January 30, 2003

Five New Exhibits at Johnson

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Cornell has never been at a loss for cultural opportunities. So expect no less from the latest exhibitions found at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. This winter season features a variety of displays that showcase ancient art, modern and historical photography, 20th century drawings, and ambitious flow charts.


Ancient Art and its Afterlife, an amazing compilation of Greek, Roman, Renaissance and Modern art, is one of the greatest highlights of the museum. The exhibit is a demonstration of the ties between modern and ancient art. It invites the viewer to compare ancient techniques with those found throughout the adjoining European Medieval, and Renaissance galleries in order to show how much the later art was influenced by the Greeks and Romans.

Many of the ancient pieces come from the Johnson Museum’s permanent collection, but are rarely put on display for the public. Highlights include coins dating from 650 B.C.E, mosaics from Northern Syria dating back to 450 C.E.., Greek pottery, and Roman sculpture. Put side by side with pieces from the 1500s and later, the resemblance is startling. This is a collection not to be missed, and will run through March 9.


Jumping forward in time, visitors are confronted with the many faces found throughout the19th and 20th centuries. In a collection entitled On the Face of It: Portrait Photography, photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron, William Stillman, and Sally Mann bring together the faces of everyday life and some historical milestones, all clustered together into a single display. This clash of times–portraits of women in 19th century period dress next to Al Gore at the Atlanta Democratic Convention–makes for a striking combination. (through March 23)


American Drawings of the 20th Century is a general sampling of watercolor, ink, charcoal, chalk, pencil, and even crayon pieces created between 1900 and 2000. While there’s no particular theme–you’ll find everything from landscapes to portraits to abstracts–it’s clear to see that the 20th century did not lack for variety and creativity. Look for pieces by early 20th century artists John Martin, Charles Sheeler, and Max Weber, as well as more recent works by Jim Dine, Terry Winters, and Elizabeth Murray. There’s a little something for everyone here. (throughMarch 23)


Finnish artist Salla Tykk