Barbie meets Pablo Picasso at West Palm's Norton Museum

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WEST PALM BEACH -- Upcoming exhibits at the Norton Museum of Art here through next September will encompass a vast array of subjects and objects -- from the social issues raised by photojournalist Gordon Parks to the 40th birthday of the Barbie doll to Victorian period paintings.

Other exhibits will include artist Pablo Picasso as a photo subject and the world of the motorcycle rider contrasted with that of a medieval knight.

Because of the popularity of these exhibits with tour and special-interest groups, the museum has retained Cultural Connections of Jupiter, Fla., as its group sales representative, responsible for scheduling visits for 15 or more people.

Cultural Connections does not offer hotel arrangements but can refer agents with groups to area hotels that are convenient to the museum, such as the Sheraton and Omni, according to Diane Campbell, co-owner.

Campbell said that depending on the special exhibit, groups can be assured of one guided tour of either that exhibit or of the museum's permanent collection. Groups also pay $1 less per person for admission than individuals, with rates starting at $5.

According to a museum spokeswoman, agents and tour operators who are including the museum in a group itinerary during these special exhibit dates should reserve their arrivals at least two weeks in advance.

One exhibit in progress will close Oct. 31: "Chinese Carved Jades and Hardstones" (from the 18th and 19th centuries).

Highlights of exhibits thereafter follow.

  • "Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks," Oct. 30 to Jan. 16.
  • Parks, now in his 80s, worked for Life magazine as a photographer for more than 20 years. The exhibit, on loan from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, has more than 200 photos, books, music pieces, film and poetry he created.

    The collection addresses pressing social issues such as poverty, race and crime, while also enhancing the understanding of beauty, nature, landscape, childhood, music, fashion and memory, according to the book accompanying the exhibition.

  • "Girlfriend!: The Barbie Sessions" by David Levinthal, Nov. 13 to Jan. 16, will help mark the 40th anniversary of the Barbie doll .
  • There are 35 large-format Polaroid photos of the dolls in various settings. The exhibit photos were all taken from 1959 through the 1970s.

  • "American Modernism From the Stieglitz Group," Nov. 20 to Jan. 30, comes largely from the museum's own collection of Stieglitz's early 20th century photos.
  • "Marsden Hartley: American Modern," Dec. 11 to Feb. 27, contains 37 paintings and other works from the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.
  • Hartley is known for abstract works and lyrical American landscapes. On view will be post-Impressionist Maine mountain scenes; pre-World War I abstractions created in Paris and Berlin, and landscapes from Provincetown, Mass., and Bavarian mountain pastels.

  • "Art in the Age of Queen Victoria: Treasures from the Royal Academy of Arts," Jan. 15 to March 12, consists of 65 major paintings and 12 sculptures from the 19th century. Artists represented include Edwin Austin Abbey, William Dyce, Augustus Leopold Egg, David Rioberts, George Frederick Watts and others. Nudes, scenes from mythology, biblical subjects, portraits, landscapes and seascapes will be on view.
  • "The Arrested Image: 19th Century Photography," Feb. 5 to April 2, calls for an exhibit of 40 images from the Norton's holdings as well as others from private holdings. Civil War photos will be among items seen.
  • "Sandy Skoglund: Shimmering Madness and Other Phenomena," April 1 to June 11, will have three sections.
  • Included in this show, organized by the Norton Museum, will be multicolored silk and Mylar butterflies on a black background and mechanized figures at a cocktail party covered in cheese doodles.

  • "My Friend Picasso: Photographs by Lucien Clergue," April 8 to June 25, provides an intimate glimpse of the artist -- at dinner, in his studio, at a bullfight, at a cafe, contemplating his own work, playing the mandolin, bathing in the sea and entertaining.
  • "Road Warriors: Knight Riders," July 1 to Sept. 3, contrasts the worlds of the motorcycle rider with the medieval knight. Included will be Harley-Davidson and Honda motorcycles, riders' clothing and 15th and 16th century sets of complete armor from Europe.
  • The exhibit was organized by the Higgins Armory Museum of Worcester, Mass.

    Norton Museum of Art
    Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.
    Admission: $6 age 22 and older; $2 students, age 13 to 21. Younger visitors are free.
    Phone: (561) 832-5196
    Web: www.norton.org

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