Friday, July 30, 2010

My Review of CMA Mabel Hewit Show

For the last few years, I've enjoyed a sense of pride as the Cleveland Museum of Art continues to unveil their massive renovations. Last weekend I got a chance to see the ancient galleries in the 1916 Building and was again awed by the lighting, displays, and the works that I know so well from previous visits.

During my visit I also got a chance to see the newly inaugurated prints an drawings galleries. Here, the CMA is featuring a little-known Cleveland print maker in Midwest Modern: The Color Woodcuts of Mabel Hewit. I am very excited about the decision to choose a local artist to open the new galleries. However, my sincere interests in Hewit's work rests on my growing love of cityscapes, scenes from everyday life, and local histories, I've developed since moving from NE Ohio to Cincinnati.

You will find my review of the show in Aeqai.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Youngstown's Butler Institute of American Art Exhibits Paintings by Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood

The Butler Institute of American Art, in Youngstown, Ohio, said it would present the exhibition, “Ronnie Wood: Paintings, Drawings and Prints,” from Sept. 21 through Nov. 21. It will feature about 60 works by Mr. Wood, who also played with the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces before joining the Stones.

They may be only the paintings and other artworks created by a well-known rock ‘n’ roll guitarist, but the Butler Institute of American Art likes them — enough to give Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones an eight-week exhibition there that the museum says is the first American show of Mr. Wood’s art.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Green is the Color of Art Education

Baby food jars, 2-liter bottles, peanut butter jars, toilet paper rolls, milk cartons, shoe boxes, and fabric scraps are all items many of us who are parents have been asked to save and donate to schools, summer camps, and neighborhood art centers. Recycling materials really is the foundation of most arts educational programming.

CCM Prep is known for it's wonderful music, dance and theater arts programs. Now they are developing a program supporting the visual arts. Encorps! People Recycling for the Arts will be a store that collects and sells recycled materials to teachers, scout leaders, parents, or anyone interested in re-using objects for art projects.

Like Cincinnati Art Snob, Encorps! is one of a growing number of new local innovative start-ups competing for funds through Cincinnati Innovates. Cincinnati Innovates is an innovation contest that offers cash and in-kind prizes to contestants with a connection to Greater Cincinnati that have transformative innovations. Our prize sponsors, assisted by a team of judges from the venture capital and technology industries, will select the winners of the awards.

While most of these are commercialization awards designed to honor for-profit ventures, the contest does include one community choice award of $2000. As a non-profit, Encorps! sees its best chance for Cincinnati Innovates funding in this $2000 award. This award is determined by the number of votes and views it receives by the last day of the competition, September 1, 2010.

Since the beginning of the Cincinnati Innovates competition, Encorps! has flirted with the top spot and for good reason. It is a wonderful idea that involves the whole community through recycling and arts creativity. There are a number of great ideas brewing throughout Greater Cincinnati. As we approach the new academic year and many of us shopping for school supplies, we begin recognizing how our education system currently relies on supplemental arts programming. Encorps! People Recycling for the Arts provides an opportunity for all of us to be involved in arts education through its engaged recycling program.

Monday, July 26, 2010

CAM Hires Fox 19 News Reporter, Regina Russo

The Cincinnati Art Museum has hired longtime Fox 19 news reporter/anchor Regina Russo as their new director of marketing and communications. The press release from the museum is posted here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why not An Earthwork (Riverwork) at the Heart of Our Banks Project?

I've always seen the Tyler Davidson Fountain as Cincinnati's Statue of Liberty. The welcoming arms of the Genius of Water greeting all who come to the Queen City is such a beautiful symbol of which the city should be proud. I'm particular drawn to the theme of water celebrated throughout the imagery of the fountain. The different roles water plays in our lives both in play and work force us to recall the natural in the middle of the industrial.

The history of this fountain as the symbol of the city marks the universal importance of water as well as specifically pointing to the Ohio River. One of the earlier stages of developing our riverfront was to move the fountain (again) to the square, maintaining its focus. Since then the city has again grown towards this center with celebrations happening throughout the year. Like the sculpted imagery of the fountain, water is the focus of our work and play.

The wonderful dance of people from various places into the city mirrors the movement of water through the Ohio River and the flow of water through the fountain. It is this movement through natural and industrial spaces that is at the heart of city planning, and Cincinnati has a wonderful model to follow: The Genius of Water.

As we develop our banks, I think it is a good time(and hope it is not too late) to consider another permanent art installation that celebrates our lives on the river; an earthwork that follows the Tyler Davidson Fountain in its lead to welcome and celebrate what connects us.

Crowning our city is an exciting moment, but we must not forget the foundation, where the people work, play, gather.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Any Images of Smoking in Art?

While in Ripley, OH today, I also visited the Ohio Tobacco Museum. The museum features the history of tobacco farming , the handling of tobacco and lots of memorabilia, such as cigarette packs, matchbooks, cigars, pipes, ashtrays and marketing materials. I remember when the act of smoking was removed from cigarette advertisements. There was a short period of time when almost all television and film characters did not smoke. It was as if everyone quit smoking at the same time. Yet the presence of tobacco and smoking is pretty heavy in our history and culture.

While touring this small museum housed in a 2-story brick house, I tried to recall where smoking finds a place in fine art. I thought of Kirchner's Self-Portrait as a Soldier.
A couple that have been pointed out to me:

@taftmuseum: We have a "smoking lounge" with 3 in 1 room, including this one.

@emefem: The Whistling Boy by Duveneck at the CAM. Also Jean Leon Gerome, orientalist painter, has several with hookahs. Does that count?

@theartmuse: Picasso's drawing of a man smoking a pipe and Manet's Indian woman smoking come to mind.

