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Stanley Kubrick: The Irony of Feeling
National Gallery of Art

Robert P. Kolker, emeritus professor, department of English, University of Maryland, and adjunct professor of media studies, University of Virginia. Stanley Kubrick’s films have occasionally been criticized as seeming cold or distant. The images and the stories they tell, however, speak another narrative of deeply held, ironically expressed passion, a level of feeling that the viewer has to seek out and be open to. In this lecture held at the National Gallery of Art on September 2, 2018, acclaimed film scholar Robert P. Kolker illustrates, through numerous clips, that Kubrick’s films often reference specific works of art. The presentation celebrates Kolker’s publication of The Extraordinary Image: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and the Reimagining of Cinema, an exploration of how movies work, what they mean, and why they bring us so much pleasure. Reflecting on a lifetime of teaching and writing on these filmmakers, in The Extraordinary Image Kolker offers a deeply personal set of insights on three artists who have changed the way he understands movies.

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Introduction to the Exhibition—Rachel Whiteread
National Gallery of Art

Molly Donovan, curator of art, 1975–present, department of modern art, National Gallery of Art Rachel Whiteread, the first comprehensive survey of this British sculptor’s 30-year career, features drawings, photographs, architecture-scaled sculptures, archival materials, documentary materials on public projects, and several new works on view for the first time. In this introductory lecture recorded on September 16, 2018, Molly Donovan explains how Whiteread’s sculptures memorialize everyday objects, domestic interiors, and public spaces. Donovan also shares the ways in which Whiteread has effectively recast the memories of these locations and objects to chart the seismic changes in how we live, from the late 20th century and into the 21st. The exhibition is on view through January 13, 2019.

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Introduction to the Exhibition—Corot: Women
National Gallery of Art

Mary Morton, curator and head, department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is best known as the great master of landscape painting in the 19th century who bridged the French neoclassical tradition with the impressionist movement of the 1870s. In honor of the opening of the exhibition Corot: Women, Mary Morton argues that Corot’s figure paintings, although constituting a much smaller, less well-known portion of his oeuvre, are of equal importance to the history of art, in particular for the founders of modernist painting such as Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque. Dressed in rustic Italian costume or nude on a grassy plain, Corot’s women read, dream, and gaze directly at the viewer, conveying a sense of their inner lives. On September 9, 2018, at that National Gallery of Art, Morton explains how Corot’s sophisticated use of color and his deft, delicate touch applied to the female form resulted in pictures of quiet majesty. Corot: Women is on view through December 31, 2018.

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Press Event: Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project
National Gallery of Art

At the press preview for Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, remarks were given by Kara Fiedorek, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art; followed by the artist Dawoud Bey. Speakers were introduced by Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art.

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Post-World War II European Art
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. In the years following the Second World War Europe was exhausted and slow to recover. Historians often speak about a shift in the art world's center of gravity from Paris to New York as the abstract expressionists claimed the spotlight. But the late 1940s and 1950s were a fertile, if troubled, time for art in Europe as well. While the Americans believed that they could start from scratch, inventing new techniques and subjects, the Europeans, who had experienced the horrors of war on their own soil, took a darker view of rebirth. The postwar school of Paris engaged raw materials through the art brut expressions of Jean Dubuffet and the thickly encrusted abstractions of Pierre Soulages and Nicholas de Stael. Jean Fautrier tested the conventional limits of painting by mixing powdered pigments, sand, and plaster to create abstract equivalents of the violent dissociation of body and spirit. The existential anxiety of the moment was perhaps best captured by the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, who obsessively subtracted clay from his figures until they loomed up like monuments on the point of disappearance. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff discusses European art and artists in the aftermath of the Second World War. This lecture was presented on August 16, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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Abstract Expressionism
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art, August 14, 2018. From the mid-1940s through the 1950s painters in New York imbued their work with a heady new confidence, scale, and energy. Before and during World War II European émigrés poured into New York, including artists Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, and the writer and surrealist leader André Breton. Their influence led to the exploration of biomorphic forms, archaic themes, and accidental processes designed to unleash the unconscious, like dripping and scraping. It is in the large canvases of the 1950s, by Jackson Pollock and others, that what one critic called “the triumph of American painting” can really be felt. These paintings increased ambition and introduced new techniques: Pollock’s rhythmic pours and drips, Clyfford Still’s dry palette-knifing, Newman’s masking-taped “zips,” Franz Kline’s chiseled gestures, and Joan Mitchell’s flurries of strokes. This generation of artists revealed new horizons in the practice of painting and the experience of viewing. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the triumph of American painting in postwar America. This lecture was presented on August 14, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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Cuarteto Latinoamericano
National Gallery of Art

Program: Music by Brouwer and Ginastera. Cuarteto Latinoamericano performs Leo Brouwer’s Third String Quartet and Alberto Ginastera’s Second String Quartet in this concert held at the National Gallery of Art on Sunday, January 29, 2017. Founded in Mexico in 1982, Cuarteto Latinoamericano is one of the world’s renowned string quartets. A leading proponent of Latin American music, the quartet has a discography of more than 80 recordings, including the complete string quartet cycles of Alberto Ginastera and Heitor Villa-Lobos.

