Artists sometimes create works of art that are meant to be viewed on their own as individual masterpieces. However, they sometimes create with “Serial Intent,” using multiple related artworks to address a bigger idea.
With Pop Art prints, dramatic photographic series, evocative narratives and more, the Akron Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Serial Intent” offers visitors the rare opportunity to experience multi-part artwork within the serial contexts intended by the artists who created them. The exhibition kicks off the summer in downtown Akron with a party on Friday, June 2.
Assistant Curator Elizabeth Carney said, “Serial Intent highlights major serial artworks in the Akron Art Museum collection that can usually only be shown with one or two examples at a time. By focusing the exhibition on the serial format as an artist’s tool, we invite viewers to delve deeper into central ideas developed over multiple different but related images. There are many types of stories to be explored in the 26 series on display.”
Serial Intent includes Andy Warhol’s “Electric Chair” screenprints, Robert Indiana’s bold graphic “Numbers” and Nam June Paik’s “V-IDEA” videoscreen-inspired etchings. Works by Ohio artists Michael Loderstedt and Craig Lucas are based on an existing series of symbols most of us use every day, the alphabet. Their colorful “Bestiary” screenprints explore text and images of animals from A to Z.
Other artworks in the exhibition combine to tell a linear story, as in Jacob Lawrence’s 22 screenprints depicting the epic life of an American abolitionist in “The Legend of John Brown. “Nicholas Africano’s series of eight hand-colored lithographs describes the difficult recovery of his friend after an invasive procedure in Bill’s Surgery. Documentary texts and images convey past performances of actions by Vito Acconci and Dieter Appelt.
Series of images also function as collections, such as Karl Blossfeldt’s precise photographic arrangements of botanical species, “Magic Garden of Nature.” Several dozen of Blossfeldt’s strikingly composed black and white photographs, each the size of an average book page, will be installed over two large gallery walls.
Lorna Simpson’s “Wigs” (portfolio) similarly presents various hairstyles, pinned to the wall like scientific specimens along with text—inviting conversations about broader implications of hairstyles and self-presentation.
Also featured in the exhibition will be serial works by Jennifer Bartlett, Bruce Checefsky, Jenny Holzer, Lori Kella, William Kentridge, Hendrik Kerstens, Barbara Kruger, Sol LeWitt, Judith K. McMillan, Duane Michals, Richard Misrach, Eadweard Muybridge, Robert Rauschenberg, Sam Richardson, Ralph Steiner and Bryn Zellers.
“Serial Intent” will be on view from June 3 through Sept. 10. The Akron Art Museum will unveil the exhibition one day early, at a summer kick-off party on Friday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. (with a museum members’ preview at 6:30 p.m.). The party is free and open to all, and will include brief gallery talks, opportunities to meet artists, music, a chance for guests to create their own serial artwork with Rubber City Prints, fun activities in The Bud and Susie Rogers Garden and more.
Serial Intent is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by the Ohio Arts Council. For more information about Serial Intent at the Akron Art Museum, visit AkronArtMuseum.org.
Join the conversation on social media with #SerialIntent, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Upcoming Related Program:
Judith McMillan Artist Talk
Saturday, June 24, 2 p.m. Learn about photographer Judith McMillan’s process and interest in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in an intimate in-gallery conversation with the artist.
The Akron Art Museum, dedicated to enriching lives through modern and contemporary art, showcases regional, national and international art created since 1850. The museum’s collection is presented in a spectacular facility designed by Viennese architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au and includes over 5,000 works of art, with a strong focus on contemporary painting, sculpture and photography. Nearly a dozen exhibitions each year present prominent artists in various media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, design and glass.