Category

News

A woman sitting on a stoop gestures in this black and white photograph.

Collection Spotlight: Lisette Model

By | Art, News, Spotlight, Uncategorized | No Comments

Can a photograph capture a personality? Lisette Model’s “Lower East Side (woman), New York”  is on her stoop in mid-sentence, gesturing to the passersby below. Model found inspiration on the streets and in the faces of the city’s celebrities, entertainers and average citizens, which she captured candidly in their unguarded moments. To whom do you think she is talking? What kinds of things has she seen and heard?

Years later, Model learned more about her subject. Her granddaughter described her the woman as a loving, Romania-born widow with nine children. She worked day and night at a little store in front of her apartment. The photographer recounted in a 1979 interview how she gifted a copy to the family, who had a party to unveil the photo with family and friends. “People came in and said yes that’s her,” explained Model. “and you see that it is when the real people see it, not other people who will say what kind of a grotesque monster did you photograph here. That was not what I photographed. I knew that this woman was a great personality, and so were many others.”

A woman sitting on a stoop gestures in this black and white photograph.

ca. 1942
Consolidated Medium
Gelatin silver print
Museum purchase with funds provided by William Dunlop Family Foundation
2016.02

A construction worker sits on unfinished stairs.

Collection Spotlight: Chad States

By | Art, News, Spotlight | No Comments

In June 2020, our collection spotlight explores permanent collection photography. As June is Pride Month, our first selection is a work by American photographer Chad States.

What do you first notice about this person? What details are provided, given the location? The subject met the artist through an online post, seeking people who identify as masculine for personal portraits.

In his series “Masculinities,” States photographed a variety of people in settings and poses that expressed their sense of this concept. One participant, Dex, commented, “I’d say I’m masculine because of how I feel inside, who I am, and how I carry myself. In a lot of ways my masculinity is tied to my male gender role and how I want to project that and be perceived by others.” A transgender man, Dex chose to be photographed in a stereotypically male setting related to construction.

How does this make you think differently about your view of others?

From the 2018 practicum, “Dignity and Diversity: Portraits from the Permanent Collection,” curated by Honors Introduction into Art History students.

A construction worker sits on unfinished stairs.

Dex, 2007
Archival pigment print
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; William Dunlop Collection

Graduate students prepare an experiment in the museum pond.

Auburn Graduate Students Research Harmful Algal Blooms in Museum Pond

By | News | No Comments

What is happening in our pond? Is this a new art installation?

The museum and the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences are partnering to explore the best ways to control harmful algal blooms, which can negatively affect aquatic ecosystems and organisms by producing poisonous toxins. Even pets can become sick if they enter or drink the water!

The graduate student team, led by Professor Alan Wilson, will apply several chemical and biological methods to the floating greenhouse plastic enclosures to determine which one is most effective. They’ll use the results to identify the right ongoing treatment to manage the blooms in our pond and other water bodies to ensure they remain safe for all to enjoy.

Graduate students Angelea Belfiore, Riley Buley, Edna Fenandez-Figueroa and Matt Gladfelter prepare the experiment along with professor Alan Wilson.

People voting in segregated booths.

Museums for Equality: Bernice Sims

By | Art, News | No Comments

Curators highlighted Bernice Sims in “From Her Innermost Self: Visionary Art of Southern Women.” As a non-traditional student, Bernice Sims visited the Montgomery Museum of Art for an art history class trip and regained her childhood passion for painting. There, she discovered the work of Moses Tolliver and visited with the artist in his Montgomery home. Her instructors encouraged her to follow her own painting style as she portrayed her extremely personal memories of the Civil Rights Movement.

Here Sims depicted voters at the polls. In an ever-increasing polarized climate, how are voters divided today? Is it still merely along the lines of race?

People voting in segregated booths.

Untitled (Segregated voting)
Acrylic on canvas
Lent by Micki Beth Stiller

Sims returned to the subject of “Bloody Sunday” often in her work, as she experienced the crossing first hand. What emotions does she convey for this event? Why do you think she painted this moment in history?

Protesters cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Selma Bridge
Acrylic on canvas
Lent by Micki Beth Stiller

Sims honored first responders of 9/11, recreating an iconic photograph of hope. Sims passed away in 2014; but what imagery might she have used to address other events, from #BlackLivesMatter to more recent ones like COVID-19?

Bernice Sims - New York Heroes, 2001

New York Heroes, 2001
Acrylic on canvas
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; gift of Barb Bondy 2018.22

Bernice Sims - New York Heroes, 2001

#MuseumFromHome: Documenting Our Lives

By | K-12 Education, News | No Comments
Bernice Sims - New York Heroes, 2001

Our #MuseumFromHome activity is inspired by our monthlong theme of diversity, inclusion and equity. Fitting, then, that we draw upon the work of Bernice Sims and the exhibition, “From Her Innermost Self: Visionary Art of Southern Women.”

