The James A. Michener Art Museum is looking ahead to an exciting year, with a touring exhibition in April, Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi Gallery. From Florence, Italy’s famed museum, this exhibit of Renaissance paintings and tapestries will be making its only Northeast stop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. A few weeks later, the Michener Art Museum will open the Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion, a glass-enclosed wing that will be home to museum events and programs, such as Jazz Night, as well as for special event rentals. As part of the expansion, the museum will open a dedicated education wing and re-open the Patricia Pfundt Sculpture Garden. And a permanent exhibition, Intelligent Design: Highlights of Arts and Crafts and Studio Craft Movements, will open in February.
A look at the season ahead (images available on request):
January 14—May 20, 2012
Reception: February 3, 6-7:30 p.m.
The paintings of Mavis Smith—part storyteller, part portraitist, and part stage director – are like single frames of a movie with no beginning and no end, as mysterious figures gaze out at the world with enigmatic calm, surrounded by swimming pools, moody interiors, and distant skies. Often working in the ancient craft of egg tempera, which was used by artists as diverse as Botticelli, Vermeer, and Andrew Wyeth, Smith slowly builds up layer upon layer of translucent color. The resulting images seem to radiate light from within, making the people who inhabit her luminous world both arresting and slightly surreal.
Bucks County resident Mavis Smith studied at the Pratt Institute in the 1970s, and has exhibited her work in Holland and Switzerland as well as Santa Fe, New York City, and at several venues in Bucks County. She is also a prolific illustrator and author of children’s books, having authored 10 and illustrated at least 75. Organized by the Michener Art Museum, this exhibition samples a range of Smith’s work, including both paintings and works on paper as well as figurative images, still lifes, and her most recent images of twisted and convoluted tree branches.
Intelligent Design: Highlights of Arts and Crafts and Studio Craft Movements
Permanent Exhibition opening February 3, 2012
The Arts and Crafts and modernist studio craft movements in southeastern Pennsylvania produced a diverse body of work, and makers of contemporary studio craft continue to explore fresh ideas and new designs. Whether a mosaic tile, an abstract form in wood, a wall sculpture, or a ceramic vessel, as nonverbal forms of human expression, these works not only reflect cultural values but can function to transform the particulars of our everyday lives. The creative energy, broad technical repertoire, and innovative designs of these artists are subjects of the Michener Art Museum’s new installation of work by studio craft artists of the Delaware Valley.
Intelligent Design will highlight regional studio craft from its earliest beginnings to the diversity of expression today. The exhibition features work from the studio shops of such makers and designers as Frederick Harer, Wharton Esherick, George Nakashima, Mira Nakashima, Phillip Lloyd Powell, Paul Evans, David Ellsworth, Mark Sfirri and Robert Dodge, Toshiko Takaezu, Robert Winokur, and Matthias Pliessnig.
Have Gags, Will Travel: The Life and Times of a New York Cartoonist
March 10—July 1, 2012
From The New Yorker to Boys’ Life, from lurid detective magazines to church quarterlies, the “gag” has become such a staple of American life that we rarely notice the skills that go into making them. Sylvia Getsler (1926-2009) was a rarity in the cartooning world—a highly successful female gag artist whose work was published in the Saturday Evening Post, Playboy, True Detective, McCall’s, and Ladies Home Journal. Born in Poland, she emigrated to New York in 1933, and by her early twenties had begun what became a regular Wednesday ritual: traveling around New York City with portfolio in hand, visiting the cartoon editors of various “syndicates” that controlled what got printed in numerous magazines. As a freelancer, she had to sell her gags to survive, and what often sold was a world in which every man was a skirt-chaser and an alcoholic, and every woman’s mission in life was to shop and get married. Getsler made hundreds of these gags that were published around the world, but her heart was in the wit and innocence of children. This exhibit focuses on her beautifully drawn gags of kids—kids who want to understand grown-ups but maybe never be one, kids who are wise beyond their years but constantly befuddled by the strange rituals of adulthood. Getsler’s insights into the world of children remain as timeless and relevant today as the day they were drawn.
April 21 – August 10, 2012
The work of major Renaissance artists will travel to the Michener Art Museum in the exhibition, Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi Gallery, on view from April 21 through August 10, 2012 in the Museum’s Paton|Smith|Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries. Drawn from the holdings of the incomparable Uffizi Gallery in Florence and curated by its Director, Antonio Natali, the exhibition will feature examples of art created between the 15th and 17th centuries. Oil paintings by legendary artists such as Botticelli, Titian, Tintoretto, Parmigianino, Cristofano, and their contemporaries will be on display along with two tapestries from the same period. Forty-five master works will depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Organized by Amici degli Uffizi of Florence, Italy, the traveling exhibition’s only Northeast stop will be at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
To Stir, Inform, and Inflame: The Art of Tony Auth
June 2—September 23, 2012
Tony Auth’s cartoons, seemingly simple and always direct, have influenced public opinion and politicians for more than forty years. “Our job is not to amuse our readers,” says Auth of a national artistic heritage of editorial cartooning that began with Benjamin Franklin in 1754. “Our mission is to stir them, inform and inflame them.” Auth was a fledgling artist from California in 1971 when The Philadelphia Inquirer flew him in for a weeklong job interview as the paper’s editorial cartoonist, and thus began a Pulitzer Prize-winning legacy of excellence that documents the changing political and cultural landscape of our time. This retrospective exhibition gathers together the full range of Auth’s art, including drawings, paintings, sketches, and newspaper pages, as well as a selection of his award-winning children’s book illustrations. From Nixon to Obama, from the energy crisis to the financial crisis, this exhibit will display more than 100 original cartoons that touched the lives of countless newspaper readers in our region and, through syndication, all over America.
Continues through April 1, 2012
Continues through February 26, 2012
The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, Pa. Museum hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4:30 pm;
Saturday 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday noon to 5 pm. For more information, visit www.michenerartmuseum.org or call 215-340-9800.