The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Announces Departure of Cameron Kitchin

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees announces the departure of Cameron Kitchin, who has been director of the institution for the past 6 years. Kitchin has been named Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum; he will begin his new position there on October 1. Nathan Bicks, Chairman of the Brooks’ Board of Trustees, upon announcing Kitchin’s departure, noted “He’s a very smart and talented individual—and he is well ensconced in the leading theories of museum management. He’s a good strategic thinker with a wonderful family. It’s a loss for our community and a real benefit to Cincinnati.” Continue reading


Alien! Exploring Identity with Latino Memphis


Can you see it? Alien: Exploring identity, is on view in the Brooks’ Education Gallery through September 21

With the help of local painter Yancy Villa Calvo and her husband Mauricio Calvo, the Brooks presents an exhibition of Latino student artwork, and Spanish versions of the Marisol audio guide and exhibition text.

In conjunction with the exhibition Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper, the Education Department of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art partnered with Latino Memphis to host a six-week workshop for students enrolled in their College Access program. The resulting exhibition, Alien: Exploring Identity will be on view in the Education Gallery through September 21. Yancy Villa Calvo volunteered her time to work with this group to explore Marisol and create their own works of art in response to our exhibition. Pictured above, is the group’s key piece: a collaboration based on Marisol’s Family Portrait. Borrowing Marisol’s style and exploring her themes of identity provided the students with an opportunity to meditate on their own.  Continue reading

Hank and Asha Filmmakers Share Their Top Travel Movies

Filmmakers Julia Morrison and James E. Duff call New York City home, but were living in Prague when they made their film Hank and Asha. In it, a girl named Asha, who is studying abroad in Prague for a year, and a boy named Hank, a filmmaker and lonely new transplant to New York City, develop a video correspondence-based friendship. They hope the film inspires audiences to travel to both locales, but in the meantime, in the spirit of cinematic armchair travel, here are five of their favorite travel films:

still from Hank and Asha

still from Hank and Asha

A Room With A View (England and Florence) – Based on the E. M. Forster novel, this favorite Merchant Ivory movie follows a group of Brits on holiday in Italy, turn of the century style.  Scenes of Florence (Santa Croce, Piazza della Signoria), the Florentine countryside, and a romantic travel encounter with a handsome stranger add to the appeal.  Apparently people were already complaining about tourist throngs in Florence in 1908, but that’s not stopping us. 1985, Directed by James Ivory Continue reading

From Cave Art to Post Modernism: Thinking in Curlicues

“Most of my life I’ve thought in straight lines. It seems to me that artists think outside the box and in curlicues,” Rebecca Barton, DDS, on what being a Brooks docent taught her.

Miscellaneous March 2011 307

What a treat it’s been to be involved with the Brooks Docent Program. After having retired from a career in dentistry I was actively seeking some “fun” projects in which to engage.  I’ve always enjoyed art but was quite unsophisticated in the history and techniques involved therein.  The well-organized and well-taught docent training class was, to me, like getting a Master’s degree in art history and art appreciation.  In addition, the Memphis Brooks Museum becomes “Yours.”  As you learn about the founders and major contributors to the museum and its collections, you gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation not only of the art, but also about the history of Memphis and its people.  In fact, with each new exhibit you learn more about our world history and receive in-depth information about the individual artists and their work. After having gone from Cave Art to Post Modernism in class, you then have the opportunity to share some of that insight with children and adults in an attempt to enhance their experiences while here at the Brooks…and also enjoy and learn from them. Continue reading

Interview with Finding Vivian Maier Editor and Associate Producer Chris McKinley

Documentary Finding Vivian Maier follows the recent discovery of photographer Vivian Maier—described as “part Mary Poppins, part Weegee”—and her exceptional body of work. The film has received quite a bit of attention since its March release; what people seem to find in Finding Vivian Maier is an affinity for the artist, or more accurately the photographs she took (which, as it happens, were often of herself). The public would never know Maier personally because her fame came after her death. The  film asks: would she have it any other way?

The Brooks found a kinship in the film as well: in production. Memphis-born Chris McKinley is an editor and associate producer of Finding Vivian Maier, and he was kind enough to oblige us with an interview. New Brooks blogger Natalie Higdon provides the Q & A below. If you enjoy the interview, please welcome her by sharing this post with friends.


Photo courtesy of John Maloof

Chris McKinley, Editor and Associate Producer of the documentary Finding Vivian Maier, chats with us about his involvement with the film, why choosing a favorite Vivian Maier photograph is impossible, and what screening this film at the Brooks means to him.

