Closing up Norman Rockwell

The end of summer is sad–whether your are heading for one last jump in the pool, putting away the sunscreen and hats, or closing up the vacation home. We’re lucky here in San Antonio because the weather stays warm for a while. But one thing that is always sad to do at the McNay…saying goodbye to a great exhibition.

This weekend we take one last look at Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, one of our favorite shows to host, closing on Sunday, September 1. If you’ve seen the exhibition already, you’ll recognize this:

NR_Summer Cottage

Norman Rockwell, “Closing up the Summer Cottage,” 1957. Eastman Kodak Company.

This image, Closing up a Summer Cottage, is one of the first works you see when you enter the Tobin Exhibition Galleries. This advertisement was on view at Grand Central Terminal in New York from September 9 though 30, 1957.

Grand Central with Ad

Example of Colorama ad on view at Grand Central Terminal. Photo via NPR blog courtesy of George Eastman House.

The catalogue for the show explains…

In 1957, Rockwell was approached by Eastman Kodak to design and direct a photograph for the company’s immense Colorama display in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.Claimed to be the world’s largest photographs, the Coloramas were eighteen-by-sixty-foot rear-lighted color transparencies that occupied Grand Central’s east balcony from 1950 to 1990. It was an imposing advertising vehicle for Kodak seen daily by every commuter entering the terminal’s Grand Concourse.

(Speaking of Grand Central, it’s celebrating its centennial this year! Happy 100 years!)
Grand Central 1913Grand Central Station Today

Back to Norman Rockwell, the catalogue continues…

Rockwell based his concept sketches on photographs taken for him by a Kodak staffer in Shinnecock Bay, Long Island; a rental cottage in Quogue was chosen as the photograph’s setting. On location, the artist and Kodak Colorama photographers Ralph Amdursky and Charlie Baker recruited models in the village. With Rockwell’s subjects in position and photofloods deployed as fill lights, the final images were taken from a platform mounted atop the photographers’ company station wagon. The sweeping horizontal space capture by the Colorama camera allowed Rockwell to position his models in distinct groupings, each telling its own story. The central scenario seems to wittily echo his 1947 Post cover, Going and Coming.

Norman Rockwell, "Going and Coming," 1947. Tear Sheet. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," August 30, 1947. ©1947 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections.

Norman Rockwell, “Going and Coming,” 1947. Tear Sheet. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” August 30, 1947. ©1947 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections.

Come check out Closing up the Summer Cottage, Going and Coming, and the rest of the show and help us in closing up Norman Rockwell!

Blending Food and Radio

Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera includes a variety of images where both food and radio share space. Families share holiday meals; teens sip frosty treats at soda shops; and young couples argue over breakfast. The Saturday Evening Post cover below pairs a radio with the daily specials.The Runaway_Tear Sheet

Mash-up draws a variety of experts to the museum to talk about a very specific interest. Classic cars collided with big hair in this summer’s first installment. What commonalities will Paul Bolin, Professor, Art Education, UT, and Johnny Hernandez, chef and restaurateur find between food and radio? Let’s find out more about them first.

Before every family had a TV in the living room, every family had a radio. Paul Bolin remembers tuning in to radio programs in much the same way families enjoy primetime television today. One educational program, in particular, fired his interest in art. Families listened to experts describe and discuss works of art while studying the reproduction.radio family

Paul Bolin received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from Seattle Pacific University. After teaching middle school and high school art, he pursued his master’s and doctorate in Art Education at the University of Oregon. Go Ducks! Before his tenure at the University of Texas, Bolin taught at Oregon and Pennsylvania State University. He is widely published and has been honored as a Distinguished Fellow by the National Art Education Association.

