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Tacoma Art Museum Opens Speaking Parts: Conversations between Works in the Collection
Karl Spitzweg, Landscape. Oil on panel. Tacoma Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hilding Lindberg, 1983.1.40

TACOMA, WA.- Tacoma Art Museum’s new exhibition seeks to answer the question, “How do museums decide which works of art to add to the permanent collection?” Speaking Parts: Conversations between Works in the Collection is organized around Northwest artist Dennis Evans’ mixed-media construction Writing Lessons with every other artwork in the gallery—paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, or jewelry—relating back to it. Speaking Parts is on view through November 2010.

The exhibition is grouped under three broad topics drawn from aspects of Writing Lessons: What is a painting?; Materials and process; and Texts and symbols. These groups illustrate one subject of conversation between each particular work of art and the Evans’. Visitors are encouraged to look for other connections within and between the groups, exploring how artworks can play different roles in a collection depending on the context in which they’re placed.

“The selection process is complex but at its most basic the works in the collection need to relate to each other in a variety of ways,” said Margaret Bullock, Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions for Tacoma Art Museum. “Those connections can be obvious, subtle, or surprising. Maybe objects were created by the same artist or during the same time period. Others offer contrasting ways of depicting a shared subject. Or works illustrate important developments in artistic technique or theory.”

Works from the Northwest collection are the main component of Speaking Parts. Ambrose Patterson, Guy Anderson, Paul Horiuchi, Joseph Goldberg, and Sally Finch are among those included in the exhibition. Favorites from the collection will also be featured including Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Two Sisters, George Luks The Immigrant, Robert Yoder’s Mather and Kathryn Glowen’s Dress of Years. Other highlights include Robert Motherwell’s Open No. 176, a painter whose work helped redefine what painting could be, Sarah Hood’s Malden Avenue East, a necklace that blends traditional with ephemeral materials and Thomas Haukaas’ More Time Expected which uses the symbol vocabulary of Native American ledger painting to address contemporary issues.

“The Northwest art is deliberately paired with works by national and international artists to help visitors appreciate art of this region within a broader context,” said Bullock.

Works on view in Speaking Parts were generously gifted to the museum by donors including Mrs. James W. Lyons, Mr. and Mrs. W. Hilding Lindberg, Al and Betsy Buck, Rebecca and Alexander C. Stewart, James and Judy Wagonfeld, William and Lisa Holderman, and Greg Kucera and Larry Yocom.

Speaking Parts will be on view through Tacoma Art Museum’s 75th anniversary celebrations in 2010, to ensure that the museum’s collection is prominently featured during the anniversary year.

Today's News

January 6, 2009

Tacoma Art Museum Opens Speaking Parts: Conversations between Works in the Collection

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