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Cooking with the Collection: Patrick Nagatani

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

Patrick Nagatani created works that explore political, cultural and historical themes such as the Japanese American WWII incarceration experience and the legacy of the nuclear bombings of Japan. He built and staged photo-dramas to capture the stories. 

His parents, John & Diane, were imprisoned in different camps during WWII, relocated to Chicago, met, married, and started a family. Patrick was born in August 1945, days after the bombings in Nagasaki & Hiroshima, and raised Catholic in a Polish Midwest neighborhood.

While a graduate student at UCLA in the 1970s, Nagatani collaborated on an exhibition and book, juxtaposing the work of two photographers who recorded Manzanar Internment Camp during WWII: Ansel Adams and Toyo Miyatake.

In 1993, Nagatani traveled to Manzanar, where his mother had been incarcerated, making a photographic survey of memorials, remnants of habitation, and the landscape.

Hidden Kitchens (NPR.org) recorded Japanese-Americans: Ms. AKEMI TAMARIBUCHI: I’m 3rd generation Japanese-American. During WWII, my family was interned. I’m positive that many of the dishes I grew up eating stemmed from what they had in camp. Weenie Royale is one of my favorites. Sunday mornings, we always had sliced hotdogs mixed with eggs with soy sauce, stir-fried with onions over rice. There are so many things that have affected our culture, like the food. Some of my closest friends, never even heard the fact that the Japanese were interned…

As a docent at Akron Art Museum, cultural research is step one when creating tours. Honestly, I don’t remember hearing about Japanese internment during American History class, but I did learn about Manzanar watching The Karate Kid (1984). My heart broke then for Mr Miyagi’s loss & breaks now listening to voices of Japanese-Americans recalling their experiences — realizing that we must share hard truths with future generations.

…Ms. TAMARIBUCHI: To be honest, I think the Japanese culture is very silent. Nobody ever complains or talks about any bad times. My grandmother, my obachan, now 85, has become far more sensitive, wanting all of her family to understand where everything came from. Call the grandkids when obachan makes Weenie Royale for breakfast. Come and spend time so that you learn how to make this food, so you can make it for your children and their children.

Weenie Royale à la Patrick Nagatani

Ingredients
1/2 white or yellow onion – chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 hot dogs – julienne sliced
3 eggs – beaten
cooked white rice

Instructions
1. sauté onions in soy sauce – medium heat – caramelize
2. add hot dogs – cook 2–3 minutes
3. add beaten eggs – cook until eggs are done
4. serve over rice

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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Relief Podcast: Episode 7: Alternatives

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.

Alternatives

This week the topic is Alternatives. Seema and Gina talk about how the world is turning to creative alternatives during the pandemic and what alternatives can mean to artists.

Deep Dive with Reggie: “Gentleman Walking a Tightrope” Yinka Shonibare CBE

Reggie talks about how artists can use materials to convey meaning and explore topics like identity, race, and globalism.

Gentleman Walking a Tightrope, Yinka Shonibare CBE, (London, England, 1962 – ), 2006, Mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, rope, 89 1/2 x 122 x 45 1/4 in. (227.33 x 309.88 x 114.94 cm), The Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture, Rory and Dedee O’Neil Acquisition Fund, The Richard and Alita Rogers Family Foundation, and Museum Acquisition Fund, 2014.50

Interviews with Yinka Shonibare

Shop Talk with Adana Tillman

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Tillman is a textile-fabrication artist living and working in Atlanta, Georgia, but she was born and raised in Akron, OH. By cutting the fabric, arranging it, and sewing it together with a sewing machine, Tillman’s artistic hand is seen in these layers of interaction. Her work and practice is rooted in family tradition, as she first learned from her mother how to use fabric for functional pieces. During this Shop Talk, Tillman is at the Hambidge Center in Georgia for a two-week residency. Hear her discuss her reaction to Yinka Shonibare, how she structures her days, and how her practice has evolved during the pandemic.

Instagram: @adanadeneice

Website: http://www.adanatillman.com

Hide and Seek in Akron Art Museum’s Art Library Collection: https://www.akronlibrary.org/locations/main-library/culture-av-division/akron-art-library/adana-tillman-hide-and-seek

WISH ATL X Sprite: The Give Back: https://wishatl.com/pages/the-give-back The Hambidge Center- https://www.hambidge.org

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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And Southward Dreams The Sea

Charles H. Davis

“The hills look over on the South, / And southward dreams the sea; / And with the sea-breeze hand in hand / Came innocence and she.” This fragment from Francis Thompson’s poem “Daisy” inspired Charles H. Davis as he watched clouds float over Long Island Sound, past his home in Mystic, Connecticut.

