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New Exhibit: Explorer, Naturalist, Artist: John James Audubon and The Birds of America

American_FlamingoWe in Reno Tahoe are so excited this special exhibit is finally open at the Nevada Museum of Art .  The exhibition runs Nov. 7 – Feb. 13and is the ideal winter and holiday activity for families.

The Nevada Museum of Art has teamed up with the Lahontan Audubon Society to offer bird walks and a book club, housed inside of a massive tent. Tables are also set up in the gallery for use by guests of all ages and includes a great interactive birding map of Reno, as well as a field guide and activity book for children.

Prints for the John James Audubon exhibit were purchased using funds from the Dana Rose Richardson Memorial Fund that was set up by the friends and family of Dana Rose Richardson – a Reno designer and business woman – who passed away in March 2010.

So, who is John James Audubon?

He was an explorer, naturalist, writer, and one of the most important artists of the nineteenth century. From 1820 to 1838 he traversed the eastern and central United States to depict nearly five-hundred species of birds—giving special attention to the complex interrelationships between the animals and their natural habitats. In 1863, about ten years after Audubon’s death, his wife Lucy sold the family’s core collection of Audubon material to the New York Historical Society, including hundreds of Audubon’s original watercolors, many of which were the basis for his Birds of America series. This exhibition features fifty of Audubon’s most dramatic and life-sized watercolor depictions from the first-edition printing of The New York Historical Society Edition.

Major sponsorship for the exhibition provided by Goldcorp, USA and the Louise A. Tarble Foundation. This program has been funded, in part, by the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the national Endowment for the Arts, a federal Agency. Media sponsorship generously provided by edible Reno-Tahoe magazine.

-Rachel Milon

Renowned Artist Chester Arnold Premieres Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art

Arnold_EntropicLandscapeSMFor artist Chester Arnold, painting is as much about politics and social responsibility as it is about crafting luscious large-scale oil paintings in the tradition of nineteenth-century European artists. With sometimes dark humor, the paintings in Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven opening August 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art, asks viewers to consider the impacts of human and industrial consumption, accumulation, and waste on the natural environment.

Since he began painting over three decades ago, West Coast-based artist Arnold has cleverly confronted a range of challenging subjects. Concerned about the increasing impact of human interventions on landscapes in a densely populated and deeply consumer-driven world, Arnold’s work questions the nature of human beings’ relationship to the landscape, offering cautionary warnings about society’s unbridled cycles of production and consumption on an industrial scale.

“My paintings are a big conversation I’m having with the world,” Arnold says of the richly-painted canvases spanning his thirty year career. Many of the paintings in the exhibition are based loosely on real environmental scenarios, such as the monumental canyon of discarded automobile tires that populates Arnold’s Entropic Landscape—a real larger-than-life discarded tire pile exists in California’s Central Valley. Arnold’s images of deforestation and tree harvesting BusinessSMin paintings such as Histories (2010) are not unlike the paintings of similar despoiled landscapes painted by nineteenth century American artists working long before him. And Arnold has also made three paintings of large-scale strip mines, including Holding Pond (1996) seen from an aerial view. The sublime terraced canyons are punctuated by smoky canyons and smoldering fires with holding ponds that contain mineral-rich, blood-red or copper-green drainage run-off that has been left behind by the mining process. Arnold’s depictions of such altered landscapes bring the consequences of human progress to the attention of viewers.

“The pieces in this exhibition engage with issues of work and labor, nature and environment, industrial production and consumption, and the amassing and disposal of consumer products,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator and Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “The works are both cautionary and confessional, revealing human foibles and follies and what Arnold considers to be their devastating consequences. Arnold’s landscape paintings also ask viewers to consider how human activities—of both the individual and large-scale industries—impact the landscape.”

Also featured in the exhibition is a series of paintings Arnold calls Accumulations, which reveal the ongoing cycle of consumption and disposal resulting from mass production. First created during the late 1990s, a time in American history noted for its booming economic prosperity, Arnold navigates America’s seeming disregard for accumulating and discarding mass-produced merchandise.

HistoriesSMUnderlying Arnold’s critiques of America’s consumer culture is an implicit acknowledgment of the economic engine driving mass production. Many of Arnold’s paintings allude to corporate business culture and the resources required to keep offices running throughout the country. The Business in America is Business (2008) and Means of Communication (2008) both depict streets littered with discarded office correspondence, perhaps cast from the skyscrapers of urban financial districts during past ticker-tape parades. It is especially ironic that the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers acquired one of Arnold’s paper accumulation paintings, Means of Communication (2008), for its corporate art collection not long before the company declared bankruptcy in 2008—the largest U.S. bankruptcy filing in history.

“Arnold’s works ask viewers to consider how one’s individual behaviors interface with ongoing cycles of industrial production and consumption,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “They ask us to acknowledge and celebrate hard work, but to consider the irrevocable consequences of our labors.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a special dialogue between San Francisco Chronicle Art Critic Kenneth Baker and artist Chester Arnold takes place Saturday, September 11 from 5:30 to 8 pm. Join Baker and Arnold as they discuss Arnold’s work on display in the Feature Gallery. A reception following dialogue is included in the ticket price. Cost: $15/$12 Museum Members; $18 at the door.

Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven is presented at the Nevada Museum of Art from August 14 through October 17, 2010 as part of the Museum’s wide-ranging Art + Environment Series, which provides timely, engaging, and rewarding educational opportunities for artists, scholars, and communities to engage with ideas pertinent to the intersections of art and environments. In 2009, the Museum launched the Center for Art + Environment, an international initiative that supports the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and the natural, built, and virtual environments. A book, published in conjunction with the exhibition, will be available in the Museum Store featuring essays by Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections and Colin M. Robertson, Curator of Education.

The Rotund World of Botero

The Nevada Museum of Art presents an ambitious exhibition boasting over 100 paintings and thousands of pounds of bronze sculptures, through the unforgettable works of Colombian painter, sculptor, and draftsman Fernando Botero in The Baroque World of Fernando Botero.

Drawn exclusively from Botero’s personal collection, the 100 works featured in this exhibition, including previously unpublished paintings and drawings, represent the full scope of his work from a uniquely personal perspective.

Many of these—portraits of friends and family members and remembered scenes—have remained in the artist’s possession since their creation, while others he has bought back from collectors over the years because they mark significant developments in his career. For example, Still Life with a Mandolin, painted in 1957, was the first time Botero enlarged the volume of the musical instrument in a manner now identified as the artists’ own style.

“This exhibition is both thought-provoking and inspirational to audiences of all ages and is not only a show for those who appreciate modern and contemporary Latin American art. The intricate sculptures and paintings in this exhibition reflect Botero’s radical, unique and humorous style. From gigantic bronze sculptures to paintings, this exhibition is the perfect opportunity to experience Botero’s engaging and dramatic works.”

Botero’s exaggerated and rounded forms depict the comedy of human life – moving or wry, with mocking observation or with deep emotion. His first images draw upon the Spanish colonial baroque style, rich with decoration and flourish, gaudy angels and tormented saints.  Some of the key works in the exhibition connect Botero’s own past with the present of his homeland,  The exhibition also presents a section on everyday life in South America: women observed in the intimacy of their boudoir, street scenes, dance halls, and the suggestion of houses of ill repute.

Dates: May 1 through July 25, 2010 every Wednesday through Sunday.
Location: Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery located at 160 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno.
Cost: Museum members free; $10 adults; $8 students/seniors; $1 children 6 – 12; free for children five and under.

For more information, please call 775.329.3333 or visit www.nevadaart.org.

Gee’s Bend… Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt

A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts at the Nevada Museum of Art – Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt

gees bend quiltWhen you think of quilts you may not think of amazing works of art. However, the Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts at the Nevada Museum of Art will definitely change your perception. The women of Gee’s Bend Alabama have been quilting as a way to keep their homes free from drafts and family members warm since the 1800s.

These talented quilters used old scraps of fabric from work clothes or pillows for example and transformed them into amazing quilts that have been heralded by the New York Times as pieces of Modern Art. The vibrant colors and varied textures make these quilts visually appealing and simply beautiful.

Walking through the exhibit evoked feelings of inspiration, perseverance and awe. To think that many of these women have overcome insurmountable challenges having no idea what ‘art’ is, but were creating magnificent works of art based on their intuition is simply astounding.

When I originally thought about going to see this exhibit, I was not too interested. After all, it’s a quilt. I can say that my opinion was drastically changed after seeing these pieces of art. If you are planning a trip to Reno and are looking for something unexpected that will open your mind and touch your heart, make time to visit A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts at the Nevada Museum of Art. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. You may even become inspired to learn to quilt!

Now at the Nevada Museum of Art thru April 11, 2010

MP3’s about the Gee’s Bend Quilters from other Museums
1 Linda Day Clark_ Gee’s Bend
2 Gee’s Bend – Revil Mosely
3 Gee’s Bend – Sarah Benning
4 Gee’s Bend – Mary L Bennett
5 Gee’s Bend – Ruth Kennedy
6 Gee’s Bend – I Found
7 Gee’s Bend – Nettie Young
8 Gees Bend Quilters

Nevada Museum of Art features artist Johanson

museum johansonJoin artist Patricia Johanson as she leads guests through an intimate discussion of her Petaluma Wetlands Park project, while viewing the numerous drawings and designs on display in the CA+E LAB. Balancing beautiful design with ecological sensitivity, Johanson’s work is considered one of the most dynamic and functional landscape architecture projects in recent years.

Using constructed and natural wetlands Johanson created a multi-purpose public landscape providing three miles of recreational use, educational programs and nature study alongside a facility that simultaneously processes human sewage, while also generating crops and creating wildlife habitats. Art, ecology, landscaping and functional infrastructure meet in this collaborative project.

This exhibition is presented as part of the Art + Environment series, an initiative of the Nevada Museum of Art that brings together community, artists and scholars to explore the interaction between people and their environments.

Art Bites give attendees the opportunity to experience an informal and intimate introduction to works in the galleries over a short half-hour dialogue. Cost: $5 / $4 Museum members. The Art Bite series is supported in part by the Gabelli Foundation.

- From the Nevada Museum of Art

Rembrandt, Raphael featured in Nevada Museum of Art exhibits

REMBRANDT Adam and Eve med100The Nevada Museum of Art, located in downtown Reno, is going big this season with two great exhibits featuring the work of Rembrandt and Raphael. Mark your calendars.

Rembrandt: The Embrace of Darkness and Light

November 7 – January 17, 2010

Visit the Museum this holiday season and explore the life and legacy of the legendary Dutch etcher and painter through this exhibit featuring 130 of his most celebrated prints. The exhibition traces the artist’s entire career as a printmaker from the drama and technical genius of his early productions to the quiet mystery and poetry of his final works. More information online.

La_donna_velata_v2 cropped100Raphael: The Woman with the Veil

January 9 – March 21, 2010

A stunning example of the High Renaissance, Raphael’s masterpiece painting The Woman with the Veil (La Velata in Italian) comes to Reno as part of an exclusive three city only U.S. tour. Presented by Reno’s ArteITALIA, the piece depicts the artist’s lover with incredible elegance and detail and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Reno-Tahoe visitors and residents alike. More information online.

View a complete list of upcoming exhibitions online.