The Mitchell Art Museum Opens Spring Shows Featuring Work of Black Artists and Prints by Rockwell Kent
Due to popular demand, the “Love by Looking: Selections from the Collection of Alitash Kebede” exhibition at the Mitchell Art Museum has been extended to July 3.
“The Prints of Rockwell Kent: Selections from the Ralf C. Nemec Collection” exhibit will close as scheduled on June 5.
Exhibitions run April 9 through June 5 and are free and open to the public; special events include musical performances, poetry readings, gallery talks and more
ANNAPOLIS, MD [April 7, 2023] — St. John’s College today announced that the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Art Museum will present two exhibitions from April 9 through June 5: “Love by Looking: Selections from the Collection of Alitash Kebede,” and “The Prints of Rockwell Kent: Selections from the Ralf C. Nemec Collection.”
“The exhibitions offer a study in contrasts,” says Peter Nesbett, Director of the Mitchell Art Museum, of the “Love by Looking” and Rockwell Kent exhibitions. “One was assembled as a way for an art dealer to remember friends—many now deceased—through their art. The other is the result of a near obsessive quest by one man to possess all the artwork of another man he never met. Though both exhibitions are drawn from private collections—one in Los Angeles, the other Long Island—they couldn’t be more different. They represent contrasting perspectives on why people buy art.”
Admission to the museum and associated exhibition events is free and open to the public. Museum hours from April 9 through May 14 are Wednesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays until 8 p.m. Beginning May 15, the museum will be open Friday through Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The “Love by Looking: Selections from the Collection of Alitash Kebede” exhibition showcases the notable collection of Los Angeles-based art dealer and documentary film-producer Alitash Kebede. But it is also about how Kebede, an Ethiopian immigrant, helped create the market for the art of Black artists in the United States. The show includes work by Romare Bearden, Ed Clark, Jacob Lawrence, and many others.
The “Love by Looking” exhibit kicks off on Saturday, April 8, with two special events: a conversation between Bentley Brown, the exhibition’s curator, and Kebede about her life, experience, collection, and the value of friendship when forging social change at 5:30 p.m., followed by a concert and poetry reading at 6:30 p.m. in the Mellon Hall Lobby, located immediately outside the art museum. The Nag Champa Art Ensemble is a D.C.-based music group that performs futuristic funk, blending house music with jazz, hip-hop, go-go, and more elements that sound like something from another universe. The performance will be accompanied by a reading of Lucille Clifton poems.
Additional free museum events include an hourlong tai chi session with Kebede on Sunday, April 9 at 10 a.m., followed by a screening of the documentary Richard Hunt Sculptor at 5 p.m. On Sunday, April 30, the museum hosts a group reading and discussion on the poetry and life of Baltimore-based Lucille Clifton (1936–2010), with Darlene R. Taylor, a writer, Howard University lecturer, and Clifton House board member. For more information on the poetry discussion and to RSVP, visit sjc.edu/mitchell. On Saturday, May 6, at 4 p.m. Annapolis-based multi-disciplinary artist Comacell Brown (aka Spitfire) will share his reflections on the exhibition in a casual gallery tour. Brown is the 2021 Anne Arundel Visual Artist of the Year.
“The Kebede Collection is grounded in friendship,” says Nesbett. “She knew all the artists, and together they fought for both equal representation in the art world, and more robust Black patronage for Black art. For me, it raises interesting questions around intersections of the professional, the political, and the personal.”
In addition to the “Love by Looking” exhibit, the museum will feature “The Prints of Rockwell Kent: Selections from the Ralf C. Nemec Collection.” This exhibition of 50 works is the largest assemblage of prints, worldwide, by American artist Rockwell Kent. A prolific artist and writer, Kent was also a renowned sailor and adventurer. He pictured the austere landscapes of Alaska and Greenland. He also illustrated editions of Candide, The Canterbury Tales, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, and Moby Dick. The exhibition includes seven of Kent’s 1931 illustrations for a reprint of the Old English epic poem Beowulf.
Finally, the museum will offer visitors an opportunity to view “THE OPEN MUSEUM” video scrapbook of Mitchell Art Museum’s five-week raucous reopening, during which 1,500 people drew or wrote on the gallery walls. The video includes a stop-motion animation of how the immersive community mural came to be, as well as slides taken by participants along the way.
For more information on exhibits and programming, visit sjc.edu/mitchell or follow @sjcmitchell on Facebook and Instagram.
About the Mitchell Art Museum
Located in Mellon Hall on the St. John’s College campus in downtown Annapolis, the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Art Museum was founded in 1989 and presents approximately four changing exhibitions per year. Past shows have featured Shakespeare’s First Folio, Japanese woodblock prints, African American quilts, and art by Jacob Lawrence, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Alice Neal, Louise Nevelson, Andy Warhol, and hundreds of world-renowned artists. The Mitchell Art Museum is the only art museum in Anne Arundel County accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and one of only five to be accredited in the state of Maryland.
About St. John’s College
St. John’s College is one of the most distinctive colleges in the country due to its all-required Great Books curriculum. At St. John’s, undergraduate and graduate students read more than 200 of the most important books across dozens of subjects and discuss those books with faculty in small, seminar-style classes. Located on two campuses in two historic state capitals—Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico—St. John’s is the third oldest college in the United States and has been hailed as the “most contrarian college in America” by The New York Times, the “most rigorous college in America” by Forbes, and the “most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America” by Quartz. Learn more at sjc.edu.
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