Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Virginia State Talent

An Art & Design class at Virginia State University developed terrific Posing Beauty poster models. : See their Tumblr site with all the designs here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen…The Avant-Garde

Man on a Balcony (Portrait of Dr. Morinaud), Albert Gleizes, 1912
In winter, 1913, The International Exhibition of Modern Art, better known as The Armory Show, opened in New York City.  It was fully loaded with over 1300 modern artworks by more than 300 artists from Europe and America.  Mere style and technique would challenge the sensibilities of the norm and spur a sea change in U.S. art and culture. 
On Friday, April 11, at 6:30 pm, VMFA and the James River Film Festival will present the Virginia Premiere of the documentary The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show (2013; 84 min.).  Connecticut-based filmmaker Michael Maglaras will introduce and discuss afterwards. The film is complete with back story, the principal organizers and their efforts, high definition images of 60 works, and is as close to attending the exhibition as one can get.

Marcel Duchamp’s incendiary Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 surprised the unwary.  Even the relatively unassuming, placid canvasses of Henri Matisse put critics in a swivet. The more chatter the show got the more attendees piled in to be delighted or to mock.  

VMFA owns two paintings from the show that are on view in the American Galleries: The Peony Garden by Daniel Putnam Brinley and Line of Mountains by Arthur B. Davies.  Visit them and imagine it is 1913.

As a companion piece, on Saturday morning, April 12, VMFA and JRFF will screen William Eggleston in the Real World (2005; 87 min) with Hollywood director Michael Almereyda in person.  He will intro and discuss his feature-length filmed portrait of Southerner William Eggleston whose photo works legitimatized color photography as modern art in the 1970s at New York’s Museum of Modern Art
One ticket covers both events. $5 VMFA and JRFF members.  $8 general public. 

---Hobart Cornell, Critic-at-large         

About the image: This painting by Albert Gleizes hung side-by-side with Duchamp.Man on a Balcony (Portrait of Dr. Morinaud), 1912. Oil on canvas, 77 x 45 1/4 inches (195.6 x 114.9 cm). The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950. Philadelphia Museum of Art. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My skirt won't fit through the door and other musings on historical fashion

Having to sometimes wear pantyhose is a small price to pay compared to what women used to have to do for the sake of fashion. 

Hoop skirts, or the Spanish originating farthingale, dominated women's fashion for almost 300 years. Hoop skirts would be covered in petticoats and provide shape to a woman's gown. The hoops on these skirts would often be made from Giant Cane, whale bone, rope, or metal. Talk about uncomfortable.

Hoop skirts were also also an indication of wealth. The wider the hoop skirt, the wealthier you were. A lot of homes in Richmond during the 1800s actually had to widen doorways so that more affluent guests could fit through the door. For royalty, the width of the skirts were mind boggling, as seen below with the gown from Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Other costumes from Hollywood Costume that show the extremities of the hoop skirt include Barry Lyndon, Dangerous Liaisons, Marie Antoinette, Anna Karenina, and Shakespeare in Love.

- Vera Magdeeva, VCU Fashion Senior and Communications Intern

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fellowship serve artists throughout Virginia

Nils Westergard (2014 Graduate recipient in painting, Falls Church)
Calvin, Navajo Nation, Oct. 2013
Latex paint on wall, 40x15 ft.

Now that the 2014-15 VMFA Fellowship recipients have been announced, we at VMFA thought it might be fun to take a look ‘behind the scenes’ and explore a few facts about the Fellowship that you might not know.

