Tag: Columbus Bicentennial

12 for 12: James Roy Hopkins and Edna Boies

Edna Boies Hopkins Garden Flowers

In the next in our 12 for 12 series highlighting local artists for the Columbus Bicentennial, we feature James Roy Hopkins and Edna Boies.

Ohio born James Roy Hopkins (1877-1969) met his future wife Edna Boies (1872-1937) while they both were students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  James was primarily a painter and Edna quickly became an accomplished printmaker, fascinated with 19th century Japanese woodblock prints.  The couple married in 1904 following a two year stint James had made in Paris to study at the Académie Colarossi.  During their honeymoon, they had a protracted visit to Japan where Edna further perfected her woodblock printmaking techniques.  James and Edna settled in Paris as did many American artists of the day only to return home to Cincinnati, Ohio when World War I broke out.  James taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and Edna successfully continued her career making floral woodblock prints.

The summer of 1915 was pivotal for both artists.  Edna visited artist friends who were living and working in Provincetown, Massachusetts where she began using the so-called “white line” method of making woodblock prints that was special to a small group of artists there. These prints were less laborious to produce than previous methods and their look tended to reflect the Modernist aesthetic that was becoming widespread in American art.  The Columbus Museum of Art’s recently acquired Garden Flowers is a prime example of her floral work likely made in Provincetown but in the traditional multi-block method.   James, on the other hand, visited Cumberland Falls, Kentucky, a rural resort fashionable among Cincinnati society, and was captivated by the hand-working Appalachian people who worked at the local Brunson Inn.  One character in particular, Andy Vanover—and later other members of his clan—was a frequent sitter for James’s paintings.  In subsequent summers, Edna would join James in Cumberland Falls and she too produced some marvelous woodblock prints, images of rural Appalachia that have become as highly prized and her husband’s oil paintings of similar subjects.

Edna and James both led productive and successful careers.  Edna traveled extensively between Provincetown, Paris, New York, and Columbus, where James had been appointed artist in residence at the Ohio State University.  He soon was given the position of chairman of OSU’s art department.  Although they worked in different media and styles—Edna in a Modernist style, James in an Impressionist—they valued each other’s work and maintained a loving and mutually supporting relationship throughout their lives.

(Edna Boies Hopkins, Garden Flowers, c. 1915, Color woodcut,
Museum Purchase Howald Fund)

12 for 12: Elijah Pierce

Elijah Pierce (1892–1984) was born in Baldwin, Mississippi and took up carving wood after his father gave him his first pocketknife when he was only seven years old. As a young man, Pierce left Mississippi and moved north. Working as both a barber and a preacher, he ultimately settled in Columbus, Ohio in 1924. Today, he is best remembered for the scores of painted wood relief “story-telling” panels that he created between giving haircuts in his barbershop.

Pierce’s Long Street barbershop became a gathering place for the local African-American community as well as a gallery for his work. In the late 1960s, Pierce was discovered by an art world newly interested in the work of folk and self-taught artists. He quickly became something of a celebrity both locally and nationally. In 1982, Pierce traveled to Washington, DC, where he was honored at the Corcoran Gallery of Art at the opening reception of a landmark national exhibition recognizing African-American folk artists. Later that year, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Pierce the National Heritage Fellowship.

In the year following his death, the Columbus Museum of Art acquired more than one hundred Pierce carvings for its permanent collection. This unique trove has been growing steadily as collectors continue to donate important Pierce carvings to the Museum making CMA’s collection of carvings by Pierce the largest in the world.

See Pierce’s work in person in The Essential Elijah Pierce exhibition now on view at CMA through Spring 2013.

Pierce was an inspiration and mentor to many in the community. Do you have a wonderful memory or story to tell about Pierce? Please share it here in the comments!

12 for 12: Kojo Kamau Chronicles Columbus

In the next in our 12 for 12 Columbus Bicentennial series honoring Columbus artists from our permanent collection, we highlight photographer Kojo Kamau.

Throughout his life, Kojo Kamau has made major contributions to the vitality of the arts in Columbus. His photographs chronicle Columbus not only as his home, but also as a cultural, artistic, and political crossroads. For five decades, his work has detailed a changing landscape, acknowledging the troubled political and social history of African Americans, but always through a positive lens. Community, travels, portraits of artists and musicians, both local and international, and social issues are constant themes. Kojo was greatly inspired by Elijah Pierce, whom he photographed numerous times (as you can see in the above picture). In addition to his photographic work, Kojo has been an essential, avid activist and supporter of the arts. In 1979 he and his late wife, Mary Ann Williams, founded Art for Community Expression (ACE), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the work of African-American artists.

Born Robert Jones in 1939, in 1970 he changed his name to Kojo Kamau, which means “unconquerable quiet one” in Yoruba, one of the many languages spoken in West Africa. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, and the Columbus College of Art and Design to study photography. From 1964 until 1994 Kojo was the chief photographer for The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Currently he teaches photography at Columbus State Community College.