Before acclaimed restaurants La Gloria and The Frutería - Botanero made headlines with authentic interior Mexican flavors, Chef Johnny Hernandez learned the business from his father who operated a Westside neighborhood place.JH photo

Hernandez has traveled extensively in Mexico and learned about the cultural distinctiveness of each region’s art, agriculture, and cuisine. Mexico’s food and traditions inspire Hernandez to bring authentic interior Mexican cuisine to American diners.Johnny with barbacoa

Hernandez continues to expand his vision and his brand expanding both La Gloria and The Furtería – Botanero into Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the San Antonio International Airport.

Hernandez trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and worked at exclusive resorts in Las Vegas and Santa Barbara early in his career. In 1994, Hernandez returned to San Antonio and opened True Flavors Catering, one of San Antonio’s most regarded caterers. La Gloria opened in the Pearl in 2010, and The Frutería – Botanero opened in Southtown in 2012.

On Thursday, Bolin covers art and radio while Hernandez talks about what goes into preparing traditional Mexican comida (food) and the importance of breaking tortillas as a family. Tune in for a preview on TPR’s The Source at 3:30 pm on the same day.

On your mark, get set, go!

A couple weeks ago we celebrated Free Family Field Day: Baseball, Apple Pie, and Rockwell! With nearly 2,000, one of our biggest turnouts yet, this day was a chance for families to connect and enjoy the exhibition, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, while also enjoying a day of classic American fun. Buses from Cody, Parman, and Mission Library shuttled in visitors, and delicious snacks were provided by The Lemonade Co., Nikki’s Swirl Shoppe, and Earl Abel’s. With everything from a sock hop and live music by Take Note!, to a photo booth replica of Rockwell’s The Runaway, the day had something for everyone!

Now if only Norman Rockwell could turn some of the following pictures into paintings for us…FFD_Lawn

Field Day games were a blast on the museum lawn. Visitors hula hooped, ran in relays, jumped in a sack race, and cooled down with a water balloon toss!FFD_Hoola

FFD_Relay

FFD_Sack Race

The day was hot but luckily we had refreshing old-fashioned lemonade from The Lemonade Co…FFD_Lemonade

Docent Jane Martin dressed as Rosie the Riveter to judge the pie eating contest…FFD_Rosie_Pie

FFD_Pie

FFD_Pie2

Happy families took 15-minute family tours with docent Mary Russell…FFD_Family tours

Educator Lindsey Smith led art activities in which families used vintage ads to sketch like Rockwell…FFD_Activity

Josh Huskin created a photo booth based on Rockwell’s The RunawayFFD_PhotoboothFFD_Photobooth2

Check out more family pictures on the McNay’s Facebook page and Flickr stream!

Be sure to join us on August 25 at 1:00 or 3:00 pm for more Rockwell fun at Family Art Play: Drawing Memories.

Hot Rods and Hairdos

A classic car enthusiast and a thespian meet at the McNay this Thursday. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s really the beginning of this summer’s Mash-up series inspired by Norman Rockwell.mashuplogonobackground

You may have caught our earlier blog post on the subject. In short, two passionate experts present disparate topics, and the audience searches for common ground. First up: Larry Mills and Rick Frederick present Storytelling with Hair and Make-up & Classic Cars.Larry Mills photo

Larry Mills is the Executive Vice President of Holt Companies which includes HOLT CAT, one of the Word’s largest Caterpillar dealers, and Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

coyote camaro

The Silver Spur, a classic 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Mills and his brother collect and refurbish classic cars and have a barn full of these beauties. He describes these cars as works of art.photo (14)

When looking at Norman Rockwell’s Closing Up A Summer Cottage (1957), Mills zeroed in on the Ford Country Squire station wagon. He recalled that his first car, previously the family car, looked very similar. He went on to describe how his father bought the station wagon in San Antonio but didn’t want to pay extra for a radio or heater, so Mills and his father installed both on their own. That’s what happens when looking at Norman Rockwell pictures—stories and family memories bubble to the surface.

