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Drawing Game

Drawing can be fun and games if you let it. Grab a pencil and some paper. This game can be played alone or in a group.

Alone:

Spin 10 times. Each time, do what the spinner tells you. Decide if you like your drawing. If not, spin 10 more times.

With Friends:

Decide on what you draw. Tell them if its animal, vegetable, or mineral.

Spin the wheel 5 times. Use the cues to determine the style of your drawings.

Once the drawing is done, have people guess what you drew. The person who gets it, wins a point and goes next.

The person with most points wins.

MuseumGames are made possible by PNC with additional support from Acme Fresh Market, the Kathy Moses Salem Philanthropic Fund of the Akron Community Foundation, The R.C. Musson and Katharine M. Musson Charitable Foundation, the Robert O. and Annamae Orr Family Foundation, and the Charles E. and Mabel M. Ritchie Foundation.

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George Segal

A girl sitting against a wall? Very normal. But what if her world is totally still, totally white, and ends abruptly in the middle of a gallery? Very unusual. In making his sculptures, George Segal thrived on this mix of everyday familiarity and unexpected strangeness.

Segal used living models to create his sculptures. He wrapped them in plaster-soaked bandages and let the materials harden. He then cut the plaster away from the models’ bodies and reassembled the hollow forms. The result: Segal’s white figures seem at once lifelike and eerily motionless. In Girl Sitting Against a Wall II, this stillness may suggest a moment of calm and quiet contemplation. While other artists often depict intense actions or emotions, Segal seems to imply that a restful occasion like this is also worthy of extended consideration.

Segal usually had his family and friends pose for his sculptures. If someone asked you to be covered from head to toe with wet plaster, would you do it? How do you think it would feel to be confronted with a life-sized replica of your own body?

In 1961, Segal was teaching an art class for adults. One of the students was married to an employee at Johnson & Johnson, and they gave Segal a supply of the company’s newly developed plaster bandages to see if he could use them for making art. The artist brought the supplies home and asked his wife to plaster the bandages around him while he sat in a chair. After the soggy materials dried and hardened, his wife kindly cut him out of his mummy-like encasement. The artist then put the pieces of plaster back together and placed the resulting figure amongst a chair, a table, and a window frame. This work, Man Sitting at a Table, proved to be a turning point in Segal’s career and the inspiration for many subsequent sculptures.

Segal’s working process was more laborious and creative than one might expect. “Originally, I thought casting would be fast and direct, like photography,” the artist explained, “but I found that I had to rework every square inch. I add or subtract detail, create a flow or break up an area by working with creases and angles. I’m shaping forms.” Thanks to this process, Segal’s earlier casts produced a lumpy external shape, as seen in Girl Sitting Against a Wall II. The year after this piece was made, Segal developed a new technique, casting a material called hydrostone (which is stronger than plaster) from the interior of the initial plaster shell to give a more refined surface and lifelike rendering.

Segal did not always work entirely in white; sometimes he added colorful found objects to his scenes or painted his plaster in striking tones. The first version of Girl Sitting Against a Wall, made in 1968, is in the collection of the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany. Unlike Akron’s all-white piece, this earlier version has a red chair and black window panes, and the figure’s hands are placed differently. As a result, the window seems to look out onto a pitch-black night, while the chair looks like it might be made of wood. Both editions carry Segal’s trademark sense of strangeness, but the earlier rendition’s different colors are perhaps a bit more familiar and easy to understand than the second version’s surreal, all-encompassing whiteness.

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Virtual Tour

Totally Radical: Art and Politics in the 1980s

By Jeff Katzin, Curatorial Fellow

When I started to pull together a list of artworks from the Akron Art Museum’s permanent collection for a show about art and American politics in the 1980s, I was amazed at what I found. A wide variety of our objects are directly connected to some of the decade’s biggest issues—the AIDS crisis, the intensifying feminist movement, ongoing calls for racial justice, struggles between corporations and labor unions, environmental preservation, and the tense climax of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Working on this exhibition has left me grateful to the curators who came before me and gathered together such meaningful works of art.

