On Three Exhibits

Click for excellent background music for this post from The Piano Guys.

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Typically, I take pictures at a museum exhibit with hopes of creating a post. Well, I never got around to writing these, so while cleaning out my blog closet, I decided to give a synopsis of them in one post. Sort of a Pictures at an Exhibition. Hope you enjoy the walk through the gallery

Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China

Unknown until 1974, this archaeological discovery is about the legion (over 8,000 life-sized figures) guarding the tomb of China’s first emperor. Not only multiple warriors, the exhibit included arms, armor, ornaments, ceramics, jewelry, and excellent information about this early civilization. The Cincinnati Art Museum hosted this fascinating exhibit.

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Chocolate: The Exhibition

Although it’s not true for everyone, but many people enjoy chocolate. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, brownies, fudge, and many more items. As a kid, I sprinkled cocoa powder onto my Rice Krispies, plus enjoyed Bosco! I still like an occasional gulp of straight Hershey Chocolate Syrup. So, I had to attend the exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

When first entering the exhibit, the smell of chocolate grabbed your attention. Yum! A large section of the exhibit focused on chocolate’s history. The German or Belgians come to mind, but hey – chocolate goes back to the Aztecs in Central America – so it made way to Europe from there! Uses, products, and production completed the exhibit. At the end, a local chocolatier provided samples. Yes – it was a good day.

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Guitars: Instruments that Rocked the World

Guitars have a fascinating history – and one much longer than many people may think. But did you know there is a National Guitar Museum? Yep – but it is a travelling exhibit without a permanent home!

Besides displaying some famous guitars, the exhibit included over 70 guitars of different styles, ages, and historical value (including one from 3000 BCE). Besides guitars, visitors can learn more about sound through numerous interactives. Toss in posters, graphics, banners, and the World’s Largest Playable Guitar, this exhibit is a winner for music lovers. Yes – I enjoyed this exhibit!

Click here to learn more about the National Guitar Museum and it’s exhibition schedule. I wonder if the museum will find a permanent home.

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On a Playful Brick

To me, art is one of the (if not the most) ultimate expressions of human creativity. It’s easy to apply that thought to paintings, drawings, and sculptures – but it also applies (and not limited to) music, architecture, closing, photography, and countless creations of woodwork, jewelry, knitting, pottery, and embroidery..

For many months, my wife and I looked forward to visiting an exhibit before it left Cincinnati’s Museum Center – an exhibit of something many of us played with – a toy – yet, the fundamental ingredient of an art form – LEGO® bricks.

Art of the Brick is an exhibit featuring the work of Nathan Sawaya – a contemporary artist who uses LEGO® bricks to replicate his expressions of great art and his own original art through these toyful bricks.

Lego Entrance

Although the exhibit contained over 100 pieces, the comparative images of Sawaya’s work to the originals impressed me …

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… but so did his replications of the Mona Lisa (da Vinci), Starry Night (Van Gogh), and others …

… and so did this (I’m guessing) 10 ft (3 m) version of the iconic Moai on Easter Island composed of over 75,000 individual bricks …

Lego Moai

.. Sorry to say I didn’t get of a good picture this 20 ft (6 m) long replication of Tyrannosaurus rex of over 80,000 bricks, but The Guardian did (which I will list in the Additional Resources at the end of this post)

Mr. Sawaya also created original contemporary work How could one not love the swimmer in the pool of bricks …

Lego Swimmer

… and Yellow: the expression of a life-sized man ripping open his chest …

Lego Yellow

.. and a unique collection of other originals …

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… and even the Flying Pig specifically done for the people of Cincinnati in this exhibit.

Lego Flying Pig

Art of the Brick is a fun and impressive exhibit. Although it’s run in Cincinnati is ending, multiple exhibits are currently touring across the globe. See the Additional Information at the end that includes the tour’s world-wide schedule. Any favorites?

Videos
The Exhibit

From the artist

Testimonials

The exhibit challenges the concept of what is art. What is a toy. And even the limits of human imagination. It’s a playground where pigs are let loose to fly. – Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com

Is it a grown-up version of child’s play? Yes. Is it art? Yes — and not merely in the kitschy tradition of Warhol. In addition to presenting an 80,020-piece Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and plastic reproductions of famous masterpieces, the exhibition is surprisingly contemplative. – Kathy Schwartz, CityBeat

Sure, it might start with a brick, but it takes an impressive amount of vision to build upon that first step and take the concept to the finish line. Because while we’ve all, at one time or another, built a house out of LEGOs, we haven’t built the world’s largest display of LEGO art. That claim belongs to Sawaya. – Leah Zipperstein, Cincinnati Refined

While I loved seeing the well-known works of art re-imagined and created in LEGO® bricks, I was totally enamored with the creativity displayed by the original works of Nathan Sawaya.” – Bridgett Raffenberg, 365Cincinnati.com

This exhibit isn’t just for LEGO fanatics…everyone is going to love this collection of works of art using LEGO bricks. – Katie S., TheLittleThingsJournal.com

Each room of the exhibit has a WOW factor! It’s hard to pick a favorite when you see how diverse Nathan’s skills are. It’s incredible to think of the foresight and planning that went into creating each sculpture. – Nedra McDaniel, AdventureMomBlog.com

Additional Information
Exhibit’s website
The Touring Schedule
The Artist
Images from The Guardian

Art of the Brick is something to think about. After all, this exhibit may be near you.

Lego Ponder

On a Day at a Museum

In late December, my wife and I spent the afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC). The fabulous day included two Omnimax movies, an exhibition, the holiday train display, and sometime in the history portion of the CMC … so here’s your chance to explore what we saw.

