April 28, 2010

The Count Down Begins

We have officially entered the stress zone for the Against the Grain exhibition. (In reality, I hit it over a month ago with finishing the catalog entries.)

The art is beginning to arrive, the catalog is at the printers, the invitations have been mailed, and the gallery walls are being painted. Next steps: wall labels, condition reports, layout of the exhibition, and installation.

I cannot believe the opening is almost here. This has been a fantastic project to work on, and I have met so many new people in the process of gathering art for the exhibition. I have also reconnected with old friends.

Stay tuned for updates on the installation...

December 15, 2009

New York City in December

I just returned from a visit to New York City to look at work at a number of galleries and with a few private collectors. I should have the list of works finalized by the end of the month. I did get to see some very nice Burchfields, Carl Holtys, and even a great William Schwartz.

While traveling to NYC is never cheap, going in December probably was not the best time for deals. However, I managed to get a nice hotel in Midtown East which happened to be near all of the galleries I needed to visit. And, hey, who can really complain about NYC around the holidays? Not me.

September 22, 2009

Why Don't People Return Your Calls and E-mails?

Organizing an exhibition is never easy.There are so many details to take care of: finding the artwork, asking for the loans, getting venues to sign on...

What makes it worse is when people do not respond to your inquiries.

But, the show is coming together, and the paintings we have lined up so far are amazing. I am still on the hunt for works by Ivan Albright, Archibald Motley, Jr. , and Ramon Shiva.

August 25, 2009

Still Plugging Away

While the traveling slowed down throughout July, the research kept moving right along. We are slowly narrowing down the list of artists for inclusion in the exhibition, and we are still trying to locate works.

Last week Jill and I made a trek to Columbus, Ohio to visit the Keny Galleries and the Columbus Museum of Art. Both visits were very productive with great conversations, good ideas, and awesome works to consider. As always, the Keny Gallery and the Columbus Museum were great to work with.

We then traveled to the Butler Museum of American Art in Youngstown to view their collection. It was Jill's first visit, so we also made time to look at the permanent collection and special exhibitions.

Next up...Michigan? Who knows. You'll have to wait and see.

June 30, 2009

Chicago Bound

On June 18, Jill and I headed for Chicago to attend a two day symposium presented by the Terra Foundation for American Art, followed by visits and research for the modernism exhibition. It was a whirlwind couple of days, but definitely well worth it. Even if things had not gone well, the trip would still have been great - think Chicago and great food, awesome shopping, and amazing architecture.

Friday was spent in downtown Chicago where we attended the first day of the symposium: What Is Modern about American Art, 1900-1930?. The sessions were held at the Chicago Cultural Center. In the evening we attended the key-note session by by Michael Kammen at the Art Institute of Chicago. The various presentations and discussions were helpful for framing some of the debate we want to tackle in our exhibition.

Saturday morning we arrived at the Burnham Hotel to catch the bus to the Milwaukee Art Museum for the second day of the symposium. The day included additional presentations, a tour of the exhibitions The Eight and American Modernisms and Art and Design 1900, and gallery talks by various authors of the accompanying exhibition catalog.

The symposium addressed the question of American modernism throughout the two days. The format of the symposium consisted of a series of brief "keyword" talks, panel discussions, and exhibition gallery talks that looked at the many manifestations of American modernism in progressive painting and design between 1900 and the early 1930s. It was a great opportunity to meet up with old friends and colleagues and make new ones.

Sunday evening, Jill and I took part in the Devil in the White City boat tour organized by the Chicago History Museum. For those of you who have read the book, we even met H.H. Holmes, the strange serial killer from the Chicago World's Fair. Since the exhibition catalog will touch on the importance of the World's Fair to artists from that era, it was an interesting journey back into time to experience what the Fair would have been like.

On Monday we visited the Chicago History Museum and the Richard Norton Gallery. The Chicago History Museum has a few displays that touch on the World's Fair of 1893, including a wonderful exhibition on Mrs. Potter Palmer, the woman in charge of the Women's Building for the Fair.

On Tuesday, we spend the morning and early part of the afternoon at the Newberry Library doing research. Afterwards we took a long and very hot cab ride to the airport (i.e. the air conditioning didn't work and we were in a van that didn't have a lot of windows that opened).

June 17, 2009

Gehry and Minneapolis

Yesterday Jill and I went to the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota. We are in Minneapolis for The Big Read orientation, and managed to get some work on the modernism exhibit done as well.

The Weisman Art Museum is amazing. It is located in a building designed by architect Frank Gehry on the banks of the Mississippi River. So of course, the building is a work of art itself. Once inside, you see a collection of modern and contemporary art housed in some breathtaking gallery spaces.

We met briefly with Diane, who took time out of her busy schedule of installing two exhibitions. While the meeting was short, it was one of the more productive ones we have had yet. Let's just say, discovered a new artist and have a lead on a possible venue to host the exhibition.

Museum Triple Play

Between the morning of Wednesday, June 10 and Thursday, June 11, Jill and I visited three museums and had one very productive lunch meeting.

The morning of the 10th started with a visit to the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University. We had a 9:00 meeting scheduled with Gloria to look at the works in the collection. The Brauer is a hour drive from South Bend where we were staying. So after dragging ourselves out of bed, grabbing breakfast and coffee for the drive, we headed to Valparaiso and arrived 5 minutes after 9:00. Unfortunately, I forgot that the very northwestern section of Indiana follows Central time so we actually were an hour early. Not too big of a deal, except we had a meeting scheduled for 11:45 back in South Bend.

So, Jill and I went to the nearest Starbuck's to get in a bit more research before our "9:00" meeting. Gloria was great and managed to get us through everything in record time. As always, the Brauer is a wonderful institution to work with.

Next stop was K's where we met with Dean, Michael and Charlie to discuss the exhibition, brainstorm ideas, and determine where to go to view more works. (We actually beat everyone there.) In case none of you have been to South Bend, K's is a hot dog joint that is not fancy as far as atmosphere, but has great food and awesome chocolate chip cookies. But I digress...the conversation was so intense that Jill decided to sit there and absorb all the information. After two hours, I had four pages of notes, and many more possibilities.

Our last visit Tuesday was at the South Bend Museum of Art. We met with Kim and again looked at possible works for inclusion in the exhibit. Unfortunately, there were not too many works by artists on our list, but as usual, Kim was very helpful and gracious.

On Wednesday morning we had an appointment with Ann and Robert at the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame. All I can say is that the Higgins paintings were phenomenal. It was an enjoyable morning catching up with everyone and looking through the collections.