12456 - 20170513 - Exhibition examines work of radical sculptor Medardo Rosso - St.Louis, MO - 11.11.2016-13.05.2017


Medardo Rosso, Une conversation (A Conversation), 1892-1899. Plaster. 13 3/4 x 26 1/4 x 16 in (35 x 66.5 x 41 cm). Museo Medardo Rosso.

Pulitzer Arts Foundation’s fall exhibition examines the work of Medardo Rosso, a critically important, if under-recognized, artist who played a crucial role in the development of modern sculpture. Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form explores Rosso’s radical efforts to render sculpture ephemeral and seemingly insubstantial through changing effects of light. It is the largest and most comprehensive Rosso exhibition to be presented in a U.S. museum, with some 30 sculptures—the majority of which have never been seen in this country—as well as about 40 photographs and 30 drawings. 
On view at the Pulitzer from November 11, 2016, through May 13, 2017, Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form has been curated by independent Rosso expert Sharon Hecker and Pulitzer Arts Foundation Associate Curator Tamara H. Schenkenberg. The exhibition will not travel.

Pulitzer Director Cara Starke says, “From its inception, the Pulitzer has been devoted to presenting experimental, risk-taking work. With his distinctly un-heroic subject matter, his radical process, and his efforts to make sculpture—traditionally the most material of art forms—seem virtually dematerialized, Rosso unquestionably fits that description.

Moreover, we are thrilled to present work that is so sensitive to the effects of light in our building, where abundant and ever-changing natural light and shadow help to shape the experience of the art we show. We are certain that Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form will be a revelatory experience for our visitors, and we are grateful to the many lenders who have made the exhibition possible.”

Born in Turin, Italy, Medardo Rosso (1858–1928) began his career in Milan, where he first created sculpture that focused on the interactions of surface and light. In 1889, he moved to Paris, where he would remain for the next three decades. It was there, in the milieu of forward-looking artists, critics, and collectors, that he eventually gained critical attention for his efforts to capture fleeting impressions through light and modeling. Rosso tended to return to the same subject over and over, creating versions in plaster, wax, and bronze. His modeling, along with his unusual casting methods, made his works highly receptive to light and shadow. He also experimented with light through photography, manipulating the artificial illumination in his studio, as well as darkroom processes. So intense was Rosso’s focus on light that he once declared that “we are all nothing more than plays of light.”

Rosso’s efforts to “dematerialize” sculpture by incorporating light, combined with his focus on such everyday subjects as street urchins and nursing children, as well as unorthodox ones like bookmakers, helped to expand the definition of sculpture for the modern era. His figures—tired, sick, meditative, laughing, or melancholy—appear to be caught in fugitive states. Intimately scaled “impressions” of modern life, they stand in marked contrast to the monumental, idealized depictions typical of so much traditional sculpture before and during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form occupies the entire Pulitzer building. While it focuses primarily on the artist’s years in Paris, the exhibition begins with a work created in Milan, Portinaia (Concierge; 1883–84), a head of a woman that visitors encounter as they enter the building. The sculpture marks the point in Rosso’s career when he shifted from an emphasis on realism to impressionistic surfaces that respond to light and atmosphere. Here, as in virtually all of his work from this point forward, the presence of the artist’s hand is recorded in the intensely worked surfaces. This, combined with the small scale of his sculptures, gives the act of looking a keen sense of intimacy. Portinaia is accompanied by a selection of experimental photographs that Rosso made of the sculpture, varying the light conditions, focus, and angles. This gallery also includes Carne altrui (The Flesh of Others; 1883– 84), another subject from Rosso's years in Milan. Here the head of a prostitute appears to emerge from the material of which it’s made—and by which it is partially obscured—perhaps caught in a moment of drowsiness.

Moving to the Pulitzer’s main gallery, with its abundant sunlight and shadow, the exhibition focuses on the impact of natural light on the works. Enfant au soleil (Child in the Sun; 1891–92), for example, reveals Rosso’s interest in how light affects the appearance of the flesh of children. Rosso’s only surviving multi-figure work is also on view in this gallery. Titled Une Conversation (A Conversation;1892–99), it comprises two seated women and a standing man. Despite the title, Rosso did not articulate a face on any of the figures, but left blank ovals of clay where the faces would be; rather, communication is conveyed through the figures’ body language, with the man leaning forward timidly, and the women turning ever so slightly towards him. Displayed adjacent to the Pulitzer’s water court, the sculpture has been animated by the dynamic interplay of light and shadow that emanates through the expansive windows.

In the following, smaller, space the exhibition looks at the theme of mother and child, one of the artist’s signature subjects. Highlights include a bronze cast of Enfant au sein (Child at the Breast; late 1889–90), a commissioned portrait, along with a selection of photographs of the subjects. The version of the sculpture on view omits the mother’s head, placing the focus instead on the nursing child. Moreover, as in works throughout the exhibition, Enfant au sein can only be deciphered from a particular vantage point, where the light and shadow interact to reveal the subject. Viewing thus becomes an active undertaking as we search for the figure in the material.

Moving to the Pulitzer’s lower level, the focus of Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form turns to artificial illumination. The invention of the incandescent light bulb in the late 19th century had a profound impact on every aspect of life, and it entered into Rosso’s lexicon of light effects, as he reexamined his sculptures under varied conditions of electric light and took enormous care with the lighting conditions in which his finished works were shown. In doing this, he may have been responding to Charles Baudelaire’s 1846 essay “Why Sculpture is Boring,” in which Baudelaire blamed uncontrollable light effects for what he viewed as the inferiority of sculpture to painting.

