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Relief Podcast: Episode 6: Process

This weekly podcast brings listeners joy and comfort for these uncertain times.

The Akron Art Museum’s staff shares insights from their own lives combined with conversations about the collection and interviews with regional artists and musicians.

Join us every Tuesday.

Listen on soundcloud here.

Process

This week the topic is Process. Seema and Gina discuss the different processes they’ve been going through during COVID and how artists work through extensive processes to get to a final result.

Deep Dive with Reggie: “Craig Lucas,” Herbert Ascherman, 2001

Reggie talks about how the careful balance between mystery and the daily slog of artists’ creative processes.

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Craig Lucas, Herbert Ascherman, 2001, Gelatin silver print, 9 1/8 in. x 9 1/8 in. (23.18 cm x 23.18 cm), Gift of the artist, 2009.11

Pollock, film, 2000
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0183659/

Shop Talk with Michael Loderstedt

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Loderstedt is an artist living and working in Cleveland, OH. Retired as a Professor Emeritus from Kent State University, he is currently the proprietor of the Photocentric Gallery and working on a memoir series about growing up in the Outer Banks. Loderstedt has works in the Akron Art Museum’s collection, as his collaborative alphabet series with artist Craig Lucas was featured during the museum’s Serial Intent exhibit in 2017. Listen as he discusses his collaborative relationship with Lucas, his love of all things salty, and his upcoming projects.

Instagram: @m_loderstedt

Photocentric: https://www.photocentricgallery.com

Works in Akron Art Museum’s Collection: https://akronartmuseum.org/collection/?artist=1217

Instagram: @photocentric_cle

Relief Podcast Music

Jordan King is a multi-instrumentalist based in Kent, Ohio. Through his music project, Swell Tides, he has worked with Akron Recording Company and Electric Company Records. His work has been featured in the Devil Strip, Cleveland Scene, Akron Recording Company’s Where the Hell is Akron, OH? Vol. 2. Find Swell Tides on Bandcamp and Spotify, and stay in tune with upcoming shows on Instagram @swelltides

Relief Podcast is made possible with support from the Ohio Arts Council.

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Unchanged: Seascapes

The photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto asked himself “What would be the most unchanged scene on the surface of the earth?” He answered this question with a series of seascapes from around the world, each half sky and half water.

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Tasman Sea, Ngarupupu, Hiroshi Sugimoto, (Tokyo, 1948 — ), 1990, Selenium toned gelatin silver print, 16 1/2 in. x 21 3/8 in. (41.91 cm x 54.29 cm), Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media, 1998.18

On the one hand, Sugimoto’s seascapes look abstract — they harness delicate balances of dark and light, of top and bottom, and of nuanced whites, grays and blacks.

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But, on the other hand, they are full of specific details, and the artist pointedly titles each after the location where it was taken (in this case, the Tasman Sea lies between Australia and New Zealand).

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It is as if Sugimoto shows a particular sea on a particular day, and, at the same time, every “unchanged” sea that has ever been.

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Sugimoto traveled all around the world to take his pictures of seascapes. If you could take a trip like that, what single sort of place or object would you want to chase around the globe? What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you look at a great expanse of water like the Tasman Sea?

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Cooking with the Collection: William Merritt Chase

This regular series uses the Akron Art Museum’s collection as a source of inspiration for home-cooked meals.

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Cod, William Merritt Chase, (Williamsburg (now Nineveh), Indiana, 1849–1916, New York, New York), undated, Oil on canvas, 29 1/4 in. x 36 1/4 in. (74.3 cm x 92.08 cm), Bequest of Edwin C. Shaw, 1955.17

When I was invited to cook up a post for our Cooking with the Collection series, the first thing that came to my mind was cod — both the painting by William Merritt Chase that hangs in the museum’s McDowell Galleries and the tasty, flaky fish that I often enjoy eating at home.

