Art News

The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu Hawaii ~ A Delightful Contemporary Art Museum

artwork: The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu (TCM), the only museum devoted to Contemporary Art in the state of Hawai'i. Set in 3.5 acres of landscaped sculpture gardens, the structure that houses the Contemporary Museum was built as a residence in 1925 by Mrs. Charles Montague Cooke and opened to the public in October 1988. The external walls feature regularly changing murals by local artists.

Located on Oahu in the Honolulu neighborhood of Makiki, on a hill overlooking the city and the ocean, the Contemporary Museum (TCM) is the only museum in Hawaii that is devoted exclusively to contemporary art and features artworks from 1940 to the present. TCM provides an accessible forum for provocative, dynamic forms of visual art, offering interaction with art and artists in a unique Island environment. TCM presents its innovative exhibition and educational programs at two venues, in residential Honolulu at the historic Cooke-Spalding house, and downtown at the First Hawaiian Center. In addition to preserving art from 1940 to the present, the Museum also maintains and presents the historic Cooke-Spalding house and gardens for the enjoyment and enrichment of Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors. The structure that houses TCM was built as a residence in 1925 by Mrs. Charles Montague Cooke. At the same time, The Honolulu Academy of Arts was being built on the site of her former home on Beretania Street. The Makiki Heights home was designed by Hart Wood and later enlarged by the firm of Bertram Goodhue and Associates. The Honolulu Academy of Arts acquired the estate as a bequest from Anna Rice Cooke’s daughter, Alice Spalding, in 1968 and operated it as an annex from 1970 to 1978. After passing through the hands of a private developer in the late 1970s, the property was acquired by a subsidiary of The Honolulu Advertiser. In 1986 the Twigg-Smith family offered it as a site for The Contemporary Museum. Following interior renovation by The CJS Group Architects and the construction of the Milton Cades Pavilion, the museum opened to the public in October 1988. TCM includes a variety of off-the-beaten-path treasures. In the Café, visitors can sit indoors in a gallery-like atmosphere amid changing displays of art or outdoors in a garden setting. The J. Russell and Charlotte McLean Cades Library welcomes visitors to stop by and enjoy the collection of information on contemporary art and artists. The library houses 900 volumes of surveys, monographs, catalogues, periodicals and artist files, and is used daily by artists, students, writers, and the museum’s curators and educators. In addition, books from recent TCM exhibitions are on the library shelves, including ‘Enrique Martínez Celaya’ and ‘Drawing is another kind of language’. Another highlight of The Contemporary Museum is the gardens, which encompass 3.5 acres. These sculpture and meditation gardens are called Nu‘umealani (heavenly terrace), and they are so beautiful that the museum won the American Society of Landscape Architects Millennium Award for preserving and maintaining them. Designed to provide a place to retreat, meditate and experience the harmony of nature, the gardens include a sprawling lawn, a tropical terraced garden, walking paths and places to sit. The grounds display sculpture by Satoru Abe, Charles Arnoldi, Deborah Butterfield, Jedd Garet, George Rickey, Toshiko Takaezu, DeWain Valentine and Arnold Zimmerman, and regularly changing murals on the walls. The Contemporary Museum can even provide picnic baskets for visitors who want to enjoy their lunch in the gardens. They are open to the public during museum hours. A satellite facility is located in downtown Honolulu in the First Hawaiian Center, the corporate headquarters of First Hawaiian Bank. Opened in 1996, the changing program of exhibitions focus on Hawaiian art and are underwritten by First Hawaiian Bank. Visit the museum’s website at …

artwork: Allison Saar - "Snake Man", 1994 - Color woodcut and lithograph Collection of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Contemporary Museum has a growing collection of works in all media spanning 1940 to the present by local, regional, national and international artists. Among artists represented are Vito Acconci, Josef Albers, Robert Arneson, Jennifer Bartlett, Deborah Butterfield, Enrique Chagoya, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, William Kentridge, Sol Lewitt, Robert Motherwell, Vik Muniz, Louise Nevelson, Kenneth Price, Andres Serrano, Kiki Smith, Frank Stella, Masami Teraoka, Mark Tobey, Richard Tuttle, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman, and Peter Voulkos. Approximately one-third of the works in the collection are by artists of Hawai`i. The remainder largely comprises works by artists from the continental United States, with a growing representation of artists from Europe, Latin America, Japan and Australia. TCM’s collection has greatly expanded since its inception to reflect the achievements of both established and emerging artists. The collection comprises more than 3,400 works in the following categories: paintings; sculpture and installations; drawings and watercolors; prints; photographs and video works; assemblage; ceramics; glass; wood; metal; and fiberworks/textiles. The Museum have a particularly strong collection of ceramic including three works by Robert Arneson (amongst them, the monumental ‘Temple of Fatal Laffs’), and important examples by Stephen De Staebler, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos, Ron Nagle, Adrian Saxe, Mark Burns, Nancy Carman, Robert Brady, and Daisy Youngblood. TCM has assembled significant holdings by artists who explore the tradition of the vessel in ceramic, wood, fiber, metal and glass. Among the artists represented are Gertrud and Otto Natzler, Beatrice Wood, Lucie Rie, Rudolf Staffel, Jay Musler, Ferne Jacobs, Richard DeVore, June Schwarz, Ron Kent, Diane Itter, and Dale Chihuly. TCM’s photography collection focuses on works that are conceptually based or employ alternative processes that challenge traditional notions of photography. Artists represented include William Wegman, Robert Cumming, John Coplans and Lucas Samaras, as well as younger artists such as Catherine Opie, Gregory Crewdson, Christopher Bucklow, Candida Hofer, Bill Jacobson, Vik Muniz, Thomas Ruff, and Liza Ryan. Highlights of TCM’s print collection include ”Electric Chair”, a series of ten screenprints by Andy Warhol; “Savarin”, a monotype by Jasper Johns; “Had Gadya”, a series of ten mixed-media prints by Frank Stella; and “High Green”, a color etching and aquatint by Richard Diebenkorn. Other significant holdings include an untitled oil on canvas by Robert Motherwell; “Marsaxlokk Bay”, a large-scale mixed-media metal relief by Frank Stella; ”The White Cup”, a mixed-media assemblage by Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz; and eighteen works by Dennis Oppenheim.

