New exhibition opens at Frist Center

Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956). Easter Card, WienerWerkstätte Postcard 5, 1910. Chromolithograph. Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Neue Galerie New York

Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956). Easter Card, WienerWerkstätte Postcard 5, 1910. Chromolithograph. Leonard A. Lauder Collection.
Neue Galerie New York

Artist-designed postcards, textiles, decorative arts and printed materials from the acclaimed Wiener Werkstätte (or Vienna Workshops), an association of artists and artisans founded by members of the broader Vienna Secession movement, will be on display in the Frist Center’s Upper-Level Galleries from June 26 to October 5, 2015. These miniature works of art were both a way to advertise the many products the firm created as well as an inexpensive vehicle for sharing good design with a broad audience. The firm’s postcards cover various subjects, including cabarets and coffeehouses, fashion and holidays, children’s themes and humor, and even contemporary events and places in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

From 1903 to 1932 the Wiener Werkstätte produced high-quality household wares, from furniture and glassware to postcards and garments, with the goal of designing every aspect of daily life to create a “total work of art” (or, in German, Gesamtkunstwerk). Postcards made by designers such as Josef Hoffmann, Oskar Kokoschka, Dagobert Peche, and Egon Schiele were important in the overall program of the Wiener Werkstätte. The variety of the cards’ thematic subject matter reflects the social fabric of turn-of-the-century Vienna—its cabarets, cafés, historic sites, fashions, and holiday celebrations—delivering memorable images that range in tone from humorous and whimsical to brooding.

“Underscoring the value of well-designed objects in all aspects of everyday life, this exhibition provides a refreshing look at a time when communication with family and friends was largely handwritten,” says Frist Center Curator Katie Delmez. “Visitors to the Frist Center will also have a unique opportunity to see these small treasures in the appropriate setting of our historic building, which served as Nashville’s former main post office from 1934 to 1986.”

Moriz Jung (1885–1915). Viennese Café: The Man of Letters, Wiener Werkstätte Postcard 532, 1911. Chromolithograph. Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Neue Galerie New York

Moriz Jung (1885–1915). Viennese Café: The Man of Letters, Wiener Werkstätte Postcard 532, 1911. Chromolithograph. Leonard A. Lauder Collection.
Neue Galerie New York

Along with more than 70 Wiener Werkstätte works from The Wolfsonian–Florida International University museum of art and design in Miami Beach, including painted glassware, ceramics, leather wallets, and intricately designed textiles, they bring to life the rich world of Vienna in the early 20th century.

Enjoy First Saturday Art Crawl Downtown on July 3
Due to the 4th of July holiday falling on a Saturday this year, the 5th Avenue of the Arts is holding this month’s event on Friday, July 3. Art galleries throughout downtown host receptions and art openings presenting local and world-renowned artists and artwork. The galleries offer rare opportunities to view diverse exhibitions featuring every genre of art in a festive atmosphere with participating venues from Fifth Avenue of the Arts to the Historic Arcade to 8th Avenue to Broadway – all welcoming the community to experience Downtown Nashville as a hub for art.

Most galleries serve free wine and other refreshments. The gallery crawl is a great free night on the town to kick off the holiday weekend. The galleries are open from 6:00pm-9:00pm and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles among the galleries from 6:00pm to 10:00pm.

Continuing the gallery’s Fresh Art Summer season, The Arts Company presents Americana Summer at The Arts Company, an array of affordable art selected from gallery archives, including photography, painting and sculpture. Americana opens during the special Holiday Art Crawl Downtown, celebrating Independence Day one day early, on FRIDAY, July 3, 6PM-9PM, continuing through July 23, during gallery hours, 11AM-5:00PM, Tuesday-Saturday.