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Smith College Museum of Art, Exhibits

October 4 - November 6

The Light of The Whole Universe: Through December 31, 2019. The works in the gallery are largely from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The period was defined by the civil rights and feminist movements in the U.S. Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment: Through January 06, 2019. What did it mean—legally, socially, scientifically—to be a woman in France in this time? No Man’s Land: Prints from the Front Lines of WWI: Through February 17, 2019. Features some fifty works on paper made by German, American, English, Scottish, and French artists.

The Light of The Whole Universe

Through December 31, 2019. The works in the gallery are largely from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The period was defined by the civil rights and feminist movements in the U.S. and by anti-colonial and independence movements around the world, including the two-decade long Vietnam War.

While artists like Charles White and Wadsworth Jarrell saw figuration as a way to advance political and social causes, others, such as Alma Thomas, Sam Gilliam, Joan Mitchell, Ibrahim El-Salahi, and James Suzuki, embraced abstraction. Whether they made figurative or abstract art, these artists worked both in and against modern art at a time when positions of power and influence were predominantly occupied by white, straight, and Euro-American men.

New materials developed during World War II (1939–45) also transformed art in these decades. For example, Philadelphia’s Rohm and Haas (now The Dow Chemical Company) applied lessons gleaned from one of its wartime acrylic products—Plexiglas—to develop acrylic paint. The invention of this highly saturated, quick drying, plastic-based paint, employed by Alma Thomas, Helen Frankenthaler, and Sam Gilliam, radically changed the way artists worked once it became commercially available in the 1950s.

The use of translucent plastics by Fred Eversley, Larry Bell, and Louise Nevelson in addition to experiments with the shape and finish of metals by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Donald Judd, and John Chamberlain show just some of the ways artists exploited the creative potential of these new materials.

Artists: Mary Bauermeister, Larry Bell, John Chamberlain, Chryssa, Fred Eversley, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Gilliam, Grace Hartigan, Wadsworth Jarrell, Donald Judd, Mishima Kimiyo, Joan Mitchell, Elizabeth Murray, Louise Nevelson, Irene Rice Pereira, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Alma Thomas and Charles White.

Image credit: Alma Thomas, American, 1891–1978. Morning in the Bowl of Night, 1973. Acrylic on canvas. Purchased with the Hillyer-Mather-Tryon Fund, the Madeleine H. Russell, class of 1937, Fund, the Kathleen Compton Sherrerd, class of 1954, Acquisition Fund for American Art and the Dorothy C. Miller, class of 1925, Fund. Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment: French Art from the Horvitz Collection

Through January 06, 2019

This exhibition explores “The Woman Question” (La Querelle des Femmes) that was at the heart of some of the most pressing cultural, philosophical, political, and social debates of the 18th-century French Enlightenment. What did it mean—legally, socially, scientifically—to be a woman in France in this time?
Becoming a Woman includes more than 100 works of art from The Horvitz Collection, mostly drawings but also pastels, paintings, and sculpture created by many of the most prominent French artists of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Image credit: Pierre Allais (c.1700–1782 Paris). Seated Lady in a Blue Dress, 1751. Oil on canvas. 99 x 79 cm.

No Man’s Land: Prints from the Front Lines of WWI

Through February 17, 2019

Drawn primarily from a generous donation of prints by Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang, No Man’s Land: Prints from the Front Lines of WWI features some fifty works on paper made by German, American, English, Scottish, and French artists. This installation commemorates the centennial of the end of the War, and offers insight into the changing perceptions of artists’ wartime experience.

Image: Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, British 1889-1946. That Cursed Wood. 1918. Drypoint printed in black on medium weight, moderately textured, cream colored paper. The Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang Collection. SC 2016:62-5

Details

Start:
October 4
End:
November 6

Venue

Smith College Museum of Art
20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace
Northampton, MA 01063
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Phone:
(413) 584-2760
Website:
www.smith.edu/artmuseum