Guest Blog: The Curated Object

Editorial Staff Art, Furniture & Decorative Arts

As part of our recurring series of guest bloggers (see our earlier feature with Art Inconnu here) we are pleased to introduce Joanne Molina, editorial director of The Curated Object—a non-profit media project that promotes fine and decorative arts exhibitions worldwide. We asked Molina to share a “curated” list of current and upcoming exhibitions that aren’t to be missed!

Exhibition offers a rush most inimitable. If honest, even the modest and demure will admit to the guilty, delicious pleasure of being on display. And perhaps it is because we know this feeling so well that we are drawn to the museum. Derived from the Greek, Mouseiou, it was the special place where the Greek muses were worshipped and adored. And so, placing our treasures in the former seats of divinities, we wait for them to tell us who we are and inspire us to create our pasts and futures. This fall, take time to savor exquisitely exhibited objects in haunts familiar and foreign. From cheeky Cold War displays in Lithuania to the blushes of porcelain goddesses in Charlotte, there is a curated object bound to tickle your fancy. It doesn’t need to be a blockbuster show, just a beautiful one.

“The whole visible universe is but a storehouse of images and signs to which the imagination will give a relative place and value; it is a sort of pasture which the imagination must digest and transform.” —Baudelaire

Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage, Art Institute of Chicago
Life is but a dream—enhanced with photographs and watercolors reimagined by Victorian women whose delicate hands mastered the fantastic art of photocollage. In addition to the albums and pages from collections that come from Europe, Australia, and the United States, visitors will delight in the first public display of the AIC’s own 140-page album attributed to the mysterious Madame B. This exhibition is the first comprehensive unveiling of these fragile pieces. October 10-January 3. 2010.

For All Time: Clocks and Watches from the National Heritage Museum, Lexington, MA
We lose it, we run out of it, and it somehow manages to find us the moment we think we’ve finally shooed it away: time. And clocks, the inanimate watchdogs that gauge the seconds and minutes of our reality, are the stars at the National Heritage Museum. From the Plato clock to the pocket watch, this exhibition takes us on a journey (literally) through time in America, using 95 timepieces from 1650 to 1950. Through February 21, 2010.

Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970, National Gallery of Art, Vilnius
Sputnik and the space race. Diplomatic nightmares? Certainly. But it’s the everyday races—for the lifestyles promised by TV, fashion, transport and technology that shaped the modern world we still haven’t mastered. In this exhibition we revisit the artists, designers, architects, and engineers from the East and the West who, with Videosphere television sets, Vespas, mod disc dresses, and world radio receivers, gave us Icarus’s wings. Through December 6.

Alchemy: Magic, Myth or Science?, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. The Bruce Museum offers visitors an array of images and instruments used by alchemists to create minerals and other specimens. Designed to illuminate the culture that would give birth to modern chemistry, items on view include a 17th century flask for ethereal oils, mortars and pestles, and a Persian wine jar from the 6th-9th century. The piece de resistance is Robert Boyle’s volume, The Skeptical Chymist (1661).  Through January 3, 2010.

Faces & Flowers: Painting on Lenox China, Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Bone china is the canvas. And the enamel and gold decoration only frames the highlight of this exhibition—the artistry of the premiere porcelain painters hired by Walter Scott Lenox when he started his namesake company in 1889. Visitors can experience 70 objects with the soft, feminine faces and landscapes captured by the deft hands of Bruno Geyer (Austrian, active late 19th – early 20th century), William Morley (British, c. 1869-1934), and Sturgis Laurence (American, 1870-1961), artists who ensured that Lenox would become the first American porcelain company used by a U.S. president. Through January 30, 2010.

Glittering Glass II: 1500 Years of European Glass, Gemeentemuseum den Haag
Its proper name is applied decoration. But those who examine the enameling, cutting, diamond-point engraving, wheel engraving, and stipple engraving on each glass goblet, cup, and vessel in this exhibition will find that a better term for these techniques is magic. Harnessing the craft of 16th century Venetian glassmakers, as well as the art of calligraphy, each piece bears witness to why the museum’s collection is one of the most important in the Netherlands. Through November 11.

Museums in Miniature: Works by Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla
Connected by four-cornered construction, but truly bound by mischief and melancholy, are the collages, assemblages, and staged tableaux of Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp. Works such as Duchamp’s The Green Box (1934) and a version of his Boîte-en-valise (1942-54) along with Cornell’s Untitled (Grand Hôtel des Alpes) (1957) and Pink Chateau (1944) ask visitors to ponder the nature of an exhibition space, its world and its boundaries—both psychical and physical. Through January 31, 2010.

Finnish Jewelry: 1600-2009, Design Museum, Helsinki
Jewelry lends more than a bit of sparkle—its story is always personal and public. So what better way to explore a chapter of the cultural history of Finland? Fabergé jewelry from St. Petersburg, Eva Gyldén cameos from the 1920s, Björn Weckström’s Lapponia jewelry from the 1960s and contemporary conceptual art jewelry all offer rare glimpses into the heart of this nation. October 16-January 24, 2010.

American Beauty: Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion, Museum at FIT, New York
Is there a philosophy of frocks? The 75 looks selected by Curator Patricia Mears answer yes in the first exhibition to explore how the “philosophy of beauty” is allied to the craft of dressmaking. Both high- and low- priced pieces from approximately 25 American fashion designers spanning more than 100 years were selected on the basis of technical know-how, as well as their vision of beauty. Rick Owens, Ralph Rucci, Isabel Toledo and Yeohlee are a few of the fortunate. November 6 – April 10, 2010.
Images from above:
Untitled page from the Sackville-West Album, 1867-1973. Courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago; Father Time shelf clock by E.N. Welch Manufacturing Company, c.1890. Courtesy of National Heritage Museum; Videosphere television set, 1970. Courtesy of National Gallery of Art; Mortar and pestal, probably Northern Netherlands, possibly 17th century. Courtesy of Bruce Museum;  Carnations plate by Bruno Geyer, made by Ceramic Art Company, c. 1905-1906. Courtesy of Mint Museum of Art; Römer, the Netherlands or Germany, 1660. Courtesy of Gemeentemuseum den Haag; Pink Chateau by Joseph Cornell, 1944. Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Cameo by Eva Gyldén, 1929. Courtesy of Design Museum; Infanta gown by Ralph Rucci, fall 2004. Courtesy of Museum at FIT.