The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Announces Its Spring 2017 Exhibition Schedule

  • ITHACA, New York
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  • January 12, 2017

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Programs/participants are subject to change. All events are free of charge unless noted. 

Identity Crisis: Reflections on Public and Private Life in Contemporary Javanese Photography

January 21–June 11

Organized by the Johnson Museum, this exhibition is the first in the United States to focus on the recent emergence of photography as an art form in Java, Indonesia. Guest curated by photographer Brian Arnold, Identity Crisis includes ten artists who pursue investigations of personal or cultural identity, and use photography to probe, obscure, or heighten questions and curiosities about being Javanese or Indonesian today. The project was made possible by support from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Jarett F. and Younghee Kim Wait Fund for Contemporary Islamic and Middle Eastern Arts at the Johnson Museum, the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, and the American Institute for Indonesian Studies.

Related events:

Thursday, February 2

Gallery Talk

4:30 p.m.

Guest curator Brian Arnold will discuss this exhibition before the opening reception (5:00–7:00 p.m.).

Thursday, April 20

Indonesian Video Art Screening

5:15 p.m.

Introduced by Alia Swastika, director/curator, the Ark Gallery, Central Java

Sunday, April 23

Shadow Puppet Performance

2:00–4:00 p.m.

Sumarsam, a scholar, puppeteer, and professor of music at Wesleyan University, and guest artists will perform accompanied by the Cornell Gamelan Ensemble, directed by Chris Miller.

Wednesday, April 26

Artist’s Talk

2:30 p.m.

Arahmaiani will discuss her work and performances related to the environment.

Empathy Academy: Social Practice and the Problem of Objects

January 21–May 28

This exhibition is a follow-up to the 2016 Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial that, focusing on art and empathy, looked at feeling as form. Instead of displaying a finished project, Empathy Academy will function more as a laboratory, in which process is privileged. Through the analysis and exhibition of objects and a team-based development of a sequence of interventions, students will conduct an investigation toward the creation of a meaningful and forward-looking interface between critical practices and institutional collecting. Intending to lead to emergent, social forms of contemporary art, the exhibition will include works by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Martha Rosler, Ernesto Neto, and Matthew “Levee” Chavez.

Related events:

Thursday, February 9

Lecture: “All the Time in the World: Encounters of Ephemeral Public Art”

5:15 p.m.

Patricia C. Phillips, Chief Academic Officer/Academic Dean at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia

Saturday, March 11

Concert: Cornell Chamber Orchestra

3:00 p.m.

The site-specific intervention Hear Me was created for our wing by Cornell architecture student Min Keun Park in collaboration with composer Barry Sharp and Director of Orchestras Chris Kim.

Thursday, March 16

Artist’s Talk

5:15 p.m.

Martha Rosler will speak about her work in conjunction with this exhibition. This talk is supported in part by a member of the Class of 1949 in honor of Jason and Clara Seley.

The War to End All Wars: Artists and World War I

January 21–June 11

This year marks the centennial anniversary of the entrance of American forces into what was hoped to be “the war to end all wars.” This exhibition brings together artwork of the period as well as vivid propaganda posters, drawn from the Johnson’s permanent collection, as well as Cornell’s Wortham Military Museum, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Costume and Textile Collection, and Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives, and private collections.

Related events:

Thursday, February 16

A Salon Evening

5:15 p.m.

This special event will feature discussions on World War I–era fashion and culture, plus live music. Light refreshments will be served.  

Thursday, April 13

Exhibition Tour

5:15 p.m.

Get an inside look on this special tour with the curator.

Escaping the Ordinary: Artistic Imagination in Early Modern Prints

January 21–May 28

The works in this exhibition celebrate artists who explored creative narratives and distant lands, inviting a brief suspension of reality in favor of artistic fantasy. These artists, at work during the first three centuries of printmaking in Europe, used a range of techniques to explore the unfamiliar and strange. Escaping the Ordinary offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the minds of great printmakers as they imagined exotic costumes, landscapes, and creatures.

