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A 'Garden Party' blooming with of art at the Nassau County Museum of Art

Tiffany Studios; Share in the beauty of sunshine and flowers by viewing blooms of beautiful works of art
Tiffany Studios; Share in the beauty of sunshine and flowers by viewing blooms of beautiful works of art
Carol Ruth Weber

As Long Islanders anxiously anticipate the coming of Spring after a very long and cold winter, the Nassau County Museum of Art is welcoming the season of fresh blooms and sunshine a couple of weeks early with a new exhibit fittingly titled "Garden Party" opening March 8, 2014. The exhibit, running until July 6, 2014 welcomes visitors to have the opportunity to see flowers and nature through the eyes of artists. Celebrate the coming sun filled months visiting works by Chagall, Hockney, Mapplethorpe, O’Keeffe, Prendergast, Rivers, Tiffany and more.

Share in the beauty of the coming Spring viewing blooms of beautiful works of art
Carol Ruth Weber

"The exhibition is organized by guest curators Franklin Hill Perrell, the museum’s former senior curator, and JoAnne Olian, curator emeritus at the Museum of the City of New York. Garden Party explores the imagery of fête champêtre—outdoor entertainments and garden parties—through paintings, sculpture, costume, fabrics and decorative arts and designs."

Inside the mansion and among the grounds the "Garden Party" of art will be celebrated

"In Garden Party, the curators have assembled a bouquet of paintings illustrating the appeal of flowers in every season. The project also takes advantage of the museum’s incomparable 145-acre property, richly embellished with beautiful gardens and sculpture. This exhibition of gardens and flowers in an array of styles is organized thematically by season, beginning with a stunning portrayal of spring through a monumental mural by Robert Kushner. Works by artists from many different traditions are on view, including Nell Blaine, Charles Burchfield, Marc Chagall, Janet Fish, Jane Freilicher, Martin Johnson Heade, David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe, Georgia O’Keeffe, Maurice Prendergast, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

"The works in the exhibition portray floral images as objects of enjoyment and pure visual pleasure, the recreation of a natural paradise envisioned since antiquity and perpetually recreated in gardens, the nuances of horticulture, floral arrangements and flower motifs in fashion and decorative art. The prevalence of floral imagery in costume design is demonstrated with charming, flowery dresses and accessories, enchanting millinery, and delightful 19th-century beaded purses."

Highlights of the show include spectacular installations from well known artists.

Instantly as one enters the magnificent mansion that now serves as the museum it is as if Spring has sprung with blossoms of creativity not only covering the walls but in every nook and cranny. In gallery one among the bouquets of artwork is the 47-foot multi-panel piece done on gold leaf done by Kushner, a key artist in the pattern and decoration movement who first became prominent in the 1970s.

Step into gallery two and it is as entering a wonderland of blossoming colors and textures making those viewing the exhibit feel as if they are actually part of it, as one circles around interesting sculptures a "Giant Bee" by Richard Gachot is spied hovering above. Carson Fox's "Virginia Garden" literally appears as if blooming from the walls as it rains down in a cast resin relief hung on the walls at ceiling height. Take a walk through the hall ways filled with more colorful works leading you into a gallery showcasing beautiful costumes displayed ready for a party in the garden as they are shown in front of a beautiful backdrop of a shimmering multi-panel installation.

"Among the many enchanting works on view in Garden Party are Rosenquist's Sister Shreik, one of his classic representations of females and flowers; Prendergast’s The Promenade, n.d., a post-impressionist painting of a garden party with costumed women in a setting of nature; Chagall's Le Repos, c. 1980 with its essential bouquet; and Ben Schonzeit's spectacular photorealist still life, Fred and Ginger Rose, 1997.

"The Garden Party idea pervades the selections: flowers are themselves festive in character, and uplifting to the spirit, ever attesting to the life force and nature's generous and spontaneous beauty. Floral patterns, often used in fashion and décor, affirm our innate desire to capture such loveliness. We intuitively recognize that flowers are a universal symbol of life and well being."

Take a stroll to the second floor for more works of art showcased in AftermodernisM Spring 2014

After a walk through the gardens of art enjoy a trip to the second floor galleries to share in more color and boldness as you eye the beautiful innovative abstract minimalistic works in the AftermodernisM exhibit.

"The work of Michael Bevilacqua, James Busby and Ridley Howard illustrates the AftermodernisM concept of fractured, asymmetric artistic concerns, furthering the range of this newly developed asymmetric vocabulary and running the gamut from the non objective to sharp focus realism, never relinquishing the importance of the abstract. James Busby deals with a totally new dimension in the evolution of minimal art. This idea is followed by the hybrid of fusion of minimal abstraction with cool figuration created by Ridley Howard. Michael Bevilacqua’s unbelievable breadth ranges from intensely colored figuration to an atmospheric Rothko-like abstraction which avoids the modernist concepts of a signature style."

