Past

The Bodice Project

April 24 - July 25, 2021

The Bodice Project is a traveling sculpture exhibition about breast cancer survivors and their emotional healing post breast cancer.

After breast cancer every person asks the question: “Who am I now?” Breast cancer has pushed and pulled on the physical and emotional aspects of each individual, and they are left with physical and emotional scars.

The goal of The Bodice Project is to aid in the emotional healing of those women and men facing the challenges of breast cancer and to open the eyes and hearts of others. Nearly everyone has been touched by breast cancer in some way. The Bodice Project sheds light on the unique and individual stories of their journeys through the healing power of art.

It is a project that brings together artists, breast cancer survivors, patients and the public in a unique and meaningful way. Artists from the Mid-Atlantic area have created torso sculptures of breast cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies or reconstructive surgery. When presented to the public, these beautiful works evoke a range of emotion, from empathy to solace.

This exhibit is presented with support from The Katherine & Herman Pugh Exhibitions Endowment.

This exhibit is presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

Additional support provided by Women 2 Women of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Portfolio 2021

April 17 - May 16, 2021

Portfolio is designed to showcase the exemplary artwork of middle school and high school students in the Tri-State region of West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. This year, after a hiatus in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued health concerns, the Portfolio 2021 exhibition has been reorganized to showcase the best senior high school student art. In limiting the exhibition it is our goal to meet CDC guidelines while still recognizing these young artists and their teachers, creating an opportunity to participate in a high-quality exhibition within a museum setting and providing a venue for graduating students to build a portfolio for advanced study. Portfolio 2021 will not be juried this year, rather each senior student will receive a small cash prize for their participation. One student will be selected for the Janet Bromley Excellence in the Arts Award to be chosen by the Museum’s Curator. We are optimistically hopeful to return to a full exhibition, reception and award ceremony for Portfolio 2022.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

The long tradition of the artistic still life dates to ancient times in Egypt and the classical worlds of Greece and Rome, as depictions of tabletop arrangements of food and other objects have been found in Egyptian tombs, on Greek vases, and in mosaics and wall paintings unearthed in Pompeii. The genre began to thrive during the Renaissance, especially in northern Europe where Dutch and Flemish painters excelled in producing ultra-realistic depictions of inanimate objects such as flowers, dead game, food and wine, kitchen utensils and glassware. Though relegated to the lowest levels of importance by the European academic hierarchies who valued more lofty and esoteric subject matter, still life paintings were popular with art buyers and sold well.

The still life genre was even embraced by the iconoclastic painters of the 19th and 20th centuries in spite of its firm roots in tradition and has been a continuing theme in American painting.

The Huntington Museum of Art will display a wide-ranging group of still-life works from its collection, including a sumptuous painting by 17th century Italian painter Bartolommeo Bettera, a pastel drawing by Cubist master Georges Braque, and several examples by American artists such as John Peto, Jack Beal, and Gloria Vanderbilt. In addition to works by Robert Freimark, Blanche Lazzell, and Leslie Shiels, this exhibit will include three works that were acquired in recent years from the prestigious collection of the late Dr. William Gerdts, the preeminent scholar on American still life, and his wife, Abigail Gerdts.

This exhibit is presented by Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers.

This exhibit is presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Art on a Limb

November 24 - January 3, 2021

The Huntington Museum of Art will present Art on a Limb, an exhibit of holiday trees decorated with ornaments created by regional artists from Nov. 24, 2020, through Jan. 3, 2021. Although the Art on a Limb exhibit will take place, Holiday Open House at HMA has been canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns.

The Art on a Limb exhibit showcases the work of artists in The Huntington Calligraphers’ Guild, Tri-Area Needle Arts, and West Virginia Bead Society. The Palette Tree in HMA’s Virginia Van Zandt Great Hall features individual artist palettes featuring the artwork of dozens of regional artists, including Paula Clendenin, Charles Jupiter Hamilton, Lee Ann Blevins, and the late Chuck Ripper, among others.

“The groups creating ornaments for ‘Art on a Limb’ have long relationships with the Huntington Museum of Art and take pride in the artworks they create to be displayed on the holiday trees,” said Cindy Dearborn, HMA Education Director. “We are grateful to them for their dedication to this exhibit.”

