VMFA Special Exhibitions and Gallery Installations

Special Exhibitions

Posing Beauty in African American Culture
April 26 – July 27, 2014
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

Posing Beauty in African American Culture examines the contested ways in which African and African American beauty has been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through a diverse range of media including photography, film, video, fashion, advertising, and other forms of popular culture such as music and the Internet. The exhibition explores contemporary understandings of beauty by framing the notion of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture, and political contexts. Drawn from public and private collections, Posing Beauty features approximately 90 works by artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Eve Arnold, Gary Winogrand, Sheila Pree Bright, Leonard Freed, Renee Cox, Anthony Barboza, Bruce Davidson, Mickalene Thomas, and Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe. Posing Beauty in African American Culture is curated by Deborah Willis and organized by the Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University. The traveling exhibition is administered by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, Calif. Sponsored by Dominion Resources. This exhibition is also supported by Richmond (VA) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated. The Banner Exhibition Program at VMFA is supported by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.

Identity Shifts
A companion exhibition to Posing Beauty, this collection-based display features works by African American artists who use representations of the human figure or some aspect of the body (including hair) to explore how we construct and perceive personal and cultural identity.  The selection of paintings and sculptures—from the 1970s to the present—features an array of perspectives and styles that underscore the complex factors informing conceptions of race and gender.  Many of the 21st century artists—such as iona rozeal brown, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and Robert Pruitt—mix national, international, historical, and pop-culture references with personal stylistic preferences to produce images that provoke more questions about identity than they answer. The selection of photographs offers a survey of 20th to 21st-century work—from James VanDerZee to Carrie Mae Weems to Hank Willis Thomas—while also highlighting the work of lesser-known artists, such as Richmond native Louis Draper, who played a primary role in founding the first African American photography collective, Kamoinge, in 1963. Many of these works will be on view at VMFA for the first time. Curated by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

THE GREAT WAR: Printmakers of World War I
July 28 – November 16, 2014
Complimentary admission

This exhibition marks the centenary of the commencement of World War I on July 28, 1914. The story of the so-called Great War is told through approximately 30 works by renowned British and American artists such as Muirhead Bone, Kerr Eby, Childe Hassam, James McBey, and Claude Shepperdson. The works depict scenes of combat in France and the Near East, life on the home front in the United States and England, and the war’s aftermath and commemoration. All of the prints come from the Frank Raysor collection, a promised gift to VMFA. Curated by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of European Art.

Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing
October 18, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

This landmark exhibition will feature more than 200 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 will offer 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—will be 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.

Fine Arts and Flowers
November 5-9, 2014
Complimentary admission

Flowers and fine art unite for an exhibition of beauty and creativity. Floral designers from more than 50 garden club chapters across Virginia interpret masterworks in VMFA’s collection with floral arrangements throughout the galleries. Lectures by prominent floral arrangers, an evening gala, lunches, Sunday brunch in bloom, a fashion show, floral tea, hands-on flower arranging workshop, and other events will take place throughout the four-day exhibition.

Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and Japanese Landscape Prints
November 15, 2014 – March 29, 2015
Complimentary admission
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 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
November 15, 2014 – March 29, 2015
Complimentary admission

Miwako Nishizawa is a California-based Japanese American 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 shin-hanga 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 working drawings and artist proofs from Nishizawa’s series. Prints from the series will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

Working among Flowers: Van Gogh, Manet, and the Modern Still Life
March 21 – June 21, 2015
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.

Working among Flowers 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.

Making America: Myth, Memory, and Identity
September 12, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

Making America will be the first full-scale multimedia investigation of America’s most enduring cultural phenomenon—the Colonial Revival. Featuring approximately 200 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs, decorative arts, architectural and landscape designs, costumes, and popular culture ephemera—dating from the late 18th century to the present day—VMFA’s landmark exhibition expands the chronological and geographic boundaries of the regionally diverse, multicultural revival. More than just a style or movement, this ongoing hybrid impulse draws from the historical past to understand the present through the creative use of iconic forms and motifs. Making America will explore how and why this desire to revisit—and reinterpret—the past has shaped America’s visual landscapes, ideologies, and collective memories in times of celebration and crisis.

Making America, which will travel nationally, is organized by the curatorial team of University of Virginia Commonwealth Professor Dr. Richard Guy Wilson; Dr. Sylvia Yount, VMFA Chief Curator and Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art; and her museum colleagues Dr. Susan J. Rawles, Assistant Curator of American Decorative Art, and Christopher Oliver, Assistant Curator of American Art, all of whom will contribute to the accompanying scholarly catalogue.

Ongoing Special Exhibitions
Clare Leighton: From Pencil to Proof to Press
Through April 6, 2014
Complimentary admission

This display of more than 30 watercolors, prints, posters, porcelain, and books by the Anglo-American artist Clare Leighton (1898–1989) is drawn from a local and rarely seen private collection. Leighton occupied a central position in the Arts and Crafts revival of British wood engraving and its related developments in America. As the first woman to produce a book on the art of wood engraving, she played a key role in popularizing the medium. This exhibition complements a larger display of Leighton’s art at the University of Richmond’s Harnett Museum of Art. It features examples of Leighton’s early watercolors, posters for the London Transit, and wood engravings for novels by Thomas Hardy as well as volumes on southern and New England country life. It is organized for VMFA by Chief Curator and Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art Dr. Sylvia Yount.

