MFA St. Petersburg announces new exhibition in partnership with The Art Bridges

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MFA St. Petersburg announces new exhibition in partnership with The Art Bridges
Mickalene Thomas, Din, une très belle négresse 1, 2012. Rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel 102 x 84 x 2 in. (259.1 x 213.4 x 5.1 cm) Joslyn Art Museum. Museum purchase, Gift of The Sherwood Foundation.

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.- The Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg announced today its participation in the Art Bridges Collection Loan Partnership, an innovative art lending model among museums dedicated to American Art, to showcase eleven nineteenth century, modern, and contemporary works from Joslyn Art Museum. Titled In Dialogue: Unexpected Visual Conversations, the installation will be within the MFA’s collection galleries and on view from August 6, 2022 through June 25, 2023. The intention behind In Dialogue is to use unexpected combinations to inspire visual conversations, foster close looking, and encourage deeper thoughts about the meaning and importance of art.

Featuring major works from the Joslyn Art Museum, In Dialogue will juxtapose these mainly modern or contemporary artworks with works on view from the MFA Collection of world art to inspire contemplation and conversation about art’s layered and nuanced meanings. Accompanied by an additional loan from the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, St. Petersburg, FL, these combinations bring together widely differing stylistic modes, historical periods, and approaches, and are intended to rouse and possibly even provoke visitors, especially those who are accustomed to seeing galleries hung traditionally, chronologically, and according to the art historical canon.

“I’m incredibly excited to participate in the Art Bridges Collection Loan Partnership this year,” said Stanton Thomas, Senior Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the MFA. “The synergies of this collection from the Joslyn Art Museum, combined with MFA’s artwork, creates something that is truly spectacular. In Dialogue is really thought-provoking and serves as an excellent opportunity to see the MFA Collection through fresh eyes. Whether you are looking through the lens of ever-evolving avant-garde art, new critical approaches, or simply exploring these bold, unexpected pairings, this installation is sure to impress.”

These pairings will be accompanied by broad but penetrating questions that explore diverse themes ranging from gender issues to how we memorialize important political figures. For instance, in the MFA’s Welcome Gallery, Chuck Forsman’s Lizard (1987) will be juxtaposed with Thomas Moran’s Florida Landscape (1877). This pairing will allow visitors to ponder how our landscape continually changes due to human intervention and how this impacts our lives, as well as the environment.

Similarly, Al Held’s monumental and boldly abstract Untitled (1964) will be installed adjacent to Carroll Cloar’s nuanced, small-town Pool Room (1960). This combination will explore how Americans tend to think of the second half of the twentieth century as being in the realm of abstraction, though many artists continued to work in a realist mode. Even more daring is the plan to place Mickalene Thomas’s Din, une très belle négresse (2012) in the MFA’s European & American Art, 19th-21st Centuries Galleries, adjacent to Jacques-Émile Blanche’s Contemplation (1883). This will offer viewers a chance to contemplate the resistance and barriers that women historically have experienced, and continue to face, in society.

Finally, the MFA’s Ancient Art Galleries will be the setting for Kon Trubkovich’s I walked to find you gray, a painting of President Ronald Reagan (2019). Here it will hang opposite the Imperial Roman Head of Augustus (c. 25 BC). This pairing will explore the idea of how time and memory alter our impression of political icons, and will allow visitors to ponder the enduring fascination with major public figures across cultures.

The Art Bridges Collection Loan Partnership is a new initiative dedicated to bringing American art out of storage and on view into communities across the U.S. The program aims to increase works of art by BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and women artists, as well as to fill in gaps in museum collections. Additionally, the program will expand access and increase transparency in the process for borrowing artworks among museums of all sizes.

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