Groundbreaking exhibition reveals what happened when prominent painters and sculptors–such as Pablo Picasso, David Hockney and Henri Matisse–turned their attention to the stage
Stages may still be dark at theaters around the country, but theDayton Art Institute (DAI) will bring the spirit of the performing arts to life with its latest Special Exhibition. Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage reveals what happened when prominent painters and sculptors turned their attention to the stage and collaborated with writers, musicians and dancers. The exhibition opens October 17 and will be on view at the DAI through January 17, 2021. Current museum hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon – 5 p.m. The exhibition
Picasso to Hockney contains works by some of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Natalia Gontcharova, Joan Miró, Louise Nevelson, Robert Indiana, Jim Dine and many others. It pulls back the curtain on a lesser known but equally inspiring aspect of these artists’ creative expressions—their collaborations as designers of sets, costumes, lighting, scenery and, in some instances, complete performances. These artists contributed stunning designs to world-renowned plays, operas and ballets, such as Pulcinella, La Création du Monde(The Creation of the World), King Arthur and The Mother of Us All.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy stunning works, which were made for the stage by major artists who are known primarily for their paintings and sculpture,” said Dr. Jerry N. Smith, the DAI’s Chief Curator and Director of Education. “The art on display, since it was created for the theater, offers a novel look at major art movements of the 20th century. For example, to see a breathtaking costume created by Henri Matisse that was once worn by an actor on stage, or a series of painted designs by Jim Dine for stage sets, helps us appreciate the artists and their creativity in new ways.”
Organized by the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, Picasso to Hockney features 115 objects of set and costume design, and it offers fresh insights into artists and movements, from Cubism and Constructivism to Surrealism and Pop Art. The exhibition presents a rare opportunity to experience more than 100 years of original performance designs by renowned visual artists who took their creativity to the stage. Spectacular costumes from the theater, such as dresses by Lesley Dill, and several costumes by Robert Indiana, are also included in the exhibition. Picasso to Hockney invites visitors to explore how these visual artists challenged conventional theatre practices and often redefined their own work in the process.
Drawn from the McNay Art Museum’s Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, Picasso to Hockney aligns with Robert L. B. Tobin’s belief that, “designs come to life only when they are used.” The late San Antonio art collector and performance advocate ensured his collection would be accessible to the public. Tobin hoped this collection would serve to educate and inspire future generations of young theatre makers.
“Dayton is known for its vibrant arts community, so it’s only fitting to present this exciting combination of visual and performing arts from the Tobin Collection at the Dayton Art Institute,” said DAI Director & CEO Michael R. Roediger. “Picasso to Hockney shines an inspiring light on the arts, as well as the artists who bring the arts to life. Your Dayton Art Institute is open and ready to safely welcome you to the museum. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to view this amazing exhibition from our friends at the McNay Art Museum and support the DAI.”
Several online programs and at-home activities will be offered in conjunction with Picasso to Hockney, including:
- DAI Book Club: Language of Art
Saturday, Oct. 24 & Thursday, Nov. 5, 12–1 p.m. each day
- Draw from the Collection … Live via Zoom!
Saturday, Nov. 7, 3–4 p.m. & Thursday, Nov. 19, 12–1 p.m.
- Retrofit: Turning Today’s Clothes into Period Costumes
Videos and downloadable lessons to be released Nov. 20, Dec. 4 & Jan. 8
- Curatorial Conversations: Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage
Friday, Dec. 4, 1:30 p.m.
- ARTventures at Home
Downloadable lesson to be released on Dec. 28
In addition, A Date at DAI will offer a specially designed self-guided tour of the exhibition, aimed at those visiting the museum with their “special someone” the weekend of October 30–November 1.
For more about these programs and the exhibition, visit www.daytonartinstitute.org/stage and join the conversation on social media with #PicassoToHockney.
The Dayton Art Institute’s showing of Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage is presented with support from BENEFACTOR SPONSOR Premier Health and SUPPORTING SPONSORS Carolyn & Robert H. Brethen, Norma Landis & Rick Hoffman, Perfection Group and PNC, with ADDITIONAL SUPPORT from Jessup Wealth Management. SUPPORTING MEDIA SPONSOR is ThinkTV.
Admission to Picasso to Hockney is included in the museum’s general admission: $15 adults; $10 seniors (60+), active military and groups (10 or more); $5 students (18+ w/ID) and youth (ages 7–17); free for children (ages 6 & younger). Admission is also free for museum members. Prices include admission to the Special Exhibition, all Focus Exhibitions and the museum’s collection galleries.
For more information about visiting the Dayton Art Institute, go to www.daytonartinstitute.org or call 937-223-4ART (4278). Connect with the Dayton Art Institute on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest for additional information, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, and exclusive offers.