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Our art columnist shares fascinating history behind Boîte-en-valise that’s now in Cincinnati and has an interesting connection to the area.

Photo Credit: Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), France, active in United States, Box in a Valise from or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy(Boîte-en-valise de ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rrose Sélavy), conceived 1935–41, edition E assembled in Paris in 1963, green linen imitation leather covered box containing mixed-media assemblage/collage of miniature replicas, photographs, and color reproductions of works by Duchamp, Gift of Anne W. Harrison and Family in memory of Agnes Sattler Harrison and Alexina “Teeny” Sattler Duchamp, 16/17.27, © Association Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2018

Marcel Duchamp’s Boîteen-valise on view now through May 6, 2018

When Marcel Duchamp released Boîteen-valise (Box in a Valise) on January 1, 1941, it transformed twentieth-century art.

The artwork is a “portable museum” that contains 68 small-scale replicas, models and reproductions of Duchamp’s works, including paintings, drawings, objects and “ready-mades” (found objects presented as art). 

Each work in Boîteen-valise is labeled with title, medium, date and, in some cases, the owner of the original. Rather than creating new pieces, Duchamp was most interested in making replicas. This process was an extension of his other “ready-mades,” which challenged the ideas of originality and the value of unique works.

Packing artworks into a suitcase made it possible to smuggle the work out of France during the Nazi occupation. The Boîteen-valise was a way of reconstituting Duchamp’s life’s work and circulating it to a wide audience. It contains miniatures of his painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), which scandalized Americans when it was exhibited; the construction The Large Glass; and Fountain, a urinal signed with the pseudonym “R. Mutt.” 

Duchamp was a French-American painter, sculptor, chess player and writer whose work is associated with conceptual art and avant-garde art movements including Cubism and Dada. His goal was to serve the mind. 

The Boîteen-valise has a special connection to Cincinnati. In 1954 Duchamp married Alexina “Teeny” Sattler, a Cincinnati native. The work was given to Teeny’s sister Agnes and her husband with a special dedication on the Coeurs volants (Fluttering Hearts).

Photograph courtesy of the Harrison Family. 

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Our art guru gives us a sneak peek of this world-renowned special exhibition that opens April 20 at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Credit: Kneeling Archer, Qin dynasty (221–206 BC), earthenware, Excavated from Pit 2, Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum, 1977, Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum

Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is the first exhibition dedicated to ancient Chinese art organized and presented by the Cincinnati Art Museum. The exhibition features more than 130 individual objects, which include terracotta figures of warriors, arms and armor, ritual bronze vessels, works in gold and silver, jade ornaments, precious jewelry and ceramics, all drawn from the collections of art museums and archaeological institutes in Shaanxi Province, China.

More than 40 of these works have never been on view in the U.S. prior to this exhibition. Dating from the Pre-Qin period (770–221 BCE) to the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE), these works of art, excavated from the emperor’s mausoleum as well as from aristocratic and nomadic tombs, represent history, myths and burials in ancient China.

The discovery of the First Emperor’s tomb and his terracotta army is considered the greatest archeological find of the twentieth century. This exhibition, co-organized with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, explores the legacy of the First Emperor of China, Ying Zheng (reigned 221–210 BCE), by focusing on the three main themes: the birth of the Qin Empire and cultural diversity in ancient China; the First Emperor and the unification of China; and the quest for immortality.

Through the presentation of these rich archaeological finds, visitors will gain deeper knowledge of the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty, also of his legacy and lasting impact on Chinese history and culture.

This exhibition was organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in partnership with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum (Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre), and Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum of the People’s Republic of China.

Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is on view April 20–August 12, 2018. Tickets are available the Cincinnati Art Museum front desk and online. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit

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The Cincinnati Art Museum will soon play host to four Italian Baroque paintings for the first time. Read on for more!

Credit: Guido Cagnacci (1601–1663), Italy, “The Death of Cleopatra”, circa 1660–62, oil on canvas, Pinacoteca di Brera, 2341.

On March 23, the Cincinnati Art Museum will open special feature Cagnacci: Painting Beauty and Death,” bringing together four Italian Baroque paintings for the first time. Peter Bell, Cincinnati Art Museum Associate Curator of European Paintings, Sculptures and Drawings, provides an early look at the feature.

Guido Cagnacci was one of the most inventive and accomplished painters of seventeenth-century Italy.Cincinnati Art Museum’s upcoming special feature “Painting Beauty and Death” will introduce Cagnaccito Cincinnati with three of his paintings loaned to the museum, joined by one by Bernardo Strozzi from the museum’s collection. Whether depicting, for example, the Egyptian ruler Cleopatra with the snake that kills her, or the Israelite shepherd David holding the head of Goliath, each painting presents a life-sized single figure with minimal props—a sword here, a chair there—and no recognizable setting.

