Current and Upcoming Exhibitions at Toledo Museum of Art

Eye On Art  |  09/30/2020 10:00 am

Current and upcoming exhibitions at Toledo Museum of Art

Fall 2020-Summer 2021


Yayoi Kusama: Fireflies on the Water
Through Jan. 3, 2021
Over the past several years the Toledo Museum of Art has cultivated an exhibition program that strives to embody a celebration of singular masterworks, a demonstrated commitment to global contemporary art, the promotion of diverse perspectives, and an emphasis placed on multi-sensory artist projects and installations. All of these elements are brought together in Toledo Museum of Art’s special presentation of Yayoi Kusama’s site-specific installation, Fireflies on the Water, made possible through a generous loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Yayoi Kusama’s artistic practice spans seven decades, and her paintings, sculpture and installations have left an indelible mark on both the art world and 20th and 21st century popular culture at large. The unbounded creativity and complexity of Kusama’s own psyche has exerted a strong influence on the artist and her practice throughout her life. Fireflies on the Water speaks to Kusama’s ongoing investigation into the relationship between ourselves, the space that we occupy and the ungraspable concept of infinity. Visitors will be immersed in this installation that utilizes lights and mirrors to transport viewers to a space that seems endlessly expansive. Toledo Museum of Art’s presentation of Fireflies on the Water allows our audiences the opportunity to experience Kusama’s unique and singular vision first-hand and affords them the chance to partake in a work that stands as an icon of contemporary visual art, created by one of the most significant artists of our time.

Tickets are $5 for nonmembers, and members receive a fixed number of free tickets based on membership level. A comprehensive Q&A about the installation is available on the Museum’s website at toledomuseum.org/Kusama. Yayoi Kusama: Fireflies on the Water is presented by Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP and the Ohio Arts Council.

PICTURE ID: Contemporary African American Works on Paper

Through Jan. 17, 2021
The works of art featured in PICTURE ID: Contemporary African American Works on Paper by Glenn Ligon, Howardena Pindell, Adrian Piper, Martin Puryear, John Rozelle, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems and Fred Wilson were created in response to artistic developments and cultural debates prevalent throughout the late 1980s and 1990s in the United States.

Invoking the rise of multicultural activism, concerns surrounding the AIDS crisis, conservative social and economic policies, rapid gentrification, and increasing urban crime during this time, each artist utilizes a mixture of text and image to tackle cultural stereotypes and to challenge oppressive racial characterizations. In an open-ended manner they manipulate fragmented or borrowed texts, words and phrases related to race, combining them with photographic or invented imagery to consider the meaning and interpretation of individual identity through the overlapping perspectives of gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality.

PICTURE ID: Contemporary African American Works on Paper is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Free admission.

The Bauhaus Experiment: Art & Design from the Toledo Museum of Art

Through Feb. 17, 2021
Of world renown, the Bauhaus (“House of Building”), is widely regarded as the most influential German art, design and architecture school of the 20th century. In its brief but remarkable existence from its founding in 1919 to its forced closure by the Nazi regime in 1933, the Bauhaus re-imagined the role of art and design in modern and contemporary society and continues to occupy a mythic position in Modernist art and architecture. Its progressive program of study centered on the unity between crafts, fine arts and architecture
 – and later, technology – to revitalize daily life and reform art education.

The Bauhaus Experiment: Art & Design from the Toledo Museum of Art brings together 33 fine and applied art objects – paintings, glassware, graphics and furniture – to examine the Bauhaus’s founding principles and methods. Alongside works by celebrated Bauhaus artists, including Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Lázló Moholy-Nagy, this exhibition focuses on the institution’s early dedication to spiritual expression through a display of German Expressionist woodcut prints by Ernst L. Kirchner and Franz Marc, among others. It also considers the contributions of William Morris’s English arts and crafts movement and various earlier applied art movements that shaped the Bauhaus’s innovative ideas about the relationship between art, society and technology.

The Bauhaus Experiment: Art & Design from the Toledo Museum of Art is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Free admission.

