The present continually folds itself over, layer upon layer, as it forms a historical past. Art and artifacts are material traces with uncertain immortality. They can last far beyond the lifetime of their makers and the environment for which they were made.
"Private Spaces Public Authority," on view at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, asks what should be done with this usable past. Ceramic tiles, stained glass, doors, fireplace decorations and more are displayed as orphaned beauties, gleaned from two Milwaukee mansions: the Henry Uihlein Mansion and the Elizabeth Plankinton Mansion.
Imagine an antique shop in the afternoon. Sunlight diffuses through shelves of colorful glass vases and goblets, compotes and all sorts of glittering vessels arranged carefully by hue. Each piece is distinguished by its particularities, its sinuous contours and decorative flourishes, but when seen as a whole arrangement they join and multiply. They overlap and refract, not so much as a kaleidoscope but more like a dream recorded in echoing waves of paint and time.
The "Justified Art!" exhibit now on display at Madison’s Overture Center is perhaps too timely. One of its most gripping works, Nafis White’s “Can I Get a Witness?,” consists of a bright neon sign with the same words, near a list of people killed by police: Trayvon Martin; Eric Garner; Michael Brown.
At the top of the list is Tony Robinson, the biracial Madison teen shot and killed earlier this month by Madison police officer Matt Kenny.
How do you keep wonder alive over the course of decades?
An exhibit featuring 50 paintings and drawings of nature by Vincent Van Gogh will open in western Massachusetts in June.
"Van Gogh and Nature" is the first exhibit devoted to the artist's exploration of nature.
The work of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo often seems a study in contrasts — he opts for the big and global, she the smaller and personal.
Yet the two were sharing ideas and “responding to each other artistically,” said Mark Rosenthal, curator of “Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit” at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Despite what Andy Warhol might have thought, not everything an artist does is brilliant or groundbreaking. In Warhol’s case, trivial and self-indulgent are also descriptors that come to mind.
For evidence, look no further than his Polaroid photo “studies” of male genitalia, an example of what’s in store in the largely disappointing exhibit The Wet Archive: History, Desire, and the Photographer’s Liquid Intelligence, now on display at the Chazen Museum of Art on the UW-Madison campus.
Gallery Night and Day is coming up on April 17 and April 18. Here are a few shows not to miss:
‘Home in the Heart of the City’
Photographs of accordions, tubas and Pabst Blue Ribbon signs may not be the norm for an $11.2 million art museum that features nationally recognized sculptors, painters and other media artists.
There are the fairy tales and fantasies we read in storybooks, and there are the narratives we craft in our lives. As different as they may seem, our personal follies and fables may have kindred spirits in larger sweeps of cultural narrative and archetype. In the Realm of Innocents, on view at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, brings together six painters whose art explores those potential intersections of fantasy and reality.