The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum welcomes visitors to the University of Louisiana campus with three new shows this fall.
Two exhibits pull back the curtain on the work of artists from Russia and the former Soviet Union. A third installation traces the career of an American artist, the late Henry Botkin.
"Finding Freedom in Russian Art, 1961–2013" highlights the evolution of nonconformist art. A photography exhibit, "Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War and the Holocaust," opens Sept. 13.
The "Finding Freedom" exhibit will feature painting, photography, sculpture and video._ The works in the exhibition reflect the evolution of artistic liberation in the post-Stalin years to the many significant new directions of present-day art in Russia.
"American and Russian histories are intertwined," said Lee Gray, the museum’s curator.
In both countries, Cold War politics — from the 1950s to the 1980s — influenced cultural perceptions about individuality and nationality. "These exhibits will give museum visitors the opportunity to consider challenges faced by Soviet artists who created works before, during and after the Communist period," said Gray.
The exhibit, "Through Soviet Eyes," features the work of 20th-century Soviet photojournalists who captured arresting war images. They were the first to document the liberation of prisoners from Nazi concentration camps. The majority of Soviet photojournalists were Jewish, coming from mid-sized towns in southern Russia, and taking up photography when it was a new, risky, and entrepreneurial profession._ These photographers merged the social and political purpose of documentary photography with the aesthetic sensibilities of Modernism in these beautiful and disturbing pictures.
The notion of finding freedom is also expressed in "Henry Botkin's Aesthetic Evolution," on display from Sept. 13 to Dec. 13. The late Botkin was an American painter who created works in the impressionist style, which was made famous by French painter Claude Monet. Botkin later became an abstract artist who created mixed-media collages and helped promote American abstract art in Japan.
This exhibition highlights Botkin’s early works in the Modernist tradition; a second exhibition featuring his later abstract works will be on display at the museum in the Spring. Botkin’s work is held in the permanent collections of major institutions around the world, including the Hilliard University Art Museum.
An opening reception for the fall 2014 exhibitions will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19.
The museum, which features 11,000 square feet of gallery space, is the largest between Houston and New Orleans. It houses a collection of 18th- through 21th-century European, Asian and American art. In addition to its permanent collection, it offers changing exhibitions of regional, national and international art. For more information, visit hilliardmuseum.org or call (337) 482-2278.
The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is at 710 E. St. Mary Blvd., on the University of Louisiana campus. The museum’s hours are: Tuesdays through Thursdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays: 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.