The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art
Oct. 3, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021
Judith Schaechter (born 1961) has explored and pushed the limits of the stained-glass medium for more than three decades with her striking stained-glass panels that fuse the medieval with the boldly contemporary. Her singular, subversive, and masterful approach has altered the landscape of contemporary American art. In this first survey and major scholarly assessment of this groundbreaking artist’s 37-year career, The Path to Paradise provides an in-depth scholarly assessment of the artist’s critical contributions to the history and intersection of contemporary art, stained glass and craft through 45 glass panels and a selection of related drawings and process materials.

Schaechter’s genius lies in her unorthodox application of the centuries-old craft tradition of stained glass, most often associated with the glowing saints and stories of Christianity. With a sharp wit and unyielding focus, Schaechter redefines the medium by sandblasting, filing, engraving and painting her unruly modern women onto multiple layers of colorful flash glass. She embraces the inherent contradictions of her work, gleefully melding the opposing currents of high and low, beauty and gore, sacred and profane, and transcendence and defeat. Dark narratives feature her favorite subjects, “sex and death, with romance and violence the obvious runners up.”

The exhibition is organized by the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council, TMA Ambassadors, Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation. Free admission.

Luminous Visions: Phillip K. Smith III and Light Across the Collection

Oct. 17, 2020-April 4, 2021
California-based artist Phillip K. Smith III creates light-based installations that explore the relationships between light, color, space and form. His work Flat Torus 4, recently acquired by the Toledo Museum of Art, is one of a series of nine torus-shaped works in which the artist creates a digital display of colored light (a torus is a three-dimensional geometrical form shaped somewhat like a donut). Using computer software and LED lights on a translucent acrylic support, Smith choreographs the precise color, brightness and pace of change seen within the work. The artist describes these color-shifting installations as highly specific three-dimensional canvases that he “paints” with light over time. The effect is a mesmerizing display of gradually transforming and undulating rings of colored light.

To mark the significant acquisition of Flat Torus 4, this exhibition considers the work alongside objects from the Toledo Museum of Art’s collection that span time, culture and media and explore the theme of light from a wide range of perspectives. These perspectives include the importance of light in religious or spiritual practices; studies of optics and color theory; applications of translucent and reflective materials; studies of light at different times of day; “Luminist” approaches to light in American landscape painting; the absence of light; and photographic explorations of light and shadow.

Luminous Visions: Phillip K. Smith III and Light Across the Collection is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Free admission.

Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change
Nov. 21, 2020-Feb. 14, 2021
Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change brings historical and contemporary works together in critical dialogue to consider how quilts have been used to voice opinions, raise awareness and enact social reform in the U.S. from the mid-19th century to the present. Disrupting our expectations of quilts as objects that provide warmth and comfort, this exhibition explores the complicated and often overlooked stories quilts tell about the American experience, offering new perspectives on themes including military action and protest, civil rights, gender equality, queer aesthetics, and relationships with land and the environment. While addressing these powerful themes, Radical Tradition highlights how the strategies and materials of quiltmaking over nearly two centuries have called into question long-established hierarchies, both in the art world and in society at large. Incorporating a wide range of media
 – from cotton and wool to salvaged wood, paint and celluloid film – the objects on view challenge traditional definitions of what a quilt is and the form it can take.

Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change is supported in part by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica; Checker Distributors; and the Ohio Arts Council. Admission is free for Museum members and $12 for nonmembers. Discounts for military, college students, and seniors ($10); youth ages 5–17 ($7); and children four and younger (free) are available.
 

Telling Stories: Resilience and Struggle in Contemporary Narrative Drawing
Nov. 21, 2020-Feb. 14, 2021
The exhibition Telling Stories: Resilience and Struggle in Contemporary Narrative Drawing presents the works of Amy Cutler, Robyn O’Neil and Annie Pootoogook to showcase the extraordinary vitality of contemporary drawing as an expressive medium. Utilizing graphite and paper, these three internationally recognized artists introduce new approaches to mark-making and rendering space to chronicle the complexities of human relationships and their struggles within the natural environment. Though their styles differ, each artist addresses the theme of human resilience intertwined with pressing societal and ecological concerns in their imaginative, open-ended narratives.