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And Southward Dreams The Sea, Charles H. Davis, (Amesbury, Massachusetts, 1856–1933, Mystic, Connecticut), undated, Oil on canvas, 29 in. x 36 in. (73.66 cm x 91.44 cm), Bequest of Edwin C. Shaw, 1955.85

Davis studied this particular stretch of sky for nearly forty years, having moved to Mystic specifically because of its picturesque landscapes.

In this painting his lasting and thorough attentiveness paid off with clouds that are not simply white, but also gray, blue and violet as sunlight streams through them. Like the woman who provoked Francis Thompson’s poem, Davis’s clouds are full of gentle personality and seem to move “with the sea-breeze hand in hand.”

Do you have a place where you spend time over and over again, so that you know it in complete detail? What makes that place special to you?

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Cooking with the Collection: Claes Oldenburg

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

Akron’s former role as a center for rubber manufacturing inspired Claes Oldenburg’s Inverted Q, but it is to Mary & Louis Myers that the work owes it existence. In 1972 they invited Oldenburg to Akron & asked him to propose a sculpture for a park adjoining the downtown library. A fan of Goodyear’s giant balloons in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Oldenburg was thrilled to collaborate with the rubber companies. Two years later, researchers & technicians at the rubber companies revealed that current technology did not permit the casting of such a massive form in rubber. In 1976, Oldenburg had Inverted Q cast in concrete. Inverted Q, based on the city’s history, has been one of the best-loved works in the museum’s collection.

You are a 4th grade student on a field trip at Akron Art Museum on a blustery grey, northeast Ohio day. Sitting on the warmed concrete floors amongst classmates, with angular steel & glass soaring overhead, a docent welcomes your group with reminders to walk & not run, look & not touch, share in the discussion, but raise your hand & do so quietly. She invites everyone to discover that your group has the museum to itself, as the doors are locked to the public at this early hour. Hmmm, what else is there to learn in a modern & contemporary art museum…

Hi! I’m Miss Maryann, and I am your docent today. A docent is an art museum teacher. Now, I know that you know all the rules, but we are going to explore the museum with all 5 senses today! What are the 5 senses? smell . sound . sight . touch . taste . “How are we going to look & not touch”, you ask? And what could we possibly taste?

Are you ready to TASTE a concrete sculpture?

Claes Oldenburg’s Strawberry Buttercream

Before my students know the title, author, or details of an artwork, we begin the exploration using our imagination. With awe they usually gather around Inverted Q and ask, “What is it?” and I reply, “What do you think it is?” After a silly discussion of what the sculpture looks like to them I ask, “What do you think Inverted Q would taste like?”

INGREDIENTS
1 boxed cake mix prepared as 18 cupcakes
it’s okay to cheat on this one with a box mix the frosting is the star of the show for the buttercream frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter – softened
1 1/2 tsp strawberry extract
1–2 tbls milk

INSTRUCTIONS
1. mix powdered sugar & butter in a medium bowl (hand or stand mixer)
2. stir in strawberry & milk
3. fill a large ziploc-style bag with buttercream -cut off 1 corner tip
4. pipe an inverted Q onto each cupcake

Oldenburg wanted the sculpture to appear soft, inflated, & light, although it would be heavy. This buttercream is certainly soft & light, though rich & buttery.

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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Retrospective, La Wilson

In museums, a “retrospective” is an exhibition that represents an artist’s entire career from its start to the present. Here, La Wilson provides a personal retrospective all in one piece of art.

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Retrospective, 2004–2006, La Wilson, (Corning, New York, 1924–2018, Hudson, OH), 2004–2006, Assemblage, 34 7/8 in. x 46 1/4 in. x 9 1/8 in. (88.58 cm x 117.48 cm x 23.18 cm), Purchased, by exchange, with funds from Mr. Lucien Q. Moffitt, 2006.34

Wilson’s largest and most complex assemblage, Retrospective summarizes and celebrates the many different types of objects that she incorporated into her work over the course of more than fifty years.

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Wilson described her artistic process this way: “First I collect — anything that appeals, for whatever reasons. Then I start putting things together, usually in a box and what often happens is that these everyday mundane things change their essential nature when [combined] in unexpected ways with other material.”

