OU Museum of Art: “An Academic Treasure Trove”

I have always loved Japanese art. So, when I learned that my Asian Politics class was attending the OU Museum of Art’s Japanese art exhibition as part of learning about Japanese history and culture—I freaked. Two things I love had come together: learning and art.

Yoshida's woodcut "Sending Boats" series especially stood out to Jacob Tadych '14 in Dr. Steen's Japanese Literature class. WHY?

Yoshida’s woodcut “Sending Boats” series especially stood out to me. The series of images depicts the life of traditional Japanese fishermen from the same perspective during different times of day.

Both my class, taught by Dr. Stephen Herschler, and Dr. Robert Steen’s Japanese  Literature class took full advantage of having the exhibition right here on our campus at the beginning of this semester. Jiki to Hanga: Japanese Porcelain and Prints helped our classes see art as a reflection of a culture and current events, and to explore how art is a means through which cultures can exchange ideas with one another.

“Learning is more effective when it is attached to the real world and becomes not just theoretical but experiential as well,” said Dr. Herschler. “It was an incredible opportunity…(and) a truly fabulous way for the Asian Politics class to start the semester, using art to learn about not just different cultures but also philosophy, international commerce, and politics as reflected in the techniques, materials, and aesthetics of specific artistic works.”

Porcelain detail: Artist unknown. Arita, Japan, late 17th century. Collection of Oglethorpe University. Gift of Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson.

Porcelain detail: Artist unknown. Arita, Japan, late 17th century. Collection of Oglethorpe University. Gift of Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson.

Some of the porcelain pieces on view, for example, showed how Western culture influenced Eastern culture. Traditional Japanese art forms are stoic and minimalistic, but that contrasted with the vibrant pieces created by the Japanese for Westerners to display in their Victorian era households.

The displayed works by master printmaker Hiroshi Yoshida gave students a snapshot of Japanese culture in transition from a feudalistic society to the current industrial power. His use of traditional Japanese woodcuts and the European oil and watercolor painting techniques shows the balancing act that resulted from the mash of cultural ideals following WWII. Yoshida’s works are traditional in their minimalism, but also very impactful in that the cultural transition is gently introduced to the viewer. Most prints in the exhibit showed very traditional scenes, like Mount Fuji and shrines or fishermen on sailboats throughout the day, while others showed the shops at night seeming to suggest the beginning of using electric lights by the intensity of the shadows and the use of Western techniques.

Dr. Steen’s class was studying post WWII Japanese literature, coinciding with the time period of the Yoshida prints. His class used the exhibit as context for discussing the cultural transitions in Japan at that time and the effects on the country’s literature. “Art tells stories and I have my students write about those stories,” said Dr. Steen, who uses the themes of memory, cultural identity and travel to relate the texts back to differences in perspective. “There are many ways to make connections to the ideas that we talk about in class, even if they aren’t directly related.”

Elizabeth Peterson, the director of the OU Museum of Art, is thrilled that the classes were able to use the exhibit to compliment their classroom curriculum. “This is precisely why universities have museums—as more than a lovely place to visit—it’s an academic treasure trove for students.”

Dr. Herschler's Asian Politics Class with Dr. Terry Taylor.

Dr. Herschler’s Asian Politics class pictured with Dr. Terry Taylor, who loaned the Yoshida woodcuts to OUMA for the exhibition. Dr. Taylor gave a lecture to the class about the dedication required by Yoshida to create the woodcuts—all of which came from a selected single piece of wood.

OU Museum of Art Now Hosting Three New Exhibitions

Fernand Léger: Fétes de la faim or Feast of Hunger lithograph on display in the Oglethorpe Museum of Art

Fernand Léger: Fétes de la faim or Feast of Hunger lithograph on display in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Life-long learners, students and art lovers should be sure to check out the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art’s three new exhibitions, now on view through December 8, 2013:

The 20th Century Modern Masters exhibition features more than 80 works by three of the 20th century’s modernist leaders. The lithographs, etchings and aquatints on display were inspired by collaborations or interpretations of major literary works by post WWII writers and poets. Each work on display introduces visitors to rhythmic beauty in function and form and gives insight into the artist’s thought process concerning life and literature.

hugo13

An artist’s rendition of Victor Hugo.

The French political activist Victor Hugo is best known for his books Les Miserables and Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). His literature and discourse has since inspired many an artist to celebrate the life and abilities of this literary master. This exhibition is on display in the Center Gallery and features drawings, prints and sculptures by a variety of artists.Most notable among these artists are Jean-François Raffaëlli and Frederick Hendrik Kaemmerer, who were both students of Jean-Léon Gerôme.

