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Traveling Exhibition

Oh Snap! Get Your Photo Booth Pics from JCSM’s “Tailgate”

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Our JCSM photo booth captured the fun of the Museum Homecoming Tailgate on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. Guests showed their team spirit and belief in the transformative power of art.

As you tour and experience Out of the Box: An Juried Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition through October 2016be sure to take lots of pictures and share using #ThisIsSculpture.

For those of you who attended our event, download your picture as a memento from the museum’s Flickr account. Scroll to your picture, click the image, and select the download arrow from the image bank menu on the bottom righthand of the page.

Museum Homecoming Tailgate (10.02.15) Museum Homecoming Tailgate 2016

A conversation with Todd McGrain, sculptor of “The Lost Bird Project”

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During a special visit to JCSM, sculptor Todd McGrain installed his piece, “The Lost Bird Project, ” met with Auburn students, and gave a lecture for the community. “The Lost Bird Project” is on view at JCSM through March 20, 2016.

Watch as he installs the sculpture on the museum grounds and discusses his inspiration behind the piece.

Conserved Murals to Exhibit for First Time in Museum Setting

By | Art, History, Traveling Exhibition, Visiting Artist | No Comments

John_Augustus_Walker-Wall_PhotoJule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University will exhibit John Augustus Walker’s “Historical Panorama of Alabama Agriculture” from May 17, 2014 to September 21, 2014. The exhibition is timed with the 100th anniversary of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and marks the first time the entire series of ten paintings will be exhibited in a museum setting. Curated alongside “Panorama” and running concurrently are other WPA-era art from the museum’s permanent collection in “Picturing an Era: Art from the Great Depression to the Second World War.” Prominent artists represented include Marsden Hartley and Grant Wood, alongside regional artists such as Frank Applebee, Edward Everett Burr, and Nell Choate Shute.

On May 22, 2014 at 5:00 p.m., Bruce Dupree, art director with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will present a gallery talk entitled “The Historical Panorama of Alabama Agriculture, John Augustus Walker, and the 1939 Alabama State Fair.” The jazz band Cullars Improvisational Rotation will perform following the talk from 6:00 to 8:00 pm with extended gallery hours and tapas with cocktail service in the Museum Café from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Admission is free courtesy of JCSM Business Partners.

Dupree said that in the 1930s, the Extension Service was a major player on the state’s agricultural and political stage. “As in years past, in 1938 fair organizers contacted the Extension Service and Alabama Polytechnic Institute to have a large exhibit at the upcoming Alabama State Fair,” he said. “Once a theme was decided, Extension leaders sought an artist through the regional Works Progress Administration, or WPA.” Dupree said that Mobile mural artist John Augustus Walker, who also worked as a Mardi Gras float and costume designer, graphic designer, and full-time railroad clerk, was selected and worked closely with the Extension on mural content.

Walker’s ten-panel “Panorama” looks back to the area’s Native American first farmers and culminates with modern advances in farm technology and its benefits. “Much like a stage set, the murals were designed to only last for a short period of time, about two weeks,” said Dupree. “The next year would likely bring a new design.” By the early 1940s, the murals were lost and forgotten. “Americans’ thoughts were turning from domestic issues to world headlines, such as the war in Europe. With advancing technology, the message of the murals became outdated.”

The murals were rediscovered in the early 1980s in the Duncan Hall attic. “The murals were in bad shape when found,” said Dupree. “Recent conservation treatment has stabilized the paintings’ fragile areas and cleaned years of accumulated dust and dirt, thus ensuring a long life for these ‘temporary’ works of art,” remarked Dennis Harper, museum curator of collections and exhibitions. In 2010, the murals were transferred into the permanent collection of Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

In one of the panels, Walker used the header “Farm Progress is Great.” Dupree said Alabama agriculture has changed much since 1939. “Poultry, forestry and aquaculture are leading industries, creating tens of thousands of much needed jobs in many rural counties. He cited other positive changes such as disease and drought resistant crops, agri-tourism, and long-range weather forecasting among the many advances. But much of what farmers grow, he said, is the same. “As in the 1930s, it still takes planting a seed, nurturing what we grow, and stewardship of the land and water. And, a good rain now and then doesn’t hurt either.”

