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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Special Exhibitions and Gallery Openings

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has announced an exciting lineup of special exhibitions and new gallery openings.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Special Exhibitions:
Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection
January 15, 2011 – April 3, 2011
Free admission
This exhibition is the first time an extraordinary archive of eye-witness drawings of the American Civil War has been shown. Selected from the privately held Becker Collection, the drawings are the work of a group of mid-19th-century American artist-reporters on assignment for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, the era’s leading illustrated periodical. VMFA’s exhibition of some 60 drawings, presented in collaboration with the University of Richmond Museums, coincides with the country’s American Civil War Sesquicentennial.

The Fleeting Glimpse: Selections in Modern and Contemporary Photography from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
January 15, 2011 – April 3, 2011
Free admission
Featuring artists who transform common found occurrences in nature and humanity into unusual encounters and strange juxtapositions, this exhibition is the first major focus on the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ photography collection and marks the first collection sharing project with the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va.

A Celebration of Print: 500 Years of Graphic Art
January 29, 2011 – May 22, 2011
Free admission
This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary gift of approximately 10,000 prints from the collection of connoisseur, scholar and former Richmonder Frank Raysor. During the past 35 years, Raysor has amassed a collection which covers the history of printmaking, as seen in this exhibition, and which also contains special deep holdings in artists such as Charles Meryon, Félix Bracquemond, Seymour Haden and Wenceslaus Hollar.

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria
February 12, 2011 – May 22, 2011
Ticketed, VMFA members free
This major exhibition features some of the most important examples of brass, copper, stone and terracotta sculpture from West Africa ever to be exhibited in the United States. Artists of the Kingdom of Ife (in what is today southwestern Nigeria), created sculptures that were among the most beautiful and sophisticated works of art being produced anywhere in the world at the time. The exhibition is organized by the Museum for African Art in New York, in collaboration with the Fundación Marcelino Botín of Santander, Spain, and the Nigerian National Commission on Museums and Monuments.

Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris
February 19, 2011 – May 15, 2011
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Drawn from the collection of the Musée National Picasso in Paris, the largest and most significant repository of the artist’s work in the world, this exhibition represents works produced during every major artistic period of Pablo Picasso’s eight-decade career. It includes 176 works from Picasso’s personal collection – art that he kept for himself with the purpose of shaping his own legacy. VMFA is proud to be the only East-Coast venue for the exhibition’s seven-city international tour. Altria Group is the presenting sponsor for the exhibition.

Fabergé Revealed
July 9 – October 2, 2011
Ticketed, VMFA members free
In parallel with the redesign of the galleries a major exhibition in the summer of 2011 will present the entire collection to the public, contextualize it in a one-off opportunity with important loans from other collections, and be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue of the collection, incorporating the latest scholarship and research. This dazzling exhibition will be a landmark in the appreciation of Faberge, jeweler to the Czars.

Xu Bing: Tobacco Project
September 10 – November 27, 2011
Ticketed, VMFA members free
In exploring the complex connections between people and tobacco, Xu Bing: Tobacco Project concerns fundamental issues of human culture and of tobacco as a medium of social exchange. A prolific and versatile contemporary artist, Xu Bing has created a range of works that explore both traditional and experimental bookmaking and printmaking, language and its communicative implications, animal-related themes and nature studies. These interests variously inform his “tobacco projects”, which have been exhibited internationally. Xu Bing’s interest in “tobacco culture” extends to the historical impact on China of large-scale exportation of tobacco products from the U.S. beginning in the late 19th century.

Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb
November 19 2011-March 11 2012
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Drawing on the world-famous Egyptian collections of the British Museum in London, this exhibition explores the secrets of the Mummy and the rituals of death. With more than 100 artifacts, including 4 human mummys, 2 animal mummys, gold masks, jewelry, canoptic chests, massive sarcophagi, statuary and tomb lintels, the exhibition immerses the visitor in the life and death of one of the mummys, Nesperennub, a temple priest. A new accompanying 3-D film presentation – narrated by Sir Ian McKellan – uses the most advanced scanning technology to take the spectator on a journey that unwraps the mummy of Nesperennub in vivid detail and reveals the secrets of life and death in ancient Egypt.

Elvis at 21
December 23, 2011 – March 18, 2012
Free admission
Forty dramatic 1956 photographs of Elvis Presley on the brink of international superstardom – including intimate images taken in Richmond – will be shown in “Elvis at 21” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The black-and-white photographs taken by Alfred Wertheimer show a baby-faced Elvis just as his career began but before he was a recognizable rock-and-roll icon.

The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy
January 21, 2012 – April 15, 2012
Free admission
“The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy,” an exhibition of 37 of the extraordinary Mourners of the Dukes of Burgundy from the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon, France, will be shown at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts January 21, 2012 through April 15, 2012, on the final leg of a multi-city U.S. tour.

Gallery Openings:

Ancient Art Gallery
Opening December 23, 2010
For the first time in more than five years VMFA’s highly respected ancient art collection will be on view, newly installed in expanded galleries. This is the largest and richest collection of ancient art between Baltimore and Atlanta, a major resource for this region and heavily used by the schools of the commonwealth because of the collection’s pertinence to the Virginia Standards of Learning.

African Art Gallery
Opening February 12, 2011
Spanning 2,000 years and representing over 100 cultures from the African continent, this collection is regarded as one of the best of its kind in the United States. Of particular significance are works from the Yoruba, Akan and Kongo cultures, including spectacular examples of beadwork, textiles and full mask ensembles.

Exhibitions are subject to change. For the latest information, please visit General admission is always free. Some special exhibitions require an admission fee.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Boulevard, Richmond VA 23220-4007

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