Craig Allen Subler: Eccentric Spaces

January 30 - April 25, 2021

Contemporary West Virginia artist Craig Allen Subler brings a unique set of experiences to his work, drawing upon his lengthy career as both a working artist and a museum administrator.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, he did his undergraduate studies at the Dayton Art Institute and obtained graduate degrees, including an MFA, from the University of Iowa. He later served as the Olsen Professor in the Department of Art and History and the Director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Gallery of Art. From 1980-2001 he curated more than 180 exhibitions, ranging from shows of work by Jasper Johns, Yoko Ono and Robert Rauschenberg to a unique exhibit on the topic of African hats, and produced 30 exhibition catalogues.

Subler’s art has been seen in more than 84 group exhibits and 15 one-person shows. He has received several public commissions and his work is included in many museums and private collections.

He is currently retired and living and working in his studio in Gerrardstown, West Virginia.

In his exhibition at the Huntington Museum of Art, Subler’s drawings, prints and paintings focus on the complexity of the museum experience. Museums are highly choreographed and artificial domains where curators, educators and designers cluster objects to create clear and defined narratives. Yet as visitors walk through the museum, they encounter individual rooms that feature objects not related to those they have just experienced. In his work Subler focuses on making a new narrative through the juxtaposition of spaces and objects. His works present a complex accumulation of fragments and viewpoints. It is puzzling for the figures that inhabit these works, while reminding us of our own museum encounters.  

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Art Quilts by Denise Roberts

January 16 - April 11, 2021

Award-winning quilt artist Denise Roberts credits the curved landscapes that surround the winding roads of her home state of West Virginia as a major influence on her work. Through the meandering arcs and bold shapes and colors that appear in her quilts, she achieves a brooding sense of energy and character. She reaps the bounty of the thousands of hours she has invested in studying and perfecting the technical side of her artistry, utilizing a masterful grasp of free and improvisational cutting, fabric dyeing and surface design to create textiles that stretch far beyond the historical bounds that often limit the quilter’s art. Though rooted in timeless craft traditions, her work is more akin to that of abstract painters, connected with them through a bold use of color and form in their purest manifestations.

A West Virginia resident since the age of nine, Roberts has lived in several locations around the state, including a stretch in the mid-1980s when she settled in Huntington. After she and her husband welcomed their first daughter, they moved to the Morgantown area, and in 2008 they bought a farm in Albright, West Virginia (Preston County), where she set up her professional studio and still resides. She spent many years following a traditional quilter’s path, but in 2005 she began studying with some of the leaders in the improvisational quilting field, especially Ohio-based artist Nancy Crow. Her work has been featured in many national and international exhibits, including Color Improvisations 2, which was shown at the Huntington Museum of Art in 2019.

This will be Roberts’ first solo show and will highlight selections from three thematic series that have occupied her attention over much of the past five years. All the quilts feature the energetic lines and striking colors that have become characteristic of the artist’s mature work. After many shows with a limited number of her work, the prospect of seeing a large selection together in one gallery will provide a tantalizing treat to museum visitors.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

The history of African-American art reflects the larger story of America, a land that saw millions of enslaved Africans brought to its shores during the colonial and antebellum periods. These forced immigrants were stripped of their own cultural traditions and compelled to create new narratives in a strange and unforgiving land. Opportunities to freely express themselves or to receive specialized instruction in art were rare for African Americans in the antebellum period and equally so even after the abolishment of slavery at the time of the Civil War. Only by the time of the 20th century, with developments such as the Harlem Renaissance, did a growing culture of African-American visual art begin to blossom and burst onto the national scene. Though still hampered by continuing prejudice and a lack of opportunity, African-American visual artists have nevertheless emerged to become a strong voice in the contemporary art scene in the United States.

Over the past several decades, the Huntington Museum of Art has been building a distinguished collection of work by African-American artists. Included in the group is a painting by the most celebrated African-American artist of the 19th century, Henry Ossawa Tanner, an internationally successful painter and teacher. Perhaps the most widely known work by an African-American artist in the HMA collection is by one of Tanner’s students, William Edouard Scott. His painting Lead Kindly Light appeared in 1918 on the cover of The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP that was edited by well-known African-American intellectual W.E.B. DuBois. It has been featured in exhibitions at major institutions and was recently highlighted in the PBS documentary Reconstruction: America After the Civil War. Another early 20th century work is a watercolor by Richard Lonsdale Brown, a talented West Virginia artist whose work was also featured in The Crisis. Prints by 20th century master Romare Bearden will also be included.

Many of the works in the collection have been acquired to commemorate the participation of artists as guest instructors in the museum’s Walter Gropius Master Artist Workshop program. Thom Shaw, E.B. Lewis, Nanette Carter, Willie Cole and Donald Earley have all led workshops, as have Joyce Scott and Carrie Mae Weems, both of whom have been honored with MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Awards.

