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February 24, 2015
David Hammons work is a true statement in art meets a sociological experiment. I had the pleasure of seeing a few of his works in new York the last time I was in. And I am glad to bring him to you today. I have always liked the question of where art evokes
emotions and particularly where it influences sociology This is true of every art form. Including Interior design. What Designer one uses, the renown of said designer and the notoriety it will bring. What status does it afford the homeowner?
The same is true of works on canvas, or installation art.
enjoy David Hammons work and consider the sociological impact. Have a great day!
What do you call a basketball hoop set 30 feet up on a telephone pole? Conceptual art? Sculpture? An installation? A joke? Yes, and no — to all.
A lot of Hammons works are brushy, oil-on-canvas abstractions, reminiscent in style of de Kooning or Gerhard Richter, which have been overlaid with obscuring materials: black plastic garbage bags, torn industrial tarps and worn-out blankets and towels.
We think Modernism, but we also think street people, construction sites, trash.
Mostly, the plastic is hung or draped in layers over the canvases, leaving the painting visible only around the edges or through tears in the sheeting. A blanket glued directly to the surface of a painting has a kneaded, twisted texture,
like the aftermath of a struggle. A piece of gun-metal gray plastic stretched tight over another surface looks agonized, as if it were being ripped apart.
A comparison with Rauschenberg, at least, is not inapt. Like him, Mr. Hammons makes art out of everyday life, though he has often gone for grungy, don’t-touch stuff (hair, bones, liquor bottles). If Abstract Expressionism is about the
preciousness of the painter’s touch, Mr. Hammons’s arrangements of raddled plastics and frayed blankets are about the touch of ordinary bodies laboring, sweating, sleeping, trying to stay warm.
This isn’t to say that his new work adds up to a sociological statement. Mr. Hammons is allergic to these. But it does seem motivated by his understanding that the art world, which he is part of even if he’d rather not be, is a microcosm of the real
world, and that he feels bound to keep a critical eye on it.
February 18, 2015
In honor of Black History Month, I would like to introduce a prolific and amazing photographer and poet, artist and poet, GORDON PARKS! Parks used his prodigious, largely self-taught talents to chronicle the African-American experience and to retell
his own personal history.
You know I am a huge fan of photography and I have just been introduced to the works of this genius! The depth and breadth of his talents are truly awe-inspiring. I hope you enjoy this post and marvel as I do at his talent!
Gordon Parks was the first African-American to work as a staff photographer for Life magazine and the first black artist to produce and direct a major Hollywood film, “The Learning Tree,” in 1969.
He developed a large following as a photographer for Life for more than 20 years, and by the time he was 50 he ranked among the most influential image makers of the postwar years. In the 1960′s he began to write memoirs,
novels, poems and screenplays, which led him to directing films. In addition to “The Learning Tree,” he directed the popular action films “Shaft” and “Shaft’s Big Score!” In 1970 he helped found Essence magazine and was its
editorial director from 1970 to 1973.
An iconoclast, Mr. Parks fashioned a career that resisted categorization. No matter what medium he chose for his self-expression, he sought to challenge stereotypes while still communicating to a large audience.
In finding early acclaim as a photographer
despite a lack of professional training, he became convinced that he could accomplish whatever he set his mind to. To an astonishing extent, he proved himself right.
Gordon Parks developed his ability to overcome barriers in childhood, facing poverty, prejudice and the death of his mother when he was a teen-ager. Living by his wits during what would have been his high-school years,
he came close to being claimed by
urban poverty and crime. But his nascent talent, both musical and visual, was his exit visa.
February 13, 2015
In the continuation of celebrating Black History Month, today’s post is on an amazing artist of mostly assemblage pieces. Assemblage has always been on of my favorites, as it is the intellectual dialogue of
found pieces coming together to make a new experience!
I hope you enjoy this post and have a fabulous day!
Betye Irene Saar is an African American artist, known for her work in the field of assemblage. Her interest in assemblage was inspired by a 1968 exhibition by Joseph Cornell, though she also cites the influence
of Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers,
which she witnessed being built in her childhood.
She began creating work typically consisting of found objects arranged within boxes or windows, with items drawing on various cultures reflecting Saar’s own mixed heritage .
