Garibaldi-Meucci Museum to Host Reception for Bunkin and Tango Exhibit, 5/17
On Saturday, May 17 at 2 p.m. the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum will host an artists' reception to celebrate the opening of "Robert Bunkin and Jenny Tango: The Italian Paintings." Created during their artists' residency in Florence, Italy, from 1986 to1988, these paintings were exhibited at the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence, the Sale del Grifo e Leone, Perugia, and the Newhouse Gallery, Staten Island, but most of them have not been seen by the public since 1991.
Robert Bunkin taught art history for over 20 years at Parsons School of Design, and taught drawing and painting at Wagner College, the Art Students League, The New School and is currently teaching at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. In 2010 he conducted the first fresco painting workshop at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. He has led many fresco workshops in Massachusetts, and painted fresco murals and installations at Snug Harbor, PS 18, and Wagner College. He worked as educator and exhibition coordinator at the Staten Island Children's Museum and in the Education Department of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Among many exhibitions he has curated are "Fresco: A Contemporary Perspective" at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, "About Faces: Portraits Past and Present" for the Staten Island Museum and "Charged Brushes" at The Painting Center. He has studied art history at Scuola Lorenzo de Medici, Florence and fresco painting at Leonetto Tintori Laboratorio per Affresco in Vainella, Italy. He has shown in solo and group exhibitions in New York, nationally and in Italy.
Jenny Tango began her life as an artist at age four when she drew the profile of a woman's shoe. In the 1970s, she was an active participant in the Feminist Art movement as editor of the Women in the Arts Newsletter, and became a college and high school art teacher. When she retired in 1986 she went to Florence, Italy, to paint for two years, which culminated in exhibitions in Florence and Perugia. She considers the Humanism that informed the Italian Renaissance one of the major influences in her own work.
Tango has served as newsletter editor of the Women's Caucus of the College Art Association and the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island; published an artist's book, "Women of Chelm," as well as comic strips for three editions of "Bloody Wymmin," and a pictorial history of the Jewish community of Staten Island for the Images of America series. Her column, "Working Art," has appeared in Home Planet News since 1992. Her paintings have been exhibited in many solo and group shows in New York City, including her one-woman show "Jenny Tango, A Retrospective," at the Staten Island Museum in 2007. Her latest venue has been the Star Gallery, Beijing and Shanghai, China. (See Robert Bunkin's biography above).
Bunkin and Tango have made their home on Staten Island since 1990. They returned to Italy in 2000 for a seven-month period, during which time Bunkin studied the technique of fresco painting, and Tango painted a series of works focusing on her body for her subsequent collaboration with sculptor Susan Grabel on the Venus Project. The in-depth experience of Italian figurative art has had a profound impact on both artists' work, and they regard their sojourn in Italy as key to their artistic development.
Bunkin's "Italian" paintings in this show feature portraits of students at the Scuola Lorenzo de Medici, where he was an independent student completing his undergraduate studies. Other works include portraits of friends from Italy and local Florentines. Tango's work focuses on her own image in the context of the rooms where she worked. Together, these bodies of work tell a story of this intensive period in the lives of both artists.
Admission to this artists' reception is free. After the opening, "Robert Bunkin and Jenny Tango: The Italian Paintings," may be viewed during regular museum hours, with paid museum admission, until August 12.
The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum was the home of Antonio Meucci, the true inventor of the telephone, and a refuge to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the legendary hero who championed the unification of Italy. For over 50 years the museum has fulfilled its mission to preserve the legacies of these great men, and to promote understanding of the Italian-American heritage through cultural, artistic and educational programs and classes. The historic Italian landmark on Staten Island, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned by the Sons of Italy Foundation and administered by the NYSOSIA?GMM?Board of Commissioners.
Regular museum hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 per person, members and children under 10 are free. Call ahead for groups of 10 or more. The first floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible, but the restroom is on the second floor. At press time, program funding has been provided through the Order Sons of Italy in America; by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Richmond County Savings Foundation; Northfield Bank Foundation; Coccia Foundation; JP Morgan Chase Regrant in partnership with the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI); The Staten Island Foundation; The Lois and Richard Nicotra Foundation and by grants allocated by New York City Council members Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo.