Folk Couture: Fashion and Art Exhibit at the Huntsville Museum of Art

Only a bit before it closed this summer, I got to see at the Huntsville Museum of Art the Folk Couture: Fashion and Art Exhibit, which was organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York. They had it on exhibit in NY during the early part of 2014, and since it left Huntsville, I have been unable to locate if the exhibit has been returned for some period, or will be on loan to another museum in the near future.

Folk Couture Exhibit at Huntsville Museum of Art//

From the exhibit’s site:
Fashion has always found inspiration in unpredictable sources: art, life, history—there are no boundaries. In this spirit, the American Folk Art Museum explores the relationship between inspiration and creation. Thirteen established and emerging designers have created original ensembles inspired by artwork in the museum’s collection.

Here, a Bibhu Mohapatra dress, inspired by the rare Tattoo Pattern Book.

Creatures of the Wind dress by Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters — Vogue has their Fall ’16 RTW show here.

Just One Eye and Creatures of the Wind from Shannon Bellanca on Vimeo.

Fall 2016 show:
Creatures of the Wind Fall 2016 from Creatures of the Wind on Vimeo.
The outfit at 2:12 is just delicious in such a weird way. And 2:21, yesss.

John Bartlett wallhanding inspired by unidentified artist’s ‘man with green shirt and white suspenders’ that’s believed to be either Canadian or US.

Anniversary Tin: Man’s Top Hat and Eyeglasses, made sometime between 1880-1900 in Gobles, Michigan

Michael Bastian ensemble with Angel Gabriel weathervane circa 1840

Jean Yu dress with David Alvarez porcupine

Seated Jackalope by Alonzo Jiminez

Sam Doyle seated dog

Yeohlee Teng dress — she took snapshots of carved animals (the Sam Doyle dog, Jiminez jackalope) in the museum’s storage area and used these as print tiles on kraft paper

This is a Quaker friendship quilt by Elizabeth Hooten (Cresson) Savery and others made in 1844 Philadelphia

the quilt inspired this threeASFOUR laser-cut flower-print patent leather over Spandex power mesh dress

Spring-Summer ’16:
INTERDIMENSIONAL Spring Summer 2016 from threeASFOUR on Vimeo.

left to rigth: Chadwick Bell, Fabio Costa, Catherine Malandrino dresses
Chadwick Bell, Fabio Costa, Catherine Malandrino dresses//

Gary Graham ensemble, with fabric woven from a loom at RISD
Weaving the Jacquard Coat, 2013, Courtesy Gary Graham, New York from American Folk Art Museum on Vimeo.

From the NYT review:
“Though fashion may be the lure, the art shines. Even at their most outré, the outfits complement rather than distract from the many gems of the American Folk Art Museum’s collection.”


“Folk Couture” also proves that museums can explore fashion on a budget, without the need for celebrity designers, brand sponsorships and elaborate set pieces. Not every show has to be McQueen at the Met or Gaultier at the Brooklyn Museum.

Arkansas Arts Center, Heifer International, Clinton Presidential Center, And Chihuly

The Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock — it’s a smaller museum with several enjoyable pieces. This Judy Onofrio: Just Pretending 1995 is placed prominently at the entrance

Her more recent works seem to take on a neutral palette with anatomical forms.

Bisa Butler, Basin Street Blues 2013. acquired by the museum in the last couple of years and is the museum’s first denim quilt.

The quilt is made up of denim and indigo-dyed cloth from Ghana and is an “homage to (the artist’s) favorite jazz musician, Louis Armstrong”. 

Also on display on this visit were works by Pissarro, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne…
Gallery, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock//

Here, Diego Rivera’s Dos Mujeres (Two Women) 1914

Particularly compelling is this piece by Gerry Williams, Rendering Lorraine
Gerry Williams, Rendering Lorraine, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock//

especially when viewed from behind, where the children are in view
Gerry Williams, Rendering Lorraine, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock//

Gerry Williams was the son of missionaries who ran a school in India. His father worked to improve sanitation there and built a septic tank, which was so novel that Gandhi made a point to see. Gandhi asked his father to build one for his house, which he did. Gerry says:
“I never met Gandhi myself because we were in school when he came. But I have been deeply influenced by Gandhi over the years. The idea of handicraft and low agricultural economies, living in mud-brick homes, growing things, making things for use by other people.

