Monday, January 7, 2019

POSING MODERNITY LECTURE at Art Students League January 15

Denise Murrel "Posing Modernity: Curator/Lecturer     
THIS JUST IN: Not to be missed!!! A groundbreaking lecture and discussion on "POSING MODERNITY: THE BLACK MODEL FROM MANET TO MATISSE TO TODAY will be presented by curator/lecturer, DENISE MURREL, at The Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, 2nd floor, at the Art Students League of New York, 215 West 57th Street, Tuesday, January 15th, 6:30-8 pm. Free and Open to the Public.
      The con-currently running  exhibition, POSING MODERNITY, at Columbia University's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, on view through February 20, deconstructs race in western painting and you can hear all about it from the curator herself, at this special discussion at the Art Students League. The exhibition's incarnation is quite interesting.                 Not every student of art history could become the inspiration for an art exhibition, but one such student, Denise Murrel's Thesis indeed inspired the Wallach Art Gallery's POSING MODERNITY exhibition at Columbia University. This awe-inspiring investigative show focuses on a seemingly neglected subject; "How Black people have been pictured across art history."       
William H. Johnson portrait
It all came about when 
inquisitive Columbia University student, Denise Murrel viewed Edouard Manet's Olympia, his brazenly un-idealized take on the odalisque theme. In his rendering a black maidservant is bringing a bouquet of flowers to a naked prostitute who stares directly out at the viewer. What struck Ms. Murrel most about the art instructors discourse was the absence of any reference to the black maidservant. She said, "His neglect to ignore her, to say nothing about her, to not knowledge her presence rendered her invisible."  Image right: William H. Johnson, "Portrait of a Woman with Blue and White Striped Blouse." 1940-42,
      This experience motivated Murrel to find out more about the black figure as portrayed in art. So she embarked on a journey that began was a seminar paper, expanded into her PhD thesis that segued into the exhibition, POSING MODERNITY, at the Wallach Art Gallery, which will be expanded at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris next year.   The exhibition explores the little-known interactions between avant-garde artists in the 19th century Paris and the city's post-abolition community of free black people. Archival
photographs, correspondence, and films shed light on artists' relationships with their models, students, entertainers, and others. HARLEM IN THE 1930's: Includes paintings and  
 prints executed by Henri Matisse before and after his visits to Harlem in the 1930s, portraiture of the Harlem Renaissance; and the influence of these earlier depictions on artists of the post-war period and beyond. Bazille, Nadar, Carpeaux, Bearden, and Ringgold are just a few of he names featured. 
Image: Edouard Manet's Baudelaire's Mistress (Portrait of Jeanne Duval) from 1862 is part of the "Posing Modernity" exhibition, Photo: Csanad Szeszlay(c) The Museum of Fine Art Budapest/Scala/Art Resource NY.
Ta Ta Darlings!!!  I hope this review tantalizes your interest. Attend the lecture on January 15 to hear how the curator/lecturer, Denise Murrel, brought about Posing Modernity to give 'black women in paintings' their due recognition. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click in the right-hand column for the subject that resonates with your interest on fashion, visionary men, women determined to succeed and poetry from the heart. 

1 comment:

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