The compression of space in the composition is one of the great accomplishments of seventeenth-century painters. Think Caravaggio’s card players or musicians: to recreate those famous scenes, the subjects would need to be piled on top of each other rather than seated in a group or standing around a table, and yet the vitality and realism of the painted forms are so compelling that we rarely question how the space is described.

Similarly, Cagnacci pushed his compositions to the front of the “picture plane” in these single-figure paintings. Cleopatra and David are so close to us that their legs are cut off by the frame. The dark, undifferentiated backgrounds and dramatic side lighting accentuate the three-dimensionality of their bodies while seemingly pushing the figures even more out of the painting and into our space.

One of Cagnacci’s most enduring and captivatingqualities is the psychological depth of his subjects. Here he circumvents the violence and brutality of David’s and Cleopatra’s defining actions, representing them instead in internal struggle to grasp the effects of those actions. He portrays neither David as triumphant nor Cleopatra as defeated. While Cagnacci painted bodies that could not be closer to us, their minds—their spirits—could not be further away.

“Cagnacci: Painting Beauty and Death” will be on view in the Sarah M. and Vance Waddell Gallery (G125) March 23–July 22, 2018. Admission is free. To learn more, please visit

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Discover the awe-inspiring beauty, mystery and interconnectedness of special exhibition "Ana England: Kinship" at this Friday's Art After Dark event!


Art After Dark at the Cincinnati Art Museum will feature exhibition Ana England: Kinship on Sept. 29

Become fascinated by the foundational and fundamental connections inherent in nature at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s free event Art After Dark: Across the Universe, Friday, September 29, 5–9 p.m.

Across the Universe celebrates new special exhibition Ana England: Kinship, on view through March 4, 2018. England is based in Felicity, Ohio (about 35 miles southeast of Cincinnati). For three decades, she led the ceramics program at Northern Kentucky University, where she is now Professor Emerita. England’s work has been widely published and exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Art After Dark guests will experience live music from psychedelic band Playfully Yours, Venezuelan cuisine from Empanadas Aqui, specialty cocktails inspired by artworks in Kinship (guests 21+) and exclusive after-hours access to the entire museum.

Also on view are dazzling light-based installation AnilaQuayyum Agha: All the Flowers are for Me and powerful film-based installation William Kentridge: More Sweetly Play the Dance.

Art After Dark is free and open to the public. Parking is free. To learn more, visit Art AfterDark is presented by PNC, Dewey’s Pizza and P&G. Additional sponsors include WVXU/WGUC and CityBeat.

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An artful Cincinnati tradition features approximately 70 masterfully-crafted floral interpretations of fine art. Our art columnist has all the details.


Art in Bloom returns to the Cincinnati Art Museum October 26-29. 

A biennial fall celebration of fine art and floral designs, Art in Bloom returns to the Cincinnati Art Museum October 26–29. The 9th Art in Bloom event will feature four days of special events, family friendly activities, docent-led tours and demonstrations by curators and floral arrangers.

Art in Bloom is a biennial celebration of fine art and floral designs.

Art in Bloom will display approximately 70 arrangements from local garden clubs, professional designers, groups and individuals paired alongside works from the museum’s permanent collection, including paintings, ceramics and sculptures.

The floral designers’ sculptures will emphasize, challenge and build upon elements and concepts within a selected work of art, creating a dialogue between the two pieces.

“Art in Bloom masterfully unites timeless pieces from our permanent collection with artistically presented floral arrangements. The museum is transformed during Art in Bloom as the arrangements invite visitors and staff to see the collection with fresh eyes,” says Cincinnati Art Museum Chief Curator and Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles Cynthia Amnéus.

Art in Bloom’s 2017 featured work of art is the whimsical Vaudeville (circa 1982) by Lenore Davis, a fabric artist working in the latter half of the twentieth-century, living and working in Newport, Kentucky. Much of Davis’ work centers on the idea of the body in motion and intermingled human forms. She used fabric because of its inherent versatility of its function in everyday life.

See Art in Bloom October 26-29.

Art in Bloom is presented by Truepoint and generously sponsored by Gorilla Glue and the Oliver Family Foundation. Art in Bloom is free to attend from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and during Art After Dark on October 27 from 5–9 p.m. Docent-led tours are free, but reservations are required. Special events including Evening in Bloom, High Tea and Lecture with Dennis Buttleworth and Debbie Oliver, and Jazz in Bloom require tickets, pricing varies. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 513-721-ARTS.


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Discover the awe-inspiring beauty, mystery and interconnectedness of the universe at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s upcoming fall exhibition.

Soil Song, 2008, Ana England (b. 1953), United States, porcelain, burnished carbonized ceramic and bronze, © Ana England

The Cincinnati Art Museum is proud to present special exhibition Ana England: Kinship, on view September 8, 2017–March 4, 2018. Featuring 25 of Ana England’s large-scale sculptures and installations, this exhibition explores the idea of kinship—a conceptual thread that has run through England’s work from the 1980s to the present. Three new works by England will be on display for the first time.

