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May 21, 2009

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Abstract art exhibition opens at the Harn Museum of Art June 16

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —A major retrospective celebrating the life and work of Esphyr Slobodkina, a pioneer in the development of abstract art, opens at the Harn Museum of Art June 16. Rediscovering Slobodkina: A Pioneer of American Abstraction features more than 60 paintings, drawings and mixed-media constructions reflecting the artist’s unique style based in collage and assemblage.

Organized to coincide with the centennial of Slobodkina’s birth, the exhibition spans the artist’s entire career, ranging from her early artistic efforts of the 1920s to her final sculpture, completed in 2002 at age 91.

Rediscovering Slobodkina is the most comprehensive exhibition to date on the art and life of Slobodkina, who was one of the few female artists working in abstraction in early 20th-century America,” said Dulce Román, curator of modern art. “The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to experience the Harn Museum’s recently acquired Mural Sketch No. 1, created for the Works Progress Administration, within the larger context of Slobodkina’s abstract creations of the 1930s and 1940s.”

Highlights of the exhibition include a painting exhibited at the first American Abstract Artists exhibition in 1937, assemblage art from the 1930s, classic abstractions from the 1940s and 1950s, and rarely exhibited late works. The exhibition also includes original illustrations from Slobodkina’s children’s book, titled “Caps for Sale,” which has sold more than two million copies.

The museum is offering a number of related programs for audiences of all ages. Family Day participants will enjoy tours of the exhibition and create their own collages inspired by the works on display on June 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer, executive director of the Slobodkina Foundation, will give an interactive performance with song and dance in the gallery.

On June 21 at 2 p.m., museum docents will guide a spotlight tour of the exhibition. At 3 p.m., Mulhearn Sayer will give a lecture providing a unique, intimate perspective on the life and art of the artist. Drawn from personal experience, Mulhearn Sayer’s remarks will highlight Slobodkina’s late-life achievements, energy, spirit and unwavering work ethic.

For an in-depth look at the works on display, Dulce Román, curator of modern art, will give a gallery talk July 12 at 3 p.m.

Dr. John Cech, professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and Culture at the University of Florida, will give a lecture Aug. 30 at 3 p.m. The lecture focuses on Slobodkina’s life and work as an illustrator of children’s books.

Accompanying the exhibition is a 180-page, full-color catalogue. The publication celebrates Slobodkina's lifetime achievements with critical essays, color reproductions of her art and illustrations, and a pictorial biography with excerpts from Slobodkina's autobiography. “Rediscovering Slobodkina: A Pioneer of American Abstraction” is published by Hudson Hills Press and is available for purchase in the Harn Museum of Art Store.

Rediscovering Slobodkina: A Pioneer of American Abstraction is organized by the Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, N.Y., in association with the Slobodkina Foundation. The exhibition is made possible locally by an anonymous donor with additional support from the Eloise R. Chandler Program Endowment. It will be on display through Sept. 6.

Admission to the Harn Museum of Art is free. For more information visit www.harn.ufl.edu or call 352-392-9826.

High resolution images of works in the exhibition are available at the following media Web site: http://www.harn.ufl.edu/rediscoveringslobodkina.html

Related Program List

Family Day, June 20, 1 – 4 p.m.
Tour Rediscovering Slobodkina: A Pioneer of American Abstraction, and create your own collages inspired by the works on display. At 2:30 p.m., there will be an interactive performance with song and dance by Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer, executive director of the Slobodkina Foundation.

Exhibition Spotlight Tour, June 21, 2 p.m.
Join a knowledgeable docent for an in-depth look at Rediscovering Slobodkina: A Pioneer of American Abstraction.

Lecture, Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer, Executive Director of the Esphyr Slobodkina Foundation, June 21, 3 p.m.
Drawn from first-hand knowledge, the stories and information presented in the lecture will provide a unique, intimate perspective on the life and art of the artist.

Gallery Talk, Dulce Román, Curator of Modern Art, July 12, 3 p.m.
Román will offer an in-depth look at the works featured in this major retrospective as she gives a tour of the gallery.

Lecture, Dr. John Cech, professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and Culture at the University of Florida, Aug. 30, 3 p.m.
Cech will delve into the details that made this artist and author a prolific force in the world of literature.



Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
The Harn Museum of Art at SW 34th St. and Hull Rd. is one of the largest university art museums in the country with nearly 7,000 works in its collection focusing on African, Asian, modern and contemporary art and photography. The museum enhances the activities of the University of Florida and serves a culturally diverse audience through educational programming. Admission is free. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Parking is free on weekends. The Camellia Court Café is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit www.harn.ufl.edu
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Media contact:
Tami Wroath, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Harn Museum of Art
352.392.9826 x116
twroath@harn.ufl.edu


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