Turning to the painting first, I’m particularly glad to rope it in here because I’ve heard from a few fellow staff members that it’s not among their favorite works on view. To that I say, sure the painting is somewhat dark, and the central cod itself looks a bit glum on Chase’s table, but the impressive qualities of the work start with the artist’s abundant enthusiasm for his subject. He wrote: “I enjoy painting fishes; in the infinite variety of these creatures, the subtle and exquisitely colored tones of the flesh fresh from the water, the way their surfaces reflect the light, I take the greatest pleasure. In painting a good composition of fish, I am painting for myself.”

If the renowned painter and art teacher found so much good reason to paint fish like this one, I think we owe his work a closer look. We can find the delicate greens and pinks that Chase included in in his cod, making it surprisingly luminous and even colorfully iridescent. We can discover the painting’s rich reflections: not just the slight but clear hues of the cod reflected in the wood below it, but also the whirling blurs shining off of the vase behind it (including a distinct, upright, white shape with a protrusion extending out from it towards a darker shape to the left — maybe a fuzzy self-portrait of the artist applying paint to his canvas?). And we can note that the painting’s overall darkness, perhaps gloomy at first glance, provides a foundation from which Chase could launch these adventurous bits of brightness.

Now on to cooking, there’s only one sort of cod that can live up to the lush shadows of Chase’s painting: black cod, also known as sable cod. Sable is really just a fancy way to say black with a lesser-known word, but this fish’s scales are so dark that they deserve it. Now, before I discuss how this meal was cooked, I should give credit where it’s due and mention who did the cooking. While I’m the designated dishwasher and do plenty of other things around the house, I rely upon my wife Emily when it comes to food preparation — without her I’d almost certainly be eating mediocre pasta every night. Luckily she was willing to volunteer her cod-cooking skills for this occasion, provided that I kept her company and took the necessary pictures.

Here’s the simple recipe, including okra, one of many vegetables that can be grilled alongside the fish. Feel free to substitute any variety of cod that’s available, but I really do recommend the sable!

Cod

1. Brush with avocado oil. No need to brush any sides with scales — the scales come off easily once the fish has been grilled. Avocado is an optimal oil for grilling because it maintains its integrity at high heat. Other oils won’t necessarily taste bad when grilled, but this is a much healthier option.

2. Sprinkle with crushed alder smoked salt. Birch, applewood, mesquite, hickory, or other smoked salts would all be fine too. Each will add its own pleasant flavor.

3. Grill for roughly 3 to 5 minutes on each side at roughly 300 degrees. I’d be more declarative about these numbers, but at my house we tend not to worry about being particularly exact!

Okra

1. Roll in mixture of fresh lemon juice, avocado oil, and alder smoked salt. A ratio of about 60–40 avocado oil to lemon juice works well. Add a couple pinches of salt and then whisk until the salt dissolves and the mixture is smooth

2. Grill along with the fish, rolling every so often to cook evenly.

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As I said at the outset, I’ve eaten this dish before. On this particular occasion it was just as silky-smooth in texture and buttery-rich in taste as I’d remembered. And it was especially enjoyable to have it in honor of William Merritt Chase and his keen appreciation of cod.

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Wish you were there

Video Conferencing Backgrounds

We’re all spending a great deal of time on video conferencing platforms. Our collection has great alternates to your regular background. These works include places and situations you might be missing while you are in social isolation, like restaurants and concerts.

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Man in Bistro, Paris, France, Charles Harbutt, (Camden, New Jersey, 1935–2015, Monteagle, Tennessee), 1975, Gelatin silver print, 7 7/8 in. x 12 in. (20 cm x 30.48 cm), Gift of Helen Levitt, 1999.8

Photographer Charles Harbutt’s candid shot of a man reading in a bistro makes for a perfect backdrop to add levity to a boring zoom meeting. The sitter seems like he’s definitely passing judgement on whatever scene is playing out virtually in your call. It’s also ideal for those of us missing being able to be served a meal at a restaurant.