Catching Sight

Through July 13, 2014
Complimentary admission
Accompanying catalogue

This exhibition sheds new light on a common but often overlooked aspect of British art—the Sporting Print. Featuring 120 works drawn primarily from VMFA’s Paul Mellon Collection, Catching Sight reveals the aesthetic sophistication and accomplishments of the genre. Highly sought-after during the 18th and 19th centuries, these prints endure as symbols of English culture. This exhibition takes an innovative approach to the subject by examining the works from both art-historical and aesthetic perspectives rather than simply as documents of the history of sport and rural culture. It is curated by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of European Art.

Signs of Protest:
Photographs from the Civil Rights Era
Through September 7, 2014
Complimentary admission

Signs and protests were inseparable in the 1960s, with words painted or printed large scale to produce maximum impact when photographed or filmed by the media. Like a visual bullhorn, they both amplified and unified the voices fighting injustice. This exhibition includes photographs that feature protest signs, as well as images of the larger culture of resistance surrounding them, with an emphasis on Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael. Benedict Fernandez’s powerful portfolio, Countdown to Eternity, documents the last year of King’s life. Other images express the need for opposition, such as Gordon Parks’ striking photograph of an aunt and niece standing under the neon sign, “Colored Entrance,” outside a movie theater in Alabama. Likewise, Richard Anderson captured a sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Richmond, Virginia, with a “Restaurant Closed” sign prominently advertising the store’s refusal to serve its African American customers. Signs of Protest is part of an exhibition and program initiative highlighting civil rights and social justice with six cultural organizations in Richmond in early 2014. Signs of Protest is sponsored by Dominion Resources. Curated by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit
Through October 19, 2014
Complimentary admission

Ryan McGinness’s creative process for his 2009 painting Art History Is Not Linear (VMFA) is the focus of this inventive exhibition. Commissioned by VMFA, the artist’s 16-panel painting contains 200 icons inspired by works from the museum’s collection. A three-part exhibition, the first gallery provides a glimpse of McGinness’ studio practice, the second displays a selection of the objects McGinness chose from the museum’s collection alongside his sketches and final image, and the last portion features early works the artist made while growing up in Virginia Beach. The exhibition promises to engage a wide audience, and an exciting array of education programs will encourage young viewers to seek out favorite works in the collection and actively participate in their own process of exploration and interpretation.Curated by John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

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 will be installed in the Vaulted Hall adjacent to the Marble Hall in time for Easter.

The majority of VMFA’s world-renowned collection Faberge collection is on international tour. Upcoming venue: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec (June 14 – October 5, 2014).

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 using the touch screen in the kiosk 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.

Outside the Walls
Opens September 2014
In September, the Memorial Foundation for Children Teaching Gallery, located in the MeadWestvaco Art Education Center, will be 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.

VMFA Statewide Exhibition
From Picasso to Magritte: European Masters from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Va., through August 23, 2014
Featuring 35 19th- and 20th-centuryworks from VMFA’s European collection, this exhibition re-examines one of art history’s most popular time periods through an array of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures by a number of leading artists including Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, René Magritte, Paul Cézanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Vincent van Gogh among others. The works span nearly 150 years—from an 1816 drawing by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres to a 1960s watercolor by Georgio Morandi—and survey various stylistic movements such as Impressionism, Cubism, German Expressionism, and Surrealism.

VMFA MeadWestvaco Art Education Center Exhibitions
Scholastic Art Awards Gold Key Exhibition
, through April 15, 2014
Summer Art Adventures 2013
, May 1 – August 18, 2014
Museum Leaders in Training Student Curated and Designed Exhibition
, May 16 – June 11, 2014
#VMFAselfie and Community Tapestry Project Exhibition,
June 21 – August, 2014
Outside the Walls
, September 2014 – May 2015 

VMFA Studio School Exhibitions
Recent Paintings (works by students of Sally Bowring)
, through April 11, 2014
Drawings & Paintings in Color (works by students of Sara Clark),
April 18 – May 23, 2014
The Alchemy of Pots & Prints IX, June 2 – July 3, 2014
Inside/Out: VMFA Staff Art Exhibition, July 14 – August 22, 2014

VMFA Pauley Center Exhibitions
Perceptual Impressions: Analyzing the Urban Experience by Eli McMullen, through March 23, 2014
In Line by J.T. Kirkland
, March 29 – August 10, 2014

Amuse Restaurant & Claiborne Robertson Room Exhibitions
The Next Play: paintings by Megan Marlatt, through July 6, 2014

VMFA at Richmond International Airport
Modern Ruins: photographs by Miranda Elliott, through July 20, 2014

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.

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.

# # #