Under the Art

It was a double delight on Thursday evening, when Art House members were treated to a second trip to the archives in the basement of the Knoxville Museum of Art, as well as a guided tour through the Gathering Light exhibit – a collection of Beauford Delaney’s work.

Members nibbled on some delicious eats from Sunspot, and sipped a bright collection of summer wines and beer.

The KMA’s Assistant Curator, Clark Gillespie, led “group A” to the basement first.  Equipped with gloves to use when handling the most precious of works, Gillespie shared some insight into how the museum stores pieces of its permanent collection, as well as the process of deaccession, which can be a dirty word in art circles, as this refers to the removal of art from a museum’s collection.  (Rest assured, Gillespie said the KMA is committed to keeping works of art in the public space, so any work that leaves the museum’s permanent collection heads to an auction exclusive to other public institutions.)

In addition to the pieces that have been in the KMA’s possession for many, many years, Gillespie called our group’s attention to some pieces laying on a storage table.  The works are apart of the edgy, Novak Collection and include originals by printmakers Red Grooms and Sol LeWhitt.  This is a unique time for these pieces, which were gifted to the KMA by Chicago-based collectors, Helen and Russell Novak in 2015.  The pieces will be apart of the upcoming exhibit, Press Ahead, in 2018.  The selection emphasizes a broad range of printmaking techniques and formats.

What’s also fascinating is that during the group’s first tour of the archive room at the KMA, the works of Knoxville-born artist, Beauford Delaney were on that very same table…more than a year away from being on display for the public.


In February 2016, Gillespie, showed Art House members the works of Beauford Delaney, a year and a half before they were apart of the Gathering Light exhibit at the KMA. 

And now that the show, Gathering Light, is open, the KMA’s Executive Director, David Butler, led Art House on a guided tour of those same works by Delaney.

Butler shared the history of the artist’s life that includes a beginning in Knoxville and an ending in Paris with stops in Boston, then New York where the artist was a beloved member of the Harlem Renaissance.  Despite battling poverty, prejudice, and mental illness, Delaney achieved an international reputation for his portraits, scenes of city life, and free-form abstractions marked by intense colors, bold contours, and expressive surfaces.  The artist was born in 1901 and died in 1979.

What a rich night of art and conversation!


Archive Tour 2.0 – FULL

We are just a few days away from our second trip down to the archives at the KMA, and we are happy to report the evening has booked up!  But this is one of those events that’s so popular that we will have it again, especially when you consider that the art in the archives in constantly changing…


Art House members will be treated to the works from the Novak Collection – this edgy work will be on display in 2018 at the Knoxville Museum of Art.  Quite the sneak peek!

We will enjoy food from Sunspot’s new menu.  Beer and wine are on the house too!  See you Thursday evening!  (For more information or to get on the waitlist, email Carla at cpare@knoxart.org.)

Friday May 5th at Bistro

Art House will have the incredible honor of hearing from Dr. Monique Wells at Bistro by the Tracks on Friday, May 5th.  The topic of conversation?  The life and art of Knoxville-born, Beauford Delaney.   Delaney is considered by many as one of the greatest American abstract painters of the twentieth century. Despite battling poverty, prejudice, and mental illness, Delaney achieved an international reputation for his portraits, scenes of city life, and free-form abstractions marked by intense colors, bold contours, and expressive surfaces.  This is very timely, as the art exhibition featuring his work opens on Thursday, May 4th.


A 24-year resident of Paris, Dr. Monique Wells co-founded the travel planning service Discover Paris! and created the company’s Entrée to Black Paris tours and activities that bring the African-American experience in Paris to life.  Dr. Wells has shared stories about the African Diaspora’s rich history, culture, and contemporary life in Paris in newspapers, magazines, and e-publications, including the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times. She is co-author of Paris Reflections: Walks through African-American Paris and author of Black Paris Profiles, which features the stories of 24 contemporary African-American and Afro-Caribbean expatriates.

Her first book, Food for the Soul, was named Best Nonfiction Book of 2001 by The Sistah Circle Book Club and was featured on Al Roker’s Food Network television show Recipe for Success.  With a preface by Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse, the French edition of Food for the Soul has helped introduce African-American culinary art, history, and culture to France.

Dr. Well’s freelance writing led her to uncover the story of Beauford Delaney’s unmarked Paris burial place.  She subsequently founded Les Amis de Beauford Delaney (Friends of Beauford Delaney) as a French non-profit association. In her endeavor to raise funds to place a tombstone at Beauford’s previously unmarked grave, she became increasingly passionate about this artist’s story and about his art.  She recently organized the first-ever exhibition of Beauford’s paintings from Paris private collections, which may come to Knoxville in the fall of 2018.

