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Archive for the ‘New Acquisition’ Category

This post comes to us from Carolyn Nims, Education Assistant. 

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Brown Gillespie (b. 1953), Milky Way, 2011, Wood, custom programmed LEDs, acrylic on canvas, 53 x 50 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of Mary Gillespie.

Brown Gillespie (b. 1953), Milky Way, 2011, Wood, custom programmed LEDs, acrylic on canvas, 53 x 50 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of Mary Gillespie.

Milky Way (2010) is part of Brown Gillespie’s ongoing project, Light Visions. This cutting edge contemporary artwork consists of an abstract acrylic painting on canvas recessed in a frame set with light emitting diode (LED) lights all along the inside. The LED lights are a continuous alternating series of red, green, and blue, which are programmed to fade in and out in varying patterns and combinations. The effects are visually and intellectually stimulating. As the lighting color combinations change, so do the colors of the acrylic painting. Usually, when viewing a painting under white light, the color of the paint is static. We assume that once a pigment is set, so is the color. We consider color as a constant within a work of art, while other aspects are more subjective. However, the LED lights play with color mixing principles to show how mutable color can be, in relation to light and other colors. The viewer may wonder, Why do these colors change? This artwork bids us to question the rules that govern color, making it worthwhile to be at least familiar with some color theory, in particular the color mixing principles that Gillespie plays with.

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This post comes to us from Alexandra Torbick, Curatorial Intern.

West Rock Branches, 2012. Valerie Hegarty (b. 1967). Wood, wire, epoxy, archival print on canvas, acrylic paint, gel mediums, sand, glue, hardware. 65 x 48 x 11 in. Paul W. Zimmerman Purchase Fund.

Appropriation, the act of direct duplication, copying or incorporation of an image (painting, photograph, etc) by another artist[1], has been endogenous within the art world since antiquity, especially in the times of the Roman Empire. Using Greek bronze sculptures as their guide, the Romans took figures and recreated them, appropriating the Greek deities’ images as their own gods and goddesses. This reconstruction of meaning is what truly defines “appropriation.” Represented in a different context, the signification of the original image is altered, thereby initiating a flurry of questions revolving around the ideas of originality and authenticity. 1

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Gentleman with Negro Attendant, ca. 1785-88. Ralph Earl (1751-1801). Oil on Canvas. New Britain Museum of American Art. Harriet Russell Stanley Fund, 1948.06.

Upon a quick glance, the newest addition to the Colonial Gallery at the New BritainMuseum of American Art has left some visitors panic-stricken – an understandable  reaction considering the fact that the painting has two large holes cut out of it. But do not worry, the NBMAA has not been vandalized, in fact, the holes are meant to be there. The work, Jaavon and the Unknown Gentleman, was recently commissioned by the Museum from New Haven artist Titus Kaphar as part of an new project of pairing contemporary art with older works from the permanent collection. The purpose of this project, Appropriation and Inspiration, is to highlight the ways in which historical awareness has shaped the practice of many contemporary artists.  Appropriation and Inspiration is not yet a full-fledged exhibition, but rather a budding initiative that will develop into a museum-wide installation in the near future.

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Poster for the Universelle Exposition de 1889, Paris

Poster for the Exposition Universelle de 1889, Paris

Just a few days ago, the NBMAA purcahsed a full-scale, life-sized portrait of Emeline Arnold Souther (Mrs. Edmund Charles Tarbell.) Edmund Charles Tarbell painted this masterpiece early on in their relationship, in fact it was painted in the year they were married (1888) right before he became a teacher for several decades at the Boston Museum School. Mrs. T’s elegance and poise are a pristine example of Tarbell’s early career, transitioning from magazine illustrations to portraits. This painting was featured in the notable Exposition Universelle “World’s Fair” of 1889 in Paris. (more…)

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Rembrandt Peale, George Washington, 1824, Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in.

George Washington, 1824. Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860). Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin.

Rembrandt Peale is known for his portraits of George Washington, one of which the New Britain Museum of American Art is delighted to have as a new acquisition this Presidents month. Rembrandt Peale is supposedly the last artist for whom Washington sat shortly preceding his death. Born in 1778 in Pennsylvania to the famous painter Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), Rembrandt began drawing at age eight. His father tutored him in art and the natural sciences, and he produced his first self-portrait at age thirteen. Peale’s most talented area and source of financial mainstay was painting portraits that were solid, accurate, and straightforward. By 1795, he painted a portrait of George Washington that honestly spoke to the hero’s humanity. Peale greatly admired and was inspired by the work of Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), who is known for his Vaughan and Athenaeum portraits of the first President. (more…)

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Power Boothe, In Grace With Change 1989, Oil on Canvas

In Grace with Chance, 1989. Power Boothe (b. 1945). Oil on Canvas, 72 x 72 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of the artist (2010.17)

Although he will continue to teach, former Dean of the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford Power Boothe now has the chance to commit all his efforts to painting, as his job only allowed him a few weeks of artistic focus in the summer. The exhibit Power Boothe: Out of Order at the New Britain Museum of American Art through April 10, 2011, gives us a glimpse of his work from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.Although he is originally from Texas, Boothe grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and received his BA and Honorary Doctor of Arts from Colorado College. In the late 1960s, he became a fellow at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Not only does he paint, Boothe is well known for his accomplishments as a set designer for theater, dance, and video, designing sets for Obie Award-winning productions. (more…)

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Patented Pigs, 2008. Marcus Antonius Jansen (b. 1948). Oil enamel collage on canvas, 48 x 60 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Marcus A. Jansen / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2010.16.

If a work of art reflects the time it was created, what are we to make of the NBMAA’s recent acquisition, Patented Pigs by Marcus Jansen?

The painting was inspired by an article that appeared in Greenpeace Magazine titled “Monsanto Files Patent for New Invention: The Pig.” The article addresses this multinational agricultural biotecnology company’s attempt in 2004 to patent two processes designed to control the breeding of pigs with a specific marker gene.
Greenpeace and other opponents claimed Monsanto was trying to patent the breeding of all pigs. The company, on the other hand, said the patents would apply only to pigs bred using a specific process capable of locating genes which increase pig size.

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