Due to construction, Museum parking may be limited at the time of your visit. Look for additional parking in free or metered spaces along nearby streets.

When Langston Hughes Came to Town

When Langston Hughes Came to Town explores the history and legacy of Langston Hughes through the lens of his largely unknown travels to Nevada and highlights the vital role Hughes played in the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. James Mercer Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was born in Joplin, Missouri. Hughes studied at Columbia University in 1921 where he would eventually become one of leaders of the Harlem Renaissance. A writer with a distinctive style inspired by jazz rhythms, Hughes documented all facets of Black culture but became renowned for his incisive poetry.

The exhibition begins by examining the relationship of this literary giant to the state of Nevada through a unique presentation of archival photographs, ephemera, and short stories he wrote that were informed by his visit to the area. The writer’s first trip to Nevada took place in 1932, when he investigated the working conditions at the Hoover Dam Project. He returned to the state in 1934, at the height of his career, making an unexpected trip to Reno, and found solace and a great night life in the city.

The presentation continues with work created by leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance who had close ties to Hughes, including sculptures by Augusta Savage and Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, and paintings by Beauford Delaney, Aaron Douglas, Norman Lewis, and Archibald Motley, Jr., among others. The range of work on display foregrounds the rich expressions of dance, music, and fashion prevalent during the influential movement.

The final section of the exhibition features contemporary artists who were inspired by Hughes and made work about his life. Excerpts from Hughes’s poems and short stories are juxtaposed with related works of art, demonstrating how his legacy endures in the twenty-first century. Isaac Julien, Kwame Brathwaite, Glenn Ligon, and Deborah Willis are among the artists whose works are included. Julien, for example, in his renowned series Looking for Langston Hughes reimagines scenarios of Hughes’s life in Harlem during the 1920s. His black-and-white pictures are paired with Hughes poem No Regrets. Similarly, Brathwaite’s impactful photographs highlight the continuation of the Harlem Renaissance through the Black pride movement of the 1960s and are coupled with the poem My People. Finally, Glenn Ligon’s black neon sculpture relates to Hughes’s poignant poem Let America Be America Again, which both leave viewers to ponder the question of belonging in America.

 

 

 

 

Elisheva Biernoff: Reservoirs of Time

This exhibition features the small-format paintings by the San Francisco-based artist Elisheva Biernoff, which are inspired by enigmatic photographs she encounters and collects that impact her in one way or another. The photographs she gravitates towards are taken by strangers and evoke an element of ambiguity and reverie. As a result, Biernoff is also painting and collecting other peoples’ memories, friends, relatives, and landscapes. Because she does not know the story of each photograph, other than what she intuits by looking at it, she imagines and reflects on the anonymous traces of lives and places that are for the most part unknown to her.

Painting, for her, is a way to see and understand the subject of a photograph, given she spends so much more time looking at the image than the person who took the original picture. In effect, her work manifests a great sense of care for other people’s lost or discarded memories. About her work, Biernoff reflects, “I’m getting to spend time with someone who is absent. Absent because they’re unknown to me, because they’re far away, because wherever they are, they’re either an older version of the person in the photograph or no longer living.” She imbues her work with consideration and a belief that every tiny detail of the image is momentous and meaningful. In the process she creates a re-enchantment with the object, and constructs new memories that we can imagine and share, even if their origins remain unknown.

Biernoff’s process is slow and methodical; she typically takes about three months to complete one work that is the same diminutive size of the photograph she paints. Cumulatively, she builds the image over time, adding small characteristics as she goes until eventually the work adopts a photographic quality. She makes her paintings on thin sheets of plywood and paints both sides of the wood to also represent the backside of the photograph, setting the finished works on small hand-made shelves, or above bases so that multiple perspectives are possible. Biernoff captures the reverse side of the image with equal attention to detail as the front.

The exhibition will consist of approximately ten paintings, several of which will be new, along with a group of postcards depicting photos Biernoff has taken, which will be made available to the public. Notably, this will be the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. Biernoff was born in 1980, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and lives and works in San Francisco. She received an MFA from California College of the Arts and a BA from Yale University. She is represented by the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

Sponsors

Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle

Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity

The first retrospective exhibition of one of midcentury America’s most innovative artists to occur in nearly sixty years, Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity features approximately 120 works that span Adaline Kent’s (1900-1957) entire career and chart major thematic developments in the artist’s work as it progressed from figuration to abstraction. Encompassing a diverse range of media, the exhibition includes drawings, original pictures incised on Hydrocal (a type of plaster), sculptures both large and small, and a collection of terracottas—many of which have not been seen by the public in over half a century.

