Mirror Mirror on the Wall..., Inaugural Exhibit of Works from the Lise Curry Art Collection, Opens at St. Francis College on September 19th
Leah Schmerl


St. Francis College will debut curated works from the Lise Curry Art Collection in Mirror Mirror on the Wall..., an exhibition of contemporary portraiture, figure drawing and sculpture by established and emerging artists that opens on September 19th.

Acquired over thirty years, New York City private collector Curry intends to bequeath more than 220 works to the College that reflect, in many cases, deeply personal, global perspectives on humanity and culture.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall is the first public display of Curry's collection. Among the 31 artists represented in the 33-piece exhibition are:

  • Beatrice Coron (Village City): Coron's paper cuttings are included in dozens of collections of major museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (N.Y.), Brooklyn Museum, National Gallery of Art, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minn.), The Getty (Los Angeles, Calif.), the Princeton University Art Museum (N.J.), the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.) and the Iris and Gerald B. Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.). She has been commissioned by governments and civic organizations to create art for public display, including in subways (104th Oxford St. Station, Queens), airports (Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, N.C.), libraries (Santa Teresa Library, San Jose, Calif.) and other spaces.

Village City, Beatrice Coron

  • Lola Flash (Koho): Flash's photography, which explores gender, sexual and racial norms, has been included in public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) and in the exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture, curated by Deborah Willis Ph.D., which has travelled to museums across the U.S. In 2008, Flash was a resident at the non-profit photography organization Light Work, in Syracuse, N.Y.

Koho, Lola Flash

  • Rebecca Morgan (Amateur Painter): Morgan, whose paintings, drawing and ceramics wittily challenge stereotypes about Appalachia, has held residencies at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo, among others. Morgan has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad, with recent exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery; Marinaro Gallery (N.Y.); Hashimoto Contemporary (Calif.); Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild (N.Y.); Fisher Parrish Gallery (N.Y.); Woskob Family Gallery at Penn State; Knoll Galerie (Austria); Richard Heller Gallery (Calif.), and Children's Museum of the Arts (N.Y.).

Amateur Painter, Rebecca Morgan

A list of all artists represented in Mirror Mirror On the Wall is below.

"Every artwork I've acquired was a result of a 'coup de coeur,' a 'strike of the heart,'" said Curry. "If I didn't have that 'coup de coeur' for an artwork, it didn't come into my home. Every item in my collection is very precious to me."

"I want this bequeathal to St. Francis to inspire others to visit galleries, museums and begin collecting, however modestly," she added.

Curry cites five works in her collection – Village City (Beatrice Coron), Portrait of Lise (Antide de Champagne), Luftmensch Study 3 (Stephen Grossman), I Live in a Closet (Laura James), and Initiate Graduate (Amos Letsoalo) -- as particularly meaningful to her. Her reflections on those are below.

"We're thrilled that St. Francis College is now home to such a deep collection of contemporary works," said Thomas Flood, SFC Vice President of Advancement. St. Francis College offers a scholarship in the name of Arthur Curry, Lise Curry's son. "We hope our inaugural exhibit is the first of what will be many public displays of a collection well worth the attention of our students and the public."

"Each artwork in Mirror Mirror on the Wall... opens a window onto a world, experience, or perspective. Different works are sure to attract students in different ways," said Dr. Jennifer Wingate, SFC Associate Professor of Fine Arts. "However they move members of the St. Francis community, the art will connect exhibition visitors with the real and imagined experiences of people outside themselves. That connection and inspiration is the real value of art."

Mirror Mirror on the Wall... is free and open to the public from 9am to 6pm on the following dates at the Callahan Center at St. Francis College (182 Remsen Street, Brooklyn):

  • Fri. Sept. 20
  • Mon. Oct. 7
  • Thurs. Oct. 24
  • Mon. Nov. 4
  • Tues.. Nov. 12
  • Tues. Dec. 17

The exhibit will be open to the public other times throughout its run from September 20th to December 17th. Contact the College at 718.489.5322 or events@sfc.edu for specific hours.

St. Francis College will host an opening reception for Mirror Mirror on the Wall on September 19th from 6 to 8pm. To attend, please register at: http://bit.ly/LiseCurryCollection

To learn more about Curry's collection and her bequeathal to St. Francis, watch the video here.

