2022-2023 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture 4 | Jennifer Gross, PhD

Cy Twombly Southern Grandeur and Ancient Myths: Histories Brought to Form

Jennifer R. Gross is an art historian and curator of modern and contemporary art.  Most recently she was the founding Executive Director of the Hauser & Wirth Institute, a not-for-profit institution dedicated to the support of artists’ archives and scholarship.  Previously she was the Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery. 

Past curatorial projects include The Indianapolis ShowcaseDrawing Redefined:  Roni Horn, Esther Klas, Jöelle Tuerlinckx, Richard Tuttle, and Jorinde Voigt, and the travelling exhibitions Richard Artschwager!, and The Societe Anonyme:  Modernism for America.  She is currently curating a retrospective exhibition on the artist and poet Mina Loy for Bowdoin College and a joint exhibition of the work of Ashley Bryan and Paula Wilson for the Colby Museum of Art which will open in the spring of 2023.

Dr. Gross has written extensively on contemporary art. Her most recent essay on Cy Twombly, was commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Getty Museum, for Cy Twombly:  Making Past Present.  Dr. Gross’s lecture will focus on the arc of Cy Twombly’s development as a sculptor. Beginning with his earliest work as a young artist growing up in Virginia, and moving through his longstanding creative engagement with the New York avant-garde, the lecture will present the artist’s journey through the visual field of painting into the engagement with time and space he was able to achieve in his three-dimensional work.  The lecture will highlight the influences of ancient culture he encountered in Greece and Italy subsequent to his move to Rome in 1959.

2022-2023 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture 3 | Mark Tucker

Mind the Gap: The Challenge of Altered Paintings

Mark Tucker is the Neubauer Family Director of Conservation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As the museum’s head paintings conservator between 1985-2015, he oversaw preservation and restoration of the museum’s renowned collection of paintings dating from the 12th century to the present, as well as the historical and technical research on which conservation practice is based.

A frequent collaborator with other scholars on research, treatment, and exhibition projects, he has published and lectured extensively on the conservation and art history of European and American paintings. He is particularly expert on paintings by the American master Thomas Eakins, having led numerous research and treatment projects, including the restoration of The Gross Clinic, the artist’s masterpiece. He co-organized the exhibition to debut the restored painting, and subsequently co-authored the book An Eakins Masterpiece Restored: Seeing “The Gross Clinic” Anew. In his presentation, Mr. Tucker explores a conservator’s look at how paintings change over time, and the challenges of discovering and recovering qualities of original appearance and effect. He will share examples of the gap that opens up between how a painting looked as the fresh, pure expression of the artist’s will and how it comes to look due to alterations over time and the basic challenge of art conservation and the satisfactions that come with better understanding what we see when we look at paintings.

Mark Tucker, The Neubauer Family Director of Conservation, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mark Tucker working on Mermaid (1896) by Edvard Munch.
Oil on canvas, 39 ½ inches × 18 feet 1 ½ inches (100.3 × 552.5 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Accession number 20031-1
Gift of Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson

2022-2023 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture 2 | Michelle Tolini Finamore

Michelle Tolini Finamore, PhD is a Fashion and Design Curator and Historian. She was the Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for 8 years where she curated exhibitions including the groundbreaking Gender Bending Fashion, #techstyle, Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen, and Think Pink. She has written numerous books and articles for both scholarly and popular press such as Hollywood Before Glamour (Palgrave, 2013) and Gaetano Savini: The Man Who Was Brioni (Assouline, 2015).

In this presentation, Michelle Tolini Finamore will give an overview of over two hundred years of fashion and accessories featured in the first Crystal Bridges’ exhibition dedicated to fashion and the first to present American fashion as a powerful emblem of global visual culture amplified by movies, television, red carpets, and social media. From dresses worn by First Ladies to art-inspired garments to iconic fashion moments that defined a generation, Fashioning America conveys uniquely American expressions of innovation, highlights the compelling stories of both designers and wearers that center on opportunity and self-invention, and amplifies the voices of those who are often left out of dominant fashion narratives.

2022-2023 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture 1 | Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan is a landscape architect with an international practice based in London. He is gardens adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, lecturer at New York University (London), president of the London Gardens Trust, editor of The London Gardener and author of several books including The London Town Garden (Yale, 2001) and The London Square (Yale, 2012).

In this presentation, he will reveal some obscure and eccentric English garden-makers who created immensely personal and idiosyncratic gardens between the 17th and 20th centuries. Among the themes he will explore are the building of miniature mountains, the shaping and moving of topiaries, the collecting and displaying of birds and animals, the excavation of caves, the assemblage of architectural fragments, and an Edwardian rebuilding of the Garden of Eden.

2021-2022 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture Seven | Paul B. Redman

We are excited to present Paul B. Redman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Longwood Gardens as our speaker. Mr. Redman will bring us up to date on “Longwood Gardens – Grand Designs.” Paul will speak at our Annual Meeting, Lecture and Luncheon on May 2 at 10:45 AM. This event will be in-person at the Chrysler Museum, Kaufman Theater.

One of the world’s great gardens, Longwood’s story is one of legacy, innovation and stewardship.

