Through January 1, visitors will be treated to Chinese Bronzes: Gifts from the David and Inger Duberman Collection at the Mobile Museum of Art. This is the initial presentation to the public of 30 Chinese bronzes, which were donated in 2015 to the museum.
The bronzes were amassed over 50 years, and span the Yuan, Ming, and early Qing Dynasties, representing 500 years of bronze artistry. The pieces were made for private and public purposes, and the Chinese philosophical and religious traditions of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism are the primary themes of these pieces, plus visitors will see a swath of cultural symbols, including the phoenix and dragon.
American Art: 1945 to the Present is an expansion on the theme of another museum exhibition: 150 Years of American Art (ca. 1795- 1945). The first-floor exhibition essentially gives a visual narrative of America as seen through art; this latest exhibition includes the decorative arts and art, which has been produced since World War II, when art in America was seen as a major force in the art world across the globe.
As New York, rather than Paris, became the center of the art world, artists in America departed from European traditions – and the past. Art work in America, in scale and theme, grew outsized, more gestural and abstract, as American artists created a new vocabulary for themselves. In its collection, the museum has works that represent top artists from the United States. Many works have rarely been seen, if at all. The work of artists who have been recognized nationally and regionally is exhibited.
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Contemporary American artists can be seen in three related exhibitions in adjacent galleries. These exhibits represent the continuation of the bold vocabulary of American art today. On view are Hiroshi Sueyoshi’s site specific installation Rock Garden, Raine Bedsole’s site specific installation You are the River, and John Cerney: SELFIE.
In the Katharine C. Cochrane Gallery, visitors will come face to face with the American art story, which is the story of America itself: the people and their environment, typical lives, and their interaction with others and the world. Prior to 1776 and afterwards, the painting of portraits was a predominant event as leading citizens and their families sought to celebrate and flaunt their achievements – even more so as the American colonies moved toward becoming an independent country. At that time, art could be said to include certain household items as silversmiths, furniture makers, glassmakers, weavers, and potters produced their crafts to compete with imports. With the War of Independence, artists in America sought to convey the meaning of war – with its victories, heroes, and tragedies – sometimes keeping in mind Old World painting as a model.
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