Christmas comes early this year at OUMA with Haddon Sundblom’s Santa Paintings. Sundblom is responsible for the quintessential look of The Coca-Cola Company‘s seasonal Santa style, inspired by Clement Clarke Moore 1822 poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas“. His paintings of the jolly and plump Santa we know today were created between the 1930s and 1950s. Sundblom also is known for creating the “Quaker Man” for Quaker Oats and did work for Maxwell House, Colgate, Palmolive and Nabisco.

The Coca-Cola Company presents Haddon Sundblom's art.

Haddon Sundblom’s Santa, now on exhibit courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company.

A Wednesday Lecture Series also accompanies the exhibitions:

  • September 25, 7 p.m. “’Crommelynck’s Le Cocu Magnifique (The Magnificent Cuckold)’ illustrated by Picasso and Robert Andrew Parker,” by Dr. Jay Lutz, Professor of French, Oglethorpe University
  • October 2, 7 p.m. “Victor Hugo and French Romanticism” by Mr. John Daniel Tilford, Collections Manager, OU Museum of Art.
  • October 16, 7 p.m. “Léger, Le Corbusier, Italian Futurists, Machines, and the Dynamic City” by Dr. Jeffrey Collins, Assistant Professor of Art History, Oglethorpe University.
  • November 6, 7 p.m. “Léger’s Modernist Take on Rimbaud’s Illuminations” by Dr. Jay Lutz, Professor of French, Oglethorpe University.
  • November 20, 7 p.m. “Georges Braque Paintings and Prints” by Ms. Renée Maurer, Assistant Curator, The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.
  • December 4, 7 p.m. “Keeping Christmas: From Pagan to Puritan to Popular Culture” by Ms. Elizabeth Peterson, Director, OU Museum of Art.

View the first lecture,”The Right and Left Bank of Parisian Artists: The Bateau Lavoir and the Ruche,” by OU Professor of French Jay Lutz:

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. and closed Mondays and university holidays. General admission is $5; free admission for OUMA members, children under 12 and with a Petrel Pass. For more information, visit museum.oglethorpe.edu or call 404-364-8555.

OU Museum of Art Now Exhibiting “Jiki to Hanga: Japanese Porcelain and Prints”

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is now exhibiting “Jiki to Hanga: Japanese Porcelain and Prints,” featuring 49 color woodcuts and more than 30 porcelain and earthenware objects. Twenty-eight woodcuts are by shin-hanga style master printmaker Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950). The exhibition runs through Sunday, August 25, 2013.

The Yoshida prints and several others are on loan, courtesy of Dr. and Mrs. Terry Taylor. The Japanese porcelain and earthenware displayed include 18th century Kakeimon ware and 19th century Imari vessels and other Japanese ephemera. These objects are part of a generous gift from Ms. Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson, the granddaughter of esteemed former Oglethorpe University President Thornwell Jacobs.

Several objects from OUMA’s permanent collection are also on view, including a 14th century Amitabha Buddha of the Kamakura period and Utagawa Hiroshige prints given in memory of Dr. Ronald Carlisle, beloved OU professor. Haiku, bi-lingual essays and calligraphy by the children of Seigakuin Atlanta International School are exhibited in the center gallery.

Hiroshi Yoshida, Sending Boats, detail

“Jiki to Hanga is inspired by regional collectors who have a keen interest in supporting Oglethorpe University and arts and culture in the Atlanta metro area,” said Elizabeth Peterson, director of OU Museum of Art. “Furthermore, Oglethorpe offers a thriving Japanese program, has a growing international student population, and has a historical connection to Seigakuin Atlanta International School, which once resided on campus. This exhibition is timely, relevant and exciting.”

 

Mark your calendar for the lecture series scheduled in conjunction with the exhibition:

Wednesday, June 12, 7 p.m. “Ikebana – Blending Traditional and Modern Forms,” by Ms. Elaine Jo, Ichiyo Ikebana of Atlanta. A lecture and demonstration regarding the art of Ikebana.

Wednesday, June 19, 7 p.m. “The History of Collecting Japanese Art in Western Culture,” by Mr. John Daniel Tilford, Collections Manager, OU Museum of Art. A chronological study of Western collectors of Japanese art beginning in the mid 19th century.

Artist unknown. Arita, Japan, late 17th century. Collection of Oglethorpe University. Gift of Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson.

