REQUIEMS: Reframing History through the Photographic Lens

In this installation, photographers Dawoud Bey, Marilyn Nance, and Carrie Mae Weems offer visual requiems marking some of the turbulent, socially defining moments of the mid-20th century. Through the astute and incisive frames of these three artists, we revisit the assassination of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, as well as King’s funeral. Requiems provides insight into the evolution of photographic practices by Black artists, from documentary to conceptual, and sets a foundation for understanding the shifts in the field at large.

The Assassination of Medgar, Malcolm and Martin, 2008, Carrie Mae Weems (American, born 1953), archival pigment print. © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
The Birmingham Project: Betty Selvage and Faith Speights, 2012, printed 2014, Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953), two archival pigment prints mounted to Dibond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund © Dawoud Bey
Three Placards, Anti-Apartheid Rally in Central Park, New York, NY, 1986, Marilyn Nance (American, born 1953), gelatin silver print. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Alex Nyerges and Kathryn

Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art

VMFA presents Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art. Explore the artistic legacy of an iconic natural wonder. Depicted and celebrated for centuries, the Natural Bridge is the Shenandoah Valley’s breathtaking centerpiece—a towering, primeval witness to human history and timeless muse. The free exhibition examines its image in paintings, prints, decorative arts, photography and more. Featured artists include Frederic Church, David Johnson, Edward Hicks, and many others.

Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art examines one of the most frequently depicted sites in American 19th-century landscape painting. It was one of the most frequently depicted and described American natural attractions of the 19th century, likely only surpassed by Niagara Falls. Natural Bridge prompts both aesthetic and scientific contemplation and has figured prominently in discussions of western expansion, slavery, tourism, and ecological conservation. While the rock formation is more than 400 million years old, the earliest published references to the natural wonder involve historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The Natural Bridge is a site for mythmaking—the creation of American foundational lore that continues to this day. Its historical importance notwithstanding, the Natural Bridge has escaped serious scholarly contemplation and art historical examination.

Situated in the Shenandoah Valley, within the evocatively named Rockbridge County, the Natural Bridge formed gradually as the waters of Cedar Creek caused erosion, resulting in an arched formation measuring 215 feet high and 90 feet wide. In 1774 Thomas Jefferson purchased the site from King George III as part of a 150-acre tract of land. The land remained in the Jefferson family for seven years after his death in 1826. The arch quickly became one of the most reproduced and easily recognizable natural wonders.

Artist-explorers such as Joshua Shaw (1776–1860) and Jacob Caleb Ward (1809–1891), whose works are featured in this exhibition, found in the formation a scene of picturesque beauty. For artists and authors, it became a recurring device with which to underscore the beauty of the American landscape. Influenced by British theories of the sublime and the picturesque, painters Frederic Church (1826–1900), and David Johnson (1827–1908) repeatedly sought out the landmark, which they also positioned as an icon in natural history. Self-taught artists such as Edward Hicks (1780–1849) and Caleb Boyle (fl. 1800–22) claimed the Bridge to be a uniquely American icon with mythic foundation and divine inspiration. Along with landmark paintings by Church and Johnson, Virginia Arcadia contains important depictions of the Bridge by Hicks, Boyle, and unidentified decorative artists.

Even after tourism to the site soared in popularity beginning in the 1840s, depictions retain a pastoral sensibility and harmonious meeting of nature and civilization. After the Civil War, a demand for even grander wilderness found in the western landscapes of Yellowstone and Yosemite led to a steep decline in the Bridges depictions and cultural currency. The 21st century has seen rekindled interest in the subject. In September of 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that a 1,500-acre tract of land surrounding the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County would be designated as the Commonwealth’s newest state park. Citing that the “historical and geographical significance of Natural Bridge is beyond question,” the creation of a Natural Bridge State Park is the realization of Jefferson’s long-delayed vision.

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment

Birch Douglass

The VMFA Council Exhibition Fund

Richard and Jean Hofheimer

Helen Rouss Buck

M. L. Coolidge

This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Marketing support for Evans Court exhibitions is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.

Romantic Bronzes

This exhibition showcases more than thirty extraordinary works by the 19th-century French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye that Mrs. Nelson L. St. Clair Jr. generously donated to VMFA over the past 20 years. Each of the works in the St. Clair collection of Barye bronzes has been meticulously selected with an admirable degree of expert connoisseurship. These works are not only among the finest that the artist produced but also illustrate distinctive aspects of the medium, style, and historical period in which they were realized. Romantic Bronzes, curated by Dr. Sylvain Cordier, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, is both a celebration of this special donation and an invitation to learn about the various motivations and techniques involved in the art of bronze casting in the age of Romanticism.

Man Ray: The Paris Years

Man Ray: The Paris Years focuses on the innovative portrait photographs that the American artist Man Ray made in the French capital between 1921 and 1940. In the early decades of the 20th century, Paris became famous the world over as a powerful center of artistic freedom and daring experimentation, which accounts for the extraordinary migration there of a large number of artists, architects, composers, dancers, fashion designers, filmmakers, musicians, and writers. Shortly after his arrival in July 1921, Man Ray embarked on a sustained campaign to document the international avant-garde in Paris between the two world wars in a series of remarkable portraits that established his reputation as one of the leading photographers of his era.

Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and curated by Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education, Man Ray: The Paris Years is timed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Man Ray’s arrival in the French capital. The exhibition includes more than 100 portraits of such cultural luminaries as Kay Boyle, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Ernest Hemingway, Miriam Hopkins, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, Méret Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso, Alice Prin (Kiki de Montparnasse), Elsa Schiaparelli, Erik Satie, and Gertrude Stein. Man Ray’s portraits went beyond merely recording outward appearances and instead captured the essence of his sitters as creative individuals and documented the collective nature and character of Les Années folles (the crazy years) of Paris between the two world wars.

