Installation

Studio Glass Movement

Paul Stankard 2010.282.14

Take a peek inside a glass studio in this short video chronicling the humble beginnings of the Studio Glass Movement in a Toledo, Ohio garage under the guidance of Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino. Learn more about the rise of the studio glass workshop in 1962 and get a look at several beautiful pieces made throughout the history of the movement.

Stop into the museum to view our collection of glass sculptures by Paul Stankard and current exhibition New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim on view through April 7, 2013.

New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim

The Q Is Blue!

By Corey Jenkins, Communications Intern

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Here the Inverted Q is shown through the Chromatic Vision Simulator’s Protanope filter. To view the Q’s typical appearance, visit the Akron Art Museum’s Online Collection.

One of the first things visitors to the museum see is Claes Oldenburg’s bright pink sculpture Inverted Q. However if you are Vincent van Gogh, who one vision expert believes suffered from “protanopia,” the Q would appear to be blue.

The Chromatic Vision Simulator app for iOS/Android was developed by Japanese vision expert, Kazunori Asad. After viewing some of Van Gogh’s pieces in an exhibition where the lighting and environment was designed to display pieces the way a colorblind person sees them, he noticed that Van Gogh’s work artwork hinted at “protanopia,” the absence or malfunction of the cells in the retina which recognize the color red.

Typically, people have three types of Cone cells in the retina. Each type is responsible for sensing red, green or blue light. Color blindness is caused by an absence or malfunction of one of these cone types. The Chromatic Vision Simulator gives an approximation of “protanopia”  the lack of a red cone; “deuteranopia,” the lack of a green cone; and “tritanopia,” the lack of a blue cone.

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Here Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #1240 is shown in it’s common state, along with all three simulations. Clockwise from top left is Common, Protanope, Deuteranope and Tritanope.

An Awakening of our Creative Side (Part 1 of 2)

By Jennifer Stavrianou*

After recently returning from a trip to New York City, where I got to meet the original art dealer for EL Anatsui’s artwork, I learned that the Akron Art Museum was working on an exhibition of his work.  Aggressively, I began hunting for the  staff member who could help me become a part of this grand event.  My search lead me to Interim Chief Curator Ellen Rudolph who explained that this particular show did not follow the museum’s typical installation pattern because it was being produced in just 3 weeks.

The first day that I encountered the curatorial team wrangling this installation project was a day in early June.  They were installing Peak, a sculpture by the artist that consisted of 75,000 Milk can lids.  They mulled over the sculpture, making sure that each mound, mold and divot were to their liking. After they were satisfied with mounds that they had created, the team explained to me that the artworks were shipped to them in large wooden crates, from New York, where they had been awaiting exhibition from the Jack Shaiman gallery.   Arnold Tunstall showed me how they arrived in sheets with plastic in between them, flat like a tapestry, WITH NO INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS!  When I learned this, my mind began turning….an excellent shipping solution, but I wondered how efficient this solution was for the curators who are required to install the work.  After a few days of watching the installation I’m not sure that was ever a goal of the artist.  To inspire the people who install his work was definitely the goal, and a successful one too.

Each time a piece was installed it challenged the curatorial team to create, by sculpting brilliant turns and sways in the metal tapestries, finding unique ways to present each piece so that the show did not become stagnant and repetitious.  At one point Ellen and Arnie (the collection’s manger at the museum) both exclaimed, “I can’t believe this is so much fun”!

One of my favorite pieces to watch the installation of was Amemo.  It has an ambiguous shape, created by the pinwheel pieces that make up this 18 foot tall sculpture.  It lies on the wall as if it were a winter cable knit sweater piled upon the floor they way my daughter’s end up after she comes home from a fall football game.  At times there were 5 people pushing and scrunching the tapestry to create its sense of relaxation, visible in its dramatic sagging undulation.  Here, over the course of two weeks, I watched the completion of El Anatsui’s vision take us all to a place of awakening.  We were able to bring alive the artist in all of us….what a gift!

Check back on Friday for Part 2 of Jennifer’s Anatsui experience!

*Jennifer Stavrianou is an up and coming art historian, specializing in contemporary African art. She has traveled nationally and internationally to: New York, Washington DC, London, Paris, Chicago and San Francisco to study contemporary artists. Her art historical writing focuses on the identity issues that multicultural artists face in today’s artistic world. She is currently writing her master’s thesis for Kent State University, focusing on contemporary artist EL Anatsui. Recently, she was awarded an internship with the Akron Art Museum to help the curatorial team with Gravity and Grace: The Monumental Works of El Anatsui.

MiniMasters

by Gina Thomas McGee, Associate Educator

Aside from working on programs, tours, films, concerts and lectures at the museum, the education department has been spending some time off-site bringing the museum experience to local preschool classrooms through our MiniMasters preschool art education program. The MiniMasters program, funded by PNC Bank’s Grow Up Great initiative, allows our staff to spend time in Summit County Head Start classrooms, teaching three to five year old students about our collection.

The last year of the MiniMasters program has taught us a lot. Who was it that said “We know nothing about children”? Whoever it was knew what he/she was talking about. We have been surprised and amazed nearly every day of this project. What I’ve learned personally is that I think children are the best people in the world. They may also be the smartest.

With that in mind, we decided to take a chance this July and work on an open-ended project with our summer class. If children are the smartest people around, why not let them lead their learning and see what happens?

We began with a loose idea. As the students would not be visiting the museum during our project, we wanted them to get to know the building through photos and then design an installation artwork for the lobby.

After a week of drawing, sharing ideas and creating prototypes, here is what the two separate groups came up with:MiniMasters TowerThis set of drawings was completed by a group of students who thought our elevator shaft looked like a tower (maybe even Rapunzel’s tower). The height of the tower inspired them to create a “tall” artwork for the lobby and hang it from the bridge.  We gave each student in the group a roll of register tape and they drew as much and as long as they liked before finishing the pieces with embellishments like colored tape and tissue paper. Their work was successful in drawing the viewer’s eye up to take in the height of the elevator shaft and the ceiling of the lobby in general.

MiniMasters Triangle

Meanwhile, the other group tackled the space between the columns that support our video box. They thought this part of the lobby needed “color, light and beautifulness”. The group designed prototypes first on paper and then on clear plastic sheeting once they decided they didn’t want to block light from passing through the space. Finally, they combined their ideas to create this mural. The final touch was the addition of battery powered twinkling lights. Their piece really activated this space and provoked viewers to pay attention to an otherwise overlooked area.

So, have we created a new generation of installation artists? Only time will tell. Until then, they have certainly reminded us that children have incredible ideas if you just take the time to listen.

To read more about the MiniMasters check out their blog at http://minimasteraam.blogspot.com/