KNOXVILLE—The 28-foot historic mural that has survived controversy, vandalism and an impending demolition of its longtime home will be featured in an exhibit that opens June 6 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s, Downtown Gallery.
The “History of Tennessee” painting—also known as the Greenwood Mural—will be on display along with 18 other works by celebrated muralist Marion Greenwood. The 60-year-old, 300-pound oil-on-canvas work hung in the ballroom of UT’s Carolyn P. Brown University Center from 1954 until last July. It was removed in anticipation of the building’s demolition to make room for a new student union.
The exhibit, titled “Marion Greenwood in Tennessee,” will feature paintings, lithographs and other works on loan from local collectors who purchased them from Greenwood when she was a visiting UT professor from 1954 to 1955. The show, which runs through Aug. 9, will also feature a 13-foot mural, “Man’s Partnership with Nature,” which was installed in the Crossville, Tennessee, U.S. Post Office in 1940. The Tennessee Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture commissioned Greenwood to paint the work, which depicts the impact of a Tennessee Valley Authority dam on everyday life.
UT’s mural was a source of controversy in the1960s when some students expressed concern over its portrayal of African-Americans, particularly a man who appears to be a slave or sharecropper. In May 1970, the painting was vandalized with paints and solvents. After the mural was repaired, new threats were made against it, so in 1972 it was covered by the ballroom’s paneling. New York-based EverGreene Architectural Arts performed additional restoration work last summer and prepared it for storage.
“The public unveiling of the Greenwood mural at the UT Downtown Gallery is an exciting moment for the UT community, for Knoxville, and for historians of the state of Tennessee and of American art in the early and mid-20th century,” said Dottie Habel, director of the UT School of Art, which oversees the gallery. “It is a valuable treasure that highlights Tennessee’s rich musical traditions. UT is honored to be a steward of this masterpiece, which will tell the story of our great state for generations to come.”
The summer exhibit will be available during three First Friday celebrations downtown. The UT Downtown Gallery also will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
UT intends to retain the Greenwood Mural but would like to find an institutional partner with a facility that would accommodate the large size of the painting for more permanent exhibition.
The mural features 28 people engaged in various forms of song and dance, depicting the musical heritage of the state’s three divisions: west, middle and east. The left side portrays Mississippi River jazz and blues, as well as slave spirituals of West Tennessee. The center features a country hoedown with dancers and musicians. The right side showcases the religious-based Appalachian music of East Tennessee.
“This is a chance to highlight something of great historical value to Tennessee,” said Mike Berry, manager of the UT Downtown Gallery. “It’s literally seeing the painting in a new light. Before, it was in this dark ballroom that seemed outdated to most contemporary students. Now you’ll see it in a light-filled gallery and view it on a different merit as a piece of art that was painted long ago—like we’re exhibiting a Rembrandt.”
He added: “When we see all of Greenwood’s work together, it’s almost like peeking into her journal and getting more information about her as an artist. You get a whole new understanding of her body of work—rather than just one work that may or may not have been taken out of context.”
The Greenwood Mural remained under cover for 34 years until the paneling was removed in 2006, prompted by student requests. Following the unveiling, UT’s Issues Committee and Visual Arts Committee held a forum, titled “The Greenwood Mural Project,” to discuss race, art and culture, and censorship. The mural was covered with Plexiglas and curtains in January 2007.
Eric Harkness, a 2006 alumnus and a member of the committee instrumental in pushing for the uncovering of the mural, said he was pleased the painting will now have a wider audience.
“It’s certainly a good thing that the mural will be on display at an appropriate venue where anyone can learn from it and study it,” said Harkness, who is now a health policy advisor for the Tennessee Department of Health. “Artistically, it’s a magnificent piece. Culturally, it provokes thought and discussion and I think that’s a good thing.”
Greenwood was the first American woman to receive a commission from a foreign government, a 700-square-foot fresco of Indian life at the University of San Nicolas Hidalgo in Morelia, Mexico. She also established a working relationship with Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
For more information about Marion Greenwood, visit the Clara database at http://tinyurl.com/m6ybhst.
For more information about the UT Downtown Gallery or the Greenwood exhibit, visit http://web.utk.edu/~downtown.
