The Art Files

The Frist's new exhibition featuring Monet, Dalí, Picasso, Van Gogh and more is the best Nashville has had in one place at one time since the Phillips Collection tour. The question is not when you will see this exhibit but how many times will you see this exhibit. It is open now and runs through the end of May.

Monet to Dalí: Modern Masters from the Cleveland Museum of Art, an extraordinary exhibition that brings together more than 75 acclaimed European paintings and sculptures from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Included in this exhibition are key works by many modern masters including Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh. Together, these works illuminate the spirit of innovation and creativity that marks one of the most extraordinary epochs in the history of art.

The chronological presentation of paintings and sculptures in Monet to Dalí demonstrates the way these artists built on each other’s ideas and discoveries while making their own distinctive contributions to the history of art.

This exhibition has been organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Do not miss the Master Art Education gallery. After going through you may want to revisit all you have viewed before hand. It is a fantastic study on how to look at art, and the take-away guide may be a helpful reference to you on your art journey. This room at the Frist continues to be one of the most delightful places in the city of Nashville.

More about Angelo Filomeno next month! Don’t miss him in the Contemporary Gallery. Honestly, with all of this plus the Aaron Douglas works upstairs, I think you may see me there every week. What is in the Frist now is worth a year’s membership!

Down the street at Estel Gallery the Icon: New work by Daniel Lai show runs March 12 – April 12. The opening reception with the artist is set for Saturday, March 15, from 6-9 p.m. Some faces are so iconic everyone knows them. But what’s it like to live in a culture whose icons mean nothing to you – not even a recognizable face? Visit Estel to see burnt canvas art and sculptures by Daniel Lai.

Born and raised in Malaysia and of Chinese decent, Lai journals his experience learning Western culture through art. “My Icon series consists of individuals to whom I was not exposed when growing up in Malaysia. Making their faces recognizable in this contemplative process is a learning experience with a spiritual dimension. It gives me a sense of intimacy with the subjects,” Lai notes. “Their personal stories, as well as their contributions and talents, are experienced spiritually as I transfer their faces onto the canvas.”

Also at Estel Gallery: Punim: New Paintings by WJ Cunningham from March 1-29. The public is invited to the opening reception on Saturday, March 1 from 6-9 p.m.

Cunningham’s latest series shows signs of influence by Egon Schiele in its boldness. While Schiele explored the body, Cunningham exposes the viewer to the face and all it reveals.

Cunningham poses, “If the eyes are the windows to the soul and the face the map of all life lived, who are we and where have we been?” The answers are delivered through combination of a loose yet controlled painting style and subtle color on muted backgrounds.

W.J. Cunningham received a Bachelor of Art Education from the John Herron School of Art and a Master of Science degree with an emphasis on Education and Fine Art from Butler University. Cunningham's work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Scottsdale, Asheville, Memphis, Birmingham, Little Rock and Nashville. Cunningham resides in Madison, Tennessee with his partner of 35 years, Norman.

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