Destiny and Elena, 11 years old in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Participants in Copper Pot Pictures’ documentary, “Brownstones to Red Dirt.”
In Greek mythology, muses were goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science, and the arts. As inspiration feeds the soul, so the muse fuels the artist with a compulsive and obsessive need to create. Westport Arts Center will explore this theme in their upcoming exhibition, "Muse" opening on Friday, November 16, 6-8pm, and on view through January 13.
The exhibition will feature muse-inspired paintings and drawings by Paul Cadmus and Jane Sutherland accompanied by sculpture and works on paper by Pablo Picasso, Chuck Close, and Philis Raskind-Anderson. Helen Klisser During, WAC’s director of visual arts who curated the show states, “I’m interested in what drives an artist to obsessively and compulsively render someone or something over and over again. ‘Muse’ explores this compulsion by exhibiting muse-inspired work by several rather obsessive artists.”
In reference to the works of Paul Cadmus, Deborah Frizzell, PhD. and Assistant Professor of Art History at William Paterson University, states:
“Paul Cadmus’ drawings and paintings of Jon Anderson chronicle the thirty-five year relationship and collaboration between two men who were lovers and friends, and who shared a world of music, art, literature, and dance. Cadmus’ renderings of his Muse, Anderson are sensuous, erotic, delicate, and often witty. While Cadmus would choose Anderson’s general pose, the two men collaborated, readjusted, and experimented with often complex poses and formal explorations of foreshortening and spatial compression. In a thoroughly modern approach, artist and Muse worked in collaboration to refine both the form and content Cadmus’ narrative compositions. Today, Jon Anderson is the model and Muse for Philis Raskind-Anderson’s sculptures such as the mythic hero Atlas, compelled to support the weight of the heavens.”
Frizzell continues about contemporary painter, Jane Sutherland: “Jane Sutherland’s suite of drawings and paintings, Recasting Little Dancer, takes as her Muse Edgar Degas’ sculpture, Little Fourteen-Year Old Dancer, exhibited in the Sixth Impressionist Exhibition of 1881, derided by many critics as an “ugly” abomination and withdrawn by Degas to his studio where it remained until his death. Sutherland’s post-modernist approach to her Muse-subject employs appropriation from multiple posthumous castings of Degas’ now-iconic three-dimensional Dancer, interpreted from an array of angles on two-dimensional surfaces.
Sutherland’s paintings and drawings explore the process of re-presentation in many materials and from many perspectives, including the play of signs in both image and text. Dancer’s “terpsichorean powers” are transcribed and revealed cumulatively in Sutherland’s series, as a meditation on the nature of art-making, its vocabulary, techniques and illusions.”
Also opening in WAC’s Project Space on November 16, is “Pen Pals and Dreams,” an exhibition of pen pal letters and drawings inspired by the Copper Pot Pictures’ documentary, “Brownstones to Red Dirt.” The film and letters follow the developing friendships between 6th graders from the housing projects in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and their pen pals, war orphans living in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
A reception for “Pen Pals and Dreams” on Friday, January 11, from 6 - 8pm will include refreshments and a screening of the feature-length documentary and a filmmaker Q&A with special guest, Malik Adamson, one of the Brooklyn-based pen pals. Copper Pot Pictures will also hold a silent auction to help Schools for Salone, its partner nonprofit, to build an orphanage for the children in the documentary. Auction items will include: restaurant gift certificates, signed copies of the film, and an autographed drawing from Big Bird puppeteer Caroll Spinney, the subject of Copper Pot’s next film. Tickets to the reception are $10 and can be purchased at the Westport Arts Center at 203-222-7070 or going to westportartscenter.org.
Muse Opening Reception
Friday, November 16, 6 - 8pm
Free and Open to the Public
Join us in the gallery for an elegant reception with live piano, wine, and hors d’oeuvres.
Artist & Muse
Saturday, November 17, 1 - 3pm
Free and open to the Public
Paul Cadmus' Muse, Jon F. Anderson, and sculptor Philis Raskind-Anderson invite questions about what it is like to be a Muse and to be inspired by one, while creating a sculpture in the main gallery.
Sunday, December 2, 11am - 1pm
Join Dr. Philip Eliasoph and Dr. Jonathan Weinberg for a discussion about Paul Cadmus as a hero in the figure-drawing world and enjoy a delicious brunch lovingly catered by Oscars Delicatessen.
Author of the first major doctoral dissertation which contributed to the "re-discovery" of Cadmus, Dr. Philip Eliasoph is Professor of Art History at Fairfield University and curator and author of the artist's only national touring retrospective: "Paul Cadmus: Yesterday and Today," 1981. He is also author of "Paul Cadmus: A Tribute," a posthumous tribute for the American Art Journal, Smithsonian Institution, 2001.
Dr. Jonathan Weinberg is an Artist and Visiting Professor of Art History, Brown University and a leading expert on gay and gender issues in American art. Weinberg is author of the first doctoral disseration in US about Marsden Hartley written from a gay perspective and author of "Male Desire: The Homo-Erotic in American Art," and "Speaking of Vice."
Drink n’ Draw
Thursday, December 6, 7 - 9pm
Internationally-renowned artist and teacher, Jane Sutherland, will guide participants while exploring a variety of drawing techniques. Enjoy an evening of drawing from a live nude model in a relaxed and informal environment while you sip hot and cold beverages and sample tasty treats. All levels welcome.
Put a Ring on It! Singles Party
Thursday, December 6, 7 - 9pm
Need someone to bring home to your parents for the Holidays? Rather then spending countless hours in front of your computer filling out three-hour profiles, you can be out and about meeting singles looking for romance, mindless flirting, or just a friend. Dance, drink, play games, and mingle the night away! Featuring music by DJ Cimmy Dean.
Fridays, 10 – 11am
November 30 and December 7
Free and open to the Public
Hot coffee, hot muffins, and hot news from the art world. Hosted by Helen Klisser During, ArtCafé is a great way to meet other art enthusiasts and learn about exhibitions to visit in the greater community. Use The New York Times Friday Arts Section as a springboard to discuss the latest exhibitions. Bring your friends or come by yourself and make new friends. After Art Café, the Westport Arts Center posts all the arts happenings that are discussed that week on the colorful WAC ArtCafé Blog, at http://westportartscenter.blogspot.com.
The Westport Arts Center is supported with funds from the Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation, Inc., Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Cohen and Wolf, P.C., the Connecticut Office of the Arts, 4th Row Films, Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation, Fairfield County Bank, Fairfield County Community Foundation, Gault, Inc., Greenwich Medical Skincare & Laser Spa, GWAY Marketing Gymnasium, Andrew J. & Christine C. Hall Foundation, Melissa & Doug, Mitchell's of Westport, Moffly Media, Newman’s Own Foundation, Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Riverside Management Group, LLC, Robinson and Cole, LLP, Sun Hill Foundation, Thomas C. Hofstetter of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Westport Resources, Xerox Foundation, and WSHU Public Radio Group.
For more information contact Westport Arts Center at (203) 222-7070, www.westportartscenter.org. The Westport Arts Center gallery is open seven days a week, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.