Archive for the Art Category


Posted in Art on April 4, 2011 by Miranda Wilding


One of impressionist master CLAUDE MONET’S WATER LILIES triptychs – separated fifty years ago and sold to three museums – has been reunited in a multifaceted exhibit that highlights not only the three panel artwork, but the artist as well.

“I think all of us think of Monet as this father of Impressionism, as this painter who was spontaneous, who painted outdoors in his garden,” said NICOLE MYERS, associate curator at THE NELSON ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART, where MONET’S WATER LILIES opens APRIL 9.

“That was certainly true. He presented himself that way publicly, really to the end of his life.”

But Monsieur Monet had another side that’s also detailed in the exhibition, which ends AUGUST 7 before moving on to THE ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM and then to THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART.

“With these later paintings from the 20th century that he’s working on, you see the sort of obsessive – almost obsessive compulsive – artist who came indoors and worked tirelessly, making revisions again and again in this kind of obsessive way.”

It’s unclear if he ever considered the three panels finished.

“And it really blows out of the water this impression we have of this man who just sort of dashed off his first thoughts and left things alone. He worked on them almost consistently from 1915 to 1926.”

The three panels, each six feet tall and fourteen feet wide, languished in the artist’s studio at Giverny outside Paris after his death in 1926. The pieces on display at the NELSON ATKINS comprise one of two of MONET’S WATER LILY triptychs in the U.S. The other is at THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART in New York, where they are a steady, popular selection.

“What’s amazing about them is the mood they create in the room where they’re installed,” said ANN TEMPKIN, MoMA’s chief curator of paintings and sculpture.

“It’s a magical one. It becomes a very quiet place. The visitors become quite contemplative.”

The triptych at THE NELSON ATKINS was brought to New York in the 1950s. It was then separated and the individual panels were sold to THE ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM, THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART and THE NELSON ATKINS. It has been more than thirty years however, since they were shown as Monsieur Monet intended for them to be seen — together.

“So for a new generation this is really a first time to get the chance to see these great paintings come together,” NICOLE MYERS commented.

The paintings, alone in the exhibit’s main room where they provide a serene and powerful display of water, light and nature, are clearly the centrepiece.

But the artist and his process are also crucial elements of the installation, which includes brief film footage of Monsieur Monet at work in his garden in 1915, dressed in a white suit and straw hat, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

“We think we know this painter and yet really he was more of what we consider today almost to be a conceptual painter,” Ms. Myers explained.

“If you didn’t know this was a Water Lily series would you think that’s what these paintings are about? And is that as important as this experience of viewing them, which is of course, what he really intended.”

A separate room also has displays about the artist’s process, among them detailed cross sections of the panels that show the layers of paint he added over the years, changing the painting from its original to its current state.

Each of the museums also collaborated to X ray for the first time sections of their panels, giving a better sense of what each painting looked like in 1921 and what they look like today, showing substantial changes.

Visitors can also use touch screen panels to “make your own Monet,” which can then be displayed on the museum’s website. Another display allows visitors to get a close up look at — and touch — versions of the artist’s short, loose brush strokes and yet another gives visitors the chance to type a word or two describing their experience. Those words are then projected in light on the walls of that room.

In the WATER LILY series, Monsieur Monet said he wanted to create “an asylum of peaceful meditation in the midst of a flowered aquarium.”

That flowered aquarium opens next Saturday.


Posted in Art on March 17, 2011 by Miranda Wilding


THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM is taking a new look at FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT on the 100th anniversary of his TALIESIN home in Spring Green, Wisconsin with an exhibit showing the organic side of the prolific architect that features scale models, furniture and photos. Along with all of that, there is video footage and more than 30 drawings that have never before been publicly displayed.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY starts with urban plans and a model that he travelled with nationally, trying to promote his vision of a community integrated into the landscape.

The architect, who designed houses, corporate and government buildings, libraries, museums and churches in addition to furniture and lighting, saw his plans as the antithesis to cities being too condensed.

“He was very concerned about conservation of materials, conservation of energy, environment, landscape, all the things which are now becoming so pertinent in a planet, which we seem to be slowly — bit by bit — destroying,” said BRUCE BROOKS PFEIFFER, director of the archives at THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION in Arizona, who worked with him before the architect died in 1959.

“It seems like a good time to remind people that there was a good way in which architecture helped people live better and live in harmony not only with themselves but the planet they are living on.”

Mr. Wright built his BROADACRE CITY model in the 1930s, based on his book THE DISAPPEARING CITY. He revised and expanded the text in 1958 with THE LIVING CITY. Drawings from the book were used by a German museum and the foundation to produce a model in the 1990s. It’s the first time the models have been shown together and will likely be the last time the BROADACRE model will travel because of its fragile condition, said BRADY ROBERTS, chief curator at THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM.

The idea was the culmination of the architect’s work, but never came to fruition.

Mr. Wright was one of the first big name architects to really care about making sure the building and environment were in harmony, stated architectural historian JACK QUINAN. The architect first used the term organic architecture in 1894.

“Wright’s work has endured and is going to be relevant and continue to be relevant largely because of his organic theory — his interest in creating an American architecture that derives from nature crossed with geometry,” remarked Mr. Quinan, who’s on the board of directors for the FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT BUILDING CONSERVANCY.

He noted the DARWIN D. MARTIN House in Buffalo, New York, a prairie home FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT designed around 1903, which was considered odd then. It has a south facade where the sun is somewhat blocked in summer but streams into the house in winter. The house also has sun traps — a series of glass plates so the warm sunshine bounces off the glass and up into the house indirectly.

TALIESIN, in his home town of Spring Green, Wisconsin was Mr. Wright’s longest ongoing architectural work, as he kept changing it for nearly 50 years. To break down barriers between the interior and exterior, he used local limestone and mixed sand from the river into his plaster. There are tall windows in the living room to provide a view of the rolling hills. The windows also provided natural light, which is diffused by the overhanging roof so the house remains cool.

The show also looks at one of Mr. Wright’s life long pursuits, which was to provide affordable housing to low income residents. He designed the AMERICAN SYSTEM BUILT HOUSES — compact, geometric homes assembled on site with factory cut materials to reduce costs. During the Great Depression, he started developing Usonian homes, which were also designed to control costs and had carports but no basements or attics.

BRADY ROBERTS said the exhibition comes as people are changing perspectives due to the financial downturn: Maybe bigger isn’t always better.

“So it’s interesting now to look at Frank Lloyd Wright and how prescient he was to say, ‘No, you can have a beautiful house that is actually very small in terms of a footprint but it can feel quite spacious by being opened up to nature.’ This is very practical and economical, but also it’s another thing we’ve lost in suburban planning, with sort of homogenous cookie cutter houses.”

The 33 new drawings include the V.C. MORRIS HOUSE known as SEACLIFF in San Francisco and the RAUL BAILLERES HOUSE in Acapulco, Mexico — both never built, along with the SETH PETERSON cottage in Lake Delton, Wisconsin and the ANNUNCIATION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

A large screen shows a four season video of FALLINGWATER in Mill Run, Pennslyvania, with sound; a model of the S.C. JOHNSON ADMINISTRATION BUILDING in Racine, Wisconsin and drawings of THE MARIN COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER in California.

The exhibit also looks at UNITY TEMPLE in Oak Park, Illinois, TALIESIN WEST in Scottsdale, Arizona and the BOGK house in Milwaukee. Four hundred and nine of FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S 532 completed projects still stand.

“It’s hard to think of another architect who was so prolific who did so many different types of projects who never had a dry period,” BRADY ROBERTS asserted.

The exhibit was organized by THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM, THE PHOENIX ART MUSEUM and THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION. It runs through MAY 15 and will travel to THE PHOENIX ART MUSEUM in 2012.


Posted in Art on March 4, 2011 by Miranda Wilding


A new exhibition at THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART is taking a fresh look at the influence that Paris had on MARC CHAGALL and the other modernists from 1910 to 1920.

