Frist Art Museum Presents “Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy”

Exhibition of Marriage Ritual Objects from the Italian Renaissance Opens November 16, 2018

The Frist Art Museum presents Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy, an exhibition (organized by Contemporanea Progetti with the Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy) that offers an intimate view of life in the Renaissance through art commissioned to celebrate marriage and family. Drawing on a selection of outstanding marriage chests, panels, and a variety of domestic objects belonging to the Museo Stibbert, the exhibition will be on view in the Frist’s Upper-Level Galleries from November 16, 2018, through February 18, 2019.

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Apollonio di Giovanni di Tomaso (b. 1415/17, Florence; d. 1465, Florence) and Workshop. Panel from a Marriage Chest (cassone) with Story of an Assault on a Maritime City, ca. 1460. Tempera and gold on panel, 17 3/4 x 20 1/2 in. Collection of Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy

This exhibition is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Beginning in the late 1300s, cassoni—elaborately painted and gilded marriage chests—were an important part of marriage rituals and among the most prestigious furnishings in the house or palace of the newlyweds. Usually commissioned in pairs and shaped like ancient sarcophagi, the chests were an expression of the family’s wealth and position in society. They were conspicuously paraded through the streets from the bride’s family home to her husband’s home—a clear statement of a new economic and political alliance between elite families—and then later used in the home for seating and storage. Cassoni is considered antecedents to the hope chests popular in America until the middle of the last century.

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Artist unknown (Urbino). Fruit Bowl, 16th century. Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica), 2 3/4 in. height, 4 3/8 in. diameter. Collection of Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy

The chests’ function, craftsmanship, and decorative techniques, and the significance and sources of the imagery are at the heart of the exhibition,” says Frist Art Museum curator Trinita Kennedy. “We are excited to present several rare complete cassoni, as well as fragments, which include lavish wood panels that usually depict themes of fidelity and love as well as narrative scenes drawn from history and mythology.”

Displayed alongside the chests is an array of other art objects also made for the home, including devotional paintings, pottery, and textiles.

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Bernardo di Stefano Roselli (?) (b. 1450, Florence; d. 1526, Florence). Panel from a Marriage Chest (cassone) with Trojan Horse Scene, ca. 1470. Tempera and gold on panel, 19 1/4 x 50 3/8 in. Collection of Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy

Public Programs

Friday, November 16, 6:30 p.m., Frist Art Museum Auditorium, Free

Opening Night Lecture for Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy: Art, Marriage, and Family in the Florentine Renaissance Palace, presented by Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. Continue reading

Frist Art Museum Presents First Solo Museum Exhibition of Iranian American Artist Afruz Amighi

The Presence of Your Absence Is Everywhere—June 22–September 16, 2018

The Frist Art Museum presents critically acclaimed Iranian American artist Afruz Amighi’s first monographic museum exhibition, The Presence of Your Absence Is Everywhere, on view in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery from June 22 through September 16, 2018. Celebrated for her lyrical transformation of inexpensive materials into ethereal installations and sculptures, Amighi uses light and dark to wondrous effect.

Over the past two years, Amighi has changed the emphasis of her work significantly,” says Frist Art Museum Curator Trinita Kennedy. “She now recognizes an urgent need to address the current political moment in the United States, the place where she lives and her home since she was a small child. To express this desire to be more present in the here and now, she has begun making work that is figural.Frist-Art-Museum

Organized by the Frist Art Museum, the exhibition features Amighi’s work from 2014 to today, a period of intense and prolific output in which the artist has relentlessly pushed herself in new directions. One sculpture and two drawings are being made especially for the exhibition, while two existing installations have never been shown in the United States.

Born in Tehran in 1974, the child of a Jewish American mother and a Zoroastrian Iranian father, Amighi has lived in New York since the age of three. She studied political science at Barnard College before earning a Master of Fine Arts degree at New York University in 2007. In 2009, she received the Jameel Prize, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s prestigious international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. Her work is in the permanent collection of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Morgan Library and Museum, and has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and in many group shows, such as Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians—The Mohammed Afkhami Collection at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, in 2017.

Now living and working in Brooklyn, Amighi typically uses industrial materials found in her own urban environment. In her architectural sculptures, Amighi dramatically illuminates steel, fiberglass mesh, and chains to create intrigue, explore dualities, and mimic the effect of more decadent luxury objects. By borrowing elegant, radiant forms from sacred architecture, she induces feelings of wonder often missing from our predominantly secular world. The exhibition includes Nameless (2014), an installation inspired by medieval Spanish mosques repurposed as churches during the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, and My House, My Tomb (2015), a diptych which explores myths about India’s majestic Taj Mahal.

While growing up in New York, Amighi watched from afar as the Islamic Revolution (1978–79) and the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) transformed her birthplace. For much of her artistic career, she has focused on her absence from Iran at a critical time in its history. Since 2016, however, American historical and contemporary sources have played a far more meaningful role in her thinking.

For her 2017 series No More Disguise, Amighi designed headdresses for a procession of characters, with each one rendered in both a steel sculpture and a graphite drawing plotted on graph paper with precision. Four of the drawings, including Fool’s Headdress, are presented in this exhibition.

The three new works on view include the ambitious sculpture We Wear Chains, which examines the current state of feminism. Four lithe women bear the features of both angels and demons, humans and animals. Bound together with chains—a form of adornment as well as bondage—the women struggle to find a way to advance together.

Inspired by a passage in a letter written by the American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, Amighi selected the exhibition title The Presence of Your Absence Is Everywhere because it eloquently captures the shift in her purview since 2016. Continue reading

Frist Art Museum Presents International Roster of Contemporary Artists in “Chaos and Awe”

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Barnaby Furnas (b. 1973, Philadelphia; based in New York). Untitled (Flood), 2007. Urethane on linen; support: 84 x 140 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2010, 2010:12. © Barnaby Furnas. Photo: Tom Loonan

The Frist Art Museum presents Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century, a sweeping survey of paintings from around the world that invite contemplation of seemingly ungraspable forces shaping contemporary society, from the ideological to the technological. Organized by Frist Art Museum chief curator Mark Scala, the exhibition will be on view in the museum’s Ingram Gallery from June 22 through September 16, 2018. It will be presented at the Chrysler Museum from November 15, 2018, through April 28, 2019.Frist-Art-Museum Continue reading