This Week’s Destinations for Digital Culture: July 1 to 7

Jenamarie Boots Exhibitions

Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon by Jan van Eyck, c. 1428-30. Oil on panel. 8.9 in × 6.5 inches. Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu; photograph courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Ghent.

Museum of Fine Arts Ghent

A new virtual tour of the exhibition Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution is available. This is a rare opportunity, as eight panels of the Ghent Altarpiece are displayed together for the first time in a museum and more than half of Jan van Eyck’s twenty surviving paintings and drawings will also be shown. Learn a bit more about the exhibit before exploring by clicking here. Readers may recall the virtual tour hosted via Facebook earlier this year and will be glad that the new self-guided tour allows visitors to listen to new insights from co-curators Till-Holger Borchert and Frederica Van Dam, while exploring the stunning, high-definition photos of the collection at their own pace. The audio is transcribed for each item and can be accessed by clicking the (+) buttons next to them; be sure to click the magnifying glass icon to expand the images and take in the details.

Illustrated exhibition catalogue of Soul of a Nation: Art in The Age of Black Power. Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Hirsch Gallery.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston, online and onsite through August 30

The MFAH’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Powerexhibition has re-opened. The show focuses on Black artists in America from the 1960s and to the early 1980s, with special emphasis on works connected to the Civil Rights movement. Works made in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are particularly well represented, including the work of Betye Saar, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Roy DeCarava, David Hammons, Lorraine O’Grady, and Faith Ringgold. Visitors going in person are strongly encouraged to review all safety information before visiting and purchase tickets in advance.

For those seeking virtual programming, the MFAH is continuing to produce digital tours and panel discussions related to Soul of a Nation and other exhibitions. They will be released on a rolling basis throughout July and August, so be sure to bookmark the page and check back often! Films related to the exhibition are also being streamed for free during select dates (and available for purchase after those dates have passed). Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things is the next available, beginning July 1; tracing her life from a 1934 talent contest at the Apollo Theater in Harlem onward. Access to the film streams requires a free account created by email registration.

Ardrossan house, Philadelphia, as it appears in the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s video series ICAA Visits.

Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

ICAA has recently completed the first collection in a new series of videos, ICAA Visits. The series is slated to consist of guided tours, featuring new architectural projects as well as public and private historic renovation and preservation projects. The first installment follows ICAA board member Barbara Eberlein through Ardrossan, a historic estate on the Philadelphia Main Line, and the inspiration for the setting of the Broadway play and film, The Philadelphia Story. Neglected for many years, Ardrossan presented unique restoration challenges. The first video consists largely of narration and historical overview of the home and its previous inhabitants. The second offers a more detailed account of the numerous restoration challenges. The third, and final, reflects on the home’s enduring legacy; the career of its architect,  Horace Trumbauer as an architect; and how historic homes offer us new ways of considering and reflecting on our own personal history.

Villa Lewaro, Estate of Madam C.J. Walker, Irvington, NY as it appears in the Google Arts and Culture virtual tour.

Villa Lewaro, Estate of Madam C.J. Walker in Irvington, NY (via Google Arts & Culture)

If your architectural cravings continue to hit hard, a virtual tour of the home of the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker’s Villa Lewaro, may be just what you need. The historic property is not open to the public – having been acquired in 2018 by the New Voices Foundation – but a large portion of the home is on view in this narrated tour. Walker’s great-great granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, provides the narration, which is a combination of history about Walker and details from the home. Transcription of the audio is, unfortunately, not currently supported.

Screenshot of the Glass House webcast Fritz Horstman on Anni Albers featuring Wall Hanging by Albers, 1924.

The Glass House, New Canaan, CT

New among the video offerings from the curators of architect Philip Johnson’s revolutionary house is Fritz Horstman’s discussion of Anni Alber’s contributions to art and design. Albers’s reputation is without parallel – being one of the most important textile artists of the 20th century – and Horstman’s lecture explores her numerous achievments. Highlights from the talk include archival footage of Albers, as well as photographs her iconic and pioneering wall hangings and weavings. Emphasis is given to her time in Connecticut from the 1950s to the end of her life.

Readers may also enjoy joining Nora Wendl for a Zoom talk discussing the co-curation of Edith Farnsworth Reconsidered, a new installation that interprets the interior of Mies Van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, and looks at the way Dr. Edith Farnsworth would have lived there in the early 1950s. The online-talk will take place July 1 at 7 PM EST, and requires registration to attend. A recording will be available on the Glass House’s “Watch” page soon afterward for those who cannot watch live.

Jenamarie Boots