Man Ray, who was raised in Brooklyn by Jewish immigrant parents and named Emmanuel Radnitzky at birth, used photography to challenge artistic traditions and break boundaries, including fixed gender roles. The groundbreaking portraits that the artist made in Paris reflect the rampant individualism of the post–World War I era, in which Man Ray and his sitters used self-invention as an escape from the restrictive conformity of the age.

The artist’s portraits capture an important constituency of the avant-garde at this time, namely the femme moderne (modern woman). Adventurous, ambitious, assertive, daring, enterprising, self-reliant, and self-assured modern women like Berenice Abbott, Nancy Cunard, Valentine Hugo, Lee Miller, and Janet Scudder took full advantage of their unprecedented freedom and access to educational and professional opportunities to participate as equals to their male counterparts in the Parisian avant-garde. Although these women came from vastly different classes and economic backgrounds, they shared a collective goal to be creatively, financially, and intellectually independent. Rejecting traditional gender roles and expectations, modern women were also interested in erasing sexual difference and often embraced the symbolic trappings and autonomy of their male counterparts, including wearing men’s clothes, driving fast cars, smoking, and sporting tightly cropped “bobbed” haircuts.

In addition, this exhibition tells the important stories of Black subjects such as Henry Crowder, Adrienne Fidelin, Elsie Houston, and Ruby Richards, who have been unfairly relegated to the margins of modernism due to the legacy of colonialism and racism. The artist’s series of portraits of the dancer and singer Ruby Richards, who was born in St. Kitts in the British West Indies and grew up in Harlem, New York, brings to light an important performer of color whose work with Man Ray has never before been acknowledged in previous accounts of the artist’s work. Richards moved to Paris in 1938 to replace the legendary African American performer Josephine Baker as the star attraction at the Folies Bergère, and the famous cabaret music hall commissioned Man Ray to help introduce her to French audiences through his portrait photographs. The exhibition illuminates the stories of Richards and others whose lives and portraits broke color barriers.

Man Ray’s portraits often reflect a dialogue or negotiation between the artist’s vision and the self-fashioning of his subjects. Whether they had their portrait taken to promote their work, affirm their self-image, project their desires, fulfill their dreams, or create a new identity, Man Ray’s sitters were not inanimate objects, like blocks of marble, to be shaped and coerced, but were instead highly creative cultural and thought leaders who were active participants in the creative act. Man Ray: The Paris Years empowers the subjects portrayed in these photographs by telling their stories and giving them an agency and voice that is not typically heard in monographic accounts of modern artists. Informed by extensive archival research, this exhibition project and accompanying catalogue thus offers a more complete account of Man Ray’s Paris years by focusing not just on his achievement as a photographer and his superb gifts as a portraitist but also on the friendships and exchange of ideas that took place between the artist and his subjects in Paris between 1921 and 1940.

Top: Self-Portrait with Camera, 1930, Man Ray (American, 1890–1976), solarized gelatin silver print. The Jewish Museum, New York, Purchase: Photography Acquisitions Committee Fund, Horace W. Goldsmith Fund, and Judith and Jack Stern Gift, 2004-16. © Man Ray 2015 Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2021.

Fine Arts and Flowers 2021

Fine Arts and Flowers is a spectacular museum-wide exhibition of floral designs inspired by works in the VMFA collection.

Presented by The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, with floral designs by The Garden Club of Virginia, Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Ikebana of Richmond, and Garden Clubs of Virginia.

Special events for Fine Arts and Flowers 2021 will kick off with a dazzling Gala celebrating the reinstallation of the acclaimed Mellon Collections and the preview of more than eighty floral interpretations. Other special events include renowned guest speakers, luncheons, a fashion show-luncheon featuring designs by students from Virginia Commonwealth University, floral design workshops, exhibition tours, curator talks, and a variety of family activities.

Fine Arts & Flowers is presented by The Council of VMFA to provide critical resources that support ongoing research, development and installation of exceptional exhibitions.


See more photos from the 2018 event!

Free admission. Open to the public.
Oct 21–24 | Thu & Fri, 10 am–9 pm | Sat & Sun, 10 am–5 pm

Get Tickets for a Guided Tour

Tickets required. Advance purchase recommended.

7−10 pm | The Horse, Of Course! Gala Preview, opening celebration and preview of Fine Arts & Flowers and the reinstallation of the acclaimed Mellon Collections

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10 am | Guest Speaker, Tulipina’s Kiana Underwood, floral and event designer, Old World Florals for Today

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Noon | Marble Hall Luncheon, with informal modeling from the VMFA Shop

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2 pm | Kiana Underwood, Color Me Floral, Book Signing

3:30−5:30 pm | Curator Tour with Wine & Cheese Reception, Inspired Collecting: The New Mellon Galleries, led by Dr. Sylvain Cordier, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art

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10 am | Guest Speaker, Passionflower Sue’s Susan McLeary, floral designer and wearable art creator, The Art of Fashionable Flowers

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Noon | Marble Hall Luncheon, with informal modeling from the VMFA Shop

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2 pm | Susan McLeary, The Art of Wearable Flowers, Book Signing

3:30−5:30 pm | Curator Tour with Wine & Cheese Reception, Inspired Collecting: The New Mellon Galleries, led by Dr. Sylvain Cordier, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art

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10 am & 2 pm | Floral Workshop with David Pippin, Art for Inspiration, a hands-on workshop with this popular Richmond floral designer

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Noon | Flowers in Fashion, Luncheon and Fashion Show, with original designs by students from the VCU Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising

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10 am−4 pm | Self-guided Family Scavenger Hunt, Free, no ticket required

11 am | Floral Workshop with Sarah Chiffriller, Make It Work #nofloralfoam, a hands-on workshop exploring the basics of floral design with what you find in nature.

