On Your Mark…Get Set…Games.

The Akron Art Museum partnered with the Gay Games 2014 Kickoff on Friday, July 18 . This event included a silent auction to win various signed movie posters, a live auction to win a ride on a Goodyear blimp, as well as a live band and food and refreshments.

Gay Games 9 is being held in Cleveland/Akron August 9-16, presented by the Cleveland Foundation. GG9, known as one of the biggest sports/cultural festivals in the world, includes 35+ sports and cultural events.

What is GG9?

Including individuals  and  organizations  representing  four continents, the  Federation of Gay Games is  primarily  an all volunteer organization. The Games invites all athletes – regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status.

“They are, however, intended to bring a global community together in friendship, to experience participation, to elevate consciousness and self-esteem, and to achieve a form of cultural and intellectual synergy.”                                                                                       – Dr. Tom Waddell

Waddell conceived the idea of the Gay Games in 1980 as a “vehicle of change.” His idea built an international legacy of “changing cultural, social and political attitudes towards LGBT people around the globe.”

Past Gay Games locations include:

1982 – San Francisco, California, USA
1986 – San Francisco, California, USA
1990 – Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada
1994 – New York City, New York, USA
1998 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
2002 – Sydney, Australia
2006 – Chicago, Illinois, USA
2010 – Cologne, Germany
2014 – Cleveland/Akron, Ohio, USA

 

To learn more about the Gay Games or how to donate or volunteer please visit:

GG9iLogo_300dpiFGG_Logo-Horiz-Color-618x159

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer 2014 Director’s Message

By Mark Masuoka, Executive Director and CEO

As a young art student, I was told by my instructor that to be creative is to see something in a whole new way to change how you perceive the things around you.

For 92 years, the Akron Art Museum has been changing the cultural landscape by enriching lives through modern and contemporary art. The museum’s commitment to changing perceptions is steadfast in the belief that everyone deserves an exceptional art experience. We activate our vision through the museum’s world-class collection, contemporary exhibitions, innovative education programs and our internationally acclaimed John S. and James L. Knight Building.

On July 15, 2014, I will be celebrating my one-year anniversary as the 14th director of the Akron Art Museum. I’m proud to say that the museum has made great strides over the past year in integrating its operations and programs as well as launching a new website and reopening our café. While the museum continues to be recognized regionally and nationally as a valuable cultural asset, it has also become one of the institutional pillars for the revitalization of downtown Akron. By embracing our responsibility to be a community resource and actively seeking strategic partnerships with other organizations, businesses and individuals, we enhance the cultural health and wellness of our community.

We believe that “community engagement” means to take action

In order for the museum to broaden its public presence, we are dramatically increasing the level of accessibility to art, in and outside the museum. We believe that “community engagement” means to take action and we aim to provide consistent opportunities for members and visitors to LIVE creatively, LEARN how art impacts our lives every day and share the LOVE of art with everyone. During our Free Thursdays, the museum’s education team offers family and kids programs such as Creative Playdates, Story Time in the Galleries, Kids Studio Classes, as well as films, lectures and our collection gallery tours, which provide insightful, inspirational and interactive experiences.

Moving beyond just pressing the ‘Like’ button

Starting this spring, the museum launched a series of Community Conversations to engage thinkers and doers by moving beyond just pressing the ‘Like’ button and directly participating in the collective power of collaboration. Future conversation topics include Art & Entrepreneurship on July 15, discovering what is Uniquely Akron on September 9 and exploring what it means to develop a Public Place | Public Space on November 11. We are grateful for the support of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to make these conversations possible.

In addition to our public forums, we are also launching Make Your Mark, a community-inspired public art project in collaboration with the John S. Knight Center, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Downtown Akron Partnership and Summit Artspace. We teamed up with our neighborhood partners to create a new urban mural for downtown Akron and are working with local painter and tattoo artist Jesse Strother to incorporate drawings and ideas from community participants into a large-scale urban artwork inside of the Knight Center. Join us for the public unveiling on July 5 at 7:30 pm during the Downtown Akron Artwalk.

