by Alexis O'Brien
Posted In: Visual Art
at 11:19 AM | Permalink
If you’ve been to the Cincinnati Art Museum recently, and
specifically since March 22, you’ve probably found yourself lingering among
portraits in a corner of the second floor. (Up the grand staircase and in Room
212, the space now designated as the museum’s photography gallery.)
And it might’ve been Jean Renoir’s doing. The filmmaker’s
honest, sideways smirk that’s good at whispering you in to laugh at life at or
For me, he was the one whose 77-year-old face, through the
gap of a narrow doorway, led me in to look upon his ruthlessness magnified, given
new life by Richard Avedon and brought to light by Brian Sholis, the museum’s
new curator of photography.
“It wasn’t until the 1970s when museums started taking
photography seriously,” Sholis says. “The art world stopped writing it off as
so mechanical and lacking real talent, so museums like this one began acquiring
a lot of it.”
Which explains the 4,000-field, photographical rundown Sholis
was sent before moving from New York to Cincinnati to take his curatorial
position in 2013. The database was a list of every museum-owned piece of
photography, and while studying it, Sholis noticed a pattern: two
recognizable names in one row, repeated. An artist by an artist. Portraits of the Artist. You see where
this is going.
“For people who don’t know much about the history of
photography, they’re given another chance to connect here, and I wanted my
first exhibition to be as welcoming as possible,” Sholis says. “Here, there’s
twice the chance of hitting upon someone a visitor could recognize.”
Out of four-dozen artists-by-artists photographs, Sholis narrowed
his exhibition selection to 14 of them, presenting Frida Kahlo by Bernard
Silberstein, Picasso (with his son Claude) by Robert Capa and Miles Davis by
Lee Friedlander, among others.
The dancer in me was especially drawn to modern mover Merce
Cunningham by Barbara Morgan, who took Cunningham’s photo like he crafted his
dances — with good faith in chance.
She shot the double-exposure by retrogressing her film after
an initial shot and snapping Cunningham again in another position, not
realizing the two bodies as one image until they’d been developed, much like
Cunningham frequently rolled a die to dictate his movements and their
And while, like the individual pieces themselves, the idea
of the exhibition is stimulating and timely (I don’t need to tell anyone about
the portrait-in-the-form-of-iPhone-selfie phenomenon), the placement of the
pieces is also noteworthy, and very thoroughly Sholis-thought-through.
The Mexican artist portraits are grouped together alongside
a couple of painted face performers; partners in work and life, John Cage and
Merce Cunningham share an intimate space on a portion of the gallery’s west
wall; and Miles Davis is situated alone and dominantly, glaring over onlookers
while avoiding awkward eye contact with Renoir (after being moved when Sholis
saw the staring contest).
“These are more than just casual snapshots even though they
look that way,” Sholis says. “These are kind of dialogues between the artists
themselves and their creators, the photographers.”
And, of course, you.
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Art Museums, like any other civic institution, participate in lots of special “days” and other catchy events to get visitors. But Slow Art Day, which occurred April
12, was such a good idea — at least at Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM),
where I participated — that it should be instituted on a regular basis.
by Jac Kern
Posted In: Events
at 10:47 AM | Permalink
The Cincinnati Art Museum’s monthly Art After Dark series is a really
cool way to experience the historic art institution. Each final Friday, the CAM
opens its doors after hours for a themed night of gallery tours, live
performances and a cash bar with happy hour drinks and appetizers. Friday’s Art
After Dark: Rococo Vibrations includes tour of Genius and Grace: François Boucher and the Generation of 1700
(members-only at 5:30 p.m., public tours at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.) and the
Neo-Soul stylings of Tracy Walker from 6-8 p.m. The free event runs 5-9 p.m.;
parking is $4.
Oyster Festival kicks off Friday. This 28th annual food fest features a menu of more than 40
styles of oyster dishes, including Smoked Oyster Salad, Fried Oyster Tacos,
Oyster Stuffed Jalapenos, Oysters Mardi Gras and Nantucket Oysters. Guests can
enjoy lunch, dinner and happy hour specials and pay to play various games for
prizes, with proceeds benefiting the Saint Francis Soup Kitchen in
Over-the-Rhine. Washington Platform’s Oyster Festival specials are available 11
a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday- Thursday.
Recent Grammy Award winners
Roomful of Teeth perform at the Contemporary Arts Center Friday. The vocal
group specializes in blending classical singing techniques with diverse World
music styles for a completely unique sound — one of their songs is in a made-up
language! The concert, which begins at 8 p.m., is just the latest offering from
the CAC’s solid performance series. Tickets are $14, $8 for members. Read our
story on Roomful of Teeth here.
This weekend is your last
chance to check out Krohn Conservatory’s spring show, Avant Garden. The show features exotic flowers and shrubs with
recycled materials in the landscape. Avant
Garden closes Sunday along with the Conservatory’s spring plant sale. The
anticipated annual butterfly show — this year it's Pura Vida: The Butterflies of Costa Rica — opens April 12.
Day in Cincinnati is not only a city holiday, but a rite of passage for locals.
It marks the first game of the Reds’ season (baseball’s first professional
team), the unofficial start of spring and the return of one of the best parades
of the year, the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade — now in its 95th year!
Opening Day may not be until Monday, but Covington gallery BLDG is getting a
jump on festivities beginning Friday.
