Happy Holidays at the Michener!

End-of-the-year vacation days are a perfect time to visit the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown and catch up on all the exhibitions you’ve been meaning to see! The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm (closed on Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year’s Day, January 1).

Bring the whole family — here’s what’s in the galleries!

LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel
Through January 30, 2011
Paton/Smith/ Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries

V for Vendetta, 300, Sin City, Road to Perdition, Watchmen, The Dark Knight, A History of Violence—these are just a few of the recent movies that began their life as graphic novels. The contemporary graphic novel has become a major new literary genre that uses a combination of words and sequential visuals to tell a story. Employing the narrative techniques developed by comic-book artists, and published in book form, these stand-alone stories address an array of thought-provoking subjects, often in unconventional ways. Leading authors and artists are increasingly choosing to express themselves through the graphic novel, and this exhibition presents a wide selection of their work, along with commentary by curators and the artists focusing on the recurring themes, artistic influences, and the cultural climate that impacts the creative process. Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., this touring exhibit features nearly 200 original artworks, including paintings, drawings, storyboards, studies, books, photographs, and a documentary film offering insights into the lives of the artists and the nature of their work. Among the artists featured in the exhibition are Will Eisner, Peter Kuper, Brian Fies, Milt Gross, Dave Sim, Niko Henrichon, Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel.

Lead sponsor: Kevin Nakashima; co-sponsor: Warren Weiss Insurance Agency

Art Speaks: Contemporary Connections
with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit Collection

Through January 2, 2011

The best way to teach kids about art is to expose them to art—not reproductions, but the real thing. That’s the idea behind the Bucks County Intermediate Unit Collection, which was created in the late 1940s by then-superintendent Dr. Charles H. Boehm, with the assistance of Bucks County painter Walter Baum. Focusing especially on the renowned Pennsylvania Impressionist school, this remarkable collection was exhibited in area schools for many years before the paintings were removed due to conservation issues. Through a partnership with the Michener that was established in 2001, portions of the collection were brought back to the schools through the Art on the Move project, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). With the support of a second IMLS grant in 2007, the Art Speaks/Bucks County project focused on contemporary art recently added to the IU collection made by artists Selma Bortner, Vincent Ceglia, Emmet Gowin, David Graham, and Paul Keene. This exhibition features work created by Bucks County residents and students in response to the work of these five artists.

Special Art Speaks Installation:
Snag
Conceived and created by Astrid Bowlby
Putman-Smith Gallery
Through January 2, 2011

As part of the Art Speaks curriculum, art educators and students were encouraged to discuss the many kinds of art that are thought of as “contemporary,” including such non-traditional forms as installation art. To encourage dialogue about contemporary art, the distinguished Philadelphia-area artist Astrid Bowlby was commissioned to create a special installation at the Michener. As a young artist growing up in rural Maine, Bowlby made traditional landscape paintings and drawings as well as what she now calls “situations”: arrangements of pine cones, bottles, and sticks in overgrown fields and wooded areas, on crude homemade tables. After years of study at such prestigious schools as the Parsons School of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Bowlby has continued what she began in Maine, making installations at galleries and museums throughout the East coast. Among many other honors, Bowlby has received grants and fellowships from the Pew and Leeway foundations as well as the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and her work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art. For her Michener installation, Bowlby will create a “conversation” with some of the Michener’s best-known landscape paintings, turning the Putman-Smith Gallery into a contemporary meditation on the sense of place and attachment to the land that lie at the core of the Pennsylvania Impressionist tradition.

CHILDREN’S GALLERY EXHIBITION
Ordinary to Extraordinary: An “Art Speaks” Installation
Through January 23, 2011

Think inter-active, multi-media, sculpture, painting. Think found object. Think ordinary transformed into the extraordinary! Ordinary to Extraordinary is a multi-media installation curated by artist Patricia Goodrich from works created by Bucks County residents through the Art Speaks/Bucks County program. Enter a room where ordinary chairs have been transformed into sculpture. Abstract, surreal, landscape, figure—all are represented. During the past eighteen months, diverse groups such as the Eastern Upper Bucks Senior Center, The Rainbow Room of Planned Parenthood, Milford Square Housing Shelter and the Teen Center through Family Services Association joined Patricia Goodrich to explore contemporary art…and create their own. In a two-part program, participants first created individual works using wooden blocks that were designed to represent sources of peace. The second part involved collaborative art, transforming ordinary chairs into sculpture.

Lead sponsor¬—Pamela Minford Foundation; co-sponsor—In Memory of Robert V. Nesi from his family; additional support from Charter Management Corporation, Jim & Mary Ellen McMaster. Art Speaks/Bucks County exhibits and programs were funded by a Museums for America grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and organized by the Michener’s Education staff.

Si Lewen: A Journey
Through March 6, 2011
Pfundt Gallery

Si Lewen’s life story is woven together with the story of the darkest years of the twentieth century. Born in Poland in 1918, his family first fled to Berlin to escape anti-Semitic persecution. As a teenager, he then fled to France to escape Hitler’s Germany. Two years later, in 1935, he emigrated to New York City where, at age seventeen, he was beaten and robbed by a racist police officer in Central Park. He began his art training in Berlin and Grenoble, France, and in the late 1930s studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York. When World War II began, Lewen joined the army, and was among the first to see the Buchenwald concentration camp, just days after its liberation. After the war, he returned to America and again focused on his artistic career, eventually exhibiting his work at such prestigious venues as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Haunted by his wartime experiences, Lewen began to work on a narrative series of over seventy works on paper entitled A Journey, which tells the story of an imaginary visitor to a concentration camp. Unfolding like a novel without words, this series documents the visitor’s horror at what he sees, but goes further, as the visitor is asked to join the leaders of the camp in a macabre “dinner of death.” When he refuses, he suffers the same fate as the camp’s many residents, and the series ends with a kind of resurrection as his spirit flies up to the heavens. Organized by the Michener Art Museum with the cooperation of the International Institute for Restorative Practices, this exhibit is a selection of more than twenty works from A Journey, accompanied by a nine-minute video that shows the complete body of work. Lewen’s deeply-felt and intensely expressive images of war and its victims led no less a figure than Albert Einstein to say, “Our time needs you and your work.”

Sponsored by Mary Lou and Andrew Abruzzese, The Pineville Tavern

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