artwork: Steven and William Ladd - "Guys with boxes" 2011 - Installation - Mixed Media. From "Steven & William Ladd: 9769 Radio Drive" exhibition at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu until May 8, 2011. This is the first solo exhibition of the two brother's work.

The Contemporary Museum hosts temporary exhibitions in both the Cooke-Spalding house, and downtown at the First Hawaiian Center. The main exhibition at the Cooke-Spalding house is ‘Steven & William Ladd: 9769 Radio Drive’ (until May 8, 2011). In keeping with The Contemporary Museum’s mission of providing emerging artists with significant opportunities to expand and show their work, TCM presents Steven and William Ladd: 9769 Radio Drive, the first solo museum exhibition for these Brooklyn, New York based artists. The Ladd brothers have created a large exhibition specifically for the museum’s spaces that provides a significant overview of their art and transforms TCM’s galleries. The Ladds’ work collaboratively and frequently draws upon their past experiences for inspiration. The current exhibition includes references to their parents, grandparents, and siblings, and 9769 Radio Drive, referenced in the exhibition title, is the address of the home in St. Louis in which they grew up. Their sculptures initially take the form of towers of handmade boxes, which are shown open in the exhibition to reveal dazzlingly elaborate sewn and beaded interiors that could be interpreted as fanciful, mysterious landscapes. Other works incorporate found objects. At the heart of the exhibition is a large installation titled Ant Epidemic, which fills TCM’s largest gallery with images of thousands of small black ants. Together, Steven and William Ladd have forged a body of work that exists in a nexus of text, drawing, sculpture, installation, performance, craft/design, and fashion. They have combined a range of techniques, forms, materials, and practices, forging something which is uniquely theirs. The First Hawaiian Center Gallery has three temporary exhibitions currently running (all until 15th July 2011). “Recent Photographs by Andrew Binkley and Inka Resch” presents recent works from two photographers capturing the daily lives of people in China and Dubai. Photographer Andrew Binkley layers multiple exposures in Photoshop to create images that capture the connections and paths between people on the streets of China below. Through images of enormous towers and the countless tiny figures building them, Hawai‘i-raised artist, Inka Resch, reveals the oppositions, contradictions, and contrasts that characterize Dubai, the city in which she currently lives and works.

artwork: Jill Butterbaugh - "September Morning" - Oil on canvas. A collection of Jill Butterbaugh's oil paintings on wood and drawings on paper done in charcoal & conte is on view at the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu. Titled "Vintage Girls", it explores the distinct look of the 30's, 40' and 50's.

Also on show at the The First Hawaiian Center Gallery is “Suzanne Wolfe: Cuptopia”. As a faculty member at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Suzanne Wolfe’s teaching specialty is in low-temperature ceramics media, mold techniques, and ceramics history. Her current work explores the process of developing layered glaze imagery, the transformation of found ceramic objects, and an investigation of the relationship between interior and exterior. In this exhibition, Wolfe will show more than 300 ceramic cups, each conveying a unique narrative through the application and juxtaposition of multiple image transfers. A third exhibition “In the News: Bernice Akamine, Deborah Nemad, Vince Hazen, Mac James, and Pearlyn Salvador” showcases works that are inspired by local, national, and/or international news. The artists take their inspiration from newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, using these media to create their works utilizing techniques such as collage and image transfer. The exhibition features both two- and three-dimensional multi-media works. Artists include Bernice Akamine, Vince Hazen, Deborah Nemad, Mac James, and Pearlyn Salvador. Changing exhibits of contemporary art are also shown in the Contemporary Café, where a selection of works by local artist Jill Butterbaugh is currently displayed. This selection of two-dimensional work includes large oil paintings on wood and drawings on paper done in charcoal and conte. “Vintage Girls” explores the distinct look of the 30’s, 40′ and 50’s in larger than life portraits. Other selected works in charcoal and conte include dramatic still life drawings of various subjects from dendrobium orchids to somber looking stuffed animals.