Uncategorized

Making Connections with Inside|Out

by Roza Maille, Inside|Out Coordinator

One of the most exciting things about working on the Akron Art Museum’s Inside|Out project is making connections between the art and the locations where it is installed. This fall we installed 30 high-quality reproductions of iconic works of art from our collection in outdoor spaces in Highland Square & West Hill, Cuyahoga Falls, and on The University of Akron’s campus and in parts of University Park.

One of my favorite (and rather direct) connections we made is the reproduction of Perkins Mansion by William L. Hawkins at the actual Perkins Stone Mansion in West Hill, home of the Summit County Historical Society. Hawkins was inspired to paint this work of art because of a postcard sent to him by one of the Akron Art Museum’s former docents in the 1980s. Using bright colors and broad, flat brushstrokes, Hawkins created an expressive representation of Akron’s historical and architectural landmark. While the building appears to be aflame, Hawkins’ turbulent sky is rather a result of his desire to explore color and reflects the nature of the thick enamel paint he used.

Inside|Out reproduction of William L. Hawkins painting Perkins Mansion installed at Perkins Stone Mansion.

Inside|Out reproduction of William L. Hawkins’ painting Perkins Mansion installed at Perkins Stone Mansion.

On September 19, I had the chance to make connections to another artwork installed at the Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. by participating in the Crafty Mart Pop Up Market that was taking place at the brewery. Arrangement with Billboard by Harvey R. Griffiths is installed at the brewery entrance, so I wanted to provide an art activity inspired by this wonderful watercolor.

I chose this artwork for Thirsty Dog because of the large billboard reading, “Buy Ohio Apples.” Griffiths was commenting on the shrinking rural areas around Akron and also the importance of supporting local agriculture. It’s evidenced by the success of both Thirsty Dog and Crafty Mart that Akronites definitely love supporting local. Speaking of local, this artwork also happens to be narrated by local author David Giffels in our Inside|Out Tour App.

Inside|Out reproduction of Harvey R. Griffith's painting, Arrangement with Billboard installed at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company.

Inside|Out reproduction of Harvey R. Griffith’s painting, Arrangement with Billboard installed at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company.

Arrangement with Billboard was a perfect match for one of our local breweries. In addition, Crafty Mart supports hundreds of artists and makers who live in the area by giving them a venue in which to showcase and sell their products. Inspired by the artwork and the local artisans, I came up with an art activity that would encompass these ideas and take inspiration from the artwork.

Art activity table set up at Crafty Mart’s Pop Up Shop at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.

Art activity table set up at Crafty Mart’s Pop Up Shop at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.

Visitors had the chance to create printed designs for a greeting card, a paper shopping bag, or just experiment with paper using various printing techniques. Participants were able to use rubber stamps, hand-made Ohio stamps, and even apples to make their prints.

Colorful apples used for printing.

Colorful apples used for printing.

Greeting card made by a young artist by printing with bubble wrap and an apple.

Greeting card made by a young artist by printing with bubble wrap and an apple.

We also experimented with monoprinting on a gel printing block. This technique (which produces a monotype) is a great way to create a unique print while using drawing, painting, and printmaking techniques without a printing press. Monoprinting creates unique works of art that cannot be replicated, unlike other traditional methods of printmaking. For this activity, we used a brayer to spread the paint on the block and then used different objects to make marks and patterns in the paint. Once the paint was just right, we pressed a piece of paper over the block, making sure to rub over the whole design so everything transferred to the paper.

Gel printing block and mark-making tools for monoprinting.

Gel printing block and mark-making tools for monoprinting.

Monoprint made by a young artist at Crafty Mart.

Monotype made by a young artist at Crafty Mart.