Q: How did you “find” Vivian Maier?
I joined the project after it was underway. I was editing a TV show for one of the documentary’s directors, Charlie Siskel. He told me about Vivian Maier, John Maloof’s discovery of her work, and the film, and I was really intrigued. Then he showed me her photos and I was blown away. It wasn’t a tough call to be involved if they wanted me. Basically, I was pretty lucky.

Q: What is it about Vivian’s work that you think resonates with so many people today?

It’s tough to even say why I connect with it, let alone why others do. I just know that when I saw the photos for the first time I said, “WHOA.” For me her stuff feels really immediate and fresh even after being locked away for decades.

To paraphrase what photographer Joel Meyerowitz says more eloquently in the movie: there’s something about Vivian’s work that seems primary. It doesn’t feel imitative. She’s doing her own thing her own way and you feel there’s a definite point of view there. Continue reading

FOUND! Sculptures “Inspired by Marisol” in Downtown Memphis

The Tom Lee Art Transport Co.

The Tom Lee Art Transport Co.

One could consider Marisol a great post-war American artist obscured by history. Working in New York throughout the 1960s, her contemporaries were the famous avant-garde artists we know today–definitively–as either Pop or Abstract Expressionist. But Marisol’s mixed-media sculptures were neither. Although her work was popular, critically acclaimed, and respected amongst her peers, it could not be neatly categorized. And as she shifted themes into the 1970s and continued to vary her materials, the artist defied classification all the more.

Her public persona did little to combat the oblique legacy. From time to time, Marisol would refrain from speaking altogether, having developed an aversion to speech after hearing how other people sounded as a child. Taking cues from Pop celebrity pal Andy Warhol, she embraced her own eccentricities as a way of generating public interest in her art. “Otherwise, not so many people would notice your work,” she told Cindy Nemser in 1975. It worked. Kinda. She was referred to as the “Latin Garbo” to readers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan, but Marisol was not suited for celebrity. Life as an art scene icon on Warhol’s arm was not for long. She embarked on spontaneous trips around the world, more than once, only furthering her mystique.

Transient was how she spent her early life, so traveling came naturally. Her jet-setting parents, both Venezuelan, moved the family “back and forth between Europe, Venezuela, and the United States” Marisol recalled in 1972, “not because of business but out of boredom.”

This guy is a millennial for sure.

a millennial meets Marisol

From here it is easy to see why she became an artist: Her identity became her art–and in turn, as we will see through her varied portraiture, her art is about identity!  Continue reading

The Cloar Catalogue: Crossroads of Memory

Dr. Stanton Thomas, Curator of European and Decorative Art and exhibition curator for The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South, weighs in on the origins of the exhibition catalogue, out now and available at the Museum Store.


Every once in a while I get involved with a project that really seeps into my psyche—which is how it was with the Carroll Cloar exhibition project. Although I grew up in Northern Missouri, far from the Arkansas Delta, there was something about the artist’s paintings that was achingly familiar. Continue reading

On becoming a museum docent: 5 Things I Learned About Art From Children


Art is so much more than just art: It can be science, culture, motion, and history, as well as color, line, and shape. Young children naturally think like artists, and their imagination is at its peak during their early development as students. Yet educators struggle with ways to develop and instill creative and critical thinking skills—crucial tools that his generation needs to utilize their creative impulses in educational and civic pursuits. As a docent at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, I work in conjunction with the Smithsonian Early Childhood Education program, engaging Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten children from Title 1 schools, where 40 percent or more of the students enrolled are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Continue reading

Teen Brooks: Time Well Spent

The Teen Brooks program comes to an end this week. Below is a recap from two-year Teen Brooks alum Ashton Arroyo.


I have been involved in Teen Brooks for two years now, since the program started. The meetings have always been fun for me. Mostly due to the new people I meet, I happily anticipate each upcoming meeting. All of us who participate have an interest in art, and many of us find that we have other similar interests as well. Interacting with the other members is very refreshing for me because I feel comfortable and act as my casual self (rather than Continue reading

Top 5 Reasons to Be “Uncorked”

Wine bottles at Brooks Uncorked

Well, there are at least 15 reasons right here….

