The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Oct 01, 2010

Let's Talk About New Perspectives

Posted by Anne Tschida

Art outlets have been getting increasingly creative and talkative about highlighting their offerings. Every week there has been a lecture somewhere in town, and slightly off-beat openings. This weekend is no exception.

The Bass is unveiling a truly intriguing way to highlight parts of its collection with "The Nudist Museum."

English-born artist Ellen Harvey copied every nude work -- that would be 54 -- in the Bass archive. That's right, she painted her own version of these works (some of which originally are sculptures or drawings). But she intentionally tweaked them to accentuate the nudity.

For instance, in these paintings the flesh is vibrantly painted, but the backgrounds all remain monochrome. The canvases are also cropped and the elaborate frames are touched up to make it seem as though the paintings are bleeding out of their confines. On the wallpaper behind the works, small examples of nudity taken from today's pop culture can be seen. It suggests a continuum of depictions of the unclad body from the Renaissance to the present.

"The project is a continuation of a recent series of exhibitions in which Harvey redefines different gallery and museum spaces at the same time that she challenges the audience's perception and understanding of the artworks that occupy such space." The Bass gets super kudos for challenging the art audience in this way -- we should all take part in this nudist colony at some point. The Bass has decided to break with tradition in another way, in that its opening will be in the afternoon tomorrow.

On the other hand, The Wolfsonian is collaborating with the Cultural Institute of Mexico on its new project, The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, dedicated to the 20th century visual arts in Mexico. To launch the journal, two specialists on modern Mexican art will discuss current trends, not just in painting and sculpture, but in design, stained glass, and political caricature (this is the Wolfsonian after all!) tonight, followed by a book signing.

If you decide to stick to the mainland, another talk will kick off the latest exhibit at the de la Cruz Collection. Parts of this installation from the duo Guyton\Walker is made from silkscreened drywall pieces, covered in scanned images of tropical fruits and digitally re-hashed pop-culture imagery. Other elements include paints cans, formica tables, and wooden shipping containers. Want to know more? Then come listen to Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker discuss it tonight.

"The Nudist Museum" opening Oct. 2 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., through Nov. 7 at the Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7530; Launch of "The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts" tonight at 7:00 pm. at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-1001; Guyton\Walker lecture at 7:00 p.m. at the de la Cruz Collection, 23 N.E. 41st St., Miami; 305-576-6112;

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