Conserve to Preserve

Author: Ann WagnerFiled under: Collection, Exhibitions, MuseumLeave a Comment

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Two beautiful views of 18th century Venice by Michele Marieschi have long been in the vaults of the Arkansas Arts Center, unable to be displayed because dirt and an old, darkened layer of the protective coating called varnish obscured the works’ colors and details.

Chief Curator Brian J. Lang decided it was time to remedy the situation. He turned to the Arkansas art conservation firm Norton Arts to clean and repair the two oil paintings. Art conservation is demanding process that must be undertaken only by experienced professionals who are trained in fine art, art history and chemistry, in addition to specialized conservation techniques. The video below shows the one the paintings as it undergoes treatment.

Video of the conservation of Michele Marieschi’s The Grant Canal, Venice, with the Dogana de Mare and Basilica Santa Maria delle Salute.

After the conservation was complete, two beautiful paintings emerged. They show the famous Venetian gondolas gliding and jostling in the waters of Venice’s Grand Canal. Michele Marieschi made many such vedute, or depictions of picturesque views, for the tourist trade. In the foreground at the left of The Grant Canal, Venice, with the Dogana de Mare and Basilica Santa Maria delle Salute is the Dogana di Mare, or customs House. Its tower is topped by a sculpture of Fortune holding a ship’s sail atop the globe, symbolizing Venice’s dominating role in world trade. Slightly farther into the distance looms the white dome of Santa Maria della Salute, a grand church built in the seventeenth century in thanks for the city’s delivery from the plague.

The other one of the pair of paintings by Marieschi is titled for its central feature, The Rialto Bridge. Such beautiful historic constructions were attractions for the wealthy Europeans who traveled around France and Italy on the cultural pilgrimage termed the Grand Tour.

This painting and its mate of the Rialto Bridge once hung at Strawberry Hill, the famous country house of British author and collector Horace Walpole. Walpole apparently bought the newly completed paintings when he visited Venice in 1841 as a young man enjoying the Grand Tour. Over 100 years later, Arkansas collectors purchased the work and later gave it to the Arts Center. Now the pair of paintings may finally be seen in all their original glory.

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Feed Your Mind Friday – May Recap

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Education, ToursLeave a Comment

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Arkansas Voices
in the Gallery

Our Feed Your Mind Friday – Arkansas Voices in the Gallery series continued to be a great success throughout the month of May! Thank you to our visiting artists and speakers A.J. Smith, David Clemons, Garbo Hearne and Dr. Archie Hearne.

If you could not make any of May’s tours, join us this month for our last round of Arkansas Voices.
June 12 at 12 p.m. – Dr. Jeff Grubbs, UALR
June 19 at 12 p.m. – artist Angela Davis Johnson

All Feed Your Mind Friday tours are free and open to the public.




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Letter from the Director

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: GeneralLeave a Comment

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A Note from Todd

Despite the weather—severe thunderstorms and tornado watches—the opening of 30 Americans brought an active, inquisitive, and diverse audience through the doors of the AAC. Our opening night speaker, artist Hank Willis Thomas, delivered one of the most engaging and thought-provoking lectures in recent memory. If you have not yet seen 30 Americans, there is still time. Bring a friend. The work encourages discussion!

While you are in the building, do not miss the 54th Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition. These young artists from across the state always impress with their talent, sense of color and fun, and individual viewpoints. There is a purity in the way a child approaches art—turning his/her imagination into reality unfettered by preconceived ideas of ‘correctness’. This exhibition always reminds me of a quote by Pablo Picasso: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”. The next Picasso may be hanging on these walls!

OR, perhaps the next Matthew Broderick or Maggie Smith await on the stage of the Children’s Theatre. This upcoming season promises to continue the great success of last season with such classic titles as Puss in Boots, The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, and Schoolhouse Rock Live. We are also introducing Studio Shows which are more intimate, black box production where the audience is close to the action.


photo: Brian Chilson

Summer is a season of great activity at the Arts Center. The 57th Annual Delta Exhibition opens July 10 and energetic children of all ages fill our halls and classrooms for summer art camps, Junior Arts Academy, and Summer Theater Academy. If you are looking for educational and fun projects for your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, we have what you are looking for. Remember, our exhibitions and permanent galleries are free. What better way to spend a warm summer day than enjoying art with your family?

I end this letter with a heartfelt “thank you” to Thom Hall who has been the very able registrar at the Arkansas Arts Center for 40 years. Thom retired on April 28—40 years to the day—and is looking forward to focusing on his own drawings. Thom has helped shape and grow the Arts Center. He is known and respected throughout the state and beyond. Anyone who is lucky enough to have been part of one of his famous tours knows what an asset he has been to this institution. We all owe him an enormous debt of gratitude and wish him only the best.

Todd A. Herman, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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Feed Your Mind Friday – April Recap

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Education, ToursLeave a Comment

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Arkansas Voices
in the Gallery

The first month of our Feed Your Mind Friday – Arkansas Voices in the Gallery series kicked off with great success! Thank you to our visiting artists Marjorie Smith, Delita Martin, and Virmarie DePoyster.

If you could not make any of April’s tours, join us this month for another round of Arkansas Voices.
May 8 at 12 p.m. – printmaking artist A.J. Smith
May 15 at 12 p.m. – metal and jewelry artist David Clemons
May 22 at 12 p.m. – gallery owner Garbo and Archie Hearne

All Feed Your Mind Friday tours are free and open to the public.




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30 Americans: Purvis Young

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: ExhibitionsLeave a Comment

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1 Day to 30 Americans

(1943–2010)

Self-taught artist Purvis Young made lurid and kinetic large-scale paintings and murals depicting the people of his hometown of Miami. He blended wild horses, jazz singers, and scenes from ancient battles, making poignant social commentaries on urban life. One of his most famous works is Goodbread Alley, his 1972 public mural located at the intersection of Northwest Third Avenue and 14th Street in the Overtown district in Miami.

Learn more about the 30 Americans exhibition at http://arkansasartscenter.org/30-Americans.

Learn more about Young at http://www.purvisyoungny.com/.


Purvis Young

photo: Milwaukee Art Museum, http://mam.org/

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30 Americans: Kehinde Wiley

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: ExhibitionsLeave a Comment

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2 Days to 30 Americans

(born 1977)

In the ten years since receiving his master of fine arts from Yale University, Kehinde Wiley has catapulted to the upper echelon of the contemporary art world. His super-realistic paintings of men of color in heroic, majestic, or bucolic settings deliberately reference works by the Old Masters.

Learn more about the 30 Americans exhibition at http://arkansasartscenter.org/30-Americans.

To view Wiley’s work visit http://kehindewiley.com/.


Video

photo: Kehinde Wiley

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30 Americans: Carrie Mae Weems

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: ExhibitionsLeave a Comment

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3 Days to 30 Americans

(born 1953)

For more than twenty-five years, Carrie Mae Weems has explored themes of race, gender relations, and family history in her installations. In 2010, the award-winning visual artist teamed up with the critically acclaimed jazz pianist Geri Allen on Flying toward the Sound, for which she produced images and videos to accompany Allen’s amazing piano excursions.

Learn more about the 30 Americans exhibition at http://arkansasartscenter.org/30-Americans.

Learn more about Weems at http://carriemaeweems.net/.


Video

photo: Carrie Mae Weems

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