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Noon | Edible Flowers Brunch, enjoy a three-course brunch created by VMFA’s award-winning chef Greg Haley. Each course features edible flowers paired with a special wine.

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1, 2 & 3 pm | Family Workshops—Design a Posie, Free, no ticket required

1−4 pm | Family Open Studio, Equestrian-themed activities including floral crown. Free, no ticket required. (Children under 13 must be accompanied by a parent while participating in family activities.)

1−4 pm | Musical Performances, Free, no ticket required
1 pm | Collegiate School
2 & 3 pm | To be scheduled

DAILY Guided Exhibition Highlight Tours, 50-minute morning and afternoon tours.
Floral inspired items for sale in the VMFA Shop

Individual sponsorship opportunities are available and include tickets to a selection of the listed events. For more information, please contact Steffi West at or (804) 340-1465.



Kiana UnderwoodFloral artist Kiana Underwood is the celebrated founder of Tulipina, an internationally renowned floral design studio specializing in customized floral experiences for luxury weddings and events
worldwide. Her unique color combinations and floral varieties draw admirers and floral designers from all over the globe to her sold-out workshops in exotic locations including Chile, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, and Singapore. She has been named one of the top wedding floral designers in the US by Harper’s Bazaar. Underwood is better known by many as @tulipinadesign, making her the most followed floral designer on Instagram, with over 370,000 followers. Publications such as Brides, Country Living, Elle Decor, Flower magazine, the New York Times, and Town & Country have featured her signature designs. Her debut book, Color Me Floral, is a work of love, covering the secrets to designing show-stopping monochromatic arrangements for each season.


Susan McLearySusan McLeary of Passionflower Sue is a floral designer, artist, and instructor who creates imaginative arrangements with exciting dimension and an artist’s awareness of color and texture. Her unexpected, boundary-pushing floral art also includes elaborate headpieces, signature floral jewelry and wearables. Flower magazine states that she “thinks out of the vase” and brings fashion accessories to life through fabulous florals. Her expressive, seasonally inspired creations have been described as exquisite living artwork. She studied with numerous internationally recognized instructors, collaborated with artists around the world, and is now passionate about teaching others how to evoke wonder and curiosity through the fine art of floral design. McLeary’s new book, The Art of Wearable Flowers, provides how-to instructions for a stunning collection of flower and plant-based designs. Find Susan on Instagram @passionflowersue.

Gala Preview

Guest Speakers

Edible Flowers Brunch

Fashion Luncheons


Family Events

Guided Tours

Special Event Tickets on Sale May 1 or 804.340.1405
For Group Sales, email

Fine Arts & Flowers 2021 Corporate Sponsors

Official supplier of flowers and plant material since 1987

Presenting Sponsors

Logo for Stauer

Platinum Sponsors

Logo for Gumenick Properties

Logo for Heritage Wealth Advisors

Gold Sponsors

McGuireWoods Logo

Richmond Marriott Downtown Logo
Richmond Nephrology Associates logo
Saks Fifth Ave Logo

Silver Sponsors

Anthology of Tuckahoe
Brunk Auctions
Costen Floors
Equity Concepts
Greystar Real Estate Partners
HCA Virginia
Margaret Wade/Long & Foster Real Estate
Patient First
Stoever & Palmore Investment Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Worth Higgins & Associates

Bronze Sponsors

BetterMed Urgent Care
Nadia P. Blanchet, M.D., Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Crossroads Art Center
CSC Leasing
The London Company
MannKidwell Interior Window Treatments
M. Turner Landscapes
The Tuckahoe Woman’s Club
Virginia Eye Institute

Media Partner

Select Fine Arts & Flowers events feature wines from Barboursville Vineyards.

Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature

Behold the drama and splendor of the American landscape as seen through the lens of photographer Ansel Adams. More than 70 photographs spanning over five decades present the breathtaking vistas, beguiling details, and inimitable style that define this most beloved and influential photographer. Considering Adams as artist, environmentalist, and musician, the exhibition includes iconic images, rarely seen early photographs, and musical recordings that take you behind the camera.

Marketing support for Evans Court exhibitions is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.

Elisabeth Shelton Gottwald Fund

Mr. and Mrs. R. Augustus Edwards III

Mount Williamson, The Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California, 1944, printed 1973–75, Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984), gelatin silver print. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund. Photograph by Ansel Adams © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse

The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, investigates the aesthetic impulses of early 20th-century Black culture that have proved ubiquitous to the southern region of the United States. The exhibition chronicles the pervasive sonic and visual parallels that have served to shape the contemporary landscape, and looks deeply into the frameworks of landscape, religion, and the Black body—deep meditative repositories of thought and expression. Within the visual expression, assemblage, collage, appropriation, and sonic transference are explored as deeply connected to music tradition. The visual expression of the African American South along with the Black sonic culture are overlooked tributaries to the development of art in the United States and serve as interlocutors of American modernism. This exhibition looks to the contributions of artists, academically trained as well as those who were relegated to the margins as “outsiders,” to uncover the foundational aesthetics that gave rise to the shaping of our contemporary expression.

