Allen Memorial Art Museum

Allen Memorial Art Museum The AMAM is open to holders of Oberlin College ID cards by appointment with the relevant staff member. The museum will be closed 12/24-1/3. We look forward to being able to open to our members, supporters, and the general public in the coming months.
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Admission to the AMAM is always free. The AMAM has an outstanding collection of over 15,000 works of art – including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings and photographs – that provide a comprehensive overview of the history of art from a variety of cultures. The collection is particularly strong in European and American paintings and sculpture from the 15th century to today, and has important holdings of Asian paintings, scrolls, sculpture and decorative art, including a large group of ukiyo-e prints. The museum also houses the Eva Hesse archives, which includes the artist’s notebooks, diaries, photographs and letters, and is proud to oversee, along with the Art Department, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer/Johnson House. The collection is housed in an impressive Italian Renaissance-style building designed by Cass Gilbert and named after Dr. Dudley Peter Allen, a distinguished 1875 graduate of Oberlin College. In 1977, a gallery for Modern and Contemporary art was added to the Cass Gilbert building. Designed by the architectural firm of Robert Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown, the gallery was funded by Ruth Coates Roush (OC 1934) and dedicated to professor of art Ellen Johnson (OC 1933).

Temporarily closed

01/21/2021
Aw-struck: Considering Cuteness at the Museum

What does it mean to call something “cute”? What can we learn from considering the cuteness of objects in the museum? In this video, Lucy Haskell OC ’20, curatorial assistant in Academic Programs will discuss her installation “Cute,” which explores the significance of cuteness as an aesthetic category through works in the AMAM collection that foreground something soft, sweet, or small— characteristics both charming and vulnerable.

Allen Online events for January 2021 - https://mailchi.mp/oberlin/allen-online-events-for-january-2021Read our newslette...
01/19/2021

Allen Online events for January 2021 - https://mailchi.mp/oberlin/allen-online-events-for-january-2021
Read our newsletter for programs on cuteness as an aesthetic category and depictions of food that advocated for social change in 19th-century America. Subscribe to get monthly museum news sent to your inbox.

In his 1965 Commencement Address to Oberlin College, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the following words: “Al...
01/18/2021

In his 1965 Commencement Address to Oberlin College, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the following words: “All mankind is tied together; all life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We invite you to read the full speech here [https://tinyurl.com/commencementMLK], as we commemorate King’s legacy on this day.

John Wilson (American, 1922-2015), “Martin Luther King, Jr.,” 2002. Etching and aquatint with chine-collé. Museum Friends Fund, 2004.9.

Just around the corner, on February 4, we'll be hosting a webinar featuring Shana Klein, assistant professor of art hist...
01/16/2021
The Most Dangerous Fruit in America - Gastropod

Just around the corner, on February 4, we'll be hosting a webinar featuring Shana Klein, assistant professor of art history at Kent State University! Klein will present a talk titled “Fighting with Fruit: Resisting Slavery and Racism in Still-Life Painting,” in conversation with the Allen's current installation, "How can Museum Labels be Antiracist?"

In anticipation of the event, we invite you to check out this podcast [https://gastropod.com/the-most-dangerous-fruit-in-america/], which features a segment by Klein on the watermelon and its history of racist imagery. The episode also spotlights a wide range of other experts, from evolutionary biologists to food historians to musical acoustics researchers!

And don't forget to register in advance for the webinar, using this link: https://tinyurl.com/y6qex29v.

How did the watermelon get red and sweet, and become the most dangerous—and racist—fruit in America? Plus, how to choose a ripe one!

In this week's #DeepDive, Kevin R. E. Greenwood, Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art, writes:"This spring, the AMAM’s ...
01/13/2021

In this week's #DeepDive, Kevin R. E. Greenwood, Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art, writes:

"This spring, the AMAM’s ongoing exhibition of East Asian decorative arts, 'The Enchantment of the Everyday,' will have some new additions, two of which are spectacular examples of Chinese silk embroidery, an art that involves carefully constructing pictures with complex needlework using silk and metallic threads.

In elite families in late imperial China (ca. 15th to 19th centuries), the practice of embroidery had great significance for women and how they were perceived by society. Among the many duties expected of them, embroidery provided a space for women to demonstrate hard-won skills, creativity, and self-expression. It could even be a source of income in times of hardship. Finally, skill in embroidery was believed to represent a woman’s moral virtue, reflecting her dedication to developing skills that benefited her family.

