Art NotesArts & Culture

‘Life, Love and Marriage Chests,’ MFA Exit Show and More Local Art News

Renaissance Marriages: During the Italian Renaissance, exquisitely decorated wooden chests known as cassoni were an important part of marriage rituals. Typically commissioned in pairs by the bride’s father as part of her dowry, the chests existed as an expression of the family’s wealth, and represented new alliances between elite families. While some were painted with scenes that illustrated the nuances of courtship protocols, others were decorated with mythological, religious or allegorical stories that conveyed lessons of morality and virtue. Today, these surviving tempera paintings serve as windows into the past.

Currently on view at the Georgia Museum of Art, “Life, Love and Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy” features approximately 45 works of art that offer insight into the social customs that defined the era. In addition to marriage chests, various elements of palace décor, luxurious fabrics, parade shields, earthenware in maiolica and objects of religious devotion similarly add visual details for envisioning domestic spaces. Organized by Contemporanea Progetti in collaboration with the Stibbert Museum in Florence, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see delicate works that are seldom given permission to travel by Italian authorities due to the difficulty of preserving their sensitive nature.

Correlated events include a tarot workshop led by Serra Jaggar of Indie South on Apr. 18 at 6:30 p.m.; a performance of Florentine wedding music on Apr. 19 at 4 p.m.; a gallery talk by Steven Grossvogel, associate professor of Italian at UGA, on May 8 at 2 p.m.; and a program on stories of Ulysses on May 22 at 2 p.m. The “Love and Shakespeare” film series, which offers free screenings at 7 p.m. in the auditorium, will include the 1996 Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio on May 2, Shakespeare in Love on May 9 and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead on May 16. “Life, Love and Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy” will remain on view through May 26.

MFA Exit Show: A longstanding tradition held between UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art and the Georgia Museum of Art, the “Master of Fine Arts Degree Candidates Exhibition” sends off graduating students through a professional exhibition demonstrating the culmination of three years of intensive study in art and design. Many of the artists experiment among multiple mediums, with focuses ranging from painting and drawing to printmaking, photography, jewelry and metalwork, sculpture, fabric design, ceramics, installations, video and sonic art. 

This year, the exhibition will be split between two venues: the Georgia Museum, on campus, and the Deupree Building, downtown at 458 E. Clayton Street. Artists sharing works at the museum include Dimelza Broche, Catherine Chang, Sydney Daniel, Sanaz Haghani, Yiran Liu, Esther Lee Mech, Guadalupe Navarro and Jennifer Niswonger. Artists at the Deupree Building are Justin Barker, Amanda Britton, Shawn Campbell, Catherine Clements, Lindy Erkes, Yusheng Fang, Matthew Flores, William Major, Kimberly McWhorter, Lauren O’Connor-Korb, Paula Runyon and Taylor Shaw.

Opening receptions will be held on Friday, Apr. 12 from 6–8 p.m. at the Museum and 8–10 p.m. at the Deupree Building. All candidates will participate in MFA Speaks at the museum on Thursday, Apr. 25 at 6:30 p.m., and both exhibitions will remain on view through Sunday, May 19.

Arts in Community: The Athens Cultural Affairs Commission has selected three winners from a pool of 13 applicants to receive $1,500 Arts in Community grants. Classic City Wax: Vol. 1 is a new vinyl compilation series that intends to create a time capsule of the current local hip-hop community and elevate its visibility to a national level. Kicking off in late July, filmmaker James Preston will host free screenings and panel discussions of Athens Rising, an ongoing series documenting the local performers and creative institutions that keep the town feeling vibrant. Held in September, LatinxFest will celebrate the diverse cultures of Central and South America during a free downtown festival that features live music, local art, authentic food and traditional dancing. For information on future ACAC grant opportunities, visit