Tampa Museum of Art Announces Forthcoming Exhibitions

The Tampa Museum of Art has announced it’s schedule of exhibitions in conjunction with the public opening of the new building.

Designed by noted architect Stanley Saitowitz of San Francisco-based Natoma Architects, Inc., the 66,000-square-foot glimmering metal mesh-clad structure is dynamically situated atop the new Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The new museum building is named the Cornelia Corbett Center in honor of Cornelia Corbett, whose family provided the lead gift to the institution’s multi-million capital and endowment campaign.

The Tampa Museum of Art has the effect of a gravity-defying form, clad in perforated aluminum sheets and punctuated by windows and skylights that offer vistas and vignettes of the scenic Hillsborough River and iconic University of Tampa minarets, the building’s form was conceived as a frame to express the ever-changing dynamism of the art and ideas to be presented within.

Dramatic full-floor interior gallery spaces, a stunning exterior sculpture terrace and façade embedded with LED lights provide over 26,000 square feet of exhibition space. A vast three-story, light-infused lobby and atrium, named for Carol and Frank Morsani in honor of their gift to the museum, offers panoramic views of the city from an animated public space where visitors will find the museum’s store and a sleek café; 18,000 square feet of outdoor space, created by the museum’s cantilevered overhang, connects visitors to the park. The building also houses classrooms, meeting rooms, a library, workshop areas, and open-office floor plans. These features and spaces provide a platform for the museum’s expansive programs, including exhibitions, installations, public education programs, and new institutional partnership initiatives.

“For the opening and with our selection of exhibitions on view, we have positioned the museum for a new chapter in its life — to acknowledge our place as a museum of 20th- and 21st-century art that seeks to connect the varying styles and media that have defined and continue to shape our visual world. We have also a made a commitment to re-present and reconsider the two core strengths of our permanent collection, contemporary photography and Greek and Roman antiquities, in an entirely new light while simultaneously pursuing the building of a collection of new media work. Our new home allows us a physical and intellectual space to make the connections between art of the modern and contemporary eras and that of our superb collection of ancient art.”

A Celebration of Henri Matisse: Master of Line and Light, February 6 – April 18, 2010. MacKechnie Gallery

This comprehensive exhibition on the career of the great French artist Henri Matisse (1869–1954) showcases over 170 works of art spanning 50 years of Matisse’s career, with particular emphasis placed on the role that printmaking played in the development of the artist’s career. The exhibition offers compelling evidence of the important role printmaking played in the evolution of Matisse’s visual ideas. The exhibition loosely follows the chronology of Matisse’s career, from the artist’s earliest print in 1900 to the last in 1951. Examples of every printmaking technique used by Matisse — etchings, monotypes, lithographs, linocuts, aquatints, drypoints, woodcuts and color prints — are included. Almost all of the prints involve serial imagery, with the artist showing the development of a reclining or seated pose, the integration of models within interiors, the study of facial expressions, and the transformation of a subject from a straight representation to something more abstract or developed.

The exhibition brings together works from the collection of the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, with artworks bequeathed by Henri Matisse to his younger son Pierre (1900–1989) and a selection of works from the Baltimore Museum of Art’s world-renowned Cone Collection, formed by Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone. Many of the later prints in the exhibition are from a recent gift to the Baltimore Museum of Art from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation and will be shown for the first time in this exhibition. The majority of these works are rarely on view to the public due to their sensitivity to light.

TAKING SHAPE:, Works from the Bank of America Collection, February 6 – August 1, 2010. Farish Gallery

One of the most important trends in art of the 20th century was an ongoing coming-to-terms with what representation could be. The rise to prominence at the beginning of the century of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, and Henri Matisse, who questioned conventional notions of what constituted art and what was appropriate for a painted canvas, allowed artists by the middle of the 20th century not only to rid the painting of any reference to the natural world, but even to challenge the conventional notions of what shape a canvas could take. Works in this exhibition, provided by Bank of America’s Art in our Communities program, approach sculpture in a manner that made many in the 1960s and 1970s rather uncomfortable, as the lines between the purity of the canvas and the presence of the three-dimensional started to blur. Taken together, these five artists provide a 30-year view into one of the most persistent questions: how to reconcile the two-dimensional painted surface with reality of a three-dimensional space Frank Stella’s Damascus Gate II (1968), Ellsworth Kelly’s Black with White Triangle (1973) and Sam Gilliam’s Blowing (2000) afford us the opportunity to see how the desire to push the actual structure of the painted surface into new forms — and, with the case of Gilliam, to actually remove the infrastructure altogether. Helen Frankenthaler’s Spanning (1971) and Sam Francis’ Untitled (Ffp-76) (1976) show us the work of two artists who used the traditional canvas and frame set-up, but through the use of color and form pushed the boundary of the painting itself beyond the confines of the paintings’ edges. Together these artists argue that the work exists as a sum of its formal elements and not as an extension of a representational program, and call attention to the physical quality of the canvas itself.