Sims made art about important times in history that she experienced. In this work, she remembered the first responders during 9/11.

Like Bernice Sims, we can also make artwork about our experiences while we stay at home. Creating art can help you go through big feelings you may have or recognize people who change the world for the better. What is something that has happened in your lifetime?

What You’ll Need

Pencil

Paper

Eraser

Crayons, markers, colored pencils or other drawing material of your choice

Paper, pencil, eraser

Instructions

Before you begin, take a minute to think about some of the things you’ve seen or done that are really interesting to you. These can be things we are experiencing right now or another really important event in your life.

When you are finished, go ahead and use your pencil to sketch out your idea on paper. Bernice Sims’ style was very simple and clean, so try not to get too caught up in intricate details.

Finally, color in the picture.

Once you are done, share your work with others. Maybe even hang the work in your home or post to social media. We’d love to share your creation online @JCSMAuburn.

Collection Spotlight: Selections from the Catfish Press Exchange

By | Art, News | No Comments

The Catfish Press Exchange folio vividly illustrates contemporary printmaking in the United States. The output of this collective usually remains in the private collections of the artists; but, JCSM greatly benefits from the generosity of donors Joe and Julie Sanders. These selections are striking examples of different printmaking techniques.

The word ”lithography” is derived from the Greek, litho meaning ”stone,” and graphy meaning ”writing.” This technique involves drawing with a greasy crayon on polished limestone or aluminum plates. A chemical solution is applied to bond the drawing to the stone, and then the surface is treated with water that only sticks to the non-greased areas. A special ink, which only adheres to the greased areas, is applied with a roller. The print is then run through a press.

Beauvais Lyons
Plate #345, 2003
Lithograph

The word ”intaglio” comes from the Italian intagliare which means ”to incise or carve.” In this method of printing, the areas that hold the ink are cut into the surface of a metal plate. After the plate is inked, paper is laid on the prepared plate and extreme pressure
is applied, forcing the paper into the incised lines to pick up the ink. There are several different types of intaglio prints such as etching, drypoint and aquatint.

Art Werger
Elements, 2003
Etching

Serigraphy, more commonly known as ”screen printing,” is a stencil-based technique, which uses screens made of fabric or fine mesh stretched over a frame. A chemical solution marks off the areas around the image, blocking the ink from going through the screen. A squeegee is then used to press ink through the open parts of the screen.

Lynwood Kreneck
Master Builder’s Attic, 2003
Serigraph

Relief printing is one of the oldest forms of printmaking dating back as far as c. 4000 BCE. To create a relief print, an artist carves into a material leaving raised areas that hold ink. Paper is laid on top, and pressure is applied with a ”baren,” transferring the image onto paper. Relief prints can be made from a wide range of materials, such as wood (woodcut, wood engraving), linoleum (linocut) and metal (letterpress).

Joe Sanders
The Sky is Falling, 2003
Woodcut

Digital is a general term used for any print that uses digital technology in image creation or printing.

Cima Katz
Reverberations, 2003
Digital collage on paper

Collection Spotlight: Auburn Oak Bowl

By | Art, Building Community, News, Sculpture, Supporting Auburn | No Comments

Matt Moulthrop continues a legacy of innovation in woodturning, advancing techniques developed by his grandfather and father, artists Ed and Philip Moulthrop. In partnership with Auburn University, Moulthrop turned this bowl from the sizeable forked section of the Auburn Oaks at Toomer’s Corner. Do you notice the dramatic patterns from where the limbs intersected? He often works with trees that have a meaningful association in people’s minds or unique value to a community.

What significance does Toomer’s Corner hold for you? Does the work of art or woodturning process capture it in some way? What kind of item might you transform into art to preserve a memory or convey a story? Its history?

Auburn Oak Bowl, 2014
Turned wood (Live oak)
Ca. 15 x 26 ½ x 26 ½ inches
Gift of the artist, 2014

“Each tree has a story to tell. Wormholes convey past life, rings communicate growth and certain colors tell the story of death by lightning or blight. My job is to tell the story…lengthening the life of the tree rather than ending it.”

Matt Moulthrop
A sculpture constructed from wood beams, forming multiple X shapes.

#MuseumFromHome: Out of the Box

By | K-12 Education, News, Sculpture | No Comments

Practice safe social distancing and explore the museum grounds. There are large scale sculptures you can walk around (and even inside) in our juried outdoor sculpture exhibition, “Out of the Box!”

