Sharon Lorenzo shares her enthusiasm for the The Baker Museum, Naples, Florida
Founded in 2000, the Baker Museum is a 30,000 square foot regional museum annexed to a large performance complex in the Pelican Bay area of Naples, Florida. In addition to a permanent collection of art from both North and South Americas, it has space for temporary exhibitions which visit each year. Currently the array of things on display is a delight for any lucky visitor.
The Baker Museum, Naples, Fla.
In the space entitled, Subject Matters, I chose to highlight two works that illustrate how different mediums can complement each other. The iconic work of American photographer Gordon Parks is entitled, American Gothic and shows Emma Watson with broom in hand in a silver print. The title references the oil painting of Grant Wood from Iowa with the same name. The Baker staff has put this work with the Mexican artist, Alfredo Ramos Martinez, whose work in gouache is named, Vendedora de Flores, another classic pose of a lady selling flowers. North and South Americas meet with their ladies in tandem.
Gordon Parks, American Gothic, silver print photo, 1940.
Grant Wood, American Gothic, oil on canvas, 1930.
Gouache on board, 1940.
In another gallery of the Baker Museum, there is a show of 20 works on loan from the Iris and Gerald Cantor Foundation by the French sculptor, August Rodin (1840-1917). The title of the installation is: Rodin: Truth Form Life. Rodin is famous for his vivid depictions of the human condition. The Cantors collected 104 of his works which they lend through a family foundation to institutions worldwide.
Adolescent in Despair, 1882.
Hand of the pianist, 1885.
Another visiting show on display through 2021 is an intriguing testimonial to the American artist Dale Chihuly, who was born in 1941 and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. Following a lengthy training in the glass foundries of Murano, Italy, he has perfected the manipulation of glass to form vivid shapes and installations from floor to ceiling. Additionally, the permanent collection of the Baker Museum has two of his works installed in the building itself.
Chihuly Glass in the ceiling hallway.
Chihuly Glass chandelier in the entry hall.
Dreaming Forms is the temporary installation for Chihuly’s work which is juxta- posed with his latest inspiration from American Indian baskets woven in the 19th century. Images by photographer, Edward Curtis, grace the adjacent walls to show photos of many of the chiefs of these tribes in the Western United States. The three mediums of weaving, glass, and photography tell a fascinating tale of how fine art can stylistically drift from one medium to another.
Dale Chihuly, Glass basket form, 2020.
Native American baskets, 19th century.
Edward Curtis, sepia photogravure, Bull Chief, 1905.
It is a testament to the residents of the Naples area that this museum is so diverse and stimulating for the local and temporary visitor. Accessible by bikes or public transport, the Baker Museum is a must-see this season. All of these exhibitions are open into 2021 with museum admission by online reservation, Tuesday through Sunday.
Header images: From the Baker Museum website