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The Seine at Andelys, Abel G. Warshawsky, (Sharon, Pennsylvania, 1883–1962, Monterey, California), 1923, Oil on canvas, 32 in. x 39 1/4 in. (81.28 cm x 99.7 cm), Gift of Miss Malvyn Wachner in memory of her brother, Charles B. Wachner, 1946.17

Wandering down the Seine, perusing street stalls might not be in the cards for your right now, but it could be the mood you’re hoping to strike for your next call. After all, you can really show your mettle, if you can keep your wits about you, while surrounded by the riverside pleasures.

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Public Square, Old Cleveland, 1836, Herman Kepets, (Cleveland, Ohio, 1915–2003, California), 1936, Linocut on paper, 12 1/8 in. x 15 in. (30.8 cm x 38.1 cm), Gift of the Art Department, Akron Board of Education, Courtesy of the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration Commissioned through the New Deal art projects, 1948.42

Virtual backgrounds allow you to travel to the past. This linocut offers a look at Cleveland’s Public Square much more verdant and rural than it is today.

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Count Basie Band, Royal Festival Hall, London, Herman Leonard, (Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1923–2010, Los Angeles, California), c. 1960 (printed later), Gelatin silver print, 13 3/8 in. x 16 3/8 in. (33.97 cm x 41.59 cm), Gift of George Stephanopoulos, 2007.99

Sure we all miss being surrounded by people at the movies and at festivals, but for your next zoom, skip past just being in the crowd at a show, and pretend you are backstage at a great show, like this image of Count Basie’s Band performing in London. Being in the know will make you seem like the IT professional on your next call.

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Akron Art Museum Entrance, Nicholas Buffon, (Seattle, Washington, 1987 — ), 2018, Acrylic paint, pencil, and carbon transfer on Bristol Paper, 11 x 8 3/4 in. (28 x 22 cm), Museum Acquisition Fund, 2018.9.4

Our favorite artwork for a zoom background might be this one by Nicholas Buffon. We’re excited for the day when we get the chance to step into the Akron Art Museum to see 

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ARTstrology: Leo

July 23 — August 22

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New York, Helen Levitt, (Brooklyn, New York, 1913–2009, New York, New York), c. 1940 (printed later), Gelatin silver print, 12 5/8 in. x 8 3/4 in. (32.07 cm x 22.23 cm), Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media, 2009.20

Get ready to party, Leo is in the house! You’re ruled by the sun, which explains your sunny personality, but the sun is also consistent so you are a very loyal friend. Just like the friends seen here, you’re at your best when you’re all dolled up and ready for a night out with your pals. Just don’t forget to let them shine too!

Leo 23 julio — 22 agosto

¡Prepárate para una fiesta, Leo está en la casa! Estás dominado por el sol, lo que explica tu personalidad soleada, pero el sol también es constante y por eso eres un amigo muy leal. Al igual que las amigas que se ven aquí, estás a tu mejor cuando estás todo emperifollado y listo para salir por la noche con tus colegas. ¡Pero no te olvides de dejar que ellos brillen también!

ARTstrology is made possible with support the Henry V. and Frances W.  Christenson Foundation

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Final Studies: Myers School of Art Class of 2020

Undergraduate Students, University of Akron

Graphic Design

Title of Exhibition: Augment

What is Augment?

Augment is designed to present the portfolios of the Myers School of Art Class of 2020 Graphic Designers. Initially intended to display work physically, the show evolved into something we could have never have anticipated. Although the change was abrupt, it was exactly what we had been trained for — approaching design in an innovative way. COVID-19 made us adapt the exhibition’s ideas with creative solutions to preserve our vision and show the world what designers do: solve problems. As a whole, Augment presents how our individual strengths are complemented in a team format. Together, we created a senior show like no other to bring you an interactive experience through an online network of portfolios.

While we are not able to shake your hand and introduce ourselves, we’re still here and ready to augment your team.