Girls began learning embroidery at an early age, and before marriage, were expected to master such complex technical skills as executing 13 ordinary stitches and 18 special stitches, working with thread, and preparing frames. They also learned creative skills like layout, design, color combination, and the selection of proper subjects and symbols. While some women certainly considered it a daily drudgery, for others embroidery was a treasured community activity central to their identity, an arena in which they had both authority and control, an attitude reflected in poetry and other writing by women from the period.

Valances like the work shown here are long, horizontal textile panels used in traditional Chinese interiors to hang over doorways, windows, or canopy beds. The rich red color and subject matter of this valance suggest it was made for the bed of a newlywed couple, perhaps even by the bride herself.

In the scene, blue and green rocks, multicolored plants, and magical creatures and events reveal that we are viewing an enchanted garden of wish fulfillment. A goddess and her attendant float down on a cloud, delivering a smiling baby boy to the waiting arms of a man. The goddess stands in for the bride, promising a son who will support his parents in old age and carry on the groom’s family name. The man is the groom, dressed in antique scholar’s robes and shaded by his attendant’s parasol. He balances on the head of a large dragon-carp, a symbol long associated with success. For a scholar, the surest route to wealth, power, and honor was to pass the highest level of the competitive imperial civil service examination. This extraordinary feat was compared to the efforts of the mythical carp, whose perseverance in struggling up a famous waterfall was rewarded through its transformation into a dragon."

At the end of December, the Allen bid farewell to Andrea Gyorody, whose three and a half years as a curator were marked ...
01/08/2021

At the end of December, the Allen bid farewell to Andrea Gyorody, whose three and a half years as a curator were marked by her stellar exhibitions, creative public programs, savvy social media posts, and resourceful contributions to an impressive array of projects. As Ellen Johnson ‘33 Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Andrea curated shows with themes ranging from repetition to movement, to exhibitions focusing on Oberlin’s indelible Ellen Johnson and artist Eva Hesse. For her exhibition “Afterlives of the Black Atlantic” she was a recipient, along with co-curator Matthew Rarey, of a Curatorial Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators. Andrea spearheaded other powerful programs at the Allen including FRONT in Oberlin and the symposium “Creating Space: Curating Black Art Now.” She partnered with faculty to bring artist installations to campus, such as Alexandra Bell and José Rodriguez. Andrea initiated campus talks by notable speakers such as Christina Sharpe, Naima Keith, Niama Safia Sandy, and Lauren Haynes (OC ’05). See our recent Deep Dive post to take a look at some of the acquisitions she made possible during her time as a curator at the AMAM: https://www.facebook.com/allenartmuseum/posts/10157216789017315

Andrea, your creative ideas, quick wit, problem solving skills, and brilliant mind will be missed. Best wishes on your next adventure!

01/07/2021
Looking with Intention

How can looking at art sharpen our ability to deconstruct and understand the complex visual world that surrounds us? In this primer to 'Looking with Intention,' Assistant Curator of Academic Programs Hannah Wirta Kinney helps viewers slow down, deconstruct, and begin to analyze a number of works from the AMAM’s collection in order to help them see films and other forms of popular culture with new nuance.

This video was originally produced in summer 2020 as part of an innovative course, titled 'Cinema and Change: Ritual, Identity, and Coming of Age,' organized by Laura Baudot, Associate Dean of the College and Associate Professor of English, that introduced incoming Oberlin freshmen to liberal arts learning at Oberlin. Through a combination of lectures and small-group discussions, students examined the complex transition from childhood to adulthood as depicted and explored in a range of cinematic genres.

After you’ve attuned your eyes for intentional looking with Hannah’s video, watch the films the students did:

"Call Me by Your Name," dir. Luca Guadagnino (2017)
"American Graffiti," dir. George Lucas (1973)
"Clueless," dir. Amy Heckerling (1995)
"Les Quatre Cents Coups" (The 400 Blows), dir. François Truffaut (1959)
"Pariah," dir. Dee Rees (2011)
"Beasts of the Southern Wild," dir. Benh Zeitlin (2012)
"Presence of Water," dir. Rian Brown-Orso (1999). 28 min.
"Into the Scrum," dir. Rian Brown-Orso (2012). 19 min.
"The Return of Elder Pingree — Memoir of a Departed Mormon," dir. Geoff Pingree (2020)

It’s a perfect way to spend a January at home!

