Big Things at Brandywine
If you are one of those holiday super-achievers who has already started gift shopping, take note: “Teasel & Twigs: ‘Tis a Critter Christmas Tale” is the story of the famous Brandywine River Museum holiday critter ornaments who come to life at night. Think “Night at the Musuem” with a local twist. On the eve of the annual Children’s Christmas party, the critters scurry through the museum trying to find Roger the Reindeer’s lost berry nose, passing all the museum’s famous paintings and displays along the way. The story was written by Paige Singer as a tribute to her grandmother, the late Elizabeth “Libby” Dean, who helped create the first critters in the early 1970s. Singer grew up in Chadds Ford, but now lives in Arizona, so her children are unable to visit the museum. Singer wrote the book as a way to connect them to her grandmother’s creative world and the “community of my childhood” and to “write a poem that would bring to life her art, her critters.” Pictures are by artist Robert Dionne, who has long been inspired by the Golden Age illustrators, especially Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth. “It was an honor and joy bringing the critters to life and celebrating Christmas with them every day in the studio,” Dionne says. “Teasel & Twigs: ‘Tis a Critter Christmas Tale” ($20) is available exclusively in the museum shop and at brandywinemuseum.org.
Better yet, “Picturing Poe: Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories and Poems” shows how the master of the macabre inspired other artists, making him one of the world’s most illustrated authors. See drawings, paintings and first-edition books illustrated by 30 artists, including Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Robert Motherwell and F.O.C. Darley, who Poe selected by hand. See it Sept. 8-Nov. 15.
Also at The Brandywine, the new Music on the Brandywine program begins Sept. 20. The programs feature musicians from Astral Artists, a nonprofit formed to identify emerging classically trained artists. The concert will feature soprano Kathryn Guthrie Demos, a winner of the Astral Artists’ 2012 National Auditions, who performs both traditional opera and contemporary works. She recently made her New York City Opera debut. She’ll be joined by pianist Andrew Hauze, director of the Swarthmore College Orchestra. See Music on the Brandywine now—the next concert will be Nov. 15. (610) 388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org
The heavenly Serafin String Quartet has one major change for its season—the addition of new violist Esme Allen-Creighton—and it looks forward to publishing its next CD. See Allen-Creighton and learn more when the ensemble performs at Kennett Flash on Sept. 22. The concert, titled “Quartet Time Machine—From Haydn to Higdon,” will feature short selections by various composers from the 1700s to today (kennettflash.org). Then look for the group to return to Trinity Episcopal Church in Wilmington for The Arts at Trinity free concert series (trinityparishde.org). Serafin will perform with guest pianists Victor Santiago Asuncion and Julie Nishimura. It opens the series on Oct. 20, then closes it on April 20. In between, it remains the ensemble in residence at the University of Delaware, with plenty of concerts for you. As for the CD, it features early chamber works by Jennifer Higdon. “The release will certainly punctuate our year showing a different side of Serafin,” says cellist Larry Stomberg, “ and an interesting reflection on the early style of a great living composer.” serafinquartet.org
DCAD’s studio faculty will begin the school year with the annual exhibition, “From the Studio” Sept. 7-Oct. 12. Enjoy painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, original prints, design, animation and film-related work. 622-8000, dcad.edu
It’s All About Us
In 1962, the interstate highway system was just getting traction, the Delaware Memorial Bridge had only one span, and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry had not yet set sail. Fifty years later, the state is a much different place, and through it all, Delaware Today has been there to document the changes. See how in “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” at the Delaware History Center in Wilmington beginning Aug. 18. The exhibit shows how the magazine has evolved from a small black-and-white publication with regular features like the quaint Flo Knows Fashion into the glossy, full-color publication you read today for the latest on great restaurants, the arts, emerging lifestyle trends, home design, interesting personalities and more. Objects from the collection of the Delaware Historical Society round out the story. “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” is informative, entertaining and nostalgic, and we humbly submit that you’ll find it as interesting as we here at DT do. 655-7161, hsd.org
It’s Still Life
If you enjoy still life painting, see “The Aesthetic Moment: The Art of Still Life” now at Delaware Art Museum. This Outlooks series exhibition features 11 regional painters with different styles, but a common love for the genre. “Aesthetic Moment” is an apt title, given that “aesthetic” derives from the ancient Greek word for “perception.” The still life arrangements are uniquely perceived and rendered by the artists, then perceived uniquely again by the viewer. The featured artists are Stanley Bielen, Deborah Deichler, Dolya Dogal, Paul DuSold, Renee Foulks, Frances Galante, Scott Noel, Carolyn Pyfrom, Carlo Russo, David Shevlino and Frank Trefny. The guest curator is Paul DuSold of Philadelphia, who has shown his work widely across the United States over the last 30 years, concentrating on still life. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and has taught at various regional art schools. His unerring eye reveals a range of still life subjects, themes and styles that will astound you.