Coronation Theme: Organon, 2008, Nadine Robinson (American, born England, 1968), speakers, sound system, mixed media. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, given by John F. Wieland Jr. in memory of Marion Hill, 2008.175. Image: © Nadine Robinson

Coronation Theme: Organon, 2008, Nadine Robinson (American, born England, 1968), speakers, sound system, mixed media. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, given by John F. Wieland Jr. in memory of Marion Hill, 2008.175. Image: © Nadine Robinson

Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the groundbreaking exhibition explores the legacies of traditional southern aesthetics in contemporary culture and features multiple generations of artists working in a variety of genres. Among those featured in the exhibition are Thornton Dial, Allison Janae Hamilton, Arthur Jafa, Jason Moran, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Kara Walker, William Edmondson, and many others. Inherent to this discourse is the rise of southern hip-hop. The exhibition’s presentation of visual and sonic culture looks to contemporary southern hip-hop as a portal into the roots and aesthetic legacies that have long been acknowledged as “Southern” in culture, philosophical thought, and expression.

In addition to the music, the exhibition features the contemporary material culture that emerges in its wake, such as “grillz” worn as body adornment and bodily extensions such as SLAB(s) (an acronym for slow, low and banging). In highlighting the significance of car culture, the museum has commissioned a SLAB by Richard “Fiend” Jones. At its essence, southern car culture, showcases the trajectory of contemporary assemblage often highlighted in southern musical expression. Other such aspects are explored across genres over the course of a century. Beginning in the 1920s with jazz and blues, the exhibition interweaves parallels of visual and sonic culture and highlights each movement with the work of contemporary artists, creating a bridge between what has long been divided between “high” and “low” cultures. The exhibition features commercial videos and personal effects of some of the music industry’s most iconic artists—from Bo Diddley to Cee Lo Green.

From Asterisks in Dockery, 2012, Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969), vinyl, thread, wood, paint, light bulb. Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Image: © Robert Wedemeyer

From Asterisks in Dockery, 2012, Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969), vinyl, thread, wood, paint, light bulb. Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Image: © Robert Wedemeyer

Ultimately, The Dirty South creates a meta-understanding of southern expression—as personified in the visual arts, material culture, and music—as an extension of America’s first conceptual artists, those of African descent. The exhibition traces across time and history, the indelible imprint of this legacy as seen through the visual and sonic culture of today.

Cassel Oliver is also the editor of the companion publication, which will function as an essential reader on Black material and sonic culture and demonstrate its impact on contemporary art from the 1950s to the present. Featuring an anthology of critical essays by scholars such as Fred Moten, Anthony Pinn, Regina Bradley, Rhea Combs, and Guthrie Ramsey, the illustrated catalogue will document works in the exhibition as well as artists’ biographies and a chronology of iconic moments that have shaped the Black presence in the South.

VMFA has also commissioned an LP by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky aka That Subliminal Kid for the exhibition.

Presented by

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
The Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Fabergé Ball Endowment

Joan P. Brock
Wayne and Nancy Chasen Family Fund at the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner
James W. Klaus
Mr. Hubert G. Phipps
Don and Mary Shockey
Troutman Pepper

Melody Barnes and Marland Buckner
Carol Ann Bischoff and Mike Regan
Liz and Bob Blue
Kristen Cavallo
The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
David and Susan Goode
Goode Family Foundation, Christina Goode and Martha Goode Mielnik
Mr. Paul W. and Dr. Fredrika Jacobs
Teri Craig Miles
Jacquelyn H. Pogue in memory of Robert E. Pogue
Radio One
Richmond (VA) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated
Pamela K. Royall
The Sotheby’s Prize

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

VMFA is also grateful to the following Sponsors:

Alpha Beta Boule Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity | Van Baskins and Marc Purintun | Cathy and Howard Bos | Ms. Caprice Bragg and Mr. Larry Thomas | Noelle J. Coates | John W. Collier III and True Harrigan | Kate and Matt Cooper | Drs. Ronald A. and Betty Neal Crutcher | Philip and Kay Davidson | Molly Dodge | Dr. J. Mark Evans and Dr. Tanise Edwards | BK Fulton and Jacquelyn E. Stone |The Doris Glisson Memorial Fund | Paige and Philip Goodpasture | Jim and Millie Green | Doctors Jill and Monroe Harris | Barbara Noble and Dr. Chris Howard | Nancy and Peter Huber | Steve and Wendy Humble | Mike and Sally Hunnicutt | Ivan Jecklin and Allison Weinstein | The Honorable C. N. Jenkins, Jr. and Dr. Pamela Royal | Jershon Jones | Wes and Jennifer Kaufman | Denise Keane, Leonard Mandl, and Graham Mandl | Diane Leopold and Tom Wohlfarth | Paul and Sara Monroe | Gift in memory of Judy B. Witcher Motley, beloved wife | Jay and Marsha Olander | Suzy Szasz Palmer and Larry I. Palmer | Angel and Tom Papa | Dr. and Mrs. Carl Patow | Leigh and Jim Purcell | Andrew and Robin Schirrmeister | Irvin and Linda Seeman | Tracy and Tom Stallings | Mr. and Mrs. John Stark | Sahil and Rupa Tak | Dr. Michael R. Taylor and Dr. Sarah G. Powers | Marcia and Harry Thalhimer | Maggi Tinsley | West Cary Group | Ms. Kimberly J. Wilson

This list represents sponsors as of April 12, 2021.

The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road: Japanese Landscape Prints by Hiroshige

The woodblock print series the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road, designed by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) and first published in 1833–34, contains fifty-five images among the most recognizable in all of Japanese art. Capturing iconic landmarks and areas, these prints continue to offer viewers a form of vicarious travel and souvenir. Included in this exhibition are twelve prints from the series, which VMFA acquired in full for its permanent collection in 1952.