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Press Event: Corot: Women
National Gallery of Art

At the press preview for Corot: Women on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, remarks were given by Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings at the National Gallery of Art. She was introduced by Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.

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Cézanne Portraits in Context
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. Paul Cézanne sought to systematize the spontaneity of impressionism and to find an analytical way of seeing the world. His paintings express a new vocabulary of art and a new interpretation of the nature of visual experience—moving away from art as purely visual sensation and toward a more cerebral approach. Cézanne’s belief that “there are two things in the painter, the eye and the mind; each of them should aid the other” was taken to heart by the young Pablo Picasso. In 1943, Picasso declared that Paul Cézanne was “my one and only master.” Indeed, with the artistic achievement of Cézanne, modern art would chart a new and challenging course. Senior lecturer David Gariff explores Cézanne’s revolutionary art in this lecture presented at the National Gallery of Art on July 10, 2018.

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Abstraction and Purity
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. The most daring development in early 20th-century modern art was the step into abstraction—the decision to make paintings that were not pictures of the visible world but just . . . paintings. Abstraction elicited both excitement and anxiety. Painters looked to new sources for the kind of structure that direct observation had once provided: music; the logic of geometry; the forces of emotion and spirituality; the material facts of paint and canvas; and scientific developments that revealed new ways to “see” the world, from X-rays to Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Artists from several countries hoped that abstraction might become a lingua franca, transcending cultural differences. While that did not quite happen, the energies unleashed by abstraction were far-reaching, as works by Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Constantin Brancusi confirm. Abstraction was truly the art of the future. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the birth of abstraction in early 20th-century art. This lecture was presented on August 9, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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Ingmar Bergman and the Visual Arts
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. The films of Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) display a broad formal range and expressionistic style. The director's devotion to theater and music and his gift for working with an ensemble of actors who routinely probe complex issues of morality, death, and faith are well known. Less often discussed is his debt to the visual arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture. As part of a global celebration of the centennial of Bergman’s birth, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the relationship between the director’s film language and the wider visual arts in this July 29, 2018, lecture at the National Gallery of Art.

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Dada and Surrealism
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. Just as the years before World War I witnessed the birth of abstraction, the war itself brought Dada, equally international movement, but dark and mordant where abstraction was earnest and utopian. The name, plucked from a dictionary in Zurich in 1916, means “rocking horse” in French or “yes yes” in Romanian and Russian. But as the name of a movement it really means nothing at all. Sick of the culture that had produced the carnage of the First World War, Dada challenged every sacred cow, throwing expression and authorship out the window and celebrating chance and absurdity instead. Then surrealism came along to channel the anti-art energies of Dadaists like Marcel Duchamp back into the museum, triggering a wildly successful yet fractious movement that swept Europe between the wars and embraced many media. Artists like Max Ernst, René Magritte, Kay Sage, and Yves Tanguy, to name only a few, would follow the dictum of the movement’s founder, André Breton, and “seek to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality.” As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the chaos of Dada and the revolution of surrealism. This lecture was presented on July 31, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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German and Austrian Expressionism
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. At the turn of the 20th century Germany and Austria were full of volatile contradictions. They were modernizing rapidly yet maintained deeply conservative values. This was fertile ground for the birth of German and Austrian expressionism, represented by the paintings of Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Emil Nolde, and Egon Schiele, among others. A gift from the Arnold and Joan Saltzman Collection has transformed the National Gallery of Art’s holdings of German and Austrian expressionist art. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the vital role that German and Austrian expressionism played in the opening decades of the 20th century. This lecture was presented on July 26, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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Avant-Garde to Underground: Outliers and Film
National Gallery of Art

Lynne Cooke, senior curator, special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art, and James Benning, artist. On April 29, 2018, curator Lynne Cooke spoke with artist James Benning about his media artwork, including the video installation Stemple Pass, shown in the exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art, as well as his film measuring change (2016, HD, 61 minutes), screened as part of the film series Avant-Garde to Underground: Outliers and Film, Part 2, in conjunction with the exhibition.

