Art Notes: Catch these excellent exhibitions before they close


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Before turning attention to new offerings of the fall season, you may want to visit five excellent, and quite varied, exhibitions that are nearing the ends of their runs. Three are in Ohio and two are at The Andy Warhol Museum.

• "Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties" at Cleveland Museum of Art is as fresh and scintillating as its title implies. The exhibition comprises paintings, sculpture and photographs from the Jazz Age, when America let loose following World War I, and before the Great Depression snuffed out the free-wheeling, sexually liberated spirit of the decade.

Works and artists known and new are represented, including Ansel Adams, George Bellows, Charles Demuth, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keefe and Alfred Stieglitz. There is a probing "Self-Portrait With Rita" by painter Thomas Hart Benton and a smoldering Gloria Swanson by photographer Nickolas Muray.

I'm intrigued by Florine Stettheimer, represented in the exhibition by one painting, and in the collection galleries by another. The Westmoreland Museum of American Art showed one of her fantastical paintings in a recent exhibition. But each will find his or her favorite, from the heartthrob sensuality of the portrait of Paul Cadmus by Luigi Lucioni to the dramatic, spare cityscape abstract "Church Street El" of Charles Sheeler.

• Also in Cleveland is "Modern Gothic: The Etchings of John Taylor Arms," 60 masterful works by the American printmaker (1887-1953) who believed that art could be a tool for the spiritual and moral improvement of mankind. His training as an architect and his impeccable draftsmanship come together in renderings of churches, buildings and street scenes that depict every brick, bump in the pavement, strip of lattice. He typically spent 1,000 or more hours on a single plate. The museum provides magnifying glasses to allow visitors to explore every detail of Mr. Arms' devotional work.

"Youth and Beauty" continues through Sept. 16 (timed tickets required). "Modern Gothic" ends Sept. 30. (Information: www.clevelandart.org or 1-216-421-7340).

• "Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui" at the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, features works both beautiful and potent that cover walls, pour across floors or tower above the visitor. Mr. Anatsui, who was born in Ghana in 1944 and resides in Nigeria, has exhibited in two Venice Biennales. The artist uses found materials to remarkable effect. The exhibition continues through Oct. 7, then travels to the Brooklyn Museum in New York. (Information: www.akronartmuseum.org or 1-330-376-9185.) (For a review, search www.post-gazette.com.)

• This is the last week to see the inventive and remarkable "Factory Direct: Pittsburgh," a project of The Andy Warhol Museum featuring 14 international artists who created work while in residence at area businesses. Three artists exhibit at The Warhol and the remainder are in the expansive spaces and intimate lockers of Guardian Self-Storage, 2839 Liberty Ave., Strip District. The media are varied, topped only by the range of ideas that sparkle throughout. (Search www.post-gazette.com for more.)

• Also at The Warhol, receiving less media attention but quite fabulous is "Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein," a comprehensive survey of two decades of art-making by the activist artist and founding member of Gran Fury, an arm of the activist group ACT UP. Mr. Moffett is overtly and obliquely political, cheeky and critical, questioning attitude, questioning art-making. Sometimes the results are visually mesmerizing. "Factory Direct" and "Donald Moffett" both end Sunday. (Information: 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org.)

Mattress opening

The Mattress Factory, North Side, will hold an opening reception for "Feminist and ...," an exhibition guest-curated by Hilary Robinson that explores feminism on an international level, from 7-9 p.m. Friday. ($12; information: 412-231-3169 or www.mattress.org.)

Warhol promotion

Patrick Moore, director of development at The Andy Warhol Museum since 2011, was promoted to deputy director effective Sept. 1. This is a good step for the museum as it expands its global presence and as interest in Warhol as product grows.

Prior to The Warhol, Mr. Moore was new business development director at The Persad Center. Mr. Moore, who received a bachelor's degree in English literature and theater direction from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985, has worked as a journalist and nonfiction author. He developed a national program that drew attention to the impact of AIDS on the greater arts community while project director for The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, a project of The Alliance for The Arts in New York City.

"I'm delighted to support the vision [museum director] Eric Shiner and the board of directors have for The Warhol, a museum I care deeply about," Mr. Moore said in a prepared statement. "I believe The Warhol is the model for a more entrepreneurial kind of museum, reflective of Andy Warhol's interest in business. The Warhol is the rare institution that can operate meaningfully on local, national and international levels, and I look forward to advancing the museum's mission in all of these arenas."

'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry'

This fascinating 91-minute long, 2012 documentary on the globally followed Chinese activist artist gives insight to Mr. Ai's persona as well as his politics. It continues at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Harris Theater, Downtown, through Sept. 13. (For a review, visit www.post-gazette.com.)

Mr. Ai is the subject of a lengthy article in this month's Smithsonian magazine, which addresses his position of power and the long-term impact of his artwork (visionary Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is also featured in the issue). Two Washington institutions currently feature Mr. Ai: The room-sized installation "Perspectives" is at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery through April 7, 2013, and "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads," a dozen large bronze sculptures on world tour, is installed in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's central plaza through Feb. 24. The Hirshhorn will open the first U.S. retrospective of the artist's work, "Ai Weiwei: According to What?," Oct. 7.

artarchitecture

Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: mthomas@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1925.


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