Kids and adults had a great time creating their prints and learning more about Inside|Out. Events like these activate the artwork in the neighborhoods and inspire creativity among residents. The next Crafty Mart will take place on Nov. 28 and 29, 2015 at Musica, Summit Artspace, and the Akron Art Museum. Additionally, Summit Artspace will host one last trolley tour of Inside|Out art installations in Highland Square as part of the Trolley Tour for the Full Circle Exhibition at Summit Artspace. Pick up the trolley at Summit Artspace, then head to Highland Square for a tour of the Inside|Out works from the Akron Art Museum and end at Harris-Stanton Gallery in Pilgrim Square (W. Market & Sand Run)! Free, but you must make a reservation. The Full Circle Exhibit runs Oct. 16-Nov. 22, 2015 at Summit Artspace in collaboration with Harris-Stanton Gallery. To learn more about the Full Circle exhibit go to: http://summitartspace.org/galleries/summit-artspace-gallery/

Do you want your neighborhood or city to be a part of Inside|Out in 2016? The Akron Art Museum is currently seeking city representatives, downtown development authorities, and arts organizations from communities interested in being a part of the museum’s popular Inside|Out program to submit an application for 2016! Interested communities are asked to submit an application by Oct. 31. An application does not guarantee a place in next year’s schedule but will help the museum determine locations for 2016. Please fill out an application online or contact Roza Maille, Inside|Out Project Coordinator at rMaille@akronartmuseum.org for more information.

Choice: Contemporary Art from the Akron Art Museum at Transformer Station

By Janice Driesbach, Chief Curator

Presenting selections from the museum’s collection in Choice at the Transformer Station on Cleveland’s West Side has been great fun. Having experienced how artworks engage in different conversations when they are placed differently even within our own galleries, it has been a delight to see how they appear and relate to each other in Transformer’s combined historic and contemporary buildings.

Photo: Courtesy of Transformer Station.

Installation view: El Anatsui, Dzesi II and Matthew Kolodziej, Good Neighbors, both collection of the Akron Art Museum. Photo: Courtesy of Transformer Station.

Matthew Kolodziej’s Good Neighbors and David Salle’s Poverty Is No Disgrace sing on the walls of the main gallery. These large canvases flank El Anatsui’s Dzesi II, a signature example of the Akron Art Museum’s prescience in collecting artists relatively early in their careers. It has been wonderful to observe how this glittering construction composed of aluminum liquor bottle caps and copper wire has captivated Transformer station volunteers, Cleveland arts leaders and members of our museums at recent events.

Anthony Caro, Veduggio Wash and

Anthony Caro, Veduggio Wash, Hiroshi Sugimoto (8 seascapes), Adam Fuss, From the series My Ghost [large smoke]. All: Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Photo: Courtesy of Transformer Station.

I am also very pleased that Fred Bidwell and I decided to feature works in black and white in the historic  building. Anthony Caro’s Veduggio Wash, composed from scrap metal the artist encountered while working at a factory in Italy, looks at home on the rough floor not far from the massive horizontal crane that also occupies the space. Lee Bontecou’s untitled sculpture, also assembled using discarded industrial materials, complements impressive large-scale images by Adam Fuss, Daido Moriyama and Lorna Simpson, which speak to the prominence of photography in the museum’s collection. The opportunity to cluster our eight Hiroshi Sugimoto views of seas allows for an appreciation for the vastness and subtleties of the subject, one that has occupied the artist for more than three decades.

Photo: Shane Wynn.

Installation view: Julian Stanczak, Dual Glare (background), George Segal, Girl Sitting Against a Wall II. Both: Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Photo: Shane Wynn.

In working on Choice and related programs, including a tour I am giving of our contemporary collection in Akron (October 11) and a panel I am moderating on our collection at Transformer Station (November 7), I have renewed appreciation for how the artwork that informs our decisions today was assembled, an accomplishment that reflects the sensibility of our community as well as the contributions of visionary directors and curators. The purchases of Julian Stanczak’s Dual Glare from the exhibition we organized in 1970 and El Anatsui’s Dzesi II prior to the acclaim the artist has received were prescient acquisitions that reflect the museum’s commitment to contemporary artists working nearby and afar. I have been reminded that George Segal’s Girl Sitting Against a Wall II came into the collection along with Andy Warhol’s Single Elvis and our outstanding early Donald Judd sculpture (both on view at home in Akron) in 1972, confirming the museum’s longstanding commitment to contemporary art.