England works with a range of materials, yet clay is her principal medium, valued for its sensitivity to touch and its connections to the earth. Thought-provoking and masterfully crafted, the pieces in Kinship demonstrate that the connections between us are greater than those separating us.

Amy Dehan, Curator of Decorative Art and Design, has organized the exhibition. “Ana sees the world differently. Her prescient observations are given form in her work and offer new and beautiful insight into the complexity of the natural world and our place in it. She makes connections that are shocking, inspiring, humbling,” notes Dehan.

In observing the curl of the galaxy in a fingerprint, or in contemplating that minute solar systems are embedded in our cells, England’s artworks evoke a sense of community that transcends race, nationality and species identification.

England is based in Felicity, Ohio (about 35 miles southeast of Cincinnati). For three decades, England led the ceramics program at Northern Kentucky University, where she is now Professor Emerita. Her work has been widely published and exhibited nationally.

“Kinship is a tremendous opportunity to communicate my love for the natural world to a diverse audience,” says England. “My hope is that viewers will leave not only with a deeper appreciation of nature, but also with feelings of belonging and oneness with the world around us.”

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Fund Evaluation Group (FEG) and the Women’s Committee of the Cincinnati Art Museum. It will be on view in The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Gallery and Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Gallery (G124 and 125), across from the museum’s Terrace Café. Free admission. Photography is permitted. On social media use #CAMengland.


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This Friday, celebrate the opening of Cincinnati Art Museum’s newest exhibition, A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America. Get more details on this free, family-friendly event.


Come one, come all to the CAM Carnival! Cincinnati Art Museum’s free, family-friendly event Art After Dark: CAM Carnival will include circus performances and games, live music from Well Seasoned, specialty cocktails (guests 21+) and food for purchase from Quite Frankly Food Truck and the museum’s Terrace Café on Friday, June 30, 5–9 p.m.

CAM Carnival celebrates the largest display of American folk art in its history during its presentation of A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America. The carnival atmosphere of the event highlights the artwork on view which includes a carousel bunny and elephant, carved eagles, furniture, portraits, paintings and much more. Access to the exhibition is free during the event.

In addition, guests will enjoy exclusive, after-hour access to the entire museum for free, including:

The new, dazzling light-based installation Anila Quayyum Agha: All the Flowers are for Me (Red).

Powerful film installation More Sweetly Play the Dance by contemporary South African artist William Kentridge.

Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, featuring Tiffany windows and lamps that highlight the contributions of Tiffany Studio artists.

The timeline for Art After Dark includes:

5–6 p.m.: Happy hour including specialty cocktails.

5–8:30 p.m.: Live music from Well Seasoned in the Alice Bimel Courtyard.

5–9 p.m.: Carnival games and cotton candy in the Alice Bimel Courtyard.

5–9 p.m.: Circus performances courtesy of Cincinnati Circus Company.

5–9 p.m.: Food available for purchase from Quite Frankly and Terrace Café.

5–9 p.m.: Free, after-hours access to special exhibitions.

5–9 p.m.: Guests may complete a survey for a chance to win a prize.

Art After Dark features FREE admission and parking. To learn more, visit Art After Dark is presented by PNC. Additional sponsors include CFM, WVXU and CityBeat.

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Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha recently won the Cincinnati Art Museum’s coveted Schiele Prize. Learn about this up-and-coming artist and how you can see her light-based installation now on view.


Anila Quayyum Agha (b. 1965), All the Flowers Are for Me (Red), laser-cut lacquered steel and lightbulb, 60x60x60 in, Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art, 2017.7

Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha has been named the recipient of Cincinnati Art Museum’s 2017 Schiele Prize. This prize honors the legacy of Marjorie Schiele, a Cincinnati artist whose generous bequest of the Hanke-Schiele Fund makes this award possible.

Agha’s All the Flowers are for Me (Red) is the first purchase with the museum’s new Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art.

The museum’s recent acquisition is a five-foot laser-cut steel cube displayed suspended from the ceiling and lit from within. Light emanates from the red lacquered cube, enveloping the gallery in intricate shadows that ripple and change as visitors move through the space.

Inspired by Islamic architectural forms, the geometric and floral patterns cast upon the walls, floor and ceiling create an immersive experience.

“Anila Quayyum Agha’s artworks create interactive environments imbued with beauty and textured meaning. Her works are both contemplative and exhilarating to behold,” said Ainsley Cameron, Cincinnati Art Museum’s new Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art & Antiquities. “All the Flowers are for Me (Red) reflects the museum’s mission to support our community by inviting all people to come together and participate in this shared gallery experience.”

