Huntsville Museum of Art Huntsville Museum of Art
Huntsville, AL
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Huntsville Museum of Art
300 Church Street
Huntsville, AL 35801

EMAIL: info@hsvmuseum.org

American Master Illustrators: N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell
March 22 – June 21, 2020
Huth, Boeing, Salmon & Haws Galleries

This exclusive exhibition features approximately 35 original works by three of America’s most celebrated and beloved artists — master illustrators Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, and N.C. Wyeth. The stories these artists tell are well-known parts of American history. Parrish used the works of old masters to create his stories, saying that he used paintings to create his own “world of make-believe.” Rockwell created the small-town America that we all love with his very personal paintings. Wyeth, the father of artist Andrew Wyeth, carved out a rich legacy of historical work, especially his paintings of the West and of Native Americans that illustrated stories in Scribner’s magazines and books. Organized by the National Museum of American Illustration, Newport, RI.

Looking at the Collection: Stephen Longstreet: All that Jazz
March 22 – June 21, 2020
Haws Gallery

The Huntsville Museum of Art is pleased to present this exhibition of 27 works on paper by American writer and illustrator Stephen Longstreet (1907-2002), whose best-known drawings provide a chronicle of the dynamic and colorful world of jazz during the 20th century. The works were gifted to the Museum in 1985 by the artist himself, and are displayed together here for the first time.

Born in New York City, Longstreet grew up in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he was introduced to ragtime and jazz by future singing legend Paul Robeson, then an All-American football player Rutgers University. Their friendship began in 1918, when Robeson spotted the 11-year-old Longstreet sketching him as he practiced dropkicking. In his 1986 book, Storyville to Harlem: Fifty Years in the Jazz Scene, Longstreet explained that Robeson made him “aware of the gap between the music taught on paper and the ‘razzmatazz’ sounds of the scratchy jazz recordings.”

While studying at the School of Fine and Applied Arts in New York in the late 1920s, Longstreet drew the musical scenes in Greenwich Village, the speakeasies, and the Cotton Club in Harlem. “I had hoped to capture with black marks on white paper, this music created by these people, and set down what they looked like, felt and did before they were gone,” he later wrote. Shortly thereafter, Longstreet was furthering his artistic studies in Paris, where he met Picasso, Matisse and other artists. He also met and drew James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein, and the American “jazzmen” who were, he later wrote, “escaping from Judge Lynch and the back of the bus.”

After returning to the United States in 1930, Longstreet traveled south to New Orleans, discovering the “strange and wonderful sounds” of jazzmen playing in Storyville, the city’s red light district, and capturing them in his work. He later drew and painted Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and other jazz greats. Of Longstreet’s depictions of the century’s jazz scene, Louis Armstrong wrote in 1971: “You want to feel the smell – the color – the great ‘OH MY’ feeling of the jazzmen, and stomp around in the smoke and dusk of the joints? Then you just go and locate some of the drawings and paintings of this cat Steve Longstreet and steal you a few.”

Not only did Longstreet sketch 20th-century jazz greats, he was noted an author and screenwriter. His career as a writer, which continued into his 80s, was as varied as it was long. He wrote detective novels, radio scripts, served as a film critic for the Saturday Review, wrote syndicated book reviews, and wrote scripts for Hollywood films in the 1940s and television shows in the ’50s and ’60s. A number of Longstreet’s books dealt with jazz, including Jazz From A to Z: A Graphic Dictionary, his 100th book, published in 1989.

Harlem, Hollywood, Broadway: African American Legends Photographed by Jack Mitchell
Through March 22, 2020
Chan Gallery

This exhibition features 36 hand-selected silver gelatin and color photographs of important African American artists and performers taken by Jack Mitchell over a career spanning five decades. Mitchell died in 2013 at age 88. His first cover photograph for a major magazine was of Haitian dancers for the May 1951 issue of Color Magazine. Exhibition highlights include singer-songwriter Harry Belafonte, singer Whitney Houston (in her first photo session with a professional photographer), dance company founder Alvin Ailey, writer Toni Morrison, singer Roberta Flack, soprano Leontyne Price, hip hop group Public Enemy, singer Donna Summer, actress Cicely Tyson, and actor Ben Vereen.

Craig B. Highberger’s 2006 documentary “Jack Mitchell: My Life is Black and White” about the life and work of the master photographer Jack Mitchell (1925-2013) has screened and broadcast internationally. It was 2006 Best Documentary Film winner at the Daytona Beach Film Festival. Highberger worked with Jack Mitchell for nearly 14 years on his website and licensing his work. Mitchell left his archives to Highberger when he passed away at the age of 88 in 2013. Highberger is currently Executive Director of the Jack Mitchell Archives and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Highberger grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol’s hometown. As a teenager Craig was very aware of the Warhol scene in New York City, pop art, and underground film. In his teens in the late 1960’s he began making short films and when he was a senior in high school his Theatre Arts senior project film “Freed” won first prize the WQED PBS-TV 1971 Young Peoples Film Competition.

Highberger went to New York University, majoring in film and television. After college he moved to Rochester, Minnesota with his partner (and now husband) Dr. Andrew La Barbera, and began a three decade career in film and television production.

Craig Highberger’s first feature-length documentary “Superstar in a Housedress” about his friend Andy Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis features photographs by Jack Mitchell, and is narrated by Lily Tomlin. It was released theatrically in 2004, screened at film festivals around the world, and won Best Documentary at the 2004 Toronto LGBT Film Festival. It was selected for the 2004 Smithsonian “Film as Art” showcase at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC. and has been broadcast internationally. In 2005 Penguin published his biography of Curtis, “Superstar in a Housedress.

Encounters: Charles Ladson
February 23 – May 24, 2020
Grisham Gallery

Encounters: Charles Ladson focuses on the accomplished paintings of this mid-career artist from Macon, GA. Ladson’s works mix conventional aspects of painting like texture, layering, perspective, transparency, and detail — to create images that evoke a sense of mystery and dreamlike reality. Like much Southern art, his paintings have a strong narrative component. Ladson received his BFA degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York and his MFA degree from the University of Georgia. His work has been exhibited throughout the Southeast, including the last Red Clay Survey at the Huntsville Museum of Art, where he won a Merit award.

Organized by HMA.

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