Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Show us Your Original Photos!

Are you an amateur photographer who would love to share your work with other art lovers? We love seeing your work and would love to feature it on our Facebook page as a featured fan photo! First, become a fan of our Facebook page. Then, send your favorite original photos and information to Kim at This is a fun way to share art between our friends and we are excited to see what you crafty people have to show us! Our very first featured photo was called "Deer" by Melinda Fulk.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Arts Extravaganza!

If you're looking for something creative for your young, artsy child this Holiday season, look no further! Sign your budding artist up for our Holiday Arts Extravaganza for 1st through 4th graders. Campers will spend four afternoons creating original art of all kinds. Here is a peek of some campers from our Summer Art Camp, 2010 to get an idea of all the fun your kids can have this winter!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Genius of Peiser

In honor of our Work of the Week artist this week, Mark Peiser, I would like to share this interesting article, which was written earlier this year and posted on a blog called The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet. It is a Q & A that gives insight into the genius of this glass artist and his amazing work! Also, take a look at the Peiser pieces we have in our Permanent Collection online.

Please click on the link to view the original article. We apologize for having originally re-posted the article in its entirety. Also, visit for more information.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Beauty in Watercolors

One of our current exhibitions, Sallie Middleton: A Life in the Forest, has been hugely popular with many museum-goers, especially locals who have known about her work for many years. Although Sallie passed away in 2009, her legacy continues in her amazingly detailed watercolors of nature. This exhibition will be over in just a few weeks on December, though, so now is the time to come get your fill of Sallie's work, whether you've enjoyed it in previous visits, or if you haven't seen it at all. People often leave our exhibit feeling they have just had a taste of her wonderful work and want to know more! While attempting to learn more about her myself, I ran across a few great resources I would like to share.

Of course, there is her Web site which offers biographical information, anecdotes and an online store.

Here is an oral history as well as some great pictures of the artist from the library at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

In our library at the Museum, we have also acquired the book, The Magical Realm of Sallie Middleton, by Celestine Silby which was published in 1980. Museum guests are welcome to visit our library which is free with a Museum membership or Museum admission.

If you are interested in purchasing some of Sallie Middleton's prints, the Asheville Art Museum Shop is currently selling her Months of the Year series, the Four Seasons series and the Flutter series in sets and individually, which make excellent gifts for the Holiday season!

Come see, Sallie Middleton: A Life in the Forest before it is gone on December 5, 2010!

Friday, November 19, 2010

John Cage Video

Today, while browsing through some of the old documents at the Museum, I stumbled upon this video of John Cage featured on a TV game show in 1960 with host Garry Moore. Here, he is performing one of his avante garde musical pieces called "Water Walk," which involved a number of strange instruments like a bath tub, duck call, watering can and many more. During this time, Cage was teaching an experimental music class at New York City's New School. As you can see, this is a time when Cage's works were quite controversial. John Cage was one of the major creative voices in late 20th century art, both in his own work and his collaborations with Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg.

Three weeks ago, the Museum's Work of the Week featured a musical notation for one Cage's compositions. It's nice to put a face with the art. Enjoy this fun and interesting video! And then look back at his work in the Work of the Week and in our Permanent Collection online.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Holiday Shopping Just Got Better!

With colder weather approaching and the fading of the colorful leaves, the Holidays are now on everyone's minds. But instead of subjecting yourself to crowded malls and last minute shopping, you should consider attending this year's Holiday Market at the Asheville Art Museum!

As with every year, Museum Shop workers have gathered tons of great products from local artists and artisans. We have pottery, beautiful jewelry, wood-turned bowls, candles and so much more! We will also have several book signings by local authors like Jennifer Lipsey, Leo Monohan, and Katie Boyette. Not to mention all of the holiday music, treats, refreshments and beer kegs! It's not just a shopping extravaganza, it's a holiday PARTY!

The Holiday Market begins on Tuesday, November 16 and will run through Sunday, November 21. That's six full days of party and shopping opportunities! On the final day, November 21, we will also have a SunTrust Sunday which means FREE admission to the Museum AND a silent auction where you can bid on some more awesome local products. Plus you will get a chance to meet all of the artists who participated in the Market. Thanks so much to SunTrust Bank for sponsoring this great day!

So, now that you're pumped, tell all your friends about this great event! You will not only be helping out your favorite museum :) but also a lot of local artists! This is a great way to score some unique gifts for your loved ones.

Call us if you have any questions or would like to donate something to our silent auction! 828.253.3227

Plush "Monsters" by Canoo

Jewelry and Candles inspired by nature by Sumner Smith

Wood turned bowls by Jim Cascowski

Pottery by Dawn Dalto

One of the books we will have signed, by Jennifer Lipsey

Thursday, October 21, 2010

MoMA's splendor

Hello Asheville. As a one time writer for this blog and a recent transplant to New York City (well, Brooklyn, technically), I write to you now from this cultured and crazy city. Want to know a little about my museum adventures? well, read on fellow art lovers. read on.

