An August 2005 trip
to Boise by Wildcat Dianne
Quote: The end of August brought another heat wave to Idaho, and Mom and I thought it was time for a cultural outing to the Boise Art Museum's Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit on temporary display at the BAM until September 19.
Attraction | "The History of the Boise Art Museum"
The Boise Art Museum has been a part of Idaho since 1937, when the Boise Art Museum met and decided to build a museum to house the artwork of artists from Idaho and the Pacific Northwest.
Originally known as the Boise Gallery of Art, the Art Deco building was constructed in Julia Davis Park and contained two galleries and an office/lobby area. In its early days, the BGA mostly displayed local art rather than buy or collect.
By the 1960s, the collections and exhibits at the BGA outgrew its space and plans were made to add on to the museum. In 1972, the gallery was moved to temporary location while construction began. In 1973, the 10,000-square-foot addition opened with enlarged galleries and a bigger lobby with a store, vaults, and studios.
In 1986, the BGA went through a second renovation, and in 1988, they were accredited by the American Association of Museums and was renamed the Boise Art Museum (or BAM as it is known to locals).
In 1997, the museum went under a third renovation to increase its size to 34,800 square feet. Today, the BAM is a popular destination for art lovers and tourists looking to see Northwestern artists' work on display and peruse the museum shop.
The BAM is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm most of the year and closed on Mondays, except when special exhibits are there. The admission to the museum is $8 for adults and $6 for students, children, and students, and there are memberships available that will allow you to go into the museum for free from $35 to $50.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 23, 2005
Boise Art Museum
670 Julia Davis Drive
Boise, Idaho 83702
+1 208 345 8330
Attraction | "The Boise Art Museum's Art in the Park"
Art in the Park is an annual event in Boise that is held in Julia Davis Park every September and is sponsored by the Boise Art Museum (BAM). Artists from all over the USA and Canada are invited to show and sell their wares in an outdoor fair atmosphere complete with canopies, live music and other entertainment, and a food court.
Because parking and traffic in downtown Boise can be hellacious during Art in the Park weekend, Leslie and I went to the Boise Towne Square Mall and took the free shuttle bus that is available to Art in the Park patrons. The busses run very frequently and drop you off right at the park.
When Leslie and I got to the park and started to walk around, we noticed that many people ignored the "keep your dogs at home" part of the newspaper article and brought their pooches for a day at the park. I said to Leslie that I was glad I left Loki and Katie at home because I would have been peeling their noses from many other dogs' butts or breaking up fights.
Leslie and I enjoyed seeing most of the artists' wares and artwork. Our favorite tents were from a couple who did work on scratch boards. The boards are covered with black ink and are scratched with special knives to reveal the white board underneath. Then, they take water colors and color in the animals that they have drawn on the boards. The vivid watercolors on the black backgrounds made the works pop with a 3-D effect that I loved. Leslie took the artist's business card so that she could tell her daughter that she wanted a print of Eastern Bluebirds, which Leslie collects. We also loved some of the art done with recycled auto parts and cans.
Unfortunately, a lot of the works were very expensive and out of our budgets. Most of the artists don't like it if you take photos of their work because of theft or plagiarism, so ask the artists if it's okay to photograph the works. But it was really nice walking through the park, looking at most of the works and spending time with each other.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 11, 2005
Art in the Park
700 South Capitol Blvd
Boise, Idaho 83702
+1 208 867 5403
1. The Chestnut Tree--Grey 1924--Oil. The use of pastels in the background make the dark gray dead tree trunk in the foreground come out to you.
2. The Cross with Red Heart and Gaspe Farmhouses were painted by O'Keeffe in 1932 during her visit to Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula. Once again with Cross, the sky is painted in pastels while the cross, which O'Keeffe saw all over Quebec, is painted in bold colors with a red heart in the center. The farmhouses were painted in bold white with grey roofs and bold lines. I had painted a lighthouse on a wooden block a few years ago for our home, and looking at it now, it reminds me of O'Keeffe's work.
3. Red Hill at the Pedernal, was painted in 1938 with oils during one of O'Keeffes annual summer visits to New Mexico to see her friend. Mom and I loved the use of pastels along with terra cotta shades to bring the red hills of New Mexico to life.
When you walk away from the paintings, they look different than when you look at them up-close.
The photos of O'Keeffe by Stieglitz and later, Webb were done in the gelatin silver print style and bring out many details of O'Keeffe as she aged throughout the years and of the New Mexico landscape.
