Special Exhibitions & Gallery Installations 2014-2015

Special Exhibitions
Fusion: Art of the 21st-Century
December 19, 2014 – July 26, 2015
21st-Century Gallery

Showing works by an increasingly diverse roster of global artists, VMFA’s 21st-century gallery reflects the expanded nature of contemporary art. The next exhibition, titled Fusion, builds on this focus. It emphasizes new acquisitions—many on view for the first time—and includes a substantial number of works by African and African-American artists and works from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Curated by John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Félix Bracquemond: Impressionist Innovator
– Selections from the Frank Raysor Collection
February 13 – October 4, 2015
Mellon Focus Gallery

French printmaker and designer Félix Bracquemond (1833–1914) produced more than 800 etchings during a prolific career that spanned the late 19th century. ­­­­Though celebrated from the outset of his career as a skilled reproductive etcher, Bracquemond enthusiastically championed the etching revival in France, prominently leading the charge toward redefining etching as a highly original art form. Despite his lived status as a luminary within Paris Salon and avant-garde artistic circles, including the Impressionists, Bracquemond is little known today. Félix Bracquemond: Impressionist Innovator re-introduces Bracquemond as an independently-minded, ever-industrious artist through a selection of more than 80 works on paper and tableware objects, among them his most imaginative portraits, landscapes, and groundbreaking reinterpretations of the traditions of French art and decorative arts. The exhibition features expansive displays of Bracquemond’s distinctive images of birds, which reveal his deep appreciation of nature and his growing interest in Japanese visual tradition. Displays of commercial dinner services decorated by Bracquemond punctuate the exhibition, revealing the unexpected but vital role of his printmaking in ceramics production while highlighting his aesthetic experimentation when the taste for Japanese art and culture swept French society. Collectively, these selections capture Bracquemond’s vast and richly varied contributions to printmaking in a period that witnessed dynamic technical innovations in the medium in tandem with renewed popularity of etchings among the public and art collectors alike.

The exhibition draws entirely from the Frank Raysor Collection, an ongoing generous, transformative gift to the museum that contains thousands of works by Bracquemond and other leading Etching Revival artists. Co-curated by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art and Kristie Couser, Curatorial Assistant for the Mellon Collections.

Van Gogh, Manet, and Matisse: The Art of the Flower

March 21 – June 21, 2015
Altria and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

This exhibition reveals how the traditional genre of still-life painting was re-invented by 19th-century painters, even as the art world was radically transformed by the advent of modernism. The title, taken from an 1888 letter of Vincent van Gogh, suggests the commitment shared by many of van Gogh’s contemporaries to flowers as both a subject and a source of painterly meditation. Well-known artists such as Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edouard Manet, and Paul Cezanne – as well as less-familiar names such as Gerard van Spaendonck, Antoine Berjon, and Simon Saint-Jean – engaged in a sophisticated reworking of traditional imagery, bringing the floral still life into dialogue with emerging models of science and commerce. In the process, they transformed the genre into a reflection on the nature of artistic representation itself. Organized by VMFA and the Dallas Museum of Art, the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue will be the first scholarly treatment of this important subject.

Van Gogh, Manet, and Matisse will feature major loans from institutional members of FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange) as well as other important public and private collections. Following its premier at Dallas, the exhibition will travel to VMFA and one other venue. Co-curated by Dr. Mitchell Merling, VMFA’s Paul Mellon Curator and Head of European Art, and Dr. Heather MacDonald, Dallas Museum of Art’s Associate Curator of European Art.

Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World

May 30 – September 27, 2015
Evans Court Gallery

Organized by the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, Perseverance focuses on the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists – Horitaka, Horitomo, Horishiki, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken – inspired by the Japanese tradition of tattooing and heavily influenced by the traditional Japanese arts of calligraphy and ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking. Specially commissioned photographs of work by each artist will be displayed alongside tools and relief carvings, as well as a re-created Shinto shrine. A companion book of the same title features additional photographs and writings, and is published by the Japanese American National Museum.

