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All for Show

Art museums in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Toledo and Indianapolis have exciting summer offerings

By Steven Rosen · June 1st, 2010 · Visual Art

Probably the most eagerly awaited regional art museum event this summer isn’t an indoor exhibition at all. It’s the debut (on June 20) of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Long in the works, it will become one of the largest museum art parks in the country, the only one regularly commissioning site-specific contemporary art installations.

The first eight participating artists are Atelier Van Lieshout, Kendall Buster, Alfredo Jaar, Jeppe Hein, Los Carpinteros, Tea M�kip��, Type A and Andrea Zittel. The museum has asked them to respond to the setting — a reclaimed gravel pit that now includes woodlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art, by the way, was already situated in a park setting with gardens before this project. It intends to use 100 Acres to teach about the connections between contemporary art and nature, and the art world as well as conservationists will be watching to see what develops from this major project. For more information, visit www.imamuseum.org.

Here in the Tristate, the major summer event is Cincinnati Art Museum’s upcoming retrospective of Walker Evans, Decade by Decade, which aims for nothing less than to claim him as “the most important photographic artist of the 20th Century,” according to the museum. The exhibit was organized by James Crump, the museum’s ambitious photography curator, and begins with Evans’ rarely seen 1931 photographs of Victorian houses, following him through his famous Depression Era work — chronicling the challenging American experience of the era — all the way to his final work in the 1970s.

The exhibition opens June 12 and continues through Sept. 5. Visit www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

Overall, it will be a good summer for photo buffs in Cincinnati, as downtown’s Taft Museum of Art has just opened TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art: 1845-1945. It features 116 black-and-white and sepia prints, including work by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. It’s a smaller version of a recent show at Vancouver Art Gallery, curated by Rochester’s George Eastman House International Museum of Photography. It will remain up through Aug. 8; visit www.taftmuseum.org.

Cincinnati’s other major art museum, downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center, has already opened its two new summer shows: site-related projects by American painter Pat Steir (Water & Stone) and Brazilian sculptor Ernesto Neto (Dancing Allowed). Steir’s show is on view until Aug. 22; Neto’s through Oct. 31. Visit www.contemporaryartscenter.org.

The major Ohio contemporary art show this summer is at Columbus’ Wexner Center for the Arts, still basking in recent national attention from debuting Belgian painter Luc Tuymans’ U.S. retrospective. On display now through Aug. 15 is the first retrospective of work by Mark Bradford, the L.A. artist whose abstracts made from collaged, sometimes-salvaged urban materials have earned him a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. He’s also a recipient of aWexner Center Residency Award for 2009-10 school year.

Bradford had displayed a project at Cincinnati Art Museum in 2008, and his epic “Helter Skelter I” had been on display in the rotunda  of Dayton Art Institute until recently. So people here should know him and want to see more of his vital and rewarding work. Visit www.wexarts.org.

Later in summer, on July 24, Dayton Art Institute opens Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, featuring 41 paintings and sculptures from artists who came of age after World War II. Among those featured — some of whom still are very active today — will be Sam Francis, Jim Dine, Robert  Motherwell, Philip Guston, Franz Kline and Josef Albers. The show continues through  Oct. 10. Dayton’s summer exploration of American art also includes Prints from the Great Depression: The Richard and Linda Scott Collection, which just opened and will remain on view through Sept. 26. It features some 40 prints from that era. Visit www.daytonartinstitute.org.

While it’s a bit of a drive, the Toledo Art Museum figures to have a big regional crowd-pleaser in The Psychedelic 60s: Posters from the Rock Era, featuring 150 examples of the colorful, mind-blowing concert posters on loan from Memphis collector Houston Freeburg. Its dates are June 11-Sept. 12, with a variety of ancillary activities planned. Visit www.toledomuseum.org. �




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