One of the downstairs galleries features a single work that viewers will be able to illuminate in various ways, changing both the angles and intensity of light falling on the work. In doing so, they will be able to discern the ways in which light affects our perception of sculpture and, it is hoped, gain a tangible understanding of Rosso’s own experiments with both natural and artificial illumination.

Elsewhere, the exhibition displays a range of works that evince Rosso’s preoccupation with artificial light, which he uses not to create bright and clear images, but rather the obverse, to endow his sculpture with a sense of mystery or surprise. The masterpiece Madame X (1896), an enigmatic, barely discernable head of a woman, is accompanied here by a pair of photographs in which the artist shows just a glimpse of the head, seeming to emerge from the frame. Two versions of Malato all’ospedale (Sick Man in the Hospital; 1889) portray a figure slumped in a chair, in an interior that would have been artificially lit. A particularly small work—it measures less than eight inches in height—it compels us to lean close to read the figure, whose condition is conveyed with tenderness and intimacy. Elsewhere, an image of the cabaret singer Yvette Guilbert, who most famously sang at the Moulin Rouge (where she was immortalized by Toulouse-Lautrec), is shown in painted plaster. Here Rosso, who had seen Guilbert perform, clearly intends to evoke the effects of the footlights on her soulful face.

The exhibition’s final gallery focuses primarily on Rosso’s drawings, many of which remained in his possession. Freely executed, largely untitled and undated, they do not appear to be preparatory to his work in sculpture, though like the sculpture, they are small in scale and invite close looking. They depict a broad range of subject matter, from urban life as seen in places like cafés, on public transportation, and in the street, to animal studies, landscapes, and domestic interiors. View of a Boulevard, for example, conjures the dynamism of modern Paris with two figures swiftly crossing paths on a bustling street, while an image drawn on the back of an envelope depicts two women, also in a city, who have paused for quiet moment of conversation. The landscapes are frequently so loosely rendered that they seem to summon rather than depict their subject matter.

Rosso also photographed his drawings, creating a separate body of work through which he revisited the same motif through multiple iterations. One example here, a series of works on paper titled Lionne (Lioness), began with a drawing, which the artist later photographed. He then rephotographed it, printing the resulting image in various sizes and on different papers, in a process that recapitulates the restless experimentation of his sculpture.



12455 - 20170521 - SFMOMA presents immersive installation by Tomás Saraceno - San Francisco, CA - 17.12.2016-21.05.2017


Tomás Saraceno, Galaxies Forming along Filaments, like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider’s Web, 2009 (installation view, from 53rd Biennale di Venezia “Fare Mondi”); courtesy the artist, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, Andersen's Contemporary, Copenhagen, Pinksummer contemporary art, Genoa, Esther Schipper, Berlin; photo: © Alessandro Coco.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is presenting the exhibition Tomás Saraceno: Stillness in Motion—Cloud Cities, by artist Tomás Saraceno, on view at the museum December 17, 2016 through May 21, 2017. Organized by the SFMOMA Architecture and Design department, the exhibition includes an immersive site-specific cloudscape installation of suspended tension structures and floating sculptures, as well as explorations of the intricate constructions of spider webs.  
“Visually provocative and conceptually rigorous, Saraceno’s practice merges art, architecture and science in a compelling, pragmatic and poetic way,” said Joseph Becker, associate curator of architecture and design at SFMOMA.

Stillness in Motion—Cloud Cities is part of Saraceno’s larger, long-term project titled Aerocene, the artist’s vision for a future era in which humanity minimizes the impact on the planet’s fossil-fuel resources, and instead resides in collective airborne cities.

“Stillness in Motion—Cloud Cities is about becoming airborne, not to fly but to float in the air at the speed of solar aerostatics, from cumulonimbus cities to the cosmic web,” said Saraceno. “Aerocene is an invitation to shape a post fossil-fuel epoch, in a cloudscape of interconnected spheres of practices that include open, participatory platforms of knowledge production and distribution; models; data; and sensitivity to the more-than-human world. These airborne cities floating among the clouds (just as Earth floats in the cosmic plane) call for scalable mental, social and environmental ecologies.”

In the exhibition, visitors will be encouraged to wind their way through and below a geometrically complex array of cords and reflective panels, forming a cloud of 10,000 nodes suspended in the air by tension and connected to the gallery walls, floor and ceiling. This site-specific work is inspired by multiple phenomena and structures, including the social construction of spider webs, stellar and atmospheric clouds, bubble and foam geometry and social and neural communication networks.

Intended as a collective sensorial experience, Saraceno’s immersive installation works are captivating spaces that challenge viewers’ relationships to the world. His work resonates with several other great experimental thinkers whose radical work exploded the boundaries of art and architecture in the mid20th century—from the structural explorations of artists like Gyula Kosice, to the utopian impulses of Buckminster Fuller; from Italo Calvino’s fictional universes to the futuristic urban visions of Archigram in London and the countercultural movement embodied by the multidisciplinary work of Ant Farm in the Bay Area.

Saraceno’s exhibition underlines SFMOMA’s longstanding commitment to experimentation and conceptual practice in art and architecture, and his airborne cities build upon the forward-thinking radicalism and progressive social change which has continually been a focus of SFMOMA’s Architecture and Design collection. Stillness in Motion—Cloud Cities illuminates the powerful and inspiring connections between art, science and architecture at the gallery, urban and even planetary scale.


