New Smithsonian exhibit to visit Art Museum at FIU
By Cliff Bowden
"Contemporary Folk Art: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," featuring more than 50 works, will be on display Jan. 12 to March 4 at The Art Museum at Florida International University.
To start the exhibit, the museum will play host to a free opening reception at 8 p.m. Jan. 12.
Organizers say the exhibition is organized around the broad themes of "Politics & Prose," "Divine Inspiration," "Places and Spaces," "Animal Crackers" and "Phenomenal Figures."
The works include paintings and sculptures by such artists as Jack Savitsky, Helen Greyeyes, Malcah Zeldis, Rev. Howard Finster, Felipe Archuleta, Purvis Young and Thornton Dial Sr.
"The Art Museum is excited to be presenting South Florida with another fabulous exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," said Director Dahlia Morgan. During the 1999-2000 exhibition series, she said, the museum presented "Modernism & Abstraction: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum."
The "Contemporary Folk Art" exhibit, Ms. Morgan said, showcases self-taught artists whose works have become part of the Smithsonian's collection over the past 40 years.
Relying on individual paths rather than following established conventions, critics said the painters and sculptors convey exceptional ingenuity, insight, wit and reverence.
"The works in `Contemporary Folk Art' are," said Elizabeth Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, "magical and approachable because they grow out of a fundamental impulse for self-expression.
"Many of these treasures came to the museum from two of the country's major private collections those of Bert Hemphill and Chuck & Jan Rosenak."
On the day after the opening, the Rosenaks will present a special lecture at FlU with Jan defining 20th century folk art and Chuck speaking on "Faces and Places: The American Folk Art Scene."
The public is invited to attend the free lecture at 2 p.m. Jan. 13 in AT-100 at the museum on FIU's University Park Campus at Southwest 107th Avenue and Eighth Street.
"Contemporary Folk Art" is one of eight exhibits in the Smithsonian's "Treasures to Go," which are touring the nation through 2002.
In conjunction with the museum's opening reception for the exhibit, Lawrence M. Small will speak at 8 p.m. for the Steven & Dorothea Green Critics' lecture series, also in AT-100.
Mr. Small, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, is scheduled to speak on "A 21st Century Smithsonian."
Before accepting his post as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Mr. Small's business career included nine years as president and COO of the Federal National Mortgage Administration, popularly known as Fannie Mae, the world's largest housing finance company.
Mr. Small is head of the world's largest museum and research complex with 16 museums, the National Zoo in Washington, DC, and two museums in New York City. His service on nonprofit and corporate boards, FIU publicists say, is extensive and includes board posts for the National Building Museum, Mt. Sinai-New York University Medical Center & Health System, the US Holocaust Memorial Council, the International Executive Service Corps and the Joffrey Ballet.
Mr. Small, a Brown University and Morehouse College graduate, also serves on the board of trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Museum hours are weekdays at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily except Monday, when it's open until 9 p.m. Weekend hours are from noon-4 p.m.
Details: (305) 348-2890.