The show, PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW: MARC CHAGALL & HIS CIRCLE, opened Tuesday. It is being presented in conjunction with an international arts festival in Philadelphia that opens in April.

The exhibition “represents the Museum’s contribution to this festival and will focus on the powerful influence that Paris had on Chagall and his contemporaries,” museum director Timothy Rub said.

The show, located in the museum’s Perelman annex, includes roughly 40 paintings and sculptures culled mainly from the museum’s own collection but reconfigured in a new way. Other featured artists include AMEDEO MODIGILIANI.

Curator Michael Taylor said the show will provide visitors with “a unique opportunity to reconsider the cross fertilization that took place” when Chagall and his contemporaries lived and worked in Paris.

Among the show’s highlights is Chagall’s painting PARIS THROUGH THE WINDOW from 1913, on loan from THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM in New York. The work is a dreamlike and colourful interpretation of Chagall’s world outside his studio window in the La Ruche building near Montparnasse, a thriving artistic community and home to Chagall and other Eastern European artists who fled the repression and persecution of their homelands.

“This is indisputably Chagall’s early masterpiece,” said curator Michael Taylor. Chagall’s inspiration from Cubism and his enthusiasm for Paris, where he arrived after finishing art school in Russia, are clear in this and another massive work on display, HALF PAST THREE (THE POET) of 1911.

Time was not always kind to Chagall, however, as political upheavals repeatedly interrupted his life and work. He went back to Russia after the start of World War I, creating dark works reflective of the war and joyous pieces recalling his childhood in Vitebsk, now in Belarus.

He returned to Paris after the war, but he and many other Jewish artists were again forced to flee with the Nazi occupation of Paris. He left in 1941 and spent the war in New York, returning again to his beloved France in 1948, where he lived and worked until his death in 1985.

The exhibit is the museum’s contribution to THE PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS, a citywide celebration that runs from APRIL 7 to MAY 1.

Organized by THE KIMMEL CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS around the theme of early 20th century Paris — what Michael Taylor called “one of the most experimental and creative periods in Western art” — the festival will include 135 events presented by 1500 artists from 140 artistic and cultural groups in a variety of collaborations.

“We thought long and hard what would make the most sense (for the festival) and I immediately thought of Chagall,” he said.

Dance, theatre, visual arts, music, culinary and fashion worlds will be presenting events and newly commissioned works for the festival. Philadelphia based PIG IRON THEATRE COMPANY and THE AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW will hold “performative poetry readings” at the museum by Parisian poets of the era and a musical cabaret inspired by Chagall’s wife BELLA will make its world premiere at a downtown theatre.





Posted in Art, Film on December 22, 2010 by Miranda Wilding

I just wanted to showcase some unusual posters for BLACK SWAN that you may not have seen before.

They were created by LA BOCA DESIGN in London.


Posted in Animal Welfare, Art on November 17, 2010 by Miranda Wilding


A basic food and water dog bowl costs as little as $3 at your local pet supply store.

But if you’re in the mood for something much more upscale, you could shell out upwards of $2,500 for a bowl painted by name brand artists Ed Ruscha, David Hockney or Charles Arnoldi.

Will your four legged friend know the difference? Probably not. But you will.

The auction house BONHAMS & BUTTERFIELDS will be selling dog bowls painted by prominent artists to benefit PAWS/LA, an organization that assists senior citizens and the disabled in keeping their pets.

The sale is set to take place NOVEMBER 23 at Bonhams’ location in L.A., with a preview set for NOVEMBER 19 to 21.

(The bowls are included in Bonhams’ MADE IN CALIFORNIA sale.)

Other artists to contribute dog bowls are Ross Bleckner, Robert Longo and Kenny Scharf.

Each bowl measures 11 inches in diameter and has an estimated value of $2,500 to $3,500, according to Bonhams.


Posted in Art on September 21, 2010 by Miranda Wilding


Beneath layers of paint, wrapped in bundles of brushes, hidden in sketch books and packed away among boxes of pencils are clues that shed light on how GEORGIA O’KEEFFE went about creating her colourful landscapes and iconic flower paintings.

