The Ringling Welcomes Three New Exhibitions

Sarasota, Florida- The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is thrilled to announce the
opening of three new exhibitions. All exhibitions will open during February 2021. The Ringling
will also be offering virtual museum experiences in addition to exhibitions on campus.
Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade will run Feb. 14, 2021 – May 16, 2021. The Ringling’s portrait
of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, by the Dutch Baroque master Frans Hals (1582/83 – 1666),

Frans Hals, Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, about 1639, oil on canvas
Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade

is one of
the museum’s treasures. Renowned in his own day for his lively brushwork and uncanny ability
to capture the vitality of his sitters, Hals continues to be a favorite among art lovers, collectors
and artists alike. In this exhibition, organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, The Ringling’s
painting, which was executed about 1639, will be displayed side-by-side with a second portrait
by Hals of Olycan (private collection), painted about 10 years earlier. Through close examination
and comparison of these two portraits of the same person, the exhibition will shed light on Hals’s
revolutionary painting technique, and will explain how his work evolved over the decade of the
On March 18, at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Sarah Cartwright, Ulla R. Searing Curator of Collections, will
present a Virtual Gallery Conversation: Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade.
Image: Frans Hals, Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, about 1639, oil on canvas, The John and Mable
Ringling Museum of Art, Bequest of John Ringling, 1936, SN251

Also opening Feb 14 is Larry Rivers: Boston Massacre. In this series of 13 mixed-media prints,
Larry Rivers, one of the pioneers of Pop Art, reimagines the tragedy of the Boston Massacre.
This event, marking the beginning of the American Revolution, occurred March 5, 1770, when
British Army soldiers fired their muskets into a crowd of civilians gathered on the streets of
Boston, killing five colonists and galvanizing American sentiment for independence from Great
Britain. Two hundred years later, Rivers revisits this moment in a series that disrupts traditional
depictions of historical narrative through fragmentary visual references to the past that intermix
with imagery from the political unrest of the 1960s. This exhibition presents the Boston
Massacre portfolio from The Ringling’s permanent collection. The exhibition will run until May
16, 2021.

On Feb. 23 at 10:30 a.m., the Ringling will offer a Virtual Conversation: Images of Conflict.
Guests will join curators Ola Wlusek and Sarah Cartwright in a conversation about artworks
depicting conflict and trauma in The Ringling’s collection. While focusing on the exhibition
Larry Rivers: Boston Massacre, in consideration with examples of European Renaissance and
Baroque art, representations of power and violence across time will be explored and how these
images can help us understand conflict and address societal change today.

the work of Sam Gilliam

The Ringling is pleased to announce a new exhibition of the work of Sam Gilliam. The
exhibition, which is being drawn primarily from local collections and features work from the
early 1970s to 2010, will run Feb. 21, 2021 – Aug. 15, 2021.

From the Archives: Interview with Sam
Sam GilliamRondo, 1971, acrylic on canvas on oak beam.

Sam Gilliam is one of the most important abstract artists working today. He will have a career
retrospective, at the age of 87, in 2022 at the Smithsonian Institution Hirshhorn Museum and
Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. Known for his experimental exploration of materials and
constant invention,

(Sam Gilliam) Do you regard your work as black art?
Being black is a very important point of tension and self-discovery. To have a sense of self-acceptance we blacks have to throw of this dichotomy that has been forced on us by the white experience. For some there is a need to do this frontally and objectively. There are some who believe there is no threat. I think there is a need to live universally.

Gilliam first came to critical attention in the 1960s as a later member of the
Washington Color School artists. To emancipate his art from constraints, Gilliam infused his
appreciation of blues and jazz improvisation to be conceptualized in abstraction. His radical
freedom to express spontaneity when working with materials created the first of his important
“drape” paintings in the late 1960s that he would continue to explore throughout his career.  By
removing the canvas from the traditional stretcher, Gilliam created innovative work that was
both painting and sculpture. His installation of the “drape” works filled galleries with painted
canvases suspended off the walls or from the ceilings and often draped over objects such as
sawhorses or ladders. These pieces encouraged improvisation because they could not be hung in
the same manner twice.

