Virtual Visit: Beat The Heat
Text and Photos Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum

With the dog days of summer nearly upon us now, there’s no denying—it’s hot out there. With temperatures averaging 100+ degrees in the Valley of the Sun, beat the heat with some of the “coolest” artworks from the PhxArt collection, including sun and swimwear from our renowned fashion collection. Plus, we’ve included our usual reading, viewing, and playlists inspired by this week’s virtual-visit theme to help transport you to more temperate climes.

Snowy landscapes and misty lakes, ocean waves and cooling waterfalls, placid pools and frosty winter light. They’re all here to take you far, far away from these sweltering summer days in the desert.

Top left: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Winter: Daishoro Brothel in Nezu, from the series The Four Seasons at Their Height, 1883. Woodblock print. Top right: Richard Misrach, Untitled #1179-04, 2004. Chromogenic color print. Left: Albert Bierstadt, Snow in the Rockies (Nieve en las Rocallosas), not dated. Oil on paper mounted on board. Above: Yoshida Hiroshi, Calm Wind, 1937. Woodblock print on paper.


Fashion serves many practical functions in addition to its promise of escape and whimsy. Helen Jean, our Jacquie Dorrance Curator of Fashion Design, provides a closer look at two works from our renowned fashion collection designed for having fun in the sun and providing protection from the harshest elements.

Swimsuit (1978-1979) by Giorgio di Sant’Angelo

Invented in the 1920s, the original maillot swimsuit, a tank-style, form-fitted, one-piece suit with high-cut leg, has stayed true to its original form. Evolving over time to reveal and conceal arms, legs, and breasts as society’s perspectives shift on what is considered appropriate, moral, and titillating, this style of suit has informed swimwear silhouettes for more than 100 years.

Large Black-Velvet Hat (1960s) by Halston

Originally designed to protect wearers from the rain and sun, this style of a short, pointed, conical hat is seen widely across Asia. Often associated with workers, laborers, and farmers, this high-fashion version is made of black velvet, which creates a strong and impactful silhouette, and was highly fashionable throughout the 1950s and 1960s.


For this edition of Deep Looking, Janet Baker, PhD, the Museum’s curator of Asian art, offers insight into a work from the Museum’s Asian art collection that has us longing for a misty boat ride with friends, heading anywhere.

The Pleasure Boat in Misty Waves (1740) by Yuan Yao

Yuan Yao painted commissioned works for the wealthy merchants of Yangzhou. The artist’s picturesque subjects are often portrayed in a detailed and refined manner, with some scenes perhaps inspired by the city’s luxurious gardens and estates. Others, such as this one, suggest a remote quietude and tranquil mood. Here, a group of friends enjoys a relaxing outing together on a placid lake engulfed by a cooling mist.