Amherst, MA - The spring 2014 semester at Amherst College's Mead Art Museum promises a range of free public programs for visitors of all ages and every artistic taste, from "Mead-ieval" activities for children to drop-in book club discussions, from contemporary art exhibitions to a series of artists' talks.
The major exhibition, New Arrivals: Modern and Contemporary Additions to the Collection, showcases modern and contemporary works recently acquired by the Mead. Artists featured in the show include legendary pop artist Andy Warhol, American photographer Andres Serrano, and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The exhibition opens Friday, Feb. 14,with a gallery talk at 4:30 p.m. by artist Jacqueline Hayden, whose photographs appear in the show. Hayden is a founding faculty member of Hampshire College's study abroad program in Cuba, and worked with students to complete the first digital photo archive of the old city of Havana, Cuba. All are welcome to attend Hayden's talk and the reception that follows.
The Mead offers afternoon gallery talks on the first Friday of every month from now through June. First up is Bradley Bailey, a curator and teaching fellow at the Mead. Bailey will speak on Friday, Feb. 7, at 4:30 p.m., about Japanese prints in the special installation On the Glorious Stage of Death: The Attack on Port Arthur in Woodblock Prints, which runs from Feb. 7 through April 27. This gallery talk and installation mark the 110th anniversary of the Russo-Japanese War.
Michael Starkman will speak about his photographs in the series Where Nepenthe Flows on Friday, March 7, at 4:30 p.m. Now based in San Francisco, Starkman graduated from Amherst College in 1974. The title of his series alludes to the mythological antidote for sorrow and grief, nepenthe.
On Friday, April 4, at 4:30 p.m., Amherst-based printmaker Katja Oxman speaks about her prints included in New Arrivals. Oxman's graphics have been called "among the most seductive and chromatically lush works in contemporary printmaking."
May's talk takes place on Friday, May 2, at 4:30 p.m., when Patricia Kane, Friends of American Arts Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery, takes a closer look at some of the Mead's masterpieces of early American furniture. Kane received an award in 2013 from the Wunsch Americana Foundation for dedication and contribution to the American arts.
On Friday, June 6, at 4:30 p.m., Hampshire College professor and artist Sandra Matthews gives a talk on her photographs of women in the Mead's exhibition. Matthews is coauthor of Pregnant Pictures, a look at the cultural history of pregnant women in the United States.
A special event is scheduled for Friday, March 28, at 4:30 p.m., when British painter Robert Priseman delivers the lecture No Human Way to Kill: Painting the American Execution. Priseman's paintings in the series American Execution were donated to the Mead in honor of Austin Sarat, a well-known death penalty scholar who is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Amherst. Sarat will lead a discussion following the artist lecture, and the event will conclude with a reception.
From March 18 through August 24 the Mead will present An Unblemished Mirror of Truth: Kyohei Inukai, Robert Brackman, and Portraits of American Tragedy. The portraits in this installation depict the vulnerability of well-to-do Americans such as Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who suffered the kidnapping and murder of their two-year-old son in 1932. The Lindbergh portraits were completed in 1938, and were donated to the Mead in 1954 by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
In March the museum also continues its Sunday afternoon book club, Mead Reads. On Sunday, March 9, at 2 p.m., the public is invited to the Mead for a discussion of Living Well Is the Best Revenge, in which Calvin Tomkins describes the lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy, a couple at the center of a creative and lively group of American expatriates living in France in the 1920s. Their friends included Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Other titles in the quarterly Mead Reads series will be announced later this spring.
Rounding out the Mead's full spring schedule are Family Fun Days held the third Saturday of every month. Family Fun Days offer hands-on activities and story times for children of all ages. Families are welcome to drop in on Saturday Family Fun Days between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each month's activities have a different theme, beginning Feb. 15, with the theme of feasts and medieval life.
Medieval life is also the theme of the Mead's new activity totes for children who visit the museum. Free activity totes filled with costumes, a book, and museum-related activities are always available for kids to use during their museum visit, and feature a different theme every few months. The new "Mead-ieval" totes contain a cape and crown, a puzzle, a scavenger hunt and a copy of Tomie dePaola's picture book The Knight and the Dragon. Kids can curl up with the book in an armchair in the museum's genuine 17th-century English Rotherwas Room.
Kids who love good stories should also stay tuned for the Mead's book club for kids, Mini Mead Reads, which debuts in July.