In the late 1960s Saar began collecting images of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, Little Black Sambo and other stereotyped African American figures from folk culture and advertising. She incorporated them into collages
and assemblages, transforming
them into statements of political and social protest. In the 1970s Saar shifted focus again, exploring ritual and tribal objects from Africa as well as items from African American folk traditions. In new boxed assemblages,
she combined shamanistic
tribal fetishes with images and objects intended to evoke the magical and the mystical.
Saar was a part of the black arts movement in the 1970s, challenging myths and stereotypes. In the 1990s, her work was politicized while she continued to challenge the negative ideas of African Americans.
One of her better-known and controversial
pieces is that entitled “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima.” It is a “mammy” doll carrying a broom in one hand and a shotgun in the other, and placed in front of the syrup labels. Her work began with found objects
arranged in boxes or windows.
The items would reflect her mixed ancestry.
February 9, 2015
An artist, can’t get much more successful than Kerry James Marshall! Museums everywhere own his work. (The Corcoran was one of his first buyers. And the Baltimore Museum of
Art is displaying his “Ladder of Success,” a recent purchase.) In 1997, he won the $500,000 MacArthur “genius” award, an ultra-prestigious invitation to Germany’s twice-a-decade
Documenta show and a place in the Whitney Museum’s biennial.
Success, after success, after success, such as few Black American artists have ever had. And not nearly good enough. Marshall says that he has yet to measure up to certain of his
best-known rivals: “Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael. . . . They represent the core of the historical pantheon of great artists, recognized worldwide. And a big part of my objective
is to be listed in the history among those artists.”
It’s about “a longing to be fully a part of the story of some system you are deeply in love with,” says Marshall
And it’s about the certain knowledge that, in art at least, no black person has ever truly reached that goal.
Until quite recently, Afro American people have barely even been the subjects of pictures.
Marshall has set out to correct that imbalance. Some of his pictures portray the living rooms of the black middle class. There are also paintings of street toughs, dead before their time.
Marshall has painted inner-city housing projects and black lovers by the sea. He’s also worked a bit in installation art, photography, video and even puppetry. But whatever the subject,
or the medium, his works balance celebration and critique of Black America; it’s impossible to come to any simple reading of his pictures’ point of view. Marshall may be today’s most
eloquent artistic chronicler, and most compelling analyst, of the African American experience. His success beyond the black community means that he’s also opened mainstream eyes to it.
February 4, 2015
I have always loved stripes-and can never get enough of them. I use them a lot in my designing of rooms-a subtle stripe can really offset a pattern fabric beautifully.
Anyway-gene davis is a stripe master!
I hope you enjoy this post!
Davis was born in Washington D.C. in 1920, and spent nearly all his life there. Before he began to paint in 1949, he worked as a sportswriter, covering the Washington Redskins and other local teams.
Working as a journalist in the late 1940s, he covered the Roosevelt and Truman presidential administrations, and was often President Truman’s partner for poker games.
Davis’s first solo exhibition of drawings was at the Dupont Theater Gallery in 1952, and his first of paintings was at Catholic University in 1953. A decade later he participated in the “Washington Color Painters”
exhibit at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, which traveled to other venues around the US, and launched the recognition of the Washington color school as a regional movement in which Davis was a central figure.
The Washington painters were among the most prominent of the mid-century color field painters. Though he worked in a variety of media and styles, including ink, oil, video, acrylic and collage. Davis is best known by
far for his acrylic paintings (mostly on canvas) of colorful vertical stripes, which he began to paint in 1958. The paintings typically repeat particular colors to create a sense of rhythm and repetition with variations.
One of the best-known of his paintings, “Black Grey Beat” (1964), owned by the Smithsonian, reinforces these musical comparisons in its title. The pairs of alternating black and grey stripes are repeated across the canvas,
and recognizable even as other colors are substituted for black and grey, and returned to even as the repetition of dark and light pairs is here and there broken by sharply contrasting colors.
In 1972 Davis created Franklin’s Footpath, which was at the time the world’s largest artwork, by painting colorful stripes on the street in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Artr, and the world’s largest painting,
Niagara (43,680 square feet), in a parking lot in Lewiston, N.Y. His “micro-paintings”, at the other extreme, were as small as 3/8 of an inch square.
