New Exhibit Presents 1,001 Faces Of Art History

photograph by Bill Kipp
Nine heads from Bill Liebeskind’s “We Make Art” exhibition on view beginning April 24 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. The artists are, from left to right: Ulay, Faith Ringgold, Paul Cézanne, Paul Klee, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Vanessa Bell, Odilon Redon, Niki de Saint Phalle and Nayland Blake. Each head is about 2½ inches high.
PHOTO COURTESY BILL KIPP - photograph by Bill Kipp Nine heads from Bill Liebeskind’s “We Make Art” exhibition on view beginning April 24 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. The artists are, from left to right: Ulay, Faith Ringgold, Paul Cézanne, Paul Klee, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Vanessa Bell, Odilon Redon, Niki de Saint Phalle and Nayland Blake. Each head is about 2½ inches high.

New York artist Bill Liebeskind spent two years fashioning heads of artists from modeling clay. The result is “We Make Art: 1,001 Artist Heads by Bill Liebeskind”—a collection of both historical and contemporary artists—which will be on exhibit from Thursday, April 24, through Sunday, June 15, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.

The heads, each about two-and-one-half inches high, will be displayed on a series of shelves running around walls of the museum’s Polhemus Savery DaSilva Gallery. All will be labeled with the artists’ names. “It’s everyone you know and a few hundred you’ve never heard of before,” Mr. Liebeskind said. Apart from a few highly recognizable artists like Picasso and Dali, Mr. Liebeskind suspects most people don’t really know what even famous artists look like. “We Make Art” should have visitors saying, “‘That’s how El Greco looked’ or ‘That’s how de Kooning looked,’” he said.

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Prior to his artist series, Mr. Liebeskind made 101 small clay heads for another project, titled “Men of Color,” in 2009. “They’re fun to make, and they look cool,” he says. “I thought I’d make a few artists; and then I thought I’d make a few more. It became a pretty involved project and made me think.” With all the heads installed in one gallery, “This is a huge collection of ideas represented in one room,” Mr. Liebeskind said.

Mr. Liebeskind, who teaches at a public school in East Harlem, has been coming to Wellfleet every summer for the past 35 years. “I’ve lived in the same house each August for the part 20 years, a beautiful cottage in the National Seashore in Wellfleet” he said. “I definitely think of myself as a summer resident, but I don’t technically own a home here. People in Wellfleet know me and I know them; I definitely feel like I’m part of the Wellfleet community.”

A joint reception for “We Make Art: 1,001 Artist Heads by Bill Liebeskind,” “Spirit of Color: Paintings by James Gahagan” and “Elements of Passion: A Soccer Fan Watches the World Cup,” a show of photographs by John Babineau, will be held on Thursday, June 12, from 5:30 to 7 PM. Refreshments will be served.

The Cape Cod Museum of Art is at 60 Hope Lane, off Route 6A on the grounds of the Cape Cod Center for the Arts.

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