On View October 17, 2014 – January 18, 2015
Columbia, S.C. – The Columbia Museum of Art announces a landmark exhibition of the most famous and beloved of American illustrators, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, on view from October 17, 2014, through January 18, 2015. This is the first exhibition to explore in-depth Rockwell’s richly detailed study photographs, created by the artist as references for his iconic paintings.
Rockwell is known for his depictions of everyday life created with humor, skill, and emotion. However, it is little-known that he staged photographs to make his popular covers of the Saturday Evening Post. Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera includes 50 photographs that show the careful procedure Rockwell used to make his art, as well as 16 original paintings and drawings, and takes viewers behind the scenes in the creative process of one of America’s great masters.
“We are excited to bring to Columbia and South Carolina this first-ever exhibition exploring Norman Rockwell’s inventive use of photography to set the stage for his memorable works of art,” says Karen Brosius, CMA executive director. “In his artistic approach, Rockwell became known as the ‘Kid with the Camera Eye’ for his unerring talent and uncanny ability to capture such special moments. Behind the Camera uniquely presents the long-valued relationship between photography and painting while delighting viewers with the inherent charm, energy, and warmth of Rockwell’s art.”
Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera brings together prints of Rockwell’s study photographs and original paintings and drawings from the permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum linked to the photographs on display. The result is a fascinating frame-by-frame view of the development of some of Rockwell’s most indelible images. At the same time, the photographs themselves–painstakingly staged by Rockwell and involving an array of models, costumes, props, and settings–are fully realized works of art in their own right.
“People think of artists as rebels, rule breakers, and bohemians,” says Will South, CMA chief curator. “The greatest artists are also hard workers, and that includes Norman Rockwell. In Behind the Camera, we get to see just how hard he worked as he used photography to carefully stage every aspect of what would become a magazine illustration. Rockwell added and subtracted detail, moved objects around, and tweaked the expressions on the faces of his sitters until he got it right. Behind the Camera is a wonderful behind-the-scenes look into the working method of an artist who created many of our most memorable pictures of American life.”
In addition, Behind the Camera includes a selection of Rockwell’s stirring work on civil rights. The photographs and their subsequent paintings, including Murder in Mississippi, Blood Brothers, and The Problem We All Live With poignantly bring to life a tumultuous and important time in American history and are moving petitions for moral decency. Humor and pathos–traits that made Rockwell’s Post covers successful–were not needed to describe life in the 1960s. As Rockwell observes, we evolve into a more compassionate culture, not only tolerating the artist’s departure from kindly depicting our foibles, but embracing his honest confrontations of some of the hard realities of our society. Who better than someone that spent 64 years winning our hearts by reminding us of who we are to advise us on treating others as we would like to be treated?
The CMA is the final venue in the national tour of the exhibition. It is a last chance to see the selection of photographs and paintings, and the creative process of an American master.
“Norman Rockwell was a natural storyteller with an unerring eye for detail,” says Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, deputy director and chief curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum. “This groundbreaking exhibition shows how that narrative instinct found its first expression in the artist’s meticulously composed photographs.”
Accompanying the exhibition is a beautiful, fully illustrated hardback catalogue entitled, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, written by Ron Schick with a foreword by Rockwell’s son, John Rockwell (Little & Brown, 2009). Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.
This exhibition is presented through the generosity of Presenting Sponsor: the City of Forest Acres; Gold Sponsor: Hannah and Ron Rogers; Silver Sponsors: John Baynes and Susan Thorpe, Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina, Marcia and Allen Montgomery, and SCE&G; Bronze Sponsors: Elliott Davis LLC and the Smith Family Foundation; Friends of Rockwell Sponsor: Governor and Mrs. James H. Hodges; and the ongoing support of the City of Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, South Carolina Arts Commission, and the Lucy Hampton Bostick Residuary Trust.
Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera Art and Programs at the CMA:
On View in the Wells Fargo Education Gallery Wednesday, October 15, 2014, through Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The CMA presents an exhibition of South Carolina student art from around the state. Students explore the processes and techniques used by Norman Rockwell to create their own work capturing their personal histories.
Book a Tour and Save on Admission
Gather your friends and make a reservation to enjoy a docent-led or self-guided tour of Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera and save on admission. Hungry? Choose the tour with a lunch option or enjoy wine and cheese after your tour. Details at columbiamuseum.org.