After a peaceful winter shutdown, we're back at work here at the Allen! The museum is once again open by appointment for...
01/04/2021

After a peaceful winter shutdown, we're back at work here at the Allen! The museum is once again open by appointment for holders of Oberlin College ID cards.

Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879–1940), "Flower Gardens in Taora," 1918. Gouache on paper. Friends of Art Fund, 1953.222

The Allen wishes you a Happy Happy New Year!Milton Avery (American, 1885–1965), "Greeting Card: Happy New Year and Thank...
01/01/2021

The Allen wishes you a Happy Happy New Year!

Milton Avery (American, 1885–1965), "Greeting Card: Happy New Year and Thanks a Million, The Avery's," 1946. Gouache on paper. Gift of the Louis and Annette Kaufman Trust, 2016.36.22.

Thank you, Allen community, for another year of your support! The museum will close during winter shutdown from December...
12/24/2020

Thank you, Allen community, for another year of your support! The museum will close during winter shutdown from December 24 to January 4. We look forward to seeing members of the Oberlin College community during the Spring term, and hope to be able to welcome all visitors back through our doors sometime in the coming year! Until then, we wish you safety, warmth, and good cheer!

Anton Mauve (Dutch, 1838–1888), "Snow Storm" ca. 1880. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Morse Woodbury, 1966.17.

Our final #DeepDive of 2020 comes from Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Andrea Gyorody, who is leaving t...
12/23/2020

Our final #DeepDive of 2020 comes from Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Andrea Gyorody, who is leaving the museum today after three and a half years at Oberlin. Gyorody writes:
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“Rather than write a traditional Deep Dive, I thought it would be fun, on my last day at the museum, to share some of the acquisitions of which I’m most proud. Many others share credit for helping to bring these works into the collection, but I’m so happy to have played a part in making these objects—by José Rodríguez, Hannah Wilke, Dawoud Bey, Mercedes Dorame, Michelangelo Lovelace, Derrick Adams, LaToya Ruby Frazier, an unknown photographer, and Henry Ossawa Tanner—a part of Oberlin forever. I very much look forward to returning in the future to see these dear friends, and many more, again.”
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#joserodriguez #hannahwilke #dawoudbey #mercedesdorame #michelangelolovelace #derrickadams #latoyarubyfrazier #henryossawatanner @renabranstengallery @gavinbrownsenterprise @fortgansevoort @pjcohencollection @swanngalleries #allenartmuseum #oberlin #oberlincollege

Image 1: José Rodríguez, “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe. Ain't Gon' Catch Me By The Toe! (aka) Kings Of The Street,” from the series “Kick-Ass Kicks/Take Off Your Eshoes,” 2016–20. Purchased with funds from Carl Read Gerber (OC 1958) and the Carl Gerber Contemporary Art Fund in honor of Andria L. Derstine, and partial gift of the artist, 2020.26A-B. Image 2: Hannah Wilke, “B.C. Series Self-Portrait, July 31, 1990.” Gift of the Marsie, Emanuelle, Damon, and Andrew Scharlatt in honor of Andrea Gyorody. Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, Los Angeles. Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York. Image 3: Dawoud Bey, “Night Coming Tenderly, Black: Untitled #24 (At Lake Erie),” 2017. Museum Friends Fund, 2019.17. Image 4: Mercedes Dorame, “Smoke to Water - Chyaar Paar 'Apuuchen,” 2013. Ruth C. Roush Contemporary Art Fund, 2018.40. Image 5: Michelangelo Lovelace, “These Urban City Streets,” October 2013. Oberlin Friends of Art Fund, 2018.27. Image 6: Derrick Adams, “Woman in Optimum Blue” and “Man in Tidal Blue,” 2017. Carl Gerber Contemporary Art Fund, 2017.45.1-2. Image 7: LaToya Ruby Frazier, “Grandma Ruby's Refrigerator,” 2007. Carl Gerber Contemporary Art Fund, 2018.21. Image 8: Unknown photographer, “Untitled,” mid-20th century. Gift of Peter J. Cohen, 2018.5.28. Image 9: Henry Ossawa Tanner, “Flight into Egypt,” ca. 1910. R. T. Miller Jr. Fund, 2017.41.

A big congratulations to Oberlin students for finishing finals, and for another semester of resilience and accomplishmen...
12/18/2020

A big congratulations to Oberlin students for finishing finals, and for another semester of resilience and accomplishment! We hope you find time to both relax and celebrate over the next few weeks.