The pictures in Totally Radical: Art and Politics in the 1980s are meaningful, first because they collectively capture the restless political energy of their decade. While artists have used their work to express political views for centuries, in the ‘80s they did so more frequently than ever before, and with a new intensity and immediacy. If the idea that “the personal is political” arose in the feminist movement of the ‘60s, it had gained even more momentum two decades later. The artists in Totally Radical did not consider politics through disconnected theories or vague ideas. Instead, they made art out of immediate concerns that they felt very deeply. Their work is also meaningful because, years later, we still face many of the same issues that they did. As art museums and American society as a whole seek broader conversations about justice and equity in the present, we can look back and learn from the ‘80s.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ntoeucpuhrzyc0k/AACKgQTt3HYNmgxSlhHncMMla?dl=0

Guerrilla Girls. Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? c. 1985-1989. Offset lithograph on paper. Museum Acquisition Fund 1990.17

The eye-catching prints of the Guerrilla Girls are some of the most impactful feminist artworks of all time. Seeking to prioritize issues over individual personalities, members of this all-female group wear gorilla masks during public appearances—the group’s name is a pun on gorilla (the animal) and guerrilla (a member of a small and unconventional military group). When they came together in 1985, the Guerrilla Girls channeled their fighting spirit by collecting statistics reflecting elitism and sexism in the art world, and then plastering them as posters around New York City. The group remains active and they have even made new versions of some of their ‘80s posters with updated numbers. Sadly (or better: infuriatingly), the stats aren’t much better now than they were years earlier, highlighting the ongoing need for museums, galleries, and audiences to reassess their collecting and viewing habits (to help us do just that, I’ve been working on a statistical analysis of the AAM collection in recent months). I also think that the Guerrilla Girls’ fantastic graphic design can sometimes go underappreciated. The images are wonderfully clear and bold, and they draw just as much attention today as they did in the ‘80s. The messages are powerful, and their artistic presentation is masterful.

Robert Rauschenberg. Soviet/American Array VII, 1988–1991. Photogravure. Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media 1993.6
Robert Rauschenberg. Soviet/American Array VII, 1988-91. Photogravure. Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media 1993.6

While the Guerrilla Girls joined forces as a group, Robert Rauschenberg decided to see how far one committed artist could take their political objectives. In the midst of his own successful career, Rauschenberg chose to spend much of his time from 1984 to 1991 on what he called the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (or ROCI, pronounced “Rocky” after his pet turtle). Paying his own way, the artist traveled to ten countries: Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, China, Tibet, Japan, Cuba, the Soviet Union, Germany, and Malaysia. At each stop he staged an exhibition and created new art inspired by local cultures, hoping to stimulate international dialogue and promote freedom of artistic expression. The Soviet/American Arrays featured in Totally Radical include photographs that he took in both the Soviet Union and the United States, highlighting contrasts and similarities between the opposing superpowers of the Cold War. Through ROCI, Rauschenberg hoped to demonstrate the potential for an individual to act outside of government and promote international communication.

Ken Heyman. Man on Scaffolding, AIDS Project, NYC, 1984. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Soraya Betterton 2010.220

Ken Heyman. Man on Scaffolding, AIDS Project, NYC, 1984. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Soraya Better-ton 2010.220

Ken Heyman gave himself a truly difficult photographic challenge in taking up a dire but often invisible subject: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. By the time he made a series of portraits of men coping with AIDS in 1984, the epidemic had taken the lives of thousands of people. The disease remained shrouded in mystery, fear, and stigma. Politicians and news outlets often avoided mentioning it because it primarily afflicted gay men, who faced an additional layer of prejudice. Through his empathetic portraits, Heyman hoped to give some of these men a voice through a book tentatively titled What I Want to Tell You Before I Die of AIDS. Though the book was never finished, the pictures and a number of interviews remain. One of them in particular speaks to the strength and perseverance that links many of the works in this exhibition:

“I don’t live to die. I don’t sit and wait for something bad. I do try to work, the little I can, for my head—to keep me thinking—keep my motor running. I try to enjoy whatever I can even though I may be doing it alone. I don’t want to sit and mope. I know that when that happens to you, you fall off the fence on the wrong side. I would like to stay alive as much as possible.”