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VIEW THE VIRTUAL TOUR HERE

Myers School of Art Class of 2020 includes:

Abby Palombo
Alex Vetrick
Andrew Baker
Andrew Kovac
Caite Brown
Cory Kistow
Devyn Parsons
Dylan Smith
Dzsenifer Hegyi
Emma Eshler
Frank Incandela
Gwendolyn Brunot
Jake Spinner
Johnny Petrow
Jordan Baker
Jordan Latimer
Karin Schulze
Katie Simpson
Kim Wengerd
Kristen Faux
Logan Mackulin
Lydia DeVincent
Maria Groom
Maria Soutos
Morgan Lackey
Nathan McDevitt
Nick Norton
Pat Bullock
Shy Harris
Summer Patterson
Tommy Phan

Click here for or more information on Augment

Final Studies are in partnership with The University of Akron and are made possible with support from Fifth Third Bank and the Robert O. and Annamae Orr Family Foundation.

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Final Studies: Gavin Reiland

Undergraduate Student, The University of Akron

Painting and Drawing

Title of Exhibition: The Nature of Conflict: 2020

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The Terrible Dogfish

One of the few universal constants is conflict. My work, created with ink and acrylic mediums, strives to embody this never-ending war. I am interested in how people quickly recognize the negative aspects of conflict while failing to realize the necessity for this constant state of war we find ourselves in. My research begins as a series of biological observations; the lion that eats the gazelle, the white blood cell that consumes the virus, the fire that scorches the dry brush, and the decay that consumes all. While a lion eating a gazelle is undoubtedly violent, it is crucial to the survival of both species, creating a natural balance. This consumption is integral; if you think of the gazelle as energy you can see that without the lion to harness and transfer that energy there would be an excessive amount creating chaos in the biological system.
This biological phenomenon is a mirror image of the conflict within human society. If we look at

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Abnormal Growth

the current state of American politics for example you will see a war between two major sides. Republicans and Democrats see themselves as two different populations of the same America, but many fail to see that they are each two sides of the same coin. Both sides are motivated to make a better world to live in, but the conflict lies with how to go about doing so. I won’t deny that this constant battle can be disruptive to the order of things, but imagine if the two sides did not conflict. A world where there is one side and that dominant side always wins. In this case it is now apparent that conflicts, diseases, political outrages, wars, tortures and everything that goes on in human life — are a state of conflict which can be seen in a larger perspective as a situation of harmony; a necessity to keep the order.

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A Trophy

My drawings take the form of abstracted figures in a setting of chaotic moving parts and scenes.

The characters are conflicting with each other as much as the setting is conflicting with itself. Pieces seem to generate and bend in bizarre angles fusing together to form hybrid like organisms and
mechanisms. The Terrible Dogfish, named after the sea monster in Carlo Collodi’s 1883 book The Adventures of Pinocchio, is a drawing on canvas that displays my take on the whaling industry. A great “beast” is harpooned and butchered in the drawing to show the violence of the act, but also the necessity for the jobs and resources that are provided because of it. To Cross The Rubicon shows a great battle between two kings and how the common people face the consequences as a result. All things come at a cost and we must decide if the ends justify the means.

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To Cross the Rubicon

Final Studies are in partnership with The University of Akron and are made possible with support from Fifth Third Bank and the Robert O. and Annamae Orr Family Foundation.

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Beauty in Simplicity

Realizing that works of art do not always need to be complicated or laboriously constructed, Richard Tuttle instead celebrates delicate slightness.

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“Loose Leaf Notebook Drawings — Box 14, Group 4”, 1980–1982, Richard Tuttle, Watercolor on paper, 8 in. x 10 1/2 in. (20.32 cm x 26.67 cm), Gift of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2009.30.48 a-i

His “Loose Leaf Notebook Drawings” invite viewers to appreciate the openness granted by a sheet of paper, the gentle liquidity of watercolor, and the beauty of a single brushstroke.

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The artist restricted himself to just a few dips into his watercolor paints per page, yielding results so light that they often fade away into the white of his paper.

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Not everyone liked this approach. The art critic Hilton Kramer (countering the famous idea that “less is more”) once wrote that “in Mr. Tuttle’s work, less is unmistakably less… One is tempted to say, where art is concerned, less has never been as less than this.”