Photography Collection Exhibited for Instruction, Outreach

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Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University will present Shared Vision: The Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla Collection of Photography, an exhibition featuring 150 images from the last 100 years of photography. The exhibition opens on Friday, January 24, 2014 and runs through April 27, 2014. Outreach programs for campus and community, including films, researcher and artist talks, and a photography exhibition of Auburn students, are scheduled during the spring semester to coincide with what many art historians consider a preeminent fine art photography collection. Art News ranks Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla among the world’s top 10 photo collectors.

Uelsmann_Jerry_Untitled_web“This exhibition has a little bit of every kind of work that informed 20th century photographic practice,” said artist and co-curator Paul Karabinis. “The collectors are also quite interested in contemporary practice and supporting new talent in the medium.” Karabinis will spend time with Auburn students during his January visit and give a public talk on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. at the museum. “It’s always beneficial to introduce students to original works and not rely upon teaching the history of a medium through reproduction alone.” Karabinis said that nearly all the photographs in the exhibition were vintage prints; meaning, the print was made at or around the time the negative or image file was created and printed by, or under the direction, of the artist. “With vintage work, you get a glimpse of the individual printing style of each photographer. You also encounter the effects of time and handling, that patina of age, that makes us realize that works of art are not just images, but artifacts of a particular time and place.”

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, the exhibition was co-curated by Karabinis and Ben Thompson. Karabinis described how they overcame what appeared to be an initial challenge—the fact that the pair of collectors did not collect a specific style or type of photography.

“Celso Gonzalez-Falla called it a haunting quality that remains in his mind’s eye after seeing a photograph,” he said. “Sondra Gilman referenced the feeling as a poetic edge that draws her to certain works and leaves her with an unsettling feeling. They are charmed by that state of thought and wonder that begins with the simple visual facts and moves towards symbol and metaphor. This is the common thread that united the work.”

Chuck Hemard, an associate professor in the Department of Art at Auburn, said that the Sondra Gillman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla Collection was really a college photography teacher’s dream collection, not only because of the work presented but because the exhibition is coming to Auburn versus a major art center hours away. “The collection represents an impressive variety and range of approaches to how photography can convey and express potent meanings,” he said. “To be an effective teacher, I feel an obligation to engage students with examples that represent a wide range of possibilities of what fine art photography is and can be. I love that its core seems to be resonate images by important artists. This is the part that students of art photography mustexperience, concepts that if I’m being honest, are most difficult to teach.” Hemard’s students will exhibit their photography at the museum in March.

In addition to guest lecturing, Karabinis will attend the opening reception and member preview on Thursday, January 23, 2014. Those interested in joining Auburn’s art museum and attending should click ‘join’ below or call Cindy Cox, membership officer at 334-844-3005. A schedule of benefits and values is available on the museum’s web site or by request from the museum office.
Above: Jerry N. Uelsmann (American, b. 1934), Untitled, 1996, gelatin-silver print, © Jerry N. Uelsmann

Visiting Photographer Shares Recipe For Creative Growth

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Paul Karabinis is an associate professor of Photography at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, who will guest lecture at Auburn’s art museum on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm. The artist talk, “Minor Details and Small Events,” is free and open to the public.

 

PK3_weblgKarabinis teaches courses in alternative photographic processes and the history of photography. Most recently he served as co-curator and catalog author of Shared Vision: The Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla Collection of Photography, which opens at Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University on Friday, January 24, 2014.

His photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries including: University of Maine Museum of Art; Pacific Northwest Center for Photography, Portland, Oregon; College of Southern Maryland; Texas Tech University; Soho Photo, NY; Polk Museum, Lakeland, Florida; Mobile Museum of Art; Norton Museum, Boca Raton, Florida; University of Notre Dame; and, the Ferencvarosi Prince Gallery in Budapest, Hungary.

Here is Paul Karabinis, in his own words, describing his creative process and what he hopes aspiring artists might learn from his own experience.

Your own work includes photographs created with a camera and camera-less. Can you explain that process?  

I work primarily with historical photographic processes such as cyanotype, salted paper and albumen printing. Most of my work is done on a tabletop where I create two and three-dimensional collages composed of objects, my photographs, and my drawings and scribbles. I also work with a method called cliché verre that involves “smoking” a piece of glass with kerosene soot. By drawing or scratching through the soot, I create a design on the glass that can be used as a matrix or negative from which to make a print. Sometimes I scan the smoked plate and manipulate the image in Photoshop before making a print using one or more of the processes above.  I’m drawn to the idea of photography as a hybrid printmaking process that relies upon light sensitive materials rather than etching acids and ink. I’m also driven by a belief that there are many ways to make pictures using light sensitive materials and that these pictures need not always reference reality. Working with historical processes has, for me, broadened my understanding of how a photograph can be made, how it can look, and how it might function as a picture.