Wednesday, June 26, 7 p.m. “The Genius of Hiroshi Yoshida,” by Dr. Robert Steen, Oglethorpe University Professor of Japanese Language and Literature. A lecture regarding Yoshida’s life, work, travel, and the interplay of language, culture and landscape imagery.

Wednesday, July 10, 7 p.m. “US/Japan Joint Educational Endeavor in Atlanta – Raising Global Citizens Who Are Peacemakers,” by Ms. Minako Oki Ahearn, Principal of the Seigakuin Atlanta International School. A lecture about the education of Japanese American children in Georgia.

Wednesday, July 17, 7 p.m. “History and Methods of Color Woodcut,” by Ms. Elizabeth Peterson, Director, OU Museum of Art. A lecture exploring the European and Asian origin of color woodcut and the techniques and process of printing in this traditional media.

Wednesday, July 24, 7 p.m. “Shibumi: Elegant Simplicity in Japanese Clay,” by Mr. Roderick A. Hardy, Owner, Hardy & Halpern Appraisers. A lecture regarding the Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson Collection of Japanese porcelain.

The exhibition is supported by The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, the Japan Foundation (New York), and the Georgia Council for the Arts. OUMA is open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members or with a Petrel Pass. More information: museum.oglethorpe.edu.

 

Oglethorpe Helps Veterans Transition to College

“Challenges of Going from the War Zone to the Classroom”, a recent story on NPR News, addressed the challenges faced by former service members as they transition from military life to college life. Oglethorpe University is proud to be named to the 2013 list of Top Military Friendly Schools and to be a Yellow Ribbon institution. Oglethorpe has designed programs and services to help make veterans’ transition seamless and to help build a foundation for a successful education and career.

Oglethorpe’s Adult Degree Program is the perfect fit for returning service members. The flexibility of the Adult Degree Program allows veterans to pursue their education at their own pace. Classes are available during the day, evenings, and on weekends, with no minimum course-load required. Students may easily transfer college credit earned at other institutions.

Attending college as an adult and veteran can include a mixture of emotions and Oglethorpe’s family atmosphere allows students to form personal connections with their professors and their fellow students. Small class sizes provide the opportunity for adult students to benefit from thought-provoking discussion and have their voice heard. Adult students bring unique life experiences and skills to class, and they will find an atmosphere conducive to sharing and learning.Veterans can expect to share their class time with other adults who take their education seriously.

Oglethorpe’s Academic Success Center provides support services for all students, and its staff members are there to answer questions and help with any academic needs Services include academic advising, disability accommodations and writing assistance. An on-campus counseling center provides a variety of individual, group, emergency, and outreach services designed to meet the specific needs of every student.

Oglethorpe’s commitment to veterans extends beyond the classroom, and our student-veterans and their supporters are active on campus. Here are just a few examples:

  • During the week of Veterans’ Day, Oglethorpe is hosting a series of events called “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans.” These events, including lectures, panel discussions and a movie screening, give veterans and the community the chance to learn more and share their personal experiences about serving.
  • The student-run OU Veterans’ Club is an active group that provides support and advocacy for former service members and sponsors numerous events to honor veterans. Recently the club constructed and installed huge yellow ribbons to display at Oglethorpe’s front gate during the period around Veteran’s Day.
  • The fall 2012 exhibition at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War” which explores the juxtaposition of the American and Vietnamese experience of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.  Jef Palframan ’13, the founder and president of the OU Veterans’ Club and a veteran himself, discussed “Violence, War and Culture: One Soldier’s View” as part of the lecture series in conjunction with the exhibition.

 

  • “War, Peace and Security” a special topics course, was recently taught by politics professor Dr. John Orme.
  • Oglethorpe welcomed the family of fallen soldier U.S. Army Sargeant Lakeshia Bailey for the unveiling of her “hero portrait”, one of over 2500 oil paintings by Utah native Kaziah Hancock. In 2003, Hancock founded Project Compassion, a nonprofit devoted to helping families heal by offering them hand painted oil-on-canvas likenesses of their loved ones.
  • Oglethorpe is proud of alumna Carlissa Carson ’05 who earned a spot on Diplomatic Courier’s “Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders” list for her “creativity, determination, and passion in tackling the world’s critical global challenges.”

If you or a loved one has served our country, or are still serving, and would like to further your education, Oglethorpe has joined forces as a Yellow Ribbon institution. Get the support you need to succeed at one of the 2013 Top Military Friendly Schools. For information on admission, visit our website for adult students or call 404-364-8383.