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Art’scool Docent Stories: Mary Therrien Expect the Unexpected
The Albright-Knox’s motto is “Expect the unexpected.” That certainly happened to me on a recent third grade tour.
Before starting the tour, I took my third grade group to the little alcove by the gift shop to talk about museum rules and the theme of their tour. I ended by saying, “If you see something you like, stop and ask me about it, and we’ll talk about it.”
A little boy raised his hand and said, “I like this a lot.” He was pointing at a green Dale Chihuly vase that was for sale in the case right in front of him! I asked the rest of the group if they liked any of the vases. All of them raised their hands. Each of them told me which of the four he or she liked best, and why. We spent ten minutes talking about glass blowing, Dale Chilhuly as an artist, what types of glass works he creates, and the Corning Glass Museum. Every single child wanted the piece he or she chose in their bedrooms.
Finally, the first boy raised his hand again and asked, “How much does it [the vase he chose] cost?” I said, “Several thousand dollars—somewhere around six thousand dollars.” I could see he was trying to process what that meant. So I said to the group, “Are you ready to go outside and meet a very big lady?” [Jaume Plensa’s Laura, located on the museum’s grounds.]
Monuments Men at the Gallery: Recovering the Lost History of Edgar Degas’ Mlle. Fiocre dans le ballet de “La Source”
The forthcoming release of the film Monuments Men, based on the book of the same title that traces the activities of members of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the Allied Forces as they located, protected, and returned artworks confiscated by the Nazis during World War II, is especially timely given the recent revelation that in 2012, German officials discovered over 1400 artworks in the dingy Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of collaborationist art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt.
The Albright-Knox recently had a discovery of its own regarding the fate of one our paintings during the war—albeit one with a much happier ending, in which the artwork was long ago restored to its rightful owner. While working on a project to make more information about the Gallery’s art works accessible through MIMSY, our collection database, the art collection cataloger needed to gather some biographical information about Alphonse Kann, a former owner of Edgar Degas’ Mlle. Fiocre dans le ballet de “La Source” in order to improve the record for him in the database.
She learned that though Kann, a French Jewish art dealer, was listed in the Gallery’s documentation as owning the painting until his death in 1948, he had in fact fled Paris in 1938 or 1940, leaving behind his art collection, which was seized by the Germans in 1940.
Book AK—The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
During World War II, Adolf Hitler made it his personal mission to seek out Europe’s greatest works of art. His intent was to both build a personal collection of the best art in the world and destroy all works that he considered to be “degenerate” art.
Stopping Hitler was not an easy task. The Herculean effort was the result of a group known as the Monuments Men, a special force of American and British art historians, museum directors, curators, and soldiers who worked together to prevent the appropriation and destruction of Europe’s great art. In The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, author Robert Edsel details this period in history through the moving personal accounts of six of these brave men.
Learn more about this historic effort by becoming part of the museum-hosted book clubBook AK. The Book AK discussion about The Monuments Men will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register
Art’scool Docent Stories: Kasalina Nabakooza Step into Art
During training when I followed a tour by another docent there was a first grader who looked at the Op art painting Temple to Albers, 1984, by Richard Joseph Anuszkiewicz and said it made him feel like he could “step into art!” I think it was a wonderful spontaneous reaction that is right on the mark. It is great that the tours give visitors and kids, especially, a chance to step into art.
Book AK: The Pop Revolution Spotlight on Eduardo Paolozzi
Eduardo Paolozzi (Scottish, 1924–2005) was one of the founders of the British art movement called the Independent Group in 1952. Composed of artists, sculptors, architects, and critics, this group was driven by a desire to change the modernist approach to high art through the incorporation of mass culture. The Independent Group is considered the precursor to the Pop art movement, which developed in the 1950s in Britain and the United States.
While Paolozzi worked with a variety of media throughout his career, he is best known for his sculptures, including the Albright-Knox’s 1958 work Japanese War God. Among the many achievements in the artist’s long career was his knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988.
Learn more about Eduardo Paolozzi and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register
Book AK: The Pop Revolution Spotlight on Robert Rauschenberg
For more than five decades, Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008) was a leading figure in the art world and was associated with many periods of art history, including the Pop art movement. He is perhaps best known for his Combines, which he began creating in the 1950s and worked on throughout his career. In essence a hybrid of painting and sculpture, these works involved combining non-traditional materials and objects—such as wood, bits of metal, newspaper, and even stuffed birds—on a painted canvas.
Throughout his prolific career, Rauschenberg also designed sets and costumes for dance productions, including many for the company of his friend Merce Cunningham (American, 1919–2009).
Learn more about Robert Rauschenberg and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register
Book AK: The Pop Revolution Spotlight on Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns (American, born 1930) has been a leading figure in the art world for more than sixty years and has been a part of many key movements, including Pop art. While he is known to work in a variety of two- and three-dimensional forms, it is the artist’s highly texturized paintings that are most easily recognizable. He achieves this texture by incorporating wax and plaster with the paint he applies to the canvas.
Johns often re-creates iconic images such as targets, numbers, letters, and maps of the United States in his works. He is perhaps best known for his images incorporating the American flag, which has been a consistent theme in his work from the 1950s through today.
Learn more about Jasper Johns and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register