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Film in the Sculptural Field
National Gallery of Art

Susan Felleman, professor of art history, film, and media studies, School of Visual Art and Design, University of South Carolina. Sculpture—especially figural sculpture—engages other bodies in multiple ways in film, heightening tensions between motion and stasis, the animate and inanimate, life and death, presence and absence, as well as embodying narrative themes. In this lecture held on June 17, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art, Susan Felleman surveys some of the sculptural themes in her four books of scholarship on art and cinema while also spotlighting a reciprocal aspect of this relationship: sculpture, particularly since the 1960s, that incorporates the medium of film.

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The Description of the Sacred Mountain of La Verna
National Gallery of Art

Ginger Hammer, assistant curator, old master prints and drawings, National Gallery of Art Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia is a rare and unusual illustrated volume about the Franciscan Sanctuary of La Verna, depicting the monastery and dramatic rocky terrain where Francis of Assisi (1181/1182–1226) received the stigmata nearly 400 years earlier. Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1627), a celebrated draftsman and then head of the Academy of Drawing in Florence, created 22 preparatory drawings in 1608 that were subsequently etched or engraved into full-page plates for the volume. It is the centerpiece of the exhibition Heavenly Earth: Images of Saint Francis at La Verna on view at the National Gallery of Art through July 8, 2018. In this lecture held on June 24, 2018, Ginger Hammer expands on the art-historical context of traditional representations of Saint Francis at La Verna and the innovations in Franciscan subject matter characteristic of the Counter-Reformation.

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Press Preview: Sense of Humor
National Gallery of Art

At the press preview for Sense of Humor on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, remarks were given by Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. Following that, a tour of the exhibition was given by Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon senior curator of prints and drawings; Stacey Sell, associate curator, department of old master drawings; and Judith Brodie, curator and head of the department of American and modern prints and drawings.

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Introduction to the Exhibition—Sharing Images: Renaissance Prints into Maiolica and Bronze
National Gallery of Art

Jamie Gabbarelli, assistant curator of prints, drawings, and photographs, RISD Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. Sharing Images: Renaissance Prints into Maiolica and Bronze, the first exhibition of its kind in the United States, brings together some 90 objects to highlight the impact of Renaissance prints on maiolica and bronze plaquettes, the two media most dramatically influenced by the technology of image replication. Inspired by the acquisition of the important William A. Clark maiolica (glazed Italian ceramics) collection from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and drawing largely on the Gallery’s newly expanded holdings, the exhibition focuses on designs by major artists such as Andrea Mantegna, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Parmigianino, and Albrecht Dürer, telling the story of how printed images were transmitted, transformed, and translated onto ceramics and small bronze reliefs, creating a shared visual canon across artistic media and geographical boundaries. To celebrate the opening of Sharing Images on April 1, 2018, Jamie Gabbarelli provides an overview of the exhibition, as well as an introduction to some its major themes, including the role prints in the rise of istoriato (maiolica painted with narrative scenes; literally, “painted with stories”) and the rediscovery of ancient art, the manipulation and misunderstanding of visual models, and the artistic exchanges between Italy and northern Europe in the age of print. Sharing Images: Renaissance Prints Into Maiolica and Bronze is on view through August 5, 2018.

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Press Preview: Water, Wind, and Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age
National Gallery of Art

At the press preview for Water, Wind, and Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, remarks were given by Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. Following that, a tour of the exhibition was given by Alexandra Libby, assistant curator of northern baroque paintings, National Gallery of Art.

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Abstraction in Reverse: A Conversation with Alexander Alberro and James Meyer
National Gallery of Art

Alexander Alberro, Virginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History. Barnard College/Columbia University, and James Meyer, curator of art, 1945–1974, National Gallery of Art On June 10, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art, Alexander Alberro joined James Meyer to discuss the publication of Abstraction in Reverse: The Reconfigured Spectator in Mid-Twentieth-Century Latin American. Their conversation explores how Latin American art in the mid-20th century has shaped and reimagined the interconnection between art and its public, as well as the role of the spectator in the realization of the artwork. What was the relationship of 20th-century Latin American artists to the North American and European legacy? What significance did the art of Latin American artists have during this time? What role did both artist and public play in the process of creating the artwork? And to what extent did this movement evolve beyond South America?