Fanny Sanín, (Colombian, b. 1938), "Acrylic No. 1, 2005," 2005. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of the artist in honor of Edward J. Sullivan for his lifelong contributions to the study of Latin American Art, 2015.30.

12/17/2020
A Royal Outing: Conversation of the AMAM's Folding Screen

Discover the history behind "A Royal Outing," an intricate folding screen in the Allen’s collection, which has recently been restored by the National Museum of Korea, in line with efforts to support the preservation of Korean culture around the world. Over the course of two years, the National Museum repaired the screen using traditional Korean methods, after which it was displayed in the museum, drawing over 80,000 visitors even though museum attendance was limited due to the pandemic.

The National Museum of Korea, as part of their "National Museum of Korea (NMK) Overseas Galleries Support Program" provided generous support to conserve this work of art.

Applications for our annual Student Paper Award are now open!The recipient of the award will get the chance to present a...
12/14/2020

Applications for our annual Student Paper Award are now open!

The recipient of the award will get the chance to present a video lecture to AMAM audiences after working with curatorial staff on the final paper and presentation, and will receive a $150 honorarium. Research papers must focus on either a single work of art or a small group of works in the museum’s collection. The video presentation will air on the museum's social media platforms on April 15, as part of the Allen Online series.

Applications are due on March 1; to apply, fill out this google form: tinyurl.com/y3u33nqx

Please share this news with any Oberlin students who might be interested in applying!

If you're interested in learning more about the award, or want guidance on writing your abstract, we will be holding an optional informational workshop on February 18, to answer any questions. Sign up for the workshop in advance, here: tinyurl.com/y2a8cbtg

A free online film festival hosted by the Cooley Gallery at Reed College and curated by Roland Dahwen, their 2020-21 art...
12/10/2020
FROM AFAR—a film festival [Online] - Northwest Film Forum

A free online film festival hosted by the Cooley Gallery at Reed College and curated by Roland Dahwen, their 2020-21 artist-in-residence, launches today.

The festival features the 2019 short film "Atlantiques" by Mati Diop, as well as several other films that, in Dahwen’s words, “vacillate between nonfiction and fiction, defying easy classification, and showing us what we’ve always known: that our rehearsals, our theaters, our fictions, and our imaginaries, are also inherent layers of our realities. The films are specific and individual, at times overt, and more often latent and elusive; they are focused, in unique ways, on personal dignity.”

This online festival is the perfect opportunity for those of you who attended the AMAM's attempted screening of "Atlantiques" in February 2020, which failed due to technical difficulties.

Register for free tickets to the festival here: https://nwfilmforum.org/events/from-afar-a-film-festival-online/
12/10-20/2020

The Cooley Gallery is pleased to announce FROM AFAR, a weeklong film festival organized by Roland Dahwen—artist, filmmaker, and the Cooley Gallery’s Artist-in-Residence during the 2020–2021 academic year. All five films in FROM AFAR will be screened from December 10 to 20, 2020, free of charge...

For this week's #DeepDive, Kevin R.E. Greenwood, Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art writes: "Making the best of thing...
12/09/2020

For this week's #DeepDive, Kevin R.E. Greenwood, Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art writes:

"Making the best of things on a snowy day! This woodblock print by Utagawa Toyoharu is the perfect image for this week’s Deep Dive, as Oberlin emerges from a big snowstorm and power failure. We see a teahouse in 18th century Japan, with people gathered to enjoy the views of newly fallen snow. At the center of the scene, two older gentlemen play 'go,' observed with rapt attention by a younger man and a boy, who slaps his head in amazement at an imminent move. A brazier in the foreground keeps the group warm, along with a pot of heated sake. The single cup on a lacquer stand suggests that there may be a drinking game element to this 'go' competition. To the left of the group, two servers approach, one standing with a tray of food, the other kneeling with a snow-sculpture of a rabbit, or Yukiusagi 雪うさぎ, a winter tradition in Japan. Behind them a young man rolls up a giant snowball, and further back another guest approaches, carrying an umbrella. To the right of the central group is a large screen with a painting of a garden rock and peonies, which bloom in the summer, perhaps reminding the group of warmer seasons. Behind the screen, two warmly dressed women play with a cat, one reclining and smoking a long pipe. The rest of the teahouse stretches back into the distance, and we can see other guests looking out at the snow.