January 30, 2015
An art dealer friend of mine introduced me to this artist, JIMMY LEE SUDDUTH, and I immediately fell in love with his work. I have always loved folk art and have collected collages from Romare Beardon. So I would like to introduce to you an amazing talent and what is so interesting, the details of his life and how they contributed to what he loved and how he practiced his talent.
Jimmy Lee Sudduth, an African-American folk artist whose evocative, textured paintings made partly from Alabama mud were prized by collectors around the world
A self-taught artist who began painting as a very small child, Mr. Sudduth was renowned for the effects he could produce with his own homemade paint, which consisted of
mud blended with a variety of common substances — soot, axle grease, sugar, coffee grounds and much else — to lend it color and texture.
Applied and worked with his fingers, the mud assumed contour, line and form. Painted on scrap lumber, sheet metal and most commonly on plywood, Mr. Sudduth’s art often depicted everyday life in Alabama
— portraits of houses, people, farm animals and his dog, Toto. But it also ranged over the architecture of faraway places, as in his paintings of Washington landmarks and his geometric scenes of New York City skyscrapers.
First exhibited formally in the late 1960s, Mr. Sudduth’s work gained wide popularity during the folk art boom of the 1980s. Today his paintings sell for anywhere from several hundred dollars to $5,000, said Susan Mitchell Crawley,
the associate curator of folk art at the High Museum in Atlanta.
His art is in the permanent collections of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution, the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. It was the subject of a book,
“The Life and Art of Jimmy Lee Sudduth” (Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2005), by Ms. Crawley.
Jimmy Lee Sudduth was born in Caines Ridge, Ala., on March 10, 1910. (His first name was sometimes spelled Jimmie.) The details of his early life are hazy: he was believed to have been born to a family named Wilson and adopted by the Sudduth family when he was very young,
Mr. Sudduth’s adoptive mother was also a medicine woman, and as a toddler, he accompanied her into the woods to gather plants. On one of those trips, he drew a picture in mud on a tree stump.
When he and his mother returned to the spot a few days later, the picture was still there. She took this as a sign that her son must keep painting
As an adult, Mr. Sudduth did a variety of jobs, including working in a grist mill, in a lumberyard and as a gardener. He continued to paint in mud, but there was a problem: once dry, the mud flaked off the plywood.
Realizing he needed to add something to give the mud staying power, he found that viscous substances like molasses, honey, Coca-Cola and sorghum worked well. So did ordinary sugar. “Sweet mud,” Mr. Sudduth called the result.
Over the years Mr. Sudduth became a connoisseur of dirt; he liked to say that he could locate mud in 36 different shades. Once he became famous, people sent him dirt through the mail
To expand his palette further, Mr. Sudduth colored his work with an astonishing array of available ingredients, either by mixing them into the mud or rubbing them directly onto his wooden canvas.
They included flour, coffee grounds, instant coffee, dye wrung from sodden red crepe paper, ground brick, ground charcoal, colored chalk, crushed coal, turnip greens, flower petals, pokeweed berries,
ivy, soot, axle grease, elderberries, crushed green tree buds, boiled jimson weed, sap, walnut shells, burnt matchsticks, tobacco, egg yolk, grass and leftover house paint donated by neighbors.
The only drawback to these recipes was that some of the finished paintings were supremely attractive to mice, which ate holes in them. In later years, when advancing age made it hard for Mr. Sudduth collect mud, he switched to painting in acrylics.
“I paint with my finger ’cause that’s why I got it, and that brush don’t wear out,” he said in an interview quoted in the catalog of one of his exhibitions. “When I die, the brush dies.”
January 26, 2015
“There are many schools of painting. Why should there not be many schools of photographic art? There is hardly a right and a wrong in these matters, but there is truth, and that should form the basis of all works of art.”
I love photography. So I am bringing you today, one of the world’s greatest photographers! His city scenes of new York are so striking and always
remind me of when I was a child and my Paternal Grandfather’s love of his work. His wife was extraordinary and I will bring you a post on her next.
Photography has not always been considered an art. In early days, photographs were considered an advance of science, not art. Cameras were machines, and everyone knew that machines didn’t make art;
people made art. But when Alfred Stieglitz made this picture he was leading a movement called Pictorialism, which promoted the photograph as art, the same kind of art as a drawing or painting. Stieglitz and other
Pictorialists understood that a photograph was created when the camera was used as a tool, like a paintbrush was a tool. And they tried to show that they were a part of the art tradition by manipulating their photos in the darkroom,
using tricks and techniques that were evidence of the human hand in the process.
