Rochester raising its profile in the art world

Earlier this month, any resident of the Seacoast could see a work of a major American artist in Rochester for free. This is not fake news. It’s true.

And later this month, anyone in the Seacoast can see the work of a major American artist, up close and personal, once again in Rochester for free.

The Rochester Museum of Fine Arts has had quite a month, with two unprecedented art exhibits in these parts. If something builds from these two events, we’ll all look back and note this is when it started. And, hopefully, we can all say we were there when it did.

Some may be surprised to find out that Rochester even has an art museum. Located in the Rochester Community Center and the Rochester Public Library, the Rochester Museum of Fine Art is a community arts initiative dedicated to making exceptional fine art accessible to all. The group also curates the art exhibits at the Rochester Performance and Arts Center.

In early May, The Rochester Museum of Fine Arts in association with The Argh Gallery presented a one-day exhibition featuring a genuine “LOVE” screen print signed by Robert Indiana. On May 4, the group hosted a reception and invited the public free of charge.

Indiana, who passed away at this time last year on May 18, 2018 but had been creating for 90 years of life, was an American artist associated with the pop art movement. His “LOVE” print, first created for the Museum of Modern Art’s Christmas card in 1965, was the basis for his 1970 “LOVE” sculpture and the widely distributed in 1973 as a United States Postal Service “LOVE” stamp.

In 1994, Indiana did a limited run of green “LOVE” prints to benefit the Greenpeace organization. Indiana personally gave one of the prints to Sarah Knoy, director of the Greenpeace offices in Chicago, Illinois. A partnership between Knoy and the ARGH Gallery in Manchester brought the print to the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts to display it and now the gallery is offering it for sale.

On Friday, May 31 from 5 to 7 p.m., the Rochester MFA will present a special exhibition called “A Tribute to Sunday B. Morning” in the RPAC Art Gallery. The exhibition will feature four, count ’em four, of Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe screenprint series.

In 1967, Warhol produced what would become the most iconic representations of Monroe. He created a series of 10 variations, each with virtually the same composition, but different color variations. These original prints are known as the “Factory Additions.” The most valuable Marilyn screenprints, they auction anywhere from $100,000 for a single print to over $1.5 million for the suite.

After publishing “Factory Additions,” Warhol collaborated with two friends from Belgium on a second series of prints. Warhol wanted to play on the concept of mass production and that the Factory Addition prints were somehow more important than the second series. Warhol provided the photo negatives and color codes needed to create silkscreens exactly like the first series and the “Sunday B. Morning” screenprints were made in 1970.

Sunday B. Morning LLC has donated the entire selection of Marilyn prints to the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts. The prints will be exhibited temporarily in the RPAC Art Gallery then added to the museum’s permanent collection.

Once again, they’ll be open to the public for viewing free of charge. Kudos to the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts for making artwork of this quality available to anyone on the Seacoast. Let’s make sure sure we can all say we were there at the start.

Source: Foster’s Daily Democrat /
May 20, 2019

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