A-to-Z Index


James and Gladys Kemp Lisanby Museum

Lisanby Museum

Located in the lower level of the Festival Conference and Student Center in room 1108, the James
and Gladys Kemp Lisanby Museum houses rotating exhibits drawn from the Madison Art Collection.   

The Lisanby is open during the fall and spring semesters Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm.

NON JMU Visitor Metered Parking is now available across
the street from Festival in Lot C12 behind the bus stop

Current Exhibit:

Jack B. Yeats
Curated by Mrs. Melanie Brimhall

Exhibit Dates: 1/12/15 - 2/27/15
Reception: 1/21/15, 4:30 pm

2/13/15 4:30pm: Guest Lecture "End of the Line: The Politics of Expressionism in Jack B. Yeats" by Dr. Luke Gibbons, Professor of Irish Literary and Cultural Studies at the School of English, Drama and Media Studies, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

This exhibit features the woodblock prints of Jack B. Yeats, brother to the poet, William Butler Yeats.  First established as a magazine illustrator and later as a painter, Jack became known as "The Painter of Ireland" because of his sympathetic treatment of the Irish "common man."  Life in the west of Ireland was his central focus from 1899 through 1924, the time frame in which the wood block prints in this exhibit were produced. 

Upcoming Exhibits:

James Madison
Sponsored by The Madison Insittues
Exhibit Dates: 3/16/15 - 5/8/15
Reception: tba

Curated by Outreach & Engagement's Madison Institutes in conjunction with James Madison Week, this exhibit examines the life and work of our university's namesake and Father of the United States Constitution.  The exhibit will include items on loan from James Madison's Montpelier as well as artifacts from the university's own collection.


Past Exhibits:

Beyond the 300: The Classical World and You
Curated by Ms. Amanda Castellano

Exhibit Dates: 10/13/14 - 12/05/14
Reception: 10/11/14 at 10:00 am

We've all seen the movies 300 and Gladiator, but is Greek and Roman society relevant to the modern world?  Learn how we've adopted their ideas of religion, politics, and even medical practices into today's culture.

Weaving Stories, Wearing Lives: The Art of Malaika Favorite
Sponsored by Furious Flower

Exhibit Dates: 9/15/14 - 10/3/14
Reception: 9/26/15 at 6:00 pm

Malaika Favorite is a Georgia-based artist who has received national attention for her painting and sculpture.  Her use of mixed media and combination of visual and textual elements are informed by African-American poetics and history.  This exhibition is in cooperation with the 2014 Furious Flower Poetry Conference; it includes Favorite's work from the past decade, notably her monumental panel painting of 24 African diaspora poets, commissioned in 2004 by Dr. Joanne Gabbin.

Charles Lisanby the Artist:Defining Masculinity Through The Matador 
Curated by Ms. Michelle Strickland as her honors project (senior, art history)
Exhibit Dates: 3/17/14 - 5/1/14

Charles Lisanby is predominantly known as an Emmy Award-winning set designer for American television and theater, pioneering techniques and structures of scenic design still used to this day. However, Lisanby was just as skilled in other areas of expertise, especially the sphere of fine arts. His finest works focused on the Spanish matador, specifically illustrating the matadors role as the ultimate definition of masculinity.  Charles Lisanby’s paintings of Spanish matadors depict the vigor and grace of the matador, illustrating his own idyllic vision of masculinity during the 20th century. His interest and research on Spanish matadors further served his career as a set designer, influencing his costume design for Spanish flamenco dancers.

Rembrandt and the Mennonite Community
Exhibit Dates: 1/16/2014-2/28/2014

Did Rembrandt belong to the Mennonite Community?  This exhibit explores his connections to Amsterdam's diverse Protestant, Jewish, and Mennonite groups.  Artworks and early books are on loan from private collections, the National Gallery of Art, and Eastern Mennonite University.

Birds and Blooms: Beauty Throughout the History of Art
Dates: 10/21/2013-12/6/2013

Frolicking Friars: The Friar's Club Mural by Charles Lisanby
Dates: 9/2/2013 - 10/11/2013

This exhibit showcases Charles Lisanby's first professional commission for the Frairs Club of New York.  It was this mural that prompted Ralph Levy to hire Charles Lisanby to design teh set for the first non-news broadcast Billy the Kid, which aired on American television in 1948.

The Folk Artist as Minstrel: John L. Heatwole and his role in shaping Shenandoah Valley folk culture
Dates: 4/1/2013 - 4/26/2013
Opening: 4/5/2013, 5:00-7:00pm

This exhibit focuses on the role of iterative processes, such as storytelling, in Shenandoah Valley folklife in connection to the works of John L. Heatwole, a Valley native and artist.  Heatwole carved pieces and shared stories that reflected Valley folk culture.  Each of his works hark back to a particular 19th century tradition, role in society, or superstition.  Even in his staining technique, Heatwole utilized the methods of period artisans.  As a result, he became the Valley's contemporary minstrel through sharing his own portrayals of folk culture and lore. 

The Mysterious, Absurd, and Ironic: The Photographs of Elliot Erwitt and Manuel Bravo

   Dates: 3/12/2012 - 4/27/2012 

Mentor to an Icon: A Charles Lisanby and Andy Warhol Exhibit

Dates: 1/23/2012 - 3/2/2012 

Age of the Floating World: Chinese and Japanese Art from the 17th-20th Centuries

Dates: 11/15/2011 - 12/16/2011 

Unlocking Italy: Stories from its Past

Dates: 10/17/2011-11/11/2011

Andrea Morgan
ARTH 408
1 April 2012
The West as America
As with most conservative critiques, The West as America show was promptly deemed too politically correct. Vocalizing the struggles of, in this case, Native Americans, falls under the category of multiculturalism which is considered too PC or even anti-American. As Wallach explains, much of this controversy may be because the show came at a time of, “super-charged patriotism” after the Gulf War. Lynne Cheney says that there is a lack of objectivity in the show and Foner and Wiener state that the show is full “political indoctrination” that serves to promote leftist agenda. Complaints from Senators argue that the show is a, “historically inaccurate,” “perverted history.” They worry it is tarnishing the American history that conservatives are so desperate to uphold and preserve. Wallach explains that revisionist shows challenge the museum’s role to produce an, “eternal image of the past” and, “undermine the museum’s authority,” which would be concerns for traditionalists. Final arguments concede that museums should stick to the, “art history approach,” that favors aesthetics over ideology and that they should, ultimately, be ahistorical.
On the other hand, arguments for The West as America show agree that long set notions of the West should be challenged and that we shouldn’t take these “nationalistic” images as ultimate truth. Revisionists want to reinterpret things like Manifest Destiny so they are more historically accurate instead of the idealized meanings the paintings suggest or have been given. America is not without its problems, but as Trachtenberg explains, art has always had a roles in creating, “national myths.” Because art has this meaning and power, supporters ascertain that it should not be dismissive of certain truths of history and minorities. In support of the exhibit, Wallach says the objects are no longer just art but become what he calls historical artifacts with purpose. He argues for context and to having “real” images, not those with a “constructed” ideology. Despite the controversy, some visitors left, “grateful for the enlightenment,” proof that difficult issues shouldn’t simply be glossed over. The interpretation of art and history is an evolving process and revisionist shows such as this are taking a step in the right direction to debunk deeply imbedded, often incorrect myths.