(Above: Pierce Painting a Carving in His Shop by Kojo Kamau from the Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection).

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.


12 for 12: Roy Lichtenstein

For the next in our 12 for 12 Columbus Bicentennial series honoring Columbus artists from our permanent collection, we highlight OSU graduate, teacher and Pop Art sensation Roy Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein was a well-renowned American painter, sculptor and printmaker whose work was heavily influenced by advertising and comics. Lichtenstein attended the Ohio State University earning his BFA in 1951, then set off for Cleveland to work as an art teacher. By the early 1960s Lichtenstein gave up teaching to paint full-time and, WHAM!, become a defining member of the Pop Art Movement.

Lichtenstein drew from comic book themes such as passion, romance, science-fiction, violence and war, and used commercial art methods to create his signature Ben-day dot paintings. Lichtenstein also explored a a variety of historical art periods and transformed other artist’s works such as Pablo Picasso, Gilbert Stuart and Claude Monet. “These rank among the best experiments by any artist in blurring the distinction between high and low art. Lichtenstein is one of the few artists able to be ironic and exuberant at the same time, and nowhere do you feel this more than in his paintings that tweak the history of art,” said Paul Goldberger in Vanity Fair.  Currently The Art Institute of Chicago has a large Lichtenstein retrospective consisting of about 160 of Lichtenstein’s work on display. 

Lichtenstein’s sculpture Brushstrokes in Flight welcomes visitors to Columbus at Port Columbus International Airport.

Interesting Lichtenstein Facts:
•    Lichtenstein used to hide cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny, in some of his early paintings.
•    In 1944, Lichtenstein designed a painting for the hull of the United States entry in the America’s Cup yacht race

(Above: Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head #2 from the CMA permanent collection.)

12 for 12: Abdi Roble

In the next of our 12 for 12 series in celebration of the Columbus Bicentennial, we feature Columbus photographer Abdi Roble.

Abdi Roble was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1964 and immigrated to the United States in 1989, first to Washington, DC and a year later to Columbus, Ohio. Self-taught in photography, Roble has been engaged for many years in the Somali Documentary Project, an ambitious mission he founded to create a visual archive of Somali populations outside of their native country. He has traveled to Dadaab, Kenya, to photograph life in the refugee camps, capturing the ethos of the diaspora from an intimate perspective. Working under unpredictable conditions, with available light and a hand-held camera, Roble has been building a photographic record of and for a globally dispersed people.

Roble has had several exhibitions in Columbus including shows at the MPX Gallery the Ohio Art Council’s Riffe Gallery. His one-person presentation at the Columbus Museum of Art in 2007, entitled Stories of the Somali Diaspora, also traveled to the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine; the Weisman Art Museum of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota. All of the venues for Stories of the Somali Diaspora have significant Somali populations. In 2008, The Somali Diaspora: A Journey Away by Roble and Doug Rutledge was published by the University of Minnesota Press.

(Photo by Abdi Roble, First Day of School Portland Maine. From Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection).

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Teens, Photography, & Columbus

Utilizing the power of photography to engage teens in socially relevant conversations, the Columbus Museum of Art’s Columbus In Focus program invites students from two Columbus City high schools, Linden McKinley and Marion Franklin, to examine the rich history of Columbus and document it during the Columbus Bicentennial. With these photographs, students invite you into their world as they uncover their communities past, confront today’s most pressing issues, and explore their place in their city and the world at large.

This years participants also looked to extend their reach into the community. Three students from Linden McKinley helped create QR Code plaques that are installed in locations thoughout Columbus. These plaques direct viewers to their exhibition at CMA and online resources located on this page.

To see more student work please visit the Columbus In Focus Flickr Group or check out the Columbus Underground story on the Columbus In Focus program.

The work the In Focus students created is on view at CMA May 3 – September 8, 2012. Columbus In Focus will also dovetail with CMA’s Radical Camera exhibition, which highlights the work of the Photo League, the pioneering documentary photography movement of the 1930s and 1940s. For more information about the Columbus In Focus teen photography program please contact Kristin Lantz at kristin.lantz@cmaohio.org.

The Focus program is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Puffin Foundation West, Ltd.


Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Kristin Lantz, School Programs Coordinator

12 for 12: Aminah Robinson

(From CMA’s 2011 Aminah Robinson exhibition Street Talk and Spiritual Matters)

In the next in our “12 for 12″ series, our Columbus Bicentennial initiative highlighting Columbus artists from CMA’s permanent collection, we feature Aminah Robinson.