Reprinted from Tennessee Today
Printmaking graduate students Raluca Iancu and James Boychuk-Hunter are spending the month of May at The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Poland, where they have an exhibition of their work and are engaged in studio projects. They have already made new prints and their exhibition, “Fragments”, opens on May 20th at the Academy’s Concrete Gallery. As part of the program linkage, this September, two students from Wroclaw will spend the month in Knoxville in a similar capacity. For more than a decade, the UT School of Art has had linkages with academies in Poland. School of Art faculty Koichi Yamamoto and Beauvais Lyons have had professional connections with colleagues in Poland dating back to the early 1990s.
School of Art faculty member Jered Sprecher has a solo-exhibition entitled Half Moon Maker on view at Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts through May 10.
The body of work presented in Half Moon Maker began during the summer of 2013 while Sprecher was an Artist-in-Residence at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. While “abstract” is a descriptive commonly attached to Sprecher’s paintings, the imagery that feeds them is drawn from the real world. In this exhibition Sprecher explores various methods of working with, and ultimately through, his chosen source material.
The works he produced at Chinati – a suite of works on paper and the painting titled “Memory Device Memory Device”— all have a photograph of three pigeons nesting on a cliff side as their starting point. In producing each piece, Sprecher worked from left to right and top to bottom as a dot matrix printer would. Only after applying paint in this systematic way would he finally “press” the image of the pigeons on to the surface. For Sprecher: The single image is becomes two or more…in the way that memory is gaining and losing information at the same time.
The twenty-two small paintings that constitute the main part of the exhibition also originate from the same image of the pigeons. In producing these paintings, Sprecher began by photocopying the image multiple times, cutting up the copies and recombining them as collages, and then delicately retracing the collaged image onto each painting’s surface. Through this process, top and bottom often become reoriented, and wings, head, nest, and background can just be glimpsed amidst the reinterpreted forms. It is through the act of painting that each painting ultimately differentiates itself from others in the set.
Cate McQuaid of the Boston Globe writes, “Sprecher plays tricks with space and surface; he makes bold marks and dainty ones. There’s so much going on in a relatively small space, it’s as if he’s deftly answering in paint the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”
Sprecher earned his MFA at the University of Iowa in 2002, and he is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He was the recipient of a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2009, and was an Artist-in-Residence at The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, in 2013. Solo exhibitions include shows at Jeff Bailey Gallery in New York City in 2013, and upcoming shows at Gallery 16 in San Francisco and Staple Goods in New Orleans, both in 2014. Sprecher’s work is held in numerous private and public collections, including those of the Nerman Museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art and Progressive Corporation. This is Sprecher’s fourth solo exhibition at Steven Zevitas Gallery.
Visiting artists, Artists in Residence, national and international faculty exhibitions and a student body committed to artistic growth, make the Painting and Drawing department at the University of Tennessee a vibrant and exciting place to be. The Spring semester rolls on at a dizzying pace leaving a trail of success and accolades in its wake. The Painting and Drawing Spotlight might look more like a strobe light, highlighting a number of ongoing developments in the department.
Karla Wozniak recently returned from Brooklyn after attending the opening of SOVENIR, a four person show including some of Karla’s newest paintings. The show, on view at Regina Rex until May 10, considers place and surrounding as a catalyst for reflection and change. These large works can not be fully appreciated without a one on one viewing. The richness of paint and seemingly innate color application are trademarks of Wozniak’s impressive body of work.
Joshua Bienko’s arms are similarly tired. He recently returned from Germany where MARTIN, ADAM SANDLER, ADAM SANDLER, a solo show of new paintings just closed. Bienko split his time in Germany between Labor Ebertplatz in Köln, and Bonn, where he taught a three day “Serious Comics” workshop and made plans to begin a study abroad program (Summer 2015) at the Akademie für Internationale Bildung.
Jered Sprecher’s arms are exhausted from flying and painting! HALF MOON MAKER, a solo show at Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston, opened on April 3rd. The show builds on a body of work Sprecher worked on while in residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Keep an eye out for Sprecher this summer at Ox-Bow where he will teach a painting class, in New Orleans where he is working on a solo project, and in San Francisco where he will be working on another solo effort slated for September 2014.
The Spring semester for many graduates, signifies the end of an incredible and intensive journey. The School of Art is abuzz with thesis exhibitions from our third year graduate students. Eleanor Aldrich, a UTK graduate alumni (2012), was recently included in “Open Sessions,” at the Drawing Center in New York. This is an incredible opportunity from an exciting artist we’re proud to have had the opportunity to work with.
