January 17, 2012 — The University of Virginia Art Museum kicks off 2012 with four new exhibits that represent an array of media, genres and artists. The exhibits – all of which open Jan. 20 – are "Master Printmakers: The Italian Renaissance and Its Modern Legacy," "100 Years of Photography," "Curator's Choice: People, Places, and Things" and "Tom Burckhardt: Paintings."
• "Master Printmakers: The Italian Renaissance and Its Modern Legacy"
The exhibition features works in various media – engraving, woodcut and etching – from a golden age in the history of Italian art. Curated by Paul Barolsky, Commonwealth Professor of Italian Renaissance Art and Literature in U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences, it includes works by Marcantonio Raimondi, Jacopo de'Barbari, Domenico Beccafumi and other 16th-century artists whose mythological, religious and allegorical images express the cultural and aesthetic ideals of the High Renaissance. Printmakers, as this show reveals, are both artists in their own right and graphic historians who keep alive the inventions of major artists of earlier periods, Barolsky said. Featured here are original prints after pictorial inventions by Raphael, Francesco Primaticcio, Federico Barocci, Tintoretto and Titian. "Prints not only disseminated widely the ideas of the great masters, they also captured in diverse media the pictorial qualities of such masterworks," Barolsky said. The exhibit will be on view through May 20.
• "100 Years of Photography"
The exhibition presents a chronological survey of photographic highlights from the museum's permanent holdings, with additional loans. Curated by College art history professor Matthew Affron, who is also the museum's curator of modern art and its academic curator, it considers a wide range of processes and subjects, beginning with daguerreotypes and tintypes of the 1850s and proceeding through a century of photographic achievement. The photographic portrait, urban photography, landscape, social documentary and art photography are among the genres and types on view. The exhibition, which will be on view through May 13, features works by Thomas Annan, Eugène Atget, Karl Blossfeld, Anne W. Brigman, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Frank Eugene, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Florence Henri, Helen Levitt, Nadar, August Sander, W. Eugene Smith and Alfred Stieglitz, among others.
• "Curator's Choice: People, Places, and Things"
The exhibition features works by artists that reference the visual world and explore new ways of representing reality. After the first purely abstract painting was created 100 years ago, many believed that traditional artistic genres would be abandoned. Such fears were amplified during the postwar period with the rise of gestural abstraction and color field painting, when numerous artists were more concerned with pursuing such things as pure opticality and medium specificity than depicting subjects rooted more directly in reality.
Ultimately such fears proved to be unfounded as, throughout the 20th century, artists continued to make reference to the visual world, creating work that featured representations of people, places and things – categories known more academically as portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Such classifications, however, expanded in reaction to such things as the significant role of photography and film, the influence of psychoanalysis, the trauma of multiple wars, the impact of commercial culture, the role of abstraction and an increasingly diverse group of artistic voices. "With approaches ranging from Cubism and Surrealism to Pop and Photo-Realism on view, 'Curator's Choice' shows the diverse ways in which modern and contemporary artists engaged such themes and, by extension, the visible world," said Jennifer Farrell, the museum's curator of exhibitions, who organized the show. Drawn from the museum's collection, the exhibition, which will be on view through May 20, features work by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Sally Mann, Joseph Cornell, Christo, Eugène Atget, Lyonel Feininger, Nancy Graves, Philip Guston, Robert Indiana, Alex Katz, Franz Kline, Malcom Morley, Dieter Roth, Jean Tinguely and Paul Thek.
• "Tom Burckhardt: Paintings"
The exhibition features the work of contemporary New York artist Burckhardt, the U.Va. Arts Board's artist in residence for the 2011-12 academic year. Burckhardt works in a variety of media, yet has consistently engaged questions about the practices and histories of painting. His paintings, made of oil on fabricated cast plastic supports, blur divisions between abstract and representational art. Often, his works evoke the psychological phenomenon known as "pareidolia." in which a person believes they randomly encounter the image of an object or a person, such as a face found in the clouds or a rock formation. Curated by Jennifer Farrell, the museum's curator of exhibitions, the exhibit runs through June 3.
In addition to the exhibition at the museum, Burckhardt worked with studio art students in the College to create an artistic interpretation of the Brooks Natural History Museum – located in Brooks Hall from 1877 through the 1940s – which opens at U.Va.'s Ruffin Gallery Feb. 24 and runs through March 30.
All four exhibitions are made possible through the support of Albemarle Magazine, The Hook and Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book. Additional funding for "100 Years of Photography" and "Curator's Choice: People, Places, and Things" is provided by Arts$. The U.Va. Arts Board, a student-run board whose mission is to feature an outstanding artist, attraction, performance, or exhibition each year in a three-year rotation that includes music, visual arts and drama, provided additional support for "Tom Burckhardt Paintings."
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For information, visit here or call 434-924-3592.