Past Exhibitions

April Surgent, Ubiquitously. Sea and sky wrapped around me. The solitude here, 2017. Cameo-engraved glass, 25 x 25 x 3/4 inches. Collection of Hemanshu Shah, Traver Gallery, Seattle, Washington

Cameo Glass in Context: Charlotte Potter and April Surgent

This summer exhibition at WAM explores exquisite historic objects and compelling contemporary art that uses ancient glassmaking techniques. The exhibition continues the museum's recent focus on groundbreaking contemporary glass art. Cameo Glass in Context: Charlotte Potter and April Surgent showcases two contemporary artists who use cameo-carved glass as their medium. These artists address social networks, urban landscape, and environmental change. Their 21st-century subjects contrast with the themes of older cameo glassmakers, which include individual portraiture, decorative patterning, and romantic landscapes.

Cameo glass was first invented in ancient Rome and then virtually disappeared until its revival in European Art Nouveau and Art Deco glass in the decades around 1900. The embrace of this traditional glass technique by two young artists is unexpected and exceptional. Because of the difficulty of fusing different colors of glass, the extreme control needed to carve glass with rotating wheels, and the toxicity of etching with acid, cameo glass is rarely made today, despite the exquisite results that are possible.
Cameo Glass in Context: Charlotte Potter and April Surgent presents a wide selection of the work of the two artists along with examples of historical precedents.

Charlotte Potter concentrates on cameo portraiture, referring to a traditional use of cameo glass. She uses images of her family and friends to map her social network in the digital age. In Charlotte's Web, for example, she presents an installation of over 850 small portraits of her Facebook friends arranged according to their geographical location.

April Surgent creates technically astounding and deeply evocative photo-based city scenes and remote landscapes that explore complicated themes of social isolation and environmental change. Her recent work is informed by long residencies in remote and environmentally-challenged locations.
Cameo Glass in Context is a loan exhibition organized by the Wichita Art Museum. The project  is guest-curated by Vicki Halper, a former curator at  the Seattle Art Museum with deep expertise in craft and glass art. Halper is no stranger at WAM. She  curated the museum’s present display of the glass collection in the F. Price Cossman Gallery as well as Australian Glass Art: American Links for the Museum of Glass that WAM presented in summer 2014.

The summer exhibition is generously supported by the F. Price Cossman Trust, INTRUST BANK, Trustee. The DeVore Foundation, Shaw Family Foundation, and Sonia Greteman and  Chris Brunner are additional exhibition sponsors. All exhibitions are supported by the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and City of Wichita.

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Frederick C. Frieseke, The Yellow Tulip, about 1902. Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 24 3/4 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of William Connelly and Martha L. Walker

Americans in Paris: The French Connection from the Wichita Art Museum Collection

Paris was the capital of the art world in the 19th century. Any ambitious American artist needed to spend time in Europe. A period of residence on the continent was a simple requirement for worldly sophistication for Americans in the arts and upper-class. 19th-century American painter William Merritt Chase, reflecting the thoughts of his generation, said "My God, I'd rather go to Europe than go to Heaven!" Naturally, he meant to Paris.

The experience of Paris transformed American art. Writer Henry James astutely observed in 1887, "when today we look for 'American art,' we find it mainly in Paris. When we find it out of Paris, we at least find a great deal of Paris in it."

Painter Mary Cassatt spent her adult life in the French capital and was fully accepted into the ranks of French impressionism. Theodore Robinson settled in Giverny and developed a close relationship with the older Claude Monet. Modernist Alfred Maurer spent years in Paris and became an intimate in the Paris scene, even taking private training with Henri Matisse.

The Wichita Art Museum presents gems from its prized American art collection to reflect the vital cultural phenomenon of Americans in Paris. This exhibition complements the Monet to Matisse: French Moderns from the Brooklyn Museum, 1850–1950 that will be on view beginning February 24, 2018.

Americans in Paris: The French Connection from the Wichita Art Museum Collection is generously sponsored by UMB Financial Corporation Charitable Foundation.

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Ron Allen, Behind the Garden, Beyond the Wall, Enters the Dream, 1984. 26 1/4 x 10 x 3 3/4 inches, Colorado alabaster on wood base. Wichita Art Museum, Museum Purchase, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum

Look, Don't Touch

Look, Don't Touch presents work from the Wichita Art Museum that investigates both visual and physical texture.

The tactile quality of a painting, collage, or sculpture can come from the material of the object itself, such as the thick swabs of paint applied to a canvas or the polished smoothness of a marble sculpture. Artists also create the illusion of texture on a flat canvas, tricking the eye into believing that the surfaces it sees are not actually flat at all.

Look, Don't Touch invites viewers to delight in art that explores texture and kindles the desire to reach out and touch. The exhibition also includes interactive touch stations that imitate the surfaces of the paintings and sculptures displayed.

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J. Chapuis, Toilette d'après-midi, de la Masion Ney Soeurs, from La Mode Illustrée, 1906. Engraving, 14 3/4 x 11 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Powell Collection of American and European Fashion Plates

Savoir-Faire: 19th-Century Fashion Prints

Savoir-Faire: 19th-Century Fashion Prints features prints from French and American women's magazines together with dresses and accessories from the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum.

The exhibition traces the dynamic changes in women's fashion occurring in 19th-century Paris and the ways those far-away trends found their way to American cities, including Wichita.

Savoir-Faire joins Americans in Paris (opening December 16) and Monet to Matisse: French Moderns from the Brooklyn Museum, 1850–1950 (opening February 24) for an exploration of the artistic links between Paris and America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Claude Monet, Rising Tide at Pourville, 1882. Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 inches. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, Gift of Mrs. Horace O. Havemeyer, Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Monet to Matisse: French Moderns from the Brooklyn Museum, 1850–1950

In the 19th century through World War II, Paris was the center of the art world. The revolution of artistic modernism was consequently centered in France, with artists of many countries active and contributing to dynamic change. Monet to Matisse showcases 59 masterworks from the distinguished Brooklyn Museum collection of French modernism.

Monet to Matisse will reflect the key artistic movements that emerged in Paris during 1850 to 1950 and wholly transformed the Western art world. Impressionism, symbolism, fauvism, cubism, and surrealism are explored in the work of such leading artists as Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Wichita Art Museum visitors are in for a rare treat and the chance for firsthand encounters with the artists who pioneered modernism.

For information on Monet to Matisse admission, ticketing, gallery hours and other exhibition-related events and programs, visit: wichitaartmuseum.org/monet.

Monet to Matisse: French Moderns from the Brooklyn Museum, 1850–1950 was organized by the Brooklyn Museum. 

The Wichita presentation has been generously underwritten by lead sponsors Paula and Barry Downing. The Lattner Family Foundation provided additional major underwriting. Mrs. E.W. Armstrong, Judy Slawson, DeVore Foundation, Dr. Dennis and Mrs. Ann Ross, Sondra Langel, and Charles Baker are principal sponsors. The Trust Company of Kansas, Emprise Bank, and Fred and Mary Koch Foundation are substantial corporate sponsors.

Generous private support has been provided by Patty and Bill Bennett, Louise Beren, the Berry Foundation, Mary Eves, Norma Greever, Helen and Ed Healy, Dr. and Mrs. Gyan Khicha, Mike and Dee Michaelis, and Sarah T. Smith. Martin Pringle Attorneys at Law, Ann and Martin Bauer, Nancy and John Brammer, Doug Brehm, Donna Bunk, Vicki Cady, Anne Coffin, Karen and John Hageman, Jeff Kennedy and Patti Gorham, Georgia and Keith Stevens, Sue and Kurt Watson, Alice and Dale Wiggins, James Boyd, and Glen and Marianne Misko are additional exhibition underwriters.

All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and the City of Wichita.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brussels, 1932. Gelatin silver print, 9 1/2 × 14 3/16 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Surveillance: Who is Watching You? Photographs from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Who is watching you? In the 21st century, it is hard to escape the camera's all-seeing eye. Chances are, right now you are being observed. With security cameras, traffic cams, and Google Earth satellites, there is no escape from the all-seeing eye today.

With every movement recorded today by cameras, it might be surprising for some that surveillance is not a modern phenomenon. This exhibition examines photography's role in secretive looking from the 1860s to today.

Dating from 1864 to 2014, the works in this exhibition fall under categories of spying/hidden camera, photography of the forbidden, military surveillance, areas of heavy surveillance, and mapping satellites and drones. Also included are examples of counter-surveillance that either prevent watching or surveille the watchers.

The exhibition includes spy photographs from the Civil War and "telephoto" imagery from the 1880s. It has examples of surreptitious images captured by modernists such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Paul Strand. Contemporary photographers are also fascinated by the lives of others and/or ubiquity of surveillance. Living photographers explore this realm include Gail Albert Halaban, Jeff Brouws, and Tomas van Houtryve.

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Irving Penn, Mouth (for L’Oréal), New York, 1986, printed 1992, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty

Irving Penn (1917–2009), known for his iconic fashion, portrait, and still life images that appeared in Vogue magazine, ranks as one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century. Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty, the first retrospective of Penn’s work in nearly 20 years, will celebrate his legacy as a modern master and reveal the full expressive range of his work.

Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty is drawn entirely from the extensive holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. On display will be 146 photographs from the museum’s permanent collection, including the debut of 100 photographs recently donated to the museum by The Irving Penn Foundation. The exhibition presents several previously unseen or never exhibited photographs. 

Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from:

ART MENTOR FOUNDATION LUCERNE
Sakurako and William Fisher
The William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund
The Lauder Foundation – Leonard and Judy Lauder Fund
Edward Lenkin and Roselin Atzwanger
The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Margery and Edgar Masinter
The Margery and Edgar Masinter Exhibitions Fund
James F. Petersen Charitable Fund in honor of Tania and Tom Evans
The Bernie Stadiem Endowment Fund
Trellis Fund

The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the Smithsonian American Art Museum's traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.

The Wichita presentation has been generously supported by Paula and Barry Downing. The DeVore Foundation is the lead foundation sponsor. Emprise Bank and The Fred and Mary Koch Foundation are the lead benefactors. The Shaw Family Foundation is a foundation sponsor. Exhibition support is provided by Patty and Bill Bennett, Norma Greever, and Dr. Christopher Moeller. Ann and Martin Bauer, Louise Beren, Mary Eves, Rich and Joey Giblin, John and Karen Hageman, and Georgia and Keith Stevens are additional important exhibition underwriters.

All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum Endowment Fund and the City of Wichita.

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Andrew Wyeth, The Captain's House, about 1936. Watercolor, 17 x 29 inches. Wichita Art Museum. Bequest of Glenn L. and Jayne Seydell Milburn

In Pursuit of Beauty: Jayne Seydell Milburn

The great use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
--
Philosopher William James

A native Wichitan, Jayne Milburn was born on June 10, 1915. Atypical for most women of her generation, she obtained a master's degree in history from Stanford University.

She was first involved in the Wichita Art Museum in 1948. As president of the museum board in the early 1960s, she led the project to construct the museum's first building expansion.

In 2013, Jayne became an honorary trustee. In 2015, the museum opened the Art Garden, including the Jayne S. Milburn Sculpture Plaza. The world lost Jayne on November 29, 2016, when she was 101 years old. Remarkably, she retained her elegance and sharp intellect to the end.

Jayne Milburn was a rare individual--with erudition, tact, and taste. Her early training in history kept her forever fascinated by world events and social change. She also applied her intelligence to the pursuit of beauty--as a formidable gardener and as a discerning art collector. Milburn left masterpieces to the Wichita Art Museum as a bequest. Opening on what would have been Jayne's 102nd birthday, this exhibition presents a selection of many world-class works of art she acquired, enjoyed across her lifetime, and recently gifted to our museum for the enjoyment of her beloved Wichita community. Museum visitors will forever remember this extraordinary spirit through the artistic treasures that are her legacy at the Wichita Art Museum.

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Alexander Calder, Balloons, (detail) 1973. Color serigraph, 38 3/4 X 28 3/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Argosy Partners and Bond Street Partners.

Color Chart: Selections from the Wichita Art Museum Collection

Most of us give color little thought. Yet it is a compelling topic that links science, history, art, and culture. As French post-impressionist painter Paul Gaugin advised, "It is the eye of ingnorance that assigns a fixed and unchangeable color to every object--beware of this stumbling block."  Modern Artist Wassily Kandinsky believed color offered access to the spiritual. Clearly, color provides artists a rich source for inquiry and expression.

From printmakers whose work is focused on the spiritual and emotional power of color, to sculptors who have utilized colored materials and applied pigments to give a lifelike quality to their statues, this exhibition--drawn from the Wichita Art Museum collection--celebrates the rainbow of colors that artists employ.

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Ben Shahn, The Blind Botanist, 1954. Gouache, tempera, and ink, 52 1/16 x 30 7/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Roland P. Murdock Collection

The Artist Project: Wichita Artists in Their Studios

The Wichita Art Museum has been a place where artists find inspiration from works of art and other artists. Wichita artist Kent T. Williams acknowledged, "Field trips to the Wichita Art Museum have been always exciting times for me, possessing potential new discoveries and delightful memories from my formative years in the galleries of inspiring works of art. I am grateful for these collected objects, the expansion they afford me, and the human relationships they fertilize, growing our experience and community."

The Artist Project ties this phenomenon of creative response to art by artists with the 2016 book Wichita Artists in Their Studios. Fifty Wichita-based artists appeared in the special publication. In turn, these artists now explore the collection of the Wichita Art Museum. The galleries will reveal what artistic treasures ignited the imagination and respect of this diverse group of Wichita's visual artists. The show features an eclectic and powerful selection "curated" by the sensibilities of artists.

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Jacques Callot, The Temptation of St. Anthony, 1634. Etching on paper, 12 3/4 x 18 1/2 inches. Wichita Art Museum, L.S. and Ida L. Naftzger Collection of Prints

Printmaking Is...Complex

This third installment, Printmaking is Complex, presents a range of printmaking techniques and imagery that express the complexity of the printmaking medium.  From the painstaking mezzotint procedure to the numerous color passes of a serigraph, these works provide insight into the exhaustive and precise printmaking process. The medium has adapted many new techniques and materials into its traditions, encouraging a lively and experimental climate for contemporary printmakers to create within. 

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Beth Lipman, Cut Table, 2014. Glass, wood, paint, adhesive, 80 x 72 x 26 inches. Wichita Art Museum. Photo credit: Jason Houge

Ritual and Desire: Contemporary Glass Art

Ritual and Desire explores the tenuous line between historical aesthetics and contemporary attitudes through the work of three artists--Beth Lipman, Cassandra C. Jones, and Lauren Fensterstock.

While each harnesses the artistry of previous ages, each artist masterfully projects those styles into our contemporary world, revealing the unbreakable ties to our past in our present. The simultaneous blurring and expansion of time and aesthetic results in work that is both familiar and foreign to the eye. It invites reflection on issues of transience and permanence, the material and immaterial, and reduction and excess. The exhibition continues WAM's exploration of Steuben's legacy in contemporary glass. 

Ritual and Desire: Contemporary Glass Art is organized by the Wichita Art Museum. 

The presentation has been generously supported by the F. Price Cossman Trust, INTRUST Bank, Trustee. Richard Smith and Sondra Langel are major supporters. Belger Cartage Service, Inc. is a corporate sponsor.

Exhibition support is provided by Helen and Ed Healy, Sonia Greteman and Chris Brunner, Charles Baker, DeVore Foundation, Louise Beren, Nancy and John Brammer, and Sue and Kurt Watson.

All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum Endowment Fund and the City of Wichita.

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William Dickerson, Untitled (Dune Mountain), about 1952-1953. Lithograph on paper, 7 15/16 x 11 7/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Tom Dickerson

William J. Dickerson: Block Prints, Etchings, and Lithographs

The first elected artist member of the Prairie Print Makers, William Dickerson (1904–1972) expressed a muted eloquence in unadorned scenes of both his native Kansas and New Mexico. This exhibition, guest curated by Barbara Thompson, continues WAM's series highlighting this important artistic group. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue written by Thompson, granddaughter of fellow Prairie Print Maker C.A. Seward.

Dickerson was born in El Dorado, Kansas, in 1904 and resided in the state for most of his life, except for his time at the Art Institute of Chicago. In Chicago, Dickerson studied lithography under the renowned printmaker Bolton Brown, later becoming Brown's assistant. Upon graduation, Dickerson was offered a
teaching position at the school. He declined and returned to Wichita to accept a position at the Wichita Art Association. He remained dedicated to his community throughout his life. His mastery of lithography was renowned, and his reputation in this process earned him entry into the famous Wichita group, the Prairie Print Makers. In his art, Dickerson was committed to depicting Kansas and the surrounding region as he saw it, unfiltered by European traditions.

This exhibition presents an in-depth look at Dickerson's work. Though it focuses on his mastery of lithography, his etchings and block prints underscore his unique artistic vision and his skill in printmaking. Click here for info regarding the Print Forum and C. A. Seward Dinner on Saturday, April 29. This afternoon of speakers will shed light on the artistic range of the Prairie Print Makers, including Dickerson.

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Clark V. Britton, Man with Orange Crown and Green Hat, March 2016. Cut paper sculpture, 7 1/4 x 3 7/8 x 3 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artis

Past and Present: Wichita's Legacy and Today’s Creatives - Lester Raymer and Clark Britton

Past and Present: Wichita's Legacy and Today's Creatives is a series of exhibitions organized in celebration and recognition of the city's artistic heritage. 

The second exhibition in this series highlights Lester Raymer. Raymer's eclectic subject matter--which spanned a range of subjects from religion, to theater, to people and objects from everyday life--was matched by his embrace of a variety of materials. Raymer took ordinary things, generally discarded mundane objects, and transformed them into beautiful works of art and crafts, gifts, toys and decorative elements for his studio. The exhibition will feature work drawn from WAM's permanent collection and key loans from Raymer's Red Barn Studio in Lindsborg, Kansas.

This exhibition celebrates Raymer's signature style and its echoes in today's Wichita arts scene--especially in the cut-paper vignettes, sculptures, and prints of featured Wichita artist Clark Britton.

On view in the DeVore Gallery.

