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Jules Olitski: An Inside View

May 14 - July 2, 2009

Jules Olitski
Jules Olitski, Graphics Suite #1, 1970, silkscreen printed in mauve/blue with green and yellow, 35" x 26".
Courtesy of Knoedler & Company, New York City. Image: Jeff Baird, Brattleboro, Vermont.

"Inherent in the process of printmaking is the element of suspense," wrote Judith Stein in the exhibition's catalog. The more than 40 prints by renowned color field artist Jules Olitski parallel his painting styles during his long career. Olitski began making etchings in 1956, working in both abstract and figurative modes. This retrospective of prints was organized by Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (Brattleboro, Vt.), in collaboration with Knoedler and Company (New York) and the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery is the third stop on a multi-city tour. The prints range from early self-portraits, to diaphanous screenprints from the 1970s, to intensely brilliant monotypes that were created during the last years of his life.

The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery will host a panel discussion at 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 14, 2009 in the Jack Morton Auditorium (805 21st St., NW). Panelists include Willard Boepple, abstract sculptor who worked with Olitski; Andrew Hudson, artist, art critic, and friend of Olitski; Kristina Olitski, the artist's widow; and Lauren Olitski Poster, the artist's daughter and the custodian of his art.

Who Loves You Baby: A New York "Eclection"

April 1 - May 1, 2009

Max Coyer
Max Coyer, 1963, 1983, 48" x 60".
Image: Dave Scavone.

New Yorkers Lucy and Robert Reitzfeld are collectors who also make art. Exploring the many storefront galleries to be found in New York's East Village and SoHo during the 1980s and 1990s, they came in contact with artists and art dealers, became their friends, and while producing works themselves, collected works by an eclectic group of artists active in this vibrant moment in the art world. With an aesthetic that grew out of a love for the streetscape of New York, pop culture, and the inspiration of comic art, together they sought out divergent but compatible works to collect.

The collection of 17 paintings includes a piece by prominent Washington, D.C., artist Robin Rose as well as works by David Carrino, Charles Clough, David Diao, Stephen Ellis, and Melissa Meyer. Three of the paintings by Lucy and Robert Reitzfeld also are on display.

Sarah McCoubrey: A Ten-Year Retrospective

January 14 - March 13, 2009

Sarah McCoubrey
Sarah McCoubrey, Snooks Pond, Tank, 2008, oil on panel, 24" x 22-1/2".
Private Collection. Image courtesy of Locks Gallery.

Sarah McCoubrey's work depicts the blurred line where civilization meets the wilderness. The landscapes on exhibit are populated with mundane objects such as a concrete mixer, road signs, a Weber grill, and childrens' toys. Her images are reminiscent of the Hudson River School painted with the precision of Northern Renaissance panel paintings. She turns the traditional subject of landscape painting into a statement on modern society by including vestiges of human habitation.

"Hers is the average countryside of rusted tanks and fading signs, telephone wires, and tagged trees," wrote Vincent Katz, from the essay "Sarah McCoubrey: Looking for the Normal" in the catalogue Sarah McCoubrey: A Ten-Year Retrospective.

As an associate professor at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, McCoubrey has developed an appreciation for the gray northern skies in that region. Combined with her travels to Irelend, she has embraced the quality of northern light in her landscapes.

In 1988, McCoubrey's regional exhibition, Landscape Transformed: A Washington D.C. Tradition, appeared in GW's Dimock Gallery. Following the exhibition, McCoubrey taught in the university's Department of Fine Arts and Art History.

The Academic Tradition: Teaching and Practice

October 8 - December 19, 2008

The Academic Tradition
Frank Wright, Clarice Painting Her Mother, 1979, oil on canvas, 24" x 24"

The Academic Tradition: Teaching and Practice is the first in a series of three exhibitions paying tribute to the legacy of fine arts and art history up to the millennium at The George Washington University. Featured in this exhibition are artists, who are or have been, professors in GW's Department of Fine Arts and Art History. The exhibit features work representing subject matter pursued in academics: history, portraiture, genre, landscape, and still life. The artists are Arthur Hall Smith, professor emeritus of painting; Clarice Smith, assistant professorial lecturer of art; Douglas H Teller, professor emeritus of design and graphics; William Woodward, professor emeritus of painting; and Frank Wright, professor of drawing.

Under the Works Progress Administration, which was created in 1935 to provide jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression, mural painting flourished. The process of proposing and preparing studies for mural paintings is depicted in a section of the exhibition in which Guy Pene du Bois' Study for Saratoga in the Racing Season and Frank Weathers Long's tempera painting Berea Commencement in the Old Days hang next to a preparatory drawing for a mural in process at Monticello by Woodward.

The exhibit features two commissioned videos -- one documenting four Virginia mural commissions Woodward completed and another of an interview with Arthur Hall Smith in his Paris studio. An illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition.

Stars and Stripes: The Political Flag Collection of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman

September 10 - 27, 2008

Stars and Stripes
Jugate Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant and Schuyler Colfax, 1868, glazed cotton. Image courtesy of Jeff Bridgman

The American flag was once a graphic device used in campaigning for the presidency. During presidential campaigns of the 19th century, the faces of Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt; a raccoon and the moon; tall ships; a log cabin; and platform slogans could be found on the American flag. Although the U.S. Congress decreed in 1905 that the use of text or portraits on the official insignia of the United States would be outlawed, the practice continued for a number of years.

Mark and Rosalind Shenkman, who collected almost every flag produced during this time, have loaned their collection to the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery to display during this political season. The flags, made of wool, silk, or cotton, often are one-of-a-kind surviving examples.

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