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About David Stark

David Stark, Chief Curator at CMA, has a background in museum education that includes positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught art history and visual culture at Columbia College Chicago, has lectured on numerous international travel programs with the Art Institute, and his publications on 19th century Belgian art have appeared in American and European journals and catalogs.

Pocketguide to CMA: Jacob Lawrence, Street Scene-Restaurant

In this new series we feature masterworks and other art from Columbus Museum of Art’s Collection.

Jacob Lawrence
American, 1917-2000
Street Scene-Restaurant, c. 1936

Tempera on paper mounted on board
26 1/4 x 35 in. (66.68 x 88.9 cm)
Museum Purchase, Derby Fund, from the Philip J. and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art, 1930–1970

Street Scene—Restaurant is a youthful work by African-American artist Jacob Lawrence, a towering figure in the history of 20th-century American art. In this painting, Lawrence reveals a commitment to unvarnished realism, exposing life in the red-light district of the neighborhood of Harlem in New York City during the Depression. Drawing from influences such as African art and Cubism, Lawrence depicts his gritty subject using modernist conventions: flat space and boldly simplified, geometrically conceived form.

– David Stark, Chief Curator at CMA, has a background in museum education that includes positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught art history and visual culture at Columbia College Chicago, has lectured on numerous international travel programs with the Art Institute, and his publications on 19th century Belgian art have appeared in American and European journals and catalogs.

Pocketguide to CMA: Degas’ Houses at the Foot of a Cliff (Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme)

In this new series we feature masterworks and other art from Columbus Museum of Art’s Collection. 

Degas, Houses at the Foot of a Cliff (Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme)

This painting, completed when the artist was more than sixty years old, depicts the seaside where he vacationed as a young boy. Edgar Degas was an Impressionist painter earlier in his career. He often showed women in light-filled interiors, such as ballerinas or bathers. Landscapes comprise less than ten percent of Degas’s work, making them extremely rare. This landscape represents a departure from actual appearances: the colors are not true to life. Neither the lavender sky nor the blue rooftops appeared in nature. Moreover, Degas combined views from various sketches and photographs to create a nostalgic mood, perhaps to suggest distant childhood memories.

What are your most treasured vacation memories? What place would you choose to paint?

Look for this work, now on view in as part of a reinstall of permanent collection highlights, then learn more during the return of Wednesdays @ 2 talks (now virtual via Zoom) with The Artist’s Eye: CMA’s Modern Art Masterpieces with Chief Curator David Stark on July 29. Register to receive the Zoom link.

– David Stark, Chief Curator at CMA, has a background in museum education that includes positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught art history and visual culture at Columbia College Chicago, has lectured on numerous international travel programs with the Art Institute, and his publications on 19th century Belgian art have appeared in American and European journals and catalogs.

Pocketguide to CMA: Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun

In this new series we’ll be featuring masterworks and other art from Columbus Museum of Art’s Collection. 

Edward Hopper Morning Sun

Edward Hopper
American, 1882–1967
Morning Sun
1952
Oil on canvas
Howald Fund Purchase

Edward Hopper was known as an American Scene painter—an artist who depicted views of everyday life in the U.S. in the 1930s, 40s, and beyond. This 1952 painting shows his wife Jo, the model for most of his paintings of women. Figures in Hopper’s paintings are often shown, as in this example, isolated and lost in thought. Hopper’s model, bathed in sunlight, gazes out through an enormous window to a row of identical windows of a nearby building. Perhaps every window could reveal another solitary occupant behind its glass, each confronting the new day and yet each alone in the person’s shared experience.

One could argue that this popular painting embodies a sense of calm and peace, or an overwhelming feeling of lonely isolation. Which emotion does it communicate to you?

 

-David Stark, Chief Curator at CMA, has a background in museum education that includes positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught art history and visual culture at Columbia College Chicago, has lectured on numerous international travel programs with the Art Institute, and his publications on 19th century Belgian art have appeared in American and European journals and catalogs.

Art with Friends: Sessions Society

Sessions Society

Today marks the first event of the season for Sessions Society, a favorite CMA group dedicated to providing unique experiences for people who love art of all kinds. Whether listening to artists share stories about their works in galleries, watching printmakers run plates through a press, or spending an evening in the home of a local collector, Sessions members enjoy encounters with art and interaction with like-minded people over wine, food, and friendly conversation.

