Monday, September 30, 2013

This week the Museum staff is saying goodbye to one of our favorite and most successful exhibitions. The Golden Age of Painting in Europe, which was loaned to us by Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, drew over 6000 visitors this summer. The reviews were spectacular; proving to us that Lexington has a vibrant and appreciative art audience. Thank you to all who supported this exhibition.

Most people probably have no idea how much physical labor is involved in installing and de-installing an exhibition of this size. The Museum staff has been reminded of that effort this past week. Each of these 72 masterpieces travels with its own custom designed crate. Before packing can begin each painting has to be inspected with a magnifying glass by both our registrar and the Speed’s registrar to determine whether any damage has occurred during exhibition. As you can see from this photograph, large paintings, like this portrait by Pierre Mignard, require a team of gloved handlers, led by our preparator, Alan Rideout (in the green shirt), and registrar, Bebe Lovejoy (in orange) to safely deliver it to its crate.

While I was photographing this delivery, I was impressed by the amount of calculation and discussion that went into how the crate had to be situated so that the bolts would fit around the frame and where workers would stand to insure that the transition would go smoothly. The entire operation took almost 30 minutes; one painting down and 71 to go. But it’s this kind of care and attention to detail that insures that this painting from 1688 will last another 325 years!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Global Contemporary: Art from Inner Mongolia, an exhibition of art work by the faculty of the Art College of Inner Mongolia University is on view now through October 6 at the Art Museum.

The exhibition is part of LIVING LANDSCAPES which is a collaborative festival of art, music, dance and theater with the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts, the UK Confucius Institute, the Art College of Inner Mongolia University and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region International Culture Association.

This week is particularly exciting as the Museum, along with the College of Fine Arts (CFA) and the UK Confucius Institute host a delegation from the Art College of Inner Mongolia University (IMU) and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region International Culture Association. These groups hope that the festival will help all those who participate discover what makes us unique and what brings us together through an adventure of art and culture.

Please stop by the Museum to see these beautiful works of art and attend some of the other cultural events that Living Landscapes is offering.

Here are some of this weeks highlights:
all events are FREE

Wednesday, September 25, 11 am
(in the Art Museum)
Journey Home a lecture by Dr. Juefel Wang, Freedom Foundation Program Director

Wednesday, September 25, 7:30 pm
(in the Singletary Center Concert Hall)
Inner Mongolian Music and Dance with students from IMU featuring traditional Mongolian throat singing and horse head instruments.

Thursday, September 26, 7:30 pm
(in the Singletary Center Concert Hall)
A Celebration of Music and Dance featuring students from IMU and CFA with jazz, percussion, and a variety of dance works.

Friday, September 27, 7:30 pm
(in the Singletary Center Concert Hall)
UK Symphony Orchestra and Inner Mongolia University guest artists perform a collection of traditional Inner Mongolian and American music.

For more information about these and other events visit the Living Landscapes web page at

image credit: JIAN XIE, "Praise", oil on canvas

Monday, September 16, 2013

Working as a gallery attendant at an art museum, you come across people from all walks of life, each with their own stories, and each with their own opinions about the art. Some pass by a piece of art, glancing at it briefly, while others focus in on that same piece, stopped in their tracks, fascinated by the story it’s telling them. And every once in a while, a piece of art that may not always get that much attention suddenly becomes a major point of conversation among our visitors.

Such was the case this week at the Art Museum. The untitled piece by local artist Michael Goodlett created a spark of interest in many visitors since the small sculpture is hauntingly similar to the unforgettable images of 9/11. The surprise—this sculpture was created in 1999, a full two years before the attacks, a fact that most of our visitors are surprised by.

This brings up the age-old question: does art imitate life or life imitate art? To this debated question, I’m sure there will never be a definite answer. One thing is sure though—all art tells a story. It captures human essence, telling the story of those who have come before us and the ways of the world during their time. Life changes. People change. And although art may change, it is always there, a constant reminder of human history, giving brief glimpses into a story that’s not our own.