There are other references to the world of art in this photograph. Stieglitz was very involved in the modern art scene and had closely followed the Impressionist movement in Europe. Impressionists were some of the first artists to look to the
city as a worthy subject for their paintings, and it was a new city they looked at. Machines and all things modern in the city were desirable subjects. At the same time, Impressionists represented these modern scenes in stop-motion glimpses,
with plenty of atmosphere. European painters chose the steam engine as a subject and a symbol of the modern city. Stieglitz would embrace the city as his subject too, but he would use photography as his medium.
Stieglitz was very concerned that photographs not look like paintings and this idea fueled his pursuit of images. Images of everyday life became the main subject for Stieglitz, thus not allowing the viewer to escape into romantic images.
There is so much to know about him and his work, I do hope that this brief introduction or re-aquaintence leads you to pursue more about him!
Have a wonderful day!
January 21, 2015
A good friend of mine who is very involved in the “ART SCENE” introduced this artist’s work to me and needless to say, my love of installation artists was brought to a new level!
Jennifer Rubell is brilliant to say the least. I am re-printing a review of an installation she did at a museum for you to get the gist of this major talent. Installation art is an art form you either get or think a five year old could do it. A lot like the thoughts of people that don’t understand the contribution of artists like ellsworth kelly for instance. Art is one of my loves and I have studied my whole life, so to see an artist be so brilliant in their medium is amazingly inspirational!
Aside from Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, one of the most famous artworks of all time, food is an under-explored subject in art, especially in comparison with how much of our daily lives it occupies. Artist Wayne Thiebaud is probably the most renowned contemporary painter of food, but the work is predominantly lushly frosted cakes. Claes Oldenburg has done a lot of soft-sculptures—a hamburger, French fries, and ice-cream cones among them—but no one has really made real food into an art form. And aside from a particularly elaborate centerpiece, the catering at museum galas (which are rife in the spring in New York) infrequently ascends to something that qualifies as spectacle.
The Brooklyn Museum’s gala, however, Jennifer Rubell changed all that. She staged a series of “happenings” that elevated her art medium—food and drink—into an interactive bacchanal that was truly lavish. The Harvard University–educated daughter of Don and Mera (the Rubells, of Miami’s renowned art-hoarding dynasty) certainly piled a lot onto her plate in her four-month preparation for the gala. The outcome was a display that referenced seminal artists and artworks. Rubell must have been breast- and spoon-fed a steady diet of art from infancy, as child-like eating rituals were the norm at the museum, with the hands of the 600 participants the predominant utensil.
Drinks were dispensed from large, minimal canvases, each with a spigot, which Rubell calls “Drinking Paintings.” The museum wall labels specified the concoctions each of the “paintings” dispensed and the medium of which they were made. The works were references to “drips” common to Abstract Expressionism, but I found the canvases more akin to leaking unprimed Robert Ryman paintings. Revelers filled their glasses to their hearts’ content—and to their livers’ discontent. I saw no shortage of people topping up Mason jars with dirty martinis, which was one of the first canvases to run dry. Screwdrivers, rum and Coke, and white wine were also on tap.
A massive pile of potato chips became another canvas, as closet painters in the crowd realized their inner Jackson Pollocks by squirting multi-colored dips from 700 blank paint tubes. An instant Pollock-like drip painting would form, only to disappear from the grubby hands that reached in for a bite of the art.
Bio- Jennifer Rubell creates participatory artwork that is a hybrid of performance art, installation, and happenings. The pieces are often staggering in scale and sensually arresting, frequently employing food and drink as media: one ton of ribs with honey dripping on them from the ceiling; 2,000 hard-boiled eggs with a pile of latex gloves nearby to pick them up; 1,521 doughnuts hanging on a free-standing wall; a room-sized cell padded with 1,800 cones of pink cotton candy.
Viewers are encouraged to partake in the work, violating the traditional boundaries of art institutions and engaging senses usually forbidden in or absent from museum and gallery contexts. Rubell’s work explores the intersection of the monumental and the ephemeral, and serves as a counterpoint to the virtual nature of much of contemporary life.