Like forensic investigators, curators at THE GEORGIA O’KEEFFE MUSEUM in Santa Fe have spent months combing through their collection and now they’re ready to share the many bits of evidence they have found as part of the exhibition O’KEEFFIANA: ART & ART MATERIALS, which opens Friday and runs through next May.

The collection of GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S never before displayed art materials, preparatory drawings, Polaroids and a pair of unfinished paintings is designed to give visitors a better understanding of how the late American modernist transferred her ideas about the world around her onto canvas.

“We have a kaleidoscope of material — from the art to the materials she used to make it and the houses that she lived in — and it’s the first time we’ve been able to draw on them to clarify in people’s minds what her objectives were as a painter and how she used materials to create things,” said museum curator Barbara Buhler Lynes.

THE O’KEEFFE MUSEUM has a wealth of materials from the artist’s estate. At the time of her death in 1986, GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S two homes in northern New Mexico and most everything in them were set aside for preservation. That included her brushes, paint chips with notes jotted on the back, sketch books and canvases she gathered over decades of exploring the high desert.

It was the job of associate curator Carolyn Kastner to search the museum’s climate controlled vaults for clues that would help explain the foundation of GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S very deliberate style.

“I opened all the closets and pulled out all of the drawers. It’s been fascinating,” Ms. Kastner said.

Aside from the drawings GEORGIA O’KEEFFE had organized in file folders by name, Carolyn Kastner came across books filled with photographs the artist had taken of the same subjects from the same vantage points – just in different light and shadow. There was an album of cottonwood trees where she was clearly studying their texture and another of an area near her home in Abiquiu that she called The Black Place.

A series of her Polaroids is part of the show, along with the large painted canvases that were inspired by her study of the V shapes in Glen Canyon.

“By putting these things together — the drawings, the photographs — we can recreate a kind of look at her practice. We can’t see her practice, but we can see the evidence from one object to another,” Ms. Kastner commented.

Aside from revealing details about how she worked, the way GEORGIA O’KEEFFE trimmed her brushes and stored her tools and art materials also provides some insight into her personality.

Over and over, Ms. Kastner and Ms. Lynes use the words precise and meticulous.

“Hundreds of brushes shaped and reshaped,” Carolyn Kastner stated.

“It’s all about that finish that we know so well in her paintings, getting a precise line or a precise contour to come up, feathering over to make the surface as smooth and clear as it is. It follows through to everything.”

Ms. Kastner recalled that as she was laying out the exhibition, a rigid order began to emerge from the displays of GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S art materials. She wanted something messy to break up the orderly squares so she headed downstairs to the collection room.

“There was nothing. What I’ve learned in looking at all of her art materials is how meticulous she was. It comes out even in the way she stored materials.”

Visitors will see several galleries that include GEORGIA O’KEEFE’S tools, her line sketches and her more elaborate paintings. Infrared studies of some of her canvases also help to show how her drawings provided the foundation for her works of art.

Those works, Barbara Buhler Lynes said, have a certain look about them.

“It all reflects her esthetic: very simplified, elegant forms that relate to one another, either abstractly or realistically. She uses them when she’s painting recognizable forms and she also uses them when she’s painting abstract forms. They always come together in similar sorts of arrangement, and because of that, you always know you’re looking at an O’Keeffe.”

The curators acknowledge that many of the works in O’KEEFFIANA would not be part of a traditional exhibition. But this show is more about discovering the painter’s process than celebrating what has become a worldwide fascination with her monumental flowers and sweeping vistas.

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE worked differently from many other artists, Ms. Lynes remarked. For example, Renaissance painters would often stray from their original under drawings, repositioning elements of their paintings as they went along.

“O’Keeffe usually doesn’t do that. It’s interesting. It tells you she knew exactly what she wanted to do.”

Part of the inspiration for the exhibition comes of another exhibit Carolyn Kastner put together while working in San Francisco. That show highlighted the work of a photographer who captured artists working in their studios. He had become friends with them and often stayed long enough that they forgot that he was there.

