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PSU's Palmer Museum Announces 2021 Lineup

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State is excited to announce its upcoming exhibition schedule for 2021, which begins when the Palmer reopens on Wednesday, Feb. 10. This year’s shows celebrate a diverse variety of periods and places around the world, spotlight Pennsylvania landscapes and artists, feature a number of women artists, and highlight impactful gifts and important partnerships with fellow institutions.


Starting Feb. 10, the Palmer Museum will be open Wednesday through Sunday. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Free tickets are available using the museum’s new timed-ticketing system that can be accessed via the website at palmermuseum.psu.edu. The museum will follow COVID-19 safety protocols for mandatory masking, social distancing, hand sanitization, and enhanced cleaning, as well as limiting the number of visitors in the building through the timed-ticketing system.

With the reopening begins Field Language: The Painting and Poetry of Warren and Jane Rohrer. This major loan exhibition celebrates the work of painter Warren Rohrer and poet Jane Rohrer, partners in life who drew from their shared background in Mennonite farm families to create modern art. Warren’s abstract paintings engage the colors and textures of cultivated fields of southcentral Pennsylvania, while Jane’s poems bring a modern perspective to her own experience bridging traditional agricultural life and the art world.

Complementing the Rohrer retrospective will be a more intimate exhibition drawn from the Palmer’s permanent collection and the distinguished collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Mark Makers: The Language of Abstraction," which opens on March 28, will feature works by Alma Thomas, Mark Tobey, Norman Lewis, and other 20th-century artists who drew inspiration from the natural world even as they moved beyond representational subject matter.

In "The Wit and Whimsy of Lucille Corcos," the Palmer will shed new light on a little studied but greatly influential figure in the development of the modern primitivist transition in American art. This is the first exhibition in nearly a quarter century to examine the contributions of Corcos, who remained committed to a stylized form of realism despite the advent of modern art.

Opening in June, "Summer Light: American Impressionist Paintings from the Thomas Clark Collection" will showcase landscapes from across the nation captured in the beloved impressionist style. The exhibition will feature paintings by a number of women artists from this period. The paintings will be on loan from Thomas Clark, whose collection of pre-1940 American Impressionist works is promised to the Palmer Museum.

The 2021 season will be rounded out with "Global Asias," a major exhibition drawn from the impressive and diverse collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation. Organized by the Palmer Museum, the exhibition highlights the work of contemporary Asian and Asian American artists who draw on a rich array of motifs, techniques, and cultural motivations to construct diverse “Asias” in a modern global context.

Each of this year’s exhibitions is organized by the Palmer Museum of Art.

New museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, with the last timed ticket reservation at 4:30 p.m. for half an hour. The museum is closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and some holidays.

See list below for complete information on the 2021 Exhibition Schedule. For more information and for ticket reservations, please visit the Palmer Museum website at palmermuseum.psu.edu.

Palmer Museum of Art 2021 Exhibition Schedule

"Field Language: The Painting and Poetry of Warren and Jane Rohrer"

Feb. 10 to June 6

Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art, this major loan exhibition examines the art of Warren Rohrer (1927–1995) as it evolved in conversation with poet Jane Turner Rohrer (b. 1928), his partner of nearly fifty years. The dialogues Field Language traces flow between husband and wife, painting and poetry, and between tradition and modernism. Both Rohrers left the rural lifeways of a Mennonite upbringing to go “into the world.”

Over the course of his four-decade career, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s, Rohrer’s paintings became larger and more abstract, but his modernist progression remained consistently engaged with tradition. His abstractions evoke the fields of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where his family farmed for nine generations, while his mark-making recalls the meticulous, repetitive labor of farming and craftwork. Jane Rohrer’s poetry offers narrative context and emotional depth to the experience of her husband’s paintings, registering ambivalence about the relationship of modern artists to tradition and reflecting on the links between painting and poetry.

Featuring some 50 works, including paintings and works on paper, Amish quilts, and examples of Pennsylvania German painted crockery and furniture, "Field Language" invites us to consider issues of land use, the sustainability of rural communities and cultures, and our own relationships with agricultural landscapes, seasonal change, labor, and human need and desire.

The exhibition is curated by Joyce Robinson, assistant director of the Palmer Museum, in collaboration with guest faculty curators Julia Spicher Kasdorf, poet and liberal arts professor of English, and Christopher Reed, distinguished professor of English and visual culture. "Field Language" is accompanied by a multi-author illustrated catalogue available now through Penn State Press and at the Museum Store.

Funding for the exhibition was provided through Penn State's Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost as part of the University's Strategic Arts and Humanities Initiative.

