"Town and Country: Modern Life in America" at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Jan. 18 to May 29

January 14, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will re-open on Tuesday, Jan. 18, with "Town and Country: Modern Life in America" in the Fairchild Gallery until Sunday, May 29. Selected from the rich holdings of the Mead's American collection, "Town and Country" offers images by 43 artists who recorded life in America between 1900 and 1950.

During this first half of the 20th century, there were dramatic political, industrial and philosophical movements afoot. With the Machine Age, the Jazz Age, the 19th Amendment that allowed women the right to vote and two world wars, sociological taboos and cultural patterns were shattered. American artists were watching and reacting to these events. Some relied on the foundations of realism to reinforce an identity that asserted the growing maturity, independence and authority of their still relatively young and thriving nation. While the aesthetic tradition of realism was still the norm in America, groundbreaking innovations were taking place in Europe and elsewhere: in their desire to keep pace with their colleagues, some artists absorbed these new tenets, emerging from a parochial perspective while embracing the potentials offered by the modern world. All of this work reflected the rhythm and character of both city and countryside and chronicled the everyday experience of mainstream America.

Organized by Trinkett Clark, the curator of American art at the Mead, "Town and Country" includes paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, photographs and sculpture; together, the works demonstrate that even while the nation was immersed in two world wars and the general population was suffering from harrowing economic conditions, a sense of steadfast optimism and integrity prevailed. Among the artists included in the exhibition are Berenice Abbott, George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Ilse Bing, William Glackens, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Edward Hopper, Dorothea Lange, Blanche Lazzell, George Luks, John Marin, Reginald Marsh, Maurice Prendergast, Aaron Siskind, Edward Steichen, Marion Post Wolcott and Grant Wood.

Related programming includes gallery talks by Carol Clark, professor of fine arts and American studies at Amherst; Betsey Garand, visiting assistant professor of fine arts; and Trinkett Clark as part of the Noon at the Mead series. In addition, the Mead is sponsoring a film series of black and white classic movies produced during the era. There will be a lecture by Kathleen Spies, assistant professor of art history at Birmingham-Southern College, on Thursday, March 3, at 4:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. This event is made possible by the generous assistance of the Department of Fine Arts. A reception will follow at the Mead Art Museum.

Two students, Carolina Dallal '05, of Scarsdale, N.Y., and Nadia Marx '05, of Cambridge Mass., helped with exhibition labels and related programming for "Town and Country."

"In Equal Measure: The Frost-Lankes Connection," a complementary show in the Archives and Special Collections of the Robert Frost Library, examines the relationship between the poet Robert Frost and the artist Julius John Lankes, whose prints grace many volumes of Frost's work and were produced during the same era as the material in "Town and Country." Daria D'Arienzo, head of archives and special collections at the college, organized "In Equal Measure."

For more information about the exhibition and related events, please call the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2235 or visit its Website www.amherst.edu/mead. The exhibition and special programs are free and open to the public. The Mead will re-open on Jan. 18 and be open from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. until Jan. 30. After Feb. 1 regular hours resume: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday until 9 p.m.

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Wihan String Quartet To Present Music at Amherst Jan. 30

January 14, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-In the latest installment of the 2004-05 Music at Amherst Series, the Wihan String Quartet will offer a program that features Schubert's Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden" and Shostakovich's Quartet in A-flat Major, No. 10, Op. 118 on Sunday, Jan. 30, at 4 p.m., in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College.

Founded in 1985 while its members were studying at the Prague Academy, the Wihan Quartet has played in major venues throughout Europe, including the Opera de Bastille, Wigmore Hall, and Concertgebouw, claiming numerous first prizes at music competitions and recording 14 discs, including an ongoing Beethoven cycle.

The New York Times has praised the way the Wihan String Quartet work together. "The sound these Czech musicians make-beautifully balanced, centered in warm, dark regions of tone color, musical in every part-is deeply pleasurable and also deeply traditional. Nobody leads. The music leads."

The latest information can be obtained from the Amherst College Concert Website at www.amherst.edu/~concerts. Admission to the concert is $22; senior citizens and Amherst College employees $19; and students $5. For more information and brochures call the Concert Office at 413/542-2195, or e-mail concert manager Michael Baumgarten at mhbaumgarten@amherst.edu.

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Amherst College English Professor Judith Frank is Author of New Novel

January 6, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Judith Frank, author and professor of English at Amherst College, is the author of Crybaby Butch ($14.95, 416 pp., Firebrand Books, Ann Arbor, 2002), a new novel that examines, with warmth and wit, the surprising turns that issues of education, gender, class and racial identity can cause in people's lives.

Frank's first novel, Crybaby Butch explores the connection between two butches of different generations. One is a middle-class, thirty-something adult literacy teacher-as Frank has been. The other is her older, working-class student.

"Fearless and unflinching, Crybaby Butch rigorously explores butch/femme dynamics over two generations," says Claire Messud. "Judy Frank's debut novel is searing and memorable." "With Crybaby Butch, Judith Frank creates a deeply human, bravely unsentimental story while at the same time investigating the meaning of butch identity as it reinvents itself from one generation to the next," says Carol Anshaw.

Frank has published stories in other voices and The Massachusetts Review, which published a chapter of Crybaby Butch for which Frank was awarded the fiction prize of the Astraea Foundation's Emerging Lesbian Writer's Fund in 2000.

Frank received a Ph.D. in English literature and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Cornell University. Her published work includes the book Common Ground: Eighteenth Century English Satiric Fiction and the Poor. She is currently working on a second novel, titled Noah's Ark, about an American couple's death in a Jerusalem suicide bombing that compels the husband's gay brother, Daniel, to adopt the orphaned children and take them back to the U.S.

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Contact

Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu