The Toledo Museum of Art has announced the following calendar of events. Visitors may call (419) 255-8000 or visit www.toledomuseum.org for more information.
Rare and Wondrous: Birds in Art and Culture 1620-1820, through July 25, 2021. Corresponding with an age of exploration, colonialism and the rise of the great European trading companies – including the West African slave trade – intense interest in natural history and attempts to classify and categorize it grew as specimens of plants, insects, shells, mammals and birds were collected from around the world and brought back to Europe. Ornithology, the study of birds and their classification, made especially great strides in the 1700s with many lavishly illustrated studies of birds being published during the century. But naturalists were not the only ones fascinated by these “exotic” birds. Monarchs and aristocrats collected them in cabinets of curiosities and menageries, artists painted them, moralizers found symbolic meaning in them and women wore their feathers as accessories. This exhibition highlights images of exotic birds in European art primarily from the 17th and 18th centuries that show how they became the objects of scientific inquiry, of popular interest, of status and even of household decoration and personal adornment. The exhibition will showcase the museum’s recent acquisition of the important six-volume Ornithologie, written by Mathurin-Jacques Brisson and illustrated by François-Nicolas Martinet, published in 1760. It will also feature paintings, prints and decorative arts from TMA’s collection, as well as select loans of significant prints and illustrated books from the Yale Center for British Art, the University of Michigan Museums Library and Special Collections, and the Bowling Green State University Libraries Center for Archival Collections.
Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art, through September 5, 2021. Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art is the first museum exhibition to broadly examine the relationship between American artists and the supernatural. Featuring well-known artists together with many who have been overlooked, the exhibition is interdisciplinary, multicultural and multimedia. It includes many generations of artists active in the United States from diverse faith traditions, working with a wide range of topics and approaches. From the Salem Witch Trials to the Legend of Ichabod Crane; the 1848 spirit rappings famously reported by Kate and Maggie Fox to William Mumler’s spirit photographs; and the scientific pursuit of parapsychology to innumerable personal and official government reports of UFOs (unidentified flying objects), American culture is filled with tales of the supernatural and accounts of paranormal experiences. This complex and multifaceted subject has beguiled American artists for centuries, and it remains compelling today. A broad range of artists has engaged this subject matter, which often grew out of their personal experiences, religious practices and scientific pursuits. Spanning a chronology of the early 19th century through the present, Supernatural America includes approximately 160 objects. It emphasizes painting at its core, but also includes drawings, sketchbooks and journals, prints, photographs, furniture, clothing and textiles, video and other objects (scientific instruments and mediumistic/occult paraphernalia, including Ouija boards and planchettes). Admission is free for museum members and $12.00 for nonmembers. Discounts for military, college students and seniors ($10.00); youths ages 5-17 ($7.00); and children 4 and younger (free) are available.