Born in Edo (present-day Tokyo), Hiroshige transformed the world of Japanese printmaking with his popularization of the landscape print. This genre spoke to Japanese audiences’ newfound curiosity for Western aesthetics like linear perspective and shading, as well as their interest in travel literature detailing famous sites around the country. The Tokaido Road has since become one of the most commercially successful print series of all time.

The Tokaido was a well-known pedestrian highway that connected Edo to Japan’s former capital of Kyoto, stretching roughly 320 miles along the eastern coastline of its central island of Honshu. First established in the 8th century, the Tokaido became increasingly trafficked in the early 1600s. This was due to the shogun’s requirement that hundreds of regional lords (daimyo) from across Japan travel annually to Edo where their families resided year-round, in effect centralizing his political power.

Fifty-three stations were installed along the route, each containing inns, restaurants, and stables. Traveling the Tokaido on foot typically took about fifteen days from beginning to end, and travelers ranged in status to include merchants, farmers, monks, daimyo, and samurai. Hiroshige himself once traveled the Tokaido, where he experienced firsthand the social climate and sprawling landscapes that he would later reinterpret in his fantastical prints.

George Bellows: Sport, Leisure, and Lithography

This exhibition explores the role of sport and physical culture in the lithographs of George Bellows (1882–1925). Bellows, an esteemed early 20th-century realist, is often classified as an Ashcan artist due to the gritty subject matter he usually portrays. Well known for paintings that capture the dynamism and prosaic aspects of urban environments with dark palettes and painterly modeling of form, he achieved similar compositional effects in his vast body of work in lithography. In 1916 he installed a lithography press in his studio, and from then until his untimely death in 1925, he created just under 200 lithographs. Bellows understood that the monochromatic nature of the medium—its striking contrasts of light and shadow—made it an effective means through which to explore the strenuous activities and pastimes so prized by the artist. The strenuous activities of Bellows’s bodies in motion are enhanced by the unique aesthetic of lithography that shows the results of the artist’s hand at work.

Billy Sunday, 1923, George Bellows (American, 1882–1925), lithograph, 15 3/4 x 22 1/2 in. Lent by D. Canter

In 2018, longtime patron D. Canter gave VMFA The Tournament (1920), Bellows’s ambitious composition picturing the Newport Tennis Club, which is also featured in his masterpiece painting Tennis at Newport (1920) that was recently gifted to the museum by James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin. D. Canter is lending an additional 14 lithographs by Bellows in which the artist effectively gives the viewer a front-row view into the worlds of early 20th-century American tennis, swimming, calisthenics, and, especially, boxing—which was illegal in New York City when the artist made A Stag at Sharkey’s (1917), his most esteemed print, picturing a saloon, that also functioned as a boxing club, owned by Tom Sharkey. With the ropes removed from the foreground, Bellows immerses the viewer into the frenzied action. Also on view is Bellows’s lithograph Billy Sunday (1923), picturing the former professional baseball player, turned traveling evangelist, and who, with his spread legs, cocked-back hand, and pointing finger, resembles an umpire calling out a base-runner.

Masterpieces From The VMFA Collection: The First Hundred Years of Photography, 1839-1939

“Most photographs, by their very nature, present us with a small illusion of reality. When we see only the photographic image—in books, in exhibitions, and on the web—it is easy to forget that, pre-digital age, photographs were physical objects made with metal, or glass, or paper, and chemicals. They were created using the technology of their time, and that technology informs what we see and how we interpret it. Over 40 years, I have learned to understand and appreciate not only the impact of an image, but also the physical object. I hope this exhibition will convey my love for both.”

– Denise Bethel

In 1974, Denise Bethel received a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship that enabled her to complete a Master of Arts degree at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. Five years after completing her degree, she moved to New York and started working in the auction business. “I was thrown headfirst into what was then the fledging market for rare photographs,” she recalls. “Photography was the bottom rung of the art world ladder in those days, and lack of experience didn’t count against me.” Bethel, who eventually rose to become chairman of Photographs America at Sotheby’s New York, notes that since she began her career, “the world of photography has exploded—in museums, in academia, in publishing, and in the marketplace.”

After leaving the auction world to start her own consulting business, Bethel was engaged by VMFA in 2016 to survey the museum’s photograph collection. “In the course of my examinations, I was thrilled to discover dozens of remarkable pictures in exceptional states of preservation,” she says. Bethel has selected 19 works from the collection for this exhibition. Many of these photographs by artists such as Eugène Atget, Imogen Cunningham, Louis Émile Durandelle, Timothy O’Sullivan, and August Sander have not been displayed in the museum before.

Edward Hopper and the American Hotel

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents the premiere of Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, the first in-depth study of hospitality settings depicted in the works of one of the most celebrated American artists. Edward Hopper (1882–1967) found artistic value and cultural significance in the most commonplace sites and settings. Hopper’s spare depictions of familiar public and private spaces are often understood within the contexts of isolation, loneliness, and ennui of early and mid-20th-century America. As this exhibition shows, however, Hopper’s immersion in the world of hotels, motels, hospitality services, and mobility in general presents a new framework for understanding the artist’s work.

