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Front Room: Jim Dine

June 11 - October 5, 2008


The series of contemporary art exhibitions in The Baltimore Museum of Art's experimental project space continues with Front Room: Jim Dine. On view June 11 through October 5, 2008, the exhibition features approximately 20 works on paper from the BMA's holdings along with loans from private collections. (right: Jim Dine. The Five Hammer Études. 2007. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of the Artist. BMA 2008.5. ©Jim Dine)

Front Room: Jim Dine includes works that draw upon everyday images, as well as Dine's own personal experiences. Highlights of the exhibition are the first prints the artist made, five lithographs revealing his anguish following a fatal car accident called Car Crash (1963); two remarkable etchings, Five Paintbrushes and Braid (both 1973), which explore the sensuality of human hair; and the book The Temple of Flora (1984), which weds botany and poetry. Recent additions to the collection featured in the exhibition include A Side View in Florida (1986), an enlarged hand-colored image of a skull from Gray's Anatomy, and Raven on Lebanese Border (2000), a masterful combination of both etching and woodcut techniques. The Five Hammer Études (2007) was given by the artist on the occasion of this exhibition.

Since his first exhibition in 1958, American artist Jim Dine (b. 1935) has been a forceful presence on the American art scene. Known for creating familiar motifs that are both easily recognizable and mysterious, Dine's art explores Jungian questions of humankind's place in the world through a marriage of raw emotion and Pop aesthetics. Although closely linked with Pop art, what sets him apart from his peers is his depiction of intensely personal images such as shoes, neckties, and tools; the latter which he came to appreciate while working in his grandfather's hardware store as a teenager. The physical evidence of Dine's hand -- including accidents and corrections -- is as important as the subjects pictured in the works of art themselves and is proof of the artist's existence in the world.

The exhibition is curated by Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs Ann Shafer


(above: Jim Dine. The Temple of Flora. published 1984. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Jean and Sidney Silber, Lutherville, Maryland. BMA 1998.102.1. ©Jim Dine)


(above: Jim Dine. Flo?Master Hearts. 1969. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Thomas E. Benesch Memorial Collection. BMA 1970.21.5. ©Jim Dine)


Selected wall text from the exhibition

Front Room: Jim Dine

For nearly fifty years, the American artist Jim Dine (born 1935) has created paintings, sculptures, and drawings, but it is his prints that provide the most intriguing window onto his art. Dine relishes the many possibilities offered by printmaking, a process he refers to as "magical." He reuses and reinvents images, devises new techniques,and collaborates with master printers who challenge and inspire him.

A self-described romantic expressionist, Dine uses compelling imagery such as tools and hearts as a fundamental means of communicating. He embraces his subject matter as a framework to explore his accumulated memories. His prints reveal the history of their creation through an evocative build-up of marks. Dremels, grinders, and chainsaws are among the tools that Dine uses to make changes to his printing plates, which emerge from the process grubby, scratched, and abraded.

He can be obsessively precise, but also allows elements of chance to enter his work.

The Baltimore Museum of Art has a long history of collecting Dine's work both through purchases and gifts, beginning with the purchase of The Crash #1-5 in 1963, and continuing with the artist's gift of The Five Hammer Études in 2008. The collection includes one drawing and one sculpture, as well as two bound volumes and 23 prints. In addition to objects from the Museum's collection, this exhibition includes several loans from private collections.

Ann Shafer
Assistant Curator Prints, Drawings & Photographs

(above: Jim Dine. A Side View in Florida. 1986. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Women's Committee Fund for Contemporary Prints and Photographs. BMA 2007.223. ©Jim Dine)


Selected related events

Third Thursdays Curatorial Tour
Thursday, June 19, 1 p.m.
Experience Front Room: Jim Dine with Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs Ann Shafer Space is limited. For reservations, call 443-573-1832.
Docent-led Tours
Wednesdays, June 25, July 9, and August 27, 2 p.m.
Conversation with Jim Dine
Wednesday, September 10, 7 p.m.
Join artist Jim Dine in conversation with Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs Ann Shafer. For more information and to reserve your space, call 443-573-1832. Presented by The Print, Drawing & Photograph Society.
Drawings from Ordinary Objects
Wednesdays, July 2 ­ July 30, 1­1:30 p.m.
Taking inspiration from artists Jim Dine, Pierre Bonnard, and Édouard Vuillard, students will be challenged to find art in the everyday. Join in a discussion about the artists' work, then experiment in the studio with various drawing techniques. All materials provided. Call 443-573-1832 for more information and to register.
Printmaking: From Japan to Jim Dine
Saturdays, July 26 ­ August 30, 1­3:30 p.m.
Learn traditional Japanese techniques used to make prints with artist Micah Cash, and then apply these age-old methods to create prints à la Jim Dine. Call 443-573-1832 for more information and to register.

Editor's note: Readers may also find of interest:

and from other websites:

Jim Dine in conversation with Judith Brodie, curator of modern prints and drawings, 46 minutes, March 16, 2004, National Gallery of Art's Elson Lecture Series

Jim Dine converses with Ruth Fine, curator of special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art, 65 minutes, September 29, 1991, National Gallery of Art's Conversations with Artists series

Inside New York's Art World: Jim Dine from Diamonstein-Spielvogel Video Archive. Interview by Barbaralee Diamonstein [28:15]

CharlieRose - August 27, 2007. First, a discussion with Anthony Lewis of "The New York Times", Joe Conason, editor of "The New York Observer", John Fund of "The Wall Street Journal" and James Stewart, author of "Blood Sport, The President and his Adversaries", about Stewart's book, which discusses the Whitewater scandals. Then, artist Jim Dine and his wife, filmmaker Nancy Dine, discuss their collaborative effort, "Jim Dine: A Self-portrait on the Walls", which is about Jim's exhibition of wall drawings in a German museum. [57:00]


TFAO also suggests these DVD or VHS videos:

Jim Dine is a 28 minute 1970 video directed by Michael Blackwood that provides a concentrated look at one of America's early Pop artists. The film was made during Dine's four-year residency in London. The artist talks about his connections to literature and about his frequent collaboration with poets; he also discusses his own poetry, some of which he reads for the camera. The parks and streets of London are the setting for Dine's frank comments about his voluntary exile in that city. On one walk, Dine encounters Gilbert and George as they endlessly repeat "Underneath the Arches" in bronze make-up, their earliest performance piece.
Jim Dine, a 38-minute 1978 Jim Dine interview from the Video Data Bank, a resource for videotapes by and about contemporary artists.
Jim Dine: A Self-Portrait on the Walls  28 minute /1995 / UC is available through the Sullivan Video Library at The Speed Art Museum which holds a sizable collection of art-related videos available to educators at no charge. - "This remarkable documentary records eight days of intense work and quiet rumination as renowned artist, Jim Dine, produces an exhibition of huge, bold charcoal drawings directly on the walls of a gallery in Germany. It is an unusually transitory exhibition in that the drawings remain on the walls for only six weeks before being painted over."
Jim Dine: Childhood Stories 28 minute / 1992 / OIJ - "Jim Dine, the noted American artist, reminisces on his childhood in Cincinnati and the early influences on his art in this poignant interview. The tools from the hardware store that his father and grandfather owned; the songs his mother and grandmother sang; the trips to Florida for his mother's health; all of these memories contribute to the way in which Dine now paints. The early death of his mother, however, has been the biggest influence on Dine's work. At the age of 56, he is just beginning to deal with the issues surrounding her death. Family photographs, home movies and images of Dine's art complete the picture of this complex artist."

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format.

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editor's notes rev 8/11/11

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