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Édouard Boubat

Édouard Boubat. Hermanos Gonzalez, Espagne 1956. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Kenneth G. Futter, 1986.71

“There are days when one walks around without getting a single photograph, without running into anything. …But there are other times when things are offered to me, like gifts. …But in order to seize that gift, one has to be prepared. If I am, and if my camera is there at the right moment, click, all I have to do is accept it.” —Édouard Boubat

When this photo was taken in 1956 in the rural village of Sotoserrano, Spain, the country was still under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and many regions remained impoverished and unmodernized. The tightly composed image centers on a man in traditional dress and tattered shoes. He stands on a cobblestone street in front of a covered wagon with a wooden wheel almost as tall as he is. Based on the lettering of the wagon’s cover, the man appears to be one of the Gonzalez Brothers (“Hermanos Gonzalez”), owners of a “panadería,” or bakery in English. Two children on the left look on with somewhat perplexing expressions—the young girl seems concerned while the boy’s eyes are cast upwards at the sky. It’s as if Boubat stumbled into the middle of a little narrative, the participants pausing just briefly enough for him to capture their portrait.

What do you think daily life would have been like for this man at this particular time in history? What aspects of our lifestyle today might surprise him?

Traveling the world as a photojournalist for the French magazine Réalités, Boubat often found himself in just the right position to accept one of the “gifts” he mentions in the quote above. But, this claim that successful images simply presented themselves to him like gifts downplayed his keen vision as a photographer. If great pictures really were always just waiting around to be taken, then we all might be professional photographers, consistently in the right place at the right time with our camera in hand. However, as fellow photographer Frank Horvat once said, “Boubat looks at the world as if he had just landed and as if his eyes had just opened.” Through his photographs, we find a curiosity in the small moments of people’s lives that can easily go unnoticed. For this reason, Boubat’s photographs are, in themselves, little gifts.

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Lunchtime 5: Creativity Invitation

Sound

Need a little inspiration? Sometimes all it takes is a prompt, suggestion, or idea. Tune in to get a creative spark inspired by the museum’s collection and exhibitions.

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Lunchtime 5: Video Tour

April Showers

Bring on the rain. Explore five works in the collection that bring to mind spring showers. You’ll see paint and glazes imitate driving rain, gentle sprinkles, and splashing puddles.

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Lunchtime 5: Look Closely

Anxiety & Loss

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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Drawing Projects

Is learning to draw on your social isolation to-do list? Does it seem too scary to attempt? If you’ve ever written your name on a piece of paper, you’re prepared to learn to draw. (Download our Drawing Day Booklet for more exercises to try.)

Many people think of drawing as the ability to render realistically. But drawing encompasses many forms of expression.

Doodles could be considered a type of drawing. People don’t feel intimidated about doodling. They’re just marks on the side of your notes — not art, you might think. Those same skills, however, can help you feel comfortable drawing. You’ve spent a lifetime doodling, so you are prepared for these lessons.

Holding your Pencil

Writing is an important form of human communication. After you learn to write, you rarely think about the way the pencil or pen is held. Artists, however, often will shift the tool in their hand to get different effects.

  • Start by picking up your writing utensil. Write a line.
  • Reposition your pencil or pen to hold it an angle. Draw more lines.
  • Continue to play with the angle of the writing tool. Explore the different effects on the paper.
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Shading

Much of the draftsman’s work is knowing how to use your writing utensil to deliver a variety of lines and shades. Pencil control is learned. Artists spend hours honing their abilities. Try these exercises:

  • Filling a sheet of paper with many different strokes.
  • Make 7 equal boxes on your paper. Use a pencil to create a graded scale of shades.
  • Draw the same item, like a coffee cup, in each of the shades from your scale.
  • Draw a houseplant only depicting the shadows.
  • Make a drawing using no lines.
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Contour

Drawing requires translating the three-dimensional world onto the flat surface. Forms can be rendered using shadows and shading or by focusing on the contour edges. In contour drawing, you focus on the outlines of a form rather than the details.

  • Look in the mirror. Draw yourself without looking at the paper. Focus your eyes on your face.
  • Draw something in your kitchen. Use a single line.
  • Draw your pet using a single line. Draw 7 more contour drawings of your pet as they move. (If you don’t have a pet, draw pets from online videos).
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Copying

Drawing requires confidence in your mark-making. Many people falter when they are first trying because their initial sketches don’t “look like anything.” Many artists spend time copying, just as many musicians learn music by playing works written by others. Have you ever tried a step-by-step drawing, like copying a cartoon? Seeing the steps helps you gain confidence. The hardest part of drawing from the real world is translating the three-dimension to a flat surface. When you copy, you translate from one flat surface to another, simplifying the process and increasing your chance of success.

  • Try drawing some of the doodles in the gif.
  • Try drawing from a magazine.
  • Explore the museum’s collection online. Choose 1 work you love. Draw it 20 times.
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Vantage Points

Translating three-dimensional space requires learning how to trick the eye. Draftspeople learn how to use line and shadow to imply depth.

  • Draw the same object from many different angles.
  • Sit on the floor. Draw the room. Find a high stool. Draw the same room.
  • Draw your desk and all of its items. Move across the room. Draw your desk again.
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Gesture Drawing

Strong draftspeople not only have confidence and skill but also decisiveness. Hesitancy is visible in halting lines and inconsistent forms.

  • Draw the clouds. Start your first drawing on the hour. Make a drawing every hour for a whole day.
  • Draw all the people you see in the next show you watch.
  • Draw your pet 100 times.