Note the deep space created using one-point perspective, a relatively new technique in Japan at the time. Although Japan’s borders were closed to outsiders, the artistic technique of linear perspective came to Japan in the early 18th century through European books and prints from Dutch traders and a Chinese translation of a European text on perspective. Utagawa Toyoharu, the designer of this print, first gained wide fame for such perspective prints, known as 'uki-e 浮絵,' which were made to be viewed through optical devices that gave them an even greater illusion of depth. While not the first to make such prints, Toyoharu was the first to make them in full color, although this print is somewhat faded. (An impression with more of the original colors can be seen here: https://collections.mfa.org/objects/206677.)

However, history better remembers Toyoharu as the founder of the highly influential Utagawa school of painters and printmakers, famous for artists like Hiroshige, Toyokuni and Kuniyoshi. Trained in Kyoto in the Kanō school of traditional painting, Toyoharu moved to Edo in the early 1760s and by 1768 he had taken the name Toyoharu, taking the Toyo from part of his teacher’s artistic name. The name Utagawa 歌川 that he adopted, according to tradition, was based on the name of the neighborhood in which the artist lived, Utagawa 宇田川, but with the first two characters 'uta 宇田' changed to the more elevated term 'uta 歌,' meaning song or poem."

Image: Utagawa Toyoharu 歌川豊春 (Japanese, ca. 1735–1814), "A Perspective Picture of a Snow-viewing Party (Ukie yukimi shuen no zu 浮絵雪見酒宴之図)," early An'ei 安永 period (1772-81). Color woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper. Mary A. Ainsworth Bequest, 1950.443.

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87 N Main St
Oberlin, OH
44074

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Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

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(440) 775-8665

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We will reopen on August 25, 2020.

Admission to the AMAM is always free and open to the public. The AMAM has an outstanding collection of over 15,000 works of art – including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings and photographs – that provide a comprehensive overview of the history of art from a variety of cultures. The collection is particularly strong in European and American paintings and sculpture from the 15th century to today, and has important holdings of Asian paintings, scrolls, sculpture and decorative art, including a large group of ukiyo-e prints. The museum also houses the Eva Hesse archives, which includes the artist’s notebooks, diaries, photographs and letters, and is proud to oversee, along with the Art Department, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer/Johnson House. The collection is housed in an impressive Italian Renaissance-style building designed by Cass Gilbert and named after Dr. Dudley Peter Allen, a distinguished 1875 graduate of Oberlin College, and whose wife, Elisabeth Severance Allen Prentiss, was a major benefactor to the museum. In 1977, a gallery for Modern and Contemporary art was added to the Cass Gilbert building. Designed by the architectural firm of Robert Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown, the gallery was funded by Ruth Coates Roush (OC 1934) and dedicated to professor of art Ellen Johnson (OC 1933).

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Comments

The temptation is always to run straight towards your goal. Sometimes that works, but often it leaves you wide of the mark, especially in art. This lesson hit me over the head when I was just starting out as a painter when I was a studio art major at Oberlin College. The school's Allen Memorial Art Museum has the most remarkable and troubling painting by the 17th century artist Rubens, The Finding of Erichthonius from 1632. Despite it having been mysteriously cut down in size years later it's still a powerhouse of a painting. At Oberlin I saw it almost daily and I was always a little creeped out by it. Its subject involves the finding of the snake-tailed baby by the three daughters of King Cecrops in a tale from Greek mythology. The story ends badly with the startled daughters driven to madness. I would have preferred to avoid such unpleasantness, but the painting had an odd power to pull me back look at it yet another time. The clashing of opposite qualities can be the engine that drives a painting's energy. Right next to the infant creature one of the unknowing daughters kneels down wearing the most spectacularly painted golden silk dress. Rubens chose a visually spellbinding outfit to lure his viewers in and to heighten the contrast when the baby's tail is revealed. Yet this works of several levels- within the fabric's sheen he created curved patterns of folded cloth that mimic the pose of the baby's tail- they are opposites but this formal link cements what will be a powerful encounter. Philip Koch, Obie '70
Hi AMAM- I have shared a little about some works you have at the Allen. These remarks can be found on the Oberlin Parents Group page. I am wondering if you might want to assist us in this fun and friendly exchange? < https://m.facebook.com/groups/301359100043788?view=permalink&id=1435604679952552&ref=m_notif¬if_t=feedback_reaction_generic>.
Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College was named a Most Astounding University Museum by EDsmart!
Hi, I'm looking for information on the ironic column of venturi ( the wooden one) for an analysis... is it possible to send us mesures of the column, or if you have any plans of it (?) I havn't been able to find anything online or elsewhere. Thank you
hightly recommended!