Tag Archives: art

Thursday Night Salon at Museum of Art: “Beautiful Monstrosities, Elegant Distortions”

Susan Wegner, associate professor of art history, speaking in the exhibition "Beautiful Monstrosities, Elegant Distortions" at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Susan Wegner, associate professor of art history, speaking in the exhibition “Beautiful Monstrosities, Elegant Distortions” at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Mannerist artists “showcased their delight both in the momentous and in the unreal beauty that sprang from their imaginations,” explains Associate Professor of Art History Susan Wegner in the introduction to Beautiful Monstrosities, Elegant Distortions: The Artifice of Sixteenth-Century Mannerism. This new exhibition displays the evolution of Mannerism, from an early elegance and elongation of the human figure, to an accentuation of bodily proportions, occurring later in the movement. It showcases prints and drawings pulled from the Museum’s Permanent Collection, and is currently on view in the Becker Gallery until June 5, 2016.

On May 12, Susan Wegner and several students from her Fall 2015 course in Mannerism will lead a “Salon” in which they discuss the works in the exhibition, while exploring larger questions surrounding the movement’s key themes. The students will speak about the research they conducted throughout their studies. Bronzino’s Descent of Christ into Limbo is the work that Sarah Drumm ‘18 studied in depth during the semester. She notes, “the painting was completed during the middle years of the Council of Trent, which is a significant note of context considering the Council’s strict codification of the treatment of religious imagery.” Drumm looks forward to sharing her research that evening.


by Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Senior Student Interns at Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Bowdoin College Museum of Art interns, left to right: Abigail Mahoney, Jamie Denton, Sophia Namara, Julián Huertas, and Frannie Gurzenda.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art interns, left to right: Abigail Mahoney, Jamie Denton, Sophia Namara, Julián Huertas, and Frannie Gurzenda.

The Museum is appreciative of the five dedicated and talented Bowdoin student interns who worked with the staff throughout the academic year. All five interns will graduate this May, and we would like to congratulate them on their accomplishments and highlight their contributions to the Museum.

Abigail Mahoney and Frannie Gurzenda were essential to the success of this year’s community education programming, developing resources, leading tours, and planning Family Saturday events as Education Assistants. Their outreach resulted in a significant increase in the attendance of Family Saturday programs throughout the year. In addition, Abigail was a vital contributor to the new exhibition, Barbara Cooney: Drawing Biography, for which she took a lead role in researching and writing labels for the Miss Rumphius illustrations. Frannie also worked directly with co-director Frank Goodyear to curate Dissent in 1960s America: The Photography of Ken Thompson this fall. Frannie conducted extensive research to write many of the labels and helped to organize the exhibition’s layout. Next year Abigail will work as a high school biology teacher in Miami through the competitive Teach for America program, while Frannie will serve this summer as an intern in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Jamie Denton, a Student Curatorial Assistant, worked with Joachim Homann on a number of different curatorial projects this year. Jamie was essential in providing research support for an upcoming exhibition about artistic representations of St. Anthony’s temptations. In addition, Jamie assisted Joachim in his survey of the Museum’s drawing collection and produced new research on a number of works in preparation for a major drawings exhibition in 2017. Next year, Jamie will be working in the fashion world as a Buying Coordinator at Bloomingdales in New York City.

Julián Huertas spent his spring assisting with preparations for This Is a Portrait If I Say So: Identity in American Art, 1912 to the Present as the Student Curatorial Assistant to co-director Anne Collins Goodyear. He composed artist biographies for each artist represented in the exhibition, drafted labels, contributed to the planning of the exhibition layout, and is in the process of designing an online component of the exhibition. Active at the Museum for the entirety of his Bowdoin career, Julián’s commitment has been invaluable. With an interest in pursuing design, Julián will move back to Boston this summer to work at The Olmstead Center for Landscape Preservation, which is part of the National Park Service.

As the Communications Assistant, Sophia Namara completed critical behind-the-scenes work to publicize Museum exhibitions and programming on campus and beyond. In addition, Sophia was instrumental in strengthening the Museum’s social media presence this semester. When asked what she enjoyed most about working at the Museum, Sophia responded, “being part of a collaborative and open-minded group of people. There is a sense that everyone (including the interns) is a necessary part of helping the museum thrive and I feel that, even in my small role as communications assistant, I’m making a positive difference.” Sophia accepted the position of Operations Associate at Beepi in San Francisco, a start-up that streamlines and improves the process of buying and selling cars online.