12454 - 20170416 - Detroit Institute of Arts hosts "The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals" Detroit, MICH - 16.12.2016-16.04.2017

“The Pastry Shop,” 1600s, Abraham Bosse, hand-colored etching, engraving, gouache and gold. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.
Journey back centuries for a detailed look at elaborate sculptures and monuments made of food for street festivals and royal banquets in Europe in “The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals” at the Detroit Institute of Arts Dec. 16, 2016–April 16, 2017. The exhibition is organized by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles and includes 140 prints, serving manuals and rare cookbooks from the Getty and private collections. It is free with museum admission, which is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
“This exhibition will delight fans of cooking shows and chef competitions, which are so popular today,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “It’s amazing to see the ingenuity of chefs and food designers who created these elaborate edible monuments 300 to 500 years ago, and visitors will also enjoy seeing some of the earliest cookbooks and food etiquette manuals.”

For the poor and hungry, public celebrations and street parades provided the opportunity to feast from large-scale edible creations made of breads, cheeses and meats. At court festivals, banquet settings and dessert buffets featured lavish table monuments made of sugar, flowers and fruit, which indicated the host’s wealth and status. These edible sculptures didn’t last long, but images of towering garden sculptures and extravagant table pieces designed for Italian and French courts and street festivals have survived in illustrated books and prints, many of which are featured in the exhibition.

By the mid-17th century, cookbooks, handbooks showing place settings and decorative table arrangements and guides to the new skills and professions of carving and pastry making were published. Copied and plagiarized, they became models that spread throughout European court culture. The exhibition includes books by Bartolomeo Scappi, “private cook” to Pope Pius V; Joseph Gilliers, dessert chef to King Augustus of Poland; and Juan de la Mata, court chef to the Spanish kings Philip V and Ferdinand VI.

The exhibition also includes a monumental sugar sculpture based on an 18th-century print. “Palace of Circe” by British sculptor and culinary historian Ivan Day is set on an eight-foot table and features sugar paste sculpted into a classical temple with sugar statues and sugar-sand gardens. The figures were meant to show the consequences of gluttony with a story about the ancient Greek hero Ulysses. When he landed on the island of Aeaea, his men were so greedy that the sorceress Circe turned them into pigs.


12453 - 20170417 - Works from the most celebrated female artist of all time in Florida's first-ever solo Kahlo exhibition - St. Petersburg, FLO - 17.12.2016-17.04.2017

Frida Kahlo, Autorretrato con changuito (Self Portrait with Small Monkey), 1945. Oil on composite board. Collection Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The Dali Museum. examines the strength, the mind, the loves and life of the most celebrated female artist of all time. Frida Kahlo’s works have achieved significant importance in art, popular culture and the politics of personal identity. The exhibition features more than 60 pieces including 15 original paintings – many of them among Kahlo’s own favorites – seven drawings, and more than 45 of her personal photographs. Running through April 17, 2017, Frida Kahlo at The Dali is Florida’s first solo exhibition of works by Kahlo.
The exhibition, curated by The Dali’s Executive Director Dr. Hank Hine and the Museum’s Curator of Exhibitions, Dr. William Jeffett, celebrates the beautiful yet tumultuous life of the iconic artist. There are, in a sense, two Fridas: the suffering, pain-wracked Frida and the Frida alive to the joys of the universe. The exhibition demonstrates that despite her troubles, Frida’s legacy is her redeeming art and indomitable spirit.

The Museum creates exhibitions that compare or contrast in some way the relationship between the exhibiting artist and Salvador Dali; this exhibit sheds light on a number of profound similarities between Kahlo and Dali: their connection to dream, their yearning to embrace the cosmos, their fixations on an intensely loved companion. Both artists also meaningfully constructed their identities as part of their artwork, looked the part and lived it for the public.

“Much like Dali, Frida Kahlo was engaged in other interests outside of her art, such as Mexican culture, global politics, feminism, gardening and fashion,” said Hine. “When it came to suffering, she depicted hers as individual and real, but also as something more: a story of the human condition. Her misery is redemptive. She seems to say, ‘this is what I have, against all duration and all cruelty of fate, and I triumph still.’”

In conjunction with the exhibit, The Dali will host a variety of programs that engage visitors in journaling and gardening, two of Kahlo’s favorite pastimes; as well as programs focused on Mexican heritage and gender in relation to modern art. A monumental homage to Frida’s garden at her home in Mexico, Casa Azul, has been constructed in the Museum’s Avant-garden and is featured on the free audio tour guide which accompanies the exhibition, narrated by Academy Award winning actor Susan Sarandon. There will also be myriad film screenings by prominent Mexican directors such as Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Luis Bunuel. Cafe Gala will periodically feature Mexican-inspired specials and the Museum’s Store will boast a large collection of Frida Kahlo-inspired merchandise including home and outdoor decor, collectibles, books and more.

“The Frida Kahlo exhibit is opening at an exciting time for The Dali,” said Kathy Greif, Dali Museum Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer. “In addition to this captivating show, we just reintroduced – now as a permanent installation – our award winning virtual reality experience, Dreams of Dali. And we recently debuted a stunning 17-foot steel mustache in the Avant- garden created by local sculptor Donald Gialanella. We hope visitors will be delighted by all these new offerings, making it the perfect time to visit…again.”

Frida Kahlo at The Dali has been co-organized by The Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL and the Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City. The exhibit also features works from the Vicente Wolf photographic collection.


12452 - 20170305 - Redwood Library and Athenæ um presents master drawings, Renaissance to contemporary - Newport, RI - 01.12.2016-05.03.2017

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), Ruggiero Attacks the Orc (illustration for Ariosto, Orlando Furioso), pencil and wash on paper.
Departing from the appreciation that drawing not only remains foundational to art theory and pedagogy, but that it is also undergoing a discernible resurgence in current artistic practice, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum presents The Variable Line: Master Drawings, Renaissance to Contemporary, on view from December 1, 2016 – March 5, 2017. 
Organized by the Redwood Library, the sole U.S. venue, and featuring forty-five works, the exhibition is arranged as a survey featuring many types of drawings—from preliminary sketches to finished presentation drawings—rendered in a rich variety of styles and techniques, and treating a broad range of themes.