The exhibition title comes from the artist herself; Kent often wrote down many of her ideas on art, filling notebooks with her thoughts. In one poetic note entitled Classic Romantic Mystic, dated April 17, 1956, Kent mused, “I want to hear the click of authenticity.” The exhibition title underscores the drive that propelled her forward in her work and life: to create art that expressed a unique approach to timeless subjects.

Kent grew up in the shadow of Mt. Tampalais, and therefore with a love of the natural world that she shared with her husband Robert B. Howard. They often spent their summers exploring the High Sierra. Kent and Howard also spent winters skiing in the Tahoe region, often staying with close friend and fellow artist Jeanne Reynal, who had a house at nearby Soda Springs. They were among the first investors of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, and Kent’s brother-in-law, Henry Temple Howard, would design the first chairlift in California. Kent was a self-admitted “addict of the High Sierra,” and the landscape infused her work as she translated her experience of time and space in the mountains into aesthetic form.

Although Kent’s work is not widely known today, she was featured in key 1940s and 1950s exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Bienal de São Paulo, and she exhibited with the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. She was a peer of artists such as Ruth Asawa, Isamu Noguchi, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still. Kent was also a member of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most productive mid-century artistic clan, which included Charles H. Howard, Madge Knight, John Langley Howard, Robert Boardman Howard, Henry Temple Howard, and Jane Berlandina.

Major Sponsors

Jenny and Garrett Zook Sutton | Corporate Direct

Sponsors

Charles and Margaret Burback Foundation
Barbara and Tad Danz
Maureen Mullarkey and Steve Miller
Linda and Alvaro Pascotto
Six Talents Foundation
Roswitha Kima Smale, PhD
Kaya and Kevin Stanley

Supporting Sponsors

Carole Anderson
Kathie Bartlett
Betsy Burgess and Tim Bailey
Chica Charitable Trust
Evercore Wealth Management
Galen Howard Hilgard

Additional Support

KQED
Pamela Joyner and Fred Giuffrida
PBS Reno

Drawings: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Bringing together visitor favorites alongside more recent acquisitions, Drawings: Selections from the Permanent Collection, highlights contemporary works on paper from the Nevada Museum of Art holdings of over 3,000 artworks. Each work in this small exhibition demonstrates exacting precision and a commitment to the fundamentals of drawing.  Whether using graphite or ink to express a mood, create space, or tell a story, artists including Katie Holten, Anne Lindberg, Jack Malotte, Erika Osborne, Martín Ramírez, and the collective consisting of Wilson Díaz, Amy Franceschini and Renny Pritikin, have made drawing a vital component of their practice.

Visions from Smoke Creek: Paintings by Michael Moore

Michael Moore is a painter based nomadically in the San Francisco Bay Area, southern Colorado, and the Smoke Creek Desert in Nevada. Moore spends three to five months a year living and painting at his Smoke Creek studio. While in the desert, Moore rises each morning to paint the landscape of the Smoke Creek playa. This meditative practice yields hundreds of watercolor studies that he displays in his studio in large wall grids. He also traverses the Great Basin seeking subjects for his larger paintings made in either watercolor or acrylic. Moore’s thinly applied paints evoke the transparency of the desert and its expansive skies.

Exhibition support provided by Wanda Casazza, in memory of Earl Casazza

My Land, My Dreaming

This exhibition presents a selection of artworks by Aboriginal Australian contemporary artists that are both gifts to the Nevada Museum of Art and loans from private collectors. Most museum acquisitions of Aboriginal Australian art in the United States have arisen recently from the generosity of private collectors, but the Nevada Museum of Art began working with Aboriginal artists in remote desert communities more than a decade ago through research projects in association with our Center for Art + Environment. By 2017 the Center had acquired more than a hundred paintings from field projects for its collections, and today the Museum hosts one of the largest public collections of Aboriginal art in the United States. The Museum has also supported cultural exchange opportunities for visiting Aboriginal Australian artists and Great Basin Indigenous communities.

