What’s in store for Dayton Art Institute visitors?

The Dayton Art Institute’s exhibit “Muse: Photographs by Mickalene Thomas and tete-a-tete,” will be in Dayton Oct. 17, 2018 through Jan. 13, 2019. It features photographer Mickalene Thomas. This photo is entitled ” La le on d amour.” CONTRIBUTED
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The Dayton Art Institute’s exhibit “Muse: Photographs by Mickalene Thomas and tete-a-tete,” will be in Dayton Oct. 17, 2018 through Jan. 13, 2019. It features photographer Mickalene Thomas. This photo is entitled ” La le on d amour.” CONTRIBUTED

New season will showcase origami, portraits, edgy photography

In keeping with its goal of making the Dayton Art Institute more lively and accessible to a broad range of visitors, the museum has announced a 2018-19 series of exhibitions that are both lively and visitor-friendly.

You don’t need to be an art maven to appreciate large-scale and intricate origami sculptures, portraits of famous folks like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Warren Buffett or cutting-edge photography.

The museum’s Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth, Kettering Assistant Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, says she’s thrilled that the museum can present such diverse exhibitions, two of which demonstrate the creative range of photography.

The origami exhibit that will come to the Dayton Art Institute features this work, “Together,” by Erik DeMaine and Martin DeMaine. CONTRIBUTED
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The origami exhibit that will come to the Dayton Art Institute features this work, “Together,” by Erik DeMaine and Martin DeMaine. CONTRIBUTED

KICKING OFF THE SEASON

If you were fortunate enough to see the gorgeous origami exhibit in Columbus at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens last summer, you have some idea of what amazing art can be created from simple pieces of folded paper. The museum's new season kicks off in February with a show titled "Above the Fold." It will be in town Feb. 17-March 18 and is the first traveling exhibition to bring origami installations from around the world to North American audiences.

The traditional Japanese art of folding paper has roots dating back more than 1,000 years. In the exhibit that will come to Dayton, nine international artists demonstrate the ways in which origami has become a sophisticated global art form.

“Origami is the only art form that starts in two dimensions — a flat sheet of paper — and ends in three dimensions,” says Peter Doebler, the Art Institute’s Kettering Postdoctoral Curatorial Assistant in Asian Art. “In this way, it really highlights the transformative potential of art. A sheet of paper is a humble thing. You look at it and think, ‘What can I really do with this?’ That is the genius of origami artists: they have the vision to see into another dimension, if you will, and show us something new.”

Above the Fold is the first traveling exhibition to bring origami installations from around the world to North American audiences. This piece is “Greene Recycling/Destructors VIII” by Erik DeMaine and Martin DeMaine. CONTRIBUTED
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Above the Fold is the first traveling exhibition to bring origami installations from around the world to North American audiences. This piece is “Greene Recycling/Destructors VIII” by Erik DeMaine and Martin DeMaine. CONTRIBUTED

When most of us think of origami, we typically imagine a tiny square of paper that’s made into a frog or a crane. Doebler, who first saw the touring exhibit in Allentown, Pa., says this origami is totally different and includes large-scale installations and intricate sculptures that will make museum visitors say, “How did they do that?”

“Also, people will be surprised by the amazing diversity,” Doebler says. “Since the 1950s, origami has spread around the world and more and more people are using it as an artistic medium — using traditional folding but also adding new techniques, some aided by mathematical formulas or computer programs.” Doebler says researchers also are discovering the practical applications of origami — from space exploration to heart surgery.

“These artworks show how origami can cross borders and connect sculpture to geometry, physics, religion and even contemporary social issues,” Doebler says. “We will also have an array of programs and activities that will help visitors explore the wonderful world of creating simply with a piece of paper.”

Photographer Yousuf Karsh is known for his portraits of famous people. Here’s “Humphrey Bogart” (SOURCE: courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh Estate of Yousuf Karsh.)
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Photographer Yousuf Karsh is known for his portraits of famous people. Here’s “Humphrey Bogart” (SOURCE: courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh Estate of Yousuf Karsh.)

FAMOUS FOLKS

A summer exhibit, organized by the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., is entitled "Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits. " 

Karsh, who lived from 1908 to 2002, was known for his iconic portraits of many of the 20th century’s most influential men and women — from fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics and the arts.

“While many of our guests may not know the name Yousuf Karsh, the men and women he photographed helped define an era and many of the images are iconic representations of these key figures,” says Siegwarth. “When I think of Winston Churchill, I think of Karsh’s 1941 portrait of Churchill. This will be a great exhibition for history buffs, photographers and movie lovers.”

“Muhammad Ali” by Yousuf Karsh. (SOURCE: Photo courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh Estate of Yousuf Karsh.)
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“Muhammad Ali” by Yousuf Karsh. (SOURCE: Photo courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh Estate of Yousuf Karsh.)

Although he photographed countless international figures, Karsh’s images of Americans are counted among his finest portraits. This exhibition features 48 black-and-white photographs from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. You’ll get a close-up look at writer Ernest Hemingway; artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol; actors Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart; athletes Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson; business leaders Elizabeth Arden and Warren Buffett; architects Frank Lloyd Wright and I. M. Pei; first ladies Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Eleanor Roosevelt and entertainment giants Walt Disney and Jim Henson.

This photograph by Mickalene Thomas is “Racquel Leaned Back.” CONTRIBUTED
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This photograph by Mickalene Thomas is “Racquel Leaned Back.” CONTRIBUTED

ROUNDING OUT THE SEASON

The final exhibit in the new season is slated for Oct. 20, 2018–Jan. 13, 2019 and will be held in conjunction with FotoFocus Biennial. It's a combined exhibition:  "Muse: Photographs by Mickalene Thomas" and "tête-à-tête," an installation curated by Thomas that includes work from photographers who have inspired her.

Siegwarth, who first saw this exhibition in New York at the Aperture Foundation that organized the exhibition, found it “truly moving.” She says many of the photos are large scale and make use of vibrant color and ’70s era wallpaper.

“Mickalene Thomas’ photographs are powerful and poignant depictions of black women, many of them posed within a 1970s-era living room,” explains Siegwarth. “Her works analyze concepts of beauty and simultaneously highlight that black women are often excluded from these definitions and are underrepresented within the visual arts.”

Thomas, she explains, looks to a variety of other visual materials to create her work, so you’ll see allusions to famous 19th-century paintings of women as well as 1970s-era magazines and movies.

The companion exhibition, “tête-à-tête,” is composed of photographs by other black artists, whose work Thomas finds poignant and influential to her own practice. Those photos come from a range of well-known, internationally recognized artists, as well as rising stars in the art world.

This photo, entitled “Crossroads,” is by Derrick Adams and will be part of the Dayton Art Institute’s “tete-a-tete” exhibit. CONTRIBUTED
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This photo, entitled “Crossroads,” is by Derrick Adams and will be part of the Dayton Art Institute’s “tete-a-tete” exhibit. CONTRIBUTED

ON VIEW NOW

An estimated 3,000 visitors have seen "Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence," currently on view at the Art Institute through Sept. 10. "Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau" is up next. The exhibition features 75 works by the celebrated Czech master and is scheduled for Sept. 16–Dec. 31.