Upcoming Exhibition Turns the Table on Contemporary Artists

Friday, September 29th, 2017

The Columbia Museum of Art presents the exhibition Face Value: Artists’ Portraits by Alphonse van Woerkom, featuring the titular artist’s outsized drawings of New York contemporary art luminaries, on view Friday, October 6, through Sunday, November 26, 2017. Consisting of 11 works on paper that stand at nearly eight feet tall, Face Value showcases the artist’s fascination with other artists, his impressive draftsmanship, the exploration of identity, and the relationship between scale and meaning.

“The relationship between artist and subject is an interesting one. What happens when the subject is an artist as well?” says Will South, CMA chief curator. “Beyond that, what can a face—and the interpretation of that face—reveal? Alphonse explores these questions in a manner that is both bold and nuanced.”

Seven of the nine artists featured in the exhibition are also represented in the CMA collection: Pat Steir, Sam Gilliam, William T. Williams, Chuck Close, Kiki Smith, Elizabeth Catlett, and Ida Appelbroog (the other two artists being Molissa Fenley and Fred Wilson).

After spending time with icon and fellow Dutch artist Willem de Kooning, who impressed upon Van Woerkom the paradoxical intimacy of large-scale art, he began the grand portrait project that would become Face Value. The exhibition labels, written by Van Woerkom himself, are brief accounts of his experience creating the portraits, often interacting with the subjects in their own studios. This conversational narrative, providing a glimpse into the inner worlds and idiosyncrasies of some of the biggest names on the New York art scene, reinforces the intimacy of the large-scale images.

A master of the medium, Van Woerkom uses a wide variety of drawing techniques. The result is a likeness that is realistic yet full of evocative and provocative marks. Visitors will see up close the artist’s methods and how they come together to form powerful images.

“Each one of Alphonse’s portraits,” South says, “is an example of how the humble materials of pencil and paper, combined with the complexities of a human face, can be transformed into a monumental work of art.”

Face Value: Artists’ Portraits by Alphonse van Woerkom is presented through the generosity of our sponsors and grantors. Grantor: Richland County. Additional support for the CMA exhibition program is provided by Lipscomb Sponsor: Mrs. Marcia Stine.

Face Value Programs and Activities:
Free and Ongoing: October 6 – November 27

Multimedia TAP Tour available on your computer, smartphone, or on iPads provided by the CMA.
Gladys’ Gang: Face It
Wednesday, November 1 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
This month we’ll look at eyes, ears, mouths, and noses as we take a closer look at the portraiture of Alphonse van Woerkom. We’ll explore the art and create our own close-up portraits in the studios. This program includes story time and a creative studio activity related to the art exploration theme. Free. Registration required as space is limited. Key topic: facial features.
Gladys' Gang is temporarily offered only once a month due to museum renovations. It will return to twice a month in summer 2018.
Arts & Draughts
Friday, November 10 | 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.
Art, drink, and be happy! Enjoy beer tastings from the Whig, live music, food vendors, and tours of Henri Matisse: Jazz & Poetry on Paper and Face Value: Artists’ Portraits by Alphonse van Woerkom throughout the event with specific art-making activities and scavenger hunts inspired by works in the exhibitions. Community partners including USC’s Ink & Paper will be on-hand with DIY activities. $9 / $5 for members.
Passport to Art: Two-Faced
Sunday, November 12 | Noon – 3:00 p.m. | Tour at 1:00 p.m.
In honor of Face Value: Artists’ Portraits by Alphonse van Woerkom, we’ll explore the art of portraiture. Collaborate in the studio to create a piece that is half self-portrait and half how your neighbor views you. At 1:00 p.m., tour drawings of famous artists. This drop-in program for families features a new hands-on art project each month. Free.
ArtBreak: Psychology of the Creative Mind with Dr. Robin Rosenthal
Tuesday, November 14 | Café at 10:30 a.m. | Talk at 11:00 a.m.
Dr. Robin Rosenthal, professor of psychology at Columbia College, dives into the science of the creative mind. After the talk, examine the subjects in Face Value: Artists’ Portraits by Alphonse van Woerkom. ArtBreak is a program that looks at art through a different lens. Each session features a speaker who gives insight into their worldview by sharing their interpretation of works of art at the CMA. Begin the morning at the museum at 10:30 a.m. with pastries and coffee sold at a pop-up café courtesy of Curiosity Coffee Bar. Program starts at 11:00 a.m.
Learn to Draw in a Day
Saturday, November 18 | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Learn the basics of drawing with this one-day workshop taught by local art educator Mary Hendrix. Experiment with pencil, charcoal, conté crayon, and more as you examine the work of contemporary artists like Face Value: Artists’ Portraits by Alphonse van Woerkom. Mary Hendrix received a bachelor’s degree in art from East Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in the art of teaching from the University of South Carolina. $60 / $48 for members.