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Thomas Cole, Mountain Scenery, about 1827. Oil on canvas, 22 x 17 inches. The New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, the gift of his widow Mrs. Mary Stuart

The Poetry of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes from the New-York Historical Society

The Wichita Art Museum will proudly stage an exquisite selection of 41 paintings from the 19th-century movement known as the Hudson River School. Direct from New York and the premier collection of the New-York Historical Society, the paintings reflect some of the prize examples from this landmark moment in American art.

The Hudson River School is pivotal in American cultural history, because the art represents the first formulation of a specifically American artistic expression. The group rose to eminence during the first half of the 19th century, as this circle of artists--together with like-minded poets and writers--forged a self-consciously American landscape vision and literary voice. They were grounded in the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and as an expression of cultural and national identity. The pristine, virgin forest--wild and untamed by civilization--served as a rich metaphor for American democracy and the New World. As the school emerged and rose to prominence, the Hudson River along with the Catskill, Adirondack, and White mountains provided the early subjects their ambitious landscape paintings.

Hudson River School greats including Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, Asher B. Durand, John Kensett, and others comprise this exceptional exhibition from one of the leading collections for this key chapter in American art.

The exhibition has been organized by the New-York Historical Society.

The Wichita presentation has been generously sponsored by the Trust Company of Kansas. Additional exhibition support has been provided by the DeVore Foundation.

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Sigmund Abeles, Tiger Lily, 1978. Lithograph, 14 x 21 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. William G. Wagner

Printmaking is... Intimate

The medium of printmaking spans a wide variety of techniques, styles, and aesthetics.With a long, international history, the milestones of the history of printmaking can be traced from ancient China, through the Dutch Renaissance and 1950s America to the present day.

The versatile techniques offered by the centuries-old practice of printmaking are adapted to a wide variety of needs, enabling artists to capture an endless variety of scenes and subjects. Aesthetically, printmaking encompasses the clean chiaroscuro of etching, the soft gradient of aquatint, the lively lines of lithographs, and the bold colors of silkscreens.

Printmaking is a diverse and exciting medium. This series of exhibitions, featuring works of art from the Wichita Art Museum collection, explores the endless variety of creative efforts that fall under the category of printmaking.

This second installment, Printmaking is Intimate, explores artists' use of varied print techniques to create works of art that explore personal subjects. Intimate in scale or in subject matter, these prints demonstrate a wide variety of artistic vision and process. Though printmaking was utilized for very practical purposes in its early history--marking goods, printing books, and distributing scientific information--artistry and expression soon were intertwined with the medium. The process of printing ink on paper may seem straightforward. But, in the hands of these artists, prints are engaged in the expression of intimacy. The ideas or emotions, environments or allies captured in ink on paper demonstrate the poignant possibilities of printmaking.

On view in the Vollmer Gallery.

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Michelle Marie Murphy, Beauty Flex, 2013. Single channel video, color, silent. Courtesy of the artist

Art+Film

The invention of film began with a bet.

In 1872, Leland Stanford (railroad magnate, California senator, racehorse owner, and eventual founder of Stanford University) hired English photographer Eadweard Muybridge to settle a gentleman's wager.

Contrary to popular opinion, Stanford believed that during their top-speed stride, the four hooves of a horse were all off the ground. In order to test this theory, Muybridge devised a system of 12 split-second cameras to capture a galloping horse at all points in its run. The images--which proved Stanford’s theory and won him the bet--made international news. Muybridge presented the photographs in a single composition. He printed each of the 12 individual images together, in sequence, creating a single collaged image of movement.

In 1879, Muybridge took his composition one step further. He invented the zoopraxiscope, a device with a rotating disc that projected images sequentially. Now an observer could actually see the horse galloping. After a public showing in San Francisco, a reporter gushed, "Nothing was wanting, but the clatter of hooves upon the turf and the occasional breath of steam to make the spectator believe he had before him the flesh-and-blood steeds." Muybridge's important artistic triumphs led to the birth of motion pictures in 1889.

This shared history between fine art and film is still alive in contemporary art. When choosing to create work that references film culture, many artists still utilize a similar collage aesthetic. By layering, grouping, and sequencing images in their final composition, these artists celebrate the common ancestry of the two media. This exhibition explores this artistic vein in prints, photography, painting, and new media.

Art+Film features work by Joseph Beuys, Michelle Marie Murphy, Tracey Moffatt, Roger Shimomora, and more. Come explore the intersection of Art+Film in this dynamic exhibition that pairs collection artworks with key loans from the artists.

On view in the Paul Ross Gallery and the Scott and Carol Ritchie Gallery

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Robert Cottingham, Wichita, 1985. Gouache on paper, 30 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Burneta Adair Endowment Fund

386,552: Art for Wichita

Named after the 2016 census-bureau population of Wichita, the exhibition 386,552 explores the unique artistic scene of the city and the ways in which the arts are vital to Wichita's community and culture.

Through permanent collection objects that celebrate the city and unique insight into the history of the arts in Wichita, 386,552 celebrates the art and artists that have helped to make Wichita a vibrant place to live.

In partnership with ICT Army of Artists--a collective of creatives, activists, and provocateurs connecting with Wichita neighborhoods and engaging people in innovative cultural interventions--the exhibition will feature two art-vending machines that will distribute art from seven local artists. Individual works of art will be featured in the machines for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, the next work will be featured.

Starting November 29, vending machines will feature artwork by Alexis Riverre, Emily Chamberlain, Sam Miller Gott, Erin Raux, Dane Jones, and Trisha Coates.

On view in the Kurdian Gallery. 

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Wayne Thiebaud, Little Red Suckers, edition 22/35, 1971/2014. Aquatint, 10 x 10 1/2 inches. Collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. Copyright Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Shiny, Sticky, Smooth: Pop Art and the Senses Contemporary Prints from the Collections of Jordan Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

The visual language of advertising teases the imagination and tempts the senses. Chromed, streamlined cars convey speed and power. Brightly colored, glistening candies spark our appetite. Smooth and polished furniture gleams with the possibility of a more stylish home and lifestyle. With elements that emphasize a tactile experience, images from mass culture exceed the visual to kindle all the senses.

The potent rise of this type of advertising imagery in the late 1950s and early 1960s inspired a new form of fine art. This modern movement--soon coined pop art--utilized the visual vocabulary of advertising and embraced its culture of consumerism. "Coca-Cola, ice-cream sodas, big hamburgers, super-markets and 'EAT' signs . . . They are eye-hungry. They pop," noted artist Robert Indiana. By mirroring the language of mid-century advertising, which appealed to the senses, pop art was poised to elicit a visceral response. As Indiana stated, it aimed to create work that is "eye-hungry."

This exhibition examines the sensory language of pop art. Created by America's most famous pop practitioners, the 73 works of art in this exhibition demonstrate the way in which pop art shattered the division between high culture and everyday experience, not only through subject and process but also by enticing the viewers' sensations.

Drawn from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, Shiny, Sticky, Smooth features the work of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud, James Rosenquist, Claes Oldenburg, and more. The bold and graphic work by these exceptional artists re-stages the traditional story of pop art as a full-sensory experience, leading visitors to a new perspective on the movement and to a deeper understanding of mass culture. As Andy Warhol noted, "Once you 'got' pop, you could never see a sign again the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again."

Shiny, Sticky, Smooth: Pop Art and the Senses, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation has been organized by the Wichita Art Museum with the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. Support for the exhibition and related educational and outreach programs has been made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. The DeVore Foundation contributed additional support as the lead sponsor for the Wichita presentation. Charles Baker as well as Sondra Langel and Richard Smith are major exhibition supporters. Eric Engstrom and Robert Bell, Sonia Greteman and Chris Brunner, Helen and Ed Healy, Jeff Kennedy and Patti Gorham, and Trish Higgins also provided exhibition funding for Wichita. All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and City of Wichita. 

On view in the Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery and John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery

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Art for Wichita artists: Kelsy Gossett, Trishelle Jeffery, Darren Jones, Celestino Kirigami, Christian Taylor, Jack A. Sailor, and Wendi Valladares

386,552: Art for Wichita

Named after the 2016 census-bureau population of Wichita, the exhibition 386,552 explores the unique artistic scene of the city and the ways in which the arts are vital to Wichita's community and culture.

Through permanent collection objects that celebrate the city and unique insight into the history of the arts in Wichita, 386,552 celebrates the art and artists that have helped to make Wichita a vibrant place to live.

In partnership with ICT Army of Artists--a collective of creatives, activists, and provocateurs connecting with Wichita neighborhoods and engaging people in innovative cultural interventions--the exhibition will feature two art-vending machines that will distribute art from seven local artists. Individual works of art will be featured in the machines for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, the next work will be featured.

From August 19 through November 27, vending machines feature artwork by Kelsy Gossett, Trishelle Jeffery, Darren Jones, Celestino Kirigami, Jack A. Sailor, Christian Taylor, and Wendi Valladares.

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Connie Ernatt, Laid Up, 2016. Bronze assemblage, 25 x 16 x 11 1/2 inches. Courtesy of and copyright Connie Ernatt

Past and Present: Wichita's Legacy and Today's Creatives

Past and Present: Wichita's Legacy and Today's Creatives is a series of exhibitions organized in celebration and recognition of the city's artistic heritage.

These exhibitions trace the beginnings of our thriving art community and highlight artists that continue to have an impact on our current arts scene.

