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Cincinnati Art Museum
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Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
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Treasures of the Spanish World

Women Breaking Boundaries

The Levee: A Photographer in the American South

Treasures of the Spanish World
October 25, 2019–January 19, 2020

(en español)

Treasures of the Spanish World explores the visual cultures of Spain and Latin America across 4,000 years, through some of the finest artworks from the Iberian Peninsula and Spanish America. The exhibition, organized in partnership with the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, will be presented at the Cincinnati Art Museum from October 25, 2019–January 19, 2020.

From Copper Age ceramics, medieval metalwork, Renaissance sculpture and portraits by Velázquez and Goya, to Mexican featherwork mosaics, Colombian lacquerware, rare early maps of the Americas and the light-suffused paintings of Sorolla at the turn of the twentieth century, these artworks manifest the richly layered cultures of Spain under Roman, Islamic and Christian rule and the Spanish influence in the Americas.

The Hispanic Society Museum & Library, widely acknowledged to house the greatest collection of Spanish and Latin American art and artifacts outside of Spain, has loaned its artworks for this traveling special exhibition while its 1908 Beaux Arts building in New York undergoes renovations. The Cincinnati Art Museum has the unique chance to exhibit the Hispanic Society’s finest examples of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, manuscripts and documents. A significant number of these works have not before been exhibited outside of the Hispanic Society, and some have never before been exhibited.

Treasures of the Spanish World offers audiences an unprecedented survey of some of the great artistic traditions of Europe and the Americas. Peter Jonathan Bell, the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Associate Curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings, is curating the exhibition in Cincinnati.

“We aim not only to present exhibition visitors with artworks of the highest caliber and significance that sketch the outlines of some of the globe’s most vital artistic cultures, but also to bring these treasures and their stories to new audiences,” Bell said. The Cincinnati Art Museum will present all exhibition texts in English and Spanish.

The exhibition first appeared at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain, where it received wide international acclaim in 2017. It also traveled to the Museo del Palacio de Bella Artes in Mexico City and the Albuquerque Museum in New Mexico. After its presentation at the Cincinnati Art Museum, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas.

The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly-illustrated scholarly catalogue, Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, edited by Mitchell A. Codding, Executive Director and President of the Hispanic Society.

A wide variety of programs for all ages will highlight the exhibition during its run, including a special lecture on Goya by a curator from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library on October 24. Self-guided and docent tours will be available. The exhibition will be free during Art After Dark on October 25 and November 27, 2019.

Tickets for Treasures of the Spanish World are free for museum members and will soon be available for purchase by the general public at the Cincinnati Art Museum front desk and online at cincinnatiartmuseum.org. Photography is permitted, but no flash. On social media, use the hashtag #CAMTreasures.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. It is presented by Western & Southern Financial Group and Fort Washington Investment Advisors. Treasures of the Spanish World will be on view in the Western & Southern Galleries (232 and 233) and The Thomas R. Schiff Galleries (234 and 235). A satellite gift shop will be available in The Albert E. Heekin and Bertha E. Heekin Gallery (212).

About the Hispanic Society Museum & Library
The Hispanic Society Museum & Library was founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870–1955) with the purpose of establishing a free, public museum and reference library for the study of the art, history and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines. The collections of the Hispanic Society are the most extensive outside of Spain itself, addressing nearly every aspect of Spanish culture, as well as a large part of Portugal and Latin America, into the twentieth century. The Hispanic Society Museum is located in Manhattan and is currently undergoing extensive renovation, although the Library remains open by appointment and the Sorolla Gallery is open to visitors on a limited basis by advance reservation. hispanicsociety.org

Women Breaking Boundaries
October 11–April 12, 2020
Vance Waddell and Mayerson Galleries (Galleries 124 and 125)

Admission is free.

