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October Issue 2003

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Offers Works by Edward Hopper and Others from Whitney Museum of American Art

The Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, will hosts an exceptional exhibition of one of America's quintessential realist painters -Edward Hopper. The exhibition opens on Oct. 4, and continues on view through Jan. 18, 2004.

Edward Hopper

With an emphasis on paintings by Edward Hopper from the early 20th century until the establishment of the American Scene movement in the 1930s, Edward Hopper and Urban Realism is an exceptional exhibition drawn exclusively from the Whitney Museum of American Art's collection. This exhibition showcases the work of Hopper along with paintings by his peers - artists who documented and explored the faces of life in the changing urban environment between 1900 and 1940. It was during this time that the United States was undergoing rapid change by an industrial and technological renaissance. Cities were growing and thriving on the modern advances of the skyscraper, the automobile, mass transit and most importantly, electricity and its increasing reliability.

In contrast to what was going on in the US during this time, art was traditional in its theme and execution. The typical modes of expression were idealistic landscapes, portraiture and didactic scenes of allegory and morality. Embodying the classical standards of the past, art was expected to express a sense of harmony and purity in an effort to both exalt and instruct the viewer. Thomas Eakins, a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, was the catalyst for the change in the art standards. His philosophy of studying nude models to learn the human figure was in direct opposition to the modest Victorian method of using classical busts or statues. Eakins was eventually dismissed from the Academy for using a naked male model in a drawing class of men and women, but his influence was lasting and a new genre of American realist art was soon to be born.

William Glackens

Edward Hopper and Urban Realism features works by Robert Henri, George Luks, John Sloan, William Glackens, Stuart Davis and George Bellows, among others. Cities and the people in them were their inspiration and they often emphasized a specific feature or event of the city with a more encompassing view.

John Sloan

This is a noteworthy exhibition because of the rarity of the early Hopper paintings and the strong work of his fellow Ashcan painters - a group of painters, headed by Robert Henri. Known for their picturesque and spirited subjects of teeming city life and socially minded themes, these artists created a movement that helped form a new identity that reflected and celebrated the American values and ingenuity of modern times.

This exhibition was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The Columbia presentation is made possible by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, L.L.P. and BB&T Corp.

The Museum is offering several related programs in conjunction with Edward Hopper and Urban Realism. They are as follows:

Oct. 4, 2pm - Gallery Talk - Evelyn C. Hankins, assistant curator of prewar art and special projects, Whitney Museum of American Art. Lorick Auditorium. Free

Oct. 10, 7pm - Art Friday - The American School in Popular Song, a collaborative program with Trustus Theatre. Trustus Theatre's musical director, Tom Beard, performers, and radio host Michael Lasser explore the history and themes of American popular music in the early 20th century in a performance in the Garden Terrace. Free

Oct. 11, 2pm - Lecture - Michael Lasser, host of the nationally syndicated public radio show, Fascinatin' Rhythm, explores the history and themes of American popular music in the early 20th century and draws a connection to the visual arts through a discussion of Edward Hopper and Urban Realism. Lorick Auditorium. Free

Oct. 18, 10:30am - Film - Nickelodeon Young Filmmakers Showcase Orientation Program, a collaborative program with the Columbia Film Society. Middle, high school and undergraduate students interested in making films can participate in a media arts program that introduces the theme, urban realism, provides an orientation on filmmaking, and guidance for participating in the 2004 Nick Young Filmmakers Showcase. Selected films on urban realism will be shown at the Nickelodeon and the Columbia Museum of Art. For info, call 843/343-2211. Lorick Auditorium. Free

Oct. 24, 7pm - Lecture - Columbia Design League, The Ashcan School: American Urban Painters. Lecture by University of South Carolina Art History Professor Brad Collins. Lorick auditorium. $5 for non-Design League members.

Nov. 14, 6pm - Film - Edward Hopper: The Silent Witness. This film traces Hopper's footsteps along the Cape Cod coast, searching for the scenes and inspiration he experienced in creating his masterpieces. Lorick Auditorium. Free

Jan. 9, 2004, 7pm - Film - Edward Hopper. This film is based on a search undertaken by the filmmaker, Ron Peck, into the life and work of the artist. It incorporates conversations with Gail Levin, author of the exhaustive Hopper biography, an interview with Hopper and his wife Jo, and a close examination of his paintings. Lorick Auditorium. Free

Jan. 11, 2004, 2pm - Lecture - Urban Columbia: The Mills in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries, a collaborative program with Historic Columbia Foundation. Columbia's textile mills once were thriving manufactories that helped propel the city into the modern age. These colossal buildings and the people who operated them, provide a glimpse into local urbanization during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Join John Sherrer, Historic Columbia's director of collections and interpretation, as he recalls the impact mills had in Columbia's transition into the modern age. Lorick Auditorium. $5

Jan. 16, 2004, 7pm - Lecture - The Ashcan School at the Movies. Lecture by University of South Carolina professor of film studies, department of art, Dan Streible. Lorick Auditorium. Free

For info on group rates and tours, call 803/343-2208. For more info check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 803/799-2810 or at (www.columbiamuseum.org).

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