School group visits include an in-depth guided tour of Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera and a hands-on art project that connect to language arts, social studies, and key areas of the core curriculum. For more information contact CMA Education Manager Kayleigh Vaughn at 803-343-2163 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Art Explorer Backpacks and Gallery Guides
Art Explorer Backpacks are designed to encourage families to have fun in the galleries with interactive activities. Each backpack includes a sketchbook with colored pencils, a pair of binoculars, a compass, and hands-on activities that relate to the theme of the backpack chosen. Themes include: pattern, color, shape, and Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Ask for one at the admission desk.
Gallery guides and the Norman Rockwell gallery hunt are your source for family fun. Guides include insider information about some of the works and a gallery hunt to discover shapes, patterns, and more. Available for free by the Wells Fargo Education Gallery.
Gallery Tour: Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera
Saturdays | 1:00 p.m.
A guided tour of the exhibition, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, offers insight into the creative process of the iconic American illustrator. Free with membership or admission.
Evening for Educators
Wednesday, October 15 | 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Evening for Educators is a free event at the CMA for all South Carolina educators. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet colleagues and enjoy light appetizers and libations while previewing exhibitions and upcoming programs, enjoying gallery talks, and creating works of art. Professional development renewal credit forms available. Join CMA Chief Curator Will South for an overview of the Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibition. “Without thinking too much about it in specific terms,” said Norman Rockwell, “I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.” Free.
Members’ Opening Party Celebrating Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera
Thursday, October 16 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Join us for the members-only exhibition opening. Individual membership admits one. All other levels admit two. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. No early entry. RSVP by Friday, October 10, by calling 803-799-2810 or visiting columbiamuseum.org. RSVP early as space is limited. Cash bar. $5 Valet parking. Presented by the City of Forest Acres.
Film: Norman Rockwell
Saturdays, October 18, November 15, December 6, & January 17 | Noon
Norman Rockwell was born in New York City on February 3, 1894. Talented at a young age, he received his first commission at age 17. In 1916, he created the first of 321 covers for the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell’s Americana images were loved by the public, but not embraced by critics. He created World War II posters and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. He died on November 8, 1978. 46 minutes. Free with membership or admission.
Spooktacular Night at the CMA
Saturday, October 25 | 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Come have a ghoulishly good time at the fourth annual “Spooktacular” family fun event. As darkness falls, the Museum transforms with ghosts, bats, pumpkins, art stations, sweet treats, and more! Make sure to wear your costume as you embark on a spooky gallery tour and check out the Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibition. Visit the Mad Scientist’s Laboratory as he conducts some exciting experiments and at the stroke of 7:00, enjoy a performance by the band Lunch Money. Sponsored by the City of Forest Acres and the Junior League of Columbia. Admission is free with a canned good donation to Harvest Hope Food Bank.
Artist Salon: Ed Madden
Friday, October 31 | Noon
This series features gallery talks about a wide range of subjects, topics, and disciplines. Ed Madden, director of women’s and gender studies and associate professor of English at USC, discusses the American family and the Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibition.Free with membership or admission.
Gladys’ Gang: Picture Perfect
Wednesday, November 5 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Join us for this popular series! Gladys’ Gang is a free, early childhood arts and literacy program for ages 2-5 that focuses on preparing children for kindergarten. Using art as a guide, children and their adult caregivers enjoy story time in the galleries followed by a hands-on art project in the CMA studios. The program is held the first Wednesday of each month from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. This month, explore the exhibition, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, and then re-create one of your favorite memories. Registration required as space is limited. Free.
Arts & Draughts
Friday, November 7 | 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.
Art, drink, and be happy! Enjoy beer tastings from The Whig, musical performances, D.I.Y. art projects, interactive art, scavenger hunts, and unique perspective tours. Sponsored by The Whig, WXRY, and Free Times. $8 / $5 for members / join or renew your membership that night and get in for free.
CMA Educator Workshop: Rockwell: It’s a Process
Saturday, November 8 | 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Designed for small groups, in-depth educator workshops use the Museum’s collection and exhibitions to introduce new ways of thinking about the curriculum and to show innovative teaching approaches. Each educator receives an illustrated resource packet and a certificate of participation. Learn the process of one of America’s most beloved artists with a discussion on the historical impact of Rockwell’s work, with particular attention paid to his works that highlight the civil rights movement. Then, learn to incorporate images as text when you create a piece using photography, illustration, and painting. $30 includes lunch.