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Abstraction in Reverse: A Conversation with Alexander Alberro and James Meyer
National Gallery of Art

Alexander Alberro, Virginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History.Barnard College/Columbia University, and James Meyer, curator of art, 1945–1974, National Gallery of Art On June 10, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art, Alexander Alberro joined James Meyer to discuss the publication of Abstraction in Reverse: The Reconfigured Spectator in Mid-Twentieth-Century Latin American. Their conversation explores how Latin American art in the mid-20th century has shaped and reimagined the interconnection between art and its public, as well as the role of the spectator in the realization of the artwork. What was the relationship of 20th-century Latin American artists to the North American and European legacy? What significance did the art of Latin American artists have during this time? What role did both artist and public play in the process of creating the artwork? And to what extent did this movement evolve beyond South America?

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The Evidence of Things Seen and Unseen
National Gallery of Art

Jeanine Michna-Bales and Clarissa Sligh, artists. For more than forty years, artist Sally Mann has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that are all bred of a place, the American South. Using her deep love of her native land and her knowledge of its fraught history, Mann asks provocative questions—about history, identity, race, and religion—that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries. On view from March 4 through May 28, 2018, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings considers how Mann’s relationship with this land has shaped her work and how the legacy of the South—as both homeland and graveyard, refuge and battleground—continues to permeate American identity. On May 20, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, artists Jeanine Michna-Bales and Clarissa Sligh share their processes of reimagining and representing histories of African Americans. The program focuses on their recent projects. Michna-Bales’s Through Darkness to Light: Seeking Freedom on the Underground Railroad is a remarkable series of images taken in the dead of night that reveal historical sites, cities, and other places freedom seekers passed through, including homes of abolitionists who offered them sanctuary and a place to rest during daylight hours. Sligh’s Transforming Hate: An Artist's Book evolved from an exhibition in which the artist created sculpture by folding origami cranes from pages of white supremacist books. This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

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Cézanne's Portraits: Doubt, Certainty, and Painting in Series
National Gallery of Art

John Elderfield, chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Distinguished Curator and Lecturer, Princeton University Art Museum. Bringing together some 60 paintings drawn from collections around the world, Cézanne Portraits is the first exhibition devoted exclusively to this often-neglected area of Paul Cézanne’s work. His portraits were widely thought to be shockingly inept when they were first exhibited, but were understood by a small circle of artists and critics to be extremely radical works. In this lecture held on June 3, 2018, at the National Gallery of Art, John Elderfield discusses how Cézanne’s extended, methodical style of painting—“one stroke after the other” is how the artist described it—readily led to the creation of one painting after the other of the same subject. Elderfield also explains how indifferent Cézanne was to the “personality” or “character” of his sitters—long thought to have been necessary aims of portraiture—wanting simply to paint the objective, permanent presence of someone seen. Cézanne Portraits, in its sole American venue at the National Gallery, is on view through July 1, 2018.

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FAPE 2018: Why Is Art Necessary?
National Gallery of Art

Mark Bradford, artist; Agnes Gund, philanthropist and collector; David Rubenstein, trustee, National Gallery of Art, and cofounder and co-executive chairman, The Carlyle Group; and Frank Stella, artist. Moderated by Darren Walker, president, Ford Foundation, and vice president, FAPE. Art has existed almost as long as humankind with varying media, methods, and genres. Art has the power to inspire, heal, connect, and transform. It can serve as a memorial, a catalyst, a reflection, or a statement. The National Gallery of Art, in collaboration with the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), hosted their annual panel discussion with Mark Bradford, Agnes Gund, David Rubenstein, Frank Stella, and Darren Walker on April 15, 2018. This distinguished panel discusses the necessity of art in today’s fast-paced world. This program is coordinated with the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies.

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The East Building at Forty: Reflections from Curators Past and Present
National Gallery of Art

Panelists include E. A. Carmean Jr., a canon in the Episcopal Church and former curator and head of 20th-century art, National Gallery of Art (1974–1984); Jack Cowart, founding executive director, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and former curator and head of 20th-century art, National Gallery of Art (1984–1993); Mark Rosenthal, independent curator, former head of modern and contemporary art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and former curator and head of 20th-century art, National Gallery of Art (1993–1997); Marla Prather, former curator of modern and contemporary art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and former curator and head of 20th-century art, National Gallery of Art (1996–1999); and Jeffrey Weiss, former senior curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and former curator and head of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art (1999–2007). The National Gallery of Art was conceived and given to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon (1855–1937). In 1936 Mellon wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt offering to donate his art collection for a new museum and his own funds to construct a building for its use. With the president’s support, Congress accepted Mellon’s gift and established the Gallery in March 1937. Andrew Mellon had anticipated that the collections would grow beyond the capacity of the original building, and at his request, Congress had set aside an adjacent plot of land for future use. In 1967 Andrew Mellon’s children, Paul Mellon and Ailsa Mellon Bruce, offered funds for a second building, and architect I. M. Pei (b. 1917) was selected to design it. Construction of the East Building began in 1971, and artists such as Henry Moore and Alexander Calder were commissioned to create works for the space. On June 1, 1978, Paul Mellon and President Jimmy Carter dedicated the new museum to the people of the United States. To celebrate the East Building’s 40th anniversary on June 1, 2018, the Gallery’s current and former head curators of 20th-century art gathered to reflect upon their experiences acquiring art and planning special exhibitions.

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Crossing Paths
National Gallery of Art

France Scully Osterman, artist, educator, and lecturer at Scully & Osterman Studio and guest scholar at the George Eastman Museum. Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. In the late 1990s, borrowing freely and shamelessly from the past, Mann began to use the same wet collodion process that countless 19th-century photographers had employed to make their negatives. To learn the ins and outs of this somewhat cumbersome process that dominated photographic practice from the mid-1850s into the 1880s, Mann could not have found better instructors than Mark Osterman, photographic historian at George Eastman Museum, and his wife, photographer France Scully Osterman. On April 21, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, Scully Osterman shares her experience as Mann’s guide to making the “technical and aesthetic leap” to wet-plate collodion. Although she came to appreciate the almost ceremonial aspect of creating a collodion wet plate, Mann realized as she experimented that it was “the flaws I like.” This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

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Differing, Drawn: A Conversation with Lynne Cooke and Darby English
National Gallery of Art

Darby English, Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History and the College, The University of Chicago, and consulting curator, department of painting and sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Lynne Cooke, senior curator, special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art. In his book 1971: A Year in the Life of Color, Darby English looks at the desire of many black artists to gain freedom from overt racial representation in their art. In some cases, those efforts took the form of public exhibitions. English analyzes two exhibitions that took place in 1971: Contemporary Black Artists in America at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches; and The DeLuxe Show, a racially integrated abstract art exhibition that positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight in Houston, Texas. With their supporters, black modernists—including Alvin Loving, whose work is represented in the exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art at the National Gallery of Art—rose above the demand to represent or be represented. In a conversation with Lynne Cooke on April 22, 2018, English outlines the struggle of the black artist against the surrounding culture’s preoccupation with color and situates his own art historical project among other efforts to deal with race in the writing of art history.

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History, Photography, and Race in the South: From the Civil War to Now Part 4
National Gallery of Art

Shawn Michelle Smith, professor and chair, department of visual and critical studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. For a public symposium held on April 14, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, Shawn Michelle Smith examines the role of photography as a tool of self-construction for African Americans after slavery. Smith discusses the numerous photographic portraits of abolitionist Frederick Douglass as well as his early lectures on photography in the 1860s, presenting his thoughts on the medium as a novel theory of it as well as a new model of personhood. This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

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History, Photography, and Race in the South: From the Civil War to Now, Part 5
National Gallery of Art

Maurice Wallace, associate professor, department of English, and associate director, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies, University of Virginia Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. For a public symposium held on April 14, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, Maurice Wallace argues for sound as a neglected consideration in photographic criticism. Every photograph, insofar as photography is defined by its soundless condition, represses the sound necessarily attending to the picture-taking event. Examining the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., in pictures, especially those that capture him in the art of speech-making or preaching, Wallace vividly demonstrates how photographs record sound’s memory, if not its audibility. Further, Wallace suggests a set of sounds, black sounds, that not only haunt some of Mann’s compelling photographs, but also belong to the very soundscape that shaped King’s own resonantly remembered voice. This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

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History, Photography, and Race in the South: From the Civil War to Now Part 3
National Gallery of Art

Katherine Henninger, associate professor, departments of English and women's and gender studies, Louisiana State University. Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. For a public symposium held on April 14, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, Katherine Henninger explores visual legacies of the southern gothic in literature and photography, and contemporary southern artistic engagement with those legacies vis-à-vis figures of childhood. The southern gothic has powerfully registered American violence around race, class, sexuality, and gender, while figures of childhood register anxiety about the South’s—really, the nation’s—innocence and guilt in relation to such violence. Henninger demonstrates how Mann’s photographs evoke and disrupt these twinned representational traditions. This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

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History, Photography, and Race in the South: From the Civil War to Now Part 2
National Gallery of Art

LeRonn P. Brooks, assistant professor, department of African and African American Studies, Lehman College. Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. For a public symposium held on April 14, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, LeRonn Brooks further explores Mann’s treatment of history. Mann’s landscape photography reimagines land as a facet of memory and narrative; Brooks examines how these themes are intertwined and relevant to this moment in our nation’s history, revealing that the past contains every part of whom we have become. This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

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History, Photography, and Race in the South: From the Civil War to Now Part 1
National Gallery of Art

Grace Elizabeth Hale, Commonwealth Chair of American Studies and History, University of Virginia. Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. In her keynote address for a public symposium held in conjunction with the exhibition, Grace Elizabeth Hale explores how return—as a practice, a process, a subject, and an aesthetic—structures time and thus marks and makes history. Hale discusses how Sally Mann and other photographers working in the South employ return to render history visible: the way they photograph the same place or people or event; restage old images or return to places photographed by others; employ old photographic processes, formats, and materials; and consciously go back to former histories—to older Souths, to the lies that passed for truths, and to the relationships people constructed with these pasts. What, Hale asks, can the work of these photographers tell us about the changing meaning of history? This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

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Claude Monet’s “The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil”—Two Masterworks Reunited, Part III: In Context
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. On view in the French impressionism galleries of the West Building from May 19 through August 8, 2018, the Norton Simon version of The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil (1881) has long been believed to have served as the basis for the Gallery’s canvas of the same title. The paintings are the only two of the four known works Monet painted of this scene currently in public collections, and their relationship may not be as straightforward as scholars previously thought. Curator Kimberly A. Jones discusses the importance of Monet’s time in Vétheuil and how these paintings reflect a new direction in the artist’s career

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Claude Monet’s “The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil”—2 Masterworks Reunited, Part II: Conservator’s Take
National Gallery of Art

Ann Hoenigswald, senior conservator of paintings, and 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. On view in the French impressionism galleries of the West Building from May 19 through July 29, 2018, the Norton Simon version of The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil (1881) has long been believed to have served as the basis for the Gallery’s canvas of the same title. The paintings are the only two of the four known works Monet painted of this scene currently in public collections, and their relationship may not be as straightforward as scholars previously thought. Conservator Ann Hoenigswald and curator Kimberly A. Jones discuss new information revealed during recent technical analysis of the two paintings.

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