Spring Arts- Art: A Barnes first, Philadelphia artists and 'outsiders'
Last May the Barnes Foundation captured art-world headlines by opening its relocated museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This May, the foundation will make headlines again when it presents the first special exhibition in its history. Under its ancien régime, the foundation didn't offer special shows. It didn't have room at its Merion gallery, but more to the point, such activities were anathema to founder Albert Barnes and his acolytes.
Elsewhere on the regional art horizon, exhibitions of illustration and photography proliferate this season. The Woodmere Art Museum continues its estimable advocacy of Philadelphia artists, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art features a distinguished local collection of "outsider art."
- Edward J. Sozanski, contributing art critic
"Great and Mighty Things" Philadelphia Museum of Art. The collection of Philadelphians Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz includes works by 27 of the most acclaimed "outsider" artists, such as William Edmondson, Bill Traylor, and Martin Ramírez. March 3-June 9. (215-763-8100 or www.philamuseum.org.)
Kelly sculptures Barnes Foundation. For its first special exhibition, the Barnes will present wall sculptures by contemporary master Ellsworth Kelly, including a 65-foot-long example from 1957 commissioned for a Philadelphia building. May 4-Sept. 2 (215-278-7000 or www.barnesfoundation.org.)
Jennifer Bartlett Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. An exhibition of about 30 paintings and sculptures by one of the first female artists of her generation to be both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. June 27-Oct. 13 (215-972-7600 or www.pafa.org.)
Art of adornment Institute of Contemporary Art. "White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart" presents the work of artists engaged with clothing, adornment, and self-presentation. Feb. 6-July 28 (215-898-7108 or www.icaphila.org.)
"Changing Scenes" Fabric Workshop and Museum. This exhibition examines a long history of independent film, video, and installation art practices from the 1970s to the present. Artists include Adrian Piper, Javier Tellez, and Nam June Paik. April 5-summer (215-561-8888 or www.fabricworkshopandmuseum.org.)
Philip Jamison, painter-patron Woodmere Art Museum. This presentation combines Jamison's promised gift of his collection of work by regional artists with his watercolor landscapes of rural Pennsylvania. Through May 5 (215-247-0476 or www.woodmereartmuseum.org.)
"Infinite Mirror" James A. Michener Art Museum. A show of more than 60 multimedia works by culturally diverse artists from across the country who use portraiture and figuration as symbols for emotional and social ideas. April 13-July 7. (215-340-9800 or www.michenerartmuseum.org.)
Inspirational Monhegan Brandywine River Museum. Jamie Wyeth, like Rockwell Kent before him, has been inspired by Maine's Monhegan Island. This traveling exhibition examines how both artists responded to Monhegan's rugged beauty. June 15-Nov. 17 (610-388-2700 or www.brandywinemuseum.org.)
Lautrec's world Allentown Art Museum. This exhibition from a Greek museum includes about 150 examples of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec's paintings and drawings of cabaret and cafe performers, including a group of rare posters and sketches. June 2-Sept. 1 (610-432-4333 or www.allentownartmuseum.org.)
"French Twist" Delaware Art Museum. Drawn from a private collection, this show comprises 100 prints made by French photographers during the first half of the last century. Major figures include Jacques-Henri Lartigue, André Kertész, and Brassaï. June 29-Sept. 15 (302-571-9590 or www.delart.org.)
"Grass Roots" Berman Museum. This exhibition examines the African origins of an American art form, the coiled grass basket. It explains how these beautiful baskets can be viewed simultaneously as works of art, objects of use, and containers of memory. Jan. 29-March 16. (610-409-3500 or www.ursinus.edu/berman.)
Africa meets Europe Princeton University Art Museum. Although a less invisible social group in Renaissance Europe, Africans are represented in paintings, drawings, sculpture, and printed books. Feb. 16-June 9 (609-258-3788 or http://artmuseum.princeton.edu.)
There's a wealth of worthy art exhibitions in Philadelphia-area museums this spring, notes Edward J. Sozanski:
"The Magic Pencil" Brandywine River Museum. A look at the career of F.O.C. Darley, arguably the most popular American illustrator of the mid-19th century. Through March 10 (610-388-2700 or www.brandywinemuseum.org.)
"The Art of Conflict" Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, N.J. Artists address themes of identity in war, conflict, and displacement, and how conflict has changed lives around the world. Through April 21 (609-652-8848 or www.noyesmuseum.org)
Earl B. Lewis Noyes Museum of Art. An acclaimed illustrator of children's books, Lewis is a visionary who uses watercolors to evoke emotion. Through May 19.
Barbara Morgan Reading Public Museum. This show presents 22 black-and-white photographs from the 1930s through 1950 documenting Morgan's principal themes - dancers, portraits, landscapes, and photomontages. Through May 6 (610-371-5850 or www.readingpublicmuseum.org)
Soldiers' stories Berman Museum, Ursinus College. Jennifer Karady's staged photographs create narratives about the experiences of American veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars. Jan. 29-April 7 (610-409-3500 or www.ursinus.edu/berman)
"Pat Witt: Art Spirit" Noyes Museum of Art. Witt's paintings capture the light, wind, and sense of place of wetland landscapes. (Feb. 1-May 26.)