Explore artistic innovation and artists as change-makers in Women Breaking Boundaries at the Cincinnati Art Museum

A new special exhibition explores the role of women in art and art history at the Cincinnati Art Museum from October 11–April 12, 2020. Women Breaking Boundaries highlights artworks from the museum’s permanent collection created by female artists from the seventeenth century to today. It will encourage visitors to think critically about gender, inclusion, and diversity and how that translates to the museum’s gallery walls.

A cross-departmental selection of 38 artworks from Europe, North America and Asia will be featured, ranging from oil on canvas, metalwork, ceramic, and prints to photography and fashion. Prominent artists include Georgia O’Keeffe, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, Mary Cassatt, Julia Margaret Cameron, Elizabeth Catlett, and Chiyo Mitsuhisa.

The Cincinnati Art Museum’s female founders played an essential role in the birth of this city’s vibrant arts scene. In 1877, the Women’s Art Museum Association (WAMA) was formed to promote the arts in Cincinnati, founded on the heels of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. WAMA was adamant about bringing the social and economic benefits of an art museum to Cincinnati. Enthusiasm and support for their cause was widely generated and, by 1881, the Cincinnati Museum Association was incorporated.

This connection to the museum’s founding women has long been lauded as an early success for Cincinnati women in the arts. Members of WAMA were strong female activists for the arts, founding our institution as well as others throughout the city, and funding early acquisitions by female artists. As the nation is about to celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage, Women Breaking Boundaries reminds us to reflect on this history. By examining our museum’s story and presentation practices we can revisit this narrative, encouraging visitors and museum staff alike to reflect on the past, engage with the present, and consider the future.

Ainsley M. Cameron, Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art & Antiquities, has organized the exhibition. “Though Women Breaking Boundaries proudly recognizes the contributions of female artists to the art canon, this is not a celebration of equality,” says Cameron. “Artists who identify as female continue to be a minority within museum collections—ours, and in the art world more broadly speaking—and addressing this inequality creates space for dialogue and productive exchange.”

Pairings and juxtapositions of artworks will be created to encourage such dialogue and exchange. Barbara Kruger, a feminist artist who critically engages with the portrayal of women in the media, will be paired with a dress by early twentieth century fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet. The female form as seen in a 1970s Jo Ann Callis photograph of a woman’s body will be reflected in an art nouveau vase created by Mary Sheerer of Newcomb Pottery. While vast and vastly different, the works presented offer insights into the myriad of ways that female artists have been, and continue to be, active change-makers in their chosen medium.

Women Breaking Boundaries is conceived of as the museum’s main contribution and focal point of a larger project, Power of Her, a city-wide initiative of Cincinnati arts organizations to mark 100 years since Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment. Led by ArtsWave, Power of Her will include over a year’s worth of community programs, festivities and events at organizations including Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Ballet and more, from June 2019 through December 2020.

During Power of Her, a majority of the museum’s permanent gallery rotations throughout the museum will focus on female artists. Visitors are encouraged to view Women Breaking Boundaries, explore rotating galleries, as well as the Cincinnati Art Museum permanent collection galleries that feature women. A free gallery guide highlighting female artists in the collection will be available at the entrance to the museum.

Related programs will be held at the museum in conjunction with the run of the exhibition, including Family First Saturday, Gallery Experiences, gallery talks and more. For a full list of programming, please visit the museum’s online calendar.

Women Breaking Boundaries will be on view in the Vance Waddell and Mayerson Galleries (Galleries 124 and 125). Admission is free. Photography is encouraged, but no flash. On social media, use #WomenBreakingBoundaries and #PowerofHer.

The Levee: A Photographer in the American South
October 5, 2019–February 2, 2020

Contemporary Indian photographer Sohrab Hura receives his first solo museum exhibition, organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum, from October 5, 2019–February 2, 2020. The Levee: A Photographer in the American South presents an 83-picture suite titled The Levee, in which Hura explores themes of connection, perspective and place.

