The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the 2020-21 recipients of VMFA fellowships. Twenty-six students and professional artists were selected from more than 500 applicants to receive a total of $146,000 towards professional advancements in the arts. The VMFA Fellowship Program has awarded more than $5.8 million to over 1,395 artists since 1940. Recipients must be Virginia residents and may use the award as desired, including for education and studio investments. Each year, professional curators and working artists serve as jurors to select fellowship recipients.
“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship Program is proud to support student and professional artists working across the Commonwealth,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA director and CEO. “We offer one of the largest fellowship programs of its kind in the United States and recognize this effort as a core part of our mission.”
VMFA awarded ten professional fellowships of $8,000 each this year. Professional fellowship recipients are:
Paul Finch, New & Emerging Media, Richmond;
Emma Gould, Photography, Richmond;
Sterling Hundley, Drawing, Chesterfield;
Sue Johnson, Mixed Media, Richmond;
Abigail Lucien, Sculpture, Richmond;
Margaret Meehan, Sculpture, Richmond;
David Riley, Film/Video, Richmond;
Dash Shaw, Drawing, Richmond;
Jon-Philip Sheridan, New & Emerging Media, Richmond; and
Susan Worsham, Photography, Richmond.
Veronica Roberts, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art, was the juror for the professional fellowship entries.
Undergraduate fellowships of $4,000 went to ten students this year. The recipients are:
Tatyana Bailey, Photography, Virginia Commonwealth Univeristy (VCU), Richmond;
Emma Carlson, Film/Video, VCU, Des Moines, IA;
Nicolas Fernandez, Photography, VCU, Fredericksburg;
“Jitish Kallat: Return to Sender” March 13–June 28, 2020
The Frist Art Museum presents Return to Sender, an exhibition of immersive installations created by the celebrated Indian artist Jitish Kallat. The dramatic works, which engage both mind and body, are inspired by historic messages that reveal the best and worst of humanity. The exhibition will be on view in the Frist’s Upper-Level Galleries from March 13 through June 28, 2020.
Jitish Kallat is a Mumbai native who produces installations, paintings, photographs, and sculptures that often recall historic acts of speech. Return to Sender brings together two works based on missives: Kallat’s widely exhibited work titled Covering Letter (2012), which was selected for India’s pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019), and a new project called Covering Letter (terranum nuncius) (2019). “Kallat’s explorations of the epistolary mode are well suited to our museum as our building is the former main post office of Nashville,” says Frist Art Museum Curator Trinita Kennedy. “From here countless letters have been sent and received.”
Covering Letter is a haunting interactive digital projection of a 1939 typewritten letter from Mahatma Gandhi to Adolf Hitler, sent just a few weeks before the outbreak of World War II. The letter is seen on a curtain of traversable dry-fog in the dark. “Gandhi makes a radical appeal for peace, anticipating the brutal bloodshed that the impending war would unleash,” says Kennedy. In the spirit of his doctrine of universal friendship, Gandhi uses the salutation “Dear Friend…” and urges Hitler to resist “reducing humanity to a savage state.” Visitors walk through the screen of descending mist, simultaneously inhabiting and dissipating the moving text. Kallat describes the letter as “a space for self-reflection; a petition from one of the greatest proponents of peace to one of the most violent individuals who ever lived. It can also be read as an open letter from the past destined to carry its message into our turbulent present, well beyond its delivery date and intended recipient.” Kennedy hopes the work will have special resonance in Nashville. “This exhibition marks the first time that Covering Letter has been exhibited in the American South, a place where Gandhi’s ideas about of nonviolent resistance were a vital part of the Civil Rights Movement.”
Covering Letter (terranum nuncius) commemorates and reinvokes the Golden Record, sent as time capsules aboard the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes launched by NASA in 1977. For those expeditions, select sounds, music, and images were placed on two gold-plated phonographic records with the intent to represent life on Earth to any extraterrestrial discoverer. Currently located over 13 billion miles away from planet Earth, they are expected to continue their cosmic journey well beyond the probable extinction of our species and our planet.
Upon entering this installation, visitors will hear a chorus of humanity greeting the universe in 55 languages. There is a projection of a map indicating Earth’s position in our solar system and a large round table with over a hundred images printed on parallax lenses, which are illuminated by lights that pulsate at the rate of human breath. The images, drawn from the Golden Record, include scientific and cosmological diagrams, representations of our genetic makeup and anatomy, as well as other life forms, and architecture, often annotated with measurements. “This is an epic presentation of Earth to an unknown other,” says Kennedy. At a time when we find ourselves in a deeply divided world, Kallat foregrounds these sounds and images for a collective meditation on ourselves as united residents of a single planet.