To start, did you know that the Fellowship has become an increasingly competitive process?  While VMFA has offered approximately 30 Fellowships each year for the past 5 years, the number of applications received has skyrocketed (the Fellowship is funded in large part by an endowment, which determines how many awards we able to give out each year).  For the 2009 cycle, VMFA received 582 applications, which seems like a big number on its own.  But let’s compare that to the number of applications received for this year’s 2014 cycle – in November 2013, VMFA received a whopping 798 applications, the highest in the program’s history! 
And did you know that of those 798 applicants, all six major regions of Virginia are represented? Each year, VMFA receives applications from all over the state – administratively, these areas are called Southwest Virginia, Southside, Northern, Central, Tidewater, and the Valley.  And Fellowship records show that applications have been received from each of those regions since at least the 2000 award cycle.
So if this is such a competitive process, what can we say to make you consider applying for a Fellowship in the future?  Here are two great reasons: 1) there is no application fee – the Fellowship is literally a chance to win free money!  2) the selection is process is anonymous – it doesn’t matter if you are a first-time artist or a seasoned professional, a student pursuing a degree in the visual arts or a business major with hidden artistic talents - no identifying information about the applicant is revealed to the jurors, and Fellowships are selected totally and completely based on the artistic merit of the applicant’s work sample. Everyone is viewed on an equal playing field, and has an equal chance at being selected!

Thanks to the generous endowment of the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg, and additional funding provided by the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation and the J. Warwick McClintic Jr. Scholarship Fund, the Fellowship program has awarded almost $5 million to over 1200 Virginians since its creation in 1940.  Fellowships are offered through VMFA Statewide, and we plan to continue offering this great opportunity to Virginia’s talented artists!  So if you are an undergraduate or graduate student (graduate students in art history, you can apply for a Fellowship too) or a professional artist, consider taking a few moments to check us out, and apply for this esteemed award.  Applications for the 2015-16 cycle are due Friday November 7, 2014, and the application will be available on the website this summer.  Good luck!

-Elizabeth Cruickshanks, VMFA Fellowship Program Coordinator

Editor's note: Elizabeth has capably served the VMFA Fellowship program since Fall 2009.  We are grateful to her for her innovation, tenacity and scholarship.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

African American Read-In Schedule

African American Read-In
February 20th, 2014: 5 - 6:30 pm
Readers and Selections

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1928 / The Prodigal Son, 1927

Readers: Reverend Mischelle Townsend  / Saint Paul’s Baptist Church and Reverend Macio Freeman / Saint Paul’s Baptist Church

Selections:  We Wear the Masks and The Prodigal Son

Christ and His Disciples on the Sea of Galilee, ca. 1910

Readers : Dr. Lakiesha Cooke / Saint Paul’s Baptist Church and Jenny Gafford / Saint Paul’s Baptist Church

Selections: Portions of Martin Luther King’s Letters from a Birmingham Jail

Community Power Figure, 19th Century

Readers:  Lorna Pinckney / Verses Tuesdays / CEO Upsdie Marketing

Selections: Nikki Giovanni Ego Tripping and Excerpts from The Souls of Black Folk 

Marian Anderson, 1965

Readers : Lux Aghomo  / John B. Cary Elementary School  and Spencer Dobbins / John B. Cary Elementary School

Selections: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution and Oprah Winfrey, Excerpts from 2013 Harvard Commencement Address

Alexander Spotswood Payne and His Brother, John Robert Dandridge Payne with Their Nurse, 1790 – 1800

Readers:  Vadeja Archer / Virginia Union University and Dionne Greenhill / Virginia Union University

Selections: Y.B. Taylor’s “Perhaps,” from Out of Bounds in an InBound World and

Excerpts from Benjamin Banneker's Letter to Thomas Jefferson

Statue of Senkamanisken, King of Kush, Late Period , 643-623 B.C.

Readers: Dionna Wright /Church Hill Academy and Chris Wilson /Church Hill Academy

Selections: Langston Hughes The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Barak Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address

Sisters (Susan and Toni), 1977

Reader: Maya Smart / Acclaimed Author and Writer

Selections: Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise and For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf By Ntozake Shange 

Untitled, Mobile, Alabama, 1956 (In Signs of Protest)

Reader: Sarah Eckhardt / VMFA

Selection: Writings from Gordon Parks