Sessions

Session soirées are casual and fun. Pictured here: Jim and Rebbie Ball soirée.

This season’s offerings of evening programs—called soirées—include a look at the art of designing and making frames by the founder of nationally acclaimed Hackman Frames, and an exclusive after-hours visit to a special exhibition, Visions from India, at the Pizzuti Collection galleries. In the spring, learn more about a special exhibition coming to CMA, Subversion and Surrealism in the Art of Honoré Sharrer. A soirée held in the museum on March 9 will feature a close look at the enigmatic paintings by Sharrer (1920–2009), whose startling and dream-like images made her a controversial figure.

Thomas Cole

Discover the hidden ambition of landscape master Thomas Cole: to be an architect! His plans influenced the design of the Ohio State House. (Matinée on December 1).

Kicking off this year’s roster of eight monthly programs is a personal tour of the diverse art collection of Karen and Skip Yassenoff, who welcome Sessions members to their home. Sessions soirées are traditionally held in the evening at 6:30 pm, but this year, join the group for a new daytime program—a matinée—on December 1. It’s a holiday lunch at the Scioto Country Club, featuring a talk on the CMA exhibition Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect. This unique show reveals the role of Cole, America’s first great landscape painter, in the design of the Ohio State House.

Honore Sharrer

A painting featured in the exhibition Subversion and Surrealism in the Art of Honoré Sharrer (Soirée on March 9). [Honoré Sharrer, Leda and the Folks, 1963, CMA]

Any way you look at it, the best way to get up close and personal with art of all kinds, and come face to face with art makers, collectors, and other art lovers, is to join the fun and attend a Sessions event. Once you do, you’ll be hooked. For more information on joining Sessions Society, click here.

2016-2017 Sessions Events
September 22, 2016: A personal tour at the home of Karen and Skip Yassenoff, showcasing their diverse collection of local and international works.
October 6, 2016: “The Collector Next Door,” an entertaining presentation about how to collect art by Patrick Doust and Richard North.
November 10, 2016: “The Art of the Frame”, a demonstration and discussion by Craig Hackman, of nationally acclaimed Hackman Frames.
December 1, 2016: Special Holiday Luncheon at Scioto Country Club featuring the Thomas Cole exhibition with remarks by State House historian Chris Matheney. Sessions Matinee 11:30 am – 1:30 pm.
January 19, 2017: A personal tour of the wide-ranging collection at the home of Michael Reese, an avid collector and art consultant.
March 9, 2017:  A private tour in the museum of Honoré Sharrer, featuring one of America’s leading female painters of the 20th century.
April 27, 2017:  Presentation by Deborah Griffing, featuring works by artists with disabilities and their mentors at Goodwill Art Studio and Gallery.
May 18, 2017: An after-hours visit to the Pizzuti Collection featuring “Visions from India,” celebration of India, full of color, innovation and delight.

 

– David Stark, Chief Curator at CMA, has a background in museum education that includes positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught art history and visual culture at Columbia College Chicago, has lectured on numerous international travel programs with the Art Institute, and his publications on 19th century Belgian art have appeared in American and European journals and catalogs.

Columbus and Germany—Connections and Cross-Currents in Art and Architecture

The topic of Columbus’s cultural connections and parallels with Germany was inspired by a recent trip to Berlin. I visited the German capital in June as study leader with a group from the Art Institute of Chicago, where I worked in the museum education department before coming to Columbus. The cobblestone streets, brick row houses and beer halls of Columbus’ German Village are just one of many reminders of the heritage left by German immigrants who settled in Columbus, once composing up to one-third of the city’s population.

Marsden Harley, Berlin Ante-War

1: Marsden Hartley, Berlin Ante War, 1914, CMA

In the Museum, a masterpiece called Berlin Ante War, (fig. 1) by the early 20th-century American painter Marsden Hartley was painted in Berlin in the era of World War I. Hartley had spent most of his life in New England (and several years in Cleveland in the 1890s) before moving to Berlin at the age of 36. Inspired by the avant-garde Expressionist movement that swept through German art during the first decade of the 20th-century, Hartley produced a series of bold, vigorously painted abstractions that includes Berlin Ante War, a work filled with quasi-mystical imagery related to German military uniforms and insignia, and vignettes of the German homeland. Hartley himself was not from Columbus, but the man who collected his work, Ferdinand Howald was a resident of both Columbus and New York—he divided his time between the two cities. An ardent fan of Hartley and the art of other American modernists, Howald, an industrialist, collected their works in the early decades of the 20th century and left them to the CMA in 1931, the year in which the museum’s historic (Ross) building opened.