Last week, I had the chance to visit MoMA- twice. As a current student of film preservation and archiving, the Museum of Modern Art has been one of the leaders of film collection, preservation and projection for decades; their approach to film as an art form was unprecedented when they began to collect. Because of this, MoMA has an incredible film collection, which they mostly now keep off site in stable storage. They also have a film study room and quite an extensive archive of ephemeral material related to their films. Scholars and students can request films to screen and comb the archives, all from the comfort of the cozy study room.

Ok, enough about film. The MoMA also has a wonderful contemporary art collection, which you probably know. I traversed the halls and maneuvered through the crowds to bring you some of the jewels on view (my opinion, of course).

My first stop was MoMA's exhibition on kitchen design, Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen. The exhibition traverses the history of kitchen design from efficiency during the war- The Frankfurt Kitchen- to post-war personalization options- Tupperware, new appliances and utensils, etc. which grew out of technological design innovations and expendable incomes. The exhibition then turned to the kitchen as a space for discourse on social and gender roles through art, literature, and performance works. Of course, I went through the circular exhibition backwards, to avert the crowds. It gave me a new perspective, where I began with the social and ended with the practical and historical. It was kind of perfect for me. Plus, they used a lot of audio visual material in the show- television clips, old commercials, art works- which made me happy.

above: Anna and Bernhard Blume's Kitchen Frenzy- where potatoes are used to show the frenzy felt by women stuck in the kitchen (and gendered stereotypes). Sometimes I feel that way when I am studying. It is part of the Kitchen Sink Dramas section, of course.

Waiting for my timed entry to Matisse and Radical Invention exhibition, I hopped over to the Contemporary Art from the Collection exhibition, where watching the people is almost as fun as getting to know the works. Yoko Ono's 1961 Voice Piece for Soprano resides in the foyer, and to the delight of the employees, patrons step up to a microphone and scream at the top of their lungs all day long. As you are looking through the galleries, you can hear yelling and screaming echoing throughout the building. Interesting. And at the entrance to the show is Kara Walker's 1994 piece, Gone, a reaction to African American stereotypes in Gone with the Wind. Just its scale is stunning- which I tried to show you here.

Matisse is not my favorite, but the exhibition they had up, from his period in 1913 back from Morocco to his departure for Nice in 1917, was fascinating in that it pointed out the 'process' noticeable in his art. Patrons can see sketch marks, sculptures side by side which document his progression, and works of experimentation as Matisse is honing his style. I couldn't take any photos of this one, so here is one of my favorite Matisse, because I am a fan of his use of negative space- The Red Studio- where the artworks littering the studio create the foundations for the walls, the floor, the furniture. It is the negative space that fascinates me.

Then through the Paintings and Sculpture Galleries, and the Abstract Expressionist galleries rooms, where all the famous people you would recognize reside. and where all the people huddle around Starry Night, Water Lilies, and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. I stood in front of Georges-Pierre Seurat's Evening, Honfleur for a while, moving closer and further away from it so that I could analyze the dots that not only cover the canvas but also the frame.

One of the gems of my visit was a small gallery located on the bottom floor, Abstract Expressionist New York: Rock Paper Scissors, an offshoot of the larger Abstract Expressionist show, where artists' drawings are positioned next to their sculpture. Here their styles go from 2 to 3D. Louise Nevelson, David Smith, etc. gained new life for me.

On a free Friday night, the crowds can get kind of crazy, so after three hours, I decided it was time to leave. On my way out the door, in a hallway near the toilets I looked over and there was Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. I couldn't help myself and I did what you just don't do in New York- I stopped abruptly. Wyeth in the hallway, and I almost missed it. In that moment, this city is worth all the craziness of crowds and litter and noise and metros. Andrew Wyeth in the hallway and I am the only one who stopped.


Friday, October 1, 2010

A Celebration of 61 Years!

All museums have permanent collections. But what does that really mean? The pieces in a museum’s permanent collection are just that - they are a collection of pieces the museum has acquired and intend to keep. What I have learned is that permanent collections are vital to museums for a variety of reasons. They allow the organization to form goals and collecting strategies to better serve the community in a unique and stimulating way.

Although many may not realize this, the Asheville Art Museum’s Permanent Collection actually consists of more than 2,500 works of art and nearly 5,000 architectural drawings! Like most museums, though, we have a limited amount of space to show our awesome collection in the galleries. We currently are only able to show about 3 percent of our entire collection. In our exhibition, Looking Back: Celebrating 60 Years of Collecting at the Asheville Art Museum, guests are able to see how diverse our Permanent Collection really is. The even more exciting part is you are likely to see something new in the galleries every time you visit because our Executive Director and curators are always rearranging and adding new pieces.

The Asheville Art Museum is dedicated to strategic collecting and considers these goals with each art acquisition. As a whole, the Museum has focused its expertise on 20th and 21st Century American art. It also seeks to include works from local artists and works of significance to Western North Carolina’s culture such as Studio Craft, Black Mountain College and Cherokee artists. We have important photographic pieces of our region and nationwide as well as contemporary photography. Our holdings also include large sculptures, Outsider Art and pieces reflective of the local community.

