Julian Jackson, American, Born 1953, April Study 7, 2012 Archival Fine Art Digital Inkjet Print, 12 3/4" x 9 3/4", © Julian Jackson
American Abstract Artists 75th Anniversary Print Portfolio
(January 15 - February 27, 2015)
This spring, the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery will host American Abstract Artists: 75th Anniversary Print Portfolio, highlighting the American Abstract Artists group (AAA) that was founded in 1936 in New York City at a time when the acceptance of abstract art was not met with great acclaim. The AAA group has produced over 120 exhibitions in museums and galleries, as well as having print portfolios in major collections worldwide, including the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.
The American Abstract Artists: 75th Anniversary Print Portfolio exhibition consists of original works created for this project, all digital prints, and marks a willingness to endorse progressive technologies and to advance an artistic tradition. The resulting portfolio and exhibition reflects an awareness of changing artistic sensibilities in a contemporary and evolving digital era. The previous AAA print portfolios (1937, 1987, and 1997) were created using more traditional forms of printmaking such as lithography and other plate based printing methods. The current President of AAA, Daniel G. Hill explains that the “digital process enabled a wide variety of approaches that include abstract and documentary photography, scanning of flat-work made expressly for the project, digital compositing and image manipulation, as well as the use of vector-based software and hand-coded algorithms.” Each print is original and has been individually signed, numbered and dated by the artist.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog developed by the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and includes an introduction written by Robert Storr. A member of the American Abstract Artists, Robert Storr is a painter, curator, critic and Dean of the Yale School of Art.
Willem van Swanenburgh, Dutch, 1581/2-1616.
Allegory of the Misuse of Worldly Property, after Maarten van Heemskerck. d: Death with an arrow about to strike the man down, 1609
8 1/2" x 6 1/4"
Dr. and Mrs. E. William Ewers Gift for Fine Arts Fund and Vanderbilt Art Association Acquisitiion Fund Purchase
Memento Mori - Looking at Death in Art and Illustration
(March 12 - May 23, 2015)
Drawing on the combined resources of Vanderbilt University’s Biomedical Library and the Fine Arts Gallery collections, Memento Mori—Looking at Death in Art and Illustration will reveal multiple perspectives on the nature of death and our attempts to memorialize the dead in order to give meaning to their lives. The selection of artwork is meant to create a greater understanding of the role of death and mourning throughout history — a topic that has become increasingly relevant as individuals and communities in the developed world seem to value controlling and delaying death, often unrealistically extending the process for the benefit of the living. Through this collaboration with the Biomedical Library’s special collections, the Fine Arts Gallery presents an inter-disciplinary approach to our awareness of mortality from the fourteenth century to the present.
Material featured within this exhibition ranges from art rooted in the Danse Macabre or Dance of Death, the medieval allegorical concept of the all-conquering and equalizing power of death, to deathbed scenes which are a reminder that, in contrast to how death is often experienced today, the end of life was frequently a gathering of family and loved ones. Other works reveal approaches to funerals and mourning, including artistic tributes to the dead. The exhibition represents a range of times and cultures and includes works by artists such as Andreas Vesalius, Aegidius Sadeler II, Thomas Rowlandson, Hans Holbein, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Käthe Kollwitz, Stephen Tourlentes and Enrique Chagoya.
Memento Mori – Looking at Death in Art and Illustration is organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and co-curated by Joseph Mella, director, Holly Tucker, Professor at the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Christopher Ryland, Assistant Director at the Eskind Biomedical Library, and James J. Thweatt, Coordinator for Historical Collections at the Eskind Biomedical Library.