Delaney-Self Portrait, 1963

Here is a link to her blog about Beauford Delaney: http://lesamisdebeauforddelaney.blogspot.com/

For more information about the KMA’s upcoming exhibition Gathering Light: Works by Beauford Delaneyhttp://knoxart.org/exhibitions/gathering-light-works-by-beauford-delaney-from-the-kma-collection/

Lastly, the New York Times recently did a piece about why the revival of Delaney’s work is so important:  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/08/arts/international/beauford-delaney-returns-to-the-scene.html

Please email Carla Pare, cpare@knoxart.org if you are able to attend, as there is limited seating.  You will be able to order dinner from the full menu at Bistro by the Tracks.

Spring Events

We have an exciting few weeks ahead for Art House, starting off with Saturday, April 29th when we gather on the top floor of the KMA.

Here is a recap of all the events, we hope you can make it!!!

Artists On Location
April 29th 5pm – 6pm
Third Floor, KMA
We will hear from featured guest Mary Morris before KMA’s Artists On Location Awards Reception and Art Sale.  We have an incredible opportunity to learn even more tips of the trade from an expert gallerist just in time to put that knowledge to good use at the main event!  Cash bar, and art will be available to purchase!!!  You are invited to bring a friend to this open event.
Exclusive Dinner with Dr. Monique Wells
May 5th 7pm
Bistro By The Tracks
Dr. Monique Wells is the founder and director of the Paris “Friends of Beauford Delaney.”  She will share stories about food, art, and the American artist, Beauford Delaney.  This is an incredible opportunity to hear from Wells in an intimate settings, as Delaney is remembered for his work with the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as his later works in abstract expressionismfollowing his move to Paris in the 1950s.  Full menu available for individual purchase.  Space is limited; reservation required – email cpare@knoxart.org.
Kick-Off to Summer

Friday, May 12
7pm to midnight
*Dressy casual

We will dance to the music of party band the Atlanta Showstoppers and enjoy a cocktail buffet.  Tickets are $125 per person, however, we are offering a $25 discount to Art House members.

To receive the exclusive Art House discount of $25 off, tickets must be purchased before April 30.  Click here:  https://arthouse_kickofftosummer.eventbrite.com

Kick-off to Summer Discount

Each May, the Knoxville Museum of Art lets its hair down to kick off summer!  This includes a truly spectacular party, complete with a live band!  And The Atlanta Showstoppers are just that!!!  Show.stopping.  Mark your calendars for May 12th!

Our own Art House committee member, Annie Colquitt is co-chairing the event.  Tickets are $125, but a special rate of $100 is available for Art House Members until April 30.

Portal Image

Here are the details of the fundraising event:

Kick-Off to Summer at the KMA

Friday, May 12
7pm to midnight
Dressy casual

Dance to the music of party band the Atlanta Showstoppers
Cocktail buffet
$125 per person

To receive the exclusive Art House discount of $25 off, tickets must be purchased before April 30.  Click here:  https://arthouse_kickofftosummer.eventbrite.com

It’s going to be an awesome party!  And as members of Art House, there’s no better way to celebrate all that is the KMA than the Kick-off to Summer party!

Save the date: Artists on Location April 29th

Join Art House at the Knoxville Museum of Art for a cocktail (or two) and conversation with featured guest Mary Morris before KMA’s Artists On Location Awards Reception and Art Sale.  We have an incredible opportunity to learn even more tips of the trade from an expert gallerist just in time to put that knowledge to good use at the main event!

Morris has worked in the fine art gallery business for twenty-nine years and currently owns an art advisory company based in Knoxville that works with corporate and private collections such as Scripps Networks Interactive and Children’s Hospital of East Tennessee. She will be speaking exclusively to Art House members and friends about the art of collecting.  What a way to follow-up the spectacular event at Bobby and Todd’s earlier in the month.

The event starts promptly at 5pm on the 3rd floor terrace.  No tickets required for this event!  Members are encouraged to bring friends.  There will be a cash bar.

At 6pm, we’ll head down to the Artists On Location Awards Reception and Art Sale, presented by The Guild of the KMA.  A perfect opportunity to add to your collection, the sale will feature all the original artwork produced at locations around Knoxville by 34 participating artist earlier in the week at affordable prices! (Now, if you want to watch the artists in action between the 26th-28th, the locations and schedule will be listed on knoxart.org and facebook.com/guildofkma in mid-April.)