Passport to Art: The Boy’s (or Girl’s) Life
Sunday, November 9 | Noon – 3:00 p.m.
Come get your Passport to Art and design your own magazine cover like Norman Rockwell using mixed media collage. This free drop-in studio program for families features a new hands-on art project each month. After spending time in our open studios, explore the galleries at your own leisure or join us for the guided family tour at 1:00 p.m. Free.
CMA Jazz on Main: Celebrating the Great American Songbook
Friday, November 14 | Happy hour at 7:00 p.m. | Concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
From the 1920s through the 1950s, composers with names such as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and Richard Rodgers made some of the most enduring melodies of the last 150 years. Their body of work has become known as the “Great American Songbook.” It was the music that gave hope to a nation in the grips of the Great Depression and provided a soundtrack for when the GIs left for war and came home in peace. A country was defended, families were raised, and a nation was built to these songs.
Presented in conjunction with Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, an exhibition highlighting the creative process of the beloved American illustrator Norman Rockwell, “Celebrating the Great American Songbook” features the Noel Freidline Quintet with vocalist Renee Ebalaroza, back by popular demand. Repertoire for the evening includes compositions by the great American songwriters as well as by vocalists such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, and Bing Crosby. Presented by Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina. Cash Bar.
Season Tickets: $130/ $90 for members
Individual Seats: $35 / $28 for members / $5 students Premier Table Seating:
$300 6 guests & 2 bottles of wine $200 4 guests & 1 bottles of wine
Lecture: Norman Rockwell: Painter (or Illustrator?) of America
Friday, November 21 | Noon
As famous and admired as he is, some in the art world still categorize Norman Rockwell as an “Illustrator” as if he were not also a fine artist. Indeed, Rockwell is often at the center of a long-running debate among art specialists as to whether or not such a distinction (between artist and illustrator) is, or ever was, valid. In his talk, CMA Chief Curator Will South examines how useful (or not) this argument has been to understanding Norman Rockwell, an artist so often cited as defining American values. Free with membership or admission.
Artist Salon: The Dick Goodwin Trio
Friday, December 12 | Noon
This series features gallery talks about a wide range of topics and disciplines. Dick Goodwin is a composer, arranger, performer, and studio producer. He leads the Dick Goodwin Quintet and Dick Goodwin Big Band, and is a Yamaha Artist. This Salon features music from WWI through the 1960s highlighting works in the Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibition. The Trio is Doug Graham on clarinet, Dick Goodwin on trumpet, and Winifred Goodwin on keyboard. Free with membership or admission.
Gladys’ Gang: Family Tree
Wednesday, January 7 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Join us for this popular series! Gladys’ Gang is a free, early childhood arts and literacy program for ages 2-5 that focuses on preparing children for kindergarten. Using art as a guide, children and their adult caregivers enjoy story time in the galleries followed by a hands-on art project in the CMA studios. The program is held the first Wednesday of each month from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. This month’s is all about family, inspired by the Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibition. Registration required as space is limited. Free.
Lecture: Director of the Norman Rockwell Museum Laurie Norton Moffatt
Friday, January 9 | Noon
Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is one of the nation’s leading specialists on Norman Rockwell. She shares her expertise on the life and works of the famed illustrator. Experience the latest ways of viewing Rockwell’s work in this talk, presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Free with membership or admission.
Passport to Art: Fabulous 1950s
Sunday, January 11 | Noon – 3:00 p.m.
Come get your Passport to Art and create a 1950s inspired masterpiece like you see in the exhibition Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. This free drop-in studio program for families features a new hands-on art project each month. After spending time in our open studios, explore our galleries at your own leisure or join us for the family tour at 1:00 p.m. Free.
For more information, visit columbiamuseum.org
To request hi-res images, call the Press Office at 803.343.2170 or email email@example.com.
About the CMA
The Columbia Museum of Art is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to lifelong learning and community enrichment for all. Located in the heart of downtown Columbia, SC, CMA ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. At the heart of the CMA and its programs is its collection, which encompasses nearly 7,000 works and spans thousands of years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1950, the CMA now welcomes more than 135,000 visitors annually and is a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts and Arts & Draughts parties. It is the recipient of a National Art Education Association award for its contributions to arts education and an Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina.