Holly Trostle Brigham: Sisters and Goddesses, Michener Museum, Doylestown PA. Through May 29. www.michenerartmuseum.org.
A half century ago, the Michener Museum points out in its statement accompanying this exhibit, “Linda Nochlin published her now-famous essay, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ Since then we have seen women taking space for themselves in the art world. However, there are still obstacles for women. Nochlin’s charge, that ‘women face up to the reality of their history and of their present situation without making excuses or puffing mediocrity,’ still rings true today.”
In seven self-portraits that are part of this exhibit Philadelphia-based artist Holly Trostle Brigham “assumes the guise of artists of the past — such as Frida Kahlo, Artemesia Gentileschi, and Tamara de Lempicka — to remind us of their important stories. Brigham looks to her academic past as a student at one of the ‘seven sisters’ colleges for women, Smith College, connecting those ‘sisters’ with her own life through these portraits. Three additional self-portraits remind us not only of women’s lives in the past, but their continued relevance and importance in the lives of women today.”
In a statement posted on Brigham’s website, www.hollytrostlebrigham.com, Robert Cozzolino, curator of modern art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, notes that Brigham’s self portraits — developed over the past two decades — “deny a fixed identity and imaginatively engage the past. She has tirelessly explored gender and sexuality through self-representation, often using her body to subvert misogynist histories and reclaim the female nude.”
Brigham’s series of self-portrait homages to female artists, says Cozzolino, “paintings represent her most complex and sustained exploration of self-hood and artistic identity.”
More Than 15 Minutes: Andy Warhol’s Photography and Prints, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick. Through Sunday, July 31, 848-932-7237 or www.zimmerli.rutgers.edu.
This exhibition of American visual artist and innovator Andy Warhol (1928-1987) playfully takes its name from Warhol’s famous quip “Everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” But its organizers — Marilyn Symmes, the museum’s retired curator of prints and drawings, and Christina Weyl, curatorial assistant — are not playing around with the artist’s place in history and write:
Almost 30 years after his death, Warhol is now celebrated as one of the preeminent artists of the twentieth century. Warhol was a leader of 1960s Pop art and radically shifted the direction of postwar art away from abstraction by introducing everyday, identifiable imagery into his work (“Pop” derives from the word “popular”). This selection of prints and photographs from the Zimmerli Art Museum’s collection conveys Warhol’s views about celebrity and myth, advertising, gender difference, and capital punishment. The exhibition features recent gifts from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which are on view here for the first time.
Warhol’s New York life began in the 1950s when he worked as a commercial illustrator, drawing whimsical advertisements for products ranging from designer shoes to dishwashers. Skills and techniques he acquired through these commissions significantly informed his Pop art aesthetic. By the 1960s Warhol combined commercial art processes with pictures of consumer products such as Campbell’s Soup or Brillo pads. He soon expanded his vocabulary to current events and celebrities. Noting that “repetition adds up to reputation,” Warhol acknowledged the power of mass media with the repetition of these images.
This exhibition highlights the way Warhol adapted commercial screenprinting to create his monumental paintings and prints. Given the mechanical nature of the process, in which images are transferred to canvas or paper via ink squeegeed across stencils, Warhol fashioned an identity for himself as an aloof observer of American culture. At arm’s length, he directed the creative production at his studio, The Factory. By showing his more intimate relationship with source photos — those he took himself and those he appropriated — the works on view debunk the myth of Andy Warhol as the disengaged copyist.
By Dawn’s Early Light: Jewish Contributions to American Culture from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War, Princeton University Art Museum, through June 12. Princeton University Art Museum. artmuseum.princeton.edu.
Organized by the Princeton University Library, this exhibit includes more than 160 books, maps, manuscripts, prints, and paintings, including some of the earliest novels, plays, scientific treatises and religious works produced by Jews in the United States.
“Living in an age when Jews are fully integrated into so much of America’s public and popular culture, it is difficult to imagine a time before they shone on the stage and printed page,” says the exhibition statement. “Such a future for Jews was scarcely imaginable in the crucible years after the birth of the United States. In the colonial period, there was little precedent for Jews speaking for themselves vocally and volubly in the public arena. At the dawn of the Republic, they were new to American public life.
“Yet as the United States started its grand experiment with liberty and began to invent a culture of its own, Jews, too, began a grand experiment of living as equals. In a society that promised exceptional freedom, this was both liberating and confounding. As individuals, they were free to participate as full citizens in the hurly-burly of the new nation’s political and social life. But for members of a group that sought to remain distinctive, freedom was daunting. In response to the challenges of liberty, Jews adopted and adapted American and Jewish artistic idioms to express themselves in new ways as Americans and as Jews. In the process, they invented American Jewish culture and contributed to the flowering of American culture during the earliest days of the Republic.”
A 352-page catalogue, with 13 scholarly essays and 75 full-color illustrations, accompanies the exhibit and is available for purchase at the Art Museum Store for $50.