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Museum of International Folk Art Albuquerque Museum
of Art and History
Albuquerque, NM
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The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
2000 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
(505) 243-7255
(800) 659-8331

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Exhibitions

Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris

EVERYBODY’S NEIGHBOR: VIVIAN VANCE


Events


Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris
Oct 11, 2014 to Jan 4, 2015

This rich overview of masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts—the original school of fine arts in Paris and a repository for work by Europe’s most renowned artists since the fifteenth century—includes approximately 140 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. These works of art explore heroic themes such as courage, sacrifice, and death, and the exhibition examines the ways that changing political and philosophical systems affected the choice and execution of these subjects.

The epic deeds of gods and heroes, enshrined in the Bible and the works of Homer, were the primary narratives from which both aspiring and established academicians drew their inspiration. Although mostly out of favor today, their ideology was rooted in the study of the idealized human form as envisioned in classical art. At the École, learning how to construct persuasive and powerful paintings from carefully delineated anatomy, expressive faces, and convincing architectural and landscape settings was understood by aspiring artists to be the route to success and recognition.

Gods and Heroes offers unique insight into the development of an aesthetic that fostered some of western art’s most magnificent achievements.

Gods and Heroes is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the École des Beaux- Arts, Paris. This exhibition is generously supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, the JFM Foundation, and Mrs. Donald M. Cox. Funding for the catalogue is provided by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. In-kind support is provided by Barbara and Richard S. Lane and Christie’s


EVERYBODY’S NEIGHBOR: VIVIAN VANCE
March 29, 2014 – January 31, 2015

So many of us grew up watching I Love Lucy throughout the years, and we probably do our best to catch re-runs on TV whenever we get the chance. There is something about the nostalgia of it all that proves irresistible. But I bet that most of us never knew that one of this famous TV show’s beloved stars was actually an Albuquerque talent.

Everybody’s Neighbor: Vivian Vance features the history and popular culture of vaudeville star and actress Vivian Vance, who appeared regularly at Albuquerque Little Theater (ALT) and the KiMo. Vance, who spent part of her young adult life in Albuquerque, eventually won her most endearing role as Ethel Mertz on the TV situation comedy, I Love Lucy. The exhibition will be on view at the Albuquerque Museum from March 29, 2014 – January 31, 2015.

Vivian Roberta Jones, known as “Viv” to her friends and family, was born in 1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas. As a teenager she decided to pursue acting career, against the wishes of her religious mother, Mae. Vivian’s large family eventually moved to Albuquerque and Vivian and her husband Joe Danneck joined the Joneses. She found a job modeling clothes, but in 1930 she defiantly announced that she had landed a role in the racy vaudeville show, Cushman’s Revue, playing at the KiMo Theater. She traveled with the show, then returned to Albuquerque.

Under the guidance of ALT director Kathryn Kennedy O’Connor, Vivian appeared in the theater’s first two seasons. Convinced that she had potential, O’Connor and the theatre held a benefit in 1932 by selling tickets to The Trial of Mary Dugan. Critics raved, writing, “Whether Vivian Vance can make good in New York will be decided next month, but the Albuquerque actress…showed that she can make good before a hometown audience.” With the proceeds, O’Connor sent Vivian to New York to study under actress Eva Le Gallienne.

Soon Vivian started landing chorus roles, eventually graduating to supporting roles in Hooray for What! and Let’s Face it! with Danny Kaye and Eve Arden. In between productions Vivian returned to Albuquerque. Vivian always felt that she owed a debt of gratitude to the people of Albuquerque for supporting her early career, and returned often to appear at the ALT free of charge. By the early 1940s, Vivian was living in New York but had also purchased a small adobe ranch house in Cubero, west of Albuquerque near Grants.

Vivian then moved to California to work on film and theatre projects. While visiting the La Jolla Playhouse in
1951, Desilu Studios producer Desi Arnaz watched Vivian’s amazing performance as Olive Lashbrook in Voice of the Turtle. Convinced that she was perfect for the role of Ethel Mertz in I Love Lucy, Desi Arnaz brought Vivian into the studio for a surprise introduction to his wife and star of the show, Lucille Ball. Because of Vivian’s good looks, impeccable comedic timing and a street-smart sense of how to play to an audience, she shined throughout the run of I Love Lucy. The 1953 episodes brought her an Emmy® Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, with additional nominations in 1954, 1956, and 1957. I Love Lucy secured Vivian Vance’s place in television history. After a wondrous career in theater, film and television, the accomplished actress passed away in 1979. Many of her family members still live in New Mexico, and her sister Lou Ann holds local comedy workshops. Their stories, awards, photographs, and memorabilia contribute greatly to the exhibition, celebrating a small-town girl who hit the big-time.

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