Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Modern Masters exhibition at Reynolda House, Museum of American Art

I am really pleased I finally was able to view the Modern Masters exhibit at Reynolda House, Museum of American Art this afternoon. I arranged a visit with my National Art Honor Society chapter. The pieces that most impressed me were the paintings by Hans Hoffman, one extremely rich with heavy impasto application and abstract expressionism at its height. … a gorgeous piece! Hoffman is so deeply ingrained into my practice as an artist and teacher, to see such a wonderful piece by him was so richly rewarding and self-affirming.

I was also moved to see 5 women in the exhibition: Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Nevelson, Grace Hartigan, and Ann Truitt. Makes me keep going when I learn of new women artists that need to be included in the ‘archive’.

However, I am winding down on my numbers to complete by the end of the semester. This archive is something I will need to continue, and who knows when it will end. It is like quicksand, the more I accomplish the more I become aware of.

Besides the above, I was humored to see a painting by Larry Rivers before his style became commercialized. It was a very figurative and gestural painting.

I also enjoyed viewing a “Happenings” painting by Jim Dine. I love Jim Dine, but at first glance I was not the least impressed with the painting. But after hearing the curator speak, I had a different understanding of this very expressionistic and angry painting of the ‘60s.

Exhibition Description:

Modern Masters — an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian —Reynolda House, Museum of American Art

By Michael Breedlove, Winston Salem Monthly

Forty-three pivotal paintings, 31 pioneering artists, one historic locale. That’s the story behind the “Modern Masters” exhibit at Reynolda House, a groundbreaking show that’s on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum starting October 7.

Brimming with energy and tending toward the abstract, the exhibit offers a narrative on American life post-World War II, told through the talents of artists who were shifting the way the world thought of art.

“The mid-20th century was an amazing period for American art,” says Allison Perkins, executive director of Reynolda House. “It’s really the first time that Americans began having a major influence on the international art market. For us to host this exhibit—one that contains the Smithsonian’s best treasures—is really a coup for Winston-Salem.”

Reynolda House is one of only six venues nationwide to host the exhibit, and the final stop before it returns to D.C. Perkins says the show presented quite a challenge because of its size—some works are nearly as big as billboards—forcing officials to completely reconfigure the gallery. Still, she says the exhibit provides the “perfect complement” to the rest of Reynolda’s art collection, which tends to taper off by the mid-20th century. “We’re really excited to offer something the public isn’t used to seeing here. [The exhibit] lets us continue telling the story of American art.”

For more details, including a complete list of events, visit

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