Medieval to Monet: French Paintings in the Wadsworth Atheneum
October 19, 2012 – January 27, 2013
Medieval to Modern: French Drawings and Pastels
September 29, 2012 – March 31, 2013
Ahmed Alsoudani / MATRIX 165
September 6, 2012 – January 6, 2013
Alsoudani’s tumultuous paintings imagine the horrific experiences of the current war in Iraq. In actuality, the artist grew up in that country during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) before fleeing to America in 1999. The chaotic imagery of Alsoudani’s large-scale canvases reveals violence, devastation and carnage in wildly active compositions. In a technique using equal parts vibrantly-colored acrylic paint and expressive charcoal drawing, distorted figures and grotesque beasts emerge from surreal landscapes that communicate a universal understanding of human conflict and infinite suffering. Learn more about about Alsoudani in his recent podcast interview with Tyler Green of ArtInfo and Modern Art Notes. Download the MATRIX 165 artist sheet here.
MATRIX 165 is supported with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and The Dedalus Foundation, Inc. The MATRIX program is also supported by the current and founding members of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s Contemporary Coalition.
James Nares STREET
June 2 – November 15
STREET is an unscripted 61-minute high definition video filmed by artist James Nares over one week in September 2011. The final video (watch two clips here) is a mesmerizing experiment in the nuance and beauty of everyday people and people-watching; providing a global view that extends beyond the streets of New York where it was filmed: from Battery Park to the furthest reaches of Upper Broadway, and West Side to East Side in Nares’ personal homage to actualité films. In Nares’ words, “I wanted the film to be about people. All it needed were magical moments, and there are enough of those happening every moment of any given day.” The soundtrack for the film was composed and performed by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore.
The Museum Collects
June 30 – September 9
The Museum Collects showcased objects recently acquired by the museum, from the departments of American and European Art, American and European Decorative Arts, Contemporary Art, and Costume and Textiles. The exhibition was accompanied by a series of gallery talks called “Conversations With Curators,” which explored how decisions are made to balance newly acquired works with works already in the collection. In addition to exhibition space off of Morgan Great Hall other new acquisitions on view in galleries throughout the museum were highlighted.
Jan Tichy / MATRIX 164
April 5 – August 5, 2012
Jan Tichy explores his interests in architecture, politics and the evocation of power through his art. Part architectural model and part video installation, his eerie sculptural nightscapes resemble covert military sites, top-secret nuclear facilities, and alien lunar surfaces. In darkened spaces, slow-moving light projections travel irregularly across his sculptural paper constructions, suggesting notions of security surveillance, the seen and unseen, and the visible and invisible. Learn more about Tichy here.
Andrew Wyeth: Looking Beyond
March 24-July 22, 2012
Andrew Wyeth: Looking Beyond explored the work of one of the most celebrated modern American artists. This highly focused exhibitionwas inspired by the three paintings in the museum’s collection: Northern Point, 1950; April Wind, 1952; and Chambered Nautilus, 1956; each defined by a distinct use of perspective. Wyeth’s use of windows and open doors to invite viewers to look into a distant realm—be it emotional or physical. Included among the 15-20 works were important loans from public and private collections, including rarely seen preparatory studies in pencil and watercolor.
James Welling: “Wyeth”
March 24 – July 22, 2012
Profoundly affected by the work of Andrew Wyeth as a budding artist, Los Angeles-based contemporary art photographer and Hartford-area native James Welling reconnected to the influence of Wyeth in his work. In a series of photographs, Welling explored some of the subjects of Wyeth’s paintings made in Cushing, Maine and Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. A companion exhibition to Andrew Wyeth: Looking Beyond, James Welling: “Wyeth” included photographs that corresponded to Wyeth’s most iconic paintings as well as the works in the concurrent Wyeth exhibition. Learn more about James Welling here or download the brochure for James Welling: “Wyeth” here.