“Artists have always relied on drawing to put down ideas quickly—it serves this purpose perhaps even more now as the medium on-the-go appropriate to today’s global art world. In that sense drawing has always attached to the conceptual. Certainly drawing is integral to the larger turn towards conceptual thinking in contemporary art, from Sol Lewitt to Julie Mehretu,” explains Benedict Leca, Redwood Executive Director and exhibition curator. “That said, it is interesting to note how the works by contemporary women artists on view are at once visibly painstaking in their technique and contrary to traditional notions of skill.”

The presentation is arranged into seven sections—Académies and the Centrality of the Figure, Line and the ‘Grand Manner,’ Fragonard and Ariosto, The Light of Italy and the Lure of the Antique, Drawing the Pastoral, Landscape and the Bucolic, and Master/Mistress: the Gendered Line—enabling visitors to identify both continuities and ruptures in theme and technique across 500 years of drawing practice in Western Europe and America.

Upending the now conventional dominance accorded to digital media or even painting, the selection of drawings on display crossing five centuries—from Renaissance to contemporary—speaks to drawing’s eternal relevance as consonant to art making in any medium, be it painting, sculpture or video. It is for this reason that drawing’s ubiquity has stretched unbroken to this day, routinely entering our own lives as doodle or sketch. From the most pervasive to the most individual, drawing, like handwriting, thus offers historical perspectives through the continuities inherent to the medium, as well as insights into the stylistic idiosyncrasies of its adaptation by individual artists. The immutable simplicity of a line drawn across paper, parchment or mylar makes the drawings exhibited here among those rare objects that enable visitors to ride along on the creative journey of both Renaissance and contemporary artists.

The Variable Line: Master Drawings, Renaissance to Contemporary is organized by the Redwood Library and Athenaeum and curated by Benedict Leca, Executive Director. The Redwood Library gratefully acknowledges lenders to the exhibition, as well as the support of Cornelius Bond and Ann Blackwell, and Sandra Liotus Lighting Design, LLC.


12451 - 20170507 - "Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time" at LACMA - Los Angeles - 04.12.2016-07.05.2017

Diego Rivera, Pre-Columbian America (América prehispánica), 1950. Oil on canvas, 27 ½ × 36 ¼ in. (70 × 92 cm). Private collection, Mexico © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Rafael Doniz.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, presents Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time (December 4, 2016–May 7, 2017), an exhibition that examines moments of intersection in the formation of modernism both in Europe and Latin America, and asks how Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera—towering figures of the 20th century—both exchanged ideas in Paris about avant-garde paintings and later engaged with their respective ancient Mediterranean and Pre-Columbian worlds. Cocurated and conceived by Diana Magaloni, deputy director and director of the Program for the Art of the Ancient Americas at LACMA, and Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, and developed with guest curators, Juan Coronel Rivera, James Oles, and Jennifer Stager, the exhibition compares the artists’ trajectories beginning with their similar academic training to their shared investment in Cubism and their return to an engagement with antiquity from the 1920s through the 1950s. 
More than 100 paintings and prints by both artists are in dialogue with one other and with dozens of ancient Greco-Roman, Iberian, and Aztec objects, Picasso and Rivera aims to advance the understanding of the artists’ practices, particularly in how their contributions were influenced by the forms, myths, and structures of the arts of antiquity. Picasso and Rivera’s radical approach to understanding ancient art was in many ways subversive: by doing that they also rewrote art history—greatly enlarging the recognition of artistic contributions of ancient civilizations. Ancient art became essential for their sense of the future, both personally and politically.

“By placing masterworks by Picasso and Rivera alongside Greco-Roman, Etruscan, and Iberian works as well as Mesoamerican sculptures and ceramic figurines, the exhibition weaves together distant geographies and worlds to blur the frontiers of time and space,” said Diana Magaloni. “Picasso and Rivera views both artists as inventors of a new visual reality in the first decades of the 20th century. Diego Rivera brought the Pre-Columbian world to the forefront by showing that the art produced by these cultures was for the Americas what traditional Greek and Roman art was for Europe.”

“LACMA thinks about art history along a continuum,” said Michael Govan. “Rather than perpetuating historical or cultural hierarchies, we seek to create dialogue, particularly given our location in a city that stands at an international crossroads with both Latin America and the Pacific Rim. This exhibition is a product of an Americas viewpoint, where our ancient indigenous heritage proposes a novel worldview that can interface with classical Western traditions, bringing both a diversity of viewpoints and a profound convergence of human and artistic values.”

Picasso and Rivera will travel to Mexico City, where it will be on view from May 31 to September 10, 2017 at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes.

This exhibition is presented in five thematic sections, highlighting the moments of interaction and divergence between the two artists.

The Academy looks at Picasso and Rivera’s training in their respective national academies—Picasso in Spain and Rivera in Mexico—which they both entered as child prodigies. They studied within the rigorous curriculum of neoclassicism, where copying of the antique and a ruthless adhesion to the principles it had come to represent were the chief means to a successful career.

Cubsim and Paris (1908–16) examines the period between 1908 and 1916 when both artists moved to Paris and became active participants of the avant-garde movement. The two met in early 1914 when Picasso invited Rivera to his studio before camaraderie yielded to rivalry in 1915. Both artists prolifically created Cubist works, including Picasso’s The Poet (Le poète) (1912) and Rivera’s Sailor at Lunch (Marinero almorzando) (1914). This period of experimentation became critical for both artists, foreshadowing a unique approach to composition and to ancient art in their future practices. This section also provides a rare opportunity to view Picasso’s Cubism through Rivera’s eyes.