Curated by Dr. Leo G. Mazow, the Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art at VMFA, assisted by Dr. Sarah G. Powers, the exhibition features Hopper’s depictions of hotels, motels, tourist homes, boardinghouses, and apartment hotels. These images of hospitality settings both challenge and expand the themes of loneliness and fragmentation usually attributed to his work. They inform our understanding of a shifting American landscape and America’s fascination with the new possibilities of automobile travel and the attendant flourishing of hotels, motels, and tourist homes. Hopper was not only a frequent traveler and guest of all variety of accommodations, but worked as an illustrator for hotel trade magazines early in his career. Thus, his work offers an insider’s perspective into the hospitality services industry during a pivotal moment in its evolution. Exhibition visitors will recognize how hotels and motels—as figurative or metaphorical destinations—have fixed themselves in our experiences and permeated our collective psyche.

The only East Coast venue, VMFA presents sixty-five paintings and works on paper by Hopper, along with thirty-five works by other artists including John Singer Sargent, David Hockney, Berenice Abbott, and others who explored similar themes. The exhibition additionally features Hopper’s early commercial work from two widely read hotel trade magazines of the period: Hotel Management and Tavern Topics. These cover illustrations set the stage for Hopper’s continuing interest and work in the field of hospitality services. Also on display are materials related to Hopper’s trips to Richmond, Virginia, such as when, in 1953, he stayed at the Jefferson Hotel while he served as a juror in VMFA’s biennial exhibition of contemporary works.

The paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs in the exhibition are accompanied by enlightening documents and ephemera that lend a fascinating immediacy. After Edward Hopper married Josephine “Jo” Nivison—an artist in her own right—in 1924, the two frequently took to the road in search of subject matter during the many years of their marriage. From their New York City apartment or their cottage in Cape Cod, they traveled across the country and into Mexico, with Jo documenting their trips in diaries, three of which will be displayed in the exhibition. The diaries contain Jo’s meticulous accounts describing the couple’s itinerary, lodging, and impressions of the many sites they visited. The exhibition also includes maps and postcards to illustrate the places and lodgings the couple encountered on their travels, picturing the details of their life on the road. These documents not only offer firsthand descriptions but also link directly to Edward’s later paintings, as the sites they visited often inspired elements in his composite scenes. Visitors will also have the opportunity to follow the Hoppers’ routes using a unique interactive touchscreen map, which will allow an exploration of the places the couple visited on three road trips from 1941 to 1953.

Edward Hopper and the American Hotel at VMFA is presented in galleries that include simulated spaces and other uniquely engaging design components. The tour de force of the experiential concept is a room that has been constructed adjacent to the exhibition space inspired by Hopper’s Western Motel setting. The room serves as a functional “hotel room” where guests may stay overnight by reserving a Hopper Hotel Experience package.

The stunning exhibition catalogue, written by Leo G. Mazow with Sarah G. Powers and additional essays by guest contributors, presents the exhibition’s groundbreaking research with more than two hundred color illustrations and two removable travel guides. As the perfect accompaniment to the exhibition, the catalogue offers a deeper examination of the subject matter that is the focus of this first in-depth study of hospitality settings in Hopper’s work, shedding new light on the artist’s legacy as well as the cultural history and national psyche his art captures.

Edward Hopper and the American Hotel is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in partnership with the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. The exhibition program at VMFA is supported by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.


The Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
The Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Lilli and William Beyer
Dr. Donald S. and Beejay Brown Endowment
Wayne and Nancy Chasen Family Fund at the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond
Birch Douglass
Mrs. Frances Massey Dulaney
Anne and Gus Edwards
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner
Hamilton Family Foundation
Mr. R. Keith Kissee
Robert Lehman Foundation
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Northern Trust
Richard S. Reynolds Foundation
The Anne Carter and Walter R. Robins, Jr. Foundation
Don and Mary Shockey
Wyeth Foundation for American Art

This list is complete as of September 1, 2019.

Layers of Louis: A project by VMFA’s 2019-2020 Museum Leaders in Training

VMFA is pleased to present a project developed by students who participated in this year’s Museum Leaders in Training (M.Lit) program. This exhibition highlights their project which was inspired by VMFA’s Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop, the first major museum exhibition in the United States about the Kamoinge Workshop, a New York-based collective of African American photographers formed in 1963. The exhibition in the WestRock Art Education Center is accompanied by an online digital resource that the students developed.

Visit the Students’ Online Resource


Held annually, the M.LiT program is a twelve-week teen leadership program at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that is offered free of charge to Richmond-Metro area students in grades 8 -12. The program introduces participants to a variety of museum careers. Each cohort of participants focuses on a unique project related to the museum’s collection while gaining skills in leadership, interpretation, writing, research, and project management.

This program is generously sponsored by

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Educational programs related to Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop are generously supported by the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

Learn more

Learn more about the program by visiting us online at

Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop

Inspired by the archive of Richmond native Louis Draper, VMFA has organized an unprecedented exhibition that chronicles the first twenty years of the Kamoinge Workshop, a group of African American photographers he helped to found in 1963. More than 180 photographs by fifteen of the early members—Anthony Barboza, Adger Cowans, Danny Dawson, Roy DeCarava, Louis Draper, Al Fennar, Ray Francis, Herman Howard, Jimmie Mannas Jr., Herb Randall, Herb Robinson, Beuford Smith, Ming Smith, Shawn Walker, and Calvin Wilson—reveal the vision and commitment of this remarkable group of artists.

When the collective began in New York City, they selected the name Kamoinge, which means “a group of people acting and working together” in Gikuyu, the language of the Kikuyu people of Kenya. They met weekly, exhibited and published together, and pushed each other to expand the boundaries of photography as an art form during a critical era of Black self-determination in the 1960s and 1970s.

The group organized several shows in their own gallery space, in addition to exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the International Center for Photography. They were also the driving force behind The Black Photographers Annual, a publication founded by Kamoinge member Beuford Smith, which featured the work of a wide variety of Black photographers at a time when mainstream publications offered them few opportunities.