Our Gardens are a living expression of all that our founder, Pierre S. du Pont, found inspiring, meaningful and beautiful. From the intricate fountain systems to the meticulous gardens to the architectural grandeur, awe-inspiring discoveries await at every turn.

2021-2022 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture Six | Alex Mann

“Burn the Gondolas: Sargent, Whistler and Modern Art in Venice”

Click here to view our March 23 virtual presentation featuring Alex Mann.

We are pleased to welcome our speaker Crawford Alexander Mann III (Alex), Director of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Curator Telfair Museums, Savannah.  (Mary Ellis Jarvie Lecture)

In the late nineteenth century, countless American artists, writers and tourists flocked to Venice to experience its beautiful setting, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant glassmaking history.  This diverse artistic scene is the subject of a major exhibition currently on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC: Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano. For this lecture, Alex Mann, the creator and curator of this show, will explore how some artists of this era boldly rejected stereotypical Venetian sources of inspiration and sought to develop alternative, modern styles. Could the city of Venice celebrate its history and simultaneously be a capital of modern art, nurturing creativity and originality?

This exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where it will be on view through May 8, 2022, following by presentations at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Mystic Seaport Museum.

2021-2022 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture Five | Mari Carmen Ramírez

“Inverted Strategies: Building a Latin American Art Collection”

Click here to view a recording of the Wednesday, February 23 lecture.

We are pleased to welcome our speaker Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and founding Director, International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The establishment in 2001 of an endowed curatorial department together with a research center focused on Latin American and Latino art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, underscored the financial and ethical commitment of this institution with what was then a rapidly emerging field of scholarship and curatorial expertise. The most salient aspect of this multi-faceted program was the mandate to assemble a brand new collection of modern and contemporary art from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean as well as outstanding examples of US Latino art. Having started near zero, the collection today encompasses over 850 works of twentieth and twenty-first century art in all media by 250 artists. The organization of such a collection, in turn, illustrates both the challenges as well as the rewards at the core of what twenty years ago—particularly from the perspective of mainstream U.S. art museums—was still a rather “risky” field of collecting. In this talk Mari Carmen Ramírez will focus on some of the conceptual and practical issues posed by this collection-building effort while simultaneously introducing the audience to highlights of these unique holdings.

2021-2022 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture Four | Anthea M Hartig

Anthea M. Hartig, PhD.,

“Doing Our Work in a Time of Multiple Pandemics and Cascading Crises”

We look forward to having you join us virtually on Wednesday, January 26th at 11 AM.

We are pleased to welcome our speaker Anthea M. Hartig, PhD., Elizabeth MacMillam Director, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Ms. Hartig will speak to us about the museum’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has put in place two task forces, one on collecting around the current crisis and the other a digital response team to create new content, particularly in the area of K-12 education. During this time, Hartig also coordinated security, facilities and other functions in cooperation with the Smithsonian leadership and other museum directors, which led to the museum’s reopening in May 2021.

2021-2022 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture Three | Scott Rothkopf

(Virtual | This lecture will only be available on November 17th at 11AM.)

Photo Credit – Scott Rudd

Scott Rothkopf will present Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror, currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This show is the most comprehensive retrospective ever devoted to Johns’s art. Featuring his most iconic works along with many others shown for the first time, it comprises a broad range of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures from 1954 to today across two sites. Conceived as a whole but displayed in two distinct parts, the exhibition appears simultaneously here at the Whitney and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, two institutions with which Johns has had long-standing relationships. This unique dual structure draws on the artist’s lifelong fascination with mirroring and doubles, so that each half of the exhibition echoes and reflects the other.

Scott Rothkopf is the Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He joined the Whitney’s staff in 2009 as curator and in that role has served as a curator or co-curator for Glenn Ligon: AMERICA (2011), Wade Guyton OS (2012), Sinister Pop (2012), Singular Visions (2010), Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (2014), America Is Hard to See (2015), Open Plan: Andrea Fraser (2016), Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection (2016), Virginia Overton: Sculpture Gardens (2016), and Laura Owens (2017). Previously, he served as Senior Editor of Artforum.

2021-2022 Norfolk Society of Arts | Lecture Two | Daniel Finamore

Wednesday, October 27 at 11:00 am
(Virtual | This lecture will be available for viewing through our 2021-2022 lecture season.  Click here to view the lecture.)

Daniel Finamore, Associate Director-Exhibitions, The Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History Peabody Essex Museum (Mabel Brown Lecture) presents “In American Waters: The Sea in American Painting” which was recently at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

The sea shapes America, and its painters. For over 200 years, artists have been inspired to capture its beauty, violence, poetry and transformative power in American life. This talk explores the pervasive but underappreciated role the sea has played in American painting – historically, symbolically, and as a symbol of American ambition, opportunity, and invention. Featuring works by known marine specialists like Fitz Henry Lane and James Buttersworth, Finamore also casts his net beyond the tradition of nineteenth-century realism to show how artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Amy Sherald, Paul Cadmus, and Jacob Lawrence use the sea as a source of inspiration and as a symbol of how they see America.