Eco-Feminist Artist Mira Lehr’s Reverence for Nature

The Editors

 

(MIAMI BEACH) ― The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU headlines Art Basel season with Mira Lehr: A Walk in the Garden, featuring all new work created by the nationally renowned eco-feminist artist.

 

Celebrating her sixth decade as a pioneering artist on Miami Beach, the exhibition features 10 monumental new paintings and 180 aerial sculptures that descend from the ceiling of the museum’s main sanctuary. At the age of 85, Mira Lehr is creating more new works now than at any other period of her career.

 

This new museum show for Art Basel Season emphasizes the artist’s reverence for nature and protecting the planet. The exhibition also honors the 60th anniversary of Lehr’s return to Miami Beach from New York, which led to her championing women artists.

 

 

Mira Lehr recalls, as a child in the 1940s, walking by a sign that said ‘No Jews, No Dogs’ on her way to school each morning. “During the years 1947-1950, my family lived in the northern part of Miami Beach where not many Jewish families lived at that time. I remember seeing that terrible sign every day on a building in a secluded neighborhood street and thinking: When I grow up, I’m going to do something so great that will make the people who created this sign change their minds. It makes me realize that although signs like that are not allowed anymore, there is an undercurrent of anti-Semitism that has always existed in the world. I hope that this changes, as people become more evolved,” adds Lehr.

 

Now, more than 70 years later, the artist has created powerful new work that calls attention to today’s pressing issues ─ saving the planet and protecting the environment. "My creation of art has always been based on nature, but now I am more dedicated to ecology and saving the planet. We are all in a terrible dilemma now; the planet is suffering and is in danger. People need to be aware of the danger that is threatening all of us, and we have to work together to reverse this situation," adds Lehr.

 

 

This original new exhibition was conceived by Jacqueline Goldstein, the museum’s curator.

 

Prior to her return to Miami Beach in 1960, Lehr studied and worked in New York as an artist, where she became friendly with some of America’s most prominent artists including: Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Ludwig Sander. She studied with James Brooks, Ludwig Sander, Robert Motherwell, and within the Hans Hofmann circle. When Lehr moved back to Miami Beach in 1960, she was shocked at the lack of an art scene in Miami, especially the plight of women artists.

 

"Women artists at that time felt stranded and hopeless in Miami," said Lehr. "I was determined to change that." She then founded Continuum in 1960, one of the country’s first coops for women artists who were excluded from the male-dominated art world. Continuum grew and succeeded for more than 30 years, shining a spotlight on Miami Beach’s fledgling art scene, well before Art Basel would impact the area’s cultural landscape. Lehr convinced many of the famous masters from New York to visit Miami Beach, where they led workshops for her league of women artists and helped foster the evolution of art in Miami.

 

 

Lehr’s new aerial installation of 180 sculptures was inspired by the beauty and majesty of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. “I want viewers to feel like they are walking through an aerial garden of luminous, reflecting sculptures,’ said Lehr. One of Lehr’s new series of sculptures for this exhibition is based on the seven kinds of plants mentioned in the Torah. "It will be a holy garden, that takes people out of the actual world and transports them onto a spiritual plane," adds Lehr.

 

Her nature-based imagery encompasses painting, design, sculpture and video installations. Lehr’s processes include nontraditional media such as resin, gunpowder, fire, Japanese paper, dyes and welded steel. She ignites and explodes fuses, which burn holes and leave imprints on her layered paintings. Lehr has inspired new generations of young artists by serving as a mentor and collaborator.

 

 

Mira Lehr is a graduate of Vassar College (1956) with a degree in Art History, under the mentorship of feminist art historian, Linda Nochlin. In the 1960s, she collaborated with famous American painter, Robert Motherwell. In 1969, she was selected by Richard Buckminster Fuller, the renowned American architect, author and systems theorist, to participate in the first World Game Scenario Project at the New York Studio School.

 

She has been collected by institutions across the U.S., including: The New Museum in New York, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington D.C., the Getty Museum Research Center in Los Angeles, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center in New York, the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, and the Perez Art Museum Miami. She is also included in the prestigious Leonard Lauder Corporate Collection in New York.

 

For more information, please call 305-786-972-3175 or visit jmof.fiu.edu.

 

 

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