Who says we can’t have a tan and culture too?
Contrary to popular opinion, art offerings in Palm Beach County don’t end with the summer. They actually go hand in hand. As temperatures soar, museums and galleries open their doors to welcome locals and tourists and any bikini body escaping from the sun. If the upcoming shows – featuring tapestries, paintings, photography and video – are any indication, there will not be shortage of nice views, nature and thrills. This season we can have it all: Art and sunburn, too.
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach: As the museum enters the final stretch of its massive expansion project, take advantage of the last months of free admission before that February 2019 grand opening.
You know those horror movies where bed sheets begin moving because some ghost is hiding under them? Something similar happens in two videos from 2004 by American artist Chris Doyle. In both, white bed linens come live: they fold, twist, unfold, expand, contract almost as if echoing the movements of the guests who have come and gone. They put up quite a show for the camera, which films them in an accelerated mode and captures all the sensorial nuances of the animation. Doyle’s Hotel Bernini I and Hotel Bernini II are two of the three videos that make up the Norton’s Unexpected Narratives: Videos by Chris Doyle and Muntean/Rosenblum (May 10-July 15).
The third video, from 2005, is by artist duo Muntean/Rosenblum. They live and work in collaboration in London and Vienna. Disco draws inspiration from Théodore Gericault’s dramatic painting The Raft of the Medusa, which depicts the rescue mission of shipwrecked sailors who drifted away on the open sea for 13 days. In this modern tale, the “survivors” presumably danced the night away under a disco ball and the viewer is treated to the aftermath: bodies pile up on the steps to the dance floor echoing Gericault’s triangular composition. A girl seen earlier cleaning up the place transforms into a holy figure and cries for the souls lost in the club.
In 1834, British photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot began to play with the idea that a fine sheet of writing paper, brushed with a solution of silver nitrate and coated with a solution of salt, darkened in the sun but applying a second coating of salt prevented it from darkening or fading further. He employed this technique in his botanical works, which consisted of pressed specimens on sensitized paper covered by a sheet of glass and exposed to the sun. Naturally, the area covered by the plant remained white while the rest of the paper darkened. He called these “photogenic drawings.” William Henry Fox Talbot and the Birth of Photography (May 17 –July 15) focuses on a recent acquisition of an early photogenic drawing Talbot made of a piece of lace sometime before 1845.
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton: The Jacquard weaving process first seen at an industrial exhibition in Paris in 1801 is making a comeback, at least to the Boca Raton Museum. Nomadic Murals: Contemporary Tapestries and Carpets (opened April 24; running through Oct. 21) features tapestries by contemporary artists such as Alex Katz, Kiki Smith, and Nancy Spero and from international studios. The pieces were conceived as tapestries and are not reproductions of existing paintings or photographs. Some are the result of a collaboration with artisans at Magnolia Editions in Oakland, Calif., using the punch-cards technique discovered by Joseph Marie Charles Jacquard that went on to revolutionize the textile and computer industries.
We have heard of Diane Arbus, but what about her teacher? Lisette Model: Photographs from the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada showcases the works of the influential Vienna-born photographer who discovered the medium in Paris after befriending Rogi André, André Kertész’s wife. Once in New York City, Model’s photographs triumphed and featured regularly in Harper’s Bazaar, Cue, and PM Weekly. She is known for being a keen and close observer of people, capturing everyday life and common subjects with stark frankness and applying avant-garde techniques such as low-angles, sense of movement, window reflections, and natural photomontages. According to Allan Arbus, Arbus’ ex-husband, “three sessions [with Model] and Diane was a photographer.” Lisette Model runs through Oct.21.
Works by a lesser known abstract expressionist are currently on view through July 29. This isn’t a Pollock, de Kooning or Rothko show. Nick Carone: Shadow Dance feeds on the artist’s recent revival with paintings and works on paper, as well as the rarely exhibited sculptural heads he carved from fieldstone found on his property in Italy. Carone was a part of the Abstract Expressionist movement that drew heavily from Surrealism, poetry, and Jungian psychology. In 1941, he won the Prix de Rome and in 1949 a Fulbright Fellowship. He returned to New York City in time to be featured in the famous Ninth Street Show in May 1951.
He remained abstraction’s loyal spokesperson until his death in 2010. “Don’t be fooled by technique or paint quality,” Carone said in a 2006 interview. “F— it! It’s the imagery that goes on. It’s metaphoric and it’s poetry in a jazz sense.” His work is now in the collections of museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens: Laughter is not the first thing we associate with the country of Japan, but it is its humor precisely that is featured May 19 to August 10. Unexpected Smiles: Seven Types of Humor in Japanese Paintings comprises 48 pieces highlighting seven categories of humor in high demand during the Edo period (1600-1868). The paintings, by Rengetsu, Nantenbō, and Kodōjin and other famous artists from that period, take on Parody, Satire, Personification, Word-Play, Fantasy, Exaggeration, and Playfulness. Organized by the University of Richmond, the exhibition focuses on the “curative” power of humorous artistic expressions during the brutal rule of the Shogunate.
Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture (Sept. 29–January 20) sounds like a predictable show. Doesn’t it? It’s anything but. The shiny, elegant material known for giving that beautiful finishing coat to coated bowls, cups, boxes, baskets here gets redefined by 16 artists. They have produced 30 new interpretations that push tradition and size, such as Kofushiwaki Tsukasa’s Fallen Moon I, which is 13 feet long. Its large scale is made possible by the kanshitsu technique, which involves layers of linen or Japanese paper glued together onto molds. Once the linen or paper contains the desired thickness, it is peeled from the mold and painted with lacquer. The method was developed in China during the Han Dynasty and used in Japan to make statues of Buddha. Highlights also include Aoki Chie’s Body 09-1, which incorporates the lightweight material polystyrene, and Kurimoto Natsuki’s The Dual Sun, which features a car hood.
Cornell Museum, Delray Beach: Fertility, nature and flowers drive an ongoing group exhibition by 30 contemporary artists titled Flora. Highlights include an atrium installation of a larger-than-life dandelion with floating dandelion seeds, and a hanging thread garden inviting visitors to immerse themselves and walk through the garden. Flora closes Sept. 23.