Oswaldo Vigas: Transformations presents the first American survey of artist Oswaldo Vigas (Venezuelan, 1923-2014). Organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the exhibition examines Vigas’ influential career and his contributions to 20th-century modernism. A prolific artist, Vigas found inspiration in both the natural landscape of his native Venezuela and the European avant-garde. Oswaldo Vigas: Transformations focuses on works created between 1940 and 1980, and demonstrates the evolution of Vigas’ distinct artistic style. In the late 1940s, Vigas focused on figurative abstraction and created his vibrant series of Bruja (or witch) paintings. Cubism and constructivism influenced Vigas and by the 1950s, he shifted away from figuration and moved towards geometric abstraction. The works on view illustrate the scope of Vigas’ projects, from studio painter to muralist, and highlight the importance of his creative achievements.
Born in 1923 in Valencia, Venezuela, Vigas studied medicine at Universidad de los Andes (ULA) in Mérida, Venezuela. In the 1950s, he gave up his medical practice to focus on his artwork. Vigas spent the next decade working and exhibiting his work in Paris, France. Vigas is celebrated as one of Latin America’s preeminent 20th-century painters, alongside artists such as Roberto Burle Marx, Wifredo Lam, and Rufino Tamayo. Vigas’ work has been featured in exhibitions around the globe and resides in prominent private and museum collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Art Museum of the Americas. Vigas passed away in 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela.
This exhibition is organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
This exhibition explores the more than five-decade career of one of America’s most beloved artists, Robert Indiana (American, 1928–2018). A selective survey of Indiana’s sculpture, it also includes numerous paintings, prints, and drawings, highlighting how Indiana’s thinking in visual form crossed different media.
This quintessentially American artist returned frequently to autobiographical motifs, symbols, and imagery, often after many decades of quiet reflection and rumination, building a corpus of work that ever more meaningfully reflected what it meant to be an American artist—and what it meant to be Robert Indiana—as the years passed. While LOVE will likely always remain the artist’s greatest contribution in the public imagination, his work beyond and apart from this memorable image places Indiana among the great American artists of the second half of the twentieth century. This exhibition introduces lesser-known late works—the Vinalhaven Woods, bronze editions of sculptures from different eras in his career, and the never-before shown marble LOVEs—to make the case for the breadth and import of Indiana’s achievement.
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.
With her commissioned outdoor sculpture Aphrodite Reimagined, 2018, Patricia Cronin (American, b. 1963) has re-envisioned a fragmentary Aphrodite torso in the Museum’s antiquities collection as a monumental “complete” statue of the goddess. With a stone torso and translucent head and limbs, the sculpture acts as a metaphor for shifting historical certainties.
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.