Pennsylvania’s natural beauty figured prominently in early 19th-century literary journals and publications celebrating the American landscape. This exhibition will feature a selection of picturesque highlights from the “Tavern Collection” of Pennsylvania prints amassed by John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager. The prints were originally collected as decorations for their popular downtown State College restaurant, the Tavern, and gifted to the Palmer Museum nearly 35 years ago.

View the virtual exhibition here: https://exhibitions.psu.edu/s/pa-scenery/page/introduction

"The Wit and Whimsy of Lucille Corcos" Feb. 10 to May 9

A prolific painter and illustrator, Lucille Corcos (1908–1973) depicted American life with an incomparable verve during the mid-20h century. Her work became highly sought after by numerous magazines beginning in the 1930s, and she regularly exhibited at galleries and museums into the 1950s. This exhibition, organized by the Palmer Museum and curated by Adam Thomas, Curator of American Art, examines these pivotal decades of Corcos’s career through her small-scale, semi-naïve tempera and watercolor paintings. Featuring recent acquisitions to the Palmer as well as loans from several museums and private collections, "The Wit and Whimsy of Lucille Corcos" is the first exhibition devoted to the artist in more than 22 years.

"Mark Makers: The Language of Abstraction"

March 28 to July 11

Creating art is in many ways about making marks: brushstrokes on canvas, ink or graphite dashes on paper, lines incised on a sheet of copper or drawn on a lithographic stone. The postwar decades in American art witnessed the primacy of mark making in the calligraphic gestures of Abstract Expressionism, the calculated grids of the Minimalists, and the dizzying striations of Op art. For many artists coming of age in the mid- to late 20th century, the process or act of making marks was as integral a component of the final work of art as recognizable content or perceived meaning.

Drawn largely from the Palmer Museum of Art’s permanent collection and the distinguished collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this exhibition brings together works by a number of notable mark makers, including Color Field painters Warren Rohrer and Alma Thomas, who drew inspiration from the natural world even as they moved beyond representational subject matter. Also on view will be works on paper by Norman Lewis, Leonard Nelson, Mark Tobey, Henry Pearson, and Alan Gussow, as well as recent works by contemporary artists Mary Judge and Jo Margolis.

The presentation of "Mark Makers: The Language of Abstraction" is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative.

"Summer Light: American Impressionist Paintings from the Thomas Clark Collection" May 23 to Aug. 22

As the days grow longer and the weather warmer, the Palmer will welcome summer with the first presentation of American Impressionist paintings from a major forthcoming gift. Featuring more than 25 works, this exhibition explores the durability and dissemination of Impressionism in the United States between about 1910 and 1940. The season’s associations with vitality and leisure appealed to a range of artists who painted sun-streaked canvases in the open air. From Maine to Florida, from Texas to California, their bright palettes and broken brushwork rendered all facets of the American landscape and enjoyed popular acclaim. Whether depicting the bustle of harbors and beaches or the radiance of mountains and coastlines, artists adapted, and promoted at summer art colonies, French Impressionist techniques to American sensibilities. Artists featured in the exhibition include Maurice Braun, Hayley Lever, George Loftus Noyes, Carl Peters, Jane Peterson, and Mabel May Woodward, among many others. The works are on loan from Thomas Clark, who intends to bequeath his collection of pre-1940 American Impressionist landscape paintings to the Palmer Museum.

"Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation" Aug. 4 to Dec. 12

Drawn from the exceptional and diverse collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation, Global Asias examines the cosmopolitan, playful, and subtly subversive characteristics of contemporary Asian and Asian American art. The exhibition highlights the work of sixteen artists of Asian heritage who draw on a rich array of motifs, techniques, and cultural motivations to construct diverse “Asias” in a modern global context.

Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art, the exhibition is divided into three thematic sections. “Exuberant Forms” features work that has the potential to reshape conventional views of abstract art — its composition, palette, materiality as well as its cultural implications, expanding and complicating the canonical narrative of abstraction. “Moving Stories” brings together powerful prints and mixed-media works that reflect on the experiences of migration, both within Asia and beyond. The artists in this section map their own diasporic trajectories, literally and metaphorically, and the art compels the viewer to move and to respond to the shifting socio-political realities of time and place. “Asias Reinvented” highlights two- and three-dimensional works that transform styles and techniques of traditional Asian arts in alignment with the vibes of the contemporary and the cosmopolitan. Combined, the works in Global Asias suggest the plurality and fluidity of “Asia” as cultural construct and creative practice. The exhibition is guest curated by Chang Tan, assistant professor of art history and Asian studies at Penn State. The exhibition will go on a national tour after premiering at the Palmer Museum of Art.