Together, the works of art in this exhibition create a space for political reflection and inspiration, and it’s wonderful to see them all together in a gallery. But, if you’d like to get into a Totally Radical mood from home, check out this playlist that I put together. It contains some of the music that I listened to while selecting works and doing research for this exhibition; songs that helped me feel more connected to the socially-conscious side of the ‘80s.

And stay tuned for our next exhibition tour covering another aspect of the ‘80s through Totally Rad: Bold Color in the 1980s.

Totally Radical: Art and Politics in the 1980s is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, the John P. Murphy Foundation, Katie and Mark Smucker, and the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, KeyBank, Trustee.

Knight Foundation Logo
Ohio Arts Council

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Virginia W. Gore

Virginia W. Gore. Untitled (Raphael Gleitsmann in studio full of women), 1953. Ink on paper. Gift of Louise Faysash, 2007.7

A mustachioed man enters this scene from a shadowy door in the background. A puzzled look comes across his face as he realizes he is the only man in the room.

The man is Raphael Gleitsmann, one of Akron’s most beloved artists. Gleitsmann is shown here in a drawing by his close friend and fellow artist Virginia W. Gore. Through quick linework and sketchy washes of ink, Gore suggests an environment of commotion in Gleitsmann’s studio, with the painter looking on helplessly as the women scrutinize his works and handle his brushes. Each woman’s face is uniquely detailed, suggesting that they are either portraits of actual people or caricatures of specific social types. As viewers, we can’t help but feel sympathy for Gleitsmann who is likely wondering what the women think of his work.

Does it make you anxious to have someone analyze or critique your work? Why do you think the artist chose to draw only women in Gleitsmann’s studio?

Virginia W. Gore was known for the liveliness of her drawings, a quality that is certainly on display in this work. She studied art education at the University of Akron from 1929–30 and several years later graduated from the Cleveland School of Art, now known as the Cleveland Institute of Art. Gore worked as a fashion artist at the M. O’Neil Company, a regional department store based in Akron, and exhibited her work at the Akron Art Institute (now the Akron Art Museum).

Gleitsmann was born in Dayton, OH but moved to Akron at a young age when his father received a job at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Gleitsmann’s early paintings and watercolors are typical of the broader Regionalist movement, given their focus on typical Midwestern scenes of farmhouses, factories, and landscapes. After he served in World War II, however, Gleitsmann’s subject matter and style changed drastically. He created all of his post-war paintings based on his memories and sketches of the destruction he saw throughout Western Europe. These later works are somber in tone and expressionistic in their brushwork, conveying a heavy-hearted sense of loss. Although he continued to paint for nearly 10 years after the war, Gleitsmann gave up painting altogether in 1954 claiming he “really had nothing to say anymore.” The Akron Art Museum holds the largest number of Gleitsmann’s works, with over 35 of his paintings, drawings, and photographs in its collection.

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Totally Rad ’80s Slang: Word Find

Locate the given words in the grid, running in one of eight possible directions horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. There may be an unused word or a message hidden another way to discover related to the puzzle.

BAD
BOD
BODACIOUS
BOGUS
BOUNCE
CHILL PILL
DUH
EAT MY SHORTS
FANTABULOUS
FAVE

FREAK OUT
FRESH
GNARLY
GRODY
HELLA
LIKE
PSYCH
RAD
RADICAL
RIGHTEOUS

STELLAR
TOTALLY
TUBULAR
WIG OUT
WORD
ZEEK

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Lunchtime 5: Look Closely

Celebrity as Muse

Spend a few minutes exploring artworks from the collection related to this month’s topic. By looking closely, you’ll discover surprising details and have a restful moment of learning during your Friday lunch break.