The Akron Art Museum is imprinting new cultural habits by developing a museum model for civic engagement, community development and sustainability. With your support we can develop new perceptions into a plan for the future.

A Look Back into the Archives: Downtown@Dusk

By: Alexandra Lynch, Kent State University Practicum Student

 

It’s hard to believe that the Akron Art Museum’s Downtown @ Dusk has just started its 30th season! This season kicked off on Thursday, June 19 with American, Pop artist Anne E. Dechant with Director Mark Masuoka as MC. This year’s Downtown @ Dusk has a diverse line up, ranging from Indie Folk Groove to Old School R&B, and will be taking place Thursdays throughout the summer.

Downtown @ Dusk Concert Lineup:

June 26         15 60 75 The Numbers Band, Abstract Blues

July 3             The Wanda Hunt Band, Old School R&B

July 10           The Speedbumps, Indie Folk Groove

July 17           Zach, Singer Songwriter

July 24           Horns and Things, Jazz

July 31           JD Eicher & The Goodnights, Pop & Light Rock

August 7        Blu Monsoon, Jazz

 

“We’re free Thursday nights if you are.” Just like in the 1990s, the museum has brought back its Free Thursday! Stop by the museum early to explore the galleries and grab a cold one before the entertainment begins!

  Downtown @ Dusk Advertisement, summer 1990


Downtown @ Dusk Advertisement, summer 1990

A Look Back into the Archives: The Akron Art Club

Akron Art Club, 1915

Akron Art Club, 1915

By: Alexandra Lynch, Kent State University Practicum Student

Founded in 1915, the Akron Art Club had a membership of 20 people and was organized by Herbert Atkins and Kenneth Nunemaker. The club met once a week and allocated one afternoon a month to outdoor sketching. In 1915 the Akron Art Club started holding exhibitions in various locations around the city, which soon lead way to the idea for an art center. On October 19, 1920, 24 Akron citizens met to explore the possibilities of bringing about an institution that would benefit both the spiritual growth and mental development of the Akron Community. A second meeting was held on November 17, 1920, in regards to the development of the art center. Headed by Edwin C. Shaw, longtime advocate for the arts, it was decided that the basement of the Akron Public Library would become the home of the Akron Art Institute. On February 1, 1922, the Akron Art Institute opened its doors the public.

Postcard of the Akron Public Library from 1909

Postcard of the Akron Public Library from 1909

A Look Back Into the Archives: La Wilson

By Alex Lynch, Kent State University Practicum Student

We’re featuring local artist La Wilson for the second time in our galleries. Her first show, Metaphorical Objects, was at the museum from November 14, 1986 – January 18, 1987, and highlighted the charm and wittiness found in the ordinary, everyday objects of our culture.

The examining, collecting, sorting and assembling that is Wilson’s art is evident in her current exhibition, Objects Transformed, on view through September 21, 2014.

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Interchange by La Wilson

Interchange and New York Brush, also featured in Metaphorical Objects, are on view along with works borrowed from local collectors and seldom seen works from the collection.

Want to learn more about La Wilson and her artwork? Visit the museum library and check out our books La Wilson Five Decades, 240 College Street and The Art of La Wilson.

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La Wilson on a motorcycle in 2002

 

A Look Back into the Archives is a new, regularly occurring segment on our blog. Check back for fun facts about the museum, hilarious old photos and juicy tidbits culled from our archives.

Book Club Summer Reading List

Can you make it to the Akron Art Museum’s next book club meeting? We’ll be chatting about Just My Type on Thursday, August 28 at 6 pm and exploring the exhibition Language in Art.

Even if you like to read solo and are just looking for a good summer read here are some artistically inspired titles that should keep you busy as you soak up the sunshine.

Just My Type by Simon Garfield

just my type

Just My Type is a book of stories about fonts. It examines how Helvetica and Comic Sans took over the world. It explains why we are still influenced by type choices made more than 500 years ago, and why the T in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters. It profiles the great originators of type, from Baskerville to Zapf, as well as people like Neville Brody who threw out the rulebook. The book is about that pivotal moment when fonts left the world of Letraset and were loaded onto computers, and typefaces became something we realized we all have an opinion about. And beyond all this, the book reveals what may be the very best and worst fonts in the world – and what your choice of font says about you.