Many of our undergraduate alumni who are now attending graduate school or living in New York, were able to attend Karla Wozniak’s show. Our current undergraduate’s are also committed to artistic growth inside and outside of Knoxville. Marta Lee, a Junior Painting student, will attend the Vermont Studio Center this summer for an intensive time of concentration and work.
As we make plans to introduce and acclimate our newest Drawing Faculty member to the University of Tennessee (stay tuned for details!), we have also hosted a number of prominent artists and scholars. Rochelle Feinstein, head of Graduate Painting and Print Program at Yale University, was our most recent guest. Her generosity through studio visits, and informal lunch and dinner chats was supported by an incredible lecture that served to enrich the already lively marketplace of ideas in the Painting and Drawing department at the School of Art.
Jaya Howey, the 2014 Artist in Residence (AIR), has had a productive and impactful presence at the School of Art. His kindness, patience and seemingly limitless knowledge has had a big impact on the students and faculty of the School of Art at large. He has become such a part of the fabric of our school, it’s difficult to imagine him leaving.
As we head into the crescendo of the Spring semester, we look forward to senior capstone exhibitions, summer study abroad trips to Florence, a host of residencies and the ongoing, relentless pursuit of continued growth.
The Graphic Design area at the University of Tennessee School of Art will host an open house on Friday, April 11. The evening will provide prospective students, area educators and the university community an opportunity to learn about the program in depth.
Beginning at 4:30, and occurring along the 3rd floor of the Art + Architecture Building, the evening is open for browsing during the entire three hours in order to:
- view work of current students in the program
- visit the undergraduate studio
- tour the facilities
- watch the outcome of the 2014 sophomore motion design workshop with Scripps Networks
- speak with faculty, current students and alumni
- read about alumni success
- learn more about the curriculum and process for entering the School of Art
There will be light refreshments and a drawing for various design related door prizes.
For more information about the event, please contact Sarah Lowe at email@example.com.
The Artist, Curator & Arts Worker, Matthew Deleget will give a public talk about his life and work through the lens “Surviving and Thriving as an Artist”. This will be Thursday April 10th at 7:30pm in Room 109 Art & Architecture Building. This talk is open to the public and will include time for a lively Q & A.
Students interested in critiques can sign up in the School of Art Office.
Matthew Deleget is an artist, curator, and arts worker. Matthew has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, including solo and group exhibitions in the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. His work was selected for inclusion in the 2014 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His additional museum exhibitions include MoMA/P.S.1 (Long Island City, NY); Bronx Museum of the Arts (Bronx, NY); Herbert F. Johnson Museum (Ithaca, NY); Bass Museum of Art (Miami, FL); and Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (Indianapolis, IN).
Matthew’s work has been reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times, Hyperallergic, Flash Art, Artnet Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among others. He is a member of American Abstract Artists, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation’s Artist Advisory Committee, and the board of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.
In 2003, Matthew founded MINUS SPACE (www.minusspace.com), a platform for reductive art on the international level based in Brooklyn, NY. Since 2006, he has organized nearly 50 solo and group exhibitions at both MINUS SPACE’s gallery in Dumbo, Brooklyn, as well as other collaborating venues on the national and international levels, including in Mexico, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand.
Brought to you by The Chancellor’s Fund for Graduate Education and The School of Art at The University of Tennessee.
Any questions regarding these events can be directed to Jered Sprecher at firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Lecture – Thursday April 3 @ 7:30 pm
Room 109 – Art and Architecture Building
Rochelle Feinstein’s work is included in the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2014). Upcoming solo exhibitions include Circus Gallery, Berlin and a solo retrospective at Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2015), and Love Vibe at On Stellar Rays Gallery in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include two solo shows at on Stellar Rays (2013, 2011), Higher Pictures, New York, NY (2013); LAB Space/Art Production Fund, New York, NY (2009); Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY (2008); and The Suburban, Chicago, IL (2008). Awards and grants include The Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters purchase prize, an Anonymous Was A Woman grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant.
Feinstein received a BFA from Pratt Institute in 1975 and an MFA from the University of Minnesota in 1978. She was appointed to the Yale University/School of Art faculty in 1994 where she is currently professor and Director of Graduate Studies of painting and printmaking. Her work is in numerous prominent museum and private collections including the Pérez Art Museum Miami and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.