The Hunter Museum of American Art announces the opening of two complementary special exhibitions featuring visually appealing and culturally distinct artworks. Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in picturesque European landscapes with the exhibition Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection and engage with the enthralling, layered photographs of the internationally renowned, Moroccan-born artist Lalla Essaydi in the exhibition Lalla Essaydi, said officials. Both exhibitions will open Friday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m. and remain on view through Jan. 9, 2022.
Review for the exhibits:
Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection examines an artistic style that emerged in the 19th and early 20th centuries as many American artists began travelling to the Mediterranean region, including Italy, Spain, the Middle East, and North Africa, to refine their painting techniques and find new sources of inspiration. Focusing on the unique flora, warm light, bright blue sea, and regionally distinct architectural elements of the region, American artists captured the diversity and rich cultural history of the Mediterranean. Stylistically, American artists contrasted with the European academic traditions of the time, by emphasizing light and color along with loose brushwork. Artists featured in the exhibition include George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894), William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), Frank Duveneck (1849-1919), and Theodore Robinson (1852-1896). Mediterranea was organized by the Graham D. Williford Collection of Fairfield, Texas, and is generously sponsored by The Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust.
The exhibition Lalla Essaydi features photographs by internationally renowned artist Lalla Essaydi (b.1956), whose work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and The British National Museum in London, among others. She grew up in Marrakesh, Morocco, studied in Paris, moved to Saudi Arabia, continued her education in Boston, and then settled in New York, giving her a wide range of life experiences. During Ms. Essaydi’s studies in Paris, she was drawn to the 19th century Orientalist tradition of painting seductive female nudes. In her work, Ms. Essaydi responds to this traditional alluring imagery. Creating elaborately staged and layered photographs incorporating traditional Arabic architecture and calligraphy, Ms. Essaydi challenges assumptions made about Arab women. The exhibition also explores the lenses through which Westerners view the Middle East, and how that view affects both cultures. The literal and metaphorical layers of Ms. Essaydi’s photographs invite reflection as they challenge stereotypes. Lalla Essaydi was organized by the Hunter Museum of American Art. Promotion of the exhibition is supported by a grant from Chattanooga Tourism Company.
The Hunter Museum will also host events, including a discussion panel and workshops exploring in more depth the social and cultural issues central to the art featured in the special exhibitions, creating a unique cross-cultural experience for audiences. Visit www.huntermuseum.org for a complete list of exhibition-related events.