From al.com: Several pieces of the new family gallery, Bart's ArtVenture were delivered to the Birmingham Museum of Art, April 2, 2012 by Softspace in Columbia, Tennessee. Bart's ArtVenture is a hands-on, interactive, art-making place for the whole family. It opens to the public May 19, 2012. Somerset Group in Huntsville designed the pieces in the gallery. (Birmingham News Photo Linda Stelter)
Please join us Thursday, April 5 at 10:30 am for an Art & Conservation featuring collectors Dr. Bill Mason and Bob Scharfenstein. They began collecting in 1972 at an Alabama estate sale. With regular visits to auction houses from New Orleans to Chicago, they have assembled a formidable collection comprising hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and pieces of art glass and crystal. In conversation with Curator Graham Boettcher, they share their passion for collecting and their favorite collecting stories. $10 Members, $15 Non-members.
On February 13, 114 docents and educators from eight arts and cultural institutions throughout Alabama attended a one-day workshop at the BMA. Talking Pictures was led by Michael Cassin, Director of the Center for Education in the Visual Arts at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Through a series of discussions and in-gallery exercises, participants considered the role of education in today’s museums and how to create engaging tour experiences. The Museum is proud to offer excellent professional development opportunities to our volunteers and colleagues throughout the state.
BMA docent Nadine L’Eplattenier-Gibson, who attended The Clark’s docent summer school in Williamstown, Mass., last summer, was excited that Cassin brought his unique teaching approach to Birmingham. “He was excellent in engaging us in the various gallery talks and small group discussions. It was a wonderful day for exploration and engagement!”
“We want visitors to have ‘aha!’ moments on our tours, but Cassin taught us that an ‘aha!’ state of mind helps them to see wonder in the world around them,” said Cathye McDonald, BMA docent chair. “Every object has the capacity to excite wonder if we view it right. We should always have second thoughts, be flexible, keep thinking, and not fall into a routine or set script.”
The Museum’s Education Department, in partnership with the Jefferson County School System, was selected as one of 12 teams nationwide to attend the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Institute in April. The Institute will provide an opportunity to create new professional development programs to develop teachers’ knowledge of the arts and empower them to use the arts in their classroom.
The Museum will serve as a critical partner in the effort to help students develop the important 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, confidence, and conversation that will be crucial to students achieving success in school and beyond.
The Museum was approached by Google about an exciting opportunity to support the Doodle 4 Google program. Doodle 4 Google (or D4G) is one of several efforts by Google to encourage and celebrate the creativity of young people by asking students to create their own Google doodle. The theme this year is “If I could travel in time, I’d visit...” D4G gives students a blank canvas to harness their curiosity and imagine the past, present, and/or future anywhere in the world.
After all doodles have been submitted to Google by March 23, a team of Googlers and then guest judges—such as Katy Perry, Phineas and Ferb creator and executive producer Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, and recording artist Jordin Sparks—will help choose the top doodles.
During the week of Spring Break, students participated in a Doodling Event at the Museum. The doodles created at the BMA were submitted to Google for the national competition. As part of the judging, Google selects the top ten doodles for each state. We will display the top ten doodles submitted by Alabama students during the summer of 2012.
In February, the Museum began hosting the monthly meetings of the Children’s Policy Council of Jefferson County. The Council works to identify the needs of Jefferson County’s children, to identify resources to meet those needs and to build coalitions and collaborations to fill those gaps. The Council works with more than 200 agencies and organizations and nearly 1,500 individuals. The Council’s work has led to the development of the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence, the Central Alabama Mentor Coalition, and to numerous informational and educational programs that increase the efficiency of our community to help children. Their monthly meetings provide the Museum with the opportunity to engage with community leaders whose interest in children coincides with our own strategic initiative to provide services to children and families.
Lecture by Mark Tucker, Vice Chair of Conservation and Senior Conservator of Paintings, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Thursday // March 29 // 12:30pm
In late 1875, Thomas Eakins, just 31 years old, completed his monumental painting, Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic). An object of both awestruck admiration and revulsion among critics of the time, the painting has long since been celebrated as an absolute masterpiece, acclaimed by Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times in 2002 as, “hands down, the finest 19th-century American painting.”
Acquired in 2007 by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the painting was examined in detail in 2008-09, and in 2010, cleaned and restored for the first time in almost fifty years. The conservation treatment restored important aspects of original appearance altered by aggressive cleanings of the 1920’s and 1940’s. Eakins’s imposing masterpiece now looks more as it did in his day than it has at any time since the early 1920s. Tucker, who led the conservation project, will speak on the historical and technical research upon which it was based, and the aims, challenges, and results of this landmark restoration.
Presented jointly with the UAB Department of Art and Art History.
Dr. Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, The Marguerite Jones Harbert and John M. Harbert III Curator of Decorative Arts, was recently named to the board of the Alabama Craft Council. She currently also serves on the boards of the American Ceramic Circle, where she serves as Vice President, and the Wedgwood International Seminar, where she serves as Secretary.
