New Quartet of Exhibitions at Cornell Fine Arts Museum

CFAM unveils four new exhibitions for the summer season, which runs from May 24 to August 26.

Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904-1971), Borscht, 1931, Photogravure print, Purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund, Cornell Fine Arts Museum 2014.8. Photo © Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904-1971), Borscht, 1931, Photogravure print, Purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund, Cornell Fine Arts Museum 2014.8. Photo © Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is pleased to present four new exhibitions for the summer season (May 24 to August 26, 2018). Together, they illustrate the Museum’s goal to orchestrate engaging curatorial conversations between different artistic vocabularies, styles, and media across the centuries, always highlighting the Museum’s collection within the context created by works on loan.

This summer, we juxtapose the groundbreaking documentary photography of Margaret Bourke-White with a sculptural installation by Vietnamese-American artist Trong Gia Nguyen, and Old Masters Dutch and Flemish collection favorites with new acquisitions illustrating 20th-century American modernisms.

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Margaret Bourke-White’s Different World examines the work that trailblazing photographer Margaret Bourke-White produced abroad. Drawing on the Cornell Fine Arts Museum’s collection of Bourke-White’s photographs taken in Russia and augmented by loans of her photojournalism conducted during World War II and beyond, the exhibition explores Bourke-White’s groundbreaking subject matter. Beyond her work in Europe, this exhibition will include rarely seen photographs taken in India, Pakistan, and South Africa, among other locations.

Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904-1971), Bolshevic Babies in the Nursery, AMO Automobil Factory, 1931, Photogravure print, Museum purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, 2013.21. Photo © Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904-1971), Bolshevic Babies in the Nursery, AMO Automobil Factory, 1931, Photogravure print, Museum purchase from the Michel Roux Acquisition Fund, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, 2013.21. Photo © Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

As a young photographer, Bourke-White abandoned pictorialism and pursued a documentary vision. Her first photographs of Russia were the earliest images produced by a foreign artist in that country under Joseph Stalin. Later, following her pioneering role as a woman photojournalist during World War II, she produced highly emotional images of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp. These photographs are some of the most powerful works produced in the 20th century. While Bourke-White’s photographs are often understood in context of her domestic photography and the images she produced as a pioneering photojournalist in Europe during World War II, this exhibition focuses exclusively on her work abroad and demonstrates a more complex understanding of her role as a woman photographer documenting pivotal moments of change, political consequences, cultural shifts, and class transformations.

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Forging Modern American Identities: Recent Acquisitions introduces a group of recent gifts to the collection from Rollins alumni Barbara and Theodore Alfond. Together, they allow our Museum to present a more dynamic and multifaceted history of 20th-century art produced in the United States. Major works in several media by, among others, Leo Amino, George L. K. Morris, Ralston Crawford, Esphyr Slobodkina, represent as many different abstract languages employed by artists in the first half of the 20th century.

George L. K. Morris (American, 1905-1975), Precision Bombing, Oil on canvas, 1944, The Alfond Collection of Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, 2015.15.4. George L. K. Morris (American, 1905-1975), Precision Bombing, Oil on canvas, 1944, The Alfond Collection of Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, 2015.15.4.

These forward-thinking artists ushered in a new identity for American art and encouraged the generations that followed to develop their own visual languages of abstraction. The photographs revealing an important moment in American history—documenting Amerindian populations—enrich our burgeoning photography collection, while the gouache by Jacob Lawrence and the prints by the under-recognized Emory Douglas feel transformative within recent efforts to expand and diversify the collection of African-American artists.

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Trong Gia Nguyen: My Myopia expands the conversation about abstract vocabularies by introducing a distinct contemporary voice. Keenly aware of power dynamics in museum and gallery settings, Trong Gia Nguyen seeks to disturb and reinvent traditional viewing experiences. His series of windows replicates the familiar iron security window grates that are commonly found in older colonial homes in Vietnam. However, as they are constructed of thin wood, this version is incredibly fragile and unable to serve any purpose of security.

