Archive for January, 2013

Society 1858′s Winter Party: Habanero Rhythm!

Habanero Rhythm

How do you capture the essence of something like artist Jonathan Green’s personal art collection and translate it into a party? A collection which Green and partner Richard Weedman have spent the past thirty years curating? A collection that includes works from around the world by artists from Cuba, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America? Well, you put together an experience that incorporates the cultural milieux of all the native lands from which the works come. Imagine drummers drumming on the front steps of the museum; vintage autos lining the street; a well-heeled champagne-mojito drinking crowd filtering in to find a Garage Cuban band playing funky beats; a Latin Jazz trio in the groove; and an explosive performance by a West African drum and dance ensemble. You serve traditional cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres inspired from those regions, and create a décor element to complement it all. What am I talking about? Habanero Rhythm, of course.

Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman

Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman at their home. Photo by Julia Lynn.

Okay, I should back up. I am the co-chair for the winter party hosted by the Gibbes Museum’s Society 1858 auxiliary group, and it’s based on the current exhibition VIBRANT VISION: The collection of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman. We’ve named our event Habanero Rhythm and created an experience that we hope speaks to the cultural heritage of many of the artists included in the collection. But it’s more than that. We’ve actually had a chance to meet and get to know Richard and Jonathan, and to go to their home and see their collection. This party is for them and to honor the generous and giving spirit with which they share their love of art with anyone and everyone—we are trying to do them proud!

Luce e Colore pictures

Last February’s party, Luce e Colore, was a sold-out smash success! Photos by Fia Forever Photography.

I don’t want to give away all our little surprises here… just to say the event is going to be awesome. Buy your ticket. Today. I know many of you have (hopefully) been to a Society 1858 event, so you already know the careful thought and planning that goes into them. Each one uniquely based on a current exhibition and the inspiring personality(ies) behind it. With the artists and collectors themselves at each party, these celebrations are a chance to meet and talk to the people in the art world who make it happen. And on top of all the important art-world relevance, they are FUN. See you Friday, February 8th, for Habanero Rhythm!

Margaret Seeley Furniss, co-chair of Society 1858’s Habanero Rhythm, and guest blogger

To purchase tickets to this event, visit gibbesmuseum.org/events.

Watch videos of past Society 1858 events: Bitters & Twisted in the Salon d’Orleans and Luce e Colore: La Bella Notte Italiana

Celebrating the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Addresses Rally, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, by James Karales

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Addresses Rally, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, 1963, by James Karales (American, 1930–2002). Image © Courtesy of the Estate of James Karales

Today, as we witness the second inauguration of our first African American president, we will also celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been thirty years since the federal holiday memorializing the great civil rights leader was first signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. For many people, this holiday means a day of service in honor of Dr. King’s legacy. For others, it is simply a time to reflect upon the significant changes his stalwart leadership helped to bring about during the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to the annual celebration of King’s birth, 2013 also marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of South Carolina public schools. These landmark anniversaries are cause for both reflection and celebration. This winter at the Gibbes, we are showcasing an important collection of civil rights era photographs by acclaimed photographer James Karales. Engaged as a photo-journalist for Look magazine, Karales witnessed and documented many historic events during the Civil Rights Movement, and, in doing so, generated a remarkable body of work depicting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with his daughter, Yolanda, by James Karales

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with his daughter, Yolanda, 1962, by James Karales (American, 1930–2002). Image © Courtesy of the Estate of James Karales

Karales traveled extensively with Dr. King in 1962 and 1963. He captured King alongside other significant civil rights leaders including Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and Rev. C.T. Vivian. Many of the inspiring images depict King in familiar public roles—leading rallies at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) conventions in Birmingham, and preaching sermons at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. However, Karales was one of a handful of photographers allowed to document King at home. These rare images of King in private moments with his family at their Atlanta home are equally compelling. Most notable may be the photograph of King sitting with his daughter, Yolanda, at the kitchen table. Published in the February 12, 1963, issue of Look, the caption described that King was trying to explain to his daughter why she could not attend the city’s segregated amusement park. King’s daughter listens quietly, but the inexplicability of racial intolerance is evident in the exchange between the father and his young daughter, and this poignant moment is still palpable in Karales’ photograph today.

As we celebrate these landmark anniversaries we invite you to the Gibbes to reflect upon the people and events that made them possible. Witness to History: Civil Rights Era Photographs by James Karales will be on view at the Gibbes through May 12, 2013.

Sara Arnold, Curator of Collections, Gibbes Museum of Art

Vibrant Vision: The Collection of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman

Fishing Spot, 2011, by Jonathan Green

Fishing Spot, 2011, by Jonathan Green (American, b. 1955), oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches. Courtesy of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman.

People throughout the south are familiar with Jonathan Green’s paintings. He is beloved by many for his vibrant depictions of Gullah life and culture in the Lowcountry. Few, however, are familiar with the incredible collection of artwork assembled by Jonathan and his partner and studio manager, Richard Weedman, over the past 35 years. And what a collection it is. To share this remarkable group of works with the public, the Gibbes has organized the exhibition Vibrant Vision: The Collection of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman, on view in the museum’s Main Gallery through April 21, 2013.

Southern Family Series, 1943, by William H. Johnson (American, 1901–1970), serigraph on paper, 17 x 13 ½ inches, courtesy of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman.

Southern Family Series, 1943, by William H. Johnson (American, 1901–1970), serigraph on paper, 17 x 13 ½ inches, courtesy of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman.

Zoo Again, 1972, by Sam Gilliam (American, b. 1933)

Zoo Again, 1972, by Sam Gilliam (American, b. 1933), oil on raw canvas, 48 x 58 inches. Courtesy of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman. Photography courtesy Marsha Mateyka Gallery, Washington DC.

Over the past year and a half, Richard, Jonathan, and I worked collaboratively to select the exhibition from their astounding collection of nearly 1,300 paintings, sculpture, and works on paper. Deciding upon the final group of 49 works was difficult, but also an enjoyable process. The core of Jonathan and Richard’s collection focuses on artwork created under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930s and 40s, and era of American art that has always been of great interest to me. The collection also spans beyond the WPA, encompassing works by a broad range of artists who reflect the diverse cultural influences that have shaped American art over the past hundred years.

Society 1858 members at the opening reception.

Society 1858 members Abby Rosenthal, Stacy Huggins, Lindsay Fleege, and Liz Macpherson at the opening reception.

Richard Weedman, Gibbes Executive Director Angela Mack, and Jonathan Green.

Richard Weedman, Gibbes Executive Director Angela Mack, and Jonathan Green.

Vibrant Vision opened last week with a lovely reception attended by 300 Gibbes supporters. Hearing Richard and Jonathan speak so passionately about the artwork and the exhibition was one of the highlights of the night. And lucky for us, they have agreed to speak several times throughout the run of the exhibition to share their knowledge and passion with others. Special gallery tours are scheduled for Thursdays January 24, February 21, March 14, and April 18 at 2:30pm; and the Art of Healing—a conversation and cocktail reception—will be held at the museum on Thursday, January 31, at 6pm. These programs are an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibitions, Gibbes Museum of Art

Visit our online calendar for more information about the programs listed above.

The Gibbes Museum has produced a mobile website feature with additional information on the WPA and several of the artists included in the Vibrant Vision exhibition. Visit http://bit.ly/VibrantVision to learn more.