Helen Frankenthaler, Wisdom, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 94 in. x 112 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Family Collection in honor of Mrs. Galen Roush.

Helen Frankenthaler, Wisdom, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 94 in. x 112 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Family Collection in honor of Mrs. Galen Roush.

Tony Feher (Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1956 - ) Untitled, 2013 Glass bottles with aluminum screw caps, water, and food dye on painted wood shelf with metal brackets 12 3/4  x 144  x 3 1/2 in. (32.39  x 365.76  x 8.89 cm) The Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture

Tony Feher, Untitled, 2013, glass bottles with aluminum screw caps, water, and food dye on painted wood shelf with metal brackets. 12 3/4 x 144 x 3 1/2 in. Collection of the Akron Art Musseum. The Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture.

The most surprising question I have been receiving, to me at least, is that if the Akron Art Museum has highlights at Transformer Station, what do we have on view in Akron? Briefly, highlights are filling the galleries dedicated to our collection.  Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis welcome visitors when they arrive.  In addition to the Andy Warhol and Donald Judd mentioned above, longtime favorite paintings, including Chuck Close’s Linda and our amazing Philip Guston Opened Box are joined by new acquisitions, including an untitled Tony Feher and Yinka Shonibare’s Gentleman Walking a Tightrope. Louise Nevelson’s Fugue, also an impressive relief sculpture, occupies the spot vacated by the Lee Bontecou. All to say, there is outstanding Akron Art Museum artwork on view on the West Side of Cleveland and in Akron. Magnificent art in both locales provides all the more reason to plan outings in Cleveland and in Akron this fall.

A Lamp to Light the Way: Museum as Memory-Maker

by Amanda Crowe

While it may be every parent’s quest to be young again, time is a continuum and the creative underpinnings of childhood impermanent. Throughout the past several weeks of children’s programming, I have witnessed amazingly engaged parents and caregivers embracing moments of luminosity with their little ones simply by being present.

Art Babes at Akron Art Museum

Photo: Art Babes at Akron Art Museum

I am told that for some, “art museum” has become part of their child’s vernacular. A hug-your-teddy-bear, meaningful kind of place, where, when given a choice whether to go to the park or go to the museum, “go-art-museum” wins out! Why? For many of my baby and toddler friends, the museum has become a familiar creative playground for practicing “firsts” and building joyful memories.

Art Babes at Akron Art Museum

Photo: Art Babes at Akron Art Museum

Beyond a child’s typical “first” art exploration of brushing globs of paint onto paper, children are splashing, building, singing, stretching, listening, crawling, touching and stumbling while celebrating their first artistic and imaginative experiences, not just with parents, but with new friends—in the museum lobby, among the latest color-saturated paintings and in the studio classroom.

Family Day at Akron Art Museum

Family Day at Akron Art Museum

Photo: Art Babes at Akron Art Museum

Photo: Art Babes at Akron Art Museum

And what are parents and caregivers doing during this swell of activity? They are preserving the memories, capturing the essence of their children’s wonderings and ideas, and planting a seed for tomorrow.

Find upcoming programs for children and families at Akron Art Museum.

Download the Live Creative Brochure.

Altered Landscapes Showcases Innovative Contemporary Approaches to Landscape

by Janice Driesbach, Chief Curator

The museum’s Judith Bear Isroff and Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Galleries offer ideal opportunities to bring together thematic exhibitions from our collections. These galleries are particularly well suited for featuring works on paper and photographs that are vulnerable to light, and so cannot be on view for extended periods of time. When I first started thinking about the exhibition that became Altered Landscapes, I was eager to showcase relatively recent gifts that we had not had yet been able to share. These included Meridel Rubenstein’s Temple Tree, Vietnam and Yun-Fei Ji’s Three Gorges Dam Migration, both donated in honor of former director Mitchell Kahan on the occasion of his retirement.