Early each Spring, Brooks Uncorked marks the unofficial beginning to the heartiest portion of the Memphis Wine + Food Series (MW+F). In case you are unfamiliar, MW+F is the major fundraising effort supporting the museum’s education and community outreach programs. Following Uncorked, the MW+F spring season hosts a dinner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, a Private Winemaker Dinner at Spring Creek Ranch, and the Grand Auction, which rounds it all out May 9th on the Brooks plaza. Of all the events, Brooks Uncorked is the one that most says “party.” It draws a younger crowd, and although the ticket isn’t cheap (about the price of a proper trip to the grocery store), all in attendance can say they are a benefactor to the arts. Further, it’s a reasonable investment considering all the specialty wines, heavy hors d’oeuvres provided by local restaurateurs, choice setting, company, and rocking after party. Brooks Uncorked aims to nurture a generation that will continue to live and give in Memphis into their years. Here are 5 more specific reasons to be in attendance:

5. The Bottle Pull – Remember the rubber ducks you could pick out of a kiddy pool at the fair to win prizes? The Bottle Pull is like that, except it’s for adults and we would never cheat you. Throw down $20, pick a bagged bottle of wine, and you can’t lose. No bottle is worth less than $20, and some are worth upwards of $100! Continue reading

This is What “Soulful” Means

Harding Academy junior Anna Rogers won a Silver Key for photography in this year’s Mid-South Scholastic Exhibition.  The awards ceremony is Saturday, February 1st, starting at 11 am.


Anna Rogers, Soulful, Harding Academy, Silver Key Award, Photography

Art has always been a hobby of mine. In elementary school if I wasn’t getting in trouble for talking during class, I would get in trouble for doodling. I received my first digital camera when I was in the fifth grade, and I filled my two-gigabyte memory card almost instantly. As the years went on, high school gave me the opportunity to take more advanced and in depth art classes than the once-weekly art class elementary offered, and I was elated. Unfortunately, I skipped my 2D art credit during my sophomore year so that I could take a journalism class, but when I returned this year as a junior, it was almost as though I had picked up my paint brush right where I left off. Continue reading

Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards

Elesha Newberry, Associate Director of Education at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, shares her thoughts on the Mid-South Scholastic Art Exhibition.

Perkins_I Can Feel a Difference

Esme Perkins, I Can Feel A Difference, White Station High School, winner of the Painting Award, Senior Division

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the Brooks Museum League are proud to present the 49th Annual Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards, open through February 23rd at the museum. This competition, open to all 7-12 graders in the mid-south, is a great opportunity for young artists to compete for awards, cash prizes, and scholarships. With 2,231 entries, this is one of the biggest and most successful years we’ve ever had. A panel of curators, artists, and educators had the tough task of awarding Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable mention winners from that huge number of entries. Those Gold and Silver Key winners are now on display at the Brooks. We hope you can all come out during that time and see the great things our regional youth are doing in the arts!

Facing Change: Art Therapy Access Program

Facing Change: Art Therapy is the culmination of a year’s worth of art therapy collaborations at 4 partner sites around the city. Karen Peacock and Sarah Hamil are the two art therapists who have worked with the participants to provide a meaningful outlet of self-expression.  The resulting exhibition consists of 70 masks that represent each participant. Art therapist Karen Peacock shares some thoughts and details, below:


In 2013, four community organizations participated in the Art Therapy Access Program.  Continue reading

2013: A Year In Art


This makes an awful lot of the Brooks’ ‘B’ on the page right now…

As a tidy lens of sorts, the Brooks looks back on 2013 with the Brooks Calendar at hand. This reinvented bimonthly museum guide debuted a little over a year ago with a lamp from The Brilliance of Tiffany: Lamps From The Neustadt Collection on its cover, an exhibition that lit Brooks’ galleries as 2012 turned 2013. Although these lamps were originally products of America’s Gilded Age, the Neustadt collection was amassed at a time when they were decidedly out of fashion. At the Brooks, this inspired an appreciation for the timeless art of good taste, and all the promise the Gilded Age fell short of delivering. With our own Decorative Arts Trust at the helm of enrichment programming, the Brooks’ decorative art collection is projected to grow throughout the decade. Continue reading

With Art, You Can Move The Pyramids

Jerry N. Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann, American, b. 1934, Untitled, 1996, Gelatin-silver print, © Jerry N. Uelsmann

In 1982, National Geographic “moved the pyramids”. Using expensive digital technology (proto-Photoshop), layout editors scrunched two of the Pyramids at Giza together so that they would both fit on the magazine’s vertically formatted cover. The photojournalist who captured the original image noticed, complained, and controversy over the ethics of photo-manipulation ensued.

Tomorrow is the last day to view Shared Vision, and the whole of the “Subjective Inventions” section of the exhibition showcases artists who used photo-manipulation before Photoshop as well. Albeit, as Raymond Pettibon has said, “In art, impurity is not a mortal sin.”