Miami, FL.- The Lowe Art Museum is proud to present “Sacred Stories, Timeless Tales: Mythic Traditions in World Art”. “Sacred Stories, Timeless Tales” addresses multi-cultural mythic traditions in art, drawn exclusively from the permanent collection of the Lowe Art Museum, which distinguishes itself among South Florida art museums by the depth and breadth of its holdings, which span 5,000 years and represent the art of Europe, the Americas, pan-Asia, and Africa. Concepts of creation, love, morality, mortality, seasonal regeneration, the cosmos, beauty, divinity, heroes, and war are explored in some 100 examples of ceramics, paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and textiles. “Sacred Stories, Timeless Tales” is on view at the museum through October 23rd.
Mythic traditions are rooted in fictitious, symbolic narratives developed by cultures through time, which address the relationship between the inexplicable and the explicable, between the powers and forces that control the world and the human beings who occupy that world. Frequently reflecting regional differences, these sacred stories helped, and in some present-day cultures continue to help elucidate a people’s religion, history, value systems, rituals, and concepts of self. As myths exist apart from, and are not dependent upon, verifiable facts or scientific objectivity for their impact on society, they typically involve deities, heroes, wondrous creatures, and fantastic events. Some renderings faithfully adhere to time-honored visual conventions. Others reflect more personal interpretations of traditional subject matter.
Among the featured objects are a 6th century BCE Greek, black-figure hydria, which describes a myth about the goddess Athena in the presence of Ajax and Achilles; “The Judgment of Paris” by Jacob Jordaens, painted around 1620; storyteller figure by Native American artist Mary Trujillo; an African Kuba mask known as Moshambwooy that represents the myth of the ancestral figure Woot; a 19th century Japanese wood-block print that relates a ghost story; Richard Stankiewicz’s scrap metal sculpture, The River Styx, from 1953; “St. George” by Moises Finale; “Persephone” by Theodore Stamos from 1945; a contemporary metal cutout of a siren by Haitian artist Serge Jolimeau; and a 10th century sandstone sculpture of Ganesha Breaking His Tusk to Throw at the Moon.
Mythological narratives were originally transmitted and preserved orally, during eras when people could neither read nor write, and paper was not available. Written traditions did not develop until a later moment on mankind’s cultural time line, as scribes and poets sought to formally preserve stories in writing, lest they disappear. Artistic expression dramatically bridges both word-based systems, transforming into vivid pictorial or sculptural forms, concepts that spoken and textual forms of communication can only convey through mental images. Regardless of cultural derivation or individual inspiration, all the works on the exhibition represent an artistic urge to visually address those universal questions to which mythologies respond, and which unite humankind through time.
From its origins in three classrooms in 1950, the history of the Lowe Art Museum reflects an unswerving commitment to fulfill its mission to serve the University of Miami as a teaching resource, and the residents of and visitors to greater Miami as its major general art museum. The Lowe’s success in fulfilling its mission is confirmed by an extraordinary and ongoing outpouring of support for the museum and its collections. With the gift in 1950 by philanthropists Joe and Emily Lowe, a free-standing museum facility opened to the public in 1952, the first art museum in South Florida. It’s 17,500–object collection is one of the most important in the southeast, with strengths in Renaissance and Baroque, American, Ancient and Native American, and Asian art.The development of its highly regarded collection is traced through sustained support from Miami and winter resident patrons who, from its beginning, have supported the Lowe with major gifts of art and funding. A 1956 donation by Alfred I. Barton brought one of the country’s finest collections of Native American art. In 1954, the Lowe was designated the only Florida recipient in a national distribution of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation collection, and, in 1961, constructed a 2,100 square foot gallery to house the 41 Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures that are the backbone of its Western collection.
The Americas Collection includes 2,000 works surveying art in the Americas during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Lowe’s Ancient American collection was begun in 1958 but achieved international stature with the gift of 531 works by Robert M. Bischoff in 1984. The Lowe’s important Asian collection was built over twenty years with superb Chinese, Korean and Japanese ceramics, painting and sculpture, donated by Stephen Junkunc III, a Chicago native and Miami winter resident. The Lowe achieved AAM accreditation in 1972, the first university art museum in Florida to do so, and was reaccredited in 1987 and 2000. Also in 1987, the Lowe was designated a “Major Cultural Institution” by the State of Florida. In 1990, the Lowe was elected to AAMD, one of only three Florida university art museums awarded this honor. The European Collection encompasses more than 1,500 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from antiquity through the nineteenth century, and includes works by Thomas Gainsborough, Henry Raeburn, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, and Paul Gauguin. The art of North and south America and the Caribbean Basin comprises a growing collection, presently numbering some 3,000 works. These include paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries, by luminaries such as Rembrandt Peale, Thomas Sully, Albert Bierstadt, Jasper Francis Cropsey, George Inness, John French Sloan, Roy Lichtenstein, Fernando Botero, Andy Warhol and Deborah Butterfield. Given its location in south Florida, the Gateway to the Americas, the Lowe boasts a growing collection of art from Cuban and Haiti. Visit the museum’s website at … http://www6.miami.edu/lowe/index.html