Just My Type is available at the Akron Art Museum Shop for $16.

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

the flamethrowersThis book, which topped several top ten lists for 2013, delves deep into the world of Italian motorcycles, earth art and the New York art scene of the late seventies. “The two things I loved were drawing and speed,” says Reno, the protagonist and narrator of most of the novel. The book follows Reno and her minimalist art making boyfriend, Valero, around the globe. It’s well written, but slow going- recommended to those looking for an arty read.

 

 

 

The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt by David Giffels

Hard-Way-on-Purpose-coverYou’re probably wondering why this book is on a list that seems to be limited to art-centric books. This title tops our summer reading list because the finally crafted essay “The Chosen Ones” discusses Lee Friedlander’s Factory Valley’s, a body of work commissioned by the Akron Art Museum. You can explore the Friedlander photographs on the museum’s collection website, which really complements essay. http://akronartmuseum.org/collection

Speaking of literary Akron Art Museum references, The Coast of Akron by Adrienne Miller is the story of an Akron based artist-couple and their family. Miller actually interned at the museum in college and named one of the book’s characters Meatyard after the artist Ralph Meatyard who had a landmark photography exhibition at the museum.

The Hard Way on Purpose is available in the Akron Art Museum Shop for $15.

 

The Art of Secrets by James Klise

The Art of SecretsWho doesn’t love to escape into a good young adult novel, especially those that get beyond the world of vampires and dystopian futures? Here’s one for the young person in your life or just the young at heart.

When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Her family moves rent-free into a luxury apartment, Saba’s Facebook page explodes, and she starts (secretly) dating a popular boy. Then a quirky piece of art donated to a school fund-raising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba’s life turns upside down again. Should Saba’s family have all that money? Or should it go to the students who found the art? Or to the school? And just what caused that fire? Greed, jealousy and suspicion create an increasingly tangled web as students and teachers alike debate who should get the money and begin to point fingers and make accusations. The true story of the fire that sets events in motion and what happens afterward gradually comes together in an innovative narrative made up of journal entries, interviews, articles, letters, text messages, and other documents.

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

the Blazing WorldThe Blazing World tells the provocative story of the artist Harriet Burden. After years of watching her work ignored or dismissed by critics, Burden conducts an experiment she calls Maskings: she presents her own art behind three male masks, concealing her female identity. The three solo shows are successful, but when Burden finally steps forward triumphantly to reveal herself as the artist behind the exhibitions, there are critics who doubt her. The public scandal turns on the final exhibition, initially shown as the work of acclaimed artist Rune, who denies Burden’s role in its creation. What no one doubts, however, is that the two artists were intensely involved with each other. As Burden’s journals reveal, she and Rune found themselves locked in a charged and dangerous game that ended with the man’s bizarre death.

Ingeniously presented as a collection of texts compiled after Burden’s death, The Blazing World unfolds from multiple perspectives. The exuberant Burden speaks—in all her joy and fury—through extracts from her own notebooks, while critics, fans, family members, and others offer their own conflicting opinions of who she was, and where the truth lies.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

the GoldfinchThis massive and sometimes heartbreakingly sad and addictive book is worth delving into even though it clocks in at a massive 775 pages.   This book examines the power of art as it follows Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, who miraculously survives a terrorist bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

 

 

Mary Coin by Marisa Silver

mary-coinBestselling author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother photograph as inspiration for a story of two women—one famous and one forgotten—and their remarkable chance encounter.

In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of the road in central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting migrant laborers in search of work. Few personal details are exchanged and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced one of the most iconic images of the Great Depression. In present day, Walker Dodge, a professor of cultural history, stumbles upon a family secret embedded in the now-famous picture. In luminous prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief event in history and its repercussions throughout the decades that follow—a reminder that a great photograph captures the essence of a moment yet only scratches the surface of a life.