Any others?

Are there others?


Brag About Your Connection to the Underground Railroad

I visited Ripley, OH this morning for a meeting at the John Parker House. The drive on OH 52 along the Ohio River was a nice one and a number of our hosts encouraged us to return in the fall with the changing colors of the leaves.

The small brick house museum was once the home of former slave and inventor, John Parker. After buying his freedom, Parker earned a number of patents, including one for a tobacco press. Besides some of the often-told slave stories like learning to read and his father owning and selling him and his mother, the inventor was obviously very detail-oriented. He kept very good records. Presumably they were so good that Parker decided to destroy many of them for fear some of the slaves he helped would be traced back to him. He also never liked having his picture taken for fear his image would end up on "Wanted" posters. Of course this makes for a very difficult job of constructing Parker's history. The house museum currently hangs an empty frame over the fireplace, hoping a picture can be found and confirmed. (Of the number of labels hanging on the wall, there is one picture of an African American man in reproduced newspaper clipping that may be him, but it's not yet been confirmed.)

Other visual elements include recently commissioned paintings depicting defining moments in Parker's life. These paintings, while meant to depict Parker (though we do not know what he looks like), the stories are couched in again often-told slave stories and meant to re-tell a story of The Underground Railroad. Yes, The John Parker Museum is another museum that boasts a link to the abolition of slavery and The Underground Railroad. Perhaps because I live in Ohio, it seems as though there are so many places that share this history. Of course there is The Freedom Center, but I've seen others.

While the Museum Center is currently celebrating African American history with America I Am, I'm asking you to name places, museums, collections, paintings, sculptures or other things you've seen that boasts a link to African American History.

Friday, July 9, 2010


As an art organization with perhaps the strongest impact in Greater Cincinnati, ArtWorks has always gotten my nod. Yesterday, I got an opportunity to get a closer look at some of their summer MuralWorks projects. Touring with ArtWorks Director of Development, Beth Fiore and Communications and Development Coordinator, Alex Eichler allowed me not only the chance to look past the scaffolding of a couple of the murals in progress, but to speak with teams of teenage artists about the work they are doing.

I'm not sure what was more awe-inspiring; the enormity of the murals, like the one going up in Covington, KY, the creativity in the many designs, as proposed for the numerous pianos currently being painted for Play Me I'm Yours, the anticipation of the final product, or the sense of pride in these works our emerging artists articulate as they explain to me their work with ArtWorks and the community. These are not simply summer jobs or an artist training program. ArtWorks infuses into the young artists a sense of civic pride, respect for community, an understanding of the importance of their work, and the role art plays in the community.

When looking at each of the murals throughout Greater Cincinnati or seeing, playing and listening to the pianos that will be placed around the city in the coming weeks,remember these represent and are the result of honest collaborative efforts that strengthen communities. With each mural, ArtWorks successfully presents the essence of our city's engagement in the arts and culture and sense of community.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Time Travel: Touring the Histories of Our Cities

The NY Times Travel section is currently highlighting historical tours of various cities throughout the country. These are thematic tours, histories that are pulled from and specific to their cities, such as a history of freedom in Selma, Alabama, the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal shipping through the eyes of the residents of lock houses in Washington DC, and a Georgia O'Keefe tour in Santa Fe, NM. Programs like these are not particularly new, as such tours seem always to be a significant part of family summer vacations through national parks and other historical sites. Yet the diversity in topics seems to be growing. As an art historian, it is this teasing out of these stories that is most exciting.

The Cincinnati Preservation Association provides various walking tours through their Architreks program. These tours highlight various parts of the city and explore its various histories. Recently, The Newport Gangster Tour and The Queen City Underground Tour have attracted a number of local groups to become entertained as well as more engaged in the history of Greater Cincinnati. While patriotic festivals are fun and necessary to remember, it is with tours such as these we uncover the culture of our individual cities.

This month I will begin a series of stories highlighting the number of house museums throughout Greater Cincinnati. Seeing how we have lived and moved around the Ohio River, my series will invite you to travel through our lives and times.


Friday, July 2, 2010

My Review of SOS Art in StreetVibes

Here is my (not-so) recent review of SOS Art.


OAHSM Local History Blog

I don't usually post about other blogs except perhaps in direct response to a post, but I wanted to be sure to highlight this blog with my own post before adding it to my growing blogroll.

The Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums: Local History Blog is a wealth of information regarding local history museum events, projects as well as presenting provocative questions for museum professionals to consider.

Thanks to Julie Carpenter at The Betts House for introducing it to me.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summerfair Accepting Applications for Artist Grants

Summerfair Cincinnati, the non-profit arts organization with offices in Anderson Township, has announced that applications are now available for the 2010 Aid to Individual Artists (AIA) Grant Program. Selected artists will each receive a grant of $3,000 for use in the creation of new works. In addition to receiving the grant monies, artists selected will be invited to participate in a future exhibition. To qualify for the grant, artists must reside within a 40-mile radius of Cincinnati and be at least 18 years of age. Applications are available online at Applications must be postmarked by Friday, August 27, 2010 to be eligible.

To apply, eligible applicants –practicing artists, fine craftsmen and art school students (in a degree granting program with a faculty sponsor) –need to submit both CD-ROM and printed applications. Each application should include artwork images, resume of education and professional achievements, full contact information, and answers to application questions.

Grants will be awarded based on the artistic excellence of the work submitted for review. Judges, brought in from outside the greater Cincinnati area, look for innovation in style and concept as well as the relationship of the works submitted to current standards in the field. Projects are purposely left flexible to respond to artists’ ideas, dreams and needs; however, the goal of the program is to aid the artists’ career development.