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SPRING ARTS 2019 GALLERIES: ‘Perfume & Seduction’

Hillwood la toilette, Newseum ‘Rise Up’ Stonewall exhibit among season’s highlights

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‘Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Green?’ by Rirkrit Tiravanija. (Photo courtesy Hirshhorn Museum)

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens (4155 Linnean Ave., N.W.) displays “Perfume & Seduction” through June 9. Hillwood will display the luxury items used during la toilette, a popular bathing and dressing ritual in the 18th century. Visitors can examine gold boxes, perfume bottles and numerous other items used for washing, makeup and drinking. For more details, visit hillwoodmuseum.org.

Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., N.W.) presents three new exhibits through March 31. Gallery A will include the Touchstone Gallery Member Show. Gallery B will feature “Pattern+Texture II” by Pete McCutche, a photography exhibit of patterns found in rock, ice, sand and mud. Gallery C will showcase “Daylight Reflections: From Sunrise to Sunset” by Harvey Kupferberg, a photography exhibit on how the sun’s rays affect the landscape as it rises and falls. The opening reception is on Friday, March 1 from 6-8:30 p.m. For more details, visit touchstonegallery.com.

Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) debuts its new exhibit “Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement” on Friday, March 8. In honor of the Stonewall Riots’ 50th anniversary, “Rise Up” chronicles the events at the Stonewall Inn and how it became the kick-off point for the LGBT rights movement. The exhibit will continue through Dec. 31 and will feature a program of speakers including journalists, authors, politicians and more. Adult admission (19-64) is $24.95 plus tax; seniors 65 and older are $19.95 plus tax; youth (7-18) are $14.95 plus tax and children 6 and younger are free. For more information, visit newseum.org.

National Museum of Women in the Arts (1250 New York Ave., N.W.) displays “Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling” from March 22-July 28. Rydingsvard’s cedar sculptures ranging from vertical structures and wall pieces to floor-based works will be exhibited starting from her work in 2000. This is her first solo exhibit in D.C. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and visitors 64 and under. Children under 18 are free. The first Sunday of every month is Community Day and admission to all exhibits is free. For more details, visit nmwa.org.

The National Portrait Gallery (8th St., N.W. and F St., N.W.) presents “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence” March 29-Jan. 5, 2020. The exhibition uses portraiture, biography and material culture to tell the stories of the overlooked women who contributed to women’s suffrage in the United States. There will also be a special section dedicated to the struggles of minority women during the women’s suffrage movement. For more information, visit npg.si.edu.

Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (1661 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) displays “Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery” as part of its permanent collection starting March 29. More than 80 objects using crafted materials will be on display from the 1930s through today. The objects will include iconic pieces that have been featured in the exhibit before and new items. The exhibit explores the interconnectivity of objects and how they tell stories. For more information, visit americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/connections-2019.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Independence Ave., and 7th St., N.W.) presents “Rirkrit Tiravanija: Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Green” May 17-July 24. Thai artist Tiravanija will transform Hirshhorn’s galleries into a dining space where attendees will be served curry and invited to share a meal together. In the background of the dining area is a mural that paints a picture of protests against Thailand’s government policies. A series of documentary shorts from Thai Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul will also be screened during the exhibit. For more information, visit visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

The Freer Gallery of Art (1050 Independence Ave., S.W.) kicks off an ongoing display of “The Peacock Room in Blue and White” on May 18. “The Peacock Room” is the mural art masterpiece by James McNeill Whistler that is on an ongoing display at the Freer Gallery of Art. The room’s shelves will now be filled with blue-and-white Chinese porcelains to emulate how the room looked as the dining room of British shipping magnate, Frederick Leyland in 1876. For more details, visit freersackler.si.edu.

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Galleries

Have to pee? Check out new John Waters Restrooms

BMA introduces gender-neutral facilities

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Actress Elizabeth Coffey and filmmaker John Waters outside the BMA’s new gender-neutral restrooms. (Blade staff photo)

The Baltimore Museum of Art unveiled its latest addition on Wednesday: the John Waters Restrooms, named for the iconic filmmaker who is a trustee of the museum. 

There were plenty of snickers and jokes about who would be the No. 1 and No. 2 patrons of the new facilities, but beneath the potty humor was an important message about access to the most fundamental spaces in society.

Joining Waters at a BMA event Wednesday to officially dedicate the gender-neutral restrooms was Elizabeth Coffey, a transgender actress and longtime friend and collaborator of Waters’. Coffey noted the importance of access to public spaces to the trans community. Preceding her at the lectern was Christopher Bedford, the Dorothy Wagner Wallis director of the BMA, who noted that adding the gender-neutral restrooms was the right thing to do.