Cameron Kitchin, the Cincinnati Art Museum Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director, said: “We are honored to present Anila Agha the Schiele Prize for her dedication to creating culturally-relevant, conversation-starting art. The Hanke-Schiele Fund has allowed us to give special recognition to one of the most captivating working artists today. In addition, through the generosity of the Bimel family, we have the privilege of adding this visually stunning work to our permanent collection and displaying it for the entire community to view.”

Agha’s light-based installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally in more than 20 solo shows and 50 group shows. She currently resides and works out of Indianapolis.

Born in Pakistan in 1965, Agha moved to the United States in 1999 and, in 2004, completed her MFA in fiber arts at the University of North Texas. In 2008, she moved to Indianapolis to take up a professorship at the Herron School of Art & Design/ IUPUI.

Agha began experimenting with large-scale installation works in 2010, and in 2012 received a New Frontiers Research and Travel Grant from Indiana University. Her travels inspired a profound shift in her artistic practice. In 2013, Agha created Intersections—her first laser-cut steel work—to explore the design of the Alhambra Palace through abstraction and transmitted light. Intersections was awarded the Public Vote Grand Prize and split the Juried Grand Prize at the 2014 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, MI.

The exhibition is free to the public from June 17–October 15. Photography is encouraged. On social media use #anilaincincy #anilaquayyumagha.

The museum will celebrate the exhibition’s final days during Cincinnati’s BLINK celebration, an experience of light, street art, murals and live performance spread across 20 blocks of downtown Cincinnati from the Banks to Findlay Market, October 12–15.

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Put on your petticoat, polish your handlebar mustache and get ready to travel back to the 1890s! Our art guru gives us the inside scoop on this Friday’s fun event.


Celebrate Art After Dark: Cin City as the Cincinnati Art Museum celebrates the “naughty nineties.”

Experience the sights, sounds and tastes that exemplify the Queen City in the “naughty nineties” at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art After Dark: Cin City, a FREE evening event on Friday, May 26, 5–9 p.m.

Cin City will feature live music from The Hot Magnolias, dance performances from Pones, food for purchase from Graeter’s Ice Cream, The Chili Hut and Terrace Café, specialty cocktails for purchase (guests 21+), and after-hours access to the museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions including:

Powerful film installation More Sweetly Play the Dance by contemporary South African artist William Kentridge.

Celebrated exhibition Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color & Light with Tiffany windows and lamps that highlight the contributions of Tiffany Studio artists.

Join local author, historian and blogger Greg Hand (former University of Cincinnati Associate Vice President for Public Relations) for Cincinnati in the “Naughty Nineties,” featuring a narrated visual exploration of a decade when Cincinnati really was “Cin City” at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Fath Auditorium. These free lectures look at Cincinnati’s somewhat-seedy past thanks to Cincinnati Magazine (celebrating their 50th anniversary). The magazine’s May issue takes a look at modern-day Cincinnati After Dark.

Art After Dark is a family-friendly event featuring FREE admission and parking. To learn more, visit Art After Dark is presented by PNC. Additional sponsors include CFM, WVXU and CityBeat.


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Our art guru explains how a local lady and her contributions to the arts inspired the Cincinnati Art Museum to honor her in a special way. Read on for more.


Alice Weston was awarded with the 2017 Cincinnati Art Award by the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Alice Weston received Cincinnati Art Museum’s 2017 Cincinnati Art Award for her lifetime contribution to the arts in Cincinnati and beyond. The museum honored Weston at its annual Director’s Circle Dinner on April 26.

Weston is a renowned Cincinnati contemporary art collector, educator, collaborator and artist, who, along with her late husband, Harris, created an ongoing legacy of philanthropy and support of the arts in Cincinnati.

Cameron Kitchin, the museum’s Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director said, “The Cincinnati Art Museum is proud to recognize Alice for her decades of generosity and civic vision in the arts. Her commitment to the museums and cultural institutions of Cincinnati, and the artists of our time, has made an indelible impact on our city. Alice is an inspiration to us all.”

At the Cincinnati Art Museum, Weston is a current Trustee, a member of the Director’s Circle of the Founders Society, New Century Society, and Shareholder. Cincinnati Art Museum’s Gallery 303 is named The Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Gallery in honor of the Westons, who have supported the museum’s contemporary collection since the late 1980s.

Weston is a lifetime member of the Contemporary Art Center’s board of trustees and a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s board of overseers. She is namesake of the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery at the Aronoff, which has showcased contemporary art for more than 20 years.

In 1969, as an art patron of John Cage while he was the composer-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati, Weston prompted Cage to create his first visual artwork, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel. Since that time, Weston has connected artists, collectors, composers, musicians and art patrons in innumerable ways. One of Weston’s landmark collaborative pieces, the video work Crystal Clues to the Sublime, is a new acquisition to the permanent collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Weston is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP graduate program.