Some of Rubell’s notable previous projects include Old-Fashioned, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The de Pury Diptych at the Saatchi Gallery, London; Icons, at the Brooklyn Museum; Creation, for Performa, the New York performance-art festival; and, since 2001, a yearly breakfast project in the courtyard of the Rubell Family Collection in Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach.
Rubell, 40, received a B.A. from Harvard University in Fine Arts, and subsequently attended the Culinary Institute of America. She wrote about food for over a decade prior to beginning her artistic practice, including columns in the Miami Herald and Domino magazine, and the book Real Life Entertaining (Harper Collins). Rubell lives in New York City.
January 16, 2015
I saw the work of Philip Guston in an auction catalog and was immediately drawn to it. The artist had a very difficult childhood, coming to this country at
the early years of the 1900′s,
being Jewish, and having had to face all of the anti-semtitism and re adjustment to a new way of life. His father wound up hanging himself in a shed, and Philip
was the one to find him.
America was going through so many changes and advances and Philip had the benedfit, albeit at the time, he didnt see it that way, of being part of the development
of Abstract Expressionism
and mural painting.
“There is something ridiculous and miserly in the myth we inherit from abstract art. That painting is autonomous, pure and for itself, therefore we habitually
analyze its ingredients
and define its limits. But painting is ‘impure’. It is the adjustment of ‘impurities’ which forces its continuity. We are image-makers and image-ridden.” From 1968
onwards he made
these words his motto. In this body of work he created a lexicon of images such as Klansmen light bulbs, shoes, cigarettes, and clocks. His work, in this manner
caught a lot of attetntion, some good some awful But this work really lead to opening the door to a freedom of expressionism that was not there before.
Often times we have a tendency to look at paintings as so one dimensional and when one puts the reasoning and the hisptory of that artist and what led the artist
to that way of painting, then for me, the art has a much more true meaning.
I hope you enjoy this post and have a chance to read about this incredible artist.
January 12, 2015
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I have always loved cecil Beaton’s work and the iconic images he created. His portraits have stayed in our minds when we think of the images of certain people. Much like Madonna’s song that she sings Vogue, all of these characters were Cecil Beaton’s images.
Photography, and what I am hoping to show you, is as important a medium as a pint brush and a canvas. A lens in the hands of an artist is so stunning. Have you ever taken a bad picture? or heard the expression that the camera loves a certain person?
I love the medium, and I hope you enjoy this art form.
The man described by his on-off friend Truman Capote as a “total self-creation”, he knew that the business of being Cecil was no laughing matter, but something that needed serious application for the success he had always craved.
And the proof of that success is the influence he has had over so many younger photographers since his death 29 years ago. Mario Testino, who has captured modern society and fashion as variously as Beaton did, speaks for many when he says:
“He marked his period as if he were the only photographer around.”Another of today’s most celebrated fashion photographers, Nick Knight, praises his work “for its grace and elegance. From the touching and funny pictures of his sisters and the delicately
fragile poses of his photographs of society beauties, as if they were made of porcelain, to the memorable wartime images, he was always sensitive and poetic.”
So, what was the essence of Beatonism? He was a born outsider; posh but not quite posh enough – his family’s wealth was based on trade. Well educated – but at Harrow, not Eton. Cambridge, not Oxford. Clever but not intellectual. Good-looking but not quite handsome.
He just failed to make the grade in those things that he considered mattered. Vain – he had his clothes made one size too small to flatter his already slim figure – but never glamorous, despite an international lifestyle that brought him into contact with everyone who “mattered” for more than 50 years.
But he had a burning desire to leap the fence and browse the green fields of aristocratic privilege, still going strong in the Twenties and Thirties. Beaton was what was known at the time as a pansy. With eyes trained on the British upper classes and American plutocrats, his tendencies could have
been a disadvantage, but he capitalised on them by aiming not at the men, but at their wives.
Beaton was a very clever photographer whose early portraits reflected continental art movements in his use of mirrors, torn paper, fragments of classical sculpture and even Cellophane to create a surreal fantasy that would automatically make his sitters look much more interesting
than they usually were. They were as flattered culturally as they were physically, even if they had no idea that the original ideas were taken from the work of Cocteau, Bakst or Dalí.