JULY 2022–JUNE 2023
The exhibit P L A N [E] T includes a range of mid-20th-century landscape prints, primarily by Colorado and New Mexico artists; a selection of recent monotype prints depicting plants imagined by MoA’s founding director and curator, Thordis Niela Simonsen; and two oil paintings by Haitian artists that bring people into the picture. While the works vary in medium, style, and technique, taken as a whole, the exhibit can be seen as a celebration of the planet and the world of plants.
photographs coming soon***
Even before the Museum of Authenticity’s galleries were ready to populate with art, I knew I would design installations that would be more interesting than a 2-dimensional line-up of closely related framed works gracing the walls. Instinctively, I turned to juxtaposition.
In keeping with this approach, MoA’s third exhibit, P L A N [E] T, interweaves primarily monochromatic mid-20th-century landscape prints and ink drawings selected from the Museum’s collection of primarily Colorado and New Mexico artists with colorful monotype prints depicting plants that I have imagined. Two oil paintings by Haitian artists—that bring people into the picture—and two standing assemblage sculptures featuring parts from vintage agricultural implements round out the display.
A variety of media is represented. Artists range from those who are known in the world of printmaking to those who are unknown—including me.
rayograph gravure (Man Ray, American, Calla Lillies)
color wood-block print (Werner Drewes, German-American, California Hills)
linoleum block print (Lorraine Burgess, American, untitled)
color lithograph (Lawrence Barrett, American, Sopris Peak)
aquatint (J. Jay McVicker, American, Sunscape)
etching (George Elbert Burr, American, Summer Cloud. Apache Trail Ariz–)
dry point (Gene Kloss, American, Rio Grande Footbridge)
ink drawing and wash (George Vander Sluis, American, Lake CIty Colo)
Styles range from traditional (Adolf Dehn, American, lithograph, Colorado Landscape) to modernist (Arnold Rönnebeck, German-American, lithograph, Rio Grande Canyon, New Mexico and Hayes Lyon, American, lithograph, Conifers and Canyon Stream).
I knew from the beginning that the Museum’s exhibits would tell stories through the selection and arrangement of 2- and 3-dimensional objects in 3-dimensional space. But until I was mounting the first exhibit, “Sum of the Parts,” I had no idea that MoA could, should, and would become a platform for voicing concerns about the fate of the planet. Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator and Chair of the Arts of the Americas at Brooklyn Museum, validated this assertion. Referring to the Museum’s recent exhibit, “Climate in Crisis” (14 February 2020–3 July 2022), she stated, “I feel very strongly that museums can’t afford to be neutral places any more. The time of just showing objects . . . is long gone.”
Taken as a whole, the exhibit P L A N [E] T can be seen as a celebration of the planet and the world of plants. However, Toni Morris’ (American, ______–1990) block print of a naked tree reaching toward the stars depicts a barren landscape.
Three works in the exhibit suggest the time when human activity returned to the earth in proportion to what was received or taken and, in the context of P L A N [E] T, can be viewed as a reminder that the time to re-balance our relationship with the environment is long overdue:
Louis Monza (Italian-American), linoleum block print, The Gardeners of Hermosa
Magda Magloire (Haitian), oil on canvas, Girls Carrying Baskets
Louisiane Saint Fleurant (Haitian), oil on canvas, Blue and Red Flowers
In contrast to Toni Morris’ print, the monotype prints selected from my own portfolio of imagined plants are particularly exuberant. In addition—though created for nothing more than the joy of it—the enlargement of #161 can be seen to offer a course of action. Re-plant the planet.
Lest we forget, human life depends on plants and on the planet; plants and the planet do not benefit from human life.
Thordis Niela Simonsen, founding director & curator