Look out for an email invitation as well!
About Mary Morris:
Mary Morris has been in the fine art gallery business for twenty-nine years and began her career with globally renowned Marlborough Gallery in New York City. There she organized national and international exhibitions for such artists as Fernando Botero, Red Grooms, Francis Bacon and Claudio Bravo along with the production of numerous art publications. During the late 90s she took over the directorship of Bennett Galleries in Knoxville, Tennessee, and created an exhibition schedule to highlight regional artists including Carl Sublett, Richard Jolley and Andrew Saftel as well as create a series of distinguished solo and group exhibitions of nationally renowned artists. In 2004, Ms. Morris returned to New York to join art dealer Leila Heller in reopening her Manhattan gallery. Initially focused on the resale art market, the two lead the development of the burgeoning contemporary Middle Eastern art market in New York and abroad. This brought the gallery to international recognition through a series of exhibitions and art fairs in the US and abroad including London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Istanbul. Presently, Ms. Morris owns an art advisory company based in Knoxville working with corporate and private collections such as Scripps Networks Interactive and Children’s Hospital of East Tennessee.  She also provides professional support to numerous community art projects and non-profit institutions.

Art Collecting Recap

Nearly 40 Art House members gathered at the stunning West Knoxville home of Todd Richesin and Bobby Brown to partake in a special evening that combined delicious food, fabulous French wine, Italian art, and fantastic conversation.

The owners of Bobby Todd Antiques in Sweetwater, as well as UPSTAIRS and Todd Richesin Interiors in Knoxville, opened their home, also known to friends as Casa Real, to share their tremendous collection of art.  While Bobby and Todd purposefully collect art on their travels abroad, the pair inspired Art House members to look locally too.

“What you’ll find with our collection,” said Todd during one of the tours, “Bobby and I are attracted to light and that’s what you’ll see is a common denominator in most of the oil paintings.”  With subjects ranging from pastoral Italian scenes to 18th century religious art, the vast collection was not limited to paintings.  “We have collected sculptures and furniture that speak to us as well,” continued Todd.  One incredible example was a secret painting on the edges of a book.  (See photo above.)

Art House members were free to ask questions and learn more about starting collections of their own, or moving art from room to room in their own homes.  Bobby and Todd agreed that one of the mistakes people make is limiting a piece to a particular room or place above a mantel or sofa.  “We move art around constantly, especially when there is a new piece that we bring in from auction, or wherever,” said Bobby.

No tour of Casa Real would be complete without a stop in the couple’s closet, featuring the preppiest plaid wall to wall carpeting!  What a fun, fantastic night – a complete feast for the eyes!  Huge thanks to our gracious hosts, Bobby and Todd!




Recap: Light Write

Art House, in conjunction with Knoxville Graphic House, held an incredible night at the KMA, where art was both on display and created with light.

As event goers arrived, they were escorted into the Virtual Views exhibit. Drawn from the extensive Chicago-based collection of Carl and Marilynn Thoma, Virtual Views explores the growing importance of electronic new media in contemporary art as seen in the work of artists who are pioneers in the use of LEDs (light-emitting diodes), LCD (liquid crystal display), and computer-driven imagery.

Inspired by the exhibit, Art House members and their guests got creative!  Here are some of the most incredible images made during the night with long exposure photography, light sabers, movement, and creativity.

To see the full gallery, click through the images below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Music, drinks, and food from Retro Taco made for a fun Thursday night!  Thank you to everyone who made Light Write so awesome!

Art House is closing it’s 2017 membership, so if you haven’t joined yet NOW is the time!  Click here to join.   From here on out, our events will be closed to members only.


Recap: Donuts + Dine

What an awesome morning of art, education, fun and friends!!!  Art House welcomed more than 50 people to the museum for Donuts & Dine on Saturday.

Participants enjoyed donuts from Maker’s Donuts before exploring the museum!  Under the leadership of professional art instructors, we examined the work of Jim Dine – one of his pieces hangs in the Higher Ground exhibit.  (Can you see the heart shape???)  Everyone was fascinated and inspired!

Back downstairs, we got to work creating our own heart-inspired creations – Valentines!  Using paint, stencils, and rollers, we created our own stamps.

Everyone got into it, creating some beautiful Valentines to give their classmates, friends and family members.  How cute are these???

Finally, it was time to open the hot chocolate bar!!!  Mmmmmmm…  So good!

Thanks to everyone who attended Donuts & Dine!  There was a lot of talk about making this an annual event!