Artists Represented in Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Michael Alan

Daphne Arthur

Maya Brodsky

Myrah Brown Green

Jesse Cesario

Jean Fritz Chery

Allen Christian

Shamus Clisset

Beatrice Coron

Anne De Chabaneix

Antide de Champagne

Sharona Elissaf

Lola Flash

Takao Fujioka

Stephen Grossman

Laura James

Philippe Lechien

Peter Leitch

Amos Letsoalo

Francesco Longenecker

Jeremy Luntz

Megan Marlatt

Felicita Maynard

Hibiki Miyazaki

Paolo Morales

Rebecca Morgan

Rachelle Mozman

Matthew Oates

Isabelle Repiquet

Peter Schenck

Willie Torbert

Reflections on Select Works in Mirror Mirror on the Wall, by Lise Curry

Village City (Beatrice Coron)

I met the world-renowned paper cut artist, Beatrice Coron, some 20 years ago through our mutual love of jazz. Thus began our long-lasting friendship and my absolute admiration not only for her art but for her incomparable intellect and far-reaching observation of the world in which we live. I have since become an ardent collector and proponent of her work. I was deeply honored when, some years ago, Beatrice, who had been inspired to create a series depicting the ideal city of 5 persons close to her, asked me to be one of the contributors. "Village City" is the creation that represents my ideal city: one with no cars, with lots of animals, where neighbors speak from windows across alleys, and where the sense of community is totally transparent. All these criteria are beautifully rendered but I was further moved to recognize, through some of the windows, some cherished parts of my life: my love of music, my love of family and friends and my soulful spirit for life and living.

Thank you Bea for the gift of you.

Portrait of Lise (Antide de Champagne)

Some years ago while in Paris to attend an exhibition in which one of my artists, Jeremy Chabaud, participated and that I partly sponsored, I was approached by a friend of Jeremy's, Antide de Champagne, a renowned portrait artist, who said to me after some moments of intensely looking at me, "You have an interesting face. I would like to do your portrait." I could not have been more surprised. I did not know how to respond.

My friend, Jean Paul Moliere, who was with me at that moment said to Antide, "Yes, please do it. I will pay for it." And so Antide took photos of me, did a small sketch and said she would let me know when it was ready. This beautiful drawing is the result of this chance encounter: a portrait that so moves me because I see the essence of me in its inspired lines.

Thank you, Antide and Jean Paul.

Portrait of Lise, Antide de Champagne

Luftmensch Study 3 (Stephen Grossman)

My partner in art-crime, James Wei, Esq. who is also a serious art collector, informed me several years ago that he had been shown a drawing that he thought was extremely impressive, but felt that the price was on the high side for a drawing. The artist, Stephen Grossman's studio is in New Haven and James proposed to drive us there to see the work in the flesh.

I found the drawing absolutely phenomenal and offered to buy it on sight without negotiation.

To this day, I consider this drawing of "museum" quality and it remains one of my most prized pieces.

And so Mr. Wei, who holds his purse strings tighter than I do mine, lost out to me on that one. Yet, we could debate who lost out to whom since the work hangs prominently in my home where James can contentedly view it whenever he chooses???

Luftmensch Study 3, Stephen Grossman

I Live in a Closet (Laura James)

As an inveterate collector of the artist Laura James, I came to develop such a closeness to her work that when she conceived of a new piece, she would at times introduce it to me. This one day, Laura called me excitedly to say that she had an idea for a new piece that she was naming "I Live In A Closet." She had just drawn a sketch for the painting and she "faxed" it to me. (As you can tell from the method of transmission, it was many years ago.) I thought the drawing was absolute genius and responded that the finished painting had to be mine.

When Laura called to say the painting was completed and she was bringing it to my house, I was expecting a standard-size painting of maybe 20 inches x 28 inches but Laura arrived with this gigantic painting that measured almost 6 feet high by over 3 feet wide. Well, I almost passed out!!! Stunning the painting was but its size threw me for a loop! So I asked Laura "Where am I going to hang this Laura?" My walls were already well occupied.

Of course, we found a place for the divine "I Live in a Closet"...and a very prominent place at that!

I Live in a Closet, Laura James

Initiate Graduate (Amos Letsoalo)

While on an unforgettable trip to South Africa several years ago, where I was invited by friends, Dee Rissik and David Netherway, I was taken to a gallery in Johannesburg that featured tribal life drawings by Letsoalo depicting rites of passage. The drawings literally came to life through his sheer rendering of these intensely emotional moments.

I was totally captivated and I determined straightaway that I would bring back one especially sensitive drawing of a young man on his way to enter the hut for the ritual of passage into manhood.

The drawing came beautifully framed so I could not consider taking it out of the frame. That was problematic because it was quite large (almost 2 feet by 3 feet), not to mention heavy.

I can attest here that art carries its own luck because I was able to bring it on the plane with me in its frame as I was travelling "business class" - to tell the truth, not actually on my "dime" but on "free miles" accumulated over many years for just such an occasion.

Et voila! for the cause of art!

Initiate Graduate, Amos Letsoalo


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