Our second Mash-up presenter, Rick Frederick, has slightly different interests. Frederick is the Managing Director for Attic Rep, a theatre company dedicated to presenting provocative work designed to stimulate conversations about challenging topics.Rick Frederick Headshot

Also an actor, Frederick has appeared in a number of Attic Rep productions, including Edward Albee’s The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? and Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig. This fall he will star in A Streetcar Named Desire at The Little Carver Theatre.

Before moving to San Antonio in 2005, Frederick worked for the European Repertory Company in Chicago for 13 years. On Thursday, he’ll share photos for productions in which he designed the hair and make-up, and he will also discuss how he has transformed himself into the various characters he plays.

Check out the big hair and striking make-up Rick designed for a theatre production in Chicago.

Rick Frederick-Madame DeSade ERC

“Madame DeSade,” 2003. European Repertory Company, Chicago.

Whether visitors come for hot rods or hairdos, the presenters are sure to rev up a hair raising experience. Space is limited. Reserve free tickets by calling 210.805.1768 or e-mailing education@mcnayart.org by noon on Thursday. Prizes awarded each session. Full Mash-up schedule here!

What are you doing on July 4th?

Heading to the soda fountain?…Insta_Artie_NR_Soda Jerk

Searching for courage to go off the high dive?…Insta_Artie_NR_DiveInsta_Artie_NR_Dive2

Going on a family vacation?…Insta_Artie_NR_GC

Getting your hair done?…Insta_Artie_NR_Hair

Checking out a baseball game?…Insta_Artie_NR_Dugout

Whatever you’re doing, Happy Independence Day from the McNay! We’re closed on Thursday the 4th but open all weekend long. Join us on Sunday, July 7, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm for FREE FAMILY FIELD DAY!

In the meantime, stay safe and stay cool.Insta_Artie_Fountain

Small Town/Big Screen

Last Sunday we kicked off this summer’s Great American Film Festival–a film series featuring four films that pay homage to Norman Rockwell’s Post-World War II America–with a screening of The Best Years of Our Lives. TBYOL

What makes this particular Film Festival special? It not only includes a free movie after paying regular museum admission, it also includes a free tour of the exhibition Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, and complimentary classic American snacks.

This Sunday, we featureTLPS

Based on Larry McMurtry’s novel, The Last Picture Show achieved critical success upon release in 1971, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson both won Oscars for their supporting roles, and fellow cast members Jeff Bridges and Ellen Burstyn were also nominated. Director Peter Bogdanovich wanted to work with relatively unknown actors, and he featured first time actor Cybill Shepherd as the ingénue and love interest.Cybill Shepherd

Shot entirely on location in Archer City, Texas, this feels like a western from the get-go with its black and white cinematography and the flat scrub land of the Texas prairie. When asked why he chose to shoot in black and white, Bogdanovich said:

The period of the film was early fifties which was still a B&W period. The other reason is Orson Welles told me, ‘Every performance looks better in black and white,’ and he was right.

In filming a particularly emotional scene, Cloris Leachman, playing a neglected coaches wife, throws a coffee pot at Timothy Bottoms, her love interest and Co-Captain of the football team. Bogdanovich recalled how Leachman nailed the scene in the first and only take and predicted she would win an Academy Award for that performance.Leachman and Bottoms

Although many of the actors continued toward successful careers, Bogdanovich struggled to replicate the success he achieved with The Last Picture Show. Roger Ebert compares Bogdanovich to his mentor and idol Orson Welles in this review, saying that some of the scenes take direct inspiration form Citizen Kane.

Norman Rockwell, like McMurtry and Bogdanovich, was a storyteller. His paintings describe police officers as heroes to the community; doctors as tender listeners, even to dolls; and little girls surviving school yard scuffles. The films selected for the Great American Film Festival reveal something of Rockwell’s America. Certainly Archer City could not be farther from Rockwell’s hometown of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, but every town has stories about football heroes, young recruits heading off to basic training, lonely housewives, high school sweethearts, etc.

