Lehigh University Art Galleries – Spring 2014 exhibits


A Stirring Song Sung Heroic:
African Americans from Slavery to Freedom, 1619 to 1865

Photography by William Earle Williams

Professor of Fine Arts, & Gallery Director, Haverford College Exhibition organized by Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College and LUAG Reception & Gallery Talk with the photographer: Friday, March 21 at 5 p.m., moderated by Susan Kart, Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa.

At the heart of William Earle Williams’ work lies the visibility of black Americans within their own journey to freedom. Until the 1989 release of the feature film, Glory, few understood the contribution of black troops during the Civil War. The battle sites where they served with valor remain sometimes unmarked and largely invisible among pictorial records. At the same time, the Underground Railroad – the conduit of secret Northern passage for escaping slaves – survived on invisibility. Not surprisingly, the tenuous network of basement and attic hiding places remained out of sight.

Willliams’ black and white silver gelatin photographs honor the memory of places that played a part in the struggle for emancipation. They provide precise description and visual means to understand the landscapes where the moral and legal groundwork for the modern Black Civil Rights Movement was established. Using a variety of camera techniques including sharp focus, depth of field and medium and large-format negatives, Williams reveals a rich material world as well as one that can only be hinted at in the silence of these places. Contemporary prints, newspapers and written documents relating to the struggle for freedom are included in the exhibition. Williams writes,

“ Too often the historical and artistic legacy of black accomplishment is ignored. As an artist, the memory of these soldiers has inspired my artistic imagination.”

Facework: American Ceramic Face Vessels from the South and the North

Curated by Norman Girardot , and Ricardo Viera

Panel Discussion & reception: with Arthur Goldberg and April Hynes. Moderated by Norman Girardot Date/time: Thursday, March 27 , 5 p.m.

Before Facebook and its digital facework, people were captivated by representations of the human face. Throughout history of human culture from prehistoric times to the present, there have been anthropomorphizing traditions that saw faces in the clouds and used pigment, stone, wood and clay to make facial likenesses. The exhibition presents an intriguing American manifestation of a universal human impulse, focusing on ceramic face vessels.

Popularly known as face jugs/pots, or sometimes ugly jugs, these wonderfully expressive vessels are especially associated with Southern potting clans in the Piedmont area of North Georgia and parts of South and North Carolina from the end of the 19th until today.

The origins of the vessels is still a contested issue, with theories arguing for their roots in ritualistic aspects of African-American slave tradition associated with the Edgefield district in South Carolina around the time of the Civil War. Whatever their ultimate origins in the United States, popularity and efflorescence of the vessels loosely dates to the 1960s, when the Smithsonian Institution started to seek out, document, preserve, and celebrate dying folk crafts of the American South. In recent years a more interesting development is the growing practice of this tradition by Northern potters. The exhibition emphasizes the rich cultural, ethnic and aesthetic aspects of these traditions.

Through Spring 2015

Is It Art?: Selections from the LUAG Teaching Collection

Inspired by the New York Times article Is It Art? Is It Good? And Who says So?, this exhibition provides a platform for viewers to investigate perennial questions of “quality” in art, alongside their own expectations about what art is, and what art could be. The exhibition is a project of Advanced Museum Studies students: Alex Doersam ’12, Jocelyn Gurland ’13, Alexandria Kennedy ’15, and Rebecca Diefenbach ’13.

Feb. 25 – May 25

William Kentridge
Anything Is Possible: A documentary by PBS/Art21 

The film provides viewers with an intimate look into the mind and creative process of South African artist William Kentridge. His acclaimed charcoal drawings, animations, video installation, shadow plays, mechanical puppets, tapestries, and sculptures, as well as live performance pieces and operas, have made him one of the most dynamic contemporary artists working today.

The documentary will screen continuously during gallery hours. Screening and Community Conversation: LUAG will present an evening screening of the Kentridge documentary at the Perella Auditorium, Rauch Business Center room 184, February 25 from 6 – 8:30 p.m., followed by an open conversation moderated by Susan Kart, Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa.

Presented as part of the Art21 Access: 100 Artists program in collaboration with the Lehigh University departments of Art/Architecture/Design, Africana Studies, Theatre, Music, English, Interdisciplinary Programs and Zoellner Presenting Series.

DUBOIS GALLERY: MAGINNES HALL (Mon-Fri, 9 am-10 pm; Sat. 9am – noon)
Jan. 27 – May 17

Theo Anderson: COMPLEXITY
Photographs – Buildings B & C, Mountaintop Campus
Pigment prints

Photographer Theo Anderson views physical places as opportunities for transformation. For nine days during the summer of 2013, buildings B and C of the Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus provided the context for his visual exploration. He notes, “My intent was not to document, but rather to explore visual structure and form, free from preconception.”

Gallery Talk: A conversation with Theo Anderson and L. U. President Alice Gast April 1, at 5 p.m.

THE GALLERY AT RAUCH BUSINESS CENTER (Mon-Fri., 8 am-10 pm; Sat. 8 – 5)
Feb. 3 – May 17

Larry Rivers: The Boston Massacre portfolio, 1970

Printmaking from the LUAG Teaching Collection
Thirteen embossed and collaged screenprints.

IACOCCA HALL, Mountaintop campus (Mon-Thurs: 9 am-10 pm; Fri 9-5)
Feb. 3 – May 16

Prints & watercolors from the Teaching Collection
Chryssa, Toyanobu Utagawa, Ying Yi, Toshi Yoshida
Greek born, Japanese and Chinese artists’ works on paper