The museum’s centennial celebration continues with “100 Works for 100 Years.” The exhibition shows the evolution of the museum’s holdings through at least one work—including new acquisitions and gifts—for each year of its existence. See it indoors and out in the sculpture garden. If you’ve ever wondered how the museum became such a force in Pre-Raphaelite art, this is your chance. The exhibition ends Sept. 16. On view until Sept. 9, “Tales of Folk and Fairies: The Life and Work of Katharine Pyle.” We’re all familiar with the life and work of illustrator Howard Pyle, but probably not as well acquainted with the oeuvre of his younger sister, who became one of the most prolific woman writers and illustrators of her day—even if she did spend a good portion of her career working in the shadow of her famous brother. Her poems were published in the Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s Bazaar while she was still a girl, before she went on to study art at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Drexel Institute as a prelude to working as an illustrator. Her output includes 50 books, most famously Anna Sewell’s “Black Beauty.” See more now. You’ll be charmed. 571-9590, delart.org
Little-known fact: The library at Hagley holds the records of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hence “100 Years of Picturing the Nation’s Business: Photographs from the Collection of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America,” which celebrates the chamber’s centennial. The exhibition shows famous—and not-so-famous—photos, some capturing significant moments such as reaction to the stock market crash, aftermath of the Dust Bowl and news of the Titanic sinking, some showing iconic companies such as Ford Motor Co. and American Airlines in their earliest days. The exhibition opens Sept. 8. While you’re there, see “The American Eagle: Symbol of Freedom and Enterprise to the du Pont Family.” The bird was an important symbol, one that Mrs. Louise du Pont Crowninshield collected and displayed in her ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills. The exhibition is on view through Jan. 1. 658-2400, hagley.org 658-2400, hagley.org
If ever you were even slightly disturbed by your own body, you may be interested in “Entropy” by Carson Zullingier at the DCCA through Sept. 9. The artist explores the inner self through a photographic examination of the body’s decline from birth till death. “We see metaphors for youth and age, dark and light, good and evil, and the spiritual and the physical,” says curator J. Susan Isaacs. “The gallery space represents a tomb and a laboratory,” reflecting Zullinger’s interest in both Egyptian funerary architecture and physics. How do our inner and outer selves relate to the universe? This is one way to look at it. Also at the DCCA: “And the WORD is…” a group exhibition of work by four contemporary artists who use religious language in their work. That work ranges from humorous and ironic to revelatory. Stephanie Kirk’s photography shows messages on church signs such as, “God wants full custody, not a weekend visit,” and, “You think it’s hot here?” Blind sculptor David Stephens’ large wooden panels offer words from the Bible carved in Braille. Martin Brief’s 14-panel installation shows written book titles searched from Amazon.com containing the word “God.” Nick Kripal steel and salt installation takes center stage, spelling out “Epiphany.” All of it will make you think. 656-6466, thedcca.org
Winterthur’s “Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition,” features 300 objects and imagery created in response to our love of wine. “Uncorked!” shows how wine was marketed and consumed in America and Britain from the 1600s through the 1800s. View unique wine bottles, decanters and cellarettes, lead figures of Bacchus, “Champagne Charlie” song sheets, advertisements and more. The exhibition will be on view through Jan. 6. winterthur.org/uncorked
A highlight of every season at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover is “Award Winners,” an annual celebration of achievements of Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships recipients. “Award Winners XII” honors Newark violinist Xiang Gao, “a rare and soulful virtuoso,” according to The New York Times, who has performed for heads of state around the world, among other top-tier visual and performing artists and writers. “Award Winners” is one of the Biggs’ most important annual projects, helping it achieve its mission of celebrating diversity, educating artists and building awareness of the arts. “The Fellowships recognize the best and most talented artists residing in Delaware. It is a fantastic opportunity for all of them to come together to be recognized in the museum setting at the Biggs, and for the public to get to know them through the Award Winners exhibition and related programs,” says Kristen Pleasanton, program manager with the Division of the Arts. Some will even lead workshops throughout the year. It’s an opportunity to see, hear and read the best, as well as study at their knees. See “Award Winners XII” through Oct. 21. 674-2111, biggsmuseum.org
The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts is recruiting a new class of volunteer guides—and you could be one of them. A seven-week training course will prepare you to develop tours for children and adults. No previous teaching or art experience necessary—just an enthusiasm for learning about contemporary art and for working with people. For more, contact education assistant Sarah Ware at 656-6466 ext. 7106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can be found at the DCCA front desk and online at www.thedcca.org/guideprogram
The Show of Shows
Don’t forget: Tickets for Winterthur’s peerless Delaware Antiques Show are officially on sale. This year, join internationally renowned designer Carolyne Roehm Nov. 9-11 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. Roehm, with Gov. Jack Markell and first lady Carla Markell, is a Delaware Antiques Show co-chair. Author of “A Passion for Interiors,” Roehm is known for her classic style and tastes. Meet her at the opening party on Nov. 8 and take a sneak peek of wares from 60 of the best dealers in the country. Special for this show, the “Color Counts” exhibition will reveal Henry Francis du Pont’s unerring eye for decorating. There’s more, of course. Stay tuned as the date draws near. 888-4907, winterthur.org
Why not Wyeth?
Don’t forget this, either: The Brandyinwe River Museum has added eight new dates for tours of Andrew Wyeth’s recently opened studio. Schedule a Tuesday—and soon— to see how a true American master thought and worked. Tours take place every Tuesday through Nov. 13. The tours on Sept. 11, Sept. 25, Oct. 9, Oct. 23 and Nov. 6 sold out lickety split, so make your reservation for a remaining date soon. 610-388-2700, brandywinemusuemshop.org