Related events:

Thursday, March 2

Exhibition Tour

5:15 p.m.

Get an inside look on this special tour with the curators.

Thursday, March 9

Lecture: “How Albrecht Dürer Invented the Printmaker as Artist”

5:15 p.m.

Armin Kunz, print scholar and director of the C. G. Boerner Gallery in New York


Saturday, February 25

Beat the Winter Blues with Art!

1:00–4:00 p.m.

Warm up your body and mind with art, activities, music, and refreshments designed to help you beat the winter blues. Free and fun for all ages!


Studio Thursday Workshops

5:00 p.m.

Learn art-making techniques at these drop-in workshops.

FEES: Free for students; $5 for Johnson Museum Members and Cornell staff and faculty; $10 for the general public

Thursday, February 16: Linoleum prints

Thursday, March 16: Islamic tiles

Thursday, April 20: Self-drying clay


Have You Ever Wondered…?

6:00 p.m.

Have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes at a museum? This new free series will set the record straight and show our visitors the people, places, and things that make a museum come alive.

Thursday, February 9

Have you ever wondered how museums get started, and how they run? On this interactive gallery walk, learn about the history of museums and the roles they serve, and how a museum really functions.

Thursday, March 2

Have you ever wondered how museums get their art? Hear about how some works came to Cornell, how the art market shifts over time, and the legal and ethical concerns of museum collections.

Thursday, April 13

Have you ever wondered how museums present and protect their artwork? Find out how art is framed, conserved, and preserved from objects conservator Kasia Maroney of Boston Restoration in Trumansburg and Johnson Museum staff.

Contemporary Conversations

5:15 p.m.

This free series examines focused topics and current issues using specifically chosen works of art, with discussions led by Cornell professors, staff, and Museum professionals.

Thursday, February 23

In conjunction with the exhibition The War to End All Wars: Artists and World War I, explore topics surrounding the perception of the military today.

Thursday, March 23

How does art intersect with crime, prisons, education, and justice? In association with this session, works from the Museum’s collection documenting prisons and justice will be on view March 21–April 2 in the study gallery.

Thursday, May 4

In conjunction with the exhibition Empathy Academy: Social Practice and the Problem of Objects, look into the relationship between art and empathy.


Art-Full Family Days

10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Recommended for preschool age and up.

FEES: Free for Johnson Museum Members / $5 per family for nonmembers.

Saturday, February 4

Lurking around the Museum are works of art containing all sorts of dragons and mythical beasts! Find them, learn more, and create your own with fun art materials.

Saturday, March 4

Make connections between classic children’s stories and art, then make your own storybook illustration!

Saturday, April 1

Take in the amazing views of Cayuga Lake from the Museum and join our educators to learn how artists construct their own unique views.

Saturday, May 6

Musician and songwriter Miss Angie Beeler will lead families in a musical experience connecting with art and soundscapes in our galleries.


Let’s Look, Baby!

Thursdays, February 16, March 16, April 20, & May 18

10:00–11:00 a.m.

Parents and caregivers of young children (infants to age 4) are invited to explore, discuss, and think about select works of art on these adult-centered, child-friendly thematic visits led by a Museum educator. No art experience necessary! A kids’ snack and hands-on activity will conclude each visit.

FEES: Free for Johnson Museum Members / $5 per family for nonmembers. To reserve your spot, email Julie McLean at no later than the Wednesday before the tour you wish to attend. Front baby carriers are preferable to strollers. Backpack-style carriers will not be allowed.



Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell University
114 Central Avenue
Ithaca, New York
About Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

The Johnson Museum has a permanent collection of more than 35,000 works of art from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The museum building was designed by I. M. Pei. Funds for the building were donated by Cornell alumnus Herbert F. Johnson, late president and chairman of S C Johnson. The building opened in 1973 and a wing opened in 2011. The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, located on the campus of Cornell University, is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. The Museum is accessible for mobility-impaired visitors, and wheelchairs are available in the lobbies. Metered parking is available in the lot next to the Museum.

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