Wichita Art Museum

Wichita Art Museum
Wichita, KS

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Wichita Art Museum
1400 West Museum Boulevard
Wichita, Kansas 67203-3296

E-mail: info@wichitaartmuseum.org


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Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War, 1914-1198

Constellations: Stories in the Stars

Cameo Glass in Context: Charlotte Potter and April Surgent

Americans in Paris: The French Connection from the Wichita Art Museum Collection


Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War, 1914-1198
July 28 through November 25, 2018

Historian R. J. O. Adams tells us that World War One "changed in some way the lives and futures of every man and woman on the planet." American writer Gertrude Stein, who lived in France during the 1914–1918 conflict, characterized the abrupt cultural shift the war generated by stating that it was only after the war's end that "we had the twentieth century."

Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War, 1914–1918 explores the little studied phenomenon of American print makers and their artistic responses to the watershed cataclysm of WWI. The exhibition includes powerful images of soldiers on the battlefield, while also showing the effects of the war at home--including the prints of those artists in Wichita and in Kansas who artistically reflected the city's booming aviation business in 1914 and following.

On the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of the Great War, WAM is pleased to collaborate with guest curator Barbara Thompson to reconsider the resonance of WWI--in the United States and in Wichita. Thompson is the granddaughter of Wichita printmaker C. A. Seward (1884–1939), the artist who was the driving force behind the Prairie Print Makers. In our museum's continuing study of art in Wichita, the Prairie Print Makers and the group's activities and impact remain very significant.

With the special WWI exhibition, Thompson has authored and produced two related publications. Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War: 1914–1918 and Wings Over the Prairie: A Brief History of the Aviation Industry in Wichita, Kansas are elegant, informative volumes with rich illustration and vital print history. They are available for purchase in WAM's Museum Store.

Constellations: Stories in the Stars
Through October 14, 2018

For ancient people, the night sky was full of stories. Looking up, people did not see balls of gas burning light years away. Instead, they saw shining pinpoints of light that formed shapes when joined together--shapes of hunters and wild beasts, sailors and ships, fair maidens and handsome heroes. Each culture brought their own stories to the various clusters of stars, and often they named them after a character or location in the story.

Around 2,000 years ago, the astronomer Ptolemy mapped and named many constellations, linking them with the Greek and Roman myths popular in his time. Constellations: Stories in the Stars explores many of the myths Ptolemy and other ancients paired with the stars. Featuring objects from the Wichita Art Museum's permanent collection, the exhibition brings the myths of the night sky to life

Cameo Glass in Context: Charlotte Potter and April Surgent
Through September 9, 2018

This summer exhibition at WAM explores exquisite historic objects and compelling contemporary art that uses ancient glassmaking techniques. The exhibition continues the museum's recent focus on groundbreaking contemporary glass art. Cameo Glass in Context: Charlotte Potter and April Surgent showcases two contemporary artists who use cameo-carved glass as their medium. These artists address social networks, urban landscape, and environmental change. Their 21st-century subjects contrast with the themes of older cameo glassmakers, which include individual portraiture, decorative patterning, and romantic landscapes.

Cameo glass was first invented in ancient Rome and then virtually disappeared until its revival in European Art Nouveau and Art Deco glass in the decades around 1900. The embrace of this traditional glass technique by two young artists is unexpected and exceptional. Because of the difficulty of fusing different colors of glass, the extreme control needed to carve glass with rotating wheels, and the toxicity of etching with acid, cameo glass is rarely made today, despite the exquisite results that are possible.
Cameo Glass in Context: Charlotte Potter and April Surgent presents a wide selection of the work of the two artists along with examples of historical precedents.

Charlotte Potter concentrates on cameo portraiture, referring to a traditional use of cameo glass. She uses images of her family and friends to map her social network in the digital age. In Charlotte's Web, for example, she presents an installation of over 850 small portraits of her Facebook friends arranged according to their geographical location.

April Surgent creates technically astounding and deeply evocative photo-based city scenes and remote landscapes that explore complicated themes of social isolation and environmental change. Her recent work is informed by long residencies in remote and environmentally-challenged locations.
Cameo Glass in Context is a loan exhibition organized by the Wichita Art Museum. The project is guest-curated by Vicki Halper, a former curator at the Seattle Art Museum with deep expertise in craft and glass art. Halper is no stranger at WAM. She curated the museum’s present display of the glass collection in the F. Price Cossman Gallery as well as Australian Glass Art: American Links for the Museum of Glass that WAM presented in summer 2014.

The summer exhibition is generously supported by the F. Price Cossman Trust, INTRUST BANK, Trustee. The DeVore Foundation, Shaw Family Foundation, and Sonia Greteman and Chris Brunner are additional exhibition sponsors. All exhibitions are supported by the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum and City of Wichita.

Americans in Paris: The French Connection from the Wichita Art Museum Collection
On view through August 5, 2018

Paris was the capital of the art world in the 19th century. Any ambitious American artist needed to spend time in Europe. A period of residence on the continent was a simple requirement for worldly sophistication for Americans in the arts and upper-class. 19th-century American painter William Merritt Chase, reflecting the thoughts of his generation, said "My God, I'd rather go to Europe than go to Heaven!" Naturally, he meant to Paris.

The experience of Paris transformed American art. Writer Henry James astutely observed in 1887, "when today we look for 'American art,' we find it mainly in Paris. When we find it out of Paris, we at least find a great deal of Paris in it."

Painter Mary Cassatt spent her adult life in the French capital and was fully accepted into the ranks of French impressionism. Theodore Robinson settled in Giverny and developed a close relationship with the older Claude Monet. Modernist Alfred Maurer spent years in Paris and became an intimate in the Paris scene, even taking private training with Henri Matisse.

The Wichita Art Museum presents gems from its prized American art collection to reflect the vital cultural phenomenon of Americans in Paris. This exhibition complements the Monet to Matisse: French Moderns from the Brooklyn Museum, 1850–1950 that will be on view beginning February 24, 2018.

Americans in Paris: The French Connection from the Wichita Art Museum Collection is generously sponsored by UMB Financial Corporation Charitable Foundation.

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