The first exhibition in this series highlights Bruce Moore. Sculptor and designer Bruce Moore’s sleek sculptures exemplify the Art Deco style--a mix of the dynamism of the jazz age and the speed of the machine age.

"To give a drawing, sculpture, or painting a life or spirit...is the most important thing," noted the artist.

This exhibition celebrates Moore's signature style and its echoes in today's Wichita arts scene--especially in the sculptures of featured Wichita artist, Connie Ernatt.

On view in the DeVore Gallery. 

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Frank Stella, Riallaro, 1995, Mixed media print, 46 3/8 x 32 3/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of the Family of Elton I. "Buddy" Greenberg

Printmaking Is Imaginative

Printmaking is a diverse and exciting medium. This series of exhibitions--featuring works of art from the Wichita Art Museum collection--explores the endless variety of creative efforts that fall under the category of printmaking. 

This first exhibition in the series, Printmaking is Imaginative, explores artists' use of varied techniques to create vivid, absorbing works of art that explore imaginative subjects.

On view in the Vollmer Gallery.

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Jesse Alexander, Fangio, Maserati, Reims, 1958. Pigment based archival print, 11 x 18 inches. Courtesy of and copyright Jesse Alexander

Jesse Alexander: The Golden Age of Motorsport

This summer, the Wichita Art Museum is pleased to present Jesse Alexander: The Golden Age of Motorsport, a selection of Alexander’s most famous images from classic races of the formative decades of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

For over 50 years, Jesse Alexander traveled the world documenting motorsport’s most iconic races, legendary drivers, and memorable moments. Alexander's eye for the full picture--setting, action, and style--as well as his impeccable timing have created an artistic portfolio that is unrivaled in the photographic world. Alexander's photographs capture the alluring cars as well as the entire range of emotions in the world of racing--the adrenaline of the speedway, the enthralled crowds, the laser-focus of the racing teams. 

The exhibition gives visitors the chance to explore beauty and danger of motorsport through more than 70 of Alexander's prize-winning images. Though his work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, and throughout Europe, WAM's exhibition will be the first solo show by the artist in the Midwest. 

On view in the Paul Ross and the Scott and Carol Ritchie Gallery

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Dale Chihuly, Light Drawing #5, 1997. Acrylic on Plexiglas, 87 x 69 inches. Chihuly Studio, Seattle, Washington. Copyright 2016 by Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Chihuly Drawings

Dale Chihuly, an American sculptor, has mastered the alluring, translucent and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass, and neon, to create works of art that transform the viewer experience.

He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific architectural installations in public spaces, and in exhibitions presented in more than 250 museums and gardens worldwide.

The Wichita Art Museum boasts two largescale works by the artist, Confetti Chandelier and Persian Seaform Bridge in the S. Jim and Darla Farha Great Hall, and is excited to present Chihuly Drawings for Kansas audiences.

This exhibition includes drawings from across the artist's career--with work in pencil, charcoal, and acrylic. Chihuly Drawings is organized by the Wichita Art Museum in cooperation with Chihuly Studio. 

On view in the John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery and Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery

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Arthur W. Hall, Olive Grove, about 1929. Etching on paper, 9 x 14 1/2 inches. Sandzen Memorial Gallery Collection, Lindsborg, Kansas

Arthur Hall: Etchings, Drypoints, Aquatints

The Wichita Art Museum is honored to present the spring exhibition on printmaker Arthur Hall. The artist took part in a renaissance of printmaking that took hold in the United States at mid-century.

His special talent quickly found recognition and opportunity. Exhibition curator Barbara Thomas notes in the accompanying catalogue:

Within five years of his first experiment with an etching needle and metal plate, the prints of Arthur W. Hall met with remarkable national attention. By 1929, they were represented by two influential galleries--Keppels in New York City and Goodspeed's Book Shop in Boston. Also in 1929,  The American Magazine of Art featured his prints. In 1930, Hall was given a prestigious exhibition at [the predecessor to] the Smithsonian American Art Museum . . . During these same years, Arthur Hall's work also garnered him invitations to become a member of all the prestigious printmaking societies in America.

Significant for Wichita, Arthur Hall and his artist wife Norma Bassett Hall were two of ten founding members of the Prairie Print Makers, a print circle based in Wichita and launched late in 1930. The artist couple lived east of Wichita in El Dorado and Howard for many years in the 1920s and 1930s, and they were important participants in the Wichita's artistic ferment of those decades.

The museum is pleased to collaborate with guest curator Barbara Thompson, a fine historian of American printmaking and granddaughter of Wichita printmaker C. A. Seward (1884-1939). In her dedication to the artists of the Prairie Print Makers, Thompson nobly serves their legacy, and our museum is proud to join her cause in this meaningful, elegant project on Arthur Hall.

On view in the Kurdian Gallery.

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Jackson Pollock, Untitled, 1944. Ink on paper, 18 3/4 x 24 3/4 inches. Gift of Louise and Bud Beren and Peter Beren

Dialogue: Modern and Contemporary Drawings from the WAM Collection

Dialogue explores the medium of drawing throughout the 20th century. This period saw the rise of drawings, not as a method of preparation, but as a unique form of artistic investigation. Historically, drawing has been the cornerstone of art practice because mastery of the discipline was considered to be an important part of every artist’s training. Within that framework, drawing was viewed as a minor art form, since artists traditionally used drawing for preparation and study.

This period saw the rise of drawings, not as a method of preparation, but as a unique form of artistic investigation. Historically, drawing has been the cornerstone of art practice because mastery of the discipline was considered to be an important part of every artist’s training. Within that framework, drawing was viewed as a minor art form, since artists traditionally used drawing for preparation and study. In the 20th century, drawing was embraced for its own unique possibilities. Drawing offers an intimate and open field for imaginative elaboration, in which concepts and ideas can emerge and change with relative ease. For artists who embrace its flexibility, immediacy, and economy of means, drawing offers a unique opportunity to engage directly with the artistic issues or interests that drive their work.

Each drawing is a kind of dialogue--an artistic exchange between form and idea, a negotiation between an ephemeral moment and a lasting impression, or a message from artist to viewer. This direct and unmediated form of art directly communicates an artist’s process as well as peculiarities and preoccupations.

Featuring work by artists Thomas Hart Benton, John Fincher, Ben Shahn, Marguerite Zorach, and more, Dialogue highlights different applications of this essential medium. This exhibition is an opportunity to take stock of and celebrate some of WAM's remarkable drawings from the permanent collection. On loan to WAM for inclusion in the exhibition are works by Wichita artists Emily Brookover, Patrick Duegaw, James Ackerley Porter, and Kent T. Williams. Additionally, Dialogue will be presented with multiple engagement opportunities, each inviting our visitors to explore their own artistic voice and to join in the artistic dialogue.

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Pete Harris, Elizabeth Eckford, One of the Little Rock Nine, Pursued by Mob Outside Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas, September 4, 1957. 11 x 14 inches. ©Bettmann/CORBIS, reprinted 2013

Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle

The exhibition presents pictures that recast the mental image Americans hold about the Civil Rights era. The project stems from the 2014 scholarly book by cultural and photohistorian Martin A. Berger. Photographers shot millions of pictures of the Civil Rights struggle from the late 1940s to early 1970s.

Most Americans today recall a handful of images. In our collective memory, the Civil Rights Movement is remembered by dramatic scene--protesters attacked by police dogs or black activists victimized by violence. In fact, there are other stories that other pictures tell. Blacks changed American discriminatory practices through their action, not their suffering. This exhibition presents forgotten photographs that illustrate the action, heroism, and strength of black activists in driving social change.

Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle has been curated by Martin Berger, Ph.D., Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California--Santa Cruz, and is organized by the Art, Design, and Architecture Museum, University of Californi--Santa Barbara, generously supported by Sharon and Terry Bridges.

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Gordon Parks, Untitled, Fort Scott, Kansas, 1950. Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches. The Gordon Parks Foundation, Pleasantville, New York. Courtesy and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation

Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott

Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated African American artists of his time, created a body of work on his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas--focusing on life under segregation. Fort Scott was the town that he had left in 1928, when at age 15 he found himself suddenly having to make his own way following his mother's death.

He used the 1950 Life magazine assignment to revisit memories of his birthplace, many  involving serious racial discrimination, and to reconnect with childhood friends, all of whom had attended the same grade school. A visually rich and captivating series of images, Parks' photographs were slated to appear in Life magazine in summer 1950 and again in April 1951, but the photo essay was never published.

This exhibition represents a rarely seen view of everyday lives of African Americans, years before the Civil Rights Movement. Importantly, the lives of Kansans masterfully captured by Parks serve as a model for this national cultural experience.

Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Wichita presentation of Freedom to Expand: Gordon Parks is generously sponsored by Emprise Bank, Gridley Family Foundation, and the Kansas Humanities Council.

This exhibition is funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization promoting understanding of the history, traditions, and ideas that shape our lives and build community. 

On view in the John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery and Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and the City of Wichita.

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Lucile Blanch, Hidden Sources, 1954. Lithograph on paper, 13 1/2 x 10 5/16 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of the Trustees of the Lucile Blanch Estate

Art and Everyday Life: Lucile Blanch

In a 1963 interview, artist Lucile Blanch (1895–1981) was asked to comment on her successful 30-year career. Instead of discussing her artwork, Blanch emphasized her "toughness" and "fight." Her daily job as an artist, she insisted, required determination: "The hanging on and moving forward no matter what, the not getting lazy."

Blanch first burst onto the art scene in the 1930s, earning a coveted scholarship
to the New York Art Students' League, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and several major WPA (Works Progress Administration) commissions. By the 1950s, she was named "one of the most important artists in the U.S." by a New York magazine. Blanch worked at her craft every day until her death in 1981. She understood that being an artist was more than a calling; it was a profession that required daily work. Each day, she created piles of sketches in order to translate her ideas into visual form, to practice her technique, and to hone her style.

Art and Everyday Life celebrates Blanch's daily, dedicated work as an artist. She refused to miss even a single day of "practicing her art." These prints and drawings, gifts of the artist’s estate, demonstrate both Blanch’s unique artistic vision and her dedication to her profession.

On view in the Kurdian Gallery

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Even More Art We Love

The three-part Art We Love exhibition series wraps up with its final iteration: Even More Art We Love. Featuring work chosen by members of the Wichita community, Even More Art We Love celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Wichita Art Museum and its founding vision as a resource for the entire community. Work chosen by seven community curators, along with one crowd-sourced work selected via WAM's Facebook page, will be included in the exhibition.

See Even More Art We Love to view selections by:

On view in the Vollmer Gallery

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Lester Johnson, City Women, 1974. Oil on linen, 36 x 30 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Museum Purchase, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and the National Endowment for the Arts Museum Purchase Plan

Rhythm and Hues: Music and Dance in Art from the Wichita Art Museum Collection

Rhythm and Hues explores the influence of music on modern and contemporary art practices. Both forms of artistic expression share compositional and stylistic similarities.

In Lester Johnson's densely packed composition, City Women, the figures seem to pulse with energy. Their arms and legs are caught in beautiful stylized movements, reminiscent of a complicated musical score. Johnson’s work was heavily influenced by jazz, and it demonstrates the same shifts between tones and design, using bold colors and angled figures to mimic the sound of instruments interacting, tangling in an exchange of ideas.

Drawn from the permanent collection, the works of art in Rhythm and Hues explore the parallel nature of visual art and music. From regional musical styles such as bluegrass, to cultural expressions such as American Indian dances, to the birth of jazz in the early modern era, music and visual art are intimately intertwined.

On view in the DeVore Gallery

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Childe Hassam, The Manhattan Club, 1891. Oil on canvas, 18 1/4 x 22 1/8 inches. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, Gift of Mrs. Sterling Morton to the Preston Morton Collection

Scenery, Story, Spirit: American Painting and Sculpture from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara is considered the American Riviera. The region attracts wealth and beauty--with stunning private art collections. Carefully developed over decades, Santa Barbara’s museum now holds a phenomenal American art collection, and its treasures will be featured in this special exhibition in Wichita this fall.

The show offers a compelling overview of 19th- and early 20th-century American art. It showcases 52 paintings and eight sculptures by some of America's greatest artists.

Discover:
• landscapes by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, and Frederic Church,
• narrative paintings and street scenes by Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, and George Bellows,
• portraits by William Merritt Chase and John Singer Sargent,
• and scenes from the frontier of the American West.

The exhibition is organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The Wichita presentation of Scenery, Story, Spirit: American Painting and Sculpture from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art has been generously sponsored by TCK--The Trust Company of KansasEmprise Bank, and Sondra Langel and Richard Smith.

Additional support has been provided by Louise Beren, Dr. John and Nancy Brammer, DeVore Family Fund, J. Eric Engstrom, H. Guy and Carol Glidden, Norma Greever, Dr. Gyan and Manorama Khicha, Nancy and Tom Martin, Dr. Christopher A. Moeller, Ronald and Debbie Sinclair, and Georgia and Keith Stevens.

On view in the John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery and Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery

 

 

 

All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and the City of Wichita.

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Larry Schwarm, Douglas County, from the Kansas Documentary Survey Project, 1975. Gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts

No Mountains in the Way, 40 Years Later: Kansas Documentary Photography

The exhibition and catalogue for No Mountains in the Way first appeared in 1975. The Wichita Art Museum celebrates the 40-year anniversary of this important project of documentary photography in Kansas.

James Enyeart, Terry Evans, and Larry Schwarm--artists who have attained considerable achievement in the intervening decades--each examined particular aspects of the Kansas rural environment. Their collective visions combined to poetically reflect place, culture, and custom in Kansas.

The 1970s project was inspired by the epic documentary photography undertaken by the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s.

Under leader Roy Stryker from 1935 to 1944, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) sent some of the era's most talented photographers on a mission to capture rural poverty on film at the height of the Great Depression. This project now provides the enduring image of the hard times of this historic moment in the United States. Gordon Parks' American Gothic, Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, Walker Evans' prints of the Burroughs family--these iconic photographs are creations taken under the FSA auspices.

The Kansas documentary photography project acknowledged the rich legacy and influence of the FSA. How had the rural American changed since the Great Depression of the 1940s, the project leaders asked? How might today's photographers document and reflect the American heartland in Kansas?

New governmental funding from the National Endowment for the Art (NEA) supported the trio of 1970s photographers to update the FSA images with their visions of contemporary Kansas life. James Enyeart focused his lens on architecture. Terry Evans documented people living on the land. Larry Schwarm trained his eye on the landscape—furrowed field to windswept terrain. The results were presented at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. Because the undertaking was supported by the NEA, prints were given to this federal agency. These photographs--now celebrated as vintage prints--are now part of the holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Wichita presentation of 63 classic images from this project of 120 prints are on special loan from this rich Smithsonian archive.

No Mountains in the Way, 40 Year Later: Kansas Documentary Photography is generously sponsored by Fidelity Bank Foundation.

On view in the Paul Ross Gallery and Scott and Carol Ritchie Gallery

 

 

 

All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and the City of Wichita.

 

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J. Floyd Yewell, The Wichita Art Museum (architectural rendering for Clarence S. Stein, architect), about 1935. Watercolor on shadecloth, mounted on aluminum honeycomb board, 26 x 51 1/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of the Edgar E. Turner, Jr. Estate

WAM @ 80

This summer, the Wichita Art Museum is proud to present an exhibition that explores milestones from the museum's past 80 years.

With never-before-seen archival photos, interactive ways to explore WAM's collection, and recognition of our wonderful leaders, patrons, and visitors, WAM @ 80 celebrates Wichita Art Museum's proud history and looks toward our collective bright future.

In her will, Louise Caldwell Murdock laid the foundation for the establishment of the museum. As a bequest following her death in 1915, funds could be used for the purchase of American art for the citizens of Wichita. As a challenge grant of sorts, the City of Wichita would receive the collection if it would build and maintain a museum. The collection would be named to honor Louise Murdock's husband in the Murdock newspaper family, Roland P. Murdock. Through changing structures, changing times, and changing leadership, WAM has continued an ardent commitment to its original purpose--that is, an art museum with prized collection in service to the citizens of Wichita.

The dedication ceremonies to open the Wichita Art Museum were held at 3 pm on September 22, 1935. Following a brief concert from the American Legion Band and an invocation from a Rabbi Richmond, Wichita Park Board President Walter Vincent presented the museum as a gift to the citizens of Wichita. In its first week, WAM welcomed more than 13,000 visitors through its doors, a headcount equaling almost 10 percent of Wichita's population at the time. Victor Murdock, Wichita Eagle editor, attended the opening, and he wrote:

Through generations to come, many thousands will visit the galleries of this edifice . . . Some will come in devotion to beauty. Some will come to seek the secret skill in masterpieces. But most will come . . .  instinctively feeling that art can reveal truth.

As WAM celebrates its 80th year, we do more than recognize our institution's history. We celebrate the people who made Louise Caldwell Murdock’s vision come alive—the leaders who saw the museum through construction, renovation, and expansion; the donors who have helped to build a world-class art collection and remarkable programs; and the community members of every stripe who ensure WAM remains a vibrant, cultural center of our city.

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More Art We Love

This summer, WAM continues its exhibition series, Art We Love with a second round of six Community Curators. See More Art We Love to view selections by:

And you, the Wichita Community, through the Wichita Art Museum's Facebook poll.

 

On view in the Vollmer Gallery.

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Liza Lou, Gather (one million) (detail), 2008-2010. Glass beads, stainless steel wire, hemp twine, 7 x 150 x 150 inches. Courtesy of the artist

Liza Lou: Gather (one million)

This summer, WAM is proud to feature a beautiful and poetic installation by world-renowned artist Liza Lou. The exhibition will feature Lou's Gather (one million), a shimmering 150-square-foot golden field.

To make the work, nine million beads in varying shades of gold were threaded onto cut wire to make one million blades of grass. Lou systematically counted, weighed, blended and divided the blades into equal wheat-like sheaves. This work of art will be presented along with Lou's newest series of work--large wall-hanging color fields of glass beads that resemble open skies and sunsets.

The painterly freedom of the installation evokes the seasonal regeneration of landscape and the abundance of harvest.

The Wichita presentation of Liza Lou's Gather (one million) has  been generously sponsored by F. Price Cossman Memorial Trust, INTRUST Bank, Trustee, and Belger Cartage Service, Inc. Additional support has been provided by the Berry Foundation, Gridley Family Foundation, and Sonia Greteman and Chris Brunner.