Our #MuseumFromHome family activity is inspired by “Basics #38 (for Brancusi)” and household materials. Join people all over the world on Saturday, April 25, 2020, as they celebrate International Sculpture Day. Take photos of your sculpture and tag #ISDay/@JCSMAuburn.

The artist, Mattias Neumann, draws upon what he learned and practices as an architect to create his work. He thinks about the way public art changes a location. The one he made for JCSM is made just for our grounds.

He installed the first version of this sculpture at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Romania, and there have been other versions all over the country.

How does a sculpture or work of art change a public space? Does it make you stop and wonder in your everyday life, or do you just walk by?

A sculpture constructed from wood beams, forming multiple X shapes.

What You’ll Need

Popsicle Sticks

School Glue or Tacky Glue

Sheet of Paper

Pencil

Instructions

Using a pencil and a piece of paper, create a guide to lay your popsicle sticks on top of. Draw two X’s side by side, connecting the edges. It should look like this: XX.  To maintain the same pattern as you build, it is smart to label each line 1-4 like in the picture.

Numbered lines drawn on paper, forming two

Place your first popsicle stick (red in the picture) down on the line you have labeled “1.” Place a dot of glue in the center of the popsicle stick where your next stick will cross over it to create an X. Remember: the less glue the better! Using only a tiny dot of glue will help your sculpture to dry faster and not slip as you build.

Popsicle stick placed diagonally on the guide lines.

Position your second popsicle stick (yellow in the picture) down along the line you labeled “2.” This stick should cross over your first stick to create an ‘X’ shape. Place a dot of glue on the end of the stick.

Place your fourth stick over the dots of glue on sticks 3 and 1. This will create the XX shape we want!

Place a dot of glue on the center of stick 2 (yellow) and the end of stick 4 (blue).

It is time to repeat the process! Place a popsicle stick over the glue dots you created on sticks 2 and 4. Repeat the steps until your sculpture is the desired height.

Once you are done, share your work with others. Create your own sculpture garden using a variety of materials. Post to social media if you are able. We’d love to share your creation online @JCSMAuburn for a #MuseumFromHome.

Earth Day 2020: “Mother Earth as Art”

By | Art, K-12 Education, News | No Comments

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, JCSM explored the intersection of art and science with an online gallery talk for “Mother Earth as Art.”

Dr. Chandana Mitra, associate professor, Department of Geosciences, joined host Christy Barlow, curator of education for student and community programs, along with two graduate students who worked on the exhibition: Megha Shrestha, Department of Geosciences, Auburn University
and Nina Zamani Alavijeh, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“Alabama Political Reporter” featured an interview with Dr. Mitra and the digital exhibition as a part of its Earth Day 2020 coverage. Read the article.

#MuseumFromHome: Artful Abstraction

By | K-12 Education, News | No Comments

For this week’s #MuseumFromHome family activity, we are inspired by the beauty in our backyards and the work of Blanche Lazzell.

Throughout her whole life and artistic career, Lazzel always learned something new about art. Artists considered modernist, Like Lazzell, sought to use different techniques and imagery to reflect the early 20th-century experience.

With abstraction, Lazzell didn’t try to paint the landscape exactly as it looked to her. Instead, she used shapes, colors and marks to create her picture.

This painting showcases well all of the methods she studied. Follow our step-by-step guide below so you can explore something new, too.

American Landscape, Woodstock Ca. 1917
Oil on canvas
Museum purchase with funds provided by Gerald and Emily Leischuck

What You’ll Need

Paper or Canvas

Markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, crayons OR Paint with Q-tips

Pencil

Flowers, plants, grass or trees in your yard to create a scene, or landscape

Reference photo (optional)

Paper, pencil and markers on display for an art project.

Instructions

Draw a rough sketch of what you want to show in your illustration. You can draw outside or look at a photograph. Remember: what you see on the paper doesn’t have to look exactly like what is in front of you.

Begin blocking in the colors of the place using simple shapes, lines and multiple colors. They do not have to be perfect. See how much you can simplify the landscape using shapes.

Rough sketch as landscape

When using markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or crayons, color little circles, dots, lines rectangles or squares instead of fully coloring in the object.

Painters, dip your Q-tip in the paint and stamp it on your artwork. It may be easiest to make little dots and circles, but make unique marks as well. What new techniques will you discover?

Fill every corner of the page with colorful shapes. Once every spot is covered, you are done! Go show your friends or family your beautiful artwork. We’d love to see, too. Tag us @JCSMAuburn for a #MuseumFromHome.

Welcome to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art!

We are excited that you are here with us. Feel free to look around and reach out to us by navigating to our contact page.