The Painter by Peter Heller

ThePainterCoverJim Stegner has seen his share of violence and loss. Years ago he shot a man in a bar. His marriage disintegrated. He grieved the one thing he loved. In the wake of tragedy, Jim, a well-known expressionist painter, abandoned the art scene of Santa Fe to start fresh in the valleys of rural Colorado. Now he spends his days painting and fly-fishing, trying to find a way to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. He works with a lovely model. His paintings fetch excellent prices. But one afternoon, on a dirt road, Jim comes across a man beating a small horse, and a brutal encounter rips his quiet life wide open. Fleeing Colorado, chased by men set on retribution, Jim returns to New Mexico, tormented by his own relentless conscience.

 

Check out past Akron Art Museum book club reads at http://akronartmuseum.org/bookclub/.

Chief Curators Trip to NYC

By: Janice Driesbach, Chief Curator

My tour of New York City galleries began in Chelsea at James Cohan Gallery for a thoughtful look at Fred Tomaselli’s new work. While there, James Cohan shared images from the recent Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opening of the Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing exhibition that we will be hosting this fall. And I saw Yinka Shonibare’s young bicyclist on a platform, giving his sculpture more presence than when I had previously seen it exhibited directly on the floor.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opening of the Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing http://camh.org/exhibitions/trenton-doyle-hancock-skin-and-bones-20-years-drawing#.U3EOIXbjTbM

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opening of  Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing
http://camh.org/exhibitions/trenton-doyle-hancock-skin-and-bones-20-years-drawing#.U3EOIXbjTbM

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opening of the Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing http://camh.org/exhibitions/trenton-doyle-hancock-skin-and-bones-20-years-drawing#.U3EOIXbjTbM

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston opening of  Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing
http://camh.org/exhibitions/trenton-doyle-hancock-skin-and-bones-20-years-drawing#.U3EOIXbjTbM

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Yinka Shonibare

I then saw a few other Chelsea gallery exhibitions, including an installation featuring Brazilian printmakers at ICPNY.

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Brazilian printmaker at ICPNY

Next, I headed to Soho to look at a painting being offered to the museum from Ellen Lanyon‘s estate. Cicada proved to be much richer in color then the JPEG had suggested, continuing evidence that art is best experienced in person. While there, I had a delightful conversation with the artist’s daughter, who spoke about what close friends Ellen had been with Barbara Tannenbaum, my predecessor as chief curator in Akron, surely part of the reason the museum was named in the artist’s will.

 

Ellen Lanyon, Cicada, 1974, acrylic on canvas, 49 x 59 in.

Ellen Lanyon, Cicada, 1974, acrylic on canvas, 49 x 59 in.

Proceeded from Soho uptown to look at works by Chris Pekoc, a Cleveland artist whose exhibition I’m organizing for the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery this fall, in a Manhattan collection. Since I was nearby, I then wandered over to the Guggenheim Museum and saw the recent section of the Carrie Mae Weems exhibition that they are presently hosting and which included works borrowed from the Akron Art Museum collection (http://akronartmuseum.org/collection/Obj2419 and http://akronartmuseum.org/collection/Obj2420). I was able to view a powerful recent video that Weems made in Savannah in its entirety before the museum closed for the day.

Chris Pekoc

Chris Pekoc

I started the second morning of my trip in Chelsea as well, this time at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., where Vik Muniz’s new work fills the galleries. There, I had conversations about the work of both Muniz and Tony Feher, whose sculpture was installed upstairs and is also featured in the Akron Art Museum’s Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries.

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

Tony Feher

Tony Feher

Then saw a number of very nice shows in surrounding galleries, including April Gornik’s new landscapes and Duane Michals’ early Empty New York, inspired by Atget.

April Gornik

April Gornik

Duane Michals

Duane Michals

Ghada Amer at Cheim and Read and Robert Mangold at Pace Gallery were also impressive.

Ghada Amer

Ghada Amer

Robert Mangold

Robert Mangold

The day capped by meeting with John Newman at his exhibition at Tibor de Nagy, being introduced to artist Red Grooms when I arrived, and talking with John about his sculptures and drawings.

John Newman

John Newman