Picasso and Rivera both traveled to Italy (in 1917 and 1920, respectively) and, following the war, embraced a revalorization of the classical tradition. Return to Order and Indigenismo addresses the post-WWI desire for order and stability that permeated the Parisian avant-garde. Picasso and Rivera’s monumental paintings of the 1920s capture their reinterpretations of antiquity, be it Greco-Roman for Picasso, or ancient Mesoamerican for Rivera. Picasso’s first monumental neoclassical painting, Three Women at the Spring (1921)—an exceptional loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA)—recasts the classical group of three women, usually appearing as Graces and Fates, into sculptural forms and on a monumental scale. Meanwhile, in Flower Day (Día de Flores) (1925), Rivera transforms figures of Mexico’s indigenous peoples into icons inspired by Chalchiuhtlicue, the Aztec water goddess. This gallery also includes portions of Rivera’s personal holdings of ancient Pre-Columbian ceramic and stone sculptures, a collection that has never previously traveled outside of Mexico. This will be the first time that Flower Day will be shown alongside the ancient Chalchiuhtlicue sculptures that Rivera often used for his compositions.

The subsequent two galleries focus on the artists individually rather than in direct dialogue. Rivera and Pre-Columbian Art demonstrates how Rivera vigorously engaged with European modernism only to abandon abstraction for didactic figuration— enriched by references to Mexico’s ancient civilizations—and focusing his attention on public murals that emphasized the national and ideological above the personal. By the 1930s Rivera had already formed his own style where the ancient Mesoamerican sculptures were transformed into everyday living people, creating in this manner a representation of the idealized mestizo race in Mexico. In The Flowered Canoe (La Canoa en Florada) (1931), Rivera creates two worlds: the mestizos, influenced by Western culture, enjoy a day at Lake Xochimilco, while an oarsman, clearly an indigenous man, represents the force of tradition.

The gallery dedicated to Picasso and Mythology explores how the artist shaped the foundations of 20th century art through formal experimentation with the art of the past, creating images that were at once deeply personal and universal. In Studio with Plaster Head (Atelier avec tête et bras de plâtre) (1925), for example, Picasso summarizes his views on the dialectic relationship between ancient Greek and Roman tradition with Western painting and the beginning of modernism. Modernism was often conceived as a total break with the past; however, Picasso perceived it as part of a continuum. By showing classical figuration in the artist’s studio, Picasso implies that it is the responsibility of the artist to create something new out of tradition. In this way, he presents an artistic lineage that goes from ancient Greece to Cubism.

Situated between the final two galleries, the film Ideologías y Muralismo, commissioned by LACMA and directed by Rodrigo García, explores Rivera’s mural Pan American Unity (San Francisco City College, 1940) and Picasso’s Guernica (1937), as well as the artists’ shared engagement with monumentality and political activism.


12450 - 20170507 - National Portrait Gallery presents first interpretation of Bill Viola's work as portraiture - Washington, DC - 18.11.2016-07.05.2017

Three Women, 2008/Color High-Definition video on plasma display mounted vertically on wall/61 ¼ x 36 3/8 x 5 in (155.5 x 92.5 x 12.7 cm)/9:06 minutes/Performers: Anika, Cornelia, Helena Ballent/Bill Viola Studio © Bill Viola.
In “Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait,” the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery offers a new interpretation of the artist’s work, presenting it through the lens of portraiture and technology. The exhibition, the first of its kind for Viola’s work in Washington, includes 11 media pieces by the pioneering artist. Since the early 1970s, Viola has been recognized for his groundbreaking and masterful use of video technologies, creating works that explore the spiritual and perceptual side of human experience. The exhibition opened Nov. 18 and is on view through May 7, 2017.
“Bill Viola approaches portraiture in the spirit of the artists of the early Renaissance, where personal likeness combines with universal themes of spirituality and faith,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “His great gift is to take age-old questions about human experience and re-present them for contemporary life. He uses pixels instead of paint to connect people over time through the art of video. I am delighted to invite visitors to enter the museum’s newly created media galleries to experience portraiture in its most telling and current form: moving revelations of the human body and spirit that befit our digital age.”

Viola’s intimate studies of the human face and body depict a range of emotions, gradually revealed by his signature use of slow motion. Viola also turned the camera on himself, particularly in his early years of art-making, and several self-portraits will be on view. These works connect viewers of all backgrounds by using cutting-edge technology to create moving images that are emotional, searing and profound.

The earliest piece in the exhibition, “The Reflecting Pool” (1977–79), is a self-portrait exploring the notion of the perception of reality, and of the passage of time. “Time becomes extended and punctuated by a series of events seen only as reflections in the water,” Viola said.

Water themes course through Viola’s art. “The Raft” (May 2004), a large video/sound projection, depicts men and women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds caught in a catastrophic deluge that tests the human spirit.

Another room-sized work in the exhibition, “The Dreamers” (2013), uses seven plasma screens to portray people underwater in repose, fully clothed and with their eyes closed. Viola describes the piece: “Water ripples across their bodies, subtly animating their movements. The sound of running water permeates the space as dreams filter though the room, drawing the viewer into this watery world.”

One of Viola’s most contemplative pieces, a commentary on the condition of aging, is his recent diptych, “Man Searching for Immortality/Woman Searching for Eternity” (2013). The portraits are projected onto two separate slabs of black granite; one shows a man and another a woman, each examining their aging naked body with a small light, “looking for evidence of disease or corruption. Thankful for life, they gradually dissolve back into the stone from where they came,” Viola said.

“Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait” has been curated by Asma Naeem, curator of prints, drawings and media art at the National Portrait Gallery, in consultation with Viola’s creative partner, Kira Perov, and Bill Viola Studio.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum displays the latest acquisition of media art to the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection, Viola’s “Self Portrait, Submerged” (2013). John and Louise Bryson have funded the work.


12449 - 20170402 - Exhibition features the lush paintings of Michael Armitage - Berkeley, CA - 14.12.2016-02.04.2017


Michael Armitage, Muliro Gardens (bench), 2016. Oil on Lubugo bark cloth; 67 1/8 x 86 13/16 x 1 5/8 in.; courtesy of the artist and White Cube, London. © Michael Armitage. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents Michael Armitage / MATRIX 263, on view from December 14, 2016 through April 2, 2017. The exhibition features the lush paintings of London- and Nairobi-based artist Michael Armitage, who merges European styles with East African subjects, materials, and perspectives. MATRIX 263 debuts a new body of work in which Armitage reflects on sexuality and gender stereotypes in Kenya.
Armitage trains his attention on the vicissitudes of Kenyan life and its social inequities, political developments, and violent upheavals—all filtered through a dreamlike, expressionistic aesthetic, which is as poignant as it is visionary. His choice of subject matter is inspired by contemporary events in his native Kenya, and he often interweaves imagery he finds in African popular culture, including websites, newspapers, posters, and music videos. His signature medium is oil on Lubugo bark cloth, a fabric traditionally used to make ceremonial garments, which he stretches across a frame; the inherent sutures, tears, and textures of the material frequently inform the compositions of his paintings.

Blending abstract and figurative styles, Armitage draws upon the modernist language of Edouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, and Pablo Picasso, yet upends their European approach to non-Western cultures. Armitage’s palette and expressionistic lines, for instance, recall the saturated canvases Gauguin made in Tahiti, which depicted the island and its inhabitants from a decidedly Western perspective. Armitage quotes Gauguin in order to challenge the French painter’s exoticization of the “other.” In his paintings, Kenya and (its extended region) is represented from a perspective that is instead synthetic and cosmopolitan.

The largest work in the exhibition pictures the Tanzanian pop artist Diamond Platnumz, known across Africa for his unique brand of Bongo flava music, and his entourage disembarking from his plane on the tarmac. The lush, blue-green, tropical background seems to undulate on the canvas, with the protagonists—bedecked in bright orange and yellow clothes—contrasting with their paradisiacal environs while also appearing entirely integrated with them. Kampala Suburb (2014), the first painting Armitage made in the series, which addresses sexuality in Kenya, shows the silhouettes of two men kissing—an act that could be punishable by death in Kampala, Uganda. In another painting, Armitage revisits Picasso’s famed Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), but transforms the five central figures into male prostitutes, known as “beach boys,” who comb the beaches of Mombasa looking for wealthy European patrons. Armitage here reverses the historical dialectic between European and African cultures, appropriating Picasso’s iconic modern imagery to tell a story about contemporary life in Kenya.

Born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya, Michael Armitage lives and works in both Nairobi and London. He graduated in 2007 from the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London and in 2010 from the Royal Academy Schools. He has had solo exhibitions at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and White Cube (which represents him), and his work was featured in the thirteenth Biennale de Lyon and the Drawing Room Biennial, as well as in group exhibitions at Home, Manchester; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York; Yuan Museum, Beijing; Palazzo Capris, Turin; and Beers Contemporary, the South London Gallery, the Drawing Room, Studio 1.1, and Simon Oldfield in London. This is Armitage’s first solo exhibition in the United States.


12448 - 20170423 - "Mastering the Metropolis: New York and Zoning, 1916-2016" at the Museum of the City of New York - 08.12.2016-23.04.2017


Partnership for New York City, Industrial Map of New York City Showing Manufacturing Industries, 1922. Museum of the City of New York, Gift of McKim, Mead & White, 42.412.7.
The Museum of the City of New York presents Mastering the Metropolis: New York and Zoning, 1916 – 2016, an exhibition that celebrates the centennial of New York’s landmark Zoning Resolution of 1916 and brings to life this often overlooked part of New York City in an accessible and engaging way through architectural renderings and models, info-graphics, rare maps, primary source documents, and archival photographs and film.
The exhibition illuminates how New York City’s iconic skyline has been shaped for 100 years – and continues to be shaped today – by a colossally ambitious law meant to balance the complex and competing tensions of modern urban development. Zoning and its effects across the five boroughs are highlighted in the exhibition, including famous Manhattan skyscrapers, supermarkets in the Bronx, and single-family homes in Staten Island and Queens. In telling the story of the law’s conception and evolution, Metropolis examines a century of evolving ideas and heated debates about what constitutes an “ideal” city, a debate that continues today. The groundbreaking resolution was designed to find a middle ground between real estate interests and public welfare, anxiety over change and excitement for the new, and the imposition of order against the promotion of growth and innovation.

“The Zoning Resolution of 1916 is so fundamental to the shape of our city, but it remains unknown or shrouded in mystery to many visitors and even some lifelong New Yorkers,” explained Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York. “With this exhibition we hope to shed light on the law’s transcendent legacy by unpacking its intricacies in engaging ways. Museumgoers will leave Mastering the Metropolis with a full understanding of how invisible forces like zoning policy affect our daily lives, and a deeper appreciation of how our unparalleled skyline and neighborhoods from the Bronx to Staten Island came to look and feel as they do today.”

