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Published: Sunday, 9/13/2009

Area museums and galleries offer feasts for the eyes

BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A sky-reaching piano keyboard, glowing blue, is among three new gifts of art to the community.

The dramatic 27-foot spiraled tower at the north entry plaza of the Lucas County was introduced Friday. The Art Tatum Celebration Column by Californian Cork Marcheschi, honors the Toledo-born jazz great. Its $300,000 cost was paid for by a combination of donations and funds from city construction thanks to the 32-year-old One Percent for Art program. The arena opens next month.

Two other public pieces will debut soon.

A set of 15 gold-mirrored glass panels by local artist Janine Ody will be installed inside the arena's north entry. In her near-downtown studio, Ody created the panels, sand-blasting images of events that will take place in the arena, including hockey, football, and concerts.

A third significant piece will be sited in the soon-to-come Tribute Park on the east side of the Maumee River. Rising 40 feet, it will have two arms, each of which will bear six articulated joints that can move in the breeze. In memory of the five men who were killed during construction of the Veterans' Glass City Skyway, the $100,000 Tribute Memorial will be paid for by donations.

Here's a look at other art that will be on the agenda this season:

Toledo Museum of Art

Curators have combed the Toledo Museum of Art's collection for glass sculptures and sketches by Dale Chihuly for Chihuly Toledo!, a free show that opens Sept. 17 and runs through Nov. 29 in the Glass Pavilion.

Chihuly, arguably the most famous glass artist in the world, is known for big splashes with his colorful assemblages and dramatic installations. The Toledo museum's show will be different: It will feature 30-some items, mostly small objects the prolific Seattle artist has made since 1975.

A 1995 Chihuly chandelier on permanent view is the nine-foot glass assemblage of 243 clear, etched pieces that hangs in the pavilion's Monroe Street lobby.

In LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel, the museum will fete the current comic renaissance in its display of 146 pieces by 23 contemporary and historic artists. These grown-up picture books have themes ranging from relationships and war to the meaning of life. Opening Oct. 2 and running through Jan. 3 in the Canaday Gallery, LitGraphic was organized and is being leased from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

A third show will feature photographs by the late Gordon Parks, who captured the human experience from wealth to poverty, fame to obscurity, running Feb. 5 through April 25 in the Canaday Gallery.

The museum's board will spend much of the months ahead searching for a new director. Don Bacigalupi, director since 2003, is leaving in October for the top post at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Michigan

The gleam is still on the new and improved University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, which was infused with a $47.9 million expansion on a 53,000-square-foot wing, and renovation of the Beaux-Arts building that's been home to its collection for decades.

Opening Oct. 10 is The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850 to 1874. Continuing through Jan. 3, it will showcase paintings, photographs, and drawings by Courbet, Manet, Monet, and Degas as well as the pioneering photographers Le Gray and Le Secq.

UMMA staff organized this show, borrowing works from the Musee d'Orsay, the national library in France, and many private and public collections here and abroad.

The exhibition advances a new argument for the origins of Impressionism: its curators suggest that a convergence of forces — social, artistic, technological, and commercial — transformed the course of photography and painting. The newly-invented camera, for example, was used for fine-art photography along the Normandy coast of France.

Photographs will also be on tap at the Detroit Institute of Arts in a comprehensive display of work by the late Richard Avedon, who had a 50-year magazine career. Avedon Fashion Photographs, 1944-2000 will open Oct. 18 and run through Jan. 17.

Through African Eyes: The European in African Art, 1500 to Present, will open April 11 and be on exhibit through Aug. 8. Via 100 pieces of art, it explores the changing attitudes Africans have had toward Europeans, from seeing them as strangers to colonizers, and as Westerners. It's a reversal of the Eurocentric perspective that has dominated studies of African art.

Cleveland

Opening at the Cleveland Museum of Art Oct. 4 and running through Jan. 18, is Paul Gauguin: Paris, 1889; 75 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Gauguin and his contemporaries. Its focus is Gauguin's life in 1889, which curators believe was a critical juncture: It was after he had spent nine weeks in Arles painting with Van Gogh and before he set sail for the South Seas.

The venerable museum is in the midst of a $350 million expansion/renovation project begun in 2005 for which it has raised about $212 million. It opened the upper level of the East Wing in June, filling it with 500 Impressionistic, modern, and contemporary pieces that had been in storage for several years.

Cleveland's other major show will be Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, from March 7 to May 30. It's set up according to geographic regions, from ancient ivories to modern masks of the Arctic.

Fremont/Toledo

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont continues White House Pets: Ambassadors at Large & White House Horses; nearly 150 images of the lesser-known and apolitical residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, through Jan. 10. The show was organized by the White House Historical Assn.

For the holidays, "Hayes Train Special" will feature a 12-by-24-foot model-train display with six trains of different sizes, from Nov. 29 through Jan. 9.

The Blair Museum of Lithophanes in Toledo Botanical Garden is exhibiting Ceramics Illuminated, 14 lit pieces of ceramic art on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, the Flint Institute of Arts, and individual artists. It continues through Oct. 31.

It also has about 750 19th-century lithophanes on display. Dating to the 1820s, lithophanes are three-dimensional porcelain pictures that show their beauty when back-lit. They are worked into lamps, night lights, beer steins, plates, and fireplace screens.

The museum, owned by the City of Toledo, is on the grounds of the Toledo Botanical Garden and is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 31. Special tours can be arranged at other times by prior appointment. The museum is free, but a modest fee will be charged for the special exhibition.

Colleges

Bowling Green State University

Through Oct. 4: UpScaled/DownSized: Large subjects portrayed in small formats. Also through Oct. 4, the Focus show by high school students.

Oct. 16 to Nov. 13: Contemporary Indian Artists.

Oct. 16 to Nov. 19: The Poetic Dialogue Project; collaborations by 31 artist/poet pairs.

Nov. 21 to Dec. 13: Southern Graphics Council Traveling Exhibition.

Dec. 4: Arts Xtravaganza; exhibitions, demonstrations, performances, and art sales.

Dec. 5 to 15: 53rd Annual Faculty/Staff Exhibition.

Owens Community College

Through Sept. 18: Monday Morning Painters; local, plein-air work.

Sept. 28 to Oct. 31: Vessels; 12 artists interpret the concept of the vessel.

Nov. 9 to Dec. 11: Faculty art exhibition.

Jan. 8 to Feb. 13: Installation: Debra Davis, photographically based art.

Feb. 22 to March 27: A Family Affair; Louis, Susan, and Matthew Krueger.

April 10 to May 1: Juried student art exhibition.

May 19 to June 3: Toledo Friends of Photography show.

At the University of Toledo

Through Oct. 4: Light and Mass, faculty exhibition.

Dec. 4 to Jan. 10: Alumni Invitational.

Jan. 22 to March 21: Student exhibit.

Contact Tahree Lane at: tlane@theblade.com

or 419-724-6075.



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