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Dwight Tryon – Tonalism

Dwight W. Tryon. Morning Off Narragansett Pier, 1881. Watercolor on paper. Bequest of Esther Van Cleef Wood, 1986.64

Dwight Tryon was a born New Englander who painted the region with knowing confidence. In this picture of Rhode Island Sound, he included a lone boater sailing out to sea, perhaps to start a day of fishing. The tiny figure is dwarfed by nature, yielding a contemplative, melancholy mood.

Tryon rarely painted in watercolor, yet he put impressive finesse into this work. He used a limited number of marks and colors—just a few whites, grays, and blues, plus the light brown of the paper itself—but suggested a stunning range of detail. Sunlight streams down onto the distant horizon, while clear water washes over the rocky shore in the foreground. By showing so much with so little, Tryon heightened the dreamy quality of his picture.

What do you think that Tryon’s sailor would have thought of this scene? Would they have paused to consider the poetic qualities of the water, the sky, and the sunlight? Was this just a regular morning as they headed out to work?

Tryon loved rural life in New England and spent much of his time sailing and fishing. He bought his clothes with durability as a top priority, purchasing them from a country store where his fellow shoppers were farmers and sailors. As a rule, he avoided going anyplace where he couldn’t wear his rubber boots to the table. Though he spent time living in New York City, one of his favorite activities there was crafting model ships and racing them in Central Park. However, these countrified sensibilities did not dissuade members of high society from enjoying Tryon’s paintings. The wealthy and refined Detroit industrialist Charles Lang Freer, for example, became the artist’s most important financial supporter, and also one of Tryon’s closest friends.

Among art historians, Tryon is known as a central practitioner of a painting style called Tonalism, which flourished in the United States from around 1880 through the first decade of the twentieth century. The art historian Wanda Corn defined Tonalism as a “style of intimacy and expressiveness, interpreting very specific themes in limited color scales and employing delicate effects of light to create vague, suggestive moods.” With its economical use of color and wistful atmosphere, Morning Off Narragansett Pier certainly fits this description.

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ARTstrology: Taurus

April 20 – May 20

Evening in Seville, Emilio Sánchez Perrier, (Seville, Spain, 1855 – 1907, Alhama de Granada, Spain), c. 1870s, Oil on panel, 15 3/8 in. x 30 3/4 in. (39.05 cm x 78.11 cm), Gift of Miss Hulda B. Gehring, Miss Emma R. Gehring, and Mrs. Clara Gehring Bickford, 1957.5

Can’t you imagine stringing up a hammock in this lovely landscape? Of course YOU can, Taurus! You are a master of relaxation! As an earth sign, you are grounded and love the sensual delights of the natural world. You’re not lazy by any means, but you love a good dose of R and R, and what better place to do it than this scene in Seville?

Tauro 20 abril – 20 mayo

¿No te imaginas colgar una hamaca en este hermoso paisaje? ¡Por supuesto que TÚ puedes, Tauro! ¡Eres un maestro de la relajación! Como un signo de tierra, siempre estás con los pies sobre la tierra y te encantan los deleites sensuales del mundo natural. No eres perezoso de ninguna manera, pero te encanta una buena dosis de descanso y relación, ¿y qué mejor lugar para hacerlo que en esta escena en Sevilla?

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

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Kitchen Lithography

This project might take a couple tries. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll really enjoy your results.

Steps:

  1. Tape aluminum foil to cardboard. Use flat cardboard, like chipboard, instead of corrugated cardboard.
  2. Use wet, fine sandpaper to sand the foil.
  3. Apply vinegar to wipe the surface.
  4. Draw an image with a crayon.
  5. Pour soda on the image.
  6. Pour a small amount of vegetable oil on the surface and buff surface with a sponge.
  7. Use a different sponge to wipe the plate with water.
  8. Roll on ink. Wipe and roll again.
  9. Print. Use a spoon or brayer to apply pressure.
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Lunchtime 5: Get Art

Making Your Mark

Explore the regional artist installation in Corbin, O’Neill, and the Lobby. Works range in media including lithographs, screenprints, and collaged works.

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