Here are some Don’t Miss Events
75 Fun Facts, Installment 5
From this curator’s perspective 1955-56 was an excellent year for Museum of Art acquisitions: purchases included Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life quartet, as well as paintings by Kandinsky, Franz Kline and Arthur Dove, and sculptures by Ernst Barlach and Rodin.
Also in the mid-1950s:
The Institute had a Sunday afternoon radio program, broadcast on WIBX, which included recorded music from the MWPAI library and announcements from the weekly calendar.
From October 6-27, 1957, the Institute hosted the exhibition Contemporary American Glass, circulated by the Smithsonian Institution.
The Great Artists Series, conducted by Roland E. Chesley for more than 25 years, became an official program of the Institute in August 1958 and presented pianist Van Cliburn, October 25, 1961.
Part two: The 1936 Summer Olympics
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute opened to the public in 1936 and celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. What else was going on way back then?
The Summer Olympics were held in Berlin under the auspices of Hitler’s Third Reich. The dictator spared no expense to demonstrate Nazi Germany’s greatness to the rest of the world and believed that his Aryan athletes would triumph. In fact, they proved no match to the great Jesse Owens (1913-80), son of an Alabama sharecropper who won four gold medals in track and field events.
Visit Jesse Owens’ official website for more information about this great American hero.
More from 1936 soon!
On January 17, 1947: Sculptor David Smith spoke here about his work (by 1950, the Museum owned Smith’s marvelous The Letter). Later that same year, Philip Guston, who was at the time the head of the painting department at Washington University, St. Louis, was visiting artist between November 2 and 14, 1947. The Museum now owns two Guston paintings, The Porch, 1947, and Table at Night, 1975.
December 10, 1948: Eduard Steichen, director of the Photographic Department at the Museum of Modern Art, presented a lecture “In and Out of Focus,” about the Institute’s current exhibition of the same title. Eight years later, April 29 through May 21, 1956, the Institute hosted the Museum of Modern Arts Family of Man exhibition, which was organized by Steichen. Photographer Minor White was a guest lecturer.
Painters Jack Levine and Ad Reinhardt were jurors for the 18th Annual Exhibition of Central New York Artists. This choice for jurors makes me wonder about how the review process went. Both were interesting artists, but Levine pointed a very critical eye at corruption in his works and Reinhardt composed formalist canvases with titles like Nine Shades of Black.
A report from the 1952-1953 Yearbook: “Music of the People, a series of the music and dances of some of Utica’s many national and racial groups, was introduced in the spring of 1953. Designed to bring to the whole community the cultural resources and traditions of the smaller groups within it, the series was presented through the cooperation of the musicians and musical organizations of Utica’s Welsh, Polish, Arabic-speaking and Negro populations.”
The exhibition What is Industrial Design? was on view from March 14 through April 25, 1954 and was a showcase for 25 products designed and manufactured in Utica.
The Artshop opened in fall 1955, offering art magazines, postcards, greeting cards, educational toys as well as original works of art.
It’s easy for art students interested in comics to try to emulate or copy the way their favorite artists draw without understanding how those very same artists learned or what they learned. It’s just like you can’t simply pick up a trumpet and play like Miles Davis; his music is a compilation of a series of experiences and partnerships with other artists that result in his sound.
There’s no free lunch; they learned through figure drawing classes to hone their skills; most of them studied the figure for years in order to develop their own styles and come to their own way of drawing. Students at PrattMWP are well versed in figure drawing; it’s ingrained into their daily life like breakfast. They learn gesture drawing, the forms of the skeletal and muscular structure and how the mass of the figure fits in space and how it is affected by light and shadow.
In Illustration class we draw Steve. Alternately dressed as a cowboy, a mafia hit man or maybe a ninja, today he is General Zaroff from Richard Connell’s story The Most Dangerous Game, complete with pith helmet, Red Ryder BB gun and a plastic skull for dramatic emphasis.