Trong Gia Nguyen (American, b.1971), Double Rainbow, 2017, Oil on wood, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Quynh Trong Gia Nguyen (American, b.1971), Double Rainbow, 2017, Oil on wood, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Quynh

The surface facing out of each window is painted with an imprint of the other side, revealing parts of a sunset, evening lamp, starry sky, historical event, or other illumination that one does not fully see. Separated from their surrounding architecture, the windows become skeletons and bare bone witnesses to the mundane, socio-political, historical, and mystical.

Born in Saigon, Trong Gia Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American artist living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. His wide array of works examines structures of power in their myriad forms, scrutinizing the soft foundation upon which contemporary life plays out, often behind the façade of fairness, sincerity, security, tradition, and civility.

Nguyen’s work elevates the condition of doubt as it reveals the undercarriage of our most trusted spaces—domestic, cultural, political, and economic-laboring to disrupt the mundane while walking the fine line between joy and sorrow, subtlety and blatancy, night and light.

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The Myers Legacy: Dutch and Flemish Paintings from the Collection rounds out the summer schedule by paying homage to the family that has made the single greatest contribution to helping the Cornell Fine Arts Museum build the only Old Masters collection in the Orlando area: the family of John C. Myers Sr. (1878-1952).

In the style of Pieter Claesz (Dutch, 1597-98-1660), Still life - Beakerglass and Fruit, ca. 1650, Oil on canvas, Gift of the Myers Family, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Myers Jr. ’42 and June Reinhold Myers ’41 in memory of John C. Myers Sr., Cornell Fine Arts Museum 1960.15 In the style of Pieter Claesz (Dutch, 1597-98-1660), Still life - Beakerglass and Fruit, ca. 1650, Oil on canvas, Gift of the Myers Family, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Myers Jr. ’42 and June Reinhold Myers ’41 in memory of John C. Myers Sr., Cornell Fine Arts Museum 1960.15

Myers fell in love with Old Masters painting during his 1908 honeymoon, when his bride Alice Mould introduced him to Europe’s museums; by the 1940s he had amassed a very significant collection, which he often shared in his Ashland, Ohio, home with students from a nearby college. His passion for teaching and learning through art was echoed by his heirs, who generously donated parts of the collection to Ashland College, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

This exhibition features a small selection from our collection of Myers paintings, focusing on works by Dutch and Flemish Renaissance and Baroque artists and illustrating the major genres of the 16th and early 17th centuries. During that time, while religious subjects and portraiture continued to dominate artistic commissions, still lifes, landscapes, and city views, as well as architectural vistas, gained prominence. Examples of each of these genres are included in the exhibition.


The summer exhibitions are funded in part by the Director’s Circle and the General Exhibition and Rachel and Kenneth Murrah Exhibition funds of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Additional support comes from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Free admission continues in 2018 courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is generously funded, in part, by Rollins College.

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RELATED PROGRAMMING
Thursday, May 24 | 12:30 p.m.
Exhibition Tour, Margaret Bourke-White’s Different World
Margaret Denny, PhD
Independent Photo Historian, Co-Curator

Tuesday, May 29 | 6 p.m.
Artist’s Talk
Trong Gia Nguyen

Friday, June 22 | 11 a.m.
Exhibition Tour, The Myers Legacy
Ena Heller, PhD
Bruce A. Beal Director, Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Tuesday, July 24 | 6 p.m.
Lecture, Volume III: The Alfond Collection Today
Abigail Ross Goodman
Independent Curator

Tuesday, August 7 | 6 p.m.
Lecture, The Documentary Photographer as Historian
Peter Schreyer
Documentary Photographer and Director of the Crealdé School of Art

Friday, August 24 | 11 a.m.
Exhibition Tour, Margaret Bourke-White’s Different World
Elizabeth Coulter
Dale Montgomery Fellow, Cornell Fine Arts Museum