Nothing does this better than our current exhibition The Golden Age of Painting in Europe. I strongly encourage you to visit the Museum and see it before it leaves next Monday on September 23. Come take a peek at history! See and read their stories. Better yet, pick up a pen or paintbrush and create your own. After all, we might not be permanent fixtures in this world, but isn’t it awesome to think that people 400 years from now might be looking at something that you created?

Michaela Miles, gallery attendant and gift shop coordinator

Image credit: MICHAEL GOODLETT, Untitled, 1999, carved wood with ink and pencil Gift of Louis Zoeller Bickett II in honor of Jon Bales

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Golden Age of Painting in Europe has been a summer blockbuster attracting thousands of visitors to the Art Museum. There are only 12 days (closes on September 22) left to see this beautiful exhibition featuring some of the world’s most revered artist, including Rembrandt, Rubens, and Gainsborough. Many visitors, however, have enjoyed learning about lesser known European masters. One of the Museum staff’s favorite paintings is Dice Players by French artist Nicolas Tournier. This painting reflects several stylistic features Tournier borrowed from Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the revolutionary Italian artist whose dramatic lighting and naturalistic painting style influenced seventeenth-century art throughout Europe. Caravaggio’s style can be seen in the extreme contrasts of light and shadow, the strong sense of naturalism (down to the dirty fingernails), and the way in which the artist engages the viewer by having the figure on the left look directly out into the viewer’s space. The subject of this painting also reflects Caravaggio’s influence. He, along with many of his followers, frequently depicted people from the seedy side of life, such as prostitutes, fortune tellers, and card and dice players.

NICHOLAS TOURNIER, French, 1590-about 1660, Dice Players, about 1619-1626/27, oil on canvas, 47 5/16 x 67 ½ in., Gift of the Charter Collectors, from the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY.

The Museum is located on the University Of Kentucky Campus, in the Singletary Center for the Arts at 405 Rose Street. We are open Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 5 pm and Fridays from noon until 8 pm, closed Mondays. General Admission to the Golden Age admission is $8, and $5 for senior citizens (over 55). All students and UK faculty, staff and alumni are free. Everyone is free on Friday nights from 5 until 8 pm. The last day for this exhibition is Sunday, September 22. For more information visit us online at or phone 859.257.5716.

Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting in Europe was organized by the Speed Art Museum, Louisville. Presenting Sponsors are UK HealthCare and Norton Healthcare. Promotional Sponsors are Meridian-Chiles, Time-Warner Communications, Thoroughbred Printing, and WUKY.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Art of Sharing

Works of art from the Museum’s collection are always on the move. The Art Museum is happy to share collections, when possible, with other institutions on a variety of occasions. Typically, we loan single objects to be seen in special exhibitions that bring objects together from across the nation or world. Currently, the museum has made a special loan of Eugene Isabey’s painting “Fishing Village” to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco for an exhibition called “Impressionists on the Water.” The show explores the themes of boating and life on the ocean, which coincided with the America’s Cup races this past summer. In November, the exhibition will travel to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts (November 9 to February 17).

The Museum also has on loan, to the Evansville Museum in Evansville, Indiana, three tapestries by Kentucky fiber artist Dobree Adams. The exhibition, called “Enfolded: Dialogues of Vision and Voice in a Multi-Faceted Collaboration” presents the common arts interests of Adams and Jonathan Greene, who live on a Kentucky River farm north of Frankfort. Adams’s textiles and photographs and Greene’s poetry are all featured in the show which runs from September 22 through November 24.

DOBREE ADAMS, Big Black Mountain, from Ken-Tah-Teh series, 1994, hand-spun, hand-dyed, and hand woven wool with linen warp, gift of Hilary J. Boone, Jr.

LOUIS-GABRIEL-EUG├łNE ISABEY, Fishing Village, 1856, oil on canvas, transfer from the Carnahan Conference Center, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. Knight, 1958