"Ukiyo-e: Images of the Floating World, Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Permanent Collection" Aug. 11 to Dec. 5

The art of ukiyo-e flourished in Japan during the Edo period (1615–1867), an interval characterized by the introduction and marked growth of a literate and sophisticated merchant class in the country’s urban centers, particularly in the city of Edo, modern Tokyo. Barred from foreign travel by the ruling shoguns, members of this group focused their attention on local amusements, frequenting the theater, visiting brothels, and adopting the most recent fads. This life of contemporary pleasure came to be known as ukiyo, or the “floating world,” as though one might drift through life in a manner of a leaf floating downstream. Artists of the period turned increasingly toward the representation of this new subject matter. Specializing in genre scenes, portraits of actors and courtesans, and later, landscape, in a manner that reflected the most contemporary fashions and attitudes, their work became known as ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world.”

Ukiyo-e: Images of the Floating World features 16 Japanese woodblock prints that were given to the Palmer Museum over many years by Penn State alumnus William E. Harkins (Class of 1942).

"Place to Place: Recent Gifts of American Drawings and Watercolors, 1900–1950" Sept. 7 to Dec. 12

Place to Place offers a jaunt around America in the first half of the 20th century. From New York to New Mexico to New Orleans, a range of sites in several different media are gathered to explore notions of place. International locales represented include Belgium, England, France, Germany, and Morocco. Conceived at a time when many of us have been stuck in place, this exhibition presents disparate geographical locales depicted by a variety of peripatetic artists, including Colin Campbell Cooper, Marsden Hartley, Charles Webster Hawthorne, Robert Henri, Irene Rice Pereira, and Alice Schille. The 30 drawings and watercolors featured have been given to the museum in the last few years and will be on view for the first time.

John Hill after Joshua Shaw, View on the Wisahiccon, Pennsylvania, 1820, aquatint and etching with hand coloring, 14 7/16 x 20 5/8 inches. Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager, 86.608

Lucille Corcos, "Everybody’s Downtown," 1948, tempera on board, 14 1/2 x 11 1/8 inches. Collection of David and Susan Werner

Alma Thomas, "Hydrangeas Spring Song," 1976, acrylic on canvas, 78 x 48 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Julius Rosenwald II in honor of René and Sarah Carr d’Harnoncourt, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, and with other funds being raised in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum and in celebration of African American art, 2002-20-1

George Loftus Noyes, "Sunlit Road," c. 1910, oil on canvas, 27 x 22 inches. Collection of Thomas Clerk

Patti Warashina, "Lotus Float," 2005, hardground etching, sugar lift, and aquatint, 20 x 27 inches. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. © Patti Warashina

Hishikawa Moronobu, "A Court Lady Presenting a Gift to a High-Ranking Nobleman," from "Pleasures with the Beautiful Women of Japan," c. 1672, woodblock print with hand coloring, 9-1/8 x 6-1/2 inches. Gift of Dr. William E. Harkins (1942 liberal arts), 98.77

Charles Webster Hawthorne, "Tangiers," 1929, watercolor on paper, 10 x 13 7/8 inches. The John Driscoll American Drawings Collection, 2018.150

About the Palmer

The Palmer Museum of Art on the Penn State University Park campus is a free-admission arts resource for the University and surrounding communities in central Pennsylvania. With a collection of 10,000 objects representing a variety of cultures and spanning centuries of art, the Palmer is the largest art museum between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Areas of strength include the museum’s collection of American art from the late 18th century to the present, Old Master paintings, prints and photography, ceramics and studio glass, and a growing collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum presents 10 exhibitions each year and, with 11 galleries, a print-study room, a 150-seat auditorium, and an outdoor sculpture garden, the Palmer Museum of Art is the leading cultural resource for the region.

Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, with the last timed ticket reservation at 4:30 p.m. for half an hour. The museum is closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and some holidays.

The Palmer receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and from the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau.

For more information on the Palmer Museum of Art or for the calendar of upcoming events, visit www.palmermuseum.psu.edu.

About the new University Art Museum at Penn State

Penn State and the Palmer Museum of Art are planning to construct a new University Art Museum located in The Arboretum at Penn State. With nearly twice the exhibition space of the Palmer, new classroom spaces and a teaching gallery, flexible event spaces, and on-site parking, this building would dramatically enhance the museum’s capacity to offer educational and enrichment opportunities for visitors of all ages. It would be integrated with the Arboretum, inspiring collaboration and creating a unique nexus of art, architecture, and natural beauty. And like the Palmer Museum of Art before it, it will depend upon visionary philanthropy from the Penn State community. Learn more at artmuseum.psu.edu.

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