Color

Life is in living color. Adding color to your drawings immediately transforms the level of realism.

  • Draw a coffee cup in blue. Draw the same object again in another color. Repeat five more times.
  • Draw the forms in your room using 1 color other than black. Add a second color other than black for the shadows.
  • Use color to create a drawing using only dots.
  • Try any of the exercises in the other sections using color.

Thank you for joining us in this exploration of drawing. This is just the tip of the pencil. Keep drawing.

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Lunchtime 5: Get Art

Why is Art Political?

What political questions is art uniquely able to address? How do the works in Totally Radical, our current exhibition of political art from the 1980s, connect to art and politics in the present? Join in and talk a little politics over lunch.

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ARTstrology: Aries

March 21 – April 19

Ave Caesar! Io Saturnalia! Opus CCXVII, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, (Dronrijp, Friesland, Holland, 1836 – 1912, London), 1880, Oil on panel, 8 3/4 in. x 17 3/4 in. (22.23 cm x 45.09 cm), Gift of Mr. Ralph Cortell, 1968.13

Like Aries’ symbol, the ram, you run headfirst into life. You’re relentlessly determined, but cheerful, which makes you a great leader. But be careful, great leader. If you don’t push away your sign’s tendency for selfishness, you could end up like the corrupt Roman emperor Caligula, whose assassination is seen here. Lean on your cheer and kindness, and you’ll be just fine!

Aries 21 marzo – 19 abril

Como el símbolo de este signo, el carnero, corres de cabeza a la vida. Eres implacablemente resuelto, pero alegre, lo que te convierte en un gran líder. Pero ten cuidado, gran líder. Si no te distancias de las tendencias egoístas de tu signo, podrías terminar como el corrupto emperador romano Caligula, cuyo asesinato se puede ver en esta imagen. ¡Apóyate en tu alegría y bondad, y estarás bien!

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

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Lunchtime 5: Creativity Invitation

Texture

Need a little inspiration? Sometimes all it takes is a prompt, suggestion, or idea. Tune in to get a creative spark inspired by the Museum’s collection and exhibitions.

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Lunchtime 5: Video Tour

Totally Rad and Totally Radical

How can talking about art transform what you think about what you see? Consider how talking is a great way to improve your understanding of collections.

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Akron Art Museum Launches The 10,000 Things, An Outdoor Exhibition by Cleveland Artist, Jordan Wong

Akron – The Akron Art Museum will launch an outdoor exhibition titled The 10,000 Things: Recent Works by Jordan Wong in the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden on May 29, 2021. Jordan Wong’s The 10,000 Things weaves together inspirations from Asian art—historic Chinese paintings, Japanese manga, anime, video games, comic books, and more—with graphic design, iconographies, and the artist’s own philosophical musings. Wong’s large-scale works are metaphorical as much as they are referential, containing themes of perseverance, triumph, belonging, and growth. The 10,000 Things will be displayed throughout the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden all summer.

“The 10,000 Things aims to inspire, delight, and encourage viewers to generously listen, look, wonder, contemplate, play, and dream,” says Jordan Wong, exhibition artist. “Creating artwork for outdoor spaces enables and encourages greater ambitions: scale, materials, and the experience for viewers. I am able to share more outdoors, and hopefully the work has a greater impact by inspiring and engaging more people. My hope is that visitors will find delight in the fanfare of visuals exploding from each work. I also wish to help reignite and reconnect them to their own playful fascinations.”

Wong brings a graphic sensibility to the garden with the many hidden symbols, references, and characters for visitors to discover. The title of The 10,000 Things is a Taoist phrase used to reference and describe the entire universe, and for the artist it is a declaration of ambition. Seema Rao, Deputy Director and Chief Experience Officer, noted, “The popularity of superheroes points to a deep need for celebrating good. Superhero powers are often born of their difference, so there is an inherent sense of belonging.” Many of Wong’s playful works highlight topics such as identity or ethnic and cultural belonging expressed through the sequential imagery in the style of manga and comics.

Gina Thomas McGee, the Museum’s Curator of Education stated, “We wanted a show that is vibrant, interactive and easily accessible. We have exciting programs coming in the spring which are centered around the exhibition that create a safe and welcoming space for families and friends to enjoy art together again.” The garden space has been framed to allow groups to engage with the art and others while still social distancing. Rao said, “We know that experiencing art together is one of the greatest joys of going to a museum, and with this exhibition we can go back to doing just that in a safe manner. The 10,000 Things features incredible art that can ignite the imagination and we look forward to visitors experiencing it.”

The 10,000 Things opens on May 29, 2021 and is the prelude to Jordan Wong’s related indoor exhibition coming Labor Day to the Museum’s Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery. Wong’s upcoming indoor exhibition will provide a closer look into the artist’s creative process. Hours of operation for the Museum and the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden are as follows: Thursdays: 11 am–8 pm, Fridays: 11 am–5 pm, Saturdays: 11 am–5 pm. Beginning March 12, on the second Friday of each month the hours are 11 am–8 pm. Admission is free. Timed tickets are recommended and can be reserved online in advance, but walk-ups are welcome. Upon entry, visitors will notice signage designed to keep them informed about AAM’s health and safety protocols and processes.

Press Release (PDF)

The 10,000 Things is made possible with support from PNC, the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, the Alan and Janice Woll Family Fund, Peg’s Foundation, Akron Children’s Hospital, the Synthomer Foundation, and the Charles E. and Mabel M. Ritchie Foundation.

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