The Hidden City: Selections from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation, February 6 – December 5, 2010. Bretta B. Sullivan Gallery

As a new addition to the urban landscape of Tampa and in an attempt to position the museum as a vital participant in the discussion about what makes a great city in the 21st century, the museum is pleased to present The Hidden City. This special exhibition will feature international artists with multi-media installations that focus on the theme of urbanism over a three-decade period. Works by Doug Aitken, Peter Bialobrzeski, Donna Dennis, Pedro Cabrita Reis and Do-Ho Suh will be featured.

The opening of a new art museum has become an opportunity to celebrate the vision of architects and an acknowledgment that the presentation of art (designed to be seen in a modern day art museum) can be as important as the art itself. The Hidden City presents different voices about what makes a city a city, and acknowledges the interconnections and tensions among the professionally designed, the imaginary designed and the make-shift.

The Hidden City is the first in a series of four exhibitions to be drawn from The Margulies Collection of Miami, Florida, and co-curated by the museum and the Margulies Collection.

Life Captured: Garry Winogrand’s Women are Beautiful, February 6 – July 18, 2010. Ferman Gallery

Garry Winogrand published his 85 photographs of women caught in everyday life taken during the 1960s in a volume titled Women are Beautiful (1975). The museum is pleased to be able to show, for the first time, its entire collection of Winogrand prints in the inaugural exhibition in its photography gallery.

Winogrand has become known for a street-style of photography characterized by a wide-angle lens and 35mm camera, available light and unposed subjects, and countless exposures. The critically accepted view of Winogrand has been that his “ambition was not to make good pictures, but through photography to know life.” The museum is presenting its entire holdings from the Women are Beautiful series to let us revisit this assessment of the photographer’s purpose and place.

Throughout his career, Winogrand enjoyed varying degrees of success. Two early exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, with other photographers including Diane Arbus and Lee Friendlander, established his place among a growing number of photographers who came to prominence in the 1960s. According to one historian, the goal of this new type of work was not clarity but authenticity; it sacrificed all other virtues to the virtue of simplicity, and would convey a meaning at a glance. The publication of Women are Beautiful, however, was neither a critical nor a financial homerun when it appeared in 1975.

Winogrand’s aesthetic is defined instead by its insistence on the authenticity that derives from being in the streets. He adopted a position in society not unlike the 19th-century French flaneur who was captivated by the activity of the street and set about to experience it and represent it. More than a mere recorder of his world, Winogrand long held a strong interest in discovering the subject through his process of capturing it. He eschewed earlier approaches of photographers such as Edward Weston, who pre-visualized the final work, preferring instead the immediacy of the streets and gaining more joy in the taking of photographs than in the actual developing of them. At his death in 1982, he left more than 700 rolls of yet-to-be developed film.

From Life to Death in the Ancient World, February 6, 2010 – January 30, 2011. Lemonopoulos Gallery

From Life to Death in the Ancient World will feature works from the museum’s world-renowned antiquities collection. More than 120 works will be showcased, including painted pottery, terracottas, marble and bronze sculpture, and a selection of ancient coins, gold jewelry, and glass. Recognizing that many antiquities were first used in life and then deposited in tombs that ensured their survival until the present day, the exhibition explores important events and activities from life to death in ancient Greece, Italy and beyond.

A series of themes from ancient life is covered: music and education; athletics; life by the sea; love, beauty, and adornment; horses; warfare; wine, revelry, and theater. Many of these themes—which reflect strengths of the Tampa collection as well as favorites of ancient artists—overlap with one another, just as many works relate to multiple themes. There is also significant continuity between ancient and modern life, with depictions from classical antiquity of a number of objects and actions that remain easily recognizable today.