In the continuing spirit of Kamoinge, Shawn Walker, Beuford Smith, Herb Robinson, and Tony Barboza have also made significant archival contributions and are among the nine members who recorded oral histories to provide the fullest account of the group’s first two decades. In addition, through a generous grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities, VMFA has digitized the Draper archive—which will be available online.

Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop
is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Sponsored By

Altria Group
Fabergé Ball Endowment
Elisabeth Shelton Gottwald Fund

Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
Michael Schewel and Priscilla Burbank

Wayne and Nancy Chasen Family Fund of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond

Drs. Ronald A. and Betty Neal Crutcher
Philip and Kay Davidson

Generous support for this project was provided by Bank of America Art Conservation Project
and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Marketing support for Evans Court exhibitions is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.

This list is complete as of November 20, 2019.

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities

Limited capacity. Advance reservations strongly recommended.

Dive into one of the most astonishing underwater discoveries of all time. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities. The exhibition is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see treasures recovered from two powerful ancient Egyptian cities that sank into the Mediterranean more than a thousand years ago. Destroyed by natural catastrophes in the 8th century AD, Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus were once mighty centers of trade, where Egyptian and Greek cultures merged in art, worship, and everyday life.

In the centuries since their demise, these two cities were known only by scattered mentions in ancient writings. No physical trace of their splendor and magnificence was found, and even their true names grew obscured. Today, maritime archaeologist Franck Goddio and his European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) have given new life to these sunken cities. Presenting nearly 300 objects from IEASM’s discoveries from the Mediterranean waters of Aboukir Bay and some of Egypt’s most important museums, VMFA invites you to reconnect with these once-lost civilizations.

IEASM’s ongoing underwater excavations have fundamentally changed our understanding of the cultures, faiths, and history of Egypt’s Mediterranean region. This exhibition features a staggering array of objects from these excavations, supplemented by treasures from museums across Egypt. The objects on view piece together the economic and cultural significance of these destroyed city centers and showcase the artistry, religious practices, and traditions of their people. Thonis-Heracleion was once Egypt’s premiere center for trade with the Greek world, while the nearby city of Canopus drew pilgrims from across the Mediterranean, particularly for rites dedicated to the god Osiris. Artifacts from these cities attest to the range of human experience in this ancient land. Visitors will gain insight into Egypt’s powerful Ptolemaic Kingdom, the Graeco-Egyptian blending of cultures, and the god Osiris, who figured prominently in everyday life.

VMFA is the only East Coast venue and the last stop before the objects return to Egypt. The works of art on display include everything from jewelry and coins to utilitarian and ritual objects and from coffins and steles to the colossal statue of the fertility god Hapy, the largest discovered representation of an Egyptian god.

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities offers a rare opportunity to experience firsthand the material culture of Ptolemaic Egypt, a golden age of human creativity in science as well as the visual and literary arts. Exciting film footage and photographs illustrate underwater expeditions and dramatic rediscoveries, as deep-sea divers solve a thousand-year-old mystery through archaeological research and innovation. Visitors will encounter these findings firsthand and witness a story that continues to unfold through ongoing excavations. Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities tells a riveting human saga of grandeur, complexity, wealth, and power, reminding us of the potentially devastating effects of natural disasters and the vulnerability of even the mightiest of human civilizations.

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities is organized by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology with the generous support of the Hilti Foundation and in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

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Presented By

Dominion Energy Logo

The Reverend Doctor Vienna Cobb Anderson
The Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
The Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Cabaniss, Jr.
Sharon Merwin

Capital One Bank
Mrs. Frances Massey Dulaney
Mary Ann and Jack Frable
Virginia H. Spratley Charitable Fund II

Elizabeth and Tom Allen
Lilli and William Beyer
Dr. Donald S. and Ms. Beejay Brown Endowment
Wayne and Nancy Chasen Family Fund of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
The Christian Family Foundation
The VMFA Council Exhibition Fund
Birch Douglass
Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner
Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.
Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust
Peter and Nancy Huber
The Manuel and Carol Loupassi Foundation
Margaret and Thomas Mackell
Deanna M. Maneker
Alexandria Rogers McGrath
McGue Millhiser Family Trust
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Richard S. Reynolds Foundation
The Anne Carter and Walter R. Robins, Jr. Foundation
Joanne B. Robinson
Anne Marie Whittemore
YHB | CPAs & Consultants
Two Anonymous Donors

Ms. Anna K. Chandler
Timothy and Tonya Finton
Mr. and Mrs. David A. Harrison IV
Harrison Foundation
Celia Rafalko and Rick Sample
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew G. Spitzer
Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Charles N. Whitaker
Tom Williamson and Janet Brown

Patsy and John Barr
E. B. Duff Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
Dr. J. Roy Hopkins
Cynthia Marsteller
Patient First
Peachtree House Foundation

This list is complete as of May 15, 2020.

IMPEACH (2006) Sound Installation

IMPEACH, 2006, Donald Moffett (American, 1955), Media Player, speakers (Edition 1 of 3); 2:20 seconds. Collection of the Brooklyn Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment and Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund, 2018.223

“Today is a very sad day. . . . This morning when I got up I wanted to cry, but the tears would not come. Before we cast this one little vote, we all should ask the question: is this good for America—if it’s good for the American people—if it’s good for this institution? When I was growing up in rural Alabama during the forties and the fifties as a young child, near a shotgun house where my aunt live, one afternoon an unbelievable storm occurred. The wind start blowing, the rain fell on the tin-top roof of this house. Lightning start flashing. (RAP, RAP) The thunder start rolling. And my aunt ask us all to come into this house and to hold hands. (RAP, RAP) And we held hands. And as the wind continued to blow, we would walk (RAP) to that corner of the house (RAP) that was trying to lift (RAP) and another corner (RAP) that was trying to lift (RAP), and we would walk there. (RAP) We never left the house. (RAP) The wind may blow. (RAP) The thunder may roll. (RAP) The lightning may flash. RAP But we must never leave the American house. (RAP) We must stay together as a family. (RAP) One house. (RAP) One family. (RAP) The American house. (RAP) The American family.”

