The Butler Institute of American Art's Salem branch museum, at 343 East State St. in the city, is marking an historic milestone this month, as it begins a yearlong celebration of a decade of operations.
Located in an historic building redesigned as an art gallery by regional architect Bob Buchanan, the Butler Salem branch has over the past decade been the host of hundreds of exhibitions showcasing all mediums of contemporary American art, works by accomplished regional talent, and selections from the prestigious Butler permanent collection. Initiation of and funding for the Salem facility has been provided for 10 years by the Salem Community Foundation.
Special exhibition: To highlight the 10-year branch anniversary, a very special exhibition -- the Desind American Realist Collection -- is on view at the Butler Salem facility through Nov. 3. Included in the stunning array of realist paintings on view at the Butler Salem branch are works by Harvey Dinnerstein, Joseph Hirsch, Henry Gasser, Carol Rosenak, Burton Silverman, and Gail Hunter Smith.
An art historian and well-known Bethesda, Md., collector, Phil Desind (1910-1996) had great affection for the Institute, and over the year donated many gifts of art. According to Butler Director Dr. Louis Zone, "Phil Desind was one of the Butler's best friends. He loved the Butler and the people of Youngstown, and showed his affection by giving numerous gifts of wonderful art to the Institute. We miss him greatly."
Beginning Sunday, Sept. 16, the long-awaited Herman Margulies Retrospective will open at the Butler in Youngstown. The exhibition features seventy-five pastel landscape paintings depicting the four seasons by one of the masters of this difficult medium. A holocaust survivor, the artist will present an artist demonstration Saturday, Sept. 15 from 1 to 3 pm. Call 330/743-1711, ext. 117 for reservations for this free public presentation. The exhibition, which runs through Oct. 21, is sponsored by Dianne B. Bernhard.
Now on view at the museum is a retrospective exhibition of astonishingly beautiful works by one of the nation's most gifted watercolor painters, "Henry Casselli: Master of the American Watercolor" will be highlighted by an artist's gallery talk and book signing on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 6 to 8 pm. First seen at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Casselli retrospective presents art from a 36-year career. It includes pieces that the artist created while in Vietnam and during his observation of two Space Shuttle launches, as well as commissioned portraits and watercolor essays. Realistic and emotional, Casselli's work demonstrates the influences of Homer, Degas, Sargent and Wyeth.
The Butler's Mesaros Galleries, on the museum's lower level, is displaying drawings by Kent Jones, an Ohio native now living in Newfoundland. Boxing is the theme for this exhibition of works on paper which continues through Sept. 30.
The Butler's Beecher Center is displaying a master work by internationally acclaimed video artist Bill Viola. Called "Threshold," this sight/sound installation features current news scrolling across an electronic display sign with up-to-date reports on the daily events of the world. A black open doorway intersects the sign, dividing it in two and leading to a dark inner room. Inside this room, three large, dim, black-and-white projections of people's faces appear on the walls. Occasionally, one of the figures shifts position but remains asleep, an unconscious presence existing beneath the incessant flow of worldly events.
Also at center: Also on view in the Butler's Beecher Center is Nam June Paik's "One Candle." In this thought-provoking installation by pioneer video artist Paik, a single candle is filmed by two cameras and projected onto the walls in the television colors blue, red and green, filling the room with live, overlapping candles appearing in different color mixtures. Opening Sept. 16 in the Beecher Center walkway galleries will be a site-specific installation of wall sculpture by Boston artist Bill Thompson. Thompson's "Nodes" uses a unique application of space age materials to create an intense mirrored finish.
Through Oct. 28, the Butler Trumbull branch is displaying the work of Chen Chi in a mini retrospective exhibition "Moon Paintings & amp; Other Works." At nearly 90, master painter Chen Chi continues to create magnificent watercolor works that blend eastern philosophies with the American culture. This exhibition includes recent sky studies along with the artist's other well-known subjects that reflect and pay homage to the wonders of nature. The exhibition is sponsored in part by Burger Travel Service.
Dali sculptures: Opening on Sept. 30, also at the Butler's Trumbull facility, will be a collection of 20 small sculptures by internationally revered artist Salvador Dali (1904-1989). The exhibition of work by the master of Surrealism has been drawn from a private collection by guest curator Joseph Czestokowski. A gallery talk by Butler Director Dr. Louis Zona titled "Dali & amp; the Surrealists," is set for Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 2 pm at the Trumbull branch, 9350 East Market St. in Howland.
A prospectus is now available for the Butler's 65th Area Artists Annual. The annual juried exhibition features works in all media by artists living within a 40-mile radius of Youngstown, and those who are former residents. Those who wish to enter the show may obtain a prospectus by calling Robert Kurtz 330/332-8213.
Family activities: Family days at the Butler are being planned with the first activity day set for Sunday, Sept. 23 beginning at 1:30 pm. Cinemuse high definition film titled "Kol and the Kola Nuts" will be shown, followed by a family activity designed by Butler art instructor Kathy Young. The film, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, is a humorous African folk tale is about Koi, who wants the villagers to honor him as he befits the son of the chief.
But unless he can accomplish three impossible tasks, he will end up in the cooking pot instead. This powerful adaptation captures the rich textures and folk imagery of African culture. (Music by Herbie Hancock.) Call the Butler's Education Department for information to reserve for this free family day (330) 743-1711, ext. 117.