These five interns strengthened the Museum’s connection with its surrounding community in numerous ways, from designing posters to developing exhibition content. They will be missed next year. We thank them for all of their work, and we wish them great success in their future endeavors.


by Bowdoin College Museum of Art

“Luke DuBois–Now” opens at Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Artist R. Luke DuBois

Artist R. Luke DuBois

The exhibition R. Luke DuBois—Now, which opens March 30, is the first survey of the New York-based artist. As the director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, DuBois works as a composer, artist, and performer. He designs generative multimedia works, such as using a software program that manipulates large data sets in real time to expose aspects of subjects that we don’t often see. As The New York Times writes, DuBois “mines data to reveal art,” illustrating the complex intersection between data and identity in our digital age.

Several upcoming programs explore how DuBois investigates temporal, verbal, and visual structures of cultural and personal information: gallery conversations led by Bowdoin faculty (Erin Johnson on April 5 and Crystal Hall on April 19); a lecture by the exhibition’s organizer Matthew McLendon, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ringling Museum, on April 7, and a panel discussion that situates DuBois’s work in the broader history of new media art led by Jon Ippolito, co-founder of the University of Maine’s New Media Department and Still Water, a new media research laboratory, and Richard Rinehart, Director of the Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University, on April 28.






by Bowdoin College Museum of Art
"Apollo and Daphne," 1513, oil on canvas, by Jacopo da Carrucci (called Pontormo). Collection of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art Beyond Brunswick

"Apollo and Daphne," 1513, oil on canvas, by Jacopo da Carrucci (called Pontormo). Collection of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

“Apollo and Daphne,” 1513, oil on canvas, by Jacopo da Carrucci (called Pontormo). Collection of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Be on the lookout for notable exhibitions and loans from the Museum beyond Maine this year. Two recent exhibitions, A Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne and Richard Tuttle: A Print Retrospective, are currently on the road. The Richard Tuttle show, the first in-depth look at Tuttle’s printmaking process, will be on view at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art until May 7. Curator Joachim Homann recently visited Oklahoma to give a guest lecture about the exhibition and the Museum’s collaboration with Richard Tuttle. A Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne explores Rockburne’s mathematically-inspired work from the 1970s to the present. The show, which was on view at Bowdoin last spring, will head to the University of Virginia’s Fralin Museum this September.

The Museum has also lent individual works from its permanent collection to institutions near and far. Pontormo’s Apollo and Daphne, 1513, a recognizable fixture of the Bowdoin Gallery, is on loan to the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, as part of the exhibition Maniera: Pontormo, Bronzino, and Medici Florence. This exhibition, which examines the tradition of Florentine Mannerism, will be on view until June 5.

Twenty of Barbara Cooney’s acrylic paintings from her celebrated children’s book Island Boy (which she called her “hymn to Maine”) traveled to the North Carolina Museum of Art in March for the exhibition Island Boy: Original Illustrations for Barbara Cooney’s Classic Children’s Book which will be on view until June 19, 2016.

And finally, Calm (Tierra del Fuego), 1922–1925, by Rockwell Kent recently traveled all the way to Brazil, joining works from over 100 collectors and museums, as part of a ground-breaking collaboration to celebrate landscape painting of the Americas in an exhibition titled Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic. The exhibition began its tour in June 2015 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada and then moved to the Crystal Bridges Museum of America Art in Arkansas. Picturing the Americas is currently on view at the Pinacoteca de Estado de São Paulo until the end of May and is sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Thanks to exciting partnerships with museums all over the world, art lovers far from Brunswick can experience some of the best of what the Bowdoin College Museum of Art has to offer.


Abigail Mahoney, class of 2016




by Bowdoin College Museum of Art
"Yet Another Fight for Remembrance," 2014, oil on canvas, by Titus Kaphar. Commissioned by TIME Magazine in 2014. Image courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery.

Titus Kaphar: “Yet Another Fight for Rememberance”


"Yet Another Fight for Remembrance," 2014, oil on canvas, by Titus Kaphar. Commissioned by TIME Magazine in 2014. Image courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery.