What from your experiences as an artist would you like college students to know? 

I’ve come to believe that the recipe for creative growth is not very complicated. It involves developing a work ethic, having an awareness of the history of the medium you work in, and being able to articulate, in words, the underpinnings or what propels your work.  A good work ethic is probably the most important ingredient. I like using the analogy of musicians who practice more than they perform. Most of what any artist does is practice – and much of what every artist produces is not particularly significant. What is important is the growth and occasional strong work that can occur as a result of continuing, undistracted practice. Practicing what you do with constancy eventually gives birth to a mindful attitude that not only develops an affinity with the processes you work with, but also leads to honest self-scrutiny.

Karabinis will also attend the JCSM member preview of the exhibition on Thursday, January 23. If you are interested in becoming a member and attending the special event, contact Cindy Cox, membership officer at 334-844-3005 or join online. Auburn University students may join free online and attend these networking events.

A Conversation With Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla

By | Building Community, Collection Loan, Traveling Exhibition, Visiting Artist | No Comments

Adam_Web“There was never a reason to collect except our love for the art”

An edited interview from several between Sondra Gilman, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Charles Gilman III, and exhibition curators Ben Thompson and Paul Karabinis. The full interview is available in the exhibition publication on sale in the Museum Shop. Reprinted with the permission of curator Ben Thompson. 

Paul Karabinis:  Sondra, you have been collecting for some time.You’ve talked about how it is an emotional and physical “feeling in [your]stomach that draws you to a particular image. Can you elaborate onthis?

Sondra Gilman:  The feeling is still the same as when I first started.Early on, there was not that much of a photography world. In the yearssince, I’ve been exposed to a lot. All that inputeverything you read,everything you see—is in your brain. But there is another dimension: it’semotional. It touches something in my heart. That is where the feelingcomes from. I just think you fall in love. We try to verbally describe art,and it’s not a verbal experience. The end result is a love affair.

PK:  You have led the Photography Acquisition Committee at theWhitney Museum of American Art, where there is a curator position andgallery in your name. Talk a little about the strategies of collecting and of beginning a collection at theWhitney.

SG:  A lot of it is just practical. When I was appointed Chair of the Photography Acquisition Committee at theWhitney, it was the start of photography collecting at the museum. The field was so big. It was an open worldas to what we were going to collect and what our philosophy would be. David Ross was the director of themuseum, and Leonard Lauder was the head of the board, and they understood the importance of photography.We searched out people who we knew shared the same interest. Some of the strategy was defined by wherewe were in time. In other words, we couldn’t go back and collect early-nineteenthcentury works and expect tohave an indepth collection; what was really available to us at that point was photography from 1975 on.Works from before 1975 were acquired as the opportunity presented itself, but the concentration wascontemporary. We would go back and fill in if there was a gift or there was an auction and the price wasn’t through the roof.

PK:  Your personal collection actually began with the purchase of three Eugène Atget prints that were being deaccessioned by the Museum of Modern Art. When was this?

SG:  It was in the mid-1970s.

Celso Gonzallez-Falla: You bought the Atget prints when you added photography to the Gilman Paper Company Collection.

SG:  Yes, both photo collections started around the same time. I had seen the Atget exhibition at MoMA. Thisstarted both my collecting for myself as well as my collecting for Gilman Paper Company. I thought this wassomething the company should have. At the same time I would buy something for myself, I would buy something for Gilman Paper.

PK:  Were there different collecting strategies?

SG:  No, I thought of it as one collection.

CG-F:  The Gilman Paper Company Collection changed when Sondra sold her interest in Gilman Paper; their collection became more focused on the nineteenth century.

SG:  Yes, when I did it, I concentrated on the 20th century, but the focus didn’t really change until my husband, Charles E. Gilman, Jr., died in 1982. At that point, I stepped away, and Pierre Apraxine continued thecollection, and the focus moved to the 19th century. When I met Pierre, he was the curator for the JuniorCouncil, to which I belonged, at MoMA.

Paul Karabinis will give his talk, “Minor Details and Small Events” at Auburn’s Art Museum on Wednesday, January 22 at 4:00 pm.

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