Under normal conditions its pencils, dominoes, wooden blocks, beads, spools of thread, and other objects would seem commonplace and unimpressive. Placed all together, they take on a new kind of beauty and suggest that excitement can be found in everyday things if one looks closely enough.

When you look across Wilson’s Retrospective, does it seem more like a collection of lots of little objects or like one big picture? Which kind of looking do you think the artist preferred? Do you think it has to be one or the other?

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Cooking with the Collection: Pablo Picasso’s Herb Soup

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

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Le Modele, Pablo Picasso, (Malaga, Spain, 1881–1973, Mougins, France), 1965, Aquatint and drypoint on paper, 18 1/2 in. x 24 in. (46.99 cm x 60.96 cm), Gift of Mrs. George Nobil in honor of her Husband, Mr. George Nobil, 1966.60

Pablo Picasso met Jacqueline Roque in 1953 at Madoura Pottery in Vallauris, Southern France, when she was 26 years old and he was 72. Jacqueline’s image began to appear in Picasso’s paintings and is characterized by an exaggerated neck & feline face, distortions of her features. Eventually, her dark eyes and eyebrows, high cheekbones, and classical profile would become familiar symbols in his late paintings. In 1963 he painted her portrait 160x and continued to, in increasingly abstracted forms, until 1972.

The printmaking process Picasso used to create this portrait is called aquatint because finished prints often resemble watercolor drawings or wash drawings. The process achieves a broad range of tonal values — the light or dark of a color — which is the most important design element of a painting. The drypoint line drawings are reminiscent of Picasso’s uniform of his later years, the Breton striped shirt.

As a docent & studio art educator at Akron Art Museum, you’ll see hints of my favorite black & white stripey shirts in-studio lesson photographs. The iconic style was a staple in the wardrobes of other creatives like F. Scott Fitzgerald & James Dean. The Breton shirt was created officially by French law in 1858 for their Navy. The contrasting stripes made any sailor who fell overboard easier to spot in the waves.

Are you ready to fall overboard for soup?

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Pablo Picasso’s Herb Soup

This recipe is about to carry you from the South of France to heaven on waves of tasty tonal values. Lentils & mushrooms simmered in white wine, create a flavorful, earthy broth, while salty olives & capers lift your tastebuds, taking off on sweet, stewed tomatoes …until fragrant herbes de Provence carry you away with the clouds on a lazy, summer day. herbes de Provence thyme. savory. oregano. marjoram. rosemary. lavender.

INGREDIENTS
3 tbls EVOO – divided
1 small onion – diced
3 garlic cloves – minced
3 cups water
1 cup dried French green (or brown) lentils
1 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
8 oz cremini mushrooms – sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbls tomato paste
1/2 cup olives
2 tbls capers
S&P

INSTRUCTIONS
1. 1 tbls EVOO in medium pot. medium heat
2. add onion. sauté 5 minutes
3. add garlic. sauté 1 minute
4. add water, lentils, & herbes de Provence. bring to boil
5. lower heat. cover. simmer 30–35 minutes
while lentils are simmering…
6. 2 tbls EVOO in a sauté pan. medium heat
7. add mushrooms. even layer. sauté each side 5 minutes.
remove to plate
…back to the soup
8. add wine to the pot. raise heat to simmer. cook 4 minutes
9. add mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste, olives, & capers to the pot
10. simmer soup 5–10 minutes. season with S&P

serves 4

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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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ARTstrology: Virgo

August 23 – September 22

Helen Frankenthaler, Wisdom, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 94 in. x 112 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Family Collection in honor of Mrs. Galen Roush.
Helen Frankenthaler, Wisdom, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 94 in. x 112 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Family Collection in honor of Mrs. Galen Roush.

Virgo’s your name, logic is your game. Your superpowers are organization, meticulousness, and creative problem solving. But take care, sweet Virgo. You love perfection, but accidents happen. Take a lesson from Helen Frankenthaler, who said “You have to know how to use the accident.”

Virgo 23 agosto – 22 septiembre

Virgo es tu nombre, y la lógica es tu juego. Tus superpoderes son la organización, la meticulosidad y la resolución creativa de problemas. Pero, ten cuidado, Virgo dulce. Te encanta la perfección, pero a veces pasan los accidentes. Toma una lección de Helen Frankenthaler, quien dijo, “Hay que saber cómo usar el accidente.”

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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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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