Further, the pervasive appearance of numerous immortal gods and goddesses in ancient art and culture indicates how closely they were thought to be involved in the human realm—a major difference from the lives of most people in the present day. Although the names and appearances of these gods and goddesses changed over time and between cultures (so that the Greek Aphrodite gave way to the Roman Venus, Dionysos to Bacchus, and so on), virtually every aspect of ancient life throughout the ancient Mediterranean world fell within the realm of one deity or another. As a result, there was often no clear separation between religious and non-religious life. People used a wide variety of objects as votive offerings to demonstrate their gratitude and devotion to the gods, from birth to burial and beyond.

Leo Villareal: Sky (Tampa).
Museum South Façade

In honor of its opening and its new home, the museum has commissioned digital light artist Leo Villareal’s installation for the exterior of the new facility. The work features programmable light emitting diodes (LEDs), 45 feet high and 300 feet long, embedded within two layers of perforated aluminum panels. In daylight, the museum’s façade creates a moiré-like pattern, and in darkness Villareal’s LED installation will illuminate downtown Tampa. Villareal’s work will premiere on Thursday, February 4, as part of the museum’s gala grand opening. The installation will remain on view every evening (beginning at dusk) as part of the museum’s permanent collection. Made possible by funds from the museum’s contemporary art acquisition fund. Additional support was provided by the Friends of the Museum and the 40th Annual Gasparilla Arts Festival.

The museum will also present an exhibition of Villareal’s interior works (May – December 2010) to provide our visitors an opportunity to experience the range of his work and to compare the strategies of the interior work with those of Sky (Tampa)

Jesper Just: Romantic Delusions, May 8 – September 5, 2010.
MacKechnie Gallery

Organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Jesper Just: Romantic Delusions presents four films by this critically acclaimed Danish artist. Just’s films explore the complexities and contradictions of human emotion. Using overlapping cinematic, musical and literary references, his films adapt popular songs to communicate the vulnerability and insecurity in personal relationships. Since 2002, Just has explored the nature of affection and emotional release, often through role reversals and the shifting of power between two male leads. In many of his films, his two protagonists express a yearning and restrained passion for each other that unfold into an emotional performance of song and dance. These short films present polished Hollywood production values that use narrative storylines, as well as create a film noir-like atmosphere without a conventional plotline.

Just’s recent work continues to develop his moody and intimate environments, but with a new focus on female protagonists. His films comment on gender politics and the possibility of relationships that cross a generational divide — but more importantly, they present a broader, existential search for identity. Just was born in Copenhagen in 1974 and is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. He currently resides in New York and Copenhagen. His work has been shown extensively worldwide, in galleries and museums, from the Hammer in Los Angeles to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. His work is in the collections of institutions such as the Tate in London, the Castello di Rivoli in Turin and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

The American Impressionists in the Garden, September 24, 2010 – January 3, 2011. MacKechnie Gallery.

The American Impressionists in the Garden is organized by Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee, and explores the theme of the garden in American art and society of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. The exhibition features approximately 40 paintings depicting European and American gardens by American Impressionist artists, along with four bronze sculptures created by American artists for the garden. The American Impressionists in the Garden is broadly divided into three topical groups: “European Gardens” represents garden images created by Americans abroad, especially in Giverny, France, a place that captivated many artists. Mary MacMonnies, for example, rented an old monastery in Giverny, developed the gardens, and produced several paintings of them. Works by Childe Hassam and Ernest Lawson, on the other hand, depict more urban gardens in and around Paris, providing a contrast to the images of Giverny. “Gardens in America” explores the many known gardens painted by American impressionists, including the art colonies of Old Lyme, Connecticut, and Cornish, New Hampshire, and various gardens from Charleston, South Carolina, to California. “Garden Sculpture,” a third section, was an essential element of garden design, and a few select examples of garden statuary will document this important three-dimensional feature within the garden environment.

At the end of the 19th century, American artists demonstrated a preference for gardens as artistic motifs as well as a growing appreciation of the art of gardening itself. The range of color and the variation in form and silhouette made the garden a compelling subject for a large number of painters inclined toward the Impressionist style. Early 20th-century America witnessed a mania for the garden, and the interest in the art of gardening dominated many aspects of domestic life. Garden clubs, magazines, floral displays and a multitude of other activities associated with flowers and the garden permeated American life. Publications and articles appeared offering gardening advice for Americans while also asserting that the art of gardening paralleled the art of painting.