"Portrait of Norman Rockwell Painting 'The Soda Jerk,'" 1953. Private Collection. ©NRELC: NIles, IL.

“Portrait of Norman Rockwell Painting ‘The Soda Jerk,’” 1953. Private Collection. ©NRELC: NIles, IL. Photo via the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Next up: American Graffiti and Pleasantville. Full details and times here!

Mash-up: From Music to Museums

You know how sometimes the stars align and two of your favorite songs are suddenly mashed into one… And then maybe you happen to fall upon a mash-up OF mash-ups… And then maybe your two favorite television shows mash-up

So what if this was taken to a whole new level–like maybe you sat a butcher down with a philosopher for a chat and suddenly everything seemed to fall into rhythm. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver has actually been doing JUST that in a lecture series called Mixed Taste. Basically it goes like this, two passionate experts give short presentations each on their areas of interest, followed by questions from the audience that urge the speakers to find connections between their subjects of interest.detailMixedTasteSSMain

The New York Times published an article last year on the series, appropriately called “Puppies, Paintings and Philosophers,” in which Adam Lerner, Director of MCA Denver, explains:

“It’s wonderful, because in so many instances a relationship between the subjects emerges, but you could never predict that ahead of time.”

Then, Dr. Lerner gets down to business in a meeting and steps up the series to an even more amazing level:

“I think it’s about time we did a puppy Mixed Taste…and pair it with something really big like labor strikes. Maybe ‘Labor Disputes and Labradoodles’?”

Fantastic.

So last year the McNay followed suit and hosted our very first Mash-up Series, flying in Sarah Kate Baie, Director of Programming, Chief of Fictions, from MCA Denver to host the first lecture.mashuplogonobackground

It was all themed around last summer’s exhibition Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine with presenters that included a restaurateur paired with a filmmaker and a biochemist paired with an artist.

And this year, we do it again–obviously focused around the current exhibition Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera–with the first Mash-up on big hair & classic cars July 18 at 6:30 pm. We are also very pleased to have Texas Public Radio’s The Source interview Kate Carey, McNay Director of Education, on this summer’s series July 18 at 3:00 pm. Very exciting.

Many of you might be asking what exactly is the connection of a mash-up to art and museum programming. Dr. Lerner says:

“Most art museums want to be professional purveyors of art. But I want to capture the spirit of art, which may be more important than art itself.”

To that we say, capture the spirit of art and attend a mash-up this summer. Full schedule and free registration details here!

Let us introduce you to our good friend, Norman

If you’ve been reading our blog for a little while, you may have noticed the sly mention that our summer exhibition this year is a focus on the one and only Norman Rockwell. The prolific artist who created hundreds of popular American images has been discovered over and over again by so many, either through his paintings or his covers for The Saturday Evening Post.

Norman Rockwell, "Going and Coming," 1947. Tear Sheet. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," August 30, 1947. ©1947 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections.

Norman Rockwell, “Going and Coming,” 1947. Tear Sheet. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” August 30, 1947. ©1947 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections.

But not many are familiar with how he came to illustrate such “Human-Looking Humans.” Rockwell started to use the camera as studies for his works in the late 1930s. After extensive research, he hired photographers and models to set the scene he imagined in his mind. Sometimes staged in complete compositions or sometimes photographed separately, each image provided those meticulous details that made Rockwell’s work so iconic.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s "Going and Coming," 1947. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s “Going and Coming,” 1947. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s "Going and Coming," 1947. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s “Going and Coming,” 1947. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s "Going and Coming," 1947. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s “Going and Coming,” 1947. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s "Going and Coming," 1947. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s “Going and Coming,” 1947. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” August 30, 1947. Photo by Gene Pelham. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.

Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera shows audiences a frame-by-frame view of how the artist developed his images. And clearly the McNay is very excited to bring these works to the San Antonio community.

