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KATHY EARNHART | The Butlers Photos capture transcendence of Paris



Published: Sun, September 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



At The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown and at the museum's branches in Salem and Howland, a palette of new exhibits are being arranged as the fall season arrives with full force.

From realist master works, to sculpture and the art of photography, the best of America is now on view at the Butler.

A highlight among the beautiful photography exhibits currently on view is the work of Christopher Rauschenberg whose solo show literally follows in the footsteps of the great French photographer Eugene Atget (1856-1927) who documented Paris from 1888 until his death.

"Like many people, I consider him (Atget) to have been the greatest photographer of all time," said Rauschenberg. "Atget straightforwardly documented the city with photographs that give you the feeling that all the transitory things that people do and are wash away, leaving only their transcendent accomplishments."

On a 1989 trip to Paris, Rauschenberg found himself face to face with a spiral-topped gatepost that he had known well from a beautiful photograph by Atget. He rephotographed the gatepost from memory, wondering how many other Atget subjects might still be holding their "poses" amid the bustling city of Paris. Thus began Rauschenberg's journey to match the poetic meaning of the things and places that Atget had admired.

Eight years later, in 1997 and 1998, Rauschenberg made three trips to Paris and rephotographed 500 of the scenes that Atget photographed.

A comparison of sites chosen by the two photographers is presented in this exhibition in which you can see the effects of acid rain, graffiti and the addition of many parked cars in these Paris scenes. Yet it is also clear that Atget's Paris is still definitely and hauntingly present.

According to Butler Director Dr. Louis Zona, "Art history is rich with examples of art inspiring art. This extraordinary series of photographs by Christopher Rauschenberg, inspired by the legendary master Eugene Atget, provide not only insight into past genius, but also establishes Christopher Rauschenberg as a significant presence in American photography today."

A meet the artist public reception is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. The exhibition remains on view through October.

Terror attacks

Two other notable photography exhibitions mark the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Holger Keifel's portraits of rescue Workers at the World Trade Center and Abe Frajndlich's "Before, During & amp; After 9/11" are on view through Oct. 13, 2002.

A day of remembrance begins at the Butler on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Contact the museum for details (330-743-1711, extension 123.)

From Sept. 22 though Oct. 27, the Butler will present "The Secret Schonzeit," a journey into the mind of artist Ben Schonzeit for whom surrealism plays a major role. Included in this exhibition, selected specifically for the Butler Institute, are paintings, drawings and works on paper by Schonzeit, a well-known master of photo realism. According to the artist, "This rich mix of styles and stories reflect my life, attempting to express all things both pleasant and painful." A meet the artist reception is planned for Sept. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. The exhibition is sponsored in part by Alltel.

Other exhibits

The Butler will present "Ronald Davis: Forty Years of Abstraction," from Oct. 6 through Nov. 17.

This retrospective exhibit includes the California artist's much heralded constructions, new digitally mastered works and a group of gicle & eacute; prints. The exhibition was organized by the Butler Institute. A meet the artist reception is being planned.

Now on view through Nov. 10 in the Butler's Mesaros Galleries are the exquisite miniature paintings by New York artist Gregory Halili.

"The Butterfly Collection," which depicts the much-loved insect in a variety of backgrounds, is both astonishing and mesmerizing. (Visitors might be well advised to bring along a magnifying glass to truly appreciate this show!) The exhibition is presented in cooperation with Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York City.

At the branches

At the Butler in Salem from Wednesday through Oct. 26, three painters are being showcased.

Regional artists Susan Danko, Lisa Meek and Margo Miller are included in this exhibition of recent works. A meet the artists reception is planned for Sept. 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Salem branch, located at 343 E. State St. in Salem.

The Butler Trumbull branch will display "Expanding Boundaries: Works From the Art Quilt Network," from Sept. 29 through Nov. 10.

Art quilts have evolved in a very short time from traditional bed covers into wall hangings which deal with the same issues, themes and design problems encountered by artists in other mediums.

This exhibition, organized by Smith-Kramer of Kansas City, features one recent work from 38 selected artists from the Art Quilt Network.

Also on view at the Trumbull branch is the very popular "art walk" show of outdoor sculpture, that features works by Beverly Pepper, Tony Smith, Joseph MacDonnell, Robert Murray and Alexander Lieberman. The show continues to draw art fans to the grounds of the Butler's Trumbull facility which is located at 9350 E. Market St. in Howland.

New York tour

A few openings still remain for the Butler's annual New York City tour Oct. 9-13.

This year's tour includes a visit to the Buck Hill Falls, Pa., studio of Peter Maier.

While in New York City, the Butler group will tour the Beaux-Arts building that houses The Hispanic Society of America, and view the collections of The American Academy of Arts and Letters, The American Folk Art Museum, The American Craft Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. Behind the scenes tours of two well-known New York galleries will round out the tour, organized by Burger Travel of Youngstown. For information and/or a complete itinerary call (330) 744-5035.

Classes

Fall classes have begun at the Butler and its branches.

A new feature this fall are art classes for students who are being home-schooled.

For information on this or other classes for children and adults, contact the Butler's education department, (330) 743-1711, extension 117.

XButler hours in Youngstown are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Butler hours at the Trumbull branch are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Butler Salem hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to all three facilities is free.




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