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‘Modern Movement’ open at Art Museum of WVU

Modern Movement artwork

Dancers and modern art enthusiasts alike will want to stop in soon to the Art Museum of West Virginia University, where “Modern Movement: Figurative Works by Arthur Bowen Davies” is currently on display.

Originally organized by the Maier Museum of Art, this exhibition features rarely exhibited works on paper and oil paintings, including loans from the Randolph College and Malcolm Cosgrove-Davies Collections.

Davies played a pivotal role in introducing modernism to American audiences as the primary curator of the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show in New York City. As an artist himself, Davies was heavily influenced by modern dance, particularly that of Isadora Duncan. While the Armory Show challenged the foundations of traditional visual art, Duncan’s trailblazing approach to what was then called aesthetic barefoot dance transformed the world of theatrical dance. This exhibition not only explores the illusion of movement within Davies’ works but also suggests the wealth of modernist styles and ideas that debuted in the Armory Show. 

The Art Museum of WVU will host multiple events around the exhibition, which is on display through June 30. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Art Museum of WVU. The event is free and open to the public.

Other events hosted by the Art Museum around the exhibition include:

  • “What is Modernism?” Panel Discussion
  • 5 p.m. March 4

An interdisciplinary panel of scholars from across the university will share their perspectives on what modernism means and how it resonates in their fields, in Davies’ art, as well as in the present day. The presentation will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 in the Art Museum of WVU’s Upper Gallery. The Museum’s Educational Programs Manager, Heather Harris, will introduce the exhibition as well as provide background on Davies. Dance major Madelyn Dundon will also give a brief performance inspired by the “mother of modern dance,” Isadora Duncan. At 5:30 p.m., the panel will move into the Grand Hall of the Museum Education Center. Panel members include: Joshua Arthurs, associate professor of history; Maureen Kaddar, teaching assistant professor of dance; Kristina Olson, associate professor of art history; and Johanna Winant, assistant professor of English. Art Museum Director Todd J. Tubutis will moderate.

  • Lunchtime Looks: MaryBeth Mandich
  • 12 p.m. April 3

Mandich, vice dean for professional and undergraduate programs and chairperson of WVU’s physical therapy department, will focus on Davies’ influence on modern art as the curator of the 1913 Armory show and to his interest in bodies in motion. Many of the works featured in the exhibition feature “continuous composition,” or one figure in a succession of poses, meant to suggest movement. Dr. Mandich will explore the importance of movement to the human condition from her perspective as a physical therapist. Her talk will invite discussion of movement as a subject for art through an examination of its fundamental role in the human experience.

Support provided by the Friends of the Art Museum, William and Linda Hagerty, and the Joyce Ice Fund for Exhibitions and Acquisitions. The Art Museum of WVU is open to the public Wednesday – Thursday 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.; and Friday – Sunday 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. For more information visit artmuseum.wvu.edu.