On view in the John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery

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Shawn Decker, Prairie (detail), 2013. 432 rods, vibration motors, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist

Shawn Decker: Prairie

Described as an electro-acoustic sound installation, Shawn Decker's Prairie recalls the sights and sounds of its namesake via a field of speakers and thin, swaying metal rods.

Thin, tall brass rods glisten in the light as individual motors, with small speakers mounted to the top, cause them to vibrate and sway. Each brass stem operates independently, and the entire installation--including hundreds of these rods--is programmed to operate in randomized patterns of sound and movement.

"It is much more fun as a creator to compose a piece that is continuously surprising you," Decker noted. "I will often laugh out loud when it does something I don’t expect. The element of change and indeterminacy allows you to become a much more active listener."

Prairie is more than a soundscape. It is an environment that will entrance both eye and ear. The concepts presented in the installation--nature and technology, sound and movement, sculpture and performance--come together to enchant the viewer and invite a reconsideration of the elements that make the prairie unique.

Decker holds a doctorate in music theory and composition from Northwestern University. He is a senior faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been frequently performed, seen, and heard in the U.S. and Europe. Recent exhibitions of both solo and collaborative work have shown at venues such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the 21st Century Museum in Kanazawa, Japan, and numerous others.

On view in the Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery

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Stuart Allen, Kansas / Sunset No. 1, 25 Pixels, 2015. Pigment print on Somerset rag, 30 x 24 inches. Courtesy of Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, Missouri

Stuart Allen: Kansas, Low Resolution

Wichita-born Stuart Allen is a visual artist whose work deals with fundamental elements of perception such as light and time.

This summer, WAM is pleased to present a selection of work from Allen's photography. Each image is an extraction of only a few select pixels from larger photographs of landscapes taken in Wichita. The result is a beautiful chromatic square with gentle color shifts that invokes not just the moment of the image's capture but the perpetual changes of nature.

Allen studied architecture at the University of Kansas and graduated from the photography and video department of the Kansas City Art Institute in 1993. He lives and works in San Antonio, Texas.

On view in the John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery and Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery

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James Gross, Nature, First-Stage, 1998. Oil on canvas with pasted paper and plastic, mounted on mat board, 11 3/4 x 8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Dan R. Rouser in memory of Jake Euker

Art's Pure Voice: Abstraction in Wichita

Featured Artists: James Gross, Kevin Kelly, Kevin Mullins, Ann Resnick, Kate Van Steenhuyse

What goes on in abstract art is the proclaiming of aesthetic principles... It is in our own time that we have become aware of pure aesthetic considerations. Art never can be imitation.
--Hans Hoffmann

Energy and motion made visible--memories arrested in space.
--Jackson Pollock

What you see is what you see.
--Frank Stella

With its advent in the 20th century, abstraction in art continues as a powerful vein of artmaking in the 21st. The first abstract paintings appeared in 1911, and artists have explored and expanded the potentials of this dynamic, elastic mode of artmaking ever since.

In fact, for many decades in the mid-20th century, abstraction dominated the art world. Today, although abstraction is no longer paramount, it retains great force as contemporary artists keep innovating new and compelling abstract languages.

Abstraction is amazingly varied and exists on a spectrum. Some images can be more abstracted than wholly abstract. They appear abstract, yet they do offer cues to lived reality. Other images embrace design and color with no hint whatsoever to human form or the natural world.

For certain abstract artists, the potency of design and hue captures their entire imagination and offers rich content. For others, the language of abstraction can express deeper meaning  with humanist associations.

Wichita can claim strong artists who continue to innovate in abstraction, finding original expression and stretching this vital genre. This exhibition presents a selection of five exceptional artists who contribute to art world trends from Wichita and keep the evolution of abstraction vibrant in our time.

On view in the Paul Ross Gallery and Scott and Carol Ritchie Gallery

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Birger Sandzen, "Farm on Smoky River," 1936. Lithograph on paper, 16 1/8 x 20 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Virginia Vollmer Barr, Clarence E. Vollmer Collection

Prairie Print Makers: Process, Style, Meaning

The Prairie Print Makers--the famous Wichita artist group formed in 1930--produced some of the nation’s bestrespected fine art prints during the era.

The Wichita Art Museum is the proud repository of over 300 prints by this important group. This exhibition explores the different processes and styles embraced by the Prairie Print Makers, especially Japanese woodblock techniques.

The show is composed of work from the museum's collection with a few strategic loans, and it complements the special exhibition of Norma Bassett Hall, the only woman artist among the Prairie Print Makers founders.

On view in the DeVore Gallery.

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Art We Love

2015 marks the 80th anniversary of the Wichita Art Museum.

To celebrate this milestone, "Art We Love" is a series of three exhibitions across the year that will feature works of art chosen by a cross-section of people who call Wichita home.

In addition to the selection by guest community curators, each presentation of "Art We Love" will feature one artwork selected by popularity vote online. Benefactor Louise Caldwell Murdock gave a bequest to found the art museum and build its collection--for the Wichita community. This special series continues and honors her vision by inviting community members to come behind-the-scenes and chose a favorite artwork to share with the public.

The first Art We Love installment features works of art from WAM’s collection chosen by:


On view in the Vollmer Gallery.

 

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Norma Bassett Hall, Old Sycamore, 1942. Color block print, 13 1/2 x 11 1/8 inches. Courtesy Lockhart Family Collection

Chipping the Block, Painting the Silk: The Color Prints of Norma Bassett Hall

Guest-curated by Dr. Joby Patterson, Chipping the Block is the first one-woman exhibition of artist Norma Bassett Hall's work since her death in 1957.

Born in Oregon, Bassett Hall studied at the Portland Art Association and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1922, she married Arthur Hall, who had been a fellow student at the Art Institute, and the couple settled in El Dorado, Kansas.

It was during these early years in Kansas that Bassett Hall explored the artistic possibilities of woodblock printing. 1930 marked the launch of the Prairie Print Makers, with Bassett Hall as the only female founding member. In her work, Hall employed line, color, and pattern with delicate skill, using up to seven blocks for each print.

On view in the Kurdian Gallery.

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Ethan Turpin, Snowball Fight with a Polar Bear, Arctic Circle, 2012. Chromogenic print on stereocard, 3 1/2 x 7 inches. Courtesy of the artist

Five Alchemists: Contemporary Photographers Explore 19th-Century Techniques

As the technical revolution of digital photography explodes, some artists have turned away from the speed and ease of digital imagining.

 

The five artists chosen for this exhibition--David Emitt Adams, Jody Ake, Ethan Turpin, Heidi Kirkpatrick, and Eric Mertens--explore previously abandoned forms of chemical photography.

Going back to 19th-century manuals, these artists rediscover and reinterpret the techniques and magic of photography's pioneers for today's world.

On view in the Paul Ross Gallery and Scott and Carol Ritchie Gallery.

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Unknown Maker, Clown, about 1850–55. Daguerreotype, 2 1/4 x 2 3/4 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc. © Nelson Gallery Foundation

Photographic Wonders: Daguerreotypes from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Wonderful wonder of wonders!!...Here is a revolution in art!

This was the American reaction to the invention and introduction of the photographic daguerreotype in 1839. This winter exhibition presents 82 of the best daguerreotypes from the prized collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, now more than 6,500 strong. Wichita museum-goers will explore the advent of photography in these charming, imaginative historical photographs. Daguerreotypes reflect magical bits of reality from a bygone era. Well over a century later, they still hold wonder and appeal.

The daguerreotype was at once a science and an art, a documentary tool and a charged emblem of emotion and memory. Very early daguerreotypes are enchanting but technically crude: exposures took many minutes and the images are relatively faint. Rapid progress was achieved as practitioners explored the invention’s commercial potential, especially its use in portraiture. In 1840–1842, exposure times were reduced from minutes to seconds, and the tones of the images were greatly improved. The potentials of photography as we know it today were explored in the daguerreotypes of the 1840s and 1850s.

The Wichita presentation will be a reduced selection from the landmark show that opened the new wing at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in 2007. Hallmark Cards developed a world-class early photography collection of 6,500 works that the company donated to the museum as the Bloch Building opened. The scholarly reception of the exhibition and accompanying catalogue has been resoundingly positive and noted as "an unparalleled historical collection of American photography." Wichita audiences will be so impressed by these gems, the accessible learning, and the creative gallery presentation.

This exhibition has been organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

On view in the John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery and the Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery.

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Billy Morrow Jackson, Reading, 1979–1980. Oil on Masonite, 47 1/4 x 71 1/4 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Purchased with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Slawson

Ordinary Extraordinary: Billy Morrow Jackson

Billy Morrow Jackson's sensitive depictions of the everyday are at once beautifully simple and engagingly complex.

Describing his process, the artist noted, "It all springs from the initial feeling...there is something that sort of halts you like a movie suddenly stopping."

In Jackson's work, single moments are drawn out to a heroic scale until, in the final work, time appears perfectly suspended and every realistic detail is visible. In the artist's hands, a simple scene of a prairie home, a city street, or a quiet pastime yields a deeper expression of everyday life.

On view in the DeVore Gallery.

