CFAM Announces Winter 2020 Exhibitions

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum announces three winter exhibitions illustrating history and democracy on view from January 18 to May 17.

Cameroon, Bamileke Beaded Shirt, 20th Century, Raffia, cotton, indigo dye, glass beads, 20 x 30 in., Collection of William D. and Norma Canelas Roth ’65. Cameroon, Bamileke Beaded Shirt, 20th Century, Raffia, cotton, indigo dye, glass beads, 20 x 30 in., Collection of William D. and Norma Canelas Roth ’65.

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College announces its winter season, which connects history, culture, and democracy through exhibitons and programs relevant to contemporary viewers.

From January 18 to May 17, the museum will host African Apparel: Threaded Transformations across the 20th Century, a large-scale exhibiton guest curated by art history professor MacKenzie Moon Ryan in collaboraton with Morgan Snoap ’20 and Cristina Toppin ’21. The exhibiton brings together 71 items of African apparel, including textiles, jewelry, headwear, accessories, and garments. Drawn primarily from the extensive collection of William D. and Norma Canelas Roth ’65, this is the first exhibition in Central Florida to focus exclusively on African textiles and items of adornment, many of which will be seen publicly for the first time. 

What people wear is deeply personal. It is also enormously impacted by historical, cultural, religious, and political realities, which change over time. These works highlight their indebtedness to global interactions, their embodiment of gendered realities, and their expression of generational conflicts and continuities. As worn garments, items of apparel are loved, lived in, labored over, and invested with salient meaning. Drawn from clothing and artistic traditions across the continent, African Apparel embraces globally influenced dress practices as a reality across Africa to display the breadth, diversity, and artistry of a continent. 

Republic of Benin, Fon metal filigree bracelet, 20th century, Brass, 3½ x 2¼ in., Collection of William D. and Norma Canelas Roth ’65 Republic of Benin, Fon metal filigree bracelet, 20th century, Brass, 3½ x 2¼ in., Collection of William D. and Norma Canelas Roth ’65

Textile selections include those hand-woven and dyed (for example, bogolanfini mud cloth from Mali, adire indigo cloth from Nigeria, and kente cloth from Ghana) alongside those factory-woven and machine-printed cloths (such as wax-print from West and Central Africa, kanga from East Africa, and isishweshwe from South Africa). Items of adornment include amber and silver jewelry from North Africa, beadwork-embellished clothing from southern Africa, and various headdresses from across the continent. 

Presenting sponsor for African Apparel is June Nelson and Nelson Financial Planning, and a fully illustrated, 112-page scholarly catalog, published by Scala, accompanies the exhibition.

For Freedoms, Hank Willis Thomas, Emily Shur, Freedom of Speech, 2018, Archival pigment print, The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond. 2018.1.30 © For Freedoms For Freedoms, Hank Willis Thomas, Emily Shur, Freedom of Speech, 2018, Archival pigment print, The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond. 2018.1.30 © For Freedoms

2020: Action, Freedom, Patriotism—on view from January 18 to April 5—continues the Cornell Fine Arts Museum’s partnership with For Freedoms, the largest creative collaboration in American history and a national platform for discussion and participation in civic issues. Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedims is, in Thomas’ words, “an opportunity to join our founding fathers in the making of America.” The platform emphasizes participation over ideology as the fundamental characterstic of democracy. 

Through a juxtaposition of historical and contemporary works by artists such as Norman Rockwell, Hank Willis Thomas, Emily Shur, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, and Jerome Meadows, among others, the exhibition questions traditional definitions of patriotism and freedom and re-examines them in context of our contemporary society, encouraging us to reimagine what it means to be American. 

“The exhibition is a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions where historical voices are in dialogue with our present-day voices, with art as the interlocutor,” says Gisela Carbonell, curator of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

In addition, a series of related events will bring to campus artists, activists, and scholars to consider the notions of patriotism and freedom in the context of an election year. To learn more, visit forfreedoms.org.