Many of the pieces in the Permanent Collection are gifts from artists or the families of artists who would like to continue the legacy of the artist and the work. Others are purchased through funds given by gracious benefactors and many are purchased by the Museum or through Museum groups such as the Collector’s Circle and Art Nouveaux.

Now that you know a little more about our Permanent Collection, come experience it in the galleries or view even more at once in our online archive. We also have a Work of the Week featuring information about a different piece from the Permanent Collection each week. We are very proud of our collection and love sharing it with the public! We also thank everyone who has contributed to our growing collection!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Docent Recruitment Photos

In honor of Docent Recruitment Day coming up on September 20, here are some pictures of docent activities throughout the years, just to get a taste of what you might experience as a volunteer docent at the Asheville Art Museum! From summer picnics to craft projects, field trips and holiday luncheons, docents know how to have fun.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Join the Arts Community at the Asheville Art Museum as a Docent!

We’re getting ready for Docent Recruitment Day here at the Museum and we’re trying to get everyone interested! Anyone can be a docent – we have all types of people serving on our docent staff - young, old, teachers, doctors, artists and art lovers. All that’s needed is a passion for the arts and for sharing what you care about!

Docents are an integral part of the Museum staff because they volunteer their time to give informative tours of the Museum to our guests. The word “docent” comes from the Latin “docere,” which means, “to teach.” But don’t be intimidated! Being a docent is easy because you get all the training you need before you start your tours. You don’t need any teaching experience or even any prior knowledge of art before you start, just a willingness to absorb what you learn from training.

Docent training session

If you take the time to talk to any of our docents, most will tell you the experience has been the most rewarding and gratifying of all their volunteering endeavors. In addition to the fun of leading tours, docents also have the opportunity to meet artists, Museum staff and visit local artists’ studios and cultural attractions. Not to mention, you will gain great friendships with your fellow docents, who throw a fun holiday party every winter.

Although the public speaking aspect makes many volunteers nervous in the beginning, they find they are comfortable in the role and thoroughly enjoy the interaction.

Docents are only expected to attend Monday morning trainings two to three times each month and commit to leading tours approximately once each week during the school year. The trainings are extremely thorough and are created to teach docents all they need to know about each exhibition.

Docents are the Museum’s gateway to engaging with our guests personally and connecting them with the Museum and the art itself. If you think this is the perfect role for you, we would love to see you at our Docent Recruitment Day Monday, September 2010 at 10:00 a.m. There will be tasty snacks and more information about being a docent.

You can also talk to Nancy Sokolove, our Adult Programs Manager about this opportunity by calling 828.253.3227, ext 120 or e-mailing

Monday, August 16, 2010

Who is Joseph Albers?

Joseph Albers and Sewell Sillman
explored through two
August 9th through August 22, 2010

From left: Josef Albers,
Formulation: Articulation Folio II, Folder 12, 1972,
serigraph on paper, 15 x 40 inches. Gift of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. 1997.01.05.65L; Josef Albers, Formulation: Articulation Folio II, Folder 18, 1972, serigraph on paper, 15 x 40 inches. Gift of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. Asheville Art Museum Collection. 1997.01.05.65R.

Josef Albers and Sewell Sillman are intimately tied in terms of the artistic lives they led and the work they produced. When Sillman arrived at Black Mountain College, Albers was head of the art department. Initially interested in architecture, Sillman quickly displayed a passion for art under the tutelage of Albers. Sillman and Albers both shared a passion for color studies and were both instrumental in the formulation of Color Theory. Sillman eventually taught many of the courses that he took under Albers.

Sillman also continued to work with Albers through his print publishing firm, Ives-Sillman, founded with fellow Yale professor and graphic designer Norman Ives. Sillman used the knowledge he gained from years of color studies to successfully create color reproductions of fine art works. By focusing on screenprinting as a new medium for reproductions, these two were able to control the quality of their color prints, allowing them to introduce the fine art portfolio book to the United States. Their first and most frequent client was Josef Albers, who entrusted them with the production of two instrumental portfolios: Interaction of Color, a book based on Albers' lessons in color theory, and Formulation: Articulation, a retrospective reworking of some of Albers' greatest artistic achievements.

These two prints, now on display in the Museum's exhibition Sewell Sillman: Pushing Limits, are included in Albers' deluxe double portfolio Formulation: Articulation. Sillman recalled that the purpose of this portfolio was to allow Josef Albers the opportunity to take "every seminal idea that he's ever had and to redevelop it." Sillman was a key collaborator in creating this portfolio, for he helped Albers review his past work and select compositions to reproduce as screenprints.

All of the works in the Museum's Collection from Albers' portfolio, Formulation: Articulation, are now up on the Permanent Collection Archive.

Come in to see Sewell Sillman: Pushing Limits, which traverses the breadth of Sillman's career as a student, a businessman, a teacher, a collaborator, an artist and a friend.

Image: Eugenia Joyce, Sewell Sillman, Josef Albers, and Norman Ives at the completion of the Formulation: Articulation project in 1972. Photo by John Hill, Collection of James McNair.