Unique Cheekwood exhibit looks at ‘Love’

Artists and poets were the rock stars of the 19th century, and art exhibits like the 1863 Salon des Refuses in Paris had the power to literally revolutionize human consciousness by challenging the parameter of perception and social awareness. Then art outright exploded in the 20th century as we were catapulted from Cubism to Bauhaus to Dada to Abstract to Deconstructivism to Multi Media installations.

No sooner had humans accepted some new tangent, then along comes Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Bobb Goldsteinn—and folks are standing in front of a canvass splattered with paint, a painting of soup cans or a wall of 1,000 mini television screens all showing the same image. For decades we were jolted.What? Is that art? This is what we said to ourselves and to one another. But by the end of the century we were pretty numb. Oh, more art, we'd say. Between that attitude and a late 20th century media meteor shower and the sensory overload it unleashed on us, art exhibitions lost some of their oomph.

Cheekwood continues to bring innovative and engaging exhibits to Nashville and its latest offering finds itself set against a relative time in history. More Love: Art, Politics and sharing since the 1990s could put art exhibitions back on the GPS of cultural and philosophical tourists, or at the very least end up in their hearts.

More Love is an astounding exhibition curated by Claire Schneider for the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill and features 45 works by 33 different artists working within the time frame of the last 25 years. It also comes with a 240-page hard cover catalogue that could easily serve as the text for a graduate seminar in the philosophy of art at Harvard.

More Love, which premiered at the Ackland earlier this year, opens at Cheekwood on September 20 and runs through January 5, 2014. After that it will not travel any further, so in that 19th century spirit which fueled the impact of an art exhibit, the world, which needs to experience more love, will now have to come to Nashville.

If your idea of an art show is paintings in frames on a wall, be prepared for something else. More Love "explores the deep human need for connecting in a world changed by gender and sexual politics, technology and global capitalization."

One example of what folks who make this pilgrimage can expect is an interactive exhibit from Yoko Ono which involves having your picture taken with someone you love. The pictures will be added to the exhibition, so the exhibition will exponentially increase based on the number of folks who participate in Yoko's work.

Another out of the box participatory work is Lee Walton's "This Saturday from Noon to One, a family will view the exhibition." Just like it says, each Saturday a different family will be documented visiting the exhibit with a portrait, which will serve as a record of the exhibition. Families interested in participating should visit the work's website at leewalton.com/cheekwood.html

Cheekwood and Nashville are taking their place in the art world limelight thanks in large part to the relationship between two curators - Claire Schneider, who was the consulting curator for the initial exhibition in Chapel Hill, and Jochen Wierich, the Cheekwood’s art curator. The two have worked together in the past and when More Love came on Mr. Wierich's radar, he stepped in to negotiate bringing the exhibit to the Cheekwood's Museum of Art.

“In the 1960s, the call for love was revolutionary and built around unity; today, it is more of an idealized plea than a movement,” said guest curator Claire Schneider. “This exhibition explores love as an undercurrent in a culture of people overloaded with ways to connect but still wrestling with isolation. I wanted to examine love, personal relationships, and community engagement through the lens of contemporary art. What has changed in the political, economic, technological, and co-production aspects of our world in the last twenty years to affect the way we interact with others? My goal was to show love’s complexity as well as its transformative power.”

Curators are, on the whole, a modest lot when it comes to the public eye, but the curator makes the exhibition and in this case Schneider and Wierich deserve recognition for forging this important partnership.

An additional treat for those who attend More Love before November 10 is the opportunity to enjoy Cheekwood's current offering, Bruce Munro's Light.

Get involved with More Love

Cheekwood invites members of the Nashville community to play an unexpected role in More Love, a groundbreaking contemporary art exhibition scheduled to open at the botanical garden and museum of art on September 20.

Artist Rivane Neuenschwander’s piece, entitled First Love, will be created for this exhibition from the individual memories and personal histories of its audience. Participants are invited to set up appointments during the exhibition’s first four weekends to meet with one of two professional forensic artists. During this one-on-one meeting, the visitor will be asked to describe the physical characteristics of his or her first love from memory; the resulting collection of sketches will then be displayed in the Museum of Art as a part of the More Love exhibition.

The interview process takes up to two hours and includes the aid of an FBI identification book and questions that may be surprisingly difficult to answer – e.g. How far apart were her eyes? How wide was his chin? As each participant must reflect on their own personal history, they may find themselves feeling doubt, guilt, joy, and/or sorrow as memory stirs emotions old and new. In First Love, the artist challenges our memory in other ways, too – who was your “first love,” and are you rewriting your own history? For Neuenschwander, love is a tool for investigating knowledge and time.

To schedule an appointment with a sketch artist, participants should send an email to firstlove@cheekwood.org with their name, contact information, and preferred time slot. Each appointment takes approximately two hours; schedule is as follows:

Friday, September 20, 9:30 – 11:30am, 12:30 – 4:30pm

Alice Bendig, Forensic Sketch Artist, Bartlett, Illinois

Saturday, September 21, 9:30 – 11:30am12:30-4:30pm

Alice Bendig

Saturday, September 28, 9:30 – 11:30am, 12:30 – 4:30pm

Phil Cicero, Composite Sketch Artist, Nashville

Saturday, October 5, 9:30 – 11:30am, 12:30 – 4:30pm

Phil Cicero

Saturday, October 12, 9:30 – 11:30am, 12:30 – 4:30pm

Artist TBD


Visit the Cheekwood online at cheekwood.org for tickets and more details.

credit:Tracey Emin’s More Love 2010 

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