November 21, 2015 – March 13, 2016
Altria and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée Rodin in Paris, this exhibition will feature over 200 works by the greatest sculptor of the 19th and early 20th centuries: Auguste Rodin. Revealing the evolving output of this genius of sculpture, the exhibition examines his techniques, materials, models and assistants, and explores the extraordinary working process behind some of his best known works. Auguste Rodin completely revitalized the very language of sculpture with his passion for the creative act. Fragile plasters as well as patinated bronzes, marble figures, astonishing ceramics and never-before-exhibited photographs all attest to this creative intensity, with much of the work presented in North America for the first time. Rodin is organized for VMFA by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of European Art. The exhibition catalogue, with contributions on Rodin’s process by leading scholars, will be published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch
November 19, 2016 – February 20, 2017
Altria and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

Many contemporary artists have drawn inspiration from the art and life of Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch (1863-1944)—including Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Elizabeth Murray, Georg Baselitz, and Anselm Kiefer. Their re-uses of Munch’s images have functioned as a two-way lens, giving insight into their own practice while helping to redefine the understanding of Munch’s art through their acts of reception and translation. This exhibition and the accompanying publication explore the unlikely but compelling connection between the work of Munch and Jasper Johns (born 1930). During a crucial point midway through his career, Johns looked to Munch’s defining themes of love, sex, loss, and death, as well as his innovative working methods, as sources of inspiration. Johns routed Munch’s art through a dense process of quotation, repetition, displacement, substitution, and elision to create his own images while opening his work to themes and meanings shared with Munch. Curated by John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in partnership with the Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway.

Ongoing Special Exhibitions
States of Change in Africa
Through December 31, 2014
Evans Court Gallery
Free admission

Two recently acquired works in the African collection provide insight into far-reaching social and economic changes associated with the independence movement that swept across Africa during the 1950s and 1960s, bringing an end to European colonialism officially, if not in reality. The upbeat Barber’s Sign from Ghana, infused with the optimism of the new era, suggests modern hairstyles for fashionable personal identity, while celebrating the name Ghana along with the red, yellow, green, and black state colors the new nation adopted after declaring autonomy from Britain in 1957. Revealing another aspect of the transition, the haunting photo montage, Untitled 21, from the suite Mémoire, by Congolese artist, Sammy Baloji investigates the impact of industrial development in the Belgian Congo during the colonial era and its demise after independence in 1960. In this focus installation, both the sign and the photo montage are presented with related works to portray the historic context more broadly and cast a sharper focus on the nature of the changes in society and art that have played out in Africa during the second half of the 20th century. Curated by Richard B. Woodward, Curator of African Art.

Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing

Through January 19, 2015
Altria and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

This landmark exhibition features more than 180 works of art from the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing (“The Forbidden City”). The largest art museum in China and the largest palace in the world, it is located in the center of Beijing within the ancient Imperial Palace, where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties resided from 1420 until 1924, when the last emperor was expelled. The Palace Museum was established in 1925 and holds more than 1.8 million works of art and artifacts. The exhibition is part of a groundbreaking multi-year collaboration between VMFA and the Palace Museum. The exhibition offers a broad perspective on Imperial China during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties with a focus on the 17th and 18th centuries. Featured works—ranging from portraits of emperors and empresses, court paintings, religious sculpture, and ritual objects to fine ceramics, bronzes, lacquerware, jade, costumes, textiles, and furniture—are combined with 3-D printing technology and architectural features to offer visitors an immersive experience, as if passing through the Forbidden City during the height of its glory and splendor. Forbidden City is presented by Altria Group and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Curated by Li Jian, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of East Asian Art.

Artists as Art: Photographic Portraits
Through March 22, 2015
Photography Gallery

Robert Frank photographs Beat poet Allen Ginsberg hugging a tree. Imogen Cunningham poses Alfred Stieglitz standing in front of a flower painting by Georgia O’Keeffe. Barbara Morgan captures modern dancer Martha Graham as she stretches her body into a dramatic form. These images convey more than a mere likeness of the artists portrayed. Instead they highlight the collaboration between photographer and subject when both are artists seeking to convey a unique persona. This exhibition features photographic portraits of fine artists, writers, and performers taken throughout the 20th century. From the softly focused, romantic images the Pictorialists made in the early 1900s to the casual color polaroids Andy Warhol took of the celebrities around him in the early 1970s, these works also trace the evolving styles and functions of photography as it documented artistic movements and increasingly served as a primary artistic medium in itself. Curated by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and Japanese Landscape Prints

Through March 29, 2015
Evans Court Gallery
Accompanying catalogue

Woodblock prints by Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) poignantly reveal the beauty of Japan’s landscape. These tranquil and dreamlike works evoke nostalgia and longing, exploring the search for individual and national identity in Japan during the early Taisho period (1912-1926), an era of rapid social and cultural change. The exhibition features over 100 works by Hasui, including three exceptional and rare painted screens. In addition, five prints by his contemporaries – including Japanese landscape masters Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915) – reveal how the artist appropriated and reinterpreted earlier and modern styles of printmaking. Water and Shadow includes 74 works from VMFA’s extensive collection of Hasui prints donated by René and Carolyn Balcer, complemented by loans from private collectors in New York and Washington, DC. Organized by VMFA and curated by Dr. Kendall Brown, Professor of Asian Art History at California State University, Long Beach, the exhibition is accompanied by a 228-page, full-color catalogue.

Miwako Nishizawa: Twelve Views of Virginia

Through March 29, 2015
Works on Paper Gallery

Miwako Nishizawa is a California-based Japanese artist specializing in the traditional shin-hanga Japanese woodblock technique that revitalized the ukiyo-e tradition in early 20th century Japan. As a complement to the VMFA exhibition of artist Kawase Hasui, collectors René and Carolyn Balcer commissioned Nishizawa to execute Twelve Views of Virginia in the shin-hanga style. This focus exhibition features artist proofs from Nishizawa’s series. Prints from the series will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

Beyond the Walls

Through June 2015
MeadWestvaco Art Education Center

The Memorial Foundation for Children Teaching Gallery, located in the MeadWestvaco Art Education Center, transformed into an interactive exhibition where visitors can explore daily life in imperial China. In contrast to the world of the emperor on display in Forbidden City, this hands-on exhibition will provide a glimpse into the home of a merchant-class family who lived in the 17th-18th centuries. Visitors will be able to interact through activities that include writing Chinese characters on a touch screen and designing personal seals. There will also be opportunities to unroll and view reproduction scrolls, like those featured in Forbidden City and in VMFA’s East Asian collection, or play traditional musical instruments and games. Whether visiting as part of a school group, or a multigenerational family, the Teaching Gallery exhibition will offer visitors of all ages a new perspective on China’s imperial past.

Collections and Gallery Installations
Permanent Collection on Tour:
VMFA’s Fabergé Gallery is closed while the acclaimed collection is on tour, however the Imperial Rock Crystal Easter Egg and some additional objects by Faberge have been installed in the Vaulted Hall adjacent to the Marble Hall. The majority of VMFA’s world-renowned collection Faberge collection is on international tour.
Current and upcoming venues: Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, Las Vegas, Nev.: through May 25, 2015; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, Okla.: June 20 – September 27, 2015; The Palace Museum, Beijing, China: April 16 – July 17, 2016.

Truland Foundation Media Resource Room
Visitors to the Sydney and Frances Lewis Mid to Late-20th Century Galleries will discover a newly outfitted space designed to bring the artists featured in our Modern and Contemporary collections to life. Equipped with selections of VMFA catalogues and a video kiosk, the Truland Foundation Media Resource Room is a place to discover the stories behind some of the most popular holdings in these collections. Listen to artist interviews – with Chuck Close, Bill Viola, Sally Mann, Sol LeWitt, and many others – using the touch screen monitors and deepen your understanding of the artistic process. The space and kiosk were a gift of former VMFA trustee and President of the Truland Group, Robert W. Truland, and his family. VMFA’s Canvas membership group donated funds to help support the artist interviews.

VMFA MeadWestvaco Art Education Center Exhibitions
Teen Stylin’: Forbidden, through January 28th, 2015
Beyond the Walls, through June 2015
VMFA Docent Art Show, February 19th – March 29th, 2015
Student Art Show, April 15th – August 30th, 2015
Early Childhood Education Art Show, September 14th – November 1st, 2015
Teen Stylin’, November 2015, Dates TBD

VMFA Studio School Exhibitions
Recent Paintings, through January 9, 2015
Dreams, Imagination and Desire, February 2 – 27, 2015
Beginning, Middle and Beyond: Recent Photographs, March 6 – April 10, 2015
Recent Paintings (works by students of Joan Elliott), April 17 – May 22, 2015
The Alchemy of Pots & Prints: Number 10, June 1 – August 21, 2015

VMFA Pauley Center Exhibitions
Coolly Cool: Pastels by Steve Bernard, through February 16, 2015

Amuse Restaurant & Claiborne Robertson Room Exhibitions
Insist/Resist by Sarah Yoder, through February 8, 2015

VMFA Statewide Exhibitions
Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Virginia Beach, January 30 – April 19, 2015
Northern Virginia Community College, Sterling, Va., January 5 – February 6, 2015
Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, Danville, Va., March 20 – May 16, 2015
Fortune, Courage, Love: Arts of Africa’s Akan and Kuba Kingdoms from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
William King Museum of Art, Abingdon, Va., March 27 – July 12, 2015

VMFA at Richmond International Airport
Susan Sterner: Photographs from El Salvador and Brazil, through January 4, 2015

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About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary—and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European—VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide program features traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.


NOTE: Exhibitions are subject to change. General admission to VMFA permanent collections is always free. Some special exhibitions require an admission fee, and members receive free admission to all ticketed exhibitions, as noted in each description.