Beginning with a city in crisis in the face of unprecedented growth at the turn of the 20th century, the exhibition follows the city’s attempts to regulate its physical setting from the 1916 ordinance, through the 1961 amendment, and all the way up to today’s debates over rezoning efforts, super tall skyscrapers, and affordable housing. Organized by guest curator Andrea Renner and associate curator Eric Goldwyn, Mastering the Metropolis focuses on zoning as a five-borough experience, exploring neighborhoods throughout the city. As the outer boroughs were less developed than Manhattan in 1916, the exhibition highlights the many ways in which zoning laws may have had even greater influence in areas such as Fieldston, Richmond Hill, and Williamsburg than in the canyons of office buildings most imagine when contemplating zoning.

The exhibition is divided into sections that demonstrate the zoning code’s development over the decades and how it has reflected the city’s changing values and shifting of prevailing wisdom on how a city should look and feel:

• City in Crisis
• A Rational Plan for Growth: The 1916 Ordinance
• Creating a Postwar City: The 1961 Amendment
• Shaping the Skyscraper
• Separation of Uses
• Zoning Today

More than 150 objects and artifacts for the show were selected with the goal of bringing an esoteric subject to life physically and visually. Highlights include architectural models of well-known skyscrapers like the Equitable Building, the Woolworth Building, the McGraw-Hill Building, and 432 Park; contemporary photos of neighborhoods throughout the city that have been affected by zoning codes in different ways; original primary source documents; maps from three different centuries; and classic images of New York City.

Mastering the Metropolis offers Museum visitors a unique lens through which to view the texture of New York City, inviting one and all to explore every corner of the five boroughs with zoning laws as a guide.

Mastering the Metropolis: New York City and Zoning, 1916-2016 is sponsored by ConEdison, Kramer Levin, the Lindenbaum Family Charitable Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, and Vornado Realty. Additional support is provided by Greenberg Traurig and Tishman Speyer. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the City of New York Department of City Planning and presented in memory of Samuel H. Lindenbaum. Exhibition co-chairs are Jill N. Lerner, FAIA, Linda Lindenbaum, and Michael T. Sillerman. Carl Weisbrod, Chairman of the City Planning Commission, serves as the exhibition’s Honorary Chairman.


12447 - 20170402 - Clark Art Institute presents its first-ever show of Japanese woodblock prints - Williamstown, Mass - 10.12.2016-02.04.2017

Kiyoshi Saitō (Japanese, 1907-1997), Gion in Kyoto B, 1959. Color woodblock print, 17 11/16 x 23 11/16 in. Clark Art Institute. Gift of the Rodbell Family Collection, 2014.16.55.
More than a century of Japanese printing traditions, represented by seventy-three color woodblock prints, presented in the Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection. The exhibition celebrates a generous 2014 gift to the Clark made by Adele Rodbell, and includes forty-eight prints from the Rodbell Family Collection, as well as works on loan from private collections and prints from the Clark’s permanent collection.
Japanese Impressions includes works by three generations of printmakers working in the Japanese tradition, including Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), Itō Shinsui (1898–1972), Kawase Hasui (1883–1957), Yoshida Hiroshi (1867–1950), and Kiyoshi Saitō (1907–1997).

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to present this wonderful collection. The Rodbell family’s generosity in making this important gift to the Clark is truly exceptional, and we are very grateful to Adele and her children for sharing these exquisite works with the Clark—and with the visitors and scholars who will benefit from having the opportunity to see them in our galleries and in our Manton Study Center for Works on Paper.”

The exhibition explores the complex and changing relationship among artists, woodblock cutters, and publishers from the ukiyo-e (scenes from the floating world) tradition of the mid-nineteenth century, the shin-hanga (new print) movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and the sōsaku-hanga (creative print) movement that began in the 1950s. Japanese Impressions is on view through April 2, 2017.

“I am continually amazed by the beauty and technical skill shown in these woodblock prints, which span nearly 150 years. The Clark is fortunate to be able to show these important works, each of which tells its own story of Japanese customs, geography, fashion, and architecture,” said Jay Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawing and Photographs. “The exhibition allows viewers to immerse themselves in this rich tradition of color printing and to see how, in some ways, it changed dramatically over the generations and yet remained true to an ethos of elegant design and superior production. It is a feast for the eyes.”

The Ukiyo-e Tradition
The first generation of printmakers represented in the exhibition worked in the ukiyo-e tradition. Artists such as Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige worked collaboratively with woodcutters, printers, and publishers to create brightly hued woodblock prints. Ukiyo-e color woodblock prints are created by printing different colors on top of each other. Each color is printed from a different carved block of wood; some prints require more than twenty blocks to create an image. These prints are referred to as nishiki-e, or brocade pictures, due to the rich tapestry of colors. Their style was marked by dramatic depictions of space, which included asymmetrical compositions and bird’s-eye viewpoints. Artists chose subjects that ranged from images of fashionable women and actors to landscapes and scenes from literature.

Utagawa Hiroshige was perhaps the most influential Japanese artist of his generation. Famous for landscape views that were based on direct observation, he was known to add or delete people and unattractive elements to construct a composition pleasing to the eye, as seen in his famed print Awa Province: Naruto Whirlpools (1855) from the series Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces.

The Rodbell Family Collection is particularly rich in works from two series of Hiroshige’s landscapes: Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces (1853) and One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (1857). The first series ushered in the tradition of the vertical landscape composition featuring mountains, waterfalls, bridges, and shrines from Japan’s sixty-six provinces.

One Hundred Famous Views of Edo similarly captured celebrated gardens, temples, and sites in Edo (modern day Tokyo). This famed series became an inspiration for generations of Western artists including Vincent van Gogh and James McNeill Whistler, who admired Hiroshige’s bold use of color, perspective, and cropping. In 1887, Van Gogh made a painted copy after one work from the series on view in the exhibition, Plum Estate, Kameido (1857).

