For immediate release: September 10, 2008
WHAT: New Exhibitions at the Tweed Museum of Art:
Framing the Collection: Select Works
Bright Life: Works on Paper by Karel Appel
Work Through the Lens: Photographs from the Permanent Collection
WHERE: Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth
WHEN: through May 24, 2009
Museum collections have been the focus of much discussion in our community of late, and the Tweed Museum of Art at the University of Minnesota Duluth opens the season year with a series of exhibitions examining aspects of its own collections. As Tweed expands to accommodate the Richard and Dorothy Nelson Collection of American Indian Art, opening to the public on September 30, attention is drawn to the collection as a whole.
With over 6000 objects spanning 600 years (1400 – present) the museum’s collections represent the old, the new, the regional and the global. Each object’s history, from how it came to be in Duluth to its place in the life of the person who made it, tells a unique story. The goal of exhibiting selections from our collection is to put these stories in front of the public.
How to frame, or represent, a diverse collection of over 6,000 artworks in one gallery is the question posed by the largest of three exhibitions now open at the Tweed Museum of Art. Framing the Collection: Select Works includes works from the historical collection of George P. Tweed, the museum’s namesake. But the large mission of this show is to create a context for George and Alice Tweed’s paintings, in a room together with the sculptures and photographs, paintings, prints and mixed media works collected since the museum’s move to the UMD campus in 1958. How do the ideas of modern and contemporary artworks, including art from our own region, agree or disagree with those of 19th century French landscape painting, or Midwestern regionalism? Take a look for yourself, but these different looking art forms can be closer in concept than you might think!
Two other exhibitions on view are also drawn from Tweed collections. Bright Life: Works on Paper by Karel Appel presents a series of prints by the Dutch artist, who died in 2006. Appel belonged to the group CoBrA, an acronym for Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, the cities from which its founders came. Exemplified by Appel’s colorful and energetic paintings and prints, the doctrine of the northern European group was freedom of color and form. Their working methods were based on spontaneity, and they often drew their inspiration in from children’s drawings and from primitive art forms. Bright Life exhibits a series of lithographs aptly titled Sunshine People, donated to the Tweed in 1978 by Eugene Schuster of Bloomfield, Michigan.
Work Through the Lens presents a selection from Tweed’s photography collections, selected by museum director Ken Bloom, who has extensive experience with the medium. The exhibition spans the Pictorialist movement of the early 1900s, with iconic images by its leader, Clarence White. These rare photographs were donated to the museum by Duluthian Julia Marshall, who was a student of White’s in the 1920s. Marshall’s own photographs are included. Another iconic image is Berenice Abbott’s Fifth Avenue Houses, a stark and impersonal picture of row houses, just the opposite of Clarence White and Julia Marshall’s intimate, soft-focus interiors. Many of the two-dozen photographs of this exhibition relate to either Abbott’s or White’s different approaches to the medium.
Framing the Collection: Select Works and its companion exhibitions are presented as a year-long program. Local schools, university classes and community groups are encouraged to contact museum education director Susan Hudec, who can assist with tours and programs related to many disciplines. An ongoing, drop-in opportunity to learn about the museum and its collections is a series of gallery talks by gallery educator Bill Shipley. The free talks take place each Saturday at 2pm, and no registration is required.