The Dayton Art Institute has announced its 2017 special exhibitions, featuring a major retrospective of Native American artist Kay WalkingStick, a newly organized tour of the African beadwork of the Ubuhle women, and decadent Art Nouveau lithographs by Alphonse Mucha.
“The Dayton Art Institute strives to present a range of special exhibitions complementing the museum’s encyclopedic collection,” said Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth, Kettering Exhibition Coordinator and Curatorial Associate, and in-house curator. “We are thrilled to host these three traveling exhibitions and are certain our guests will find meaningful experiences with the varied artworks.”
The special exhibition season begins with Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist, the first major retrospective of one of today’s most accomplished Native American artists and a leading practitioner of contemporary landscape painting. Featuring more than 60 of her most notable paintings, drawings, sculptures, and notebooks, this exhibition explores the artist’s search for the spiritual truth of her complex cultural identity, against the backdrop of key art historical movements. Arranged chronologically around themes which mark her artistic journey, Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist follows the artist along a journey of self-discovery, invention, innovation and evolution through visually brilliant and evocative works of art.
The exhibition and tour are co-organized by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the American Federation of Arts. The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial catalogue featuring essays by numerous authors, including the artist herself.
The DAI’s summer exhibition, Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence, showcases a new form of bead art, the ndwango (“cloth”), developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The black fabric on which the Ubuhle women work is reminiscent of the Xhosa headscarves and skirts which many of them grew up wearing. Using skills handed down through generations, and working in their own unique style—“directly from the soul,” according to artist Ntombephi Ntobela—the women create abstract as well as figurative subjects for their ndwangos. Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages, and it describes the shimmering quality of light on glass that has a particular spiritual significance for the Xhosa people.
The exhibition was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, D.C., in cooperation with Curators Bev Gibson, Ubuhle Beads, and James Green, and it is organized for tour by International Arts & Artists. The Dayton Art Institute will be the first venue for this new tour.
The 2017 special exhibition season concludes with the Art Nouveau designs of Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939). Drawn from one of the finest private collections of Mucha’s work in the United States, this exhibition features 75 works by the celebrated Czech master, whose varied, expressive, and seductive imagery helped form and later shape the aesthetics of French Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century. Taking inspiration from the unruly aspects of the natural world, Art Nouveau influenced art and architecture, especially in graphic work and illustration, with its sinuous lines and whiplash curves. Through rare, original lithographs and proofs, paintings, drawings, and ephemera, this exhibition examines the broad range of Mucha’s work, largely created during the 1890s, at a time when the emphasis was on creating a new art fit for the new century.
The exhibition and tour are organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, the exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays from the Mucha Foundation and art historian Gabriel Weisberg.
“Our curatorial team has put together a diverse lineup of special exhibitions that offers guests a window into varied cultures and time periods from around the world,” says The Dayton Art Institute’s Director and CEO Michael R. Roediger. “The 2017 season offers something for arts lovers of all ages and interests. We hope you’ll join us at the museum and consider becoming a member of The Dayton Art Institute.”
The beginning of the new year is the perfect time to become a member of The Dayton Art Institute. Memberships start at just $40 and provide free admission to all three special exhibitions, unlimited visits to the museum’s permanent collection, free admission to Bob Ross Auto Group Jazz & Beyond concerts, discounts for many other museum events, programs and workshops, discounts at The Museum Store and Leo Bistro, and reciprocal access to 14 other Ohio art museums.
For more information about the 2017 special exhibitions and museum membership, please visit www.daytonartinstitute.org or call the museum at 937-223-4ART (4278).