“[Gandhi] also influenced me in my ethics and moral life. I became a pacifist and spent time in jail as a conscientious objector. He allowed me to say ‘what am I going to do with my life that will be ethical and politically responsible?’ Being a potter is what I came to believe the answer to that question was.”

Civil Rights photography by Will Counts of the Little Rock Nine
Will Counts Photography, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock//

Will Counts Photography, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock//

This is the 5th Grade Gibbs Magnet School Project, Blancaflor (White Flower) which is based on a folk tale from Oaxaca, Mexico

5th Grade Gibbs Magnet School Project, Blancaflor (White Flower) based on a folk tale from Oaxaca, Mexico, at Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock
A bit later, Av went to work while I visited Heifer International Village — Heifer’s mission is to help end hunger and poverty, and you may have seen their catalogs in which people may purchase livestock to be gifted to families in developing countries. Heifer’s work is more multi-faceted, but this area is the one in which I’m more familiar, as Av and I try to make certain that each Passover we purchase some animal(s) from the catalog for another family in honor of our seder guests. 
Inside the building, visitors are encouraged to view their displays, and it’s especially good for children. There’s also a gift shop which sells handmade goods from around the world.
One of the questions I was sure to ask was something that came up when I was reading reviews of the facility before my visit — there was some disagreement online as to whether the gifts are actually 100%. That is, if I purchase a goat, is someone in some other country actually getting a goat? I asked directly and was answered that yes, absolutely, purchase a goat, someone gets a goat. It’s not that I’ve purchased 70% of a goat and 30% goes to administrative costs. They said it’s just that easy. A purchase of a goat equals someone getting a goat.

Heifer International Village, Little Rock AR//

Heifer is behind the Clinton Presidential Center
Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock AR//

Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock AR//

Letter from Willie Morris (with mention of a Razorback game)
Letter to Bill Clinton from Willie Morris//

Letter from Mister Rogers
Letter to Bill Clinton from Mister Rogers//

Letter from Queen Noor to Hillary Clinton
Letter to Hillary Clinton from Queen Noor//

Replica Oval Office
Oval Office//

Makings of a formal White House dinner
White House China//

White House China//

Dale Chihuly Crystal Tree of Light

Dale Chihuly Crystal Tree of Light

The Globe and Mail even had to compare Chihuly’s work to a current political figure, speaking of the current Chihuly exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto:

It’s a sensational show – albeit in the pejorative sense of sensational. Meaning: Full of Teletubby colours and flash and bigness and strange shapes drawn from some Baudelairean fever dream or the remnants of an explosion on the set of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Meaning: Almost always relentlessly immodest, forever straining to elicit a slack-jawed “Wow” from the spectator. Meaning: Visually noisy, superficial, bereft of genuine nuance and subtlety, provocative but not thought-provoking.

Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga

From our last visit to the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga

Takashi Murakami, Untitled (but so happy!)

Beth Lipman’s Flowers, Bread, Chalice and Sticks — she had an exhibit at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts a few months ago, and her exhibit at the Hunter just closed last month. This piece is in the permanent collection.