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Julia Margaret Cameron, Carlyle, published 1913. Photogravure, 8 1/2 x 6 1/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Donna R. Bailey and Cornelia R. Yohr in memory of Grace Voss Ripley

Between You and Me: Artists' Portraits of Friends and Family from the Wichita Art Museum Collection

The relationships we have with our family and friends are fundamental to our development. What lies at the heart of these relationships is usually unspoken--love, admiration, thanks, or even competition or envy.

Often, those unexpressed feelings in a relationship act as fertile ground for an artist. With artworks from the Wichita Art Museum, Between You and Me invites viewers to consider the nature of emotional ties and how those ties can be the catalyst for the creative process.

On view in the Vollmer Gallery.

 

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Peggy (Pegasus) Martin Nichols, Untitled (Self Portrait), about 1910–1925. Oil on board, 9 3/8 x 8 x 3/16 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Houston Martin

#selfie

In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries named selfie the Word of the Year.

The use of the word increased 17,000% from January to December 2013. It was not only the use of the word that saw a dramatic jump, selfie images took over our computer and cell phone screens. Estimates suggest that over 18 million selfies are uploaded every week.

It seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the internet: Pope Francis, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and political leaders--including British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama.

While the culture of social media created the word, selfie, this type of imagery is not new. It is simply the most recent version of a much older artistic standard—the self-portrait. This form of expression, which can be traced back to ancient Greece, has quietly persisted throughout the history of art, only to emerge in our time as the most common type of digital image.

Why is the self-portrait so important to us today? WAM invites visitors to explore the relevance of this digital trend and its long artistic history with 20 self-portraits from the permanent collection probing the different forms of the selfie.

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Childe Hassam, The Cove, 1912. Watercolor and gouache on ivory wove watercolor paper, 14 x 20 inches. Wichita Art Museum, John W. and Mildred L. Graves Collection

Hold the Moment: American Modern Works on Paper from the Wichita Art Museum Collection

When modern photographer Alfred Stieglitz characterized his work, he once wrote: "What is important to me is to hold the moment... to put down something so completely that when you look at what you've put down, you will relive the original experience."

This point captures the driving mission for so many modern artists. Beginning in the late 19th century, artists turned away from the dominating art academies and traditions they considered rigid and stale.

Rather than continue with subjects and styles centuries old, progressive artist yearned to reflect their own time and to better express their experience. New forms of artistic expression--impressionism, cubism, futurism, as examples--went hand in hand with the moderns' pioneering vision for new art to reflect a new time.

The Wichita Art Museum holds a distinguished collection of American modernism. In conjunction with the touring exhibition of treasured gems of American modern art from the Brooklyn Museum, a selection of WAM's prized works on paper from this important moment in art history will be on view through the fall. The exhibition features glowing examples by Arthur Dove, Stuart Davis, Charles Demuth, John Marin, Maurice Prendergast, Alfred Stieglitz, and many others.

In turning away from confining artistic protocols and regulations, artists pressed for freedom of expression and innovation. As the American art critic Charles Caffin bemoaned in 1900, "a great deal of American painting is characterized by irreproachable table manners rather than salient expression, by a desire to be amiable rather than convincing." Moderns were renegades who championed self-expression, ignored the rules, and crafted their own, freshly original art. What appeared as radical at the time is now revered for boldness of vision and the depth of expression. This fall, the Wichita Art Museum galleries will sing with exquisite American drawings, watercolors, and prints from this dynamic moment of change in 1890 to 1950.

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Georgia O'Keeffe, 2 Yellow Leaves (Yellow Leaves), 1928. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 1/8 inches. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York. Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe

American Moderns, 1910 - 1960: From Georgia O'Keeffe to Norman Rockwell

American Moderns, 1910–1960: From Georgia O'Keeffe to Norman Rockwell presents 57 artworks from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum in an exploration of the myriad ways in which American artists engaged with modernity.

Ranging widely in subject matter and style, the 53 paintings and four sculptures were produced by leading artists of the period.

Included in the exhibition are Georgia O'Keeffe, Milton Avery, Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Rockwell Kent, Joseph Stella, Elie Nadelman, and Norman Rockwell.

Significant works by these and other artists in the exhibition exemplify their unique contributions to modern culture.

Between 1910 and 1960, both American society and art underwent tumultuous and far-reaching transformations. The United States emerged as an international power of economic, industrial, and military might, while also experiencing two world wars and the Great Depression.

New technologies fundamentally changed the pace and nature of all aspects of modern life. America’s increasingly diverse and mobile population challenged old social patterns and clamored for the equality and opportunities promised by the American dream. Art witnessed similarly dramatic changes as many artists rejected or reformulated artistic traditions, seeking new ways to make their work relevant in a contemporary context.

American Moderns, 1910–1960: From Georgia O'Keeffe to Norman Rockwell was organized by the Brooklyn Museum.

The Wichita presentation has been generously sponsored by Commerce Bank and the Trust Company of Kansas.

 

 

Paula and Barry Downing provided crucial exhibition support. Additional support is also provided by Charles Baker, Louise Beren, Linda and Douglas Brantner, J. Eric Engstrom, Norma Greever, Nancy and Tom Martin, Dr. Christopher A. and Aimee Moeller, and Georgia and Keith Stevens.

All museum exhibitions receive generous sponsorship from the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum Endowment Fund and the City of Wichita.

 

 

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Thomas Nast, Our Modern Canute at Long Branch, dated October 11, 1873. Wood engraving, 14 1/2 x 21 inches. Purchased with funds donated by the Derby Refining Company, a Unit of Coastal States Gas Corporation

Political Animal: The Cartoons of Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast defined the art of the political cartoon.

During his 26-year career at the popular New York journal Harper's Weekly, Nast created more than 3,000 cartoons. Many of his creations--including the Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant--are still in use today.

Just in time for election season, this collection of cartoons drawn entirely from WAM's holdings explores the artist's use of animals to parody 19th-century political culture.

A powerful figure in his own day, today Nast is recognized as one of the most important cartoonists and political commentators of all time.

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Natvar Bhavsar, Aagyia X, 1981. Pastel on museum board, 19 5/8 x 16 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Museum Purchase, Director's Discretionary Fund

White Symphonies and Red Flowers: Color Abstraction of Natvar Bhavsar

Following exhibitions at the 2009 Venice Biennale and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Natvar Bhavsar is a world-renowned abstract painter.

Yet, it was Wichita Art Museum that first recognized Bhavsar's unique vision, giving him his first one-person museum exhibition in 1979. Bhavsar begins his work by laying a monumental canvas, soaked with acrylic binder, on the ground.

Moving back and forth and around the canvas, the artist showers clouds of dry pigment onto the prepared surface. Bhavsar notes that his canvases invite the viewer to explore their own feelings and thoughts kindled by the pure visual language of color.

Former Wichita Art Museum director Howard Wooden perhaps described Bhavsar's work best, noting, "If you have to classify him, he is an abstract expressionist but his work is unique. [His paintings] always
remind me of the state of mind just before you awaken from a dream."

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Ben Edols and Kathy Elliott, Gold Curled Leaf, 2005. Hot-formed and wheel-cut glass, 12 5/8 x 14 3/16 x 8 11/16 inches. Courtesy of the artists, Photo by Greg Piper

Australian Glass Art, American Links

Australian Glass Art, American Links is an ambitious exhibition organized by the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.

The exhibition features the work of 21 Australian and five American contemporary glass artists—all leaders in the field internationally.

It is the first American museum exhibition dedicated to the wide spectrum of Australian studio glass and the clear link between artists and institutions in Australia and the Pacific Northwest.

"Expect to be awed," wrote exhibition curator Vicki Halper, a noted decorative arts scholar and former Seattle Art Museum curator. "The connections between Australia and the Pacific Northwest are longstanding and fascinating. But, the differences between the art of the two regions are just as intriguing. Australians excel in fused and cold worked glass, which are not as prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. Opaque surfaces and muted colors are likewise more dominant in Australian glass than in the Pacific Northwest."

The exhibition tells two related stories that began in the 1970s—threading the land down under to the Pacific Northwest. In 1974, American artist Richard Marquis travelled to Australia to lecture at the invitation of the Australia Council for the Arts. Marquis’ relationship with Australian artist Nick Mount initiated a lineage of blown-glass artists in Australia. The second story centers on kiln-formed glass and the relationship between Klaus Moje, founder of the glass workshop at Australian National University in Canberra, and the Bullseye Glass Company in Portland, Oregon.

In 1979, Moje met Boyce Lundstrom, co-founder of Bullseye Glass Company, while at a workshop at Pilchuck Glass School founded by artist Dale Chihuly in Washington. At Moje's instigation, Bullseye Glass Company developed a line of compatible, fusible glass that solved long-standing technical problems. This glass is widely used by Australian artists today.

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Ellison Hoover, Manhattan Midnight, about 1942-1945. Lithograph, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth

Night: Works on Paper from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Although night scenes--or nocturnes--have been produced by artists for  centuries, it was American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) who made the subject famous--or perhaps more accurately, infamous.

In 1877, one of Whistler's nocturnes, displayed in London, enraged critic John Ruskin who declared, "[I] never expected to hear a coxcomb ask 200 guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face."

In response, Whistler sued Ruskin for libel and the subsequent court case essentially became a trial about the validity of modern art. During the highly publicized trial, the artist defended his nocturnes as artistic arrangements, based on transcendent ideals of harmony and beauty.