“I thought they were beautiful photographs, but people thought they were windows into a studio. People were fascinated to see artists in their studios and I began to realize this is a place most people don’t get to see.”

There are very few photographs of GEORGIA O’KEEFFE working in her studio or out in the wilds of New Mexico. However, the museum does have images of her studio and on the window sills were an ever changing cast of rocks and bones she used as subjects.

“There’s a quote about her infinite interest in natural colour and shape and how it represents the wilderness and wonder of the world she lives in. I think she was a student of that her entire life,” Carolyn Kastner said.

Both Carolyn Kastner and Barbara Buhler Lynes consider the exhibition an invaluable look at the artistic practices of one of America’s most important painters — practices that were consistent throughout GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S career, from her early work in 1916 to her last abstractions in the late 1970s.

“We can’t conjure a whole person out of this exhibition,” Carolyn Kastner said, “but we can see the trace of her action on paper and canvas.”


Posted in Art, Photography on September 16, 2010 by Miranda Wilding


A new exhibition of photographs by ALFRED STIEGLITZ offers a view of New York City at the turn of the 20th century through the eyes of one of the world’s most celebrated photographers.

ALFRED STIEGLITZ NEW YORK at the Seaport Museum (in NYC) features 39 vintage photographs, many shot from the windows of his midtown Manhattan apartment and galleries. It opens today and runs through JANUARY 19, 2011.

It is the first time these works are being shown together since 1932 when ALFRED STIEGLITZ showed them at AN AMERICAN PLACE, a gallery he operated from 1929 until his death in 1946, said the exhibition curator Bonnie Yochelson.

The photographs cover the periods from 1893 to 1916 and 1930 to 1935, contrasting the photographer’s images of Old New York with later images of the city as it emerged as a great metropolis.

ALFRED STIEGLITZ, whose second wife was the famous artist GEORGIA O’KEEFFE, was a strong proponent of photography as an art form and founded the Photo Secession group to promote photography as a distinctive medium of individual expression.

His first gallery 291, which he ran from 1905 to 1917, also introduced to the United States such European painters as HENRI MATISSE, PABLO PICASSO, PAUL CEZANNE and AUGUSTE RODIN.

Assembled from the collections of about a dozen major American museums and individuals, the Seaport Museum photographs include ALFRED STIEGLITZ’S iconic print of the FLATIRON BUILDING near Madison Square Park. The soft focus, misty print was taken on a snowy night and like many of his images, it has the quality of a painting.

Another print, THE TERMINAL, depicts another wintry scene of a horse drawn omnibus on a slushy street in front of the old Post Office in the city’s financial district.

The exhibition features three platinum prints, taken in 1915 from the back window of 291.

“My reading of these pictures is that they’re in a certain way self portraits, that he’s always looking for ways to express his inner state of mind…and when he settled on these window views — which were not of famous buildings like the Flatiron — that was really when he found his New York, his way of expressing the city,” Bonnie Yochelson said.

The three images show the same view — townhouses and commercial loft buildings — at different times of day and in different seasons.

Highlighting the museum’s seaport theme, the exhibition features THE FERRY, a moody, dark picture of a ferry boat near Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan, one of a series of harbour pictures, all taken by ALFRED STIEGLITZ in 1910.

A separate gallery contains a small presentation of his lantern slides, the precursor of the old fashioned slide carousel, that never have been shown before. The slides, scanned by the museum from originals, were used by members of The Camera Club Of New York, of which ALFRED STIEGLITZ was a member, to show each other their latest work.

“He loved the medium. He thought it was beautiful to have these translucent projected images,” Bonnie Yochelson stated.

The third and last gallery of the exhibition is called THE FACE OF NEW YORK. It contrasts ALFRED STIEGLITZ’S personal vision with a variety of material by other artists to show the wide variety of imagery of New York that was developing during his time.

“It’s meant to give this sort of high temple of art feeling, which was his view of himself and his work, with the kind of hustle bustle dynamic imagery and feeling of the city which was showing up by others,” Bonnie Yochelson commented.