Press Room

Museum highlights a pioneering woman photographer

Monday, August 13, 2018

A decade before Walker Evans and James Agee set out to document rural southern people in their book “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” the photographer Doris Ulmann was doing the same thing. So why haven’t most people heard of her? The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia is attempting to cast light on this lesser-known artist with the exhibition “Vernacular Modernism: The Photography of Doris Ulmann,” which opens August 25 and runs through November 18. Organized by the museum’s curator of American art, Sarah Kate Gillespie, it is the first complete retrospective of Ulmann’s work.

Ulmann’s work is decidedly difficult to pin down. She self-identified with the pictorialist movement, though her work does not adhere to many of the principles associated with that style. In addition, she was labeled both as amateur and professional, as she did not rely on photography to make her living but was a recognized photographer in the 1920s and 1930s.

Her images have elements of pictorialism (fine art photography that often blurred its subjects to emphasize atmosphere) and documentary photography, two strains not usually linked. At the same time, it has some overlap with the concerns of modernism: a priority on form and sharp tonal contrast and quality of line. Like the American regionalist artists, Ulmann also maintained a strong interest in the idea of a “usable past,” a shared American culture that continued to shape the present.

In some ways, her body of work can be divided in half: those portraits done of sitters in her Upper East Side apartment-turned-studio, and those created on the road and on location in rural areas such as Appalachia, Louisiana and South Carolina. Ulmann liked to create multiple exposures of her sitters in different poses or environments in an attempt to showcase their true nature, whether they were New York writers, Appalachian weavers or medical faculty. In 1933, she collaborated with author Julia Peterkin on “Roll, Jordan, Roll,” a book of photographs and essays on rural southern African Americans, including many Gullah people. The project predated many later combinations of portrait photography and essays focusing on rural people, like “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.”

One common thread in her work is Ulmann’s desire to portray the personality and experience of each sitter. In the foreword for her second book of portraits, “A Book of Portraits of the Faculty of the Medical Department of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,” Ulmann wrote, “The author’s conception of a book of portraits is a volume in which the portraits grasp enough of the dominant character and outstanding personality of the individual to make verbal delineation superfluous. . . . In these portraits the aim has been to express as much as possible of the individuality and character of each member of the faculty.” She also made special efforts to photograph professional women and African Americans throughout her career, an unusual tendency at the time.

Gillespie has been studying Ulmann’s work since before she took her current position at the university, four years ago, and she is excited to share her enthusiasm for it. She said, “Ulmann is an understudied and important photographer, and I am thrilled that the Georgia Museum of Art is showcasing her work in such an extensive manner. I think visitors will be surprised by the variety and depth of her photography.”

The exhibition will consist of approximately 100 photographs by Ulmann as well as related books, crafts and works of art by some of her contemporaries. Additionally, the museum will publish a 200-page hardcover book by Gillespie that includes an analysis of Ulmann’s photography from her early work up until her premature death. It will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop, from Avid Bookshop or online from Amazon.com.

The exhibition, publication and related programs are generously sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation, the LUBO Fund, Inc., the Southern Humanities Fund, the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art

Related events include:

  • --a Family Day on September 8 from 10 a.m. to noon
  • --a Toddler Tuesday on September 18 at 10 a.m. (register via sagekincaid@uga.edu or 706.542.0448)
  • --public tours with Gillespie on September 26 and October 17 at 2 p.m.
  • --a screening of the film “A Lasting Thing for the World: The Photography of Doris Ulmann” on October 4 at 7 p.m.
  • --a screening of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” on October 11 at 7 p.m.
  • --a talk by Ellen Handy, associate professor of art history at City College of New York and specialist in 19th- and 20th-century photography, on October 12 at 3 p.m.
  • --90 Carlton: Autumn, the museum’s quarterly reception (free for museum members, $5 non-members) on October 19 at 5:30 p.m.
  • --a program of choral and instrumental pieces from Appalachia by Athens Chamber Singers on November 4 at 2 p.m.
  • --a lecture by writer and public historian Elizabeth Catte on November 8 at 5:30 p.m.
  • --and a Teen Studio on November 8 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (email sagekincaid@uga.edu or call 706.542.8863 to reserve a spot).