After brief remarks, Coffey and Waters led a group of museum supporters and reporters downstairs to see the new space and Coffey cheekily took the inaugural trip into one of four private stalls. The stalls and adjoining communal washroom were designed by Quinn Evans Architects and feature white tile with bright red tile in the stalls. The idea for naming the restrooms came from Waters when he bequeathed his fine art collection to the BMA, according to a museum statement. 

The John Waters Restrooms will open to the public on Sunday, Dec. 12, in conjunction with the adjacent Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs and Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies. Waters is about to embark on a national tour of spoken-word performances. 

John Waters Restrooms, gay news, Washington Blade
John Waters speaks to a crowd at Wednesday’s dedication event. (Blade staff photo)
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BMA exhibit traces friendship between Matisse and Etta Cone

Baltimore collector helped build world’s preeminent repository of French master’s work

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Henri Matisse. Seated Odalisque, Left Knee Bent, Ornamental Background and Checkerboard. 1928. (The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.255. © Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

The Baltimore Museum of Art is the world’s most important repository of French modern master Henri Matisse’s work and this fall, a new exhibition will explore the friendship between the artist and Etta Cone, the Baltimore collector who befriended Matisse in 1906. 

The two maintained a close 43-year friendship, during which time Matisse traveled to Baltimore and created works with Etta and the BMA in mind. Etta and her sister Claribel ultimately collected about 700 of Matisse’s works, according to the BMA, including Blue Nude (1907), The Yellow Dress (1929-31), and Large Reclining Nude (1935). 

This new exhibit, “A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore” will trace their friendship through letters they exchanged and includes more than 160 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and illustrated books. 

Etta Cone (Photo courtesy of Claribel Cone and Etta Cone Papers, Archives and Manuscripts Collections, The Baltimore Museum of Art)

“For years, scholars have debated the purchases made by both Cone sisters, with much more credit given to the important acquisitions of major paintings by older sister Claribel,” the BMA said in a statement. “‘Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore’ will for the first time fully recognize Etta’s achievements as a collector and acknowledge her role in building the majority of the sisters’ Matisse collection, particularly the sculpture, drawings, and prints.” 

Henri Matisse at the dining room in of Etta Cone’s apartment in Baltimore, 1930. (Photo courtesy of Claribel Cone and Etta Cone Papers, Archives and Manuscripts Collections, The Baltimore Museum of Art)

“Etta Cone and Matisse shared a love of gesture and the female form, expressed not only through her collection of his major paintings, but through an early and sustained interest in his print making and drawing practices. The exhibition begins with work on paper and ends there as well,” said Leslie Cozzi, BMA associate curator of prints, drawings, and photographs.

The exhibition will feature a large selection of drawings, including masterpieces that are rarely on view due to light exposure restrictions, the BMA announced. 

“Etta Cone’s dedication to art, and to Matisse’s work in particular, has had a profound impact on the BMA and the focused and studied ways in which the museum continues to develop its collection. The forthcoming exhibition captures the exciting possibilities that can be achieved when artists, collectors, and public institutions join in a shared vision and commitment. We are delighted to present visitors with the incredible story of Etta Cone and the significant works of art that she brought to our museum, and to have this exhibition serve as a prelude to the presentations, programs, and publications that we’ll be able to create through our soon to be opened Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies,” said Christopher Bedford, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director.


Henri Matisse. The Yellow Dress. 1929-31. (The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland. BMA 1950.256 © Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York)

The Marder Center, which is scheduled to open in December, will present the breadth of the BMA’s Matisse holdings, while supporting the development of new scholarly publications that advance discussions on the trajectory of modern art, according to a statement. 

“A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore” opens Oct. 3 and will be on view until Jan. 2, 2022. Tickets are available through artbma.org. Prices are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $12 for groups of 7 or more, $5 for students with ID, and $5 for youth ages 7-18. BMA Members, children ages 6 and under, and student groups are admitted free. For more information, call 443-573-1701.

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Galleries

A slow return to normal for area museums

National Gallery remains closed, but others have reopened

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Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens reopened last week. (Photo courtesy Hillwood)

The Smithsonian Museums remain closed and the National Gallery of Art recently announced it would not open in time to commemorate its 80th anniversary. But the good news is that with COVID restrictions slowly lifting, some area museums are looking at reopening events while others have already opened their doors .

Below is a smattering of area museums that have reopened. Be sure to check with each museum directly before making plans.

• The National Zoo and the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly reopened on July 24.

• The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Renwick Gallery, The National Museum of American History and the National Museum of the American Indian reopened back in September.

• The National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden reopened last month.

• Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens reopened last week.

• The National Museum of Women in the Arts has also reopened.

• The International Spy Museum reopened in January.

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The Smithsonian National Zoo has reopened following coronavirus closures. (Blade photo by Michael Key)
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