Gordon Parks, American Gothic

Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga TN//

Helen Frankenthaler, Around the Clock with Red
Helen Frankenthaler, Around the Clock with Red, Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga TN//

Paul Jenkins, Phenomena Royal Violet Visitation
Paul Jenkins, Phenomena Royal Violet Visitation, Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga TN//

Robert Indiana, Heliotherapy Love

Robert Rauschenberg, Opal Reunion — on the museum label, one of the people giving this gift was listed as Mrs Olan Mills. Turns out Olan Mills was based in Chattanooga.
Robert Rauschenberg, Opal Reunion, 1976, Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga TN//

Karen LaMonte, Reclijning Dress with Drapery
Karen LaMonte, Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery, Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga TN//

Bessie Harvy, Untitled — happy to see that they had more visionary art on display this time than a couple of years ago
Bessie Harvy, Untitled, mid-1980s, Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga TN//

Miriam Beerman, Lodz (We Vegetate Burdens to Ourselves)

Radcliffe Bailey, In the Recturnal
Radcliffe Bailey, In the Recturnal, 2007, Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga TN//

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Mark Landis, Good Work

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi
Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel MS//

No photography is allowed in any part of the museum.

A nice, small museum, the strongest element of their permanent collection is undoubtedly the Native American basketry, with some images here.

Other notable pieces:
Thomas Moran ‘A Glimpse of Long Island Sound from Montauk’ 1907
Mary Cassatt ‘Woman Bathing’ 1891
Grant Wood litho ‘In the Spring’ 1939
John Singer Sargent ‘Wooded Landscape’ 1883
Robert Henry ‘The Brown Wrap’ 1911

A Clyde Butcher exhibit, “America the Beautiful: the Monumental Landscapes of Clyde Butcher” is going on now through September 4 of this year.

The museum just wrapped up a Chihuly exhibit (they acquired the ‘Dale Chihuly Aventurine Green Chandelier with Copper Leaf’ which was installed in 2013) and the LRMA happens to have the only Chihuly on display in the state of Mississippi.

Laurel, Mississippi is best known in the larger art world as being the home of Mark Landis, the now-famous art forger who duped 50+ museums. In this 2013 New Yorker piece (one of the best on this topic), The Giveaway by Alec Wilkinson, the Lauren Rogers is mentioned, as Landis had gifted “Nymph on the Rocks” ‘by’ Everett Shinn to the museum in 2003. When Landis offered more works but never delivered, George Bassi, museum director, went searching for him — Mark Landis lived in Laurel, after all. There were doubts about him. About the art.

The Shinn stayed in the museum’s vault until 2008. By then, Bassi had heard a sufficient amount about Landis that he thought it was time to confront him. When a member of the staff told Landis that he believed the piece was fraudulent, Landis said he wished he had known that when he bought it. “He made it sound like he’d been duped,” Bassi told me.

Sometimes, through the window of his office, Bassi would see a director from another museum on the sidewalk, waiting, it turned out, for Landis. An official from a museum in Kentucky flew in to meet him. Another one came from Florida. As a means of establishing his credentials, Landis sometimes dishonestly raised the name of the Lauren Rogers Museum in letters. He wrote the director of a museum in Chapel Hill, asking “if the museum would consider the gift of Weidlingbach, Egon Schiele, oil on panel, 12 x 9 ½ in. I bought this at Christie’s, New York in 1986.” He went on to say, “I hope you are familiar with our museum here, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. It was founded by my mother’s family.”

From the documentary Art and Craft:

Mark now takes commissions (of non-copyright material) and donates a portion of the proceeds to NAMI for mental illness awareness.

And big +++ to the museum for their provenance research project. They are looking into the history of 11 pieces for which they have incomplete ownership accounts to make certain they’re not Nazi-stolen artworks. Other museums do this, but not all make it quite so prominent. Nice.

National WWII Museum

Every summer, and if I’m lucky, every summer forever, I take a day to visit the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.  When I first visited, it was called the D-Day Museum but in 2003, Congress gave it the current designation.
National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

All the hanging aircraft and such are impressive — but I really go for the displays which are so well done.
National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

Enter the main building, part of the experience now is that you receive your dogtag and begin your ‘journey’ in a Union Pacific Train Car to get a sense of what your soldier went through. This portion is optional, though, and what I like to do is time it so that I get my ticket and head straight over to the Solomon Victory Theater for the 4-D film, ‘Beyond All Boundaries‘.

