No. 437: Renée Stout, “True to Nature”

Episode No. 437 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Renée Stout and curator Mary Morton.

Renée Stout is featured in “Person of Interest,” at the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska. The exhibition examines portraiture from the late nineteenth century to the present, with a special emphasis on questions around self-fashioning, cultural memory, gender identity, and the performance of identity. While the Sheldon Museum is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition is scheduled to be on view through July 3.

Stout has explored many of these ideas throughout her more than 30-year career. Her work, which is often built from assembled found elements but which is sometimes also made from elements made to look as if it was found, addresses identity, spirituality, migration, appropriation and more. Her work is in the collections of museums such as the National Gallery, SFMOMA, the Hirshhorn, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and dozens of others.

On the second segment, Mary Morton discusses “True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870,” which is scheduled to be at the National Gallery of Art in Washington through May 3. The NGA is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Morton co-curated “True to Nature” with Ger Luitjen and Jane Munro. The exhibition examines how painting en plein air was a core practice for European artists in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and how they traveled to sites as diverse as the Roman Campagna, the Swiss Alps, the Baltic coast and the streets of Paris to paint outdoors. The exhibition features over 100 oil sketches made by artists such as Corot, Constable, Denis and more. The exhibition catalogue, published by Paul Holberton, is a particular delight. Amazon offers it for $39.

Air date: March 19, 2020.

Renée Stout, Erzulie’s Arsenal, 2013.

Renée Stout, The Rootworker’s Table, 2011.

Renée Stout, The Colonel’s Cabinet, 1991-94.

Renée Stout, The House of Chance and Mischief, 2008-10.



Renée Stout, The Root Dispenser, 2013.

Betye Saar, Black Girl’s Window, 1969.

Renée Stout, Elegba and the Pearl Gourd, 2015.

Renée Stout, The Pearl Gourd, 2015.

Renée Stout, Black Wall, 2008.

Renée Stout, Armored Heart/Caged Heart, 2005.

Renée Stout, Jars with Roots and a Heart, 2011.

Renée Stout, Nkondi, 2005.

Renée Stout, Fetish #2, 1988.

Renée Stout, Fetish #1, 1987.

Nkisi nkonde (power figure), c. 1875, Carnegie Museum of Art.

Eugène Decan, Corot at his Easel, nd.

André Giroux, Forest Interior with a Waterfall, nd.

André Giroux, Forest Interior with a Painter, ca. 1825-30.

Christian Ernst Bernhard Morgenstern, Waterfall on the River Traun, Bavaria, 1826.

Baron François Gérard, A Study of Waves Breaking Against Rocks at Sunset, nd.

Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld, View of the Waterfalls at Tivoli, 1788.

André Giroux, View of Vesuvius seen from the Ruins of Pompeii, ca. 1827.

Louis Léopold Robert, View of Naples with Vesuvius, 1821.

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