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Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art Opens Four New Exhibitions
Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Reading, 1888. Oil on panel, 14 ¼ x 18 in. Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Davenport, III 1996.1

NASHVILLE, TN.- Cheekwood held a quadruple opening of contemporary art on March 11 for The American Impressionists in the Garden in the Museum of Art; Virginia Overton’s exhibition in the Temporary Contemporary gallery; Soaps, Flukes & Follies in the Video Installation galleries; and Abstract Visions: 20th Century American Art in the Courtyard Gallery.

Featuring forty paintings and four sculptures, The American Impressionists in the Garden revisits the different kinds of garden settings that inspired American artists working in Europe and in the United States. Many, if not all of the artists, included in this exhibition studied abroad, and while in Europe they depicted the gardens they encountered. Several artists painted gardens in Giverny, home of the noted French Impressionist Claude Monet. Back in the United States, numerous painters turned to the old villages of New England and Long Island for subject matter and a place to summer. The gardens they tended and depicted were old fashioned reflecting the growing fascination with America’s colonial past. Other artists depicted ancient plantation gardens around Charleston, South Carolina, or an adobe walled garden in Taos, New Mexico. Although artists depicted a wide range of subjects, for many, inspiration could be found in their own back yard in the gardens that they created and tended.

Organized by Cheekwood and traveling to two additional venues, this exhibition, on display March 13 through September 6, provides a rare opportunity for visitors to discover and explore the fine arts surrounded by the beauty and artistry of Cheekwood’s own gardens.

Virginia Overton sculpts space using found, forgotten and overlooked materials. Sturdy materials levitate. Everyday objects become ethereal forms. Pallets squish between walls with shims, large sonotubes hang from trees, and chairs balance in elegant, precarious towers. By highlighting “unskilled skills,” like driving a truck or stacking chairs, Overton rearranges our environment so that we might see it with more poetic eyes. The exhibition will be on view from March 13 through June 13.

Virginia Overton was born in 1971 in Nashville, Tennessee, and received her M.F.A. from the University of Memphis in 2005. She participated in In Practice Summer ’09 at the Sculpture Center in New York and had a solo show at Powerhouse in Memphis in 2008. She lives and works in New York City.

In the installation galleries, Soaps, Flukes & Follies will be on view from March 13 through September 12. Generationally, nationally, and culturally diverse, this disparate group of artists all share a love of humor as a means of teasing out the absurdities of social convention, the need for love and comfort, daily rituals and contemporary communication.

Soaps, Flukes & Follies will feature the work of:

Eleanor Antin (born 1935, New York City, lives in Southern California)
An influential performance artist, filmmaker and installation artist, Eleanor Antin has been working since the 1960s to explore what she calls the “slippery nature of the self.” Antin received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1997 and has had numerous solo exhibitions including, an award-winning retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1999.

Guy Ben-Ner (born 1969, Ramat Gan, Israel, lives in Tel Aviv)
Guy Ben-Ner’s playful videos often star himself and his children. Despite their use of adventure and make-believe, they address the ambivalence and anxiety about the marriage of work and family. In 2005, Ben-Ner represented Israel at the Venice Biennale. His first museum survey is at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts until April 25, 2010.

Kalup Linzy (born 1977, Stuckey, Florida, lives in New York City)
Kalup Linzy serves as the writer, director, cinematographer, editor and actor in his complex, comic, raunchy and poignant videos on race, gender, class and sexuality. One of the most innovative young artists working today, Linzy’s first museum survey debuted at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2009. His work has also been shown at Prospect.1 Biennial in New Orleans, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Moscow Biennial.

Paul McCarthy (born 1945, Salt Lake City, Utah, lives in Altadena, California)
With Mike Kelley

A ribald pop-culture-obsessed provocateur, Paul McCarthy takes aim at cherished American myths and icons, including Walt Disney, the Western and even the Modern Artist. A highly influential figure on the Southern California art scene, before achieving international recognition, McCarthy has had solo exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Hamburg Kunsthalle, Germany.

Ryan Trecartin (born 1981, Webster, Texas, lives in Philadelphia)
Collaborating with an ensemble cast of family and friends, Ryan Trecartin crafts sophisticated stream-of-consciousness montages that feel bewilderingly true to life. Using, as Holland Cotter describes in The New York Times, “very basic digital tools [he] create[s] a highly personal narrative art, almost a kind of folk art.” Trecartin’s work was shown in The New Museum’s 2009 Generational: Younger Than Jesus exhibition and in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. In 2009, he was named the New Artist of the Year at the Guggenheim Museum’s First Annual Art Awards.

Kara Walker (born 1969, Stockton, California, lives in New York City)
Kara Walker is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes that examine the underbelly of America’s racial and gender tensions. Drawing on the historical realism of slavery and the fantastic space of the romance novel, she addresses the highly charged themes of power, repression, history, race and sexuality. She is the youngest recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant at the age of 27, in 1994. The artist’s first full-scale U.S. museum survey was organized by the Walker Art Center in 2007.

In Abstract Visions: 20th Century American Art, paintings and works on paper selected from Cheekwood’s art collection form a survey of abstract art from the second half of the 20th Century. Joseph Albers, Lee Krasner, Perle Fine, Robert Ryman, and other artists included in this exhibition developed different approaches to representing the world in abstract visual terms. Together, these images reveal a rich and diverse history of abstract vision in American art. This exhibition will be on view through May 2 in Cheekwood’s courtyard gallery.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art | Virginia Overton | Contemporary Art |

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