TARPON SPRINGS — The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art recently launched a new season of exhibitions that celebrate the dramatic and joyous spirit of the performing arts including dance, the circus, and more.
This spring, LRMA galleries come alive with colorful characters in three new exhibitions featuring beloved local photographers Tom Kramer and Herb Snitzer and masters of modern art, including Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso. Two of the exhibitions honor Kramer and Snitzer who both have recently passed away.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is at 600 E. Klosterman Road, on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission is by donation. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays.
Additional information available at leeparattner.org.
LRMA kicked off the spring 2023 exhibitions with a celebration Feb. 24 which included a reception and multi-media dance performance in honor of Tom Kramer, featuring dancer Helen Hanson French, pianist John O’Leary, artists Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse with choreography by Paula Kramer.
Following is a look at LRMA’s spring exhibitions:
Thomas Kramer Photography — The Palladium Series: The Other Side of Dance
Feb. 25 through May 21
The Palladium Series: The Other Side of Dance features one of the last bodies of work created by beloved local dance photographer Thomas Kramer (1934-2022). “The Long, Long Skirt” is part of a larger body of work created during the COVID pandemic in 2022. For this series, Kramer gathered a select group of dancers at the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg and asked them to improvise and explore while wearing an extra-long flowing skirt. Wearing masks or veils, the dancers evoked the pandemic surrounding them, responding to the skirt’s restrictions and the emotional responses it created. A companion exhibition from this series, “Tom Kramer: Forever Changed” is currently on view at the Morean Arts Center through March 23.
Kramer’s work has been featured in books and national journals and is included in collections throughout the country. Moving to St. Petersburg in 2001, Kramer and his wife have been embedded in the Tampa Bay arts community for more than 20 years and collaborated regularly with dance and theater companies and organizations like Creative Pinellas. Kramer, who passed away in August 2022, leaves behind a legacy that captures the spirit of dance with iconic images that will be celebrated for years to come.
Arts Alive! Performance in Art, featuring Fernand Léger’s ‘Le Cirque.’
Feb. 25 through May 21
Arts Alive! Performance in Art celebrates dance, theater, the circus and more. Capturing the spirit of the performing arts with international flair, LRMA’s galleries come alive with more than 50 vibrant works by renowned artists from France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Cuba, and the United States. From Alexander Calder’s freeform “Acrobats” to Fernand Léger’s “Le Cirque” portfolio, this exhibition of modern masters presents a cast of colorful characters that capture the imagination.
Reaching beyond the stage, fine art prints, paintings, carnival masks, and sculptures infuse elements of the dramatic arts, modern dance, and performance. Together, they visualize the interplay between the human body and its movement through space as a form of creative expression.
In the dramatic arts, David Anderson’s characters have a stage presence that merges his early influence as a theater student with his magical realism painting style. In dance, Thomas Kramer’s photography captures the body in motion while Esther Gentle distills the elements of the dancer into pure line, color, and form. Japanese artists Keisuke Teshima and Koki Sugita merge tradition with performance and process, resulting in powerful contemporary works. Representing the circus, Calder, Léger, and Abraham Rattner explore the dynamic forms created by gravity-defying trapeze artists and acrobats. Using the circus as commentary, Pablo Picasso and Tomas Marias depict clowns as a metaphor for the human condition. Léger’s “Le Cirque” portfolio from 1950 continues to explore the circus arts as a spectacle of modern life with more than 30 colorful lithographs inspired by the modern circus of Paris.
Herb Snitzer: In the Present
Feb. 18 through June 25
Herb Snitzer (American, 1932-2022) spent a lifetime behind the camera lens, capturing people from all walks of life. An artist and photojournalist since the 1950s, Snitzer’s work has been published nationally and collected by major museums. Known for his photographs of jazz musicians, he also focused on community activism and social justice for much of his career. “In the Present” offers a glimpse into Snitzer’s world where highlights from his 60-year career as a photographer include portraits, the urban environment, activism, and icons of jazz such as Miles Davis, Nina Samone and Louis Armstrong.
Snitzer’s work has been published in a variety of magazines, including Time and Life. His photographs have been exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tampa Museum of Art.
Moving to St. Petersburg in 1992, Snitzer has been a fixture in the Tampa Bay arts scene as an influential figure in the arts and community activism. The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art presents this exhibition to honor the memory of Snitzer, who passed away on Dec. 31, 2022.
Upcoming programs associated with LRMA’s spring exhibitions
Following is a list of upcoming programs being presented in conjunction with the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art’s spring exhibitions:
Curators Roundtable Virtual Talk: Tom Kramer Photography
Set for Thursday, March 9, 6 to 7 p.m., this online program will feature curators from the Morean Arts Center and LRMA, including Robin O’Dell, Beth Reynolds, Amanda Cooper and Christine Renc-Carter, who will discuss the photography of Tom Kramer. The program is free. Join via Zoom at https://spcollege.zoom.us/j/95313303377. This virtual program leads up to a special performance at the Morean that will take place on Saturday, March 11, during the Second Saturday ArtWalk in St. Petersburg.
Dance-Draw-Write Workshop with choreographer Paula Kramer
This program will be presented Thursday, April 13, 4 to 5:30 p.m., at LRMA in the Interactive Gallery. Admission is by donation.
BEACON23 at The Palladium
This program will take place Friday, April 28, 8 p.m., at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. BEACON23 highlights local voices and unites our community in an unforgettable evening of dance that celebrates the dignity of the human form in motion. For more information and tickets, visit https://mypalladium.org/events/beacon23/.
LRMA will continue to add programs throughout the season. For up-to-date information, visit www.leeparattner.org/calendar.
About the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
Opened to the public in 2002, LRMA is a modern and contemporary art museum with a collection of more than 7,000 works of 20th and 21st century art. The museum’s permanent collection includes works by Abraham Rattner, a renowned figurative expressionist; Esther Gentle, Rattner’s second wife and a printmaker, sculptor and painter; Allen Leepa, Rattner’s stepson and an abstract expressionist artist; and an extensive collection of works by notable 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger and Henry Moore. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a distinction held by only 6 percent of all U.S. museums.
Also currently on view at LRMA are the following exhibitions: “Structure of Prints: The Dorothy Mitchell Collection;” “Abraham Rattner: French Watercolors;” “Artistic Journeys with Abraham Rattner, Esther Gentle and Allen Leepa;” “Elemental: Fine Crafts from the Collection;” “Made in Florida: The Art of Giving.”
For more information, visit leeparattner.org.