Several artists with local ties will be featured in the show, including quilt artists and Huntington natives Tina Williams Brewer and Theresa Polley-Shellcroft, both former Gropius Workshop leaders, and poet/artist Elaine Blue. Works by prominent self-taught artists will also be on view, including selections by William Hawkins, Clementine Hunter and Dilmus Hall.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1970 addition to the Huntington Museum of Art that was designed by Walter Gropius and his partners at The Architects Collaborative, the museum is planning an exhibition on the Bauhaus, the highly influential school that Gropius founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1919.

Titled The Wide Reach of the Bauhaus, this exhibition will focus on the penetrating influence of the school and its students and teachers throughout the world. Many of these remarkable artists were forced to scatter from Germany to escape a government that was hostile to modernist art and design, so they took their ideas to communities around the globe, even to small and unlikely places such as Aspen, Colorado, and Black Mountain, North Carolina.

The Wide Reach of the Bauhaus will look at the incredible impact of the individuals who were associated with the school. It will feature work that was created during the Bauhaus years of 1919-1933 as well as later work by the artists, architects and designers who moved on to successful careers in the United States and elsewhere. Many of the leading figures in 20th century art and design will be featured, including Gropius, Josef Albers, Anni Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, Lyonel Feininger, Herbert Bayer, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. The exhibition will include paintings, prints, film, photography, graphic design and drawings, as well as decorative arts such as pottery, furniture and textiles, and will include an emphasis on the school and its colossal influence upon 20th century architectural design.

From its earliest days of existence, the Bauhaus pursued a new approach to art, one that looked forward rather than to the past. It was committed to erase the gulf between “fine art” and “craft” and embraced the potential of modern machine technology to make good design available and affordable to the masses. Though students at the Bauhaus followed a structured course that emphasized basic studies in color and form followed by hands-on experiences with various materials such as clay, wood, metal, glass and textiles, they were encouraged to experiment to create work that broke new ground. Despite being caught up in political controversies and faced with constant financial problems during the turbulent times that gripped Germany in the years following World War I, the school produced a host of individual artists whose work stands out prominently in the history of 20th century art. Many would go on to serve as teachers in prestigious universities around the world such as Harvard and Yale or were involved in experimental and influential educational projects at institutions such as Black Mountain College in North Carolina or the New Bauhaus in Chicago.

Each of the artists has a story to tell, from the tragic but courageous work of former Bauhaus student Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who taught children’s art classes in the concentration camp at Terezin (Poland) before being murdered by the Nazis in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, to American emigres Walter Gropius, Josef and Anni Albers, Marcel Breuer, Herbert Bayer and Werner Drewes, all of whom enjoyed long and successful careers in their adopted land. Many of the works in the exhibit are drawn from the growing number of Bauhaus items in the HMA holdings, while others have been borrowed from public and private collections.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by a gift from the Saint John’s Trust, in Memory of Anna Virginia Morgan.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Through an exhibition of photographs, documents and drawings, the story of the involvement of great Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius with the Huntington Museum of Art will be presented this fall as a commemorative tribute on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the expanded facility.

Walter Gropius and the Huntington Galleries Building Expansion Project exhibition will be on view at the Huntington Museum of Art from October 10, 2020, through February 17, 2021.

On October 23, 1970, the Huntington Galleries (now Huntington Museum of Art) opened an addition to its facility that greatly expanded its exhibition space and added a 300-seat auditorium, a separate studio building and an art reference library. The building was designed by famed architect Walter Gropius and his colleagues at The Architects Collaborative. 

How did it happen that a world-famous architect came to Huntington to work on an expansion of the museum? The story began in 1966 with the award of a major grant from the Henry L. and Grace Rardin Doherty Foundation that was earmarked for the building project. The leader of the Doherty Foundation at the time of the grant was Walter L. Brown, whose father, Douglas W. Brown, had been a partner with museum founder Herbert Fitzpatrick in the Huntington law firm Fitzpatrick, Brown and Davis.

