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New exhibits at The Frist spotlight past and contemporary masters

Master, Master

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The Frist borrowed their just-about-to-close German Expressionism exhibition from the Detroit Institute of Art, and their just-opened show hails from the same Motown museum. Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: Highlights From the Detroit Institute of Arts is a display of more than 70 paintings, including works by masters like Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Jakob van Ruisdael, Pieter de Hooch and Jan Steen. The exhibition is pulled from one of the deepest and broadest collections of Dutch art outside of the Netherlands, making this Frist show the best display of these artists that one is likely to see anywhere. The show also includes a small selection of decorative art objects that help to illuminate life during the Dutch Golden Age. The exhibition is accompanied by a film series including the Scarlett Johansson vehicle Girl With a Pearl Earring and Charles Laughton in the title role of Alexander Korda's Rembrandt. Peter Greenaway's Nightwatching rounds out the series, delivering a downright painterly conspiracy narrative that takes Rembrandt's canvas "Night Watch" as its jumping-off point.

The Frist's painting exhibition may put viewers in touch with the past, but Camille Utterback: Tracing Time/Marking Movement will incite viewers to engage with the present moment. In our recent Winter Arts Preview, I predicted that Utterback's digital interactive installations would be the big hit of Nashville's winter art season. Utterback is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and an internationally acclaimed artist, but her work here is full of lightness and connection. The show's centerpiece is "Text Rain" — it's an installation that projects an image of the viewer on a screen where colorful text descends upon it. As the viewer moves his or her body, that projection moves and comes into contact with the text, catching it, dropping it and grabbing at it with a digital hand at the behest of the real one. In other words, it's high-art Wii with a literary bent, and where some contemporary artists may ask questions that are vague, confusing or difficult, one of Utterback's primary inquiries here seems to be, "Do you wanna play?"

Email arts@nashvillescene.com.

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