Spend a day visiting the Nassau County Museum of Art on the historic grounds of the former Frick Estate off of Northern Boulevard in Roslyn Harbor.

NCMA is a wonderful escape from the hectic world. Spend an afternoon strolling through the grounds and gardens of a grand estate. Visit a mansion now filled with galleries of beautiful art. Spend the day strolling through the gardens dreaming and gaining inspiration for your own abode's décor.

Enjoy wonderful events accompanying the beautiful "Garden Party" exhibit

Following are just a few of the many events celebrating the museum and the "Garden Party" exhibit. Check the NCMA website for the complete list of wonderful events.

"O’Keeffe Close Up"; Franklin Hill Perrell Saturday, March 22 at 3 p.m.

" Franklin Hill Perrell looks at flowers from the unique perspective of the first woman American Modernist of the 20th century. Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is famed for the focused intensity in her distinctive depictions of flowers. Her daring compositions reflecting her background in painting and photographic techniques helped establish O’Keeffe’s reputation as an innovative Modernist. Perrell, the Museum’s former senior curator and the co-curator of Garden Party, also discusses the complicated, oddly modern and artistically productive marriage between O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Admission is $15 (members, $5) and includes Museum admission."

Artists in the Galleries Sundays April 6, May 4, June 8, June 22 at 3 p.m.

"Meet Carson Fox, whose work is in Garden Party and Michael Bevilacqua, Ridley Howard and James Busby, the three artists whose work is in AftermoderisM 2014. Learn about their art, inspirations and artistic process. Michael Bevilacqua appears on April 6, Ridley Howard on May 4, Carson Fox on June 8 and James Busby on June 22. These events are free with Museum admission. Reservations not needed."


Outdoor Life; March 8 to July 6 (with exceptions for special programs) 50 minute film; Daily Screenings 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.

"Outdoor Life, a 50-minute film, explores man’s relationship to the countryside through representations of Large Winter Scene (Averchamp), Clear Weather in the Valley (anonymous), Luncheon of the Boating Party (Renoir), La Grande Jatte (Seurat) and Max Schmitt in a Single Scull (Eakins). Free with Museum admission. Reservations not needed. First come, first seated."


Brown Bag Lecture; Docent Riva Ettus Thursdays, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. April 10, May 8, June 5

"Bring a sandwich and enjoy lunch with friends as Museum Docent Riva Ettus presents an informative talk on the art and artists included in our current exhibition, Garden Party. Afterward, join the 2 p.m. public exhibition tour. Free with Museum admission. Reservations not needed; first come, first seated."


Celebrate Earth Day; Free Style Arts NYC Sunday, April 27, 1-4 p.m.

"Free Style Arts NYC returns to the Museum to mark Earth Day with art that is inspired by the Earth. Families will create flowers, paper bag animals and insects. Museum admission plus $8 per family materials fee. Reservations not needed"

Stop by the new and beautiful gift shop, located on the first floor next to the grand staircase.

The Museum Store is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Items to purchase include jewelry, children’s books and activities, pieces from local artists and other unique finds perfect for gift giving to one's self, family and friends.

Admission is very reasonable and parking is free to enjoy a day out with the family.

$10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and $4 for children ages 4-12. Many local Long Island Libraries have family passes that can be checked out for free admission, providing the opportunity for all to enjoy.

Hours for the main building are 11 am to 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Docent Led Tours of the Main Galleries Exhibition, Tuesday-Sunday at 2 p.m., Docent Led Family Tours, Sundays at 1 p.m. Tours are free with museum admission

A day can be spent just visiting the grounds

Viewing the Sculpture Park of over 50 pieces by renowned artists including Fernando Botero, Tom Otterness, George Rickey and Mark DiSuvero among others.

The museum’s 145 acres include many marked nature trails through the woods, perfect for family hikes or independent exploration.

Formal Garden of historic importance.

The Pinetum, an architecturally-significant restored trellis, and rare specimen trees.

The lawns provide excellent spots for picnicking or just relaxing and watching the clouds drift by.

The original Gold Coast mansion on the Frick Estate, that is a work of art in its own right, is the main museum building that plays host exhibiting the amazing works of art. An entire day can be spent taking in the beauty of the world of art and nature blended together on the astounding estate grounds. Soak in the colors of life and never be afraid to dance!

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