Every year, I see people bringing kids in for the film. It’s wonderful — immersive, so informative — but not geared for children as there are graphic and understandably heartbreaking scenes. If you have children under, let’s say 15 or 16, I’d give this a pass. But if you’re an adult, don’t miss it.

National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

The newest exhibits are those in this building, including the Road to Berlin and Road to Tokyo.
National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

Enigma machine
Enigma Machine WWII Museum, New Orleans//

National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

There are spaces in the museum in which I feel so close to my late grandfather, who fought in the Army during the war. To myself: PawPaw, thank you for helping save the world. 
National WWII Museum, New Orleans//

Many more photos from other visits here.

The Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII has been up for almost a year and closes on May 30.

El Anatsui’s Metal Cloth at the High, Last Days to See Green Pastures Dial Exhibit

El Anatsui’s ‘Taago’ 2006 made of aluminum and copper wire, at the High in Atlanta:

El Anatsui is Ghanaian, and based in Nigeria. He makes these metal cloth sculptures by joining the aluminum bits that are discarded from the necks and tops of liquor bottles (from the museum label:) ‘to form a glittering textile in the tradition of the strip-woven cloth made by men in West Africa for more than one thousand years. Anatsui describes how, for him, the dynamic, fluid forms of these works suggest a universal yearning for liberty and freedom.’

Thornton Dial's 'Old Projects' 1994 at the High in Atlanta//
Above, Dial’s ‘Old Projects’ at the High

The High’s Green Pastures: In Memory of Thornton Dial, Sr. is finishing next week as it runs through May 1.

From the High’s exhibit description:

“Art is like a bright star up ahead in the darkness of the world…. [It] is a guide for every person who is looking for something. That’s how I can describe myself: Mr. Dial is a man looking for something.”
—Thornton Dial

When the internationally renowned Alabama artist Thornton Dial, Sr., passed away at the age of eighty-seven in late January, he left behind a body of work that has transformed American art. Despite his lack of formal training, Dial took the art world by storm with his deft fusion of painting and sculpture, leading one art critic to declare that his work marked the end of so-called “outsider” art when it was shown at the Whitney Biennial in 2000. The courageous manner in which Dial confronts oppression and records perseverance inspired the title of his critically acclaimed retrospective Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, which the High exhibited in 2013.

The High’s memorial exhibition, on view February 13 to May 1, 2016, presents a selection of Dial’s exuberant drawings and symbolically rich paintings that the Museum has collected over the past twenty years. Today, Dial is represented in museum collections across the country, including those of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art

While we stayed at the Peabody in Memphis, we walked over to the Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art at Peabody Place.

Qing Dynasty ivory horses
Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, Memphis//

Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, Memphis//

Ivory and bone Qing Dynasty dragon with pearl boat
Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, Memphis//

The Belz has the largest collection (over 900 objects) of Asian art has the largest and most comprehensive collection of Chinese art in the South.

Here, the Judaic section, with the largest collection of Daniel Kafri pieces outside Israel.
Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, Memphis//

Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, Memphis

The Lox and Grits: The Jewish Communities of Memphis and the Mid-South exhibit is now housed here as well.
Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, Memphis//

Old Courthouse Museum, Vicksburg MS

Old Courthouse Museum, Vicksburg MS

We’ve been meaning to visit the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg for so long, and we finally got to it last week. *All* the pics I made at the museum can be found here at my Flickr set.

Famous Minie Ball Pregnancy : Old Courthouse Museum, Vicksburg MS

There is one picture among all the others that I must show — regarding the **famous** minie ball pregnancy – this minie ball passed through a soldier and into a fertile young lady…you know the rest. The sign says:

During the battle of Raymond, Miss., in 1863, a minie ball reportedly passed through the reproductive organs of a young lady who was standing on the porch of her nearby home. The story was written 11 years later by Dr. LeGrand G. Capers of Vicksburg for the American Medical Weekly. Capers claimed that he treated the wounds, that the girl became pregnant from the fertile minie ball, that he delivered the baby, introduced the girl to the soldier, that the two were married and had two more children by the normal method! (We don’t ask you to believe the story, just enjoy it!)