Past

The Huntington Museum of Art will welcome Jessica Drenk as a Walter Gropius Master Artist in July and will present an exhibit of her work from May 8 through Aug. 1, 2021.

Drenk will discuss her work in a free public presentation at HMA on July 22, 2021, at 7 p.m. Drenk will present a workshop titled “The Altered Book: Repurposing Old Books as a Catalyst for Creativity” from July 23-25. Call (304) 529-2701 for fee information. To allow for social distancing, the number of workshop participants is limited.

Raised in Montana, Drenk developed an appreciation for the natural world that inspires her artwork. Drenk’s sculptures, which are tactile and textural, highlight the chaos and beauty found in simple materials.

Drenk earned an MFA in 3D Art from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College. Drenk’s work can be found internationally in private collections, as well as corporate and university collections in America. Drenk’s awards include an Artist Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. Her work has been pictured in Sculpture, Interior Design, and Curve magazines, as well as The Workshop Guide to Ceramics. Recently, her work has become part of the Fidelity art collection and the Yale University Art Gallery. A working artist since 2007, her home and studio are near Rochester, New York.

The Walter Gropius Master Artist Program is funded through the generosity of the Estate of Roxanna Y. Booth, who wished to assist in the development of an art education program in accordance with the proposals of Walter Gropius, who designed the Museum’s Gropius Addition, as well as the Gropius Studios. The Museum is indebted to Roxanna Y. Booth’s son, the late Alex Booth, Jr., for his participation in the concept development of the Gropius Master Artists Workshops.

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.


While most prominent art collections grow from an abundance of personal wealth, Dorothy and Herbert Vogel proved that even ordinary citizens can make their mark on the art world and build a noteworthy collection. Early in their life together, the couple decided to use Dorothy’s pay as a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library for their living expenses and Herbert’s salary from his work at the United States Postal Service to purchase art. With an initial focus upon drawings, the couple slowly amassed a stunning group of artworks.

Beginning in the 1960s, they spent their free time attending gallery openings and getting to know young artists whose work was of interest. They would typically buy directly from the artists themselves and would form lasting friendships with them – relationships that continued even as many of the artists rose to fame. As time went by, they accumulated more than 4,000 objects with a focus upon minimalist and conceptual art, including work by luminaries such as Sol Lewitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Lynda Benglis, and Robert and Sylvia Mangold.

As the collection grew, it began to strain the bounds of their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. The solution to their lack of storage space came when they agreed to donate their entire collection to the National Gallery of Art. The transfer of the work took five full-size trucks to move the work to Washington, D.C. Even the National Gallery found the size of the collection to be overwhelming, so eventually a plan was hatched by one of its curators, Ruth Fine, (with approval from the Vogels) to gift fifty of the works to one museum in each of the fifty states as part of a program known as Fifty Works for Fifty States. In West Virginia, the Huntington Museum of Art was chosen to receive one of the distributions of what Fine called a “mini-Vogel collection.” Included in the HMA selection are drawings by Richard Tuttle and Robert Mangold, sculpture by Lynda Benglis and Donald Sultan, and a selection of paintings by a diverse group of artists that present a snapshot of the Vogels’ remarkable collection.

This exhibit is presented by Community Trust Bank.

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.

Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956) is arguably the most noteworthy artist that West Virginia has produced. She was an accomplished painter and teacher, and her works are highly sought after today by collectors and museums. An independent and free-spirited woman, she moved seamlessly between the hills of her native state of West Virginia, the Salons of Europe, and her adopted home and studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Lazzell was among the first Americans to produce abstract prints, expressing the ideas of the Cubists and other European modernists in a series of color woodblock prints that was created in the mid-1920s. She joined with her colleagues in the Provincetown Printers Group to help pioneer the “one block” method of printing, a process that allowed the artist a great deal of freedom in the use of color, tone and texture. The subjects of her work include images of her home state of West Virginia and the bustling seaside environment of Provincetown, as well as the brightly colored flowers that adorned her garden. Her body of work, with its bold forms and strong colors, demonstrates her successful commitment to the modernist aesthetic and serves as a fitting expression of the exuberance and vitality of her own life.

For this exhibition, the Huntington Museum of Art is excited to partner with members of the extended family of Blanche Lazzell to showcase works from their private collections, including several of her renowned woodblock prints as well as paintings. These works will be accompanied by objects from the HMA collection.

This exhibit is presented by Doug and Lynn McCorkle.

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.

The Huntington Museum of Art has enjoyed a rich history during its lifespan of nearly seven decades, thanks in large part to the wide support it has received from the local community. In addition to the generous gifts of land and art that were made by museum founder Herbert Fitzpatrick before its opening in 1952, there have been a multitude of supporters who have stepped up to provide financial assistance and make gifts of artwork to the museum. One of the most impactful gifts in terms of the museum’s collection has been the Sarah Wheeler Charitable Trust, which provides funds for art purchases in memory of Sarah Slack Wheeler and her husband, Steve Wheeler.

Sarah Wheeler was born in Huntington in 1917, the daughter of Elizabeth and Frank Slack. She led an adventurous life, especially after her marriage to Steve Wheeler, whose work as a mining engineer took the couple on travels around the world. They lived overseas for lengthy periods of time, with extended residential stays in Paris, Venice, Monaco and Beirut. Her travels gave her access to a wide range of cultural experiences, including visits to some of the world’s most important museums.

Both Steve and Sarah were practicing artists as well, so the arts were deeply ingrained in their lives. The couple lived out their retirement years in Huntington, where members of Sarah’s extended family still resided. Following Steve’s passing, Sarah made plans to establish a trust to support three institutions that she felt were vital to the well-being of Huntington: Marshall University, the Cabell County Public Library, and the Huntington Museum of Art. The museum’s funds are dedicated to the purchase of paintings that were created in the year 1940 and earlier.

Among the key works that have been purchased with the funds include paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Thomas Doughty, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Guy Wiggins, Edith Wilkinson, Blanche Lazzell, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Frederick Peto. A selection of the works purchased with funds from the Wheeler bequest will be showcased in the Museum’s Switzer Gallery, a space that was named in honor of former Huntington Mayor Rufus Switzer, whose own trust has provided key funds for the operation of the Museum since its founding.

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.

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 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.

Wheels

July 3 - October 3, 2021

The wheel is one of civilization’s greatest inventions. Though derived from a simple shape, the construction of a working wheel took great ingenuity, and it was only within the last six millennia that a wheel-and-axle combination appears in the human record. This development was a significant advancement in technology as it allowed more efficient agricultural cultivation and vastly revolutionized transportation. It also was utilized in many other applications, such as pottery making and food processing.

HMA will celebrate this remarkable device with an exhibition of works that feature images of wheels in use. From the creations of folk artists such as Herman Hayes’ whimsical sculpture Large Star Wheel With Four Supporting Figures and Evan Decker’s Cowboy With Bells, Wheels, Squirrels, Hens to Huntington photographer Levi Holley Stone’s images of automobiles and bicycles, a variety of wheel-themed works are included.

Pop culture is represented in original artwork for comic books and strips depicting the Batmobile and Little Orphan Annie, while John Baeder’s Royal Diner illustrates the prevalence of the automobile in American culture. The exhibition features a wide range of mediums and will allow the viewer an opportunity to step back and look at a common object from a new perspective.

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.

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.

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