Georgia O'Keeffe: Visions of the Sublime will be on display at the BAM until September 19, 2005 and will be returned to New Mexico after that. Most of her work can be seen on display in New Mexico at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe when not on tour.
The most disappointing thing about the O'Keeffe exhibition was that you could not take photos in the gallery, and many of her works that were done later in her life on flowers were not on display, but it was well worth an hour of our time.
Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the most influential female American artists this past century. Her bold and colorful paintings of the New Mexico landscapes and flowers are some of the most recognizable works of art ever seen. In order to understand O'Keeffe's work, I believe that a short bio is needed to get to know this extraordinary woman and her work.
Georgia O'Keeffe was born on her family's farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1887. She was the second child out of seven children. O'Keeffe had the Little House on the Prairie childhood growing up in Wisconsin by attending a one-room schoolhouse and studying piano and violin at home. At age 12, she announced she was going to be an artist when she grew up after taking years of art lessons.
Georgia O'Keeffe's formal artistic training took place in Chicago and New York, and after a few years as a teacher across the USA, she took a summer art course at the University of Virginia in 1912, where she came under the tutelage of Arthur Wesley Dow, who taught her that simple forms express the artist's feelings best. In 1914, she enrolled at the Teachers College at Columbia University to study further with Dow. O'Keeffe's No. 9 Special, a charcoal drawing, is from this period in New York.
In 1916, O'Keeffe met photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who showed many of her works in his Gallery 291 and supported her so that she could paint full-time. Their professional relationship turned romantic, and O'Keeffe and Stieglitz, who was 23 years her senior, married in 1924. Stieglitz's photographic series Equivalents of storm clouds was work that he related to their relationship.
From 1924-1946, O'Keeffe's work focused on paintings done of Lake George, New York, New Mexico, and the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, Canada. Most of this work is on display in the BAM and shows O'Keeffe's passion for nature and landscapes.
After Stieglitz's death in 1946, O'Keeffe moved full-time to New Mexico. She bought two houses at Abiquiu and the famous Ghost Ranch, where she did most of her later works with flowers and the red hills near her home.
In her 80s, Georgia O'Keeffe started to go blind and learned pottery from sculptor Juan Hamilton. Assistants also helped O'Keeffe paint during this time until her death in 1986 at the age of 98.
In 1997, The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum opened in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is the only museum in the USA that is dedicated solely to a female artist.
Except for the special exhibits like the Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibit and the Katy Stone Fall exhibit, the works on display in the BAM are by Northwestern artists. The Katy Stone exhibit didn't impress Mom and me at all. The work is waterfall like art done on thin plastic that reminded me of "Shrinky Dinks." For those who didn't grow up in the '70s, Shrinky Dinks were plastic sheets you painted with special paint and baked in the oven, where you could see them shrink before your very eyes.
The rest of the displays were some 19th-century oil paintings of the Pacific Northwest which were very nice and the pottery collection from a former Boise State University professor. There were some modern paintings that had me thinking, "Hell! I could get Loki and Katie to roll in paint on canvas and sell that as art!"
However, I did like two pieces of the contemporary art. One was called Lyle by Chuck Close. It was a Warhol-like screen print that looks like an African-American man when you are far away from it, but when you get close to it, you see tiny patchwork like squares that make up the "Lyle." I kept looking back at it when we finished looking at it because it was looking different every time.
The other painting I liked was by Hung Lui, a Chinese artist who grew up during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Her painting which I forgot the name of shows life in youth to old age and life during the Cultural Revolution. Red paint drips down the painting, and I believe that was blood that showed Lui's oppression during Mao's reign in China from 1949-1976.
After we toured the other galleries, Mom and I looked in the Museum Store. There are some Chilluly like glass sculptures on sale for $5,000 each along with Native American jewelry and baskets. In the shop itself are books on O'Keeffe and Stieglitz along with greeting cards, postcards, posters, and other souvenirs which Mom and I found a little pricey for our budgets. I also felt the $8 admissions fee ($6 for Mom since she is over 60) was too much for the smallness of the exhibits. Even $6 when the special exhibits aren't there is steep for Boise, Idaho, but that's just me talking.
I would recommend the BAM for any special exhibits like Georgia O'Keeffe, but if you prefer Rembrandt and other works before the 20th century, the BAM is not for you.