Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Collection Highlights: The Chrysler Museum of Art

detail from Katherine Gray's Forest Trees

The Chrysler Museum of Art is located in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1971, Walter Chrysler (yes, related to the car company) donated his art collection to the museum. The building houses over 30,000 objects!

It was such a surprise to see a vast array of artwork, especially considering that I had never heard of the museum before. I visited the museum a few years ago, when my great grandmother was hospitalized and my family flew over there to visit her. This is easily one of my favorite museums I have ever visited! Admission is 100% free!

The following images (some taken from my cell phone) are some of my favorite artworks housed in the Chrysler Museum.

The museum has the larges collection of glass works that I have ever seen, housed near the entrance. It's my guess that most of the works span the 20th century. There are easily thousands of items, ranging from works by Louis Comfort Tiffany to contemporary glass installation, to glass plates, candlesticks, you name it.

Good Housekeeping Toaster Cozy #64, 2005

This work was one of the first to catch my eye because of it's odd materials. It's made of glass and appears to be threaded together! It's kitschiness really spoke to me, especially because the lady's wearing fancy clothes on one side and is in her bra on the other. This work is by Susan Taylor Glasgow. You can learn more about this piece here.

This piece was made by William Morris (the glass maker, not the British designer). It was inspired by the canopic jars of the Egyptians- the vessels they used to store harvested organs in postmortem. Morris made a larger version of a typical canopic jar and chose to portray a deer native to Java.

Woman with Shrimp, c. 1930s

This piece caught my eye because it was so odd. It was designed by Ercole Barovier. Apparently Barovier and business partner Tovo made glass sculptures of peasants carrying food on their backs.

The Chrysler Museum had a very large collection of global artwork, too. This piece is from India and was either made in the 11th or 12th century. It reminded me of the Bodhisattvas that we learned about in art history class. Bodhis, however, are Buddhist iconography, and this piece is Hindu. These are the Uma-Mahesvara, an embracing couple that represent the dualisms of male and female in Hindu culture.

The Chrysler had lots of artwork from the 50s and 60s like Roy Lichtenstein, Victor Vasarely, and Andy Warhol.

I had never seen a blue Rothko before.

They also had works by Chuck Close, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, June Naim Paik, Jerry Foyster, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldernburg, Beverly Buchanan, Hale Woodruff, and Joseph Cornell.

This Edward Hopper painting was intriguing to me because it was so odd. It was painted the same year as Nighthawks.

This painting, by George Benjamin Luks, was one of my favorites. It's from 1910.

When I visited, they had an impressive installation by Stephen Knapp, who works with light refraction... This was so beautiful to see in person...


The Chrysler Museum's collection of photography was also awe-inspiring. One of the most notable images that I remember is Eliot Porter's Aspens by Lake:

I learned about Vik Muniz (the guy who made the Mona Lisa out of PB&J and a portrait of Jackson Pollock out of chocolate syrup) for the first time at the Chrysler. They had one of his large photographs on display next to the work it was inspired by...

The original work, by Adolphe William Bouguereau- Orestes Pursued by the Furies

The recreation of the work using trash and aerial photography by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz

You may recall from an earlier post about my love for Res and Constanza Piaggio's reinterpretation of Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine...

This photograph was housed in the Chrysler in the Renaissance art collection. It was so beautiful to see it juxtaposed among the time period that inspired it. Easily, this is one of my favorite artworks ever, and it solidified my love for the Chrysler Museum.

Lastly is a beautiful, inspiring work by Katherine Gray called Forest Glass. These "trees" were made of found glass objects, arranged on shelves not unlike Patrick Jackson's work. These trees were 9 feet tall! The title alludes to a type of green and brown glass that required lots of wood to fuel the furnaces to create. The demand of these glass objects depleted many local forests in Northern Europe. The work reminds us to reduce, reuse, and recycle!

I believe that this work was not a part of the permanent collection, so chances are that it is no longer at the museum. Regardless, it is a beautiful peace and is especially noteworthy!

You can learn more about the Chrysler Museum at their website! Of course, I didn't cover everything the museum has to offer. You can find out more about all of their artwork here. Happy travels!

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