Travel Thursday: Escape To A Museum? Just What This COVID Mind Needed

Being locked up in your home for a year has not been fun. Many of us have taken this pandemic seriously and have cut out a lot of our travel or refocused our destinations. I have about 15 gay bars within a mile of my home and I have not been to a single one. My goal is to stay healthy and well and not to get a drink with a side of the plague. 

So what else have we to do besides go to gay bars? I think we all found out or have been trying new and safe things to do during 2020 and now into 2021. One place I have looked toward is art and museums. 

One of my recent escapes from my 4 walls found me taking the afternoon off to escape my home to drive about 20 minutes north to Boca Raton, Florida where I popped into the Boca Raton Museum of Art. 

One of my favorite small town museums is the Boise Art Museum (BAM) in Boise, Idaho and I was hoping for a similar experience here in Boca.  What I truly enjoy about smaller museums is that they know they have limited space to have the biggest impact they can.  To entertain, titillate, to invoke thought, questions, and other emotions is a great task to take on and when a space can do that, like the Boca Raton Museum of Art did, I think it deserves attention. Here is a short list of some of those exhibits that fed my mind and soul. Hopefully it may inspire you to visit one of your local museums. 


Paul Gervais: Faces and Forms
On View through May 30 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

The work of Paul Gervais is in the collections of several institutions, including: the Museum of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco; the Bank of America Collection; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Hall Collection in New York. Gervais, who always paints his subjects from a photograph, states:

“When I’m painting a portrait, I’m thinking about that person all the time. A true likeness is what I am looking for most of all. I prefer to catch them while they are in a reflective moment. I don’t usually want them looking at the camera. I prefer they never pose nor aim to please, to show a more intimate look at the person.”

Gervais is also an acclaimed author, his first novel “Extraordinary People” was a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Literary Award.
 
Gervais met Gil Cohen in 1974, and the artist credits their shared life of more than four decades as being instrumental in his art. They now live in London and Palm Beach County. As a couple, Gervais and Cohen became famous in Europe for the exquisite gardens at their celebrated Italian villa in Lucca, Italy where they lived for 34 years from 1982-2016. The 60-acre estate, Villa Massei, was built in 1500 by the Counts Sinibaldi. Hundreds of garden lovers and botanical clubs visited their garden every year. It even captured the attention of Prince Charles, who invited Paul and Gil to visit him at his Highgrove Royal Gardens.

Glasstress 2021 Boca Raton
On view now through September 5th at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

The exhibition presents 34 new works that explore some of today’s pressing subjects, including human rights, climate change, racial justice, gender issues and politics. The Boca Raton Museum of Art has dedicated more than 6,500 square feet of exhibition space to this collection.

The mission of Glasstress is to restore the visibility and reputation of Murano glass, after decades of closures of ancient, centuries-old glass furnaces. Instead of creating decorative objects with glass, these artists are invited to create original works, often on a massive scale. They collaborate with glass masters whose expertise has been developed over generations in Venice. Most of these artists have never worked with glass, so they unite their artistic ideas with the technical expertise of their skilled collaborators.

“Three years in the making, with 2020 being such a challenging year to coordinate an international exhibition of this size and scope, the effort serves as an important reassurance that art is an essential and enduring part of humanity.” – Irvin Lippman, Boca Raton Museum of Art’s Executive Director


The Signing by Renee Cox
Re-Imagines the Signing of the U.S. Constitution with Modern-Day Women and Men of Color in Place of the Founding Fathers. – On special loan from the artist, The Signing will continue to remain on view at the Museum through September of 2021

As Americans reckon with the future of the nation, and its history, The Signing by Renee Cox dazzled audiences at its museum premiere.

“The image brings to light that although people of color did not participate in the signing of the Constitution, they have most certainly played important roles and made vital contributions to the building of this country,” says Kathleen Goncharov, Senior Curator of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

In this witty and dramatic large-scale work, the artist interprets Howard Chandler Christy’s historical painting, Scene at The Signing of the Constitution of the United States.  “It’s about time we re-imagine our own constitutions,” says Renee Cox.

In this contemporary (and glamorous) twist, Cox’s 12-foot long photograph re-imagines women and men of color in the place of the Founding Fathers. Her subjects are all decked out — some in current fashions, others in 1700s period clothing, and some wear dazzling African garb. In describing her photography, Cox states: “This work aims to unleash the potential of the ordinary and bring it into a new realm of possibilities.”

This was such a wonderful piece of art and history. I will include four (4) cropped image at the end of the post if you desire to see more detail.


An Irresistible Urge to Create
The Monroe Family Collection of Florida Outsider Art

One of the more moving exhibits was the Outside Art exhibit as it celebrates artists working on the margins of society. The diversity of artists and their backgrounds were share with all on the placard next to their art.  Some of the difficult backgrounds of the artist were jaw-dropping, but they used the art as a form of therapy and escape.  I spent the most time in the museum in this this exhibit. A wonderful thing to note is that this exhibit will travel to Tampa and Orlando for others to see. 


About the Boca Raton Museum of Art

Kicking off its eighth decade in 2021, the Boca Raton Museum of Art encompasses a creative campus that includes the Museum in Mizner Park and the Art School. As one of South Florida’s cultural landmarks, the Museum has provided cultural and artistic service to the community, and to many visitors from around the world, since it was founded by artists in 1950. Visit bocamuseum.org/visit/virtual-visits to enjoy the Museum’s current online content, including video tour and digital gallery guides. Museum hours, admission prices and more visitor information available at bocamuseum.org/visit.


I always like to include extra photos that do not fit into the post easily.  Here is my shot of The Signing to show you the scale of the piece, followed by 4 cropped photos.

Here are some of the other art pieces I gravitated toward. 

 

 

 

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