published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Best of area collectors reflected in Hunter's new exhibit


What: "Chattanooga Gems III."

When: Saturday-Oct. 14.

Where: Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View Ave.

Admission: $9.95 adults, $4.95 children ages 3-7.

Phone: 267-0968.


Chattanooga-area art collectors woke up today without a number of their favorite works, but the pieces all will turn up in the same place Saturday when the Hunter Museum of American Art offers the exhibition "Chattanooga Gems III."

The 43 pieces, encompassing works in a number of genres, come from the private collections of 17 area households.

"People will be surprised at the variety of works that are being exhibited," said Katrina Craven, director of public relations and marketing. "It runs the gamut from historical paintings in a realistic style to sculpture, photographs and even video."

The exhibition, part of the celebration of the museum's 60th anniversary, includes elegant works by Reginald Marsh and Birge Harrison, pieces by super-realist artist Richard Estes and large abstractions by abstract expressionists and modernists Kenneth Noland, Robert Motherwell and Richard Serra.

Craven said the group of works, like the Hunter's 3,000-piece permanent collection, reflects a journey in time and in a nation, culture and community.

"Our collection mirrors what's happened in American history," she said, "the stories of America, what was collected, what was valued, what stories we wanted to tell."

The artists represented, according to Craven, have works in the museum's permanent collection, have had works exhibited in the gallery before or are artists the museum was interested in exhibiting.

"The artists are really well-known names," she said. "They're all credibly high-caliber."

Among the interesting and unusual pieces, Craven said, is "Blah Blah Blah," an engraving and embossing on handmade paper by Mel Bochner.

"Anybody who has worked with old type will identify with the piece," she said.

Another is a locket by Gregory Scott, which is a combination of a digital print, oil painting and high-definition video, Craven said.

"You have to see it in person to appreciate it," she said.

That's really the case for the entire exhibit, Hunter Museum chief curator Ellen Simak said.

"It was both exhilarating and challenging to arrange the work in the gallery because of [the] diversity," she said. "In the galleries, we deliberately paired together some works to create unexpected juxtapositions that we hope are both beautiful and thought-provoking."

The exhibition, Craven said, is especially appropriate for the 60th anniversary because it allows the museum and the public to thank "all those individuals who have made the Hunter what it is today."

Those people, she said, either have donated money or have contributed items to the "growing, thriving permanent collection."

An opening celebration of "Chattanooga Gems III" for Hunter members is tonight at 6, featuring music from The Dismembered Tennesseans.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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