The CMC occupies Union Terminal. With its Art Deco, rotunda, tile mosaics, and architectural structures, Union Terminal is quite the building. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed this wonderful structure by placing it #44 on the AIA’s favorites of American architecture. Learn more about Union Terminal here.

Jerusalem, a National Geographic movie, was fascinating! We’ve seen most of the Omnimax movies through the years, and this one ranks as one of the best. The trailer is below, but here is the list of locations the movie is currently playing throughout the world.

Mummies of the World is a travelling exhibit that is currently in Cincinnati. The exhibit trailer is below, and click here for the exhibit’s main website. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a schedule of future tour stops.

In the Omnimax theater, we also saw Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs. To me, the movie was OK and worth seeing, but doesn’t make my list of favorite films at the museum’s theater. Explore the trailer.

On our way to the holiday train display, the Cincinnati in Motion exhibit is a personal favorite. It’s a model of the city in the first half of the 20th Century. Life in cities during pre-suburbia and interstates fascinates me. The video below will give you a ride through the display, and you can see some images here.

On Pompeii: The Exhibit

We recently attended the travelling exhibit A Day in Pompeii. Cookware, jewelry, armor, frescos, utensils, statues, mosaics, religious figurines, and more told visitors about life in this modern city of over 20,000. Our short visit to Pompeii (2007) helped us appreciate the exhibit even more. And to think that Pompeii was covered for 17 centuries!

Figuring the museum would prohibit photography, I did not take a camera. Once there, I was people taking pictures, but it was not until I was more than halfway through that I recall having the camera on my phone in my pocket.

The exhibit is at the Cincinnati Museum Center through August 12. (Image from the Cincinnati Museum Center)

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Karl Briullov’s Last Day of Pompeii (not on display) (Image from Wikipedia)

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Jewelry

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Statues of garden statues of Hermes in front of outdoor frescos

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Floor Mosaic

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Replicas of Body Casts

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Animations: Below are two segments of a computer animation of that last day. Although the full version is 3-4 minutes long, these two segments will stimulate your thought. Be patient with the second because the end is profound.

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On an Omnimax

We enjoy the Cincinnati Museum Center – and we make it a point to see the captivating movies passing through its Omnimax Theater. This weekend we hope to see the Rocky Mountain Express.

We also eagerly await the arrive of the Day in Pompeii traveling exhibit that opens in early March. Meanwhile, enjoy this trailer for this weekend’s movie.

PS: We just returned. I thought this movie was one of the better ones that I’ve seen in some time. It focused on the difficult challenge of constructing the Canadian-Pacific Railroad from Vancouver eastward through the mountains in the era of the steam engine. Given the setting, the scenery was stunning.

Be safe this weekend!

On Two Bookends

Ezzard Charles was the heavyweight boxing champion 1946-1951 as he won the crown from Joe Louis then lost it to Jersey Joe Walcot. He came to Cincinnati at age 9, and for his accomplishment, the city named a street in his honor. Interesting, Ezzard Charles Drive is only a mile long, but connects two of Cincinnati’s treasures that are in this image … and this post is about the bookends of Ezzard Charles Drive. The most prominent structures in the image above.

At one end – Music Hall. Built in 1878, Music Hall is one of the grand music venues in the country and home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and other professional performing organizations. Actually three buildings in one, Cincinnati’s German heritage and their love for music brought this grand building into reality. Being that my wife and I have engaged in ballroom dancing in recent years, we love Music Hall’s ballroom. Nonetheless, Music Hall is a local treasure with a rich history. To learn more about this gem, click here or scroll through these Google images.

At the other end- Union Terminal. From its Grand Rotunda, art deco design throughout, and beautiful, colorful murals, Union Terminal served as Cincinnati’s railroad station from 1933 to 1972. In 1977 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark, while in 2007, the American Institute of Architects noted the building to be #44 on their list of favorite American architecture.

Although the wrecking ball loomed large at one time, today’s Union Terminal is the home to the Cincinnati Museum Center, which houses the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, the Cincinnati Historical Society, the Robert D. Linder OMNIMAX Theater, and site for temporary exhibits. My favorite display is Cincinnati in Motion: a room-size model of the city. (Pictured, and here’s a short tour through it on a model train). I adore the building and its offerings, so to learn more about this treasure click here or scroll through these Google images.

Music Hall and Union Terminal are Cincinnati treasures from two different eras. Yet, each serves as a bookend on a street named for a Cincinnatian that many people may not know.

On Understanding Race

racecoverRace: Are We so Different? is a travelling exhibit developed by the American Anthropological Association. Thankfully, Cincinnati is a location on the tour.

 

I visited during the first week with both anticipation and eagerness. The closing of the first film set the stage by challenging visitors to think and reflect one’s own views. For an exhibit that isn’t physically large, my two-hour engagement caused me to reflect for days.

 

The exhibit, divided into 3 sections (historical, biological, and currently) allows visitors to determine their own order. Interestingly, and to my surprise, race wasn’t defined; yet it is clear that race is complex, shaped by choices and stereotypes, and misconceptions besides determining who we are and how we interact with one another.

 

Random Notes

  • The exhibit has a wonderful Web site.
  • This video hit me hard. The YouTube video below is a news report about the filmmaker, while the link is to the exhibit’s video.
  • I didn’t finish the exhibit, but plan to return … and hopefully engage in discussions with other visitors.
  • I didn’t consider myself a racist, but this exhibit helped me see how most of us really are.
  • Philadelphia and Los Angeles are the next tour stops for 2009; here’s the entire tour schedule.  

 

Image courtesy of the American Anthropological Association and video courtesy of YouTube.