Herman Leonard, Edward Pramuk Musical Works of Art ‘Jazz Up’ the LSU Museum of Art May 17-July 14
BATON ROUGE – Swinging syncopation will waft through the LSU Museum of Art as artists Herman Leonard and Edward Pramuk capture the spirit of jazz in “An Eye on Jazz: Photographs by Herman Leonard” and “Edward Pramuk: Seeing Music,” a duo of exhibitions that will be on display on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge May 17-July 14. The exhibitions explore how music, musicians and musical ideas have influenced visual arts in the 20th century.
Jazz photographer Herman Leonard was captivated by the ambiance of smoke-laced jazz clubs, as was painter Edward Pramuk, LSU professor emeritus and resident of Baton Rouge.
“I do not feel alone when I work,” Pramuk said. “I have the brilliant sounds of jazz men and women filling my studio.”
Shown alongside 36 of Leonard’s striking black-and-white photographs, more than two dozen of Pramuk’ s musical-themed paintings, drawings and mixed-media collages will share their time in the spotlight at the LSU Museum of Art.
Legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington once said, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” Herman Leonard’s stunning portraits and Edward Pramuk’s paintings and collages indeed have that “swing.” Both artists use the visual arts as a tribute to the musical form, encouraging viewers to appreciate it through the visual complexity of musicians and their instruments. Visitors can experience the smoky clubs of urban nightlife and immerse themselves in rhythmic visual melodies as they step into the galleries of the LSU Museum of Art.
The artwork in “Edward Pramuk: Seeing Music” captures the remarkable and often emotional process of music-making. With a focus on improvisation, or what renowned bassist Charles Mingus referred to in jazz as “spontaneous composition,” Pramuk’s paintings, drawings and collages from 1982-2013 are as spontaneous and emotionally charged as the musical genre he so enjoys. His lifelong love of the musical genre is revealed in his series dedicated to the state’s great jazz musicians, “Louisiana Jazz Legacies,” which offer glimpses into the personalities of the musicians.
“An Eye on Jazz: Photographs by Herman Leonard” features 36 black-and-white masterworks from the collection of A Gallery for Fine Photography, located in New Orleans. Renowned photographer Herman Leonard immersed himself in the world of jazz from 1948 to 2001, acquainting himself with musical legends Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker and Billie Holiday, among others.
“Through innovative back lighting techniques, Leonard illuminates the spirit of the musicians,” said LSU Museum of Art Executive Director Jordana Pomeroy.
Before Leonard, musicians went to photographers’ studios to sit for portraits, but Leonard’s lighting techniques allowed the performers to remain in their element and not lose the atmosphere or ambiance of the smoky clubs.
“Leonard’s personal relationships with his subjects resulted in meaningful portraits of the sitters,” Pomeroy said.
In addition to their shared love for jazz, Leonard and Pramuk have had some remarkable connections in the past. Both went to college in Ohio, both had close personal relationships with Wynton Marsalis and both moved to the South, immersing themselves in the rich musical culture in Louisiana. The two artists ran in the same artistic circles, met and even discussed the possibility of doing a show together in the future. Although Leonard is deceased, this aspiring show is now coming to fruition at the LSU Museum of Art. “An Eye on Jazz: Photographs by Herman Leonard” and “Edward Pramuk: Seeing Music” celebrate the artists’ love of jazz and aim to promote Louisiana’s long-standing musical history as the cradle of jazz and blues.
These exhibitions were made possible in part by Louisiana Machinery Co., the LSU College of Art & Design, the Robinson family and Jeff and Leah McLain. For more information on supporting these exhibitions, please contact Fairleigh Cook Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Herman Leonard Photography, visit www.hermanleonard.com.
In connection with the exhibitions, Baton Rouge photographer David Humphreys has produced a 16” x 20” limited edition, signed, fine art print of Edward Pramuk’ s “Bat’s Blues (for Alvin Batiste).” This print is available for sale through the LSU Museum of Art Store. To order, please call 225-389-7210 or visit www.lsumoa.com. This project was underwritten by Louisiana Machinery Co.
