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‘Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern’ highlights a man who shaped New York’s arts scene

The artists are, sadly, mostly men, yet an overarching inclusivity nevertheless exists with respect to nationality, ethnicity, politics and sexual orientation.Created in 1937, this set design for the ballet Filling Station, by Paul Cadmus, is among works on show in Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern.

Printfb If Lincoln Kirstein is known to New Yorkers at all, it is likely for co-founding the New York City Ballet. It’s true that the 20-something Kirstein went to London in 1933 and boldly asked George Balanchine to come choreograph in America, but a new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art shows that Kirstein‘s artistic vision reached far beyond the footlights.“Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern” gathers together photos, paintings, sketches and sculptures championed or collected by Kirstein for the museum in the 1930s and 1940s. Curator Samantha Friedman, who helped mount the exhibit, says Kirstein’s wide-ranging interests helped shape the museum’s direction in its early years.
“Kirstein was prescient in so many ways, in his belief in boundary-crossing between the arts, in his championing of alternative narratives of all kinds,” she tells amNewYork. Among the exhibit’s most arresting works is surrealist Pavel Tchelitchew’s “Hide and Seek,” which may have induced nightmares even for the Brothers Grimm.In the oversized oil, we see a girl climbing a tree, but concealed in the simple scene are children’s heads and body parts, many pared back like drawings in an anatomy text, to reveal circulatory systems or bones. Bernard Perlin’s “The Lovers” likely evokes the opposite emotions, showing a delicate couple, yellowed and foxed like old parchment, embracing in a verdant field beneath a lush blue-black sky.
During World War II, Kirstein traveled through South America acquiring works for the museum’s collection, more than 30 of which are on view here, including “Desolation,” by Argentine artist Raquel Forner, with its echoes of Golgotha on a battlefield, and “Burial of an Illustrious Man,” by Peruvian Mario Urteaga, which captures the frozen musicality of a funeral procession. Kirstein backed numerous photographers, and among the many highlights are Walker Evans shots of 19th-century American houses and Frances Benjamin Johnston’s almost surreal photos documenting the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia.No consideration of Kirstein would be complete without including his ties to dance, and here are sketches for costumes and set designs for various precursors to NYCB, photos of male dancers by George Platt Lynes, and a “Ballet Alphabet” primer authored by Kirstein with drawings by his brother-in-law Paul Cadmus. It is a rich exhibit yet devoid of the flashy centerpiece that might normally anchor such an esoteric collection, and in that sense the show — and Kirstein himself — provides an ideal starting point as MoMA prepares to close for four months starting in mid-June to rethink its approach and add new voices and perspectives.“This embrace of multiplicity remains as crucial now as it was then,” Friedman says, “ensuring that art reflects various viewpoints, and speaks to all audiences.“’Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern’ is on view through June 15 at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 W.53rd St.

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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile visits Staunton, Augusta County

Sixty-five years after the launch of its original Artmobile, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is once again bringing traveling art exhibitions .This state-of-the-art mobile museum and education studio will be in downtown Staunton on Sunday, Feb 24, 12:30-5 p.m. to help celebrate the Opening of the Staunton Augusta Art Centers Annual Juried Youth Art Show that same afternoon, noon-4 p.m.
There is no charge to board the ArtMobile or to visit the Art Center galleries.The ArtMobile will re-locate to the Woodrow Wilson Schools complex for group tours Monday, Feb 25 and Tuesday, Feb. 26, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any groups may make reservations by calling the Art Center at 540-885-2028.
The general public may drop by to view the ArtMobile in the Fishersville complex, 4-6 p.m.
Monday, February 25.Visitors will be invited to board the new Artmobile to view the inaugural exhibition, How Far Can Creativity Take You? VMFA Fellowship Artists, which explores the history and impact of VMFA’s fellowship program, the largest of its kind in the United States.
The Artmobile: Yesterday and todayBeginning in 1953 the original Artmobile program brought art exhibitions and educational programs to colleges, schools, and community organizations across Virginia for 40 years, reaching 2.5 million people.
For many Virginians, this unique art-museum-on-wheels was their first encounter with VMFA. Since then, museums around the country and throughout the world have created their own mobile museum experiences.VMFA discontinued its Artmobile program in the early 1990s. As part of its 2015-20 strategic plan, and a renewed commitment to statewide outreach, museum leadership began exploring ways to bring this beloved program back.
When the Commonwealth offered VMFA an 18-wheel tractor-trailer that includes 640 feet of display space, the museum began working with exhibition design firms Riggs Ward Design of Richmond and Explus Inc. in Sterling to design and fabricate a new and improved version of the Artmobile, equipped with cutting edge technology for 21st-century visitors.“As a statewide art museum we are charged not only with welcoming visitors to our Richmond campus, but also with bringing art and educational programs to all corners of the Commonwealth,” says VMFA Director Alex Nyerges. “VMFA on the Road allows us to significantly extend our reach so that every Virginian has access to authentic works of art and arts-based educational programming regardless of their location or economic status.
It is our hope that VMFA on the Road will transform lives and communities through the creative power of art.”VMFA currently serves nearly 500,000 people beyond its Richmond campus each year through lectures, artist workshops, teacher trainings and traveling exhibitions hosted by more than 1,000 Statewide Partners, including schools, community centers, colleges and universities, libraries, hospitals and museums around the state.
With VMFA on the Road and Lettie Pate Evans Distance Learning Program (Evans 360°), the museum’s new digital outreach initiative, VMFA hopes to reach more than 1 million Virginians each year.

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