“Yet Another Fight for Remembrance,” 2014, oil on canvas, by Titus Kaphar. Commissioned by TIME Magazine in 2014.
Image courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery.

On April 14, we welcome New Haven-based artist Titus Kaphar for a public lecture. The Bowdoin College Museum of Art recently acquired Kaphar’s drawing, The Jerome Project (Asphalt and Chalk) XI, 2015, a triple portrait of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown, currently on view in To Count Art an Intimate Friend. His lecture will explore the power of reimagining history with an eye on contemporary politics, race and social justice. Kaphar received an MFA from the Yale School of Art, and is the recipient of the distinguished Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship. His work has been exhibited widely. In 2014, TIME magazine commissioned Kaphar to create an artwork in response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

by Bowdoin College Museum of Art
"Fashionably Late for the Relationship," 2007–2008 , video still from performance and film by R. Luke DuBois

“R. Luke DuBois–NOW” to open at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

R. Luke DuBois

R. Luke DuBois

The Bowdoin College Museum Art presents a solo exhibition by New York-based “new media” artist R. Luke DuBois, featuring a new portrait commissioned by BCMA of Black Lives Matter and Campaign Zero activist DeRay Mckesson, who is a Bowdoin College alumnus (class of 2007). DuBois’s simultaneous work as a composer, computer programmer, filmmaker, and installation artist challenges traditional categorization, and his multifaceted approach will be reflected in the forthcoming video-based work that will debut at the BCMA on March 31 and continue through September 4, 2016.

The new commission will be presented as part of the exhibition R. Luke DuBois – Now, alongside dozens of DuBois’ works created over the last 15 years. Films, works on paper, installations, video, and sound works will all be included, testifying to DuBois’ prodigious work since the 1990s, which ranges from musical composition and collaborative performance, to large-scale public installations, film, and generative computer works. In coordination with R. Luke DuBois – Now, on view at BCMA from March 31 until September 4, the Museum has also organized a robust series of public programs. These include a keynote lecture by the artist, a presentation by Matthew McClendon, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Ringling, and the organizer of R. Luke Dubois—Now; gallery conversations led by visiting artist Erin Johnson and Crystal Hall, a member of the College’s digital humanities faculty, and a panel discussion of DuBois’s role in the broad context of new media art featuring Jon Ippolito and Richard Rinehart, co-authors of Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory.

“We are proud to bring R. Luke DuBois – Now to Bowdoin College, which is made all the more meaningful by DuBois’s groundbreaking portrait of DeRay Mckesson,,” remarked Bowdoin College Museum of Art Co-Director Anne Collins Goodyear. “As a Bowdoin alumnus making an international impact on contemporary society through his political activism, the commission is doubly important as both a witness to our present moment as a nation and as a part of Bowdoin’s legacy, and we’re honored that it will remain here at the BCMA as part of our permanent collection.”

“As an institution dedicated to exploring new forms of knowledge and modes of communication, we look forward to presenting DuBois’ distinct artistic perspective, which challenges us all to consider complex issues of politics and personal identity,” added Frank Goodyear, Bowdoin College Museum of Art Co-Director.

Building on the artist’s interest in how information reflects and shapes our world, the newly commissioned work will draw from online networks and social media to create a reflection of both Mckesson and the activist’s most influential modes of communication. Footage of Mckesson addressing topics crowd-sourced from the Bowdoin student body will be interspersed with data and language drawn from Mckesson’s own online presence through Twitter and other social media channels. This time-based portrait will be generative, evolving over time, continually incorporating new material generated by Mckesson’s communication about the issues that motivate his own activism.

"Fashionably Late for the Relationship," 2007–2008 , video still from performance and film by R. Luke DuBois

“Fashionably Late for the Relationship,” 2007–2008 , video still from performance and film by R. Luke DuBois

Originally organized in 2014 by the Ringling Museum of Art, R. Luke DuBois – Now, DuBois’ inventive use of political and demographic data in his diverse works will have a special resonance in the BCMA presentation during the 2016 presidential election season.