All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.

###

Writer: Ashlyn Davis, ashlyn.davis25@uga.edu
Contact: Michael Lachowski, 706-542-9078, mlachow@uga.edu

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-1502. For more information, including hours, see georgiamuseum.org or call 706.542.4662.

Back »

Museum to celebrate end of World War I

Thursday, August 9, 2018

This November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, a war unlike any that had preceded it. As modern technology met antiquated military methods, millions died. The War to End All Wars also featured the use of state propaganda on a new and large scale. Posters were a particularly widespread form of propaganda, making a case for action through pictures as well as words. The exhibition “For Home and Country: World War I Posters from the Blum Collection” presents a selection of these images, on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia August 18 through November 18.

Murray Blum, a pioneering entomologist and UGA professor, died in 2015. He and his wife, Nancy Ann Blum, collected these posters and the ones that made up the exhibition “Opera in Print,” on view at the museum earlier this year. Both were part of a large gift to the museum in 2017, and the Blums donated others to UGA’s Special Collections Libraries. Some of the latter make up the exhibition “War of Words: Propaganda of World War I,” on view in the Hargrett Library Gallery at Special Collections through December 14.

William U. Eiland, the museum’s director, and Todd Rivers, chief preparator (and a letterpress printer in his spare time), selected the posters for “For Home and Country” for aesthetic effect. They include examples from Allied Powers France, England and the United States as well as posters from Italy and Germany, which fought on the other side in the war.

Eiland said, “Thanks to the generosity of the Blums, with these vivid and persuasive posters, we not only note the centenary of the end of World War I, but we celebrate as well the end of that quasi-global conflagration of death and destruction. In so doing, we honor the men and women who served in our armed forces, too many of whom died.”

Artists represented include Jean-Jacques Waltz, known as Hansi, a pro-French activist from Alsace. When Waltz was born, this region between France and Germany was under German control, and his artistic mockery of the German authorities landed him in prison several times. He worked as a translator during World War I as well as creating posters that promoted the purchase of war bonds to fund the French military effort. American Alonzo Earl Foringer used Christian symbolism in his poster that encouraged young women to join the Red Cross. In it, a nurse, her face turned to the light, cradles a soldier on a stretcher like Mary holding the crucified Jesus. Frenchman Adrien Barrère used his skills in caricature to mock Emperor Franz-Josef I of Austria-Hungary and Wilhelm II of Germany.

The exhibition is sponsored by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. Related programs include a film series including “The African Queen,” “Paths of Glory” and “Lawrence of Arabia” (all set during World War I), on Thursdays at 7 p.m. beginning August 30; a Toddler Tuesday on October 16 at 10 a.m. (register with sagekincaid@uga.edu or call 706.542.8863 after September 1); a lecture by David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University and Terra Foundation for American Art Visiting Professor at Oxford University, on American art, propaganda and the First World War, on October 18 at 5:30 p.m.; 90 Carlton: Autumn, the museum’s quarterly reception (free for museum members, $5 non-members) on October 19 at 5:30 p.m.; a Family Day on October 20 from 10 a.m. to noon; and a public tour on November 7 at 2 p.m. All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.

###

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-1502. For more information, including hours, see http://www.georgiamuseum.org or call 706-542-4662.

Downloads

Back »

Unique collection of Russian art comes to Georgia

Thursday, July 5, 2018

From Russia to Finland to London to Massachusetts and now to Athens, Georgia, the Belosselsky-Belozersky Collection has traveled the world. The exhibition “One Heart, One Way: The Journey of a Princely Art Collection” (on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia July 21, 2018, to January 6, 2019) will introduce the public to this collection from the family of the Russian Princes Belosselsky-Belozersky, which still belongs to its original owners. Parker Curator of Russian Art Asen Kirin’s expertise was crucial in organizing the exhibition and in presenting this art to the public.