Representative John Lewis, D-GA,
December 1998, US Congress,
Impeachment Of President Bill Clinton

Donald Moffett’s sound installation, IMPEACH (2006), is a recording of Rep. John Lewis’s impassioned speech from the floor of the US House of Representatives during President William Clinton’s impeachment hearings in 1998. Speaking metaphorically, the legendary civil rights icon argued against the impeachment of President Clinton and issued a plea for the American family to “stay together” as “one house and as one family.” Rep. Lewis’s speech slowed the congressional proceedings for approximately one minute before the vote was called and the matter was lost.

Congressman John Lewis visits the Confederate Memorial Chapel with VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Valerie Cassel Oliver to hear Donald Moffett’s IMPEACH

The installation consists of speakers and an audio player and required no physical alteration to the Confederate Memorial Chapel, which was built in the aftermath of the Civil War—with funding from the North and South—and served as a nondenominational place of worship for the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Soldiers’ Home. In the context of this space, Moffett’s immersive sound work speaks to the long history of divisive politics in America and the power of reconciliation.

Exterior view of Confederate Memorial Chapel on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Across Time: Robinson House, Its Land and People

Interior of the Robinson houseGallery view, Across Time: Robinson House, Its Land and People.

On view in the newly refurbished Robinson House on the VMFA campus, this 600-square-foot history exhibition shares the remarkable multilayered story of the site’s land, buildings, and former inhabitants from the seventeenth century to the present. It includes the region’s native peoples and English colonists, the growth of Richmond in the early republic, the Robinson family and the enslaved individuals who worked on and sometimes escaped from their antebellum estate, the mansion’s changing architectural form, and the impact of the Civil War and Emancipation.

Robinson House, newly refurbished in 2019, was originally constructed ca. 1828 and expanded ca. 1858 and 1886. It is located on the VMFA campus, facing the museum’s main entrance.

The exhibit also explores the half-century history of the R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Soldiers’ Home—the nation’s longest operating residential complex for southern veterans, born out of a spirit of reconciliation between North and South. The twentieth-century narrative describes Cold War experimentation undertaken in the house by the Virginia Institute of Scientific Research and, afterwards, the establishment of VMFA’s art annex offering innovative studio classes, exhibitions, and programs.

Across Time also features other nearby institutions that share the former Robinson property: the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Home for Confederate Women (now VMFA’s Pauley Center), the Memorial Building (national headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy), and VMFA, the Commonwealth’s flagship fine arts museum.

The exhibition offers richly illustrated panels, an interactive touch screen, vintage film footage, and audio clips. Historic Robinson House also offers a Visitor Center, open daily and operated by Richmond Region Tourism.

Across Time: Robinson House, Its Land and People is curated by Dr. Elizabeth L. O’Leary, former Associate Curator of American Art, VMFA.

Sponsored By
The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Robert Edmond Hill
The Roller-Bottimore Foundation
The Thomas F. Jeffress Memorial Trust

Transatlantic Currents: American Art from the Collection of Jane Joel Knox

Patron and former member of VMFA’s Board of Trustees Jane Joel Knox has a long history of service and philanthropy to the museum, which includes her many gifts of art. The present focus exhibition marks an opportunity to celebrate selections from Ms. Knox’s impressive collection of American art. The Knox collection charts artists’ engagements with Impressionism, landscape painting, still life, and academically informed styles from the nineteenth through the early twentieth century. Equally important, almost every work in her collection attests to the keen importance of European study and travel for American artists in these years.

Carl Chiarenza

On display at Piedmont Arts from Oct 22, 2021–Jan 28, 2022

Born to Italian immigrant parents and raised in Rochester, New York, Chiarenza’s interest in photography developed early in his childhood. From 1953 to 1957, Chiarenza studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology under the direction of Minor White and Ralph Hattersley. Since the late 1960s, Chiarenza has been a leading figure in a movement that seeks to expand the conceptual boundaries of photography. Chiarenza’s photographs have been included in more than 80 solo and 250 group exhibitions since 1957. His black-and-white photographs, which often contain elements of collage, have continued to challenge notions of landscape, abstraction, visitor perspective, and the very medium of photography itself.

Chiarenza is inspired by both the beauty of and human connections to landscapes, but has been continuously dissatisfied with his outdoor nature photographs. In acknowledging that traditional depictions of landscapes in paintings are constructed, he began to approach his photographs as abstract and emotional constructions that allow us to examine nature in relation to the self.

The key characteristic that came to dominate Chiarenza’s style was nyctophilia, or a preference for and comfort in darkness. His photographs do not offer familiar faces or landscapes; there is no evident cultural or psychological framework for the viewer to build their response. Rather, the lack of specificity and sense of timelessness reminds us that all photographs are constructions of reality that produce various interpretations relative to each viewer. Chiarenza’s work invites individual reflection by forcing us to examine the subliminal workings of the mind. In these photographs, nothing is absolute, leaving all realities subject to each observer.

This exhibition is curated by VMFA Director and CEO Alex Nyerges. These works were all a generous gift of the artist.