Exhibited in its entirety for the first time outside India, the suite has been acquired by the Cincinnati Art Museum through the generosity of the artist and Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata. The Cincinnati Art Museum is the first American museum to exhibit Hura’s work and the first public institution to collect his photographs. The exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue—the first substantial book publication about the artist.

While The Levee consists primarily of black and white photographs, the exhibition also includes hand-drawn maps and ambient sound. Unexpected color and evocative natural materials support the artist’s perception of tenderness in his American experience. Communal seating and browsable photobooks in the gallery will invite reflection and consideration of The Levee in larger context.

The landscapes and portraits of The Levee trace the artist’s 2016 travels along the lower Mississippi River. Hura made the pictures as a participant in Postcards from America, a loose, serial collaboration in the form of a photographic road trip, first conceived by American photographer Alec Soth in 2011. Over the course of six years, Postcards fostered a reexamination of photographic perspective, as well as producing rich documentary reflections on contemporary American life.

Hura’s spring 2016 trip with the Postcards group was a timely examination of the South, a region that has often been represented in photography, yet remains the object of romanticization and stereotype. However, Hura also had a personal connection to place: just before the artist’s trip along the levees of the Mississippi, his father had traveled the river while at work on a container ship, unable to step onto land. The photographer’s journey became a metaphor for a difficult, often distant relationship with a father who was physically and emotionally out of reach.

Nathaniel M. Stein, Cincinnati Art Museum’s Associate Curator of Photography, has long observed Hura’s career. “The clarity and urgency of his work often stopped me in my tracks,” Stein says. “Sohrab is knowledgeable about the history of photography, but always shedding it in an effort to touch the quick. He has a way of making experience present—not by picturing its outward appearance so much as plunging into its pulse and flow. For some of his work this means pictures that embrace so-called mistake: grain, wild exposure, blur…For The Levee it means something quite different—a steady forthrightness that seems to measure both pain and gentleness. Alec Soth recently said to me he feels he can smell these photographs. Artists like Sohrab show us the edges of what we believe photography can be and do.”

Hura’s experience speaks to Cincinnati’s meaningful history as a river city and a gateway to the American South. Public programming at the museum will use The Levee as a springboard for the community to examine issues ranging from regional and national perceptions of the South, to race and identity, to social implications of mental health disorders.

The Levee: A Photographer in the American South will be on view to the public for free in gallery 105. Related public programs are free with the exception of the 8-week workshop, Regarding Place.

The Cincinnati Art Museum will co-publish an exhibition catalogue with Candor Arts, enabled in part by the support of Peter and Betsy Niehoff. The Levee: A Photographer in the American South includes original scholarship by exhibition curator Nathaniel M. Stein and a conversation between Hura and the American photographer Alec Soth. The exhibition catalogue is the first major publication on Hura. It is slated for release in January 2020 and will be available for pre-order through the Cincinnati Art Museum gift shop.

Hura was born in 1981 in Chinsurah, West Bengal, India and currently lives in New Delhi. He was nominated to the renowned Magnum Photos collective in 2014. Hura has exhibited widely, including at Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata; Videonale, Kunstmuseum Bonn; Oberhausen International Short Film Festival; Vancouver International Film Festival; Image Forum, Tokyo; Moscow International Experimental Film Festival; Berlin Atonal; Shanghai Biennale; Minnesota Street Projects, San Francisco; FotoFest Biennial, Houston; Art Basel, Hong Kong; India Art Fair, Delhi; Bontanique, Brussels; Science Museum, London; and (in fall 2019) Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, England.

He has published several award-winning photobooks under the imprint Ugly Dog, including Life is Elsewhere (2015), A Proposition for Departure (2017) and Look It’s Getting Sunny Outside!!! (2018), which deal with his relationship with his mother through her mental illness, and The Coast (2019), which delves into the shifting landscape of fact and fiction in contemporary Indian society. The Levee (an artist’s book that complements the catalogue accompanying Cincinnati exhibition) is his next anticipated title.

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