"Fabulous Flappers" Allentown Art Museum. Approximately 150 items of clothing, accessories, and jewelry of the 1920s from a gift to the museum by Allentown resident Ellie Laubner. Feb. 3-April 14 (610-432-4333 or www.allentownartmuseum.org)
Haitian paintings Allentown Art Museum. About 30 examples of this familiar Caribbean folk art from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rodale. Feb. 3-April 14.
"The Complexity of Light and Shade" Old College, University of Delaware. A survey of Gertrude Käsebier's photography that includes studies of mothers and children, portraits of artists, family photographs, and landscapes. Feb. 6-June 28 (302-831-8037 or www.udel.edu/museums)
"State of the Art" Delaware Art Museum. The diversity of illustration during the century since Howard Pyle's death is sampled in a show of more than 60 works. Feb. 9-June 1 (302-571-9590 or www.delart.org)
Morris Blackburn Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. A selection of works made between 1939 and 1949 by this prominent Philadelphia modernist. Feb. 15-April 21 (215-972-7600 or www.pafa.org)
Iberian Colonial Art Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Huber collection reveals the visual culture created by the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires. Feb. 16-May 19 (215-763-8100 or www.philamuseum.org)
"Photographs of the Eight" Delaware Art Museum. Portraits of the Ashcan realists by Gertrude Käsebier, which the artists used to promote their landmark 1908 exhibition at a New York gallery. Feb. 23-July 7 (302-571-9590 or www.delart.org)
"Imagined Places" Delaware Art Museum. A show of more than 40 works by Alexi Natchev, who teaches at Delaware College of Art and Design, representing his career as an illustrator of children's books. March 2-Aug. 4.
"Picturing Power" Princeton University Art Museum. A show that examines how captains of industry used institutional portraiture to promote civic, corporate, and ideological agendas. March 9-June 30 (609-258-3788 or http://artmuseum.princeton.edu)
"The Art of Golf" Philadelphia Museum of Art. Installed in the British period rooms, this show examines the sport's history, enduring popularity, and representation in art. March 9-July 7).
Stirner sculptures James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown. Karl Stirner transforms discarded metal from a variety of sources into abstract sculptures characterized by dramatic contrasts. March 16-June 16 (215-340-9800 or www.michenerartmuseum.org)
Wyeth masterpiece Brandywine River Museum. Andrew Wyeth's tempera painting Ides of March is examined through more than 30 preparatory studies, from quick sketches to finished drawings. March 16-May 19 (610-388-2700 or www.brandywinemuseum.org)
"Year of Modernism" Princeton University Art Museum. A celebration of the centennial of the landmark 1913 Armory show of modern art through drawings, prints, photographs, rare books, and periodicals. March 23-June 23.
U.N. portraits Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave. An exhibition of portraits that Philadelphia artist Violet Oakley made from life in 1946 to mark the opening meetings of the United Nations. March 31-April 28 (215-247-0476 or www.woodmereartmuseum.org)
Ethel Ashton Woodmere Art Museum. Woodmere uncovers another Philadelphia modernist painter in a show that features a nude portrait of her by Alice Neel. April 6-June 30.
Karla Black Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. A Scots artist who was featured in the 2011 Venice Biennale, Black constructs large-scale site-specific sculptures and installations from materials such as dirt, dough, and cosmetics. April 24-July 28 (215-898-7108 or www.icaphila.org)
Remembering Gettysburg Reading Public Museum. About 30 paintings, etchings, and sketches by Mort Künstler commemorate the centennial of the battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. April 26-July 28.
"CandyCoated Wonderland" Philadelphia Museum of Art. Artist Candy Depew, who now calls herself CandyCoated, will create a multimedia installation based on her interpretations of children's costumes in the museum's collection. May 4-Nov. 17.
Art as movement James A. Michener Art Museum. The second half of "Creative Hand, Discerning Heart" presents artists as designers and dancers concerned with the lyrical and visual melody. May 18-Aug. 25.
"Painters of Berks" Reading Public Museum. Marking the centennial of the museum's opening, this show traces the development of a regional school of painting in Reading and environs. May 25-Sept. 21.
"Family Portrait" Philadelphia Museum of Art. An examination of the many ways that photographers have depicted family. Spanning the history of the medium, the show will feature photos from an 1850s album by British amateur Lucy Bridgeman, never before exhibited. June 8-Nov. 10.
Early Shanks James A. Michener Art Museum. This exhibition celebrates Nelson Shanks' early career in New Hope from 1967 to 1978. It will include 25 portraits, landscapes and still lifes, and a harpsichord with a painted interior focused on musicians. June 8-Sept. 8.
Jerry Pinkney Philadelphia Museum of Art. An overview of the artist's career that touches on personal and cultural themes such as the African American experience, classic children's literature, and beloved folk tales. June 28-Sept. 22.
"Shared Visions" Princeton University Art Museum. More than 130 images from a prominent private collection reflect the diversity of the last 100 years in photography. June 29-Sept. 15.
James A. Michener Art Museum. Monoprints, jewelry, furniture, and sculptures by the internationally renowned artist from Barto, Pa. July 20-Oct. 13.