Hartford Youth Art Renaissance, May 5-27, 2012
The 39th annual Hartford Youth Art Renaissance celebrated the artistic excellence of Hartford youth in an exhibition that featured more than 80 works of art created by Hartford Public School students in seventh through twelfth grade. Artworks from children in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade were displayed at the Hartford Public Library. An online gallery of HYAR 2012 artwork can be viewed here.
Colts & Quilts: The Civil War Remembered, November 16, 2011 – May 6, 2012
Colts & Quilts: The Civil War Remembered was presented to honor the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War. The exhibition captured intimate reactions by the American public to pivotal political and military events. Costumed vignettes, paintings, sculpture, Colt firearms and decorative arts from the collection narrated stories of the anti-slavery movement, war-time volunteerism, mourning and reconciliation.
Claire Beckett / MATRIX 163, November 3, 2011 – March 4, 2012
Claire Beckett’s large-scale, color photographic series “Simulating Iraq” investigates the American military training sites where soldiers participate in role-playing exercises in preparation for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. In makeshift simulations of Middle Eastern villages, military personnel and hired civilians assume the various “parts”—from Iraqi villagers and medical workers to Taliban fighters—dressed in approximations of traditional clothing, including head scarves, tunics, and robes. Although the military activities are intended to familiarize troops with a foreign culture and unknown terrain, Beckett’s “documentary” photographs present the viewer with a fascinating and false alternate reality―through a straightforward but problematic account of cultural simulation charged with genuine humanity.
The year 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. MATRIX 163 offers a contemporary counterpoint to the concurrent Civil War-focused Colts & Quilts exhibition. Learn more about Claire Beckett’s work on her website or from the MATRIX 163 artist sheet.
Three Histories: The Wadsworth According to MATRIX, December 24, 2011- March 4, 2012
The three video works featured in this exhibition address the Wadsworth Atheneum’s history from distinct points of view. The videos were commissioned from artists Andrea Fraser, Christian Jankowski, and Catherine Sullivan for their MATRIX projects, a series of changing exhibitions of contemporary art. Learn more about each individual MATRIX project featured in Three Histories here.
Since its first exhibition in January 1975, MATRIX has shown more than one thousand works of art by more than 160 artists. From its inception, MATRIX has been a forum for art that is challenging, current and sometimes controversial.
Patti Smith: Camera Solo, October 21, 2011 – February 19, 2012
The pioneering artist, musician, and poet, Patti Smith has made her mark on the American cultural landscape throughout her 40-year career, from her earliest explorations of artistic expression with friend and vanguard photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1960s and 70s to her profound influence on the nascent punk rock scene in the late 1970s and 80s. Patti Smith: Camera Solo was the first exhibition of her photography in the United States. The exhibition included seventy photographs, one multi-media installation and one video work.
Learn more about this exhibition and view an image gallery on the exhibition microsite. Listen to Patti Smith discuss selected works in our online audio tour. Support for the exhibition was provided by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc., The Calvin Klein Family Foundation, Mark Bertolini, Liam & Lori McGee and The Larsen Photography Fund.
Shaun Gladwell / MATRIX 162, June 2 – September 18, 2011
Physically challenging feats in skateboarding, surfing, and car stunts were the focus of MATRIX 162 artist Shaun Gladwell’s mesmerizing videos. From the streets of Yokohama to the waters off Sydney’s Bondi Beach, the artist’s riveting performance works merge elements of art history, popular culture, extreme sports, and his native Australia. Learn more about Shaun Gladwell in the MATRIX 162 artist sheet or in our video interview with Gladwell.
Monet’s Water Lilies: An Artist’s Obsession, February 17 – June 12, 2011
Monet’s Water Lilies featured paintings lent by public and private collections from around America and provided a meaningful overview of Monet’s development during these final productive years and revealed the range of approaches he adopted. In addition to the paintings, the exhibition and accompanying publication featured a selection of period photographs of Monet and his water lily garden as well as photographs of the gardens as they look today.