Telling Stories: Resilience and Struggle in Contemporary Narrative Drawing is sponsored in part by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac, and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Free admission.

Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints and Drawings
Feb. 6-May 2, 2021
Marking the artist’s 100th birthday, Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints and Drawings celebrates the breadth of Thiebaud’s accomplishments and career. Long affiliated with Pop art, the exhibition shows the expansive depth of his full body of work.

Thiebaud's bright palette, iconic consumerist imagery and graphic presentation were well suited to the Pop art moment that was starting to capture the nation's attention in the 1960s, and Thiebaud remains best known for his paintings of pies, cakes and other sugary treats. His style and use of paint seemed both remarkably lifelike and tantalizingly delicious.

In addition to painting, Thiebaud’s work spans drawings, watercolors and prints. He also beautifully renders people in figure studies and fully realized individuals on canvas, and over time, landscapes have appeared with increasing frequency in the artist's paintings and works on paper.

Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints and Drawings is organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California. The exhibition is sponsored locally in part by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Admission is free for Museum members and $12 for nonmembers. Discounts for military, college students, and seniors ($10); youth ages 5–17 ($7); and children four and younger (free) are available.

Rare and Wondrous: Birds in Art and Culture 1620–1820
April 24-July 25, 2021
Corresponding with an age of exploration, colonialism, and the rise of the great European trading companies
 – including the West African slave trade – intense interest in natural history and attempts to classify and categorize it grew as specimens of plants, insects, shells, mammals and birds were collected from around the world and brought back to Europe. Ornithology, the study of birds and their classification, made especially great strides in the 1700s with many lavishly illustrated studies of birds being published during the century. But naturalists were not the only ones fascinated by these “exotic” birds. Monarchs and aristocrats collected them in cabinets of curiosities and menageries, artists painted them, moralizers found symbolic meaning in them and women wore their feathers as accessories. This exhibition highlights images of exotic birds in European art primarily from the 17th and 18th centuries that show how they became the objects of scientific inquiry, of popular interest, of status, and even of household decoration and personal adornment. 

The exhibition will showcase the Museum’s recent acquisition of the important six-volume Ornithologie written by Mathurin-Jacques Brisson and illustrated by François-Nicolas Martinet, published 1760. It will also feature paintings, prints and decorative arts from TMA’s collection, as well as select loans of significant prints and illustrated books from the Yale Center for British Art, the University of Michigan Museums Library and Special Collections, and the Bowling Green State University Libraries Center for Archival Collections.

Rare and Wondrous: Birds in Art and Culture 1620–1820 is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Free admission.

Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art

June 12-Sept. 5, 2021
Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art is the first museum exhibition to broadly examine the relationship between American artists and the supernatural. Featuring well-known artists together with many who have been overlooked, the exhibition is interdisciplinary, multicultural and multimedia. It includes many generations of artists active in the United States from diverse faith traditions working with a wide range of topics and approaches. From the Salem Witch Trials to the Legend of Ichabod Crane; the 1848 spirit rappings famously reported by Kate and Maggie Fox to William Mumler’s spirit photographs; and the scientific pursuit of parapsychology to innumerable personal and official government reports of U.F.O.s (unidentified flying objects), American culture is filled with tales of the supernatural and accounts of paranormal experiences. This complex and multifaceted subject has beguiled American artists for centuries, and it remains compelling today.

A broad range of artists has engaged this subject matter, which often grew out of their personal experience, religious practices and scientific pursuits. Spanning a chronology of the early 19th century through the present, Supernatural America includes approximately 160 objects. It emphasizes painting at its core, but also includes drawings, sketchbooks and journals, prints, photographs, furniture, clothing and textiles, video, and other objects (scientific instruments and mediumistic/occult paraphernalia, including Ouija boards and planchettes).

Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art is organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The exhibition is sponsored locally by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Admission is free for Museum members and $12 for nonmembers. Discounts for military, college students, and seniors ($10); youth ages 5–17 ($7); and children four and younger (free) are available.



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