Meridel Rubenstein, Temple Tree, Vietnam, 2000-01, vegetable ink on paper, with mica and gum arabic

Meridel Rubenstein, Temple Tree, Vietnam, 2000-01, vegetable ink on paper, with mica and gum arabic

I appreciated how Rubenstein’s incorporation of unconventional materials into the photograph, including vegetable ink and mica, were beautifully employed to convey how the ancient tree had been honored. It was also clear that, with the construction of the surrounding temple, the landscape’s original context was transformed centuries ago. In contrast, the soft colors and traditional format of Yun-Fei Ji’s scroll invite us in to view the tragic consequences of a much more recent change—the construction of the Yangtze River dam that buried thousands of villages and displaced more than a million people.

Yun-Fei Ji, Three Gorges Dam Migration, 2009, hand-printed watercolor woodblock on paper and silk

Yun-Fei Ji, Three Gorges Dam Migration, 2009, hand-printed watercolor woodblock on paper and silk

Certainly as we head into our parks and the countryside today, there is little that has not been impacted by the human presence. Much that may strike us as pristine wilderness is in fact second- or third-growth forest and shelters numerous invasive species. In addition, since the invention and proliferation of photography, the detailed views that artists spent extended time rendering can be captured and disseminated instantaneously. The role of the artist has changed and Altered Landscapes allows us to present some of the ways contemporary artists have responded to this traditional subject.

Randall Tiedman, Limbus Patrum #7, 2010, Acrylic and oil on paper

Randall Tiedman, Limbus Patrum #7, 2010, acrylic and oil on paper

I take particular delight that as the exhibition came together we were able to include other artworks that have not been on display before. These include Randall Tiedman’s Limbus Patrum #7, a gift the museum received just a few months ago. A lifelong Cleveland resident, Tiedman developed his impressive composition from imagination, informed by his intimate understanding of the industrial landscape. In contrast, Wayne Thiebaud, painted River and Slough, a view of his beloved Sacramento Valley, in his studio from sketches made on the spot. And, Joseph Yoakum was probably inspired to depict Mt. Banda Banda in Great Dividing Range near Kempsey Australia by a magazine illustration rather than firsthand observation—all very different approaches.

Wayne Thiebaud, River and Slough, 1969

Wayne Thiebaud, River and Slough, 1969, acrylic on canvas

With artwork ranging from Mark Soppeland’s glitter-laden sculpture Bridge over a Strange Place to Lilian Tyrrell’s powerful Disaster Blanket, Altered Landscapes truly brings together a wide range of styles and media in addressing its theme. It is my hope that visitors will enjoy making comparisons and that they consider extending their visit by wandering into our C. Blake McDowell, Jr, Galleries on the first floor of our 1899 building. There they will see earlier interpretations of landscape subjects, including outstanding Impressionist and Tonalist paintings and early 20th-century views of our region.

2014 Highlights

By Mark Masuoka, Executive Director and CEO

2014 has been a year in which we sought to connect the energy that drives great art to that which drives our great city: the energy of ideas. In every exhibition, program, event, and conversation, we strove to stimulate ideas and encouraged everyone to look at what they already do in a new light, and to recognize the ways in which we all Live Creative. What follows is a brief recounting of what we did to Live Creative, to reach out to our community and to initiate a new civic presence that will revitalize the cultural health and wellness of Akron. Thank you for being a part of the Akron Art Museum in 2014; join us for all that we will do in 2015.

Jamie Burmeister’s Message Matters began a yearlong love affair with Akron. The project’s blinking lights were switched on in the east stairwell of the art museum’s 1899 building on February 14, 2014, sending out the Morse code message LUV U to the community.