In Covering Letter (terranum nuncius) there is also a bench shaped like the hands of the Doomsday Clock. This symbolic clock, updated annually by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, represents a hypothetical human-made global catastrophe as midnight, and the proximity of the world to apocalypse as a number of minutes or seconds to twelve. “The Golden Record’s presentation of unity and harmony among earthlings is belied by the actual state of the world,” says Kennedy. “The reality is that our planet hangs in the balance through circumstances of our own making, and the clock bench is an ominous metaphor that differs from the euphoria and optimism associated with the midnight on occasions such as New Year’s Eve.” Woven into the hour are humankind’s worst fears and greatest hopes.
This exhibition marks the first time that Kallat’s two Covering Letter installations will be shown together. Exhibited in darkened galleries and open ended in meaning, they are intended to provoke contemplations of our world and the universe.
Born in India in 1974, Kallat has exhibited his work widely across the world in contexts such as galleries, museums, and biennials. In 2017, the National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi) presented a mid-career retrospective of his work titled Here After Here, 1992–2017, curated by Catherine David. Kallat has had solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Mumbai), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other museums.
He has exhibited widely, at Martin-Gropius-Bau (Berlin), the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Serpentine Galleries (London), Tate Modern (London), the Valencia Institute of Modern Art (Spain), and other institutions. His work has been part of the Asian Art Biennial, the Asia Pacific Triennial, the Curitiba Biennial, the Gwangju Biennale, the Havana Biennial, the Kyiv Biennial, and the Venice Biennale, among others. Kallat also served as the curator and artistic director of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale’s second edition, in 2014.
Thursday, March 12
Artist’s Perspective: Jitish Kallat
6:30 p.m., Frist Art Museum Auditorium
Free; first come, first seated
Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat will share a cross section of his work, exploring the many processes, themes, and ideas that recur throughout his wide-ranging artistic practice. Kallat’s works often engage with the ideas of time, transience, sustenance, the ecological, and the cosmological. These explorations take the form of investigative animation videos, photo-works, paintings, sculptures, and elemental drawings that participate in atmospheric phenomena such as wind and rain. In works such as Covering Letter (2012), which will be on view at the Frist, a historic moment is invoked, prompting a contemplation on our present by mediating it through the past. This artist-talk may unfold into a dialogue, as a Q&A session will follow Kallat’s lecture.
The Exhibition Features Quilts And Wall Hangings By The Artist That Showcase Her Expressive And Narrative Approach To Quiltmaking.
A new exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum presents colorful quilts and wall hangings made by artist Pauline Parker (1915-2013), who used fabric and stitching as a platform for storytelling.
Opening March 20, 2020, The Quilts of Pauline Parker features more than thirty objects that showcase her expressive approach to quiltmaking, illustrating how Parker transformed a traditionally domestic craft into one that highlighted current events, historical and Biblical figures, and her own travels and experiences.
“Parker’s works are a wonderful result of her training as a painter, her exquisite eye for pattern, and her ability to create beautifully cohesive compositions from disparate parts,” said Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art. “The Milwaukee Art Museum has a long and rich history of presenting quilt exhibitions, dating back to the 1930s, and we are pleased to continue that tradition by presenting the work of this talented artist.”
Parker studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but her work in fabric began in Wisconsin, where she moved upon retirement. She initially worked with traditional patterns and used techniques she had learned from her mother and aunts, before expanding her subject matter, stitching more freely and exploring a less traditional approach to quiltmaking.
Many of Parker’s narrative quilts, or “fabric collages” as she termed them, resemble paintings in their construction, use of perspective and three-dimensionality. Each quilt was inspired by a personal experience, a poem or a misprinted piece of fabric, which could often lay the groundwork for a story. The artist layered fabrics and materials, including netting, buttons and shells, to build her compositions. Parker made the more than thirty fabric collages featured in the exhibition between the late 1980s and early 2000s.
The Quilts of Pauline Parker runs from March 20 through July 19, 2020, in the Bradley Family Gallery, and is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and curated by Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art.
The McCombe and Pfeifer Families and the Gottlob Armbrust Family Fund in Memory of Helen Louise Pfeifer is the Presenting Sponsor of this exhibition. The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Garden Club is the Contributing Sponsor.
Exhibitions are made possible by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Visionaries: Debbie and Mark Attanasio, Donna and Donald Baumgartner, John and Murph Burke, Sheldon and Marianne Lubar, Joel and Caran Quadracci, Sue and Bud Selig and Jeff Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation.
Tues, 1:30 p.m.
March 24, April 28, May 12
With Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art
Free with Museum admission, free for Members
Gallery Talk with Special Guest
Thurs, March 19, 6:15 p.m.
Discover the stories behind the works in the exhibition during this in-gallery conversation with the artist’s daughter, Margaret Parker, and Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art.
Sun, 1-4 p.m.
March 22, March 29, April 5
Bring your sewing project to the East End to sew and socialize with (and get tips from!) the guest artist. Museum admission is not required.