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An American in London

An American in London: Whistler and the Thames

May 3–August 17, 2014
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
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American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) arrived in London in 1859 and discovered in its neighborhoods and inhabitants an inexhaustible source of aesthetic inspiration. His images of the city created over the next two decades represent one of his most successful and profound assaults on the contemporary art establishment. In the Sackler’s first major Whistler exhibition, more than seventy works—paintings of famed London sites in Chelsea and along the Thames River, as well as prints and rarely seen drawings, watercolors, and pastels—present a captivating survey of the artist’s unique depictions of a rapidly changing urban environment. The exhibition culminates with some of Whistler’s stunning, iconic nocturnes, including Blue and Gold—Old Battersea Bridge (1872–77).

An American in London: Whistler and the Thames has been organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Exhibition support is generously provided by the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts and the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Additional support for programming is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Kiyochika: Master of the Night (Sackler, March 29–July 27, 2014), an exhibition of Meiji-period woodblock prints, resonates with the Whistler show both in style and substance. As a painter and printmaker, Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847–1915) excelled at atmospheric, moody images of Tokyo after dark—urban nocturnes that, like Whistler’s images of London, adapted earlier artistic methods to reflect a new and shifting reality.


Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota

Public installation: August 18–21, 2014
On view: August 30, 2014–June 7, 2015
Sackler

Japanese performance and installation artist Chiharu Shiota installs a monumental yet intimate work in the Sackler pavilion this summer. Haunted by the traces that the human body leaves behind, the work amasses personal memories of lost individuals and past moments through an accumulation of discarded shoes and notes collected by the artist.

Shiota studied at Kyoto Seike University (Japan), Canberra School of Art, and Universität der Künste in Berlin with Marina Abramovic and Rebecca Horn. Her work has been presented at the Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh, 2013), Birmingham Museum (Alabama, 2012), National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (2007), Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin (2006), and MoMA PS1 (New York City, 2003), as well as the Biennials in Venice, Fukuoka, and Yokohama. Born in Osaka, Japan, Shiota currently lives and works in Berlin. 


Nasta‛liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy

September 13, 2014–March 22, 2015
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Nasta‛liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy is the first exhibition of its kind to focus on nasta‛liq, a calligraphic script that developed in the 14th century in Iran and remains one of the most expressive forms of aesthetic refinement in Persian culture to this day. More than 20 works ranging from 1400 to 1600, the height of nasta‛liq’s development, tell the story of the script’s transformation from a simple conveyer of the written word into an artistic form on its own. The narrative thread emphasizes the achievements of four of the greatest master calligraphers, whose manuscripts and individual folios were and still are appreciated not only for their content, but also for their technical virtuosity and visual quality.

 

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Kiyochika: Master of the Night
Through July 27
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