La Wilson, Retrospective

La Wilson, Retrospective, 2004–2006, assemblage, 34.875 x 46.25 x 9.125 in

La Wilson: Objects Transformed  was the backdrop for the artist’s 90th birthday and a mini retrospective that assembled works from the art museum’s collection and from private collections throughout Northeast Ohio.  The works in the exhibition spanned her fifty-plus year career and brought together her family, friends and fans to celebrate her art and her life.

Tony Feher’s Buoy brought renewed attention to the museum’s world-class architecture and begged the question, What the heck is that red thing hanging from the museum’s roof?

Édouard Boubat, Lella, Bretagne, 1948,

Édouard Boubat, Lella, Bretagne, 1948, 1948 silver gelatin print, 13.375 x 9.625 in., Exhibited in Invitation to Stare: Photographic Portraits, Feb. 1 – June 1, 2014

Invitation to Stare was also an invitation to share the museum’s renowned photography collection.  The exhibition highlighted recent acquisitions and the museum’s long-standing commitment to photo portraiture that deserved a long hard look.

Installation view, Butch Anthony: Vita Post Mortem, Akron Art Museum 2014

Installation view, Butch Anthony: Vita Post Mortum, Akron Art Museum 2014

Butch Anthony: Vita Post Mortum featured the unconventional mixed media works that revealed the inner life of an unlikely art star.

Community Conversations: Connecting: Arts and Community, May 2014, Akron Art Museum

Community Conversations: Connecting: Arts and Community, May 2014, Akron Art Museum

Community Conversations became the art museum’s rallying cry and provided an opportunity for the art museum to seek public opinion. The conversations also allowed us to explore the nontraditional role of community facilitator and social organizer in an effort to better understand what is uniquely Akron.

Installation view, Diana al-Hadid, Nolli's Orders, steel, polymer gypsum, wood, foam, and paint, 156 x 264 x 228 in., Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, ©Diana al-Hadid, photo: Joe Levack

Installation view, Diana al-Hadid, Nolli’s Orders, steel, polymer gypsum, wood, foam, and paint, 156 x 264 x 228 in., Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, ©Diana al-Hadid, photo: Joe Levack

Diana Al-Hadid: Nolli’s Orders created a new focal point for visitors as they entered the museum’s Sandra L. and Dennis B. Haslinger Family Foundation Galleries. The room-sized sculpture proposed a new form and function for the gallery and offered a memorable art experience.

Cover images the 2014 issues of VIEW magazine

Cover images the 2014 issues of VIEW magazine

VIEW Magazine underwent a cover-to-cover overhaul, aesthetically revitalizing its look, feel and flow through its new design that connects the art museum’s online and digital experience with its seasonal print publication.

Installation view, Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, photo: Joe Levack; Trenton Doyle Hancock installing Skin and Bones, photo: Akron Art Museum

Installation view, Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing, photo: Joe Levack; Trenton Doyle Hancock installing Skin and Bones, photo: Akron Art Museum

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Twenty Years of Drawings exhibition began with a two-week installation process that handed over the museum to Trenton to continue his creative process by re-contextualizing his work by drawing, writing and painting directly on the walls of the art museum.

Live Creative began as a way to brand the art museum’s education program and quickly grew into the art museum’s current mantra. We are not just asking people to be creative, but to find ways every day to live creative. It’s more than just a catchy tagline; it is a way of life. #LiveCreative

Inside|Out Akron installed a high quality reproduction of Raphael Gleitsmann's Winter Evening, c.1932 in downtown Akron, near the spot featured in the point of view in the painting.

Inside|Out Akron installed a high quality reproduction of Raphael Gleitsmann’s Winter Evening, c.1932 in downtown Akron, near the spot featured in the point of view in the painting.

Inside | Out brought Raphael Gleitsmann’s painting Winter Evening out of the art museum’s McDowell gallery and into the community.  Perfectly installed in downtown Akron at the site of its inspiration, the painting brings to light what Akron was in 1932 and what it can be in the future. #InsideOutAkron will bring more art from the art museum collection into Akron neighborhoods in 2015.