Sam Gilliam, Are you frustrated by the lack of response by blacks to visual art as opposed to other arts?
I am, to a point. But then I realize why they aren’t and then I have to be part of that spur that gets them involved. I did teach art in a Louisville high school for nine years. You know, Italy must be damn proud of Galileo. But look how they treated the dude! We must have a framework for the conflict we want.
Who is proud of the black artist in America?
I am. Even just the phrase black art is the best thing that has happened for the condition for black artists in America. It really calls attention to the number of major galleries in New York and museums around the world that had not shown, were not showing, were not willing to show any art by any black artist. Yet everyone has not come aboard, you know that. And there’s the same kind of tokenism as before. There is still not a commitment showing. But there is nothing to suggest in the history of men that we would ever arrive at a utopia. The individual black will be able to be successful but en masse, no

The Ringling galleries allow for social distancing and visitors must wear masks or face coverings
inside venues. For additional information or to purchase tickets for both museum admission and
the virtual conversations, please visit

Sam Gilliam’s abstract canvases from the 1960 and ’70s, which often dramatically defy the oil-on-canvas-hung-on-a-wall formula, went largely unseen in many mainstream institutions and galleries for years. That began to change a few years ago. Now, some of his paintings sell for more than $1 million, and his work has become a staple in permanent-collection hangs. Gilliam’s paintings are currently the subject of “The Music of Color: Sam Gilliam, 1967-1973,” an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel in Switzerland that surveys the artist’s output during that time period. With that show in mind, below is an interview Sam Gilliam did with ARTnews, first published in this magazine’s January 1973 issue. Among the many topics addressed is the concept of “black art”—a label that continues to be divisive. Who, Gilliam is asked, is proud of the achievements of black artists in America? “I am,” he responds. The interview follows in full, click the link.

Saitō Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening Opens March 14 at The Ringling

artworks by Saitō Kiyoshi

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is pleased to present Saitō Kiyoshi: Graphic
Awakening. The exhibition will open Mar 14, 2021, and run through Aug 15, 2021, in the
Ringling’s Searing galleries.
Comprised of recent donations of artworks by Saitō from Charles and Robyn Citrin to The
Ringling and other collections, Saitō Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening is the first comprehensive
exhibition of this artist’s work in the United States. The exhibition focuses on prints Saitō
created in the 1940s and 50s, arguably the most vibrant period of his career, and includes several
rare, early designs. Saitō Kiyoshi’s (Japanese 1907–1997) keen sense of design, superb
technique and engagement with an appealing variety of themes made him one of the best known
and most popular Japanese print artists of the twentieth century.
In the wake of the Second World War, Saitō emerged as a seminal figure of the modernist
Creative Print movement, in which artists claimed complete authorship of their work by carving
and printing their own designs. He flourished as the movement attracted patrons among members
of the occupying forces and, later, Western travelers for business and pleasure. Honors at the
1951 São Paulo Biennial launched him and the Creative Print movement to prominence at home
and abroad. When new diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Japan provided opportunities for
Japanese artists to exhibit, teach, and live abroad, Saitō was among the first to do so, thus further
broadening his audience.
Dr. Rhiannon Paget, Curator of Asian Art said, “Visitors to the exhibition will see many of the
imaginative designs that made Saitō Kiyoshi one of Japan’s most beloved printmakers,
especially in the United States. Saitō’s corpus encompasses urban and natural landscapes, female
subjects, theater, architecture, and cats that reveal his curious mind, sensitive eye, and playful
sense of humor.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a 200-page illustrated catalogue edited by Rhiannon Paget and
with essays by Paul Binnie, Noriko Kuwahara, Rhiannon Paget, and Judith A. Stubbs, and
published by Scala.

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