The LSU Museum of Art will also present a series of exciting educational programs including lectures, gallery talks, art making workshops and interactive school tours for all ages, designed to further explore the exhibition. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Lucy Perera, LSU Museum of Art coordinator of school and community programs, at email@example.com or call 225-389-7207.
Through the generous support of Gail O’Quin and Charles E. Schwing, the Museum will debut iPad guides featuring music, videos and additional information related to the exhibitions. These iPads are available at the admission desk on the fifth floor.
General admission to the LSU Museum of Art is $5 each for adults and children age 13 and over. Admission is free to university faculty, staff, and students with ID, children age 12 and under, and museum members. Hours of operation are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.lsumoa.com or call 225-389-7200.
Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s “Frame After Frame: The Images of Herman Leonard” – free admission, fifth floor, 2 p.m.
Join us for this half-hour documentary in conjunction with the exhibition “An Eye on Jazz: Photographs by Herman Leonard.” “Frame After Frame: The Images of Herman Leonard” is the story of a man whose art has finally received the recognition it deserves, even if it took almost 50 years for it to happen. This documentary was narrated by Tony Bennett and produced and directed by Tika Laudun for Louisiana Public Broadcasting. It was written by Al Godoy, edited by Randy Ward and photographed by Rex Fortenberry and Tika Laudun, with graphics design by Lee Barbier. This documentary was produced through a grant from the Southern Early Childhood Association.
Gallery Talk: Discover the Collection – free with museum admission, fifth floor, 2 p.m.
Join Edward Pramuk for a gallery talk uncovering inspirations and gaining insights into techniques and processes providing a deeper understanding of the exhibitions.
Saturday Arts for Families: Collage – free admission, fifth floor, 10 a.m.
Join artist Holly Barker for a workshop inspired by the art of Edward Pramuk. A unique experience designed for children and families of all ages to explore the wonders of collage. Begin with a tour of the exhibition Seeing Music then listening to jazz for inspiration while creating a collage using various textured papers, Louisiana images, inks and markers. There is something for everyone in this workshop. Join us and be inspired by Pramuk to create a work of art.
Herman Jackson Informance – free with museum admission – fifth floor, 6 p.m.
Join Herman Jackson, Baton Rogue’s master jazz percussionist and student of legendary avant garde jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste, for a performance in the galleries as well as discussion of jazz history and legendary artists featured in the exhibition.
Films at the Manship: "Let Fury Have the Hour" - Tickets $8.50, $6.50 for students/seniors, Manship Theatre, 5 p.m.
The LSU Museum of Art, in partnership with the Manship Theatre and Emergin Cinemas, presents a rough, raw and unapologetically inspirational film by writer/director Antonino D’Ambrosio. The film is a charged journey into the heart of the creative counter-culture in 2012. This outspoken film tracks the story of the artists, writers, thinkers and musicians who have gone underground to re-imagine the world – honing in on equality, community and engaged creativity – in exuberantly paradigm-busting ways.
July 3 & July 10
Films at the Manship – “Seeing Music” Jazz Matinee – Manship Theatre
The LSU Museum of Art is excited to partner with the Manship Theatre to present classic films inspired by the summer exhibitions and the theme of jazz. Titles and time TBA. Cool off to a film and then join museum educators for a mini-tour of the exhibitions.
Discover the Collection: Visual and Verbal – free admission, fifth floor, 2 p.m.
Explore the connections between images and words. How is inspiration found, how are ideas expanded. Using works by photographer Herman Leonard and painter Edward Pramuk take a closer look at how an image can launch a dialogue.
Saturday Arts for Families: Nurse Betsy Braud – free admission, fifth floor, 2 p.m.
Learn about the art of percussion. Explore music directly. Participate in a family friendly music program designed to engage children of all ages. Experience the art of music with noted musician and arts educator Betsy Braud.
PHOTO CREDIT: Herman Leonard (American, 1923-2010), Billie Holiday, NYC, 1949. Silver gelatin print. From the collection of A Gallery for Fine Photography. © Herman Leonard Photography, LLC. www.hermanleonard.com.