The Highwaymen are a group of African American artists celebrated for their distinctive paintings of Florida’s natural environment. Working in and around the Fort Pierce area beginning in the 1950s, these self-taught artists depicted the state’s scenic coastline and wild backcountry, often in dazzling combinations of color and tone. Brilliant tropical sunsets, windblown palms, towering sunlit clouds, and blooming royal poinciana trees are among the many subjects that have become iconic images of Florida, in part because of the paintings that the Highwaymen created.
Living Color: The Art of the Highwaymen focuses on work produced from the 1950s to the 1980s by a core group of the Highwaymen including Al Black, Mary Ann Carroll, Willie Daniels, Johnny Daniels, James Gibson, Alfred Hair, Roy McLendon, Harold Newton, Sam Newton, Willie Reagan, and Livingston Roberts. The exhibition brings special attention on two key artists, Harold Newton and Alfred Hair, and presents extensive examples of their work. Drawn from five private collections, Living Color also considers the role of collectors in preserving the legacy of these artists and their extraordinary life stories.
The exhibition is organized by the Orlando Museum of Art and curated by Gary Monroe in collaboration with OMA curator Hansen Mulford.
Special thanks to:
The Asselstine Collection
The Jacobs Collection
The Lightle Collection
The Schlesinger Collection
The Walker Collection
Representations of the body vary from person to person, artist to artist. The works featured in Figure Forward: Selections from the Permanent Collection demonstrate different approaches to figuration from the 18th-century to the present through the Tampa Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Portraiture and figuration anchor the modern and contemporary collection, with works in a range of media by artists such as Jose Clemente Orozco, Francisco Goya, Louise Nevelson, Fairfield Porter, Lorna Simpson, and Rafael Soyer. The exhibition also highlights recent acquisitions by Alex Katz, Yigal Ozeri, and Pepe Mar. Figure Forward expands on the figurative work included in the show The Making of a Museum: 100 Years, 100 Works.
Figure Forward: Selections from the Permanent Collection is part of the Tampa Museum of Art’s centennial exhibition series Celebrating 100 Years.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Tampa Museum of Art presents a series of exhibitions focused on the achievements of women in the arts. HerStory: Stories of Ancient Heroines and Everyday Women explores the story of women in the ancient world through the depictions of goddesses, heroines, mythological characters, and everyday women in the Museum’s collection of classical antiquities. The exhibition highlights objects that speak to the role of women in the ancient world, their myths and stories, from Aphrodite and Athena to Amazon Warriors to women of the everyday. These roles are examined through the museum’s collection of statues, fragments, vessels, and objects from daily life.
C. Paul Jennewein’s (German-American, 1890-1978) artwork reveals the inspiration of the ancient world while also engaging with the new sculptural styles of his time, merging Art Deco with the neo-classical tradition. In 1978, the Tampa Bay Art Center, predecessor of the Tampa Museum of Art, received a bequest of 2,600 objects including finished artworks, as well as preparatory drawings, plaster casts, and molds for the numerous commissions Jennewein received during his prolific career. Sketches and Sculptures: A Study of C. Paul Jennewein highlights this extensive archive. The exhibition presents an overview of the artist’s early sculptures and four major commissions executed between 1925 and 1940 that defined Jennewein as one of the most significant sculptors of his day.
Sketches and Sculpture: A Study of C. Paul Jennewein is part of the Tampa Museum of Art’s centennial exhibition series Celebrating 100 Years.
White Gold is an immersive installation by artist Thomas Sayre (American, b. 1950) that depicts a cotton-filled Southern landscape. The work intends to express the beauty, the complexity, and the tragedy of our embroiled agricultural traditions. Cotton is one of the nation’s most contentious and layered materials, and one with which almost every American has a personal relationship, either directly or indirectly. Inevitably, it is linked to the economic, racial, and social history of the region and its people. Sayre’s White Gold refers to cotton and a reverence for the land, the labor, and the people (forced or unforced) who made cotton their livelihood. The installation is a fierce expression of the Southern landscape: its magnificence and the haunting pain of history, memory, and ultimately, belonging.
White Gold: Thomas Sayre is organized by the
Mississippi Museum of Art and
the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh.
Artist Dominique Labauvie (French, b. 1948) unites language,
both his native French and English, with image in his architectonic steel sculptures. Air Fer Mer, the title of the outdoor installation on the Sullivan Terrace, as well as the title of one the sculptures on view, reflects the artist’s play on language—“air fer mer” spoken aloud sounds like “éphémère,” the French word for “ephemeral.” Ephemerality embodies the essence of Labauvie’s art. Although his medium of industrial steel suggests a sense of permanence, Labauvie aims to capture fleeting moments in his sculpture—from the movement of light and shadows, to the passage of time and life unfolding around us. “Air Fer Mer” also translates to iron, air, sea—a fitting description of the objects’ relationship to the natural world. In this unique setting, four of Labauvie’s sculptures exist in harmony with the Hillsborough River and Tampa skyline.
The Classical World showcases 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. Important works in the antiquities collection are highlighted as part of the exhibition, The Making of a Museum: 100 Years, 100 Works.
As the Tampa Museum of Art celebrates its 100th anniversary, exhibitions in 2019 and 2020 will focus on the breadth of the institution’s permanent collection, as well as examine its collecting history. The Tampa Museum of Art’s holdings are unique, with distinct collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, as well as modern and contemporary art.
A Closer Look: Ancient Glass from the Permanent Collection
Drawn primarily from the permanent collection, A Closer Look: Ancient Glass includes examples of ancient Greek and Roman glass vessels made in a range of ancient techniques. The objects on view help to illustrate the development of glass production in the classical world over a period of nearly one thousand years, from the fourth century BC to the fourth or fifth century AD.
Shards and Illusions: Contemporary Glass from the Permanent Collection
Shards and Illusions: Contemporary Glass from the Permanent Collection features a selection of contemporary glass by American and European artists Jon Kuhn, John Luebtow, Steven Maslach, Michael Pavlik, Louis Sclafani, Lino Tagliapietra, and Toots Zynsky. This intimate presentation focuses on architectural and abstract forms within the Tampa Museum of Art’s unique holdings in glass.
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.