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.
One of the most beloved and best known folk art painters of baseball, George Sosnak (1924–1992) was a lifelong, passionate fan of the game. He parlayed his enthusiasm for the sport into two concurrent careers: first as a Minor League umpire, and eventually as an artist, meticulously painting baseballs decorated with the images and arcane statistics so dear to fans of the game.
Sosnak was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where from an early age he collected autographs from his hometown Pirates. When serving abroad in the Army late in World War II, he participated in military games as a player and umpire, but found that his talents were more suited to the latter. When he returned to the States, he enrolled in umpire school in Florida, where he was based for the remainder of his life. Eventually settling in Lakeland, Sosnak umpired in the Pioneer and Florida State Leagues (among others), and supplemented his income as a baker, construction worker, and a corrections officer.
When asked how he began painting, Sosnak—who had no artistic training—liked to tell the story that when he was an umpire in the 1950s, a young female fan asked him for a portrait of her favorite player on a ball. This interaction began an almost 40-year career, largely avocational, of producing colorful and increasingly intricate, themed baseballs. Some celebrated particular moments, some honored legendary players, and others marked championship teams.
Sosnak’s final self-chosen challenge was to create a ball for each player in the Baseball Hall of Fame, recreating his Hall of Fame plaque as well as an overview of the player’s career in glorious detail and color. Occasionally, he would decorate a two-dimensional format like correspondence or drawings with his appealing images. In the end, Sosnak is thought to have begun some 3,000 baseballs, and to have finished about 800. Having a Ball includes 57 George Sosnak artworks – 47 baseballs and 10 works on paper.
Organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia
From antiquity through the present day, artists and craftsmen have found inspiration in the flora, fauna, and other forms of the natural world. For many artists, the vase in particular has lent itself to flourishes borrowed from nature, often together with – or in the form of – flowers and birds. While the forms and functions of the resulting artworks vary widely, from emulations to adaptations, and from aesthetic beauty to utilitarian purpose, all share a common inspiration worth exploring more closely. From the embrace of natural forms by artists associated with Art Nouveau – a movement only recently reconnected by scholars to the classical tradition – to more complex representations of vases, birds, and flowers by post-war and contemporary artists, Inspired by Nature illustrates the beauty and vitality of the natural world alongside its many uncertainties.
Drawn primarily from the Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition includes more than two dozen artworks from a variety of media and time periods, in two dimensions and three. Of particular interest is Sensuous Triptych (2000) by Betty Woodman, a prominent American ceramicist whose recent passing prompted renewed attention to her work here in Tampa. Brightly painted and made of fired clay, with elements of painting, drawing, sculpture, and more, her work defies categorization. And just as its three pieces come together as one, the front sides and back sides communicating with one another, so too will the larger whole engage in dialogue with so many other vases, birds, and flowers displayed nearby.
Tampa Museum of Art will present Vapor and Vibration: The Art of Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto. This exhibition places in dialogue, for the first time, the work of two of the 20th century’s most innovative artists exploring light and space. Since the 1960s, Soto and Bell have pushed the boundaries of traditional painting and sculpture with new materials and forms. While there have been several exhibitions devoted to each artist, Bell and Soto aims to present their works in a fresh context not yet explored by curators and art historians. Bell and Soto is not a survey or historical overview of the artists’ prolific careers. Rather, the show will juxtapose key bodies of work by both artists in three sections: Cubes and Structures; Vapor and Vibration; and Light and Transparency.
Cubes and Structures section will explore the reductive significance of the cube and the grid as both artists pushed beyond traditional painting formats and pedestal sculpture. Vapor and Vibration looks at how Soto and Bell have used color, as well as contrasting properties of light and dark, to render spatial illusion and optical effects in 2D planes. The final section, Light and Transparency, demonstrates the artists’ investigations of light, color, and surface in experiential-based sculpture and installation. Approximately 30-40 objects will be on view in Bell and Soto and will feature influential works from the 1960s through the present.
Presented by Maureen & Doug Cohn
From Muse and Myth to Figure and Gesture presents a selection of figurative prints in the Tampa Museum of Art’s collection made from the 1960s to today. This exhibition is a follow-up to From Dada and Op to Color Field and Pop: 50 Years of Prints from the Permanent Collection, the 2016 exhibition that featured primarily abstract prints in the Museum’s collection. From Muse and Myth to Figure and Gesture includes works by a range of artists interested in the body and figuration, and demonstrates the breadth of the Museum’s contemporary print collection, including new acquisitions by Max Neumann and Alex Katz. The show explores the artist’s muse, from Katz’s picture of his wife Ada Katz to Kenny Scharf’s portrayal of Jackie Kennedy. Norse mythology inspired Jim Dine’s suite The Mead of Poetry (1988), large-scale woodcuts printed in Tampa at USF’s Graphicstudio. Other artworks on view include Philip Pearlstein’s signature studies of the nude; Niki de Saint Phalle’s triumphant portraits of women in her Nana Power series; and Keith Haring’s iconic linear drawings exploring man’s devastating effect on the environment. From Muse and Myth to Figure and Gesture presents approximately 25 prints by the artists noted above, as well as Vito Acconci, CRASH, Jim Dine, Marisol, Lisa Yuskavage, and others.
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.
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.