For more than sixty years, Columbus artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson has been creating art inspired by the African concept of Sankofa, understanding the past in order to go forward. Her work reflects the drawing, paper-making, and needlework traditions that she learned from her parents and the training she received in art school. Aminah creates sculpture, large complex work she calls RagGonNons, rag paintings, paintings on cloth, drawings, and books about her family and community, African-American history, her travels, and the stories she has been told by her elders. Her goal is to inspire others to research and document the history of their families and communities and to “pass them on” to the next generation.

When she was asked to illustrate Evelyn Coleman’s manuscript for To Be A Drum, Aminah reflected, “I was touched deeply. I was transported to a past, present, and future that blended together like the sound of beating drums. I saw Africa, the Middle Passage, slavery, the civil-rights struggle, black artists, teachers, and heroes, and always, the children, looking toward tomorrow.” In 2002, the Columbus Museum of Art organized Symphonic Poem, a retrospective exhibition of her work that traveled throughout the United States. In 2004, Aminah was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, given to individuals, “who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”  In 2008, the Museum launched Aminah’s World, where visitors can learn about Aminah and her work and create their own online art inspired by the artist.  CMA continues to feature the unique work of this artist through continuing exhibitions including 2007′s Along Water Street and our 2011 exhibition Street Talk and Spiritual Matters.

Aminah Robinson Columbus Walking Tour
In much of her art, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson documents the history of the Columbus neighborhoods where she has lived and worked for all of her life. Take a walking tour of the Discovery District where you can see Robinson’s works in the Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection, the State Auto Insurance Garage, and the main staircase of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

State Auto Garage, Washington Street, just east of CMA

Aminah wrote and illustrated A Street Called Home, an accordion-style book, about the Mt. Vernon Avenue neighborhood where she grew up. In 2005, a group of students from the Columbus College of Art and Design painted this mural based on the art in the book. Look for a school-age Aminah drawing on the sidewalk alongside two artists painting on easels.

Columbus Metropolitan Library, 96 South Grant Avenue
In 1990, Aminah was asked to create a work of art for the main staircase of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. The scenes that she depicts are drawn from stories about old Columbus neighborhoods that she heard from her elders as well as from the research she conducted at the library. Look for scenes from the Sells Brothers Circus, the Ohio Theater, the Columbus Dispatch, and the neighborhood known as the Blackberry Patch.

12 for 12

In honor of the Columbus Bicentennial, each month throughout 2012 we will highlight a local Columbus artist from the Museum’s collection. Look for “12 for 12″ blog posts each month, plus follow us on Facebook and Twitter for interesting tidbits about the artists’ life and work. To kick things off we’re starting with George Bellows.

George Wesley Bellows (1882 – 1925) was arguably the most celebrated American painter of his generation. Born in Columbus, Ohio, he attended The Ohio State University, where he played on the varsity baseball and basketball teams. Bellows left Columbus in 1904 to study art in New York City, quickly becoming associated with the charismatic artist Robert Henri and his artistic group later characterized by the term Ashcan School. Bellows’ work exemplified Henri’s call to depict the experience of the everyday, often gritty working-class, world around him.  “It seems to me,” he wrote, “that an artist must be a spectator of life: a reverential, enthusiastic, emotional spectator, and then the great dramas of human nature will surge through his mind.”  The artist’s facile brushwork perfectly conveyed the teeming vitality and heady brashness of human and natural drama.

By his mid-twenties, Bellows had risen from art student to art luminary, winning nearly every major award in the art world, and becoming a member of the prestigious National Academy at the young age of twenty-seven. His dazzling career, however, was brief; he died tragically at the age of forty-three from a ruptured appendix. In his short professional life, Bellows created an enormous body of work that includes more than seven hundred paintings, almost two hundred editions of lithographs, and an equal number of drawings. He is celebrated equally for his seascapes, portraits, city snow scenes, and socially engaged genre, as he is for his depictions of working-class urban life. The Columbus Museum of Art has one of the largest and most important collections of works by Bellows in the world.

CMA Celebrates Columbus

For the Columbus Bicentennial, Columbus Museum of Art is asking the community to join 200Columbus and the Columbus Bicentennial celebration by creating your own photograph, painting, sculpture, poem, drawing, or other work inspired by the people or places in our community. Is there a landmark that signifies Columbus for you? A Columbus neighborhood that holds fond memories? An out of the way place you’d like others to discover? Has there been someone in the community who has inspired you? A moment that crystalizes what Columbus means to you?

Create your own artistic interpretation of who and what Columbus is as a city then upload a photograph of the work to our
CMA Celebrates Columbus group
on Flickr. Throughout the year, the Museum will be highlight submissions through blogs, social media channels and events to show what a vibrant, creative place Columbus is to live and work. Join the CMA Celebrates Columbus Flickr group and upload images of your work inspired by Columbus. Add any appropriate tags that might identify your work.

Need some inspiration? Check out CMA’s Columbus Views exhibition on view through May 27, 2012.

We’re looking forward to seeing your creative masterpieces.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Jennifer Poleon, Digital Communications Manager