Antonio Martorell (Puerto Rican, b. 1939), ¿Quéslaque? Es que la..., 2018, Acrylic, collage and calligraphy on felt, Museum purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund. 2019.9 Antonio Martorell (Puerto Rican, b. 1939), ¿Quéslaque? Es que la..., 2018, Acrylic, collage and calligraphy on felt, Museum purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund. 2019.9

The ongoing exhibition—The Place as Metaphor: Collection Conversations—features a selection of collection favorites and several important new acquisitions that consider the mulitple meanings of place through diverse representations across time and region. Continuing its commitment to collect and exhibit works by artists who represent multiple experiences and diverse backgrounds, CFAM is proud to share the acquisitions of two new works by Puerto Rican artists—Rafael Trelles’ La Autopista del Sur and Antonio Martorell’s ¿Quéslaque? Es que la ..., which are featured in the museum for the first time. 

These acquisitions are part of CFAM’s efforts to continue diversifying its permanent collection. Martorell’s piece, created in 2018, comments on the number of deaths in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria and critiques the poor handling of the effects of the disaster by the local government. The monumental work is the first piece by Martorell to enter the permanent collection of a Florida museum. Trelles’ large-scale painting is inpsired by the eponymous short story by Julio Cortazar and depicts an evocative rendition of an imagined place. This piece is the first work by Trelles to be included in a museum’s permanent collection on the mainland. 

“Central Florida is home to a large Puerto Rican community that grew significantly after Hurricane Maria devasted the island,” says Carbonell. “The acquisition of these works is the first step in what will become a strong collection of Puerto Rican art that resonates with our community, and we are espeically exicted to begin this initiative with artists of the highest caliber such as Martorell and Trelles, who are beloved on the island as well as in the diaspora.”

The installation puts these contemporary pieces in dialogue with earlier works by old masters such as Lavinia Fontana and Gerolamo Bassano. The new iteration of the show will also include a video by Cuban artist Sandra Ramos.

Rafael Trelles (Puerto Rican, b. 1957), La autopista del sur (The Southern Highway), 2011, Oil and acrylic on canvas, Museum purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund. 2019.8 Rafael Trelles (Puerto Rican, b. 1957), La autopista del sur (The Southern Highway), 2011, Oil and acrylic on canvas, Museum purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund. 2019.8

Related Programming

All events occur at the museum unless otherwise noted

Friday, January 17 | Exhibition Preview Celebration
Members Preview: 5-6 p.m.
Opens to the Public: 6-7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 24 | 11 a.m.
Tour: African Apparel: Threaded Transformations across the 20th Century
MacKenzie Moon Ryan, Guest Curator and Associate Professor of Art History

Tuesday, January 28 | 6 p.m.
Panel Discussion: African Apparel: Threaded Transformations across the 20th Century
MacKenzie Moon Ryan, Morgan Snoap ’20, and Cristina Toppin ’21, Guest Curators

Tuesday, February 4 | 6 p.m.
Conversation with Jammal Lemy
Filmmaker, designer, and former creative director of March for Our Lives
SunTrust Auditorium at Rollins

Wednesday, February 26 | 6 p.m.
Lecture: A Survey of Contemporary Native Art
Jaune Quick-To-See-Smith, Visiting Artist
Bush Auditorium at Rollins

Tuesday, March 3 | 12:30 p.m.
Town Hall: For Freedoms, a UCF and Rollins College collaboration

Tuesday, March 10 | 6 p.m.
Lecture: Silk, Amber, and Wool: A History of North African Dress
Cynthia Becker, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Boston University

Thursday, March 12 | 12:30 p.m.
Presentation: Chocolate, Blood, and VHS Tapes: Problems and Solutions in Contemporary Art Conservation
Susan Libby, Professor of Art History, and Isaac Gorres ’21, Fred W. Hicks Curatorial Intern, CFAM

Friday, April 3 | 10:30 a.m.
Symposium Panel: Rollins College Latin American & Caribbean Studies students

Tuesday, April 14 | 12:30 p.m.
Gallery Talks: Student Artists

Arte Y Café Con La Curadora (Art and Coffee with the Curator)

Tuesday, February 18 | 6 p.m.
Puerto Rican Artists: New Acquisitions

Tuesday, March 31 | 6 p.m.
2020: Action, Freedom, Patriotism

Tuesday, April 14 | 6 p.m.
African Apparel: Threaded Transformations across the 20th Century