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Do you agree with Tuttle’s idea that works of art can be beautiful even when the process behind them is very simple? Does extra effort always make art better, or do you think that it is possible for an artist to work too hard on a project?

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Final Studies: Garrett Anderson

Undergraduate Student, University of Akron

Photography

Title of Exhibition: Business is Booming

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“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy.” Everyone has heard this statement, but what does it mean? The average layperson would not know that out of the twenty-eight million businesses in the United States over ninety-nine percent of them are considered small businesses, and eighty-eight percent of those have less than twenty employees. While these numbers show the wide net cast by small businesses, members of this group only account for over forty-four six percent of the GDP. This means that customers are using chain businesses or large corporations, for whatever the reason may be, in preference. While it may be convenient for the average consumer to use these alternatives it drastically hurts the economy and the forty-seven percent of the country that is employed by them. This series attempts to document socio-economically depressed small to medium-sized towns and the relationship between the town and their small businesses. The purpose of this series is to establish the importance of small business on small communities and how vital they are for the economic growth and stability of their town.

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Final Studies are in partnership with The University of Akron and are made possible with support from Fifth Third Bank and the Robert O. and Annamae Orr Family Foundation.

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Cooking with the Collection: Robert Motherwell

This regular series uses the Akron Art Museum’s collection as a source for inspiration for meals to cook at home. Links to recipes at the end of the post.

Chocolate Mousse

This recipe is as easy as 1–2–3.

Seriously.

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Robert Motherwell was an American Abstract Expressionist painter, influenced by the automatic writing & drawing prescribed by the Surrealists. He says abstract art is driven by what he called an unquenchable need “for felt experience — intense, immediate, direct, subtle, unified, warm, vivid, rhythmic.” These words, which at times oppose each other, are apt descriptors for the monumental Africa Series, whose shapes & gestures feel animated & mobile, even while they are most certainly flat.

Why am I so often drawn to artworks in black & white? As a docent & studio art educator at Akron Art Museum, I am surrounded by a wonderful world of art elements: line, shape, colour, texture, space, & light (teacher’s got to teach). You’ll see hints of my favourite black & white stripey shirts in studio lesson photographs. Why black & white? The answer appeared on page 33, one unassuming afternoon, inside the book, How to Talk to Children about Modern Art, by Françoise Barbe-Gall:

Black and white [abridged] The use of black and white comes more from the tradition of drawing than painting and supposes a focus on the basics: sketches and drafts and, of course, of writing. They emphasize the essence of what is ‘said’ — or rather the thought that inspires an image. …When Picasso decided to paint Guernica in black and white he was aligning his means of expression with the newspapers which broke the story of Guernica’s bombing. So the painting was both a picture and a text. Guernica presented a world divided in two between black and white. Commentators highlighted the link with Far Eastern calligraphy and it inspired numerous artists after the 1940s, particularly in the USA. Fascinated by Picasso’s work, which was exhibited in NY, young painters discovered in it an alternative to realism, as well as a true commentary. The development of this new vocabulary is to be seen in the works of Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning” …and Robert Motherwell. Motherwell’s practice was characterized by an intuitive approach to painting. “Painting is a medium in which the mind can actualize itself; it is a medium of thought,” he once reflected.

A REVELATION! In addition to creating art, I am also a word nerd: writing, playing with puns, & appreciating alliterations, or a truly great font. This must be why I am so often subconsciously drawn (yep, that pun was intended) to the symbolism of black & white art.

Want to know what else is a revelation? Robert Motherwell’s Chocolate Mousse.

Talk about an abstract RECIPE that is not only driven by an unquenchable need for chocolate, but is also an expressionistic gesture drawing in food!

In a jar with a lid, combine:
3 ingredients
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbls cocoa powder
3 tsp powdered sugar

2 minutes to vigorously shake

1 spoon to enjoy seriously decadent & fluffy mousse!

Cooking with the Collection is made possible with support from Acme Fresh Market, the Henry V. and Frances W. Christenson Foundation, and the Samuel Reese Willis Foundation.

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