Director’s Holiday Message

Raphael Gleitsmann, Winter Evening, c1932

At the Akron Art Museum, we are reflecting on the people who have touched our lives, the accomplishments of 2014 and the excitement we have for 2015 and beyond. We could not have been successful without you. Thank you for continuing to engage in the ongoing conversation with us about the vital role the museum can play in the cultural health and wellness of the city. We believe that the museum can be the catalyst for positive cultural, social and economic change, and with your input we will continue to create opportunities in the community for meaningful, quality art experiences. Art is for everyone. Ideas are for everyone, and whether you are a high-frequency culture seeker or an occasional visitor, the Akron Art Museum can enrich your life and imagination, and in return enrich ours.

On behalf of the Akron Art Museum, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and a creative New Year.

Mark Masuoka, Executive Director and CEO

Take a Journey to the Past with Inside|Out

Inside | Out Akron Logo

By Roza Maille, Inside|Out Project Coordinator

Picture this: You’re walking down the street and then suddenly…whoa!  Is that the painting I saw at the Akron Art Museum last week?  How did it get out here?

Don’t worry.  It’s not the real painting, but a reproduction so realistic it’ll make you do a double take.  That is just one of the ways the Akron Art Museum will engage the community with its new public project, Inside|Out.

Raphael Gleitsmann, Winter Evening, c1932

Raphael Gleitsmann, Winter Evening, c. 1932, Oil on fiberboard, 39 x 44 in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of Joseph M. Erdelac. Photo courtesy of the Akron Art Museum.

We are so excited about this project that we decided to give the city a preview of what’s to come!  We have installed a framed reproduction of Raphael Gleitsmann’s painting “Winter Evening” at an outside location across from the historic Akron Civic Theatre. It will be on view from December through February, accompanying other great downtown winter events such as First Night and ice skating at Lock 3. We would love to see the residents of Akron interact with the art, so we are encouraging visitors to take pictures in front of the new installation and post them on social media using the hashtag #insideoutakron.

Photo of the reproduction of Raphael Gleitsmann's painting "Winter Evening" taken after it was installed in downtown Akron.

Photo taken just after the installation on Dec. 1

“Winter Evening” is a great piece of Akron history! Gleitsmann lived in Akron for most of his life and painted this lively scene of downtown Akron in the early 1930s. It’s hard to tell from the seemingly bustling atmosphere but it was painted during the Great Depression when 60% of Akron residents were unemployed.

The image is positioned so the viewer can get a modern-day perspective from the artist’s vantage point.  Some of the buildings depicted in the painting are still standing today, most notably the city’s first skyscraper, now called the FirstMerit Tower.

The FirstMerit tower, circa 1950s.

Photo from summitmemory.org – created by Howard Studios (Cleveland, Ohio), 1950s

But wait, there’s more!  Inside|Out is a two-year project, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and is set to officially launch in the spring of 2015.  The Akron Art Museum will embark on this community outreach project by taking 30 high-quality reproductions of artwork from the museum’s collection and placing them in the streets and parks of the city of Akron and surrounding areas.

Knight Foundation Logo

About ten framed images will be placed in each of the six individual communities that are being targeted for next year. There are two, three-month installations set for each year: three communities for spring/summer and three different communities for summer/fall.  For the second year of the project, we will extend our reach by adding ten more images and two more communities, installing 40 reproductions in eight communities, total.

The images will often be clustered within bicycling or walking distance, to enable residents to discover art in unexpected places. The communities in which they are placed will be encouraged to take ownership of the art in their neighborhoods by creating activities and events around these temporary exhibitions.  All of the art displayed in the streets will be on view at the museum so residents will be able to visit the “real” artwork.

Are you interested in learning more about Inside|Out?  Please attend the community meeting at the Akron Art Museum on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.  The meeting is free and open to the public.  Museum admission is FREE every Thursday.  Please email the project coordinator, Roza Maille at rmaille@akronartmuseum.org if you plan on attending.