Despite the rotten economy and a lot of belt tightening in exhibit schedules, Spring 2010 is shaping up to be an usually good season for Hampton Roads and the visual arts. Here are five upcoming shows and events you'll want to put on your "must-see, must-do" list.
1. "Women of the Chrysler: A 400-Year Celebration of the Arts," Wednesday-July 18. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk. Even without its ties to "Minds Wide Open" — a statewide celebration of women in the arts — this exhibit of more than 150 works by women painters, sculptors, photographers and other artists from the Chrysler's permanent collection would be an extraordinary event. Beginning with such early pioneers as French painter Claudia Stella and American sculptor Harriet Hosmer, it traces a path through time, showing how such figures as Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt and Modernist photographer Dorothea Lange helped pave the way for the feminine presence in the art world of today.
2. "Unbearable Beauty: The Triumph of the Human Spirit, Photographs by W. Eugene Smith," April 24-June 20. Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg. Schooled by World War II and more than a decade of pioneering work at LIFE magazine, American photographer W. Eugene Smith emerged in the 1950s as one of the most powerful practitioners of the photo essay. But few of his narrative images had more impact than his searing early 1970s series documenting the disfiguring effects of mercury poisoning on the inhabitants of a Japanese city called Minemata. Organized in conjunction with an international College of William and Mary symposium on the continued effects of the industrial pollutant, this will be a moving exhibit —
3. Grand opening of James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing, May 1. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. When the Virginia Museum reopens with this $150 million expansion, everything about it will be bigger, brighter and — with free admission — a lot more engaging. The 154,000-square-foot project provids more space, and the collection will be re-installed in a brand-new configuration that pushes the Richmond museum's goal of becoming one of the country's Top 10 comprehensive art museums.
4. "Fairy Tale Art: Illustrations from Children's Books," May 7-July 11. Courthouse Galleries, Olde Towne Portsmouth. With nearly 60 original illustrations, this new show from SmithKramer Traveling Exhibitions recreates the age-old world of fairy tales and folk tales, transforming their symbols and metaphors into works of narrative art. The collection ranges from such traditional stories as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood to modern takes on the old classics — such as Cinderella's Dress.
5. "TideWATER: Works in Water Media by Hampton Roads Artists," May 22-July 11. Charles H. Taylor Arts Center, Hampton. The latest installment in the art center's series exploring various visual arts media in Hampton Roads shifts to everyone's favorite medium — and perhaps the most challenging of them all. But center manager and curator James Warwick Jones, who knows the visual arts landscape, promises that his roster of more than 75 of the region's best watercolor artists will include long-time stand-outs Newport News painter and teacher Betty Anglin but also a few surprises.
Mark St. John Erickson Erickson can be reached at 247-4783 and merickson@ dailypress.comCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times