Although Whistler eventually won the suit, his settlement was insultingly small (only a farthing), and he was soon bankrupt. Ruskin, angered at the decision, withdrew from his professorship at Oxford. Despite the personal outcomes of the case, the field of modern art and the subject of the nocturne were forever changed.

Before Whistler produced his nocturnes, the night was treated merely as background. Artists would create narratives set at night, often because the scene was rendered more dramatic by virtue of the nighttime setting. After Whistler, however, night became a subject in itself. Artists began to depict the contrast of darkness with lights from the city in clean-line modernist works, the atmospheric effects of the night in abstract expressions, and the density and mystery of nighttime in surrealist compositions. No longer moralizing or didactic in nature, nocturnes were expressions of artistry, harmony, and beauty.

Prints are an especially fitting media for nocturnes. Rich, dense, and inky, they share characteristics with the night. The versatile techniques offered by printmaking have enabled generations of artists to capture an endless variety of nighttime scenes and subjects. From narrative work by publishers Currier and Ives, to atmospheric work by Whistler, to abstractions by Ben Shahn, this exhibition--from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art--features key examples of nocturnes from the 19th century to the 1960s. This exhibition has been organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.

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Isabel Bishop, Self-Portrait, 1927. Oil on canvas, 14 1/8 x 13 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Museum Purchase, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum

Gesture and Expression: Isabel Bishop and the Fourteenth Street School

Isabel Bishop (1902-1988) was one of New York City's leading artists from the 1930s to the 1950s. She is best known for her paintings, drawings, and prints  depicting shop girls, vagrant men, and teeming life around Union Square.

In Bishop's time, Union Square was one of the busiest commercial and entertainment districts in this booming metropolis. Home to major department stores, theaters, and movie houses, the small businesses in the area provided close to 10,000 jobs.

She was a force in the cadre of artists called the 14th Street School, so called after the thoroughfare  at the south end of this famous public square. In the artist's words, "the beauty, drama, and miraculous effects" of Manhattan inspired her to combine a style drawn from the Old Masters with a contemporary taste for urban realism.

With an interest in gesture, sensitivity to detail, and remarkable artistic expression, Bishop portrayed ordinary people in an extraordinary way.

Using models that she would find on the street, Bishop created dozens of sketches and etchings to capture a specific moment. The artist's depictions of everyday people caught at casual moments, nevertheless, engage with the significant social debates of gender and class differences that marked the 1930s.

Bishop taught at the Art Students League as the only female full-time instructor from 1936 to 1937. Additionally, she was the first woman to hold an executive position in the National Institute of Arts and Letters when she became vice-president in 1946. Yet, Bishop maintained, "I didn't want to be a woman artist; I just wanted to be an artist."

Utilizing the strong holdings in WAM's permanent collection, this exhibition presents Bishop’s socially engaged work and examines her role at the Art Students League as well as her lasting artistic
contributions.

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Frederick Shepherd, Great Eastern, about 1865. Pen and sepia ink, wash, graphite on wove paper, 4 5/8 x 6 1/8 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Virginia and George Ablah Fund

The Era of Downton Abbey: British Watercolors from the Wichita Art Museum Collection

PBS has kicked off Season Four of its wildly popular series Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Classic.

In conjuction with the premiere of Season Four, the Wichita Art Museum presents a selection of watercolors from its permanent collection that reflect the central themes and storylines of the British drama.

View vistas of crumbling, overgrown, once-grand manor houses that remind us why Lord Grantham struggles so valiantly to save his ancestral home. Examine portraits of peasants and  barristers that recall the undercurrent of class distinctions that punctuate the social interactions in the show. Enjoy scenes of elaborate home interiors and country churches.

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George Catlin, Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie, 1832–1833. Oil on canvas, 24 x 29 inches. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

George Catlin's American Buffalo

Forty early 19th-century paintings of American buffalo will have special resonance with Wichita Art Museum visitors this spring.

Kansas embraces the buffalo as our state animal, and the song first published as "Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam" in 1873 in Smith County Kansas is our state song.

Direct from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the museum presents George Catlin's American Buffalo.

George Catlin was among the first artists to explore the American West. He traveled through the interior of North America recording in word and image American Indians and their ways of life from 1830 to 1838. Buffalo roamed in massive herds and provided food, clothing, and shelter for many of the tribes Catlin visited. The burly beast appears in numerous paintings by Catlin, given their central role in Plains Indian life. Catlin described them as huge, formidable, and furious.

Catlin's paintings record a chapter in American history before the invention of photography, a fact that redoubles their significance. Catlin scholar and Smithsonian American Art Museum curator emeritus George Gurney noted, "His collection is the largest of pre-photographic material of Native Americans. It’s an incredible record."

Catlin pursued his project to depict American Indian life with special fervor, because he realized he was preserving "the looks and customs of the vanishing races of native man in America." He trained and practiced as a lawyer in Pennsylvania before he transitioned to courtroom illustration and portraiture. In 1828 approximately, he observed a delegation of Indians in Philadelphia and soon struck out for the West. In 1830, the U.S. government enacted the controversial Indian Removal Act, the aftermath of which strengthened Catlin's resolve for his artistic project.

Some 450 works by Catlin now exist in the Smithsonian American Art Museum holdings. Forty paintings that feature the buffalo have been selected from this rich cache for this special exhibition. Catlin depicted the majesty of the animal, herds grazing on the grasslands, and Indians on the hunt. Several works also portray the Mandan buffalo dance. The compelling paintings reveal how the native groups relied on the buffalo and, simultaneously, demonstrate Catlin’s awe of the imposing wild creature.

George Catlin's American Buffalo is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in collaboration with the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Mary Anne and Richard W. Cree and Lynn and Foster Friess. Additional support was provided by the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund and Smithsonian Council for American Art. Support for Treasures to Go, the Museum's traveling exhibition program, comes from the C.F. Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia.

The Wichita presentation for the exhibition has been generously sponsored by The Fred and Mary Koch Foundation and Sondra M. Langel and Richard D. Smith. Additional support has been provided by Thornton Anderson, DeVore Family Foundation, and Martin Pringle Attorneys at Law.

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Andrea Ackerman, Rose Breathing, 2003. 3D Computer animation, stereo sound, projector, 34-second continuous loop, dimensions variable. San Jose Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds contributed by the Museum's Collection Committee

Vital Signs: New Media Art from the San Jose Museum of Art

Video, animation, nature, beauty—you need to see it to believe it!

Artists tap tradition, and they also innovate. Artists seek new forms to creatively express themselves and our world.

This exhibition presents a selection of leading voices and stunning works in new media art—work that taps emerging technologies for creative comment. Fifteen artworks from the San Jose Museum of Art collection will be on view.

Consider this--San Jose is the downtown for Silicon Valley--just south of San Francisco. Apple, Google, Facebook as well as Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems  headline the crush of companies in the valley, one of the world's creative epicenters for technology innovation. Astutely, the San Jose Museum of Art has developed a stellar collection of new media art to engage their impressive community of technology experts. This fall, the Wichita Art Museum presents key work from San Jose's exceptional cache.

In fact, a number of today's most prominent American artists will have work on display, including Bill Viola, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Tony Oursler. Works range from full-room video installations to electronic sculptures and computer animations. Each artwork inventively marshals the potential of recent technology for thoughtful artistic expression.

Vital Signs focuses on recent new media art that links people and the natural world. In medical parlance, vital signs monitor and reflect wellness by recording pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature. Artists in this exhibition apply such indicators of human health to organic life and environmental patterns. The artworks mine biology, environmental science, ecology, physiology, and related disciplines to develop commentary on relationships between humans and nature.

With this exhibition, WAM welcomes a new museum colleague to Wichita. Jodi Throckmorton, the new curator at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, organized this exhibition in her former role as associate curator at the San Jose Museum of Art. Throckmorton will speak regarding the exhibition on November 9.

Vital Signs was organized by the San Jose Museum of Art and sponsored by Doris and Alan Burgess and Beverly and Peter Lipman. The Wichita presentation has been generously supported by Louise Beren, Norma Greever, Sondra Langel and Richard D. Smith, and Nancy and Tom Martin. Additional supporters include Charles Baker, Fred and Suzanne Berry, Anne Coffin, DeVore Family Foundation, J. Eric Engstrom, Alan and Sharon Fearey, Trish Higgins, Sarah Smith, and Keith and Georgia Stevens.

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Laura Gilpin, Navajo Farms in Canyon del Muerto from the Air, 1952. Gelatin silver print, 22 3/4 x 16 3/4 in. The Eugene B. Adkins Collection, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, and Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman © 1979 Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Icons of the Midcentury Southwest: Photographer Laura Gilpin and Potter Maria Martinez

Laura Gilpin and Maria Martinez are exceptional pioneers and celebrated artists. They were also good friends in New Mexico over many decades.

Icons of the Midcentury Southwest presents an exquisite pairing of 38 Gilpin photographs and 17 Martinez ceramics  that date from the 1920s to the 1970s.

The  exhibition is organized by the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and drawn from their permanent holdings as well as the Eugene B. Adkins Collection,  jointly held by the Philbrook and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, Norman.

The Wichita presentation is generously sponsored by Fidelity Bank Foundation and Bill and Mary Lynn Oliver.

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