A committee that was appointed by the Museum’s Board of Trustees to find an architect for the project was frustrated by their inability to attract a prestigious firm to head the effort. The answer to the dilemma finally came about through the efforts of Eloise Campbell Long, a member of the Huntington Galleries Board. She and her husband were regular vacationers at Castle Hot Springs, a resort in Arizona, a place that was also frequented by Walter Gropius and his wife Ise. Mrs. Long had become friends with the couple during their many visits to the resort, and when the museum’s expansion project was announced, she audaciously asked Walter Gropius if he would undertake the design of the new wing in Huntington. Much to her pleasant surprise, he agreed to take on the project in partnership with his firm, The Architects Collaborative of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Though Gropius passed away before the Huntington project was completed, his influence had a major impact on the museum, not just in terms of the building, but also in his emphasis on a studio-based art education program. At the groundbreaking ceremony in 1968, he outlined a vision for the new facility.  “It will be of incalculable value for Huntington and its neighboring towns to have at their disposal a greatly broadened institute…to pursue both the improvement of the historic knowledge of art as well as the artistic creativity of their own young generation for the cultural benefit of the whole community.”  He emphasized the importance of art instruction in the studios, expressing a desire “that such activities may flourish here under the stimulation of talented teachers and of great examples of works of art exhibited in this gallery.” 

This exhibition is supported, in part, by a gift from the Saint John’s Trust, in Memory of Anna Virginia Morgan.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

To observe the 50th Anniversary this fall of the Marshall University plane crash, the Huntington Museum of Art will present an exhibition of work by Harry Bertoia, the artist who created the Marshall University Memorial Fountain.

Titled Rising, Renewing, Reaching: Harry Bertoia and the Marshall University Memorial Fountain, this exhibition is Presented by the Polan Family in Memory of Dorothy and Lake Polan, Jr. This exhibition will be on view in HMA’s Switzer Gallery from Sept. 19 through Jan. 3, 2021. An exhibit of Marshall University Fountain photographs by David Pittenger will be on view in HMA’s Virginia Van Zandt Great Hall during the run of the Bertoia exhibition.

Celia Bertoia, the daughter of the artist, is tentatively scheduled to present The Dr. Lawrence B. and Shirley Gang Memorial Lecture at HMA on Nov. 13, 2020, from 5 to 7 p.m. (Please follow HMA social media platforms for updates on this event, which may be presented virtually.)

Harry Bertoia’s Memorial Fountain on the Marshall University campus has become a powerful symbol of the university itself, serving as a centerpiece for the school grounds and a vigilant reminder of the terrible airline tragedy that occurred on November 14, 1970, when 75 players, coaches and supporters of the football team perished.

Twice yearly, a solemn ceremony is held at the Fountain, attended by large crowds who mark the moment, often tearfully, as the water is turned off in the fall and the flow is restored in the spring. A small plaque accompanies the sculpture with a simple statement that acknowledges the artwork’s purpose: “They shall live on in the hearts of their families and friends forever and this memorial records their loss to the university and the community.”

The choice of Bertoia as the designer of an on-campus memorial to mark the Marshall tragedy is an interesting case study in the often-contentious process of determining what constitutes a proper symbol for public memory. Soon after the tragic event occurred, acting Marshall University President Donald Dedmon appointed a committee to decide on a memorial for the victims of the crash. Several ideas were discussed, including proposals to feature a buffalo or football players as part of the memorial’s motif. Architect Keith Dean, who had designed the Marshall Student Center on campus, suggested Harry Bertoia as a candidate to create the memorial sculpture. Bertoia had been recommended to Dean by Roberta Emerson, Director of the Huntington Museum of Art, who knew of his work through the artist’s sculpture in the museum’s holdings. Dean hoped that Bertoia’s work could be placed in a spot in front of the Center that had already been designed to house a fountain (construction on the Student Center had begun in 1969, well before the air tragedy occurred).

Much like discussions that occurred around Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., an emotional debate occurred about the MU commission, centered upon whether an abstract work of art could properly commemorate the tragic loss of life. High-ranking Marshall University Athletic Department officials maligned Bertoia’s design, condemning the choice of a “surrealist” artist and questioning whether the work was a tribute to “flower children” or football players. Nevertheless, the committee, headed by Huntington businessman Lake Polan, Jr., voted 5-4 to commission Bertoia to create the memorial. Once the fountain arrived from Bertoia’s Pennsylvania studio and was dedicated on November 12, 1972, public sentiment swung in favor of the work and it has since become a beloved symbol of the University.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Marshall air tragedy, HMA will feature an exhibit that displays the broad range of the multi-talented Bertoia’s work, including his iconic furniture designs as well as prints, sculpture and jewelry, with a focus upon his work on the MU Fountain.

Presented by the Polan Family in Memory of Dorothy and Lake Polan, Jr.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

This program is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the federal CARES Act through the West Virginia Humanities Council. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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