Fig2Germany650

2: Old National Gallery, Berlin

The ties between Germany and the Columbus art world continue to this day, fostered by the international sister cities program that connects Columbus with Dresden. On the walls of the current exhibition of the Greater Columbus Arts Council in fact, are works by two 2015 recipients of artist residencies in Dresden, Andrew McCauley and Robert Metzger. And reciprocally, a Dresden artist, Stefan Hurtig, is this year’s Dresden artist-in-residence in Columbus.

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Tower Room, Fehmarn (Self-Portrait with Erna), 1913, CMA

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4: Emil Nolde, Sunflowers in the Windstorm, 1943, CMA

I was particularly struck in Berlin this June by the crowds visiting a blockbuster exhibition, Impressionism-Expressionism: Art at a Turning Point (called ImEx for short) in the Old National Gallery of Berlin. Visitors waited in long lines extending out the door of the stately neo-classical museum (fig. 2) to see the art of two movements rarely looked at in tandem: 19th-century Impressionism, featuring loosely brushed, sunlit views of modern life—and Expressionism—purposefully distorted images reflecting the psychic anxieties of a tense era, of which Hartley’s painting is one striking example. In Germany, both of these movements were the subject of intense controversy when first introduced in exhibitions and commercial galleries. CMA’s permanent collection boasts great works by two well-known German Expressionists, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (fig. 3) and Emile Nolde (fig. 4), both of which, along with Hartley’s canvas, will soon be on view in the reinstalled permanent collection galleries. The latter two works came to the museum in 1991 from another great private collection of Columbus, that of Howard D. and Babette L. Sirak. In Kirchner’s powerful canvas, a self-portrait and a nude female figure populate a claustrophobic composition filled with jagged shapes positioned at tilted angles, while Nolde’s moody still life presents three windswept sunflowers under an ominously dark sky.

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5: Reichstag building, Berlin, 1894

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6: Norman Foster, Dome of Reichstag, Berlin, 1999

Following massive destruction in World War II, Berlin’s post-war reconstruction during the Cold War and the increasing acceleration of rebuilding after German reunification in 1990 has resulted in a city filled with bold Postmodern architecture. Sometimes the new jostles with the traditional, for example in the daring 1999 glass dome by Norman Foster added to the 1894 restored neo-baroque Reichstag (Bundestag) building (figs. 5-6). The new wing of the Columbus Museum, opening in October 2015, will also offer a contrast of classical and contemporary architectural modes. The neo-classical façade of the historic Ross building stands beside the rectangular tube of the new wing’s second story, cantilevered over a recessed glass wall of windows on the ground level. The green copper facing seen on the new wing is not an uncommon sight in Berlin, where its distinctive color is used on a number of recent buildings, such as that of the recently completed German Federal Ministry for Education & Research (fig. 7).

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7: Heinle, Wischer & Partner, German Federal Ministry for Education & Research, Administrative Building, Berlin, 2014

Connections and parallels between Germany and Columbus are many. The new wing and reinstalled permanent collection will offer opportunities for new discoveries and fresh perspectives of all kinds, which I hope you will explore and share in the months to come.

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8: Michael Bongiorno, DesignGroup, The New Wing of Columbus Museum of Art opens October 25, 2015 during the Community Grand Opening, presented by PNC Arts Alive

Image key
1 Marsden Hartley, Berlin Ante War, 1914, CMA
2 Old National Gallery, Berlin
3 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Tower Room, Fehmarn (Self-Portrait with Erna), 1913, CMA
4 Emil Nolde, Sunflowers in the Windstorm, 1943, CMA
5 Reichstag building, Berlin, 1894
6 Norman Foster, Dome of Reichstag, Berlin, 1999
7 Heinle, Wischer & Partner, German Federal Ministry for Education & Research, Administrative Building, Berlin, 2014
8 Michael Bongiorno, DesignGroup, New Wing, CMA, 2015

-David Stark, Chief Curator at CMA, has a background in museum education that includes positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. He has taught art history and visual culture at Columbia College Chicago, has lectured on numerous international travel programs with the Art Institute, and his publications on 19th century Belgian art have appeared in American and European journals and catalogs.