199C: Cincinnati’s Opening Day
is an exhibit of baseball-, Cincinnati- and Opening Day-themed art from more
than 40 artists from around the neighborhood and world. The exhibit opening
starts at 4 p.m. Friday with music from Automagik, food trucks, a live art
installation, retro video game competitions and a pop-up Wiffle ball game on
Pike Street. Find more info here.
Opening Day celebrations
run the gamut from sports-related fun to art, bar events and food. Check out a
roundup of Monday’s happenings here.
Be sure to read this week’s
Best of Cincinnati issue for reader and staff picks on the city’s best
restaurants, businesses, events and more.
For more art openings, theater shows, parties and other stuff to do
this weekend, check out our To Do picks and
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Two years ago, when Todd Pavlisko was in the process of creating his installation Crown by having a sharpshooter fire bullets past the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Icons of the Permanent Collection exhibit into a brass cube, there were questions to raise.
Todd Pavlisko's 'Crown' presents a historical art journey through time and space
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 5, 2014
When Todd Pavlisko speaks about Crown,
his solo exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum, it is clear that this
project is about the plasticity of time.
by German Lopez
Council backs parking plan, strong mayor gains support, museum keeps Dr. Seuss cartoons
City Council yesterday expressed support for a barebones
parking plan that would upgrade all meters to accept credit card
payments and increase enforcement around the city, which should boost
annual revenues. The plan does not increase rates or hours at meters, as
Mayor John Cranley originally called for. It also doesn’t allow people
to pay for parking meters through smartphones. The plan ultimately means
death for the parking privatization plan, which faced widespread
criticism after the previous city administration and council passed it
as a means to jumpstart new investments and help fix the city’s
operating budget and pension system.Councilman Christopher Smitherman plans to pursue changes
to the city’s political structure to give more power to the mayor and
less to the city manager. Smitherman says the current system is broken
because it doesn’t clearly define the role of the mayor. Under
Smitherman’s system, the mayor would run the city and hire department
heads; the city manager, who currently runs the city and handles hiring,
would primarily preside over budget issues; and City Council would pass
legislation and act as a check to the mayor. Smitherman aims to put the
plan to voters this November.Commentary: “WCPO’s Sloppy Streetcar Reporting Misses Real Concerns.”The Cincinnati Art Museum maintains five political
cartoons from the famed Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel), but none are
currently on public display. The cartoons call back to the history before
World War II, when most of the world played ignorant to the horrors of
the Holocaust and Americans had yet to enter the war. Dr. Seuss loathed the villains on the world stage, and his cartoons promoted a
message of interventionism that would eventually lead him to join the
Army to help in the fight against the Axis powers. When he returned home, he would
write the famous stories and books he’s now so well known for.Mayor Cranley and some council members appear reluctant to
accept a routine grant application that would allow the Cincinnati Health
Department to open two more clinics because of the potential effect the
clinics could have on the city’s budget. Cranley and other council
members also seem concerned that the Health Department played a role in
the recent closing of Neighborhood Health Care, which shut down four
clinics and three school-based programs after it lost federal funding.Ohio legislators approved a bill that forces absentee
voters to submit more information and reduces the amount of time
provisional voters have to confirm their identities from 10 days to one
week. For Democrats, the bill adds to previous concerns that Republicans
are attempting to suppress voters. The bill now goes to Gov. John
Kasich, a Republican who’s expected to sign the measure into law.The Ohio legislature continues wrangling over how to give schools more snow days.More than 175,000 claims have been filed over winter damage, potentially making this winter one of the costliest in decades.Robot suits could make mixed martial arts blood-free.Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy • News: @CityBeat_News • Music: @CityBeatMusic • German Lopez: @germanrlopezGot any news tips? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 26, 2014
We know that post-World War II Greenwich
Village was a center for progressive Modernist arts in the U.S. —
Abstract Expressionist painting, the Beats, method actors and Folk
musicians like Bob Dylan.
Cincinnati Art Museum maintains five Dr. Seuss editorial cartoons taking aim at villains on the world stage
1 Comment · Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The Seuss is not loose at the Cincinnati
Art Museum, which has a stash of the good doctor’s political cartoons
filed away and unavailable for public viewing in its archives.
1 Comment · Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Overall, I really enjoyed the Cincinnati
Art Museum under Aaron Betsky, the director who announced his
resignation Jan. 2 and will stay until a replacement is found. But there
were a couple weaknesses that ought to be addressed by a successor,
with the support of the trustees.
by Jac Kern
The Cincinnati Art Museum announced today that Aaron Betsky will be stepping down as director of the museum. Betsky, who has worked as director at CAM for seven years, will leave the position once his successor is determined.From the press release:
"The museum now has the programming and staff in place, and the financial
stability that will allow me to openly pursue my next position," noted Mr.
Betsky. "I feel that I have accomplished the goals that I and the Board
had envisioned when I first arrived and would like to explore opportunities
that may include or combine my academic interests and institutional
experience."The CAM Board of Trustees is assembling a search committee to find a successor. Betsky will assist in this decision.
"Aaron has effectively led the Cincinnati Art Museum through one of
the most challenging periods in our history and did so while adding new
facilities, growing our program, attracting record audiences, and raising money
both for capital projects and our endowment," said Dave Dougherty,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees. "He brought a vision, energy and
acumen that will continue to serve the museum into the future."
Go here to read CityBeat's recent interview with Betsky, wherein the the director discusses changes and challenges at CAM.