A former director of the Society of the Four Arts once described the 86-year-old institution as akin to a liberal arts college, so rich and nourishing are its cultural offerings.
That idea will be seen in abundance in the upcoming 2022-23 season, which is the first in several years not to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Four Arts officials released the full schedule for the season last week; In addition to its Campus on the Lake series, book discussions and speaker series, the Society offers an extensive schedule of art exhibitions and musical performances.
“The Society of the Four Arts is proud to have another full season of programming planned for 2022-2023, bringing four art exhibitions, 20 live performances and 20 high definition screenings from our cultural partners The Metropolitan Opera, National Theater Live and and Great Art on Screen,” said David Darby, spokesman for Four Arts.
Opening December 3rd at the Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture, an exhibition of 33 works by 16 artists working in the ancient urushi or lacquer tradition, but finding new uses for it from the 1980s onwards. The touring exhibition, billed as the first-ever survey of such sculptures, draws the works from the collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The show runs through January 22.
Next is Contemplating Character: Portrait Drawings and Oil Sketches from Jacques-Louis David to Lucian Freud, which examines the history of portraiture from the 18th century to the present. The exhibition, which opens February 4 and closes April 2, includes 81 works by artists such as Aubrey Beardsley, Edgar Degas and Pierre Bonnard, as well as David and Freud.
A landscape study by the contemporary Austrian artist Eduard Angeli is running parallel to this. The 11 works in Eduard Angeli: Cities on the water are large landscapes depicting three waterfront cities: Venice, St. Petersburg (Russia) and Istanbul, where Angeli began his career in the late 1960s after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The show is 80-year-old Angeli’s first exhibition in the United States and was curated by Four Arts Chief Executive Officer Philip Ryland.
The final art exhibition of the season is dedicated to photography, specifically African wildlife. The second annual Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards will announce the winners this October in Nairobi, after which the collection will travel, arriving at the Four Arts on April 26th and running through June 4th. The awards are named after a former President of Tanzania who was a conservationist and is sponsored by the African Wildlife Foundation and Nature’s Best Photography.
All art exhibitions are held at the O’Keeffe Gallery. Admission is $10, but is free for club members and children under 14.
At the Gubelmann Auditorium opposite the O’Keeffe Gallery, the Four Arts’ musical performances will include the Emerson String Quartet (January 29), which is in the midst of its farewell tour; veteran American pianist Emanuel Ax (January 8); the Dutch piano duo of brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen (12 Feb); the Romeros Guitar Quartet (January 22); and on November 30, a Christmas concert by San Francisco male vocal ensemble Chanticleer (“A Chanticleer Christmas”).
The Four Arts continues its collaboration with Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society in March, with pianist Wu Han presenting three programs under the Schubert Revealed heading. The programs (March 5, 8 and 12) examine the work of Franz Schubert through the connections between his songs and instrumental works; through his compositional influences, especially Beethoven; and through the works of the late period, including the String Quintet in C.
In addition to classical music, the Four Arts will feature bluegrass by Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers (April 16) and a jazz program on February 1 entitled “Sing and Swing: Our American Songbook” featuring members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, singers and Trumpeter Bria Skonberg and Benny Benack III.
A special feature this year is a March 22 performance by the National Dance Company of the Republic of Georgia on their first US tour. His program “Fire of Georgia” highlights the folk music and culture of this Transcaucasian country.
“Winter Journey”, a two-part event, is also exceptional winter tripa 2019 film starring Bruno Ganz and based on the memoir of longtime NPR classical music host Martin Goldsmith, whose musician parents fled the Nazis (March 23; Goldsmith will be present for a Q&A), and on March 29 a concert linked to the memoirs; and a film featuring a wind and piano sextet performing music by composers silenced by the Holocaust.
The Esther B. O’Keeffe Speakers Series begins in January with 13 speakers including Spanish opera star Placido Domingo speaking about his life in music (January 28); retired General David Petraeus (January 10) on American leadership in the world; Palm Beachers Leonard Lauder (January 3) and Ken Griffin (March 7); Fox News commentator Jesse Watters (February 21); Photographer Sally Mann (March 28); and Christie’s Vice Chairman John Hays (January 17), who will speak on the American art market and the paintings of Emanuel Leutze Washington crosses the Delawarewhich recently sold for $45 million.
Film series continue this year, including nine performances (some live, some pre-recorded) by New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The series begins December 3 with Donizetti’s Lucia of Lammermoor, starring Palm Beach County’s Nadine Sierra as Lucia. British National Theater is in five plays including Shakespeare’s Henry V (January 28) with Kit Harrington from game of Thrones in the title role.
Also on view is Great Art on Screen, a collection of five documentaries from November 20 to April 15, including a look at Italian modernist Amedeo Modigliani (December 11). In addition, there is a filmed rendition of The Nutcracker (Dec. 17), performed by the Ballet Company of the National Opera of Ukraine.
Finally, there is a series of 19 films, all more recent, beginning with Sam Mendes’ 2019 World War I story. 1917 (November 18). Most are screened twice and cost $10 each.
Not to be missed are Campus on the Lake’s lifelong community learning programs, which offer a variety of educational events including a series on playwright George Bernard Shaw by British theater director Richard Digby Day and A Survey of Southern Culture by Taylor Hagood , Professor of American Literature at Florida Atlantic University.
Also on tap are talks by conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas; Hugo Vickers, an expert on the British royal family; Bob Colacello, founder of Interview Magazine; and author Andrea Wulf, who will talk about her latest historical work, Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self.
Meanwhile, the Gioconda and Joseph King Library continues its Florida Voices Author Series and book discussion groups Talk of Kings, Page Turners, and Biography Book Club.
Family-friendly programs include “Carols on the Lawn” performed by the Palm Beach Atlantic University Choir (Dec. 4) and the Children’s Ballet Rita finds home (February 25), performed by the Miami City Ballet School and Chicago’s Joffrey Academy of Dance.
Tickets for most programs go public at 10am on November 1, “and we hope customers will take advantage of our diverse cultural offerings in person,” Darby said.
Face masks are optional indoors, he said, and virtual and pre-recorded programs will be available on fourarts.org throughout the season. For more information, visit fourarts.org or call 561-655-7226.