“I’m continuously fascinated by the political underpinnings of American portraiture, which makes DeRay Mckesson an especially rich subject,” said R. Luke DuBois. “As an activist who regularly leverages data and the interconnectivity of online networks to raise awareness about political and social issues, our interests are aligned in a variety of ways which will inform the forthcoming work.”

Three dominant themes permeate DuBois’ work, including the mining and metamorphosing of data into art, the investigation of temporality, and the construction of contemporary portraiture, or how we represent and conceptualize ourselves and others. These themes will be explored through the presentation of notable works such as Hindsight is Always 20/20 (2008, commissioned by the Democratic National Convention), A More Perfect Union (2010-2011), and (Pop) Icon: Britney (2010), among others. Drawing from the annual State of the Union addresses given by presidents to Congress, Hindsight is Always 20/20 consists of a single Snellen-style eye chart for each president to have given a State of the Union address. Instead of the typical characters present in an eye chart, the piece employs words drawn from their speeches, presented in order of most frequent (top line) to least frequent (bottom line) word. The result is a startlingly clear snapshot of the lexicon of each presidency, containing a mix of historically topical keywords and rhetoric unique to each president and the time period during which they served in office.

"A More Perfect Union: Lonely," 2011, by R. Luke DuBois

“A More Perfect Union: Lonely,” 2011, by R. Luke DuBois

In his work A More Perfect Union, DuBois looks at American self-identity through the medium of online dating services. Culling data from over 20 online dating sites, the work is organized according to the same heuristics as the U.S. Census, sorting dating profiles by Congressional District and subjecting the imagery and text to statistical analysis. Revealing a “dating lexicon” of each state, DuBois constructed maps using the words provided by 16.7 million people describing themselves and those they desire—resulting in a romantic atlas of the nation, with keywords from dating profiles in lieu of the city and town names. In the same series, DuBois also designed maps of the entire U.S. that are colored in a “red-state/blue-state” pattern, showing how different adjectives, such as “funny” and “lonely,” are distributed across the country. By presenting a range of works from DuBois’ multifaceted career in context with one another, R. Luke DuBois – Now will demonstrate how DuBois operates at the intersections of the visual, performative, and the time-based arts in a manner that mirrors his audiences’ collective 21st-century experience in a world of globalized information.

by Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Photographer and Artist-in-Residence Wendy Ewald Helps Communities Document Themselves


Wendy Ewald. Photograph by Denise Dixon

Wendy Ewald’s time as Bowdoin College’s inaugural halley k harrisburg ’90 and Michael Rosenfeld Artist-in-Residence is winding down. After assuming the  position here last fall, she has one week left at Bowdoin. A world-renowned photographer, Ewald is known for collaborative art projects across the globe in which she often encourages her subjects, which in many cases are children, to use the camera to record themselves.

A native of Detroit, Ewald has worked with communities in Labrador, the U.S., Britain, Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and most recently Israel and Palestine. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ewald is currently a visiting artist at Amherst College.

She spoke with College Writer and Multimedia Producer Tom Porter. Listen to the interview.

Tom Porter: What does your position at Bowdoin involve?
Wendy Ewald: Well I’m a bit of an experiment because I’m the first one. It has involved so far giving a lecture and then working in students’ classes. There’s a particular class on documentary that I’m quite involved in, which involves both writing and photography.

I have worked with students in the art department, looking at their work and talking about it and helping in whatever way I can. And it’s been very interesting to get to know the students and how they see this place, how they see Brunswick and Bowdoin.

Another thing I’ve been doing is looking at the (Peary-MacMillan) Arctic Museum and their collection, hoping to make a new piece of work looking at (Donald) MacMillan, the explorer. He worked with the Innu in Labrador, who are people I worked with in 1969, it was my first project. So it’s interesting to look at it from another perspective.

TP:  Let’s talk about how you got to where you are in your career. There’s a lot to talk about, but I’m interested in the way you like to tell stories about communities by involving children. Will you  tell us about that?


My Mother Drinking Coffee, by Wendy Ewald. Photograph by Alirio Casas. From Ewald’s ‘Children of Raquira’ exhibition shot in Colombia, 1982-3.

WE: I started working with children in London a long time ago, and I was interested in figuring out what the communities looked like and felt like to the people who lived there, and having an idea of what things look like from an outside perspective.

TP:  And that kind of reverses the roles that you normally associate with artist and subject doesn’t it?
WE: Yes, and particularly in photography that’s very fraught because you’re holding a camera and you have an option of where to put that camera and when to snap the shutter and that can be very different if someone else is doing it.

TP:  And you’ve done this in quite a few communities haven’t you?
WE: Yes I’ve done it around the world. I”ve done it with women in Saudi Arabia, with kids in Colombia and Mexico, but recently I’ve been working with more mixed groups of people not just children. And it’s just as exciting to see what someone will come up with, what kind of composition and choices to make about what to photograph, and I’m always surprised and excited, and I think to me it’s much more dynamic than if somebody else, including myself, just went out and photographed that.

TP:  You’re currently on display in an exhibition called ‘This Place’ at the Brooklyn museum in New York City as part of an exhibition about Israel and the West Bank. Do you want to tell us about some of the photography you have got down there?


At Home, by Wendy Ewald (b.1951) photograph by Amal, Negev Desert, 2012, from This Place exhibition. https://www.brooklynmuseum.org

WE:  It’s a big project with 12 different international photographers looking at the region. I did take some photographs myself, which are in a book, but for this exhibition I had people from 14 different communities photograph themselves, their families and their community.

And it varies from elderly Palestinian women to children on a kibbutz to merchants in the market in Jerusalem, to Druze to Bedouins. So, I tried to find very different communities because we had, or I had, an idea that it was a two-party conflict, but it’s a very complex situation that’s been developed over thousands of years. It’s much more understandable and much more human if you look at it from that perspective.

TP: What was your biggest takeaway from the time you spent there and the work you collected?

WE:  Well it’s something I’d like to do again, that kind of macro-view, because you don’t understand when you’re there if you’re not embedded in these local communities. Then you begin to hear and see their day-to-day lives, and their conflicts, the small conflicts that are part of a big conflict.

Untitled, Wendy Ewald (American b.1951) photograph by Oshik, Mahane Yehuda. '

Untitled, Wendy Ewald (b.1951) photograph by Oshik, Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem 2012–13, from This Place exhibition. https://www.brooklynmuseum.org

The Bedouins for example are in the desert and they have these sheep and they want their way of life, but the Israelis want them to go, and now they’re living in the midst of factories that are polluting and they’re getting cancer. That’s one piece of this state trying to hold on to its idea of itself, and the Bedouins trying to hold onto their idea of themselves.

TP: To what extent are you and artist and to what extent are you a storyteller / documentarian?

WE: I guess I feel like an artist. I studied to be an artist and of course I love photography, but I also love to pick pieces and weave them into something that is a narrative. I guess I feel like that is my artistry. And I think to say I’m a documentarian feels limiting. It’s not a case of of “this is true” or “this isn’t true”, but “this is how people see it” and I think there may be many ways how people see things.

The halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld Artist-in-Residence program is the result of a generous gift that allows the Bowdoin Visual Art faculty to invite internationally renowned artists to campus to work directly with students and the college community to enhance their learning experience. Students will encounter and learn from artists that are not usually available in an academic setting. These encounters may take many forms, such as critiques, discussions, workshops, lectures, and more.






by Tom Porter

Prof. Mark Wethli Show “(Un)conditional Color” Opens in NYC

All_Four.EM_Mark Wethli’s new curated show, (Un)conditional Color, opened Feb. 24 at The Curator Gallery, at 520 West 23rd Street in New York City. It runs through April 2nd.

It is the third show that Wethli, Bowdoin’s A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Art, has put together at the gallery. The exhibit brings together four abstract painters, Suzanne Laura Kammin, Jason Karolak, Tom Krumpak and Brooke Nixon, “whose use of vibrant, uncompromising color is a defining characteristic of their art, but whose work also contends with the relational and interdependent nature of color, as well as its personal, cultural, and social significance,” Wethli said.

A few alumni showed up at the show’s opening, including Ben Livingston ’13, David Bruce ’13, Andy/Dehao Zheng ’14, Devin Hardy ’13, Lisa/Elizabeth Lacy Dahl ’93, Haley Gewandter ’14, Daniel Eloy ’15, and Phoebe Happ ’14.​


Ben Livingston, David Bruce, Andy Zheng and Devin Hardy.

by Rebecca Goldfine