Bart is thrilled to announce the arrival of Madeline Adams, the Museum’s new Assistant Curator of Education for Family Programs. Madeline joined the Education Department in December to focus exclusively on family activities, programs, studio classes, and camp. Madeline worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for six years as an educator, where she created and led tours for school groups, worked with teachers, managed the Teen Sketch Club, and served as artist-in-residence at several schools. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from American University. These experiences, coupled with her talents as a practicing artist, make her the perfect person to develop new programming for our rapidly growing family audience.
On Saturday, March 3 at 6PM, Dr. Padma Kaimal of Colgate University will give the thirteenth annual Eivor and Alston Callahan Lecture. Dr. Kaimal will talk on Many Paths to the Divine: Dynamics of Vision in a Hindu Temple. She will explore what it can mean to interpret a temple, to get at what a building meant to the people who built it and to those who first moved through its spaces, past its sculptures, paintings and the words written on its walls. There will be a reception for Dr. Kaimal afterwards. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.
The BMA is pleased to announce its first app, The Look of Love, optimized for the Apple iPad and designed to enhance visitors' exhibition experience. Now available for download worldwide through the Apple App Store, visitors will also find this app installed on each of the 20 complimentary iPads available for checkout at the entrance of the Museum's exhibition, The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection.
The app was created to supplement The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection, an exhibition curated by Graham C. Boettcher, PhD, the William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Museum, and the first major exhibition of lover's eye jewelry, on display at the Museum from February 7 - June 10, 2012.
On Friday, February 24, Vanity Fair featured an article on the BMA's popular exhibition The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection. A Lover’s Gaze / by Alyssa Bereznak // The eye miniature was a mysterious art form, popular for a brief moment in the late 1700s and early 1800s among well-to-do families. These “lover’s eyes”—a term coined by New York–based antique collector Edith Weber—are now archaic reminders of aristocratic England, mentioned fleetingly in old diaries and Charles Dickens’s 1846 novel Dombey and Son. From this month until June, the Birmingham Museum of Art will display 98 miniatures, all graciously donated from the private collection of David and Nan Skier. Below, highlights from the show and a history of the eyes’ 15 minutes of fame.
Curious about what that fabulous piece of jewelry or silver is worth? Here is your chance to find out. Gloria Lieberman, Vice President of Skinner Auctions in Boston and a regularly featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, along with John Colasaco, jewelry and silver specialist at Skinner, will be our guest appraiser for the event.
Saturday, February 25
10AM - 4PM
FREE for Members
$25 for Non-Members
Limit of 2 objects // $10 for each additional object
Ms. Lieberman is one of the world's renowned experts on antique jewelry. She founded Skinner's Fine Jewelry Department in 1980 and served as director for 31 years. Her skillful marketing and management of the department resulted in the achievement of international world record prices for estate and heirloom jewelry, gaining valuable recognition for Skinner. A frequent lecturer. Lieberman has participated in many educational seminars including the University of Maine's Antique Jewelry Seminar and New York University's Jewelry Appraisers Conference in Tucson, Arizona, and has been invited to speak on behalf of the Society of Jewelry Historians at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Her television appearances include the BBC's The Great Antiques Hunt, the PBS series The Antiques Roadshow and the Boston-based series Chronicle. A full bio can be found on www.skinnerinc.com.
Appraisals will be held between 10 am and noon, and 1 pm and 4 pm. Ms. Lieberman will be giving a public talk at noon.
Don’t forget to stop by Oscar’s for lunch between 11 am and 2 pm.
*Call ahead if you plan to bring more than 3 objects. Objects for appraisal are limited to jewelry or silver.
Architectural Digest recently named BMA exhibition The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection in its Spring list of "The Season's Best Museum Shows". Included in a list of 12 exhibitions, The Look of Love, joins offerings from institutions like Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, the Guggenheim Museum amongst others. Click here to see the article.
On Thursday, February 16th, The Wall Street Journal featured a lengthy and positive review of the BMA's current exhibition, Dragons and Lotus Blossoms: Vietnamese Ceramics from the Birmingham Museum of Art. Citing the collection among the top in the country, alongside the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the article details the collection's fascinating acquistion process, which began with the formation of the BMA's oldest support group, the Asian Art Society.
The Wall Street Journal
by Lee Adair Lawrence
"Chinese ceramics are good for the eye; Vietnamese ceramics are good for the heart." This sentiment from an unnamed Vietnamese scholar quoted in the catalog of "Dragons & Lotus Blossoms" should be emblazoned at the show's entrance. There could be no better invitation to this display of Vietnamese stoneware at the Birmingham Museum of Art, one of the top such collections in the U.S. along with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Curator Donald Wood's installation is straightforward: With few exceptions, he groups all 220-plus of the collection's vessels and ritual ware in table-high display cases that fill nine partitioned spaces. As with all displays of ceramics, there is an inherent frustration:
Slow food, slow living, slow... art? Unlock the secrets of works in the Museum’s collection by cultivating the art of looking slowly. Our docents ask and answer questions to help guide your slow art experience and foster conversation. Leave the Museum feeling inspired—not tired.
On Saturday, February 11 at 2pm, Docent Marlene Wallace leads a discussion on Benjamin West’s Erasistratus the Physician Discovers the Love of Antiochus for Stratonice in the Museum’s American galleries.
Slow Art Experiences take place on alternate Saturdays and Sundays in January, February, and March at 2pm.