Spend the day and explore the universe. The MUSEUM OF ARTS & SCIENCES in association with the Smithsonian Institution is a stunning museum with a most impressive collection of great exhibits.
As an artist, one of my big dreams was always to have my art in a museum. One painting, even. As a child I thought “How cool would that be, to be in a museum…?” The dreams of children, right? The illusion of luster.
Over a few decades of painting, I’ve painted murals and artworks, so my paintings have shown in a few galleries here-and-there, from coast-to-coast over the years, along with a few luxury shows overlooking the Las Vegas strip, and wherever the opportunity to share my art presented itself, but never a museum. One day, maybe…
I have high regard for museums. I always have. They are like cathedrals for art and history and sometimes beauty just for beauty’s sake. Beyond that, they’re fantastic resources for experiencing things up close and seeing things first-hand. You can’t get that on the internet.
Some things have to be experienced in “real life” to appreciate them fully. The Root Family Museum Train Station exhibit that includes two fully-restored, mid-century train cars that illustrate the lives of early American industrialists is a good example of that. The “Dell Rapids,” and the “Silver Holly” were two cars owned by the Root Family, one of which they utilized throughout their lives. These beautifully restored railroad cars are nothing less than amazing, and for all I could write about them, it wouldn’t compare to seeing them up close and peeking inside while imagining mountains and river passing by as you roll along those tracks. Those guys were were traveling in style.
The internet probably wouldn’t give you a real sense of how big their prehistoric Giant Ground Sloth is either. It was much bigger than I ever expected. The Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) has dedicated a portion of the museum to the prehistory of Florida. This section of the Museum includes preserved insects and butterflies, shells and teeth, along with the remains of a giant ground sloth, mastodon, and glyptodont that were found in their own backyard!
It’s quite impressive up close. Online… eh, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet, but museums are REAL, and that’s a special kind of experience. That’s why I love museums. Where else do you get to see samurai swords in one room and an impressive collection of classic Coca-Cola bottles in the other?
And the ART. Well, museums are synonymous with art. Some are even famous for their particular collections. The Louvre has the Mona Lisa. Crystal Bridges celebrates iconic American Art. MOAS has their Cuban Collection, and now, for a limited time, they’re also showcasing the LUSTER EXHIBITION.
And for me, well, that’s a dream come true. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve always wanted to be in a museum show. Well, now three of my motorcycle artworks are featured in a series of museum shows as LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting, kicks off its world premier in Daytona Beech, Florida.
This exhibit, curated and produced by David J. Wagner, features three A.D. Cook original paintings celebrating the American motorcycle.
Each tells a unique story of what motorcycles represent to me as the artist and as a motorcycle rider and enthusiast. My most recognized painting, INDIAN SUMMER, shares the passion of the red Indian Chief on a beautiful Autumn day, shiny and reflecting the beautiful outdoors.
I had originally created the 48″ x 36″ painting for an article I wrote on how to paint chrome for Airbrush Action magazine, and it was featured on the magazine’s cover as well. Indian Summer has since gone on to be my most recognized from my motorcycle series.
Painted in 2016, AMERICA features a powerful and recognizable motorcycle from the iconic 1960’s when is was first cool to be the rebel of the highway and an easy rider of the open road.
America was commission by a collector who actually owned a replica of the infamous Captain America chopper ridden by Peter Fonda’s character, Wyatt, in the classic biker movie Easy Rider, a 1969 American independent road drama film written by Peter Fonda. Fonda and Dennis Hopper played two freewheeling bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South carrying the proceeds from a drug deal. The success of Easy Rider helped spark the New Hollywood era of filmmaking during the early 1970s.
And finally. my most current motorcycle artwork featured as part of this exhibit is DREAM 103, which shares a beautiful lady cleaning a soaped-up Harley-Davidson® motorcycle during a bike wash over Independence Day weekend. This painting has a particularly fun story. I was invited to include a painting for the SKIN & BONES Art & Motorcycle Exhibit at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, with one caveat – the painting had to feature a motorcycle (no problem) and have tattoos (problem).
While I painted a few bikes over the years, I hadn’t created any tattoo-related pieces, with exception of a black and white figurative piece a couple back. So, if I wanted to be in the show, I had to paint, and paint fast. Fast for me, anyway. I finished DREAM 103 in just about a month and just in time to make the Sturgis show deadline. Up close, it’s a fun piece because you can see things in the bubbles and reflection that may get lost when the image is reduced in size. Standing in front of the painting, if you look further into the artwork you’ll ultimately take note of the dozens of small skulls hidden within the sudsy bubbles.
Beti Kristof at the Museum Of Arts & Sciences
Like most artworks, each has it’s own story to tell.
But a lot of times – more often than not – those stories get lost when we experience art on out laptops and smart phones. Museums and galleries give us the opportunity to connect with art, and in the process we get to see what the painter saw, and maybe even feel a little of what they felt.
You need to connect with “what’s real” for that.
Even the best printing rarely captures the rich and dynamic colors or subtle textures of the original artwork. And size is power when it comes to realism artworks. That’s partly because the artist wants to immerse you into the painting, so you see what he sees; beautiful abstract chaos among the tightly controlled details that come into focus as you step back and view the art from further back.
These paintings, all of them, need to be seen up close to be appreciated. The level of craftsmanship amongst this group of artists is stellar, and it’s easy to see the passion within the subject matter. Artists light up when sharing their art, and this show in partucular is all about the luster.
Opening March 10, 2018 through June 21, 2018 at Edward E. and Jane B. Ford Gallery
Drawing on the legacy of the first generation of American photorealist painters such as Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Robert Cottingham, and Don Eddy, many late 20th century and early 21st century painters have continued to exalt triumphs of vehicular design through extremely realistic, almost trompe l’oeil renditions of cars, motorcycles, and other conveyances. This exhibition brings together over 50 works by 15 of today’s leading artists working in this style in a true celebration of chrome, curves, speed, and power – the essence of modern car and motorcycle culture.
Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director
(in alphabetical order)
A.D. Cook (Las Vegas, NV)
Randy Ford (Eastampton, NJ)
Allan Gorman (West Orange, NJ)
Marc G. Jones (Loveland, CO)
Cheryl Kelley (Northern California)
Richard Lewis (Los Angeles, CA)
Lory Lockwood (New Orleans, LA)
Robert Petillo (Hardyston, NJ)
Kris Preslan (Lake Oswego, OR)
Joseph Santos (Buena Park, CA)
Ken Scaglia (Weston, CT)
John E. Schaeffer (La Grange, TX)
Guenevere “Moto Painter” Schwien (Portland, OR)
Harold D. Zabady (Camp Hill, PA)
For more information on the Luster Exhibition visit > http://davidjwagnerllc.com/Luster_Exhibition.html
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While visiting the Museum Of Arts & Sciences, also check out…
The innovative Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art is home to the largest collection of Florida art in the world. The collection of 2,600 Florida themed oil and watercolor paintings are one of the newest attractions to the Museum of Arts & Sciences. The Museum’s grand central gallery and mezzanine showcase the collection’s signature pieces, while six smaller galleries feature beautiful changing exhibitions with Florida themes. A gift shop and a cafe add to the Brown Museum experience and make for the perfect day-long visit to the MOAS campus. Conference rooms with full meeting and presentation capabilities are available to the public on a rental basis.
Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Future Scheduled Exhibits
Museum in Louisiana ~ Pending