by other strong females like her daughter and aunt, and cemented through the examples and ideals of other friends, family, and students she met along the way.
Davila is a professor at the Memphis College of Art who specializes in printmaking, and has exhibited her work worldwide. Her latest exhibition, Ancestry and Identity: Prints by Maritza Davila, is framed as an altar that celebrates those she has looked up to the most. “Even though this work has been developed from a very personal point of view, they’re issues that we all deal with. They are family issues, love issues, honoring issues…they are not alien, and at least I hope they are not alien to the viewer,” she says. On the eve of its opening, we spoke with Davila about the values instilled in her by her father and mother, how she identifies as a Memphian, and what it means to have faith.
Our Assistant Preparator went to Rome and all we got was this knowledge he dropped.
Rome shares a nickname with my birthplace, Lisbon, Portugal, as the “City of the Seven Hills”. But this is only one of Rome’s several nicknames, and it is world famous by the magnificent title of the “Eternal City”. At the time of Christ’s birth, Rome was the most populous city in existence. The capital of an enormous empire, Rome survived the rise and fall of the Imperium, several barbarian invasions, Napoleon’s conquest, and even a world war. Presently, it is a chaotic European city pulsating with millions of people visiting the Coliseum or the Pantheon, spending money at the Vatican Museum, and crowding the narrow streets that converge at the Fontana di Trevi. Continue reading
Ori Gersht, Pomegranate, 2006 from Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art on Vimeo.
This reminds one of the fantastic Roelof Koets oil painting in the Baroque galleries here at the Brooks. Of course, you would have to imagine the sensual culinary violence.
Blogger Erin Williams reports back on Carroll Cloar Family Day, held July 13, 2013 at the Brooks.
I don’t know where you were on Saturday afternoon, but all the cool kids (and their parents and friends) were making crafts, interacting with Southern folklore history, and even nibbling on a few treats at the Museum’s Family Day. The Side Street Steppers provided a warm welcome and withstood the heat as they strummed and jigged on the Plaza.
Inside, there were tons of ways to tap into your inner artist…. Continue reading
About a minute into “Hot Topic”, a song by NYC electroclash band LeTigre, artist Faith Ringgold gets a shout out. She’s in good company. The song continues, paying tribute to the artists who have inspired the band: Yoko Ono, to Aretha Franklin, to Eleanor Antin.
Not mentioned, is pioneer video artist Nam June Paik, but as Wynne Greenwood‘s music video for “Hot Topic” shows, Paik’s influence is never far away.
While the museum world and paranormal groups brace wait to see if the now famous spinning statue at the Manchester Museum will “lose its magical power” once it’s moved to a different pedestal, the Brooks would like to take the opportunity to share our own specter conjectures. The unique, read: explainable, thing about Manchester’s paranormal occurrence was that it only happened during the day. As museum visitors shuffled around the 10-foot Egyptian relic, security cameras captured footage of it turning around in its case and turning its back to the visitors. By the end of each day the hieroglyphics inscribed on his back were made visible: “Bring bread, beer, and beef”. Continue reading
Artist Mandy Maxwell of Earle, Arkansas shares her thoughts on the Brooks Museum taking Summer of Cloar on the road in our June 29th event, Bike to Cloar.
The Brooks has done some very impressive things this summer to promote both regional and southern art.
When it comes to art in the Delta, no one does it better than Carroll Cloar. Each of his masterpieces captures the romanticism and magic that only a true southern native could achieve. Those who’ve seen his work can’t help but place him among America’s best, yet he is still virtually unknown.
Memories, hauntings, history, and occasionally magical realism form reoccurring themes that cross place and time in the 3 films we’ve chosen to show alongside the upcoming Carroll Cloar centennial exhibition, The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South. Crîa Cuervos, The Exterminating Angel and Intruder in the Dust were selected to reference and expand upon the corresponding themes seen in Cloar’s life and paintings. Continue reading
The Angels and Tomboys exhibition is now closed and it has been a week since we relinquished our 19th-Century adolescents to the world, bidding adieu on Mother’s Day. We hope you had a chance to see them – painted, printed, and sculpted; they really were a crackerjack group of girls. Together they told the story of how the arts establishment in America came to be, while charting the emergence of children’s and women’s rights. Most did so anonymously, with their identities cloaked in a genre painting; although, as the award-winning exhibition catalog will tell you, the girls featured in genre works like Seymour Joseph Guy’s The Bedtime Story (above) or John George Brown’s The Cider Mill were likely the artist’s kin.Others gave us names in the titles of commissioned portraits; these girls were the painting’s subject. Fanny Travis Cochran, subject of a portrait of the same name by Cecilia Beaux, later attended Bryn Mawr College and spent the rest of her life committed to social activism. Mary Calbot Wheelwright, painted by artist Frank Duveneck, went on to found the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art (now the Wheelwright Museum). Continue reading
Brooks’ Docent Coordinator Brenda Burgess muses on leading the Alzheimers’ Art Therapy tour with Erin Williams.
When a docent gives a tour, there are multiple factors that he or she has to keep in mind: Am I boring the audience? Can everyone hear me? Did I give enough time to ask questions?’ The parameters can vary with the group, but they manifest themselves ten-fold when the patrons are of a certain age – and state of mind. Before Brenda Burgess, docent coordinator and Alzheimers’ Art Therapy guide, gives Tuesday’s tour, she shared her experience of leading this group of grand individuals around the gallery spaces in a conversation with guest blogger Erin Williams.
Process, studio, and production: Maysey Craddock and Erin Harmon have sent along a preview of their upcoming Brooks exhibition, A Different Kind Of Landscape, on view August 24 – November 10, 2013 at the Brooks. If it piques your interest, be sure to read about the special opportunity to get even closer to the action below the pictures. Continue reading