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Monet at Vétheuil
National Gallery of Art

Kimberly A. Jones, curator of 19th-century French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Two of Claude Monet’s paintings of the garden at his home in Vétheuil, France, have been reunited for the first time since they were created more than 100 years ago, thanks to a long-term series of loan exchanges between the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena. In celebration of this special installation, Kimberly A. Jones discusses the genesis of the four versions of The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil (1881) and their place within the larger context of Monet’s artistic development during his three-year sojourn at Vétheuil, a period marked by personal tragedy and intense creativity.

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Narek Hakhnazaryan and Noreen Cassidy-Polera
National Gallery of Art

Cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan and pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera perform Johannes Brahms's Cello Sonata in F Major, op. 99, Sulkhan Fyodorovich Tsintsadze's Five Pieces on Folk Themes for Cello and Piano, and Niccolò Paganini's Variations on a Theme of Rossini, in this concert held at the National Gallery of Art on Sunday, February 25, 2018. Hakhnazaryan was born in Yerevan, Armenia, into a family of musicians and was mentored by the late Mstislav Rostropovich. Cassidy-Polera is one of the most highly regarded and diverse chamber artists performing today. Her career has taken her to major music centers in the United States, Europe, and Asia, with recent performances at Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall in Boston, and the Kennedy Center.

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Early Picasso and Cubism
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. After shattering representational tradition with cubism, which he developed with Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso became the artistic visionary against whom most others measured their creativity throughout the 20th century. Born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881, Picasso attended art schools and aligned his sensibilities with bohemian writers and artists in Barcelona and Madrid. After early work inspired by El Greco, symbolism, and the sinuous curvatures of art nouveau, Picasso began to find his own vision. The art he made from 1905 to 1915 unleashed a torrent of originality culminating in the birth of cubism, among the 20th century’s most revolutionary art movements. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the contributions made to 20th-century modernism by Picasso, Braque, and their peers. This lecture was presented on July 24, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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Henri Matisse and Fauvism
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. At the 1905 Salon d’Automne, an annual exhibition in Paris dedicated to vanguard art, Henri Matisse showed Open Window, Collioure alongside works by his disciples of the moment, including André Derain, Albert Marquet, and Maurice de Vlaminck. One critic, seeing an academic sculpture in the middle of the room, exclaimed, “Donatello chez les fauves!”–Donatello among the wild beasts!–and the first “ism” of the 20th century was born. Today Fauvist paintings are celebrated as the epitome of pleasure, a virtual vacation to the south of France, where the movement was born in the summer of 1905. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the seminal roles that Matisse, his followers, and the short-lived Fauvist movement played in the development of 20th-century expressionism. This lecture was presented on July 19, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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American Art, 1900–1950: Henri, Stieglitz and Their Circles
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. As a teacher at the New York School of Art in the early 20th century, Robert Henri urged his to reject genteel subjects in favor of gritty depictions of urban life. George Bellows, Edward Hopper, and John Sloan typify the range of personalities and artistic styles in Henri’s first crop of students. Alfred Stieglitz, Henri’s contemporary, is best known as an early promoter and practitioner of photography as a fine art. He was also a champion of modern painting and sculpture. From 1908 to 1917 his gallery, 291 (named for its address on Fifth Avenue), introduced New York audiences to new European art movements and new American artists. Stieglitz’s promotion of photography had two opposing effects on painting. Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and others felt liberated by photography’s realism, which allowed them to invent bold styles of painterly abstraction. “Precisionists” such as Charles Sheeler, by contrast, began to emulate the sharp detail of photography and to take photographs themselves. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, senior lecturer David Gariff explores the contributions made to modern American art by Henri, Stieglitz, their students and followers. This lecture was presented on July 17, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art.

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Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920)
National Gallery of Art

David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. Born in northern Italy, Amedeo Modigliani moved to Paris in 1906 at the age of 21 to immerse himself in the art of the day. His hero, Paul Cézanne, died the same year, and a retrospective in 1907 impressed the young artist: in his pocket he kept a picture of Cézanne’s Boy in a Red Waistcoat. Like Pablo Picasso, to whom he often compared himself, Modigliani was drawn to non-Western art, including Khmer and Egyptian works. As part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art, this presentation by senior lecturer David Gariff on July 12, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art, discusses portraits of Modigliani’s fellow painter Chaim Soutine; Léon Bakst, designer for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes; and Renée Kisling, wife of the painter Moïse Kisling. Most of the paintings referenced were acquired by Chester Dale, a founding benefactor of the National Gallery of Art, whose 1963 bequest transformed the museum’s modern art collection. His wife Maud mounted exhibitions of Modigliani’s work and published one of the first scholarly monographs on the artist in 1929. This presentation was part of the series Celebrating the East Building: 20th-Century Art.

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