The Katonah Museum of Art is continuing to present a combination of in-person exhibitions  and notable virtual events for the spring season.

Leading off, on Thursday, March 25, is the latest installment in KMA’s Director’s Series, “The Future of the Museum” with KMA Advisory Board member Akili Tommasino in virtual salon-style conversation with KMA Executive Director Michael Gitlitz. Mr. Tommasino has been associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a new position, since 2018. He will examine his experience at MFA Boston and his perspective of the changing landscape of museums. 

It was recently announced that Mr. Tommasino next month will join the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as associate curator in the modern and contemporary art department. A scholar of the 20th-century avant-grade, Mr. Tommasino was formerly a curatorial assistant in the department of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2017, he founded Prep for Prep/Sotheby’s Summer Art Academy, a program designed to broaden museum access to New York City high school students of color and promote diversity in the art field. 

The Director’s Series conversation will run from 7 to 8 p.m. The cost is $75.

On Saturday, April 3, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom, KMA will present “Himmel Award and Conversation 2021: Art and Philanthropy in the time of COVID.” Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, a leading nonprofit grant-making organization, is this year’s honoree. He and Mr. Gitlitz will discuss Mr. Walker’s depth of experience in the nonprofit world and his transformative work with the Ford Foundation despite the additional challenges posed by the pandemic. There will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.

The Himmel Award and Conversation is an annual award “in recognition of creators, conceivers, radical thinkers, and risk-takers that provoke new thinking in art and design,” according to KMA. The award is named in honor of Betty Himmel, who has been instrumental in defining the direction and mission of KMA and continues to be an arts advocate and community leader.

This virtual Himmel Award and Lecture will held be in memory of Mary Lou Beitzel and David Beitzel, and in honor of the Beitzel’s family legacy of support for KMA. Tickets are $50 for members and $75 for nonmembers. All proceeds benefit exhibition and education programs at KMA. Program support is also provided by the Himmel family.

KMA, meanwhile, is offering several new exhibitions via advance timed entry tickets, with masks required and strict adherence to CDC guidelines. Exhibitions that opened on March 16 are “Still/Live,” The Rothko Room and “Beatrice Scaccia: My Hope Chest.” 

“Still/Live” explores how contemporary artists working in photography, video and new media are reimagining the genre of still life. The artists represented in the exhibition work from within the still life tradition, examining three themes — time, portraiture and trompe l’oeil —with new technologies and from new perspectives. The museum’s Learning Center’s interactive Still Life Studio offers lessons in what makes a still life and why this genre continues to inspire contemporary artists. Objects will be available for participants to set still life arrangements with various art materials to create unique artworks. Upon arrival, young visitors will receive a family guide and activity pack that leads them through the “Still/Live” exhibition in the galleries.

Additionally, a Still/Live Challenge invites participants to show their own interpretations of the still life genre. Each week during the exhibition, a new theme will be announced to inspire creativity. Drawings, paintings and photos are all welcome.

KMA visitors can also experience two masterpieces in a room designed for individual reflection in The Rothko Room. The works — “Untitled, 1969,” and “Untitled (Still-life with Clock and Vase), 1938/1939,” are the second and third in an ongoing series of works by Mark Rothko presented by the KMA. 

The artist envisioned the creation of spiritual single work “chapels” along the sides of highways throughout the country where weary travelers could stop and contemplate one of his paintings. This vision inspired the KMA to create The Rothko Room, which offers guests the opportunity to spiritually recharge in the presence of a single masterpiece, as the artist intended.

Italian artist Beatrice Scaccia’s exhibition, “My Hope Chest,” includes a stop-motion animation and site-specific wall drawing. It grew from her thoughts about a simple item of furniture: the hope chest, used by unmarried women to collect items in anticipation of married life. The artist uses the hope chest to explore the social expectations placed upon women.

For tickets and more information, call 232-9555 or visit Timed tickets for the Learning Center’s Still Life Studio must be reserved for the same time slot as the main KMA admission. 

Katonah Museum of Art is located at 134 Jay St., Katonah.

Jeff Morris is a staff reporter at The Record-Review where he covers the Town of Bedford and the Katonah-Lewisboro School District. Prior to joining the paper he was a reporter and columnist for the Lewisboro Ledger and a business magazine editor.

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