The Museum’s interest in these works grew out of the idea that Nevada and Australia share many cultural and geographic characteristics, such as vast expanses of open land, rich natural resources, diverse Indigenous peoples, legacies of colonialism, and the ongoing conflicts that inevitably arise when these factors coexist. Aboriginal Australian art has its deepest roots in transmitting essential knowledge from generation to generation through stories, song, dance, and body decorations for more than forty thousand years. Their contemporary art is relevant to all of our collections and educational endeavors, whether those are focused on art and the environment, how humans alter the landscape and interact with it, and even how we code data and knowledge.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Martha Hesse Dolan and Robert E. Dolan

[Image: Kathleen Petyarre. My Place Atnangkere. 1996. acrylic on linen. 48 x 48 inches. Collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, Gift of Robert Kaplan and Margaret Levi. Photo courtesy: Chris Holloman Photography]

A Sweet Life: Celebrating Nancy Peppin

This exhibition honors the late Nancy Peppin, a Reno-based artist and steadfast supporter of the arts who passed away in 2015. Known for her great sense of humor, Peppin made a name for herself as a graphic designer and watercolorist. Her favorite subjects to paint were Twinkies—the popular snack cake with a creamy white filling—and her obsession eventually led to national acclaim. Peppin’s artworks grace the homes of friends and family throughout northern Nevada. This exhibition will be drawn from those private collections. Upon her passing, Peppin generously left a significant gift to the Nevada Museum of Art to support the acquisition of artworks for the Museum’s permanent collections.

Edi Rama: WORK

WORK is an exhibition by the artist and Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama. This is his first solo museum exhibition in the United States. The exhibition includes a series of new drawings made on documents and notes that Rama creates during meetings and phone calls, as well as ceramic sculptures and a floor-to-ceiling wallpaper that emulates the wallpaper in his office at the Ministry in Tirana. His drawing practice has developed in close parallel with his career as a politician. Rama views art as an essential element in a functional society. A clear example is his initiative to paint the facades of decaying communist bloc buildings after being elected Mayor of Tirana in 2000, an undertaking Rama has described as “a political action, with colors.”The Exhibition WORK has traveled from Kunsthalle Rostock in Germany and has been adapted to the exhibition space of the Nevada Museum of Art.

Edi Rama lives and works in Tirana. A former professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and author of several books, his works have been exhibited in numerous solo, two-person, or group exhibitions including at the Venice Biennale (2017); São Paulo Biennial (1994); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2004); the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); the Musée D’art contemporain de Montréal (2011); Biennale of Marrakesh, Morocco (2015); The New Museum, New York (2016); and Kunsthalle Rostock (2019). Edi Rama began his political career in Albania as the Minister of Culture in 1998. He was the Mayor of Tirana from 2000-2011. Rama was elected Prime Minister of Albania in September 2013, following a landslide victory in the general elections, and his government has since embarked the path of reforms that aim to bring Albania closer to the European Union. He is currently serving his second term as Prime Minister.

A new publication, also entitled WORK, has been published by Hatje Cantz and produced by carlier | gebauer, the Nevada Museum of Art, and Kunsthalle Rostock to accompany the exhibition. WORK is the first publication to present Edi Rama’s drawings, ceramic sculptures, and wallpaper and features texts by Martin Herbert, Ornela Vorpsi and Hans-Ulrich Obrist.

Zhi Lin: Chinese Railroad Workers of the Sierra Nevada

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, the Nevada Museum of Art presents an exhibition featuring the art of Zhi Lin, who has spent much of his career making artworks that recall the sacrifices of Chinese migrant workers in the Sierra Nevada. The completion of the railroad—which linked the United States from east to west—is often celebrated as the grand achievement of America’s Manifest Destiny and the 19th-century rallying cry for westward expansion of the United States. Zhi Lin’s mixed-media canvases, video installation, and watercolor paintings honor the nearly 1,200 Chinese workers who lost their lives to accidents, avalanches, and explosions in treacherous Sierra terrain near Donner Summit. While names of most railroad workers have been lost to history, Zhi Lin is part of a growing group of artists and scholars working to weave their stories into America’s broader historical narrative.

Media Sponsor
KUNR Reno Public Radio

After Audubon: Art, Observation, and Natural Science

Scientific naturalists at the dawn of the heroic age of scientific exploration observed and surveyed the farthest corners of the natural world. By necessity, they were artists as well as scientists, leveraging their skills in illustration, painting, poetry, and journaling to record their discoveries and share their passion.

By examining the practices of historically significant naturalists, like John James Audubon, we can begin to explore the ways in which these traditions influenced the next iteration of interdisciplinary thinking and learning. Contemporary artists such as Penelope Gottlieb, Kara Maria, and Donald Farnsworth pick up from where Audubon left off—in new, celebratory, and sometimes critical ways.

This exhibition is organized in conjunction with the 2019 NV STEAM Conference, a statewide education conference focused on ideas and strategies that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math education into innovative classroom practices that foster student creativity and innovation. The NV STEAM Conference is presented in partnership with the Desert Research Institute’s Science Alive program and supported by the Nevada Department of Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

Major Sponsor

Mario J. Gabelli, CEO Gabelli Funds

Sponsor

Nancy and Ron Remington