CHAMPAIGN, IL.- New exhibitions kick off Krannert Art Museums 50th Anniversary celebration, two of which highlight the breadth of KAMs permanent collection.
At Fifty: Krannert Art Museum, 1961–2011 (August 26 through October 23, 2011) is guest curated by Michael Rush, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum of Art, and celebrates the extraordinary range of KAM’s collection. In a unique, interactive architectural space, sculpture, painting, video, photography, decorative objects, and drawings co-mingle. Objects from ancient Greece and Latin America are featured in dialogue with nineteenth century European paintings and twentieth century video; realism sits astride abstraction; photography and drawings illustrate how artists have represented humanity for more than a century. Traditional hierarchies are removed, allowing the works to speak to each other and to viewers across time. A selection of artists includes: John Singleton Copley, Gustave Courbet, Walker Evans, Hans Hofmann, Jasper Johns, Isoda Koryūsai, Barbara Kruger, Edouard Manet, Mark Rothko, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, Edward Weston, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Focusing on the museum’s growing collection is Recent Acquisitions, 2006–2011 (August 26 through December 30, 2011), an exhibition curated by Kathryn Koca Polite, showcasing a selection from the 350 works that have been given to or purchased by the museum over the last five years. Major strengths of the museums permanent collection are bolstered by the new acquisitions of photographs by M.I.T. professor Harold Edgerton, the iconic Andy Warhol, and U of I alumnus William Wegman as well as works on paper by the major modern artists Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Irene Rice Pereira, Pablo Picasso, David Smith, and Andrew Wyeth.
Part of a larger body of work by Siemon Allen called RECORDS (the third of his collection projects titled Imaging South Africa), Makeba! (August 26 through December 30, 2011) consists of a collection of recordings by South African singer Miriam Makeba together with artifacts from the history of South African music. Miriam Makeba, also known as Mama Africa, popularized African music around the world, appearing with Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon, and Nina Simone. Makeba dedicated her music to the political struggle of black South Africans under apartheid, and within this installation, Allen charts each collected item’s travel history from the place of its original recording to the place where he acquired it, resulting in a complex network of exchanges that maps the political landscape of South Africa. This exhibition is curated by Tumelo Mosaka.
Jerusalem Saved! Inness and the Spiritual Landscape (August 26, 2011 through May 13, 2012), curated by Robert G. La France shares the story of the rediscovery, conservation, and reconstruction of the George Inness’s monumental painting The New Jerusalem. In 1880, a collapsed roof damaged this work, and with the recovered mutilated pieces, the artist cut its remnants into separate paintings that now belong to different museums. Krannert Art Museum exhibits its fragment, Evening Landscape, reunited with two counterparts from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, A Visionary Landscape and The Valley of the Olives, to recompose The New Jerusalem once again.