The Tampa Museum of Art is pleased to present Yayoi Kusama’s LOVE IS CALLING, one of the artist’s iconic Infinity Rooms, on loan from the Vinik Family Foundation Collection. An immersive, experiential work of art, LOVE IS CALLING invites visitors to enter a mirrored room with tentacle-like soft sculptures hanging from the ceiling and positioned on the floor. These forms glow with changing colors and feature Kusama’s signature polka dots. Mirrored walls create a kaleidoscopic effect, with the reflected imagery of the tentacles seemingly extending into infinite space. Visitors hear audio of the artist reciting a love poem in Japanese as they walk throughout the installation.
Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929) is one of today’s most recognized and celebrated artists. In addition to her widely popular Infinity Rooms, such as LOVE IS CALLING, Kusama creates vibrant paintings, works on paper, and sculpture with abstract imagery. Her artwork has been shown and collected by leading institutions across the globe and she is considered “the world’s most popular artist.” A comprehensive retrospective, organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, is currently travelling around the US and Canada. In October 2017, the Yayoi Kusama Museum opened in Tokyo. The artist lives and works in Tokyo.
Patricia Cronin, Aphrodite, and the Lure of Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection is the inaugural exhibition in a biennial series exploring synergy between collections that may initially strike visitors as wholly separate from one another – namely, classical antiquities and modern and contemporary art. Patricia Cronin (American, b. 1963) is an internationally recognized Brooklyn-based artist uniquely positioned for such a visual conversation. Winner of a Rome Prize in Visual Art in 2006-2007, and past Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, Cronin is deeply interested in the ancient world, which she frequently references in her work. For the first commission in our biennial series, Cronin has created a large outdoor sculpture of Aphrodite inspired by a fragmentary 1st-century AD marble torso of Aphrodite in the Museum’s collection. Entitled Aphrodite Reimagined, Cronin’s sculpture re-envisions the Museum’s Aphrodite fragment as a monumental “complete” sculpture with a stone torso and translucent head, arms, and legs. The sculpture invites viewers to reconsider the narrative of an ancient work heavily restored after its rediscovery, and acts as a metaphor for shifting certainties about human history. Cronin and Museum curators will also pair an Etruscan cinerary urn from the Museum’s collection with multiple iterations of Cronin’s 2002 sculpture Memorial to a Marriage, a powerful artwork that references ancient and neoclassical funerary monuments as well as contemporary issues of social justice. The final gallery of the exhibition will comprise a visual dialogue between figural works by Cronin and several antiquities from the Museum’s permanent collection.
The Tampa Museum of Art will soon open the first in an exciting slate of exhibitions for Fall 2018 focused on the theme of love. Sponsored by the Vinik Family Foundation, the Season of Love begins August 16 with the unveiling of Patricia Cronin’s commissioned sculpture Aphrodite Reimagined, part of her solo exhibition Patricia Cronin, Aphrodite, and the Lure of Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection. Season of Love continues with two additional special exhibitions opening in September and October. On loan from the collection of the Vinik Family Foundation, Yayoi Kusama’s LOVE IS CALLING, one of the artist’s celebrated Infinity Rooms, opens in late September and features an immersive mirrored environment with audio of Kusama reciting a love poem she composed. Finally, in October, a retrospective of Robert Indiana’s sculpture will feature never-before-exhibited examples of the artist’s iconic artwork LOVE. These special exhibitions reflect the Museum’s longstanding commitment to presenting outstanding works from classical antiquity as well as modern and contemporary art. Please see individual exhibitions for more details.
Contests, combat, and commemoration played important and often interrelated roles in ancient art, life, and culture. This small exhibition, drawn primarily from the Museum’s permanent collection, explores a number of these connections within both mythological and historical contexts. Altogether, some eighty works of Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian art are included, ranging from the sixth century BC to the fourth century AD, and from painted pottery to sculpture in terracotta, bronze, and stone. Ongoing, installed July 14, 2018.
The Classical World showcases nearly 200 Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artworks and artifacts from the Museum’s notable antiquities collection, supplemented with important loans from local private collectors. Ranging from prehistoric pottery and sculpture (dating from as early as 3000 BC) to marble sculpture and terracotta from the Roman Empire (dating to as late as the 5th century AD), the exhibition includes a particularly fine assortment of Greek and South Italian black-figure and red-figure vases. Also included in the exhibition are important works of sculpture in terracotta, stone, and precious metal, as well as ancient coins, jewelry, and glass vessels. Ongoing, reinstalled July 14, 2018.
Wolfgang Flad is a German artist living and working in Berlin. Born in 1974, he studied textile design at Fachhochschule Reutlingen and fine arts at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in Germany and other European countries, and has placed his artwork in museum collections in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Primarily a sculptor, Flad is interested in “upcycling” previously used material, and in creating unexpected associations and connections between art and the natural world.
Kiss and Tell consists of some 30 individual wooden elements hanging from a grid in the Morsani Atrium. Each element has been coated with different types of paint and varnish, as well as with papier-mâché made from various papers dealing with art (critical texts, invitations, magazines, books, catalogs, etc). In this way Flad tries to bring the material back into organic shapes and structures reminiscent of the trees and other plants from which such materials first originate. According to Flad, this idea is close to that of the Italian artist, Giuseppe Penone, who has talked about “the hidden life within” in his peeled wood works that reveal delicate plants inside larger beams. Flad is also interested in the flora and fauna of Florida, where he spends time each year; some of his forms resemble mangroves and other plants from this region.
Generous funding for the framework used to hang this artwork provided by the Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
Jaume Plensa is an internationally acclaimed artist who has exhibited his sculptures in museums all over the world. In locations as diverse as Seoul, Paris, Chicago, Bordeaux and London, Plensa’s monumental sculptures have reaffirmed the power of art to transform a public space into a community. This is aptly demonstrated in his first major commission in the United States, The Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park (2004). Two 11-story LED towers face each other across a thin pool of water, with images of a changing and diverse city reflected in the water, a continuously cycling metaphor for the life of a city.
The Crown Fountain was the beginning of Plensa’s investigation of the portrait via photography and form. This led to works like Laura with Bun. At more than 23 feet tall, this artwork expresses both individual and universal traits at great scale, inviting viewers to consider multiple aspects of beauty and human nature. Like all of his large-scale female portrait heads, Laura has her eyes closed, as if looking within. In speaking about these works, Plensa has said, “Look into yourself. My piece is a mirror to reflect your image, so you can think about your own interior—how much beauty we have inside of ourselves.”
Laura with Bun initially came to Tampa as part of the 2016 exhibition Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous gift and the overwhelming popular support of nearly 100 donors, the Museum has committed to purchase the sculpture for our permanent collection.