New Special Exhibitions Now Open at the Gibbes Museum of Art

Nikky Finney. Photo by Forrest Clonts

Two new special exhibitions are now on display at the Gibbes Museum of Art.  Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection and A Return to the Grand Tour: Micromosaic Jewels from the Collection of Elizabeth Locke will be on display in galleries 8 and 9 respectively from January 17 – May 3, 2020.

“We’re excited to be showcasing these two impressive exhibitions that will give visitors a sense of women in the arts over many decades,” says Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “Central to Their Lives brings to light the challenges that women faced as artists during the first half of the twentieth century. Contemporary jewelry designer Elizabeth Locke breathes new life into a traditional and nearly lost art form from the nineteenth century with her contemporary settings for historic micromosaic treasures. Both of these exhibitions celebrate women and the masterful pieces they have created.” 

Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection brings together for the first time the paintings and sculptures of 42 diverse female artists who made significant contributions to the art of the South between the late 1890s and early 1960s. Whether working from dedicated studio spaces, in spare rooms at home or on the world stage, the featured artists made remarkable impacts by fostering future generations of artists through instruction, incorporating new aesthetics into the fine arts and challenging the status quo. For photos of Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, visit: http://bit.ly/38bK8C4.

To coincide with the opening of Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, the Gibbes will have related programming complete with tours, book signings and lectures.

  • On Wednesday, January 29 at 1:00pm, Martha Severens will discuss how women persisted against bias and discrimination to develop successful careers in the art world. A book signing and gallery tour will immediately follow the lecture. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2G1WNLD.
  • On Wednesday, February 19 at 6:00pm, the Gibbes will host She Persisted: Women of Letters and the American South featuring Nikky Finney and Michele Moore. Dr. Julia Eichelberger will be the moderator. This event is intended to put southern women writers, past and present, in conversation with the stories and experiences of southern women visual artists. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2Nx6mqg.
  • On Thursday, February 27 at 2:30pm, Amanda Breen, associate curator at the Gibbes Museum of Art, will give a guided tour of the exhibition.

A Return to the Grand Tour: Micromosaic Jewels from the Collection of Elizabeth Locke consists of 92 brilliant examples of micromosaics from the private collection of jewelry designer Elizabeth Locke. Now a lost artform, micromosaics were once popular mementos made into jewelry, boxes, and paper weights, and sold to travelers on their Grand Tour, a travel phenomenon that became part of the social fabric of aristocratic Europe and America  in the late 18 and 19th centuries. The delicate jewels passed out of fashion toward the end of the 19th century. Acclaimed jewelry designer Elizabeth Locke first became fascinated with micromosaics when she lived in Florence, Italy. Years after her sojournin Florence, Locke rediscovered micromosaics at the Portobello market in London. She purchased her first one in 1989—a small rectangle of the Temple of Vesta—and re-set it in her distinctive neoclassical style using hand-hammered 19K gold and cabochon stones. From there her collection grew and now features more than a hundred micromosaics, most of which have been mounted as precious jewels. Some, still in their original packaging, show how they were presented to Grand Tour travelers. For photos of A Return to the Grand Tour: Micromosaic Jewels from the Collection of Elizabeth Locke, visit: http://bit.ly/2TtgWSP

Related programming to coincide with the opening of A Return to the Grand Tour: Micromosaic Jewels from the Collection of Elizabeth Locke includes curator tours and a book club discussion.

  • On Thursday, February 6 at 2:30pm, Sara Arnold, director of curatorial affairs at the Gibbes Museum of Art, will give a guided tour of the exhibition.
  • On Friday, March 13 at 1:00pm, there will be a book club discussion on “A Room with a View” by E.M. Forster. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2toTPhM.

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