Our curators and preparators are working on the installation as we type!…

Entrance

Our educators are planning amazing programs including the Great American Film FestivalTBYOL

Our Museum Store is stocked full of fun Rockwell Merchandise…

Store Rockwell Display

And our membership department is gearing up for the Members-only Preview & Reception on Tuesday, June 4. The menu, which is currently making our mouths water includes sliders, potato wedges, mac n’ cheese, root beer floats, popcorn, popsicles, mini pies, and lots of beer! If you’re a member, don’t forget to RSVP. If you’re not a member, join at the door! Doors open at 5:00 pm and an exhibition conversation with the curators starts at 5:30 pm and repeats at 7:00 pm.

If you can’t make it to the preview, the doors open to the public June 5 and remain through to September 1. Special thanks to the Norman Rockwell Museum for organizing this groundbreaking exhibition. Don’t miss it!

Impressions, coming soon to McNay members’ mailboxes

We love our members. And we love putting together Impressions, our beautiful membership magazine, for our members!Impressions Summer 2013 1

Last week we went to press with our summer 2013 issue and it is packed full of information on upcoming/ongoing exhibitions, new acquisitions and other museum news, photos from the McNay Scene, items from the Museum Store, and best of all PROGRAMS!

Every season our calendar includes tons of events for all ages and interests, and there is certainly no lag in the summer. Here are some highlights on what’s coming:

Who wants just one program when we can create a series and have 3 or 4 throughout the summer? Like film screenings! First series is our Fiesta, Fête, Film Fest starting May 5, which compliments our current exhibition Fiesta, Fête, Festival on view through June 9. Films include Babette’s Feast, Russian Ark, Flamenco, and Dangerous Beauty.DB

Second we have our usual monthly series GET REEL on the last Thursday of every month. From May through July, the series features French and American takes on summer love, loss, and adventure. Films include The Swimmer, Pauline at the Beach, and Lords of Dogtown.The Swimmer

And the third film series, Great American Film Festival, compliments our summer exhibition Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Films include: The Best Years of Our Lives, The Last Picture Show, American Graffiti, and Pleasantville.TBYOL

And the series don’t stop there. We also have our annual Summer Jazz & Lunch Series with performers Ken Slavin, Henry Brun & The International Trio, and George Prado & Regency Jazz Band. Gourmet box lunches provided by Fresh Horizons.trumpet picture 2011 - 1C3596

We’re also proud to have Mash-Up Series back for the second year in a row! For those of you who missed it last year, Mash-Up consists of two passionate experts presenting brief talks on specific, yet very different areas of interest–like big hair and classic cars. After fielding questions from the audience, the once seemingly disparate subjects connect.mashuplogonobackground

We have LOTS of artists coming to visit this summer too for conversations and talks including John Fraser and Lesley Dill, currently with work in our exhibition Majority Rules, and Jane Dunnewold and Cathy Cunningham-Little, our summer Artists Looking at Art!

Lesley1

Artist Lesley Dill

The minds behind the San Antonio musical presentation of Spring Awakening are coming for a conversation, writer Robert Edsel for a lecture and book signing, dancers from SpareWorks.dance perform a response to our current exhibition The Human Face and Form, Allegro Stage Company performs twice in honor of the Broadway Reach Community Weekend, artist Trish Simonite is doing a workshop on photographing portraits, and Distinguished Lecturer Wanda Corn arrives for a lecture on Norman Rockwell!SavingItaly

This seriously is only a fraction of everything going on. It doesn’t even count the usual Gallery Talks, Educator programs, and Family Art Plays! Actually, speaking of families, we have to mention Free Family Field Day, which will involve a family photo shoot and field day games including a three-legged race.

If you’re looking for more information on these programs stay tuned for your members magazine Impressions, coming to a mailbox near you! If you’re not a member, click here, call 210.805.1756, or e-mail membership@mcnayart.org. And check the calendar on our website for dates, times, costs, and updates!