Friday, February 5, 2010

Mix of exhibits to help Tampa Museum of Art mark debut

TAMPA - The new, long-awaited Tampa Museum of Art opens to the public Saturday with speeches, celebrations, outdoor fun and lots of art.

Opening ceremonies start at 10:30 a.m. in Curtis Hixon Park under the museum's cantilevered overhang.

At 11 a.m., the doors open into the two-story Frank and Carol Morsani Atrium, where the first piece of art hangs from the high ceiling: It's a mobile called "Untres Barres," by the late Alexander Calder. A well-known American artist who explored several media, Calder is best known for creating lively kinetic creations such as the one in the museum atrium.

Proceeding up the very modern concrete, glass and metal staircase, five distinct yet interrelated exhibits are displayed in the large interconnected indoor galleries on the second floor.

The exhibits are an eclectic mix of modern and ancient art. The gem is the exhibit of works by one of the giants of 20th century art, Henri Matisse (1869-1954).

Called "A Celebration of Henri Matisse: Master of Line and Light," it is a traveling exhibit of nearly 200 prints and drawings selected from the Cone Collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Best known for his paintings, Matisse thoroughly explored many different media, including printing and drawing, throughout his career, creating more than 800 intaglios, lithographs, woodcuts, linoleum cuts and monotypes in the 50 or so years before his death. The museum's exhibit explores that side of his art.

The other exhibits relate to the Matisse show and to each other on many levels.

In the Ferman Gallery, the museum finally has a chance to exhibit for the first time its entire collection of photographs by Garry Winogrand. Called "Life Captured: Garry Winogrand's Women are Beautiful," the 85 photographs, themed around candid shots of women in everyday life, echo the Matisse exhibit in showing how artists work in series.

"The Hidden City," in the Bretta B. Sullivan Gallery, is a special exhibit that explores life in an urban environment in the 21st century.

Correspondent Esther Hammer can be reached at


10:30 a.m.: Opening ceremony hosted by News Channel 8 anchor Gayle Sierens in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park with remarks by Mayor Pam Iorio, museum executive director Todd Smith, architect Stanley Saitowitz, museum board members Ray Ifert and Cornelia Corbett and others.

11 a.m.: Doors open to the public.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Music and art activities (including collage, print and jewelry making) in Curtis Hixon park.

6:30 p.m.: Sunset Cinema, Tampa Theatre's traveling outdoor "picture show," screens the 2006 Ben Stiller movie "Night at the Museum" in Curtis Hixon park.

ADMISSION: $10; $7.50 for seniors, active military and Florida educators; $5 for students; free for children younger than 6

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