Saturday, November 3, 2018

History and Myth in the Sunshine State: Boca Raton Museum of Art Celebrates History of Florida

In the land of pink flamingos and pink sunsets.
November 13, 2018 through March 24, 2019

Because my parents wintered in Florida, and after my father's passing my mother continued, I've had an opportunity to see a lot of art there over the years. The City of Tampa has a wonderful museum where we saw a Norman Rockwell exhibition in 2015. The adjacent St. Petersburg is home to the incomparable Dali Museum. In fact, the nearby Warehouse District is awash with public art and galleries. Another favorite art space on the Western coast of Florida is the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. It's part of the campus that includes the Ringling Bros. Circus Museum and Ca' d'Zan, the majestic home Mable built for her husband John, youngest of the five Ringling brothers.

In less than two weeks the Boca Raton Museum of Art will be hosting a massive exhibition called:


With art spanning three centuries, Boca Raton Museum of Art aims to present the untold story of Florida through the eyes of Florida artists. It's billed as the most comprehensive and all-embracing Florida themed show of its kind, with more than 200 works of art that celebrate how the Sunshine State has inspired artists across three centuries.

In Spanish boca means mouth, and raton means mouse, so you might think it funny to name a city in that way. The name comes from the words' navigational origins in which "boca" was used to describe an inlet. Raton pertained to the sharp rocks which ship captains had to steer clear of. Today, Boca Raton is associated with wealth and beauty, and their beautiful art museum reflect this.
The exhibition features paintings, drawings and photography.
This anthology of art made in and inspired by Florida and its people, places, flora, and fauna was three years in the making, guest-curated by Dr. Jennifer Hardin and Mr. Gary Monroe. The show features not only Forida artists but renowned painters who visited Florida and were enticed by its beauty. From natural landscapes to frontier outposts to burgeoning towns, the scenes featured in Imagining Florida portray many different aspects of the state, including its deep-rooted Seminole and Miccosukee heritage, its historic African American communities, and its identity as a tourist destination.

According to the Boca Raton Museum website:
Many of their selections have rarely been seen and are from some of the leading museums and collections throughout the United States. Artists and photographers include: Milton Avery, Martin Johnson Heade, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Laura Woodward, Purvis Young, Henri Cartier- Bresson, Bunny Yeager, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Doris Lee, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, John James Audubon, Frederic Remington, William Bartram, Sally Michel, Thomas Moran, George Catlin, Frederick Frieseke, and George de Forest Brush. Imagining Florida is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue.

Here are some additional images from Imagining Florida, the first being a famous bridge to St. Petersburg that I have crossed many times:

The Hunt
Betty Page, with the Prey.
John Singer Sargent was here.
Getting a little yard work done before we play, Florida style.

One more shout out:

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

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