McDonough kicks off year with multiple shows

The McDonough Museum of Art will open its 2017-18 season with two exhibitions starting Friday.

“Salon de Fleurus” is a contemporary reconstruction of Gertrude Stein’s Parisian salon that existed at 27 rue de Fleurus from 1904-34. That salon was home to modern art’s beginnings and was one of the first gathering places for a group of young artists that included Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Stein herself.

It was in Stein’s salon that paintings by Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso were seen exhibited together for the first time both by her peers and transatlantic art experts who spread the word back home, eventually creating the American narrative of European modern art familiar today.

From 1992 to 2014, Salon de Fleurus existed as a semi-private salon in lower Manhattan. Since then it has appeared in fragments in Beirut, Paris and Los Angeles and is now touring as a complete project via Independent Curators International.

In conjunction with “Salon de Fleurus” will be “Back to the World,” a visual translation of works by Gertrude Stein, Department of Art students; “Veiled Tolerance,” portraits of hijab and headscarf women by Chris McCullough; and an installation by Alison Begala.

Other special programming is planned to coincide with the exhibition.

Also opening Friday is “Kelli Connell / Double Life: Fifteen Years.” Over the course of 15 years, Connell, an associate professor at Columbia College in Chicago, has created a body of work showing the complex and layered nature of relationships. The photographs are much more than they appear on the surface. By scanning and manipulating two or more negatives, she creates a new narrative reality. In these digitally transformed photographs, Connell utilizes the same model.

In her artist’s statement, Connell writes, “This work represents an autobiographical questioning of sexuality and gender roles that shape the identity of the self in intimate relationships. Polarities of identity such as the masculine and feminine psyche, the irrational and rational self, the exterior and interior self, the motivated and resigned self are portrayed.

“By combining multiple photographic negatives of the same model in each image, the dualities of the self are defined by body language and clothing worn. This work is an honest representation of the duality or multiplicity of self in regards to decisions about intimate relationships, family, belief systems and lifestyle options.”

Connell’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Both exhibitions run through Nov. 3 at the McDonough, 525 Wick Ave., Youngstown, and an opening reception is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. Connell will give a gallery talk from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 330-941-1400.

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