The Belosselsky-Belozersky Collection was formed in the mid-18th century by one of the most notable collectors during the Enlightenment era, the philosopher and poet Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Belosselsky-Belozersky. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Prince Konstantin Esperovich Belosselsky-Belozersky moved the collection, along with the rest of his family estate, to Finland. Finally, in 1951, the entire assembly of works of art and historic documents crossed the Atlantic to be deposited in its American home located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, on the grounds of the large coastal estate established by Richard Teller Crane, the founder of Crane Industries.

These heirlooms date from 1660 to 1952 and include paintings, many of which are portraits, and specific valuable and sentimental objects to the family. The title of the exhibition comes from the Belosselsky-Belozersky family motto, which derives from a quotation from Jeremiah 32:39: “One heart, one way.”

Kirin said “The last two times when a large number of these paintings were on public display were in St. Petersburg, in 1870 and 1905. Several of the works that are now at the Georgia Museum of Art have never been published or seen outside their owners’ home. In contrast, some of the portrait paintings gained fame through publications in the 19th and early 20th century, yet were considered lost in the turmoil of the Bolshevik Revolution. Our exhibition will announce to the international scholarly community and to audiences around the world the survival of the famous paintings and the existence of other highly significant, hitherto unknown works of art belonging to the Belosselsky-Belozersky Collection.”

Programs related to the exhibition include 90 Carlton: Summer, the museum’s quarterly reception (free for museum members, $5 non-members) on July 20 at 5:30 p.m.; a public tour on July 25 at 2 p.m.; a Toddler Tuesday on August 14 at 10 a.m. (free but space is limited; email sagekincaid@uga.edu or call 706.542.0448 after July 1 to reserve a spot); a Family Day on August 18 from 10 a.m. to noon; a lecture by Kirin on August 23 at 5:30 p.m.; and a scholarly symposium on September 21 and 22 that will include both the museum’s Alfred Heber Holbrook Lecture and the Lamar Dodd School of Art’s Shouky Shaheen Distingushed Lecturer in the Arts. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.

The exhibition is sponsored by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Mr. and Mrs. Fritz L. Felchlin, the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.

###

Writer: Savannah Guenthner, savannah.guenthner@uga.edu
Contact: Michael Lachowski, 706-542-9078, mlachow@uga.edu

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia   Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-1502. For more information, including hours, see http://www.georgiamuseum.org or call 706-542-4662.

Back »

Summer 2018

Downloads

Back »

Kurt Wood to play Museum Mix at the Georgia Museum of Art

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will host its summer Museum Mix on June 28, from 8 to 11 p.m., with its galleries open for the late-night art party. Kurt Wood will be playing tunes, and free refreshments and snacks will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.

Wood is best known around town for his regular vinyl sales, which he holds on his porch and in his garage. A long-time record collector, he needs some way to weed out items he no longer considers worthy of inclusion in his library that numbers into the tens of thousands. People travel for miles to dig through his discards, but he’ll be playing some of his favorites at this event. Wood has DJed since his days at WUOG, UGA’s student-run radio station, and also manages the Milledge Avenue Taco Stand.

Wood said, “It has been a long time wish of mine to participate in such a cool event. I am digging through my collection, and I plan to play a set that will hopefully amaze and impress and maybe even get some dancing going among all who attend. Hope to see YOU there!!”

Exhibitions on view include “Bloom Where You’re Planted: The Collection of Deen Day Sanders” and “A Legacy of Giving: C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry.”

Sponsors of the event include Mama’s Boy, Marti’s at Midday, White Tiger Gourmet, Ike & Jane, Amici, Heirloom Cafe and Big City Bread.

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-1502. For more information, including hours, see georgiamuseum.org or call 706-542-4662.

Downloads

Back »