Utagawa Hiroshige was a member of the Utagawa School. Founded by Utagawa Toyohiro, the school’s members included a diverse range of nineteenth-century artists who created more than half of all known surviving ukiyo-e prints. Because ukiyo-e artists typically assumed the name of their teacher, several artists who created prints during the nineteenth century are known as Utagawa. Among the most important of Hiroshige’s students was the artist born as Suzuki Chinpei (1826–1869). Known for his depictions of landscapes and travel such as the luminous Kintai Bridge at Iwakuni in Suō Province, he quickly established himself as a worthy heir to Hiroshige’s legacy. Upon his teacher’s death, Suzuki inherited the Hiroshige name and became known as Utagawa Hiroshige II.

Representations of Kabuki actors and fashionable women have a long tradition in ukiyo-e printmaking. Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864) and Utagawa Kunisada II (1823–1883) were celebrated for their depictions of actors and illustrations of popular genre and literary tales. In the 1890s, Toyohara Chikanobu (1838–1912) maintained this focus while bringing new types of brightly hued inks to the ukiyo-e tradition. Three prints by Chikanobu, all titled Garden in Spring from the series Ladies’ Etiquette Pictures, exemplify his penchant for depicting women in rich, ornamental kimonos. The tradition was further modified in the 1920s by Itō Shinsui (1898–1972) and Torii Kotondo (1900–1976), whose prints featured close-up, intimate views of their models immersed in the modern daily rituals of bathing and applying makeup.

The Shin-hanga Movement
At the turn of the twentieth century, Japan’s heightened interest in Western culture was countered by an increased awareness of the value of many traditional aspects of Japanese culture. The shin-hanga (new print) movement grew out of this sentiment and provided a means for combining traditional printmaking techniques with Western aesthetics. Like the ukiyo-e artists of the prior century, shin-hanga artists worked collaboratively and depicted traditional themes while incorporating Western aesthetic principles of realism and perspective.

Wantanabe Shōzaburō (1885–1962) was an influential ukiyo-e publisher who helped expand the careers of many Japanese artists in the early twentieth century including shin-hanga artists Itō Shinsui and Kawase Hasui (1883–1957). Shinsui’s earliest artistic success, Eight Views of Ōmi, depicts various views of a province in Central Japan. The series is based on a long-standing and popular artistic tradition of portraying a number of beautiful or significant scenes of a particular city or region.

One of the most prolific printmakers of the shin-hanga movement, Hasui trained as a painter and was inspired by Shinsui’s Eight Views of Ōmi to train as a printmaker. Like many of his peers, Hasui had a strong relationship with Wantanabe Shōzaburō and worked almost exclusively with him until the artist’s death in 1957. His work was a hybrid of Western-influenced realism and an admiration for Japanese landscape and customs.

Hasui, like other early twentieth-century artists, incorporated contemporary bridges as a motif in landscape prints such as his Evening Shower at Imai Bridge. These towering passageways over Japan’s steep river systems elegantly connected disparate provinces. The motif was favored by the Rodbell family as it served as a symbol of the bridging of their experiences between Japan and the United States.

Yoshida Hiroshi (1867–1950) also began his career as a painter and watercolorist, achieving acclaim in the second half of his career when he became a woodcut artist. Hiroshi’s imagery, style, and technique were a fusion of his Western training and travel, and his admiration for the traditions of ukiyo-e printmaking. Savvy, business-minded and adept at self-promotion, Hiroshi established his own workshop. In a desire to promote national and foreign sales, he signed his prints in both Japanese and English, such as in the print Fujiyama from Gotemba.

The Sōsaku-hanga Movement
Sōsaku-hanga, which translates to “original creative print,” came into prominence in the early 1950s, further evolving the ukiyo-e tradition. Different than both ukiyo-e and shin-hanga, this movement emphasized personal expression by the artist, who not only created the design but also carved the woodblocks and printed the image. In the 1950s, these prints grew in international popularity, possibly due to their range of non-sentimental, post-war subject matter rather than idyllic landscapes. One of the movement’s most important artists was Kiyoshi Saitō (1907–1997), a woodblock artist who worked on large-scale prints. Saitō’s imagery focused on simplified and abstracted representations of Buddhist temple architecture—such as Gion in Kyoto B in which architectural forms appear to melt into one another—and Buddhist clay sculpture images carved into the block in broad shapes and printed in muted, earthy tones.

This emphasis on individuality also influenced the founding of the Mingei Movement—the Japanese equivalent to the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Among the founders of Mingei was Shōji Hamada (1894–1978), a potter who championed the work of individual craftspeople—those who created utilitarian, modern art while simultaneously embracing the indigenous craft aesthetic that was perceived to be threatened by industrialization. Following the Meiji era (1868–1912), which ushered in a dramatic industrial revolution, Western-type factories began to mass-produce ceramics. Artists like Hamada sought to maintain the tradition of hand-crafted objects. His richly toned glazes and the abstract, vegetal motifs-––as in his rectangular Bottle (c. 1960)––became highly sought-after both in Japan and abroad. Six examples of Hamada’s ceramics lent by the Rodbell Family are included in the exhibition.


12446 - 20170319 - Dallas Museum of Art exhibition traces nature as artistic inspiration across the Middle Ages -Dallas - 04.12.2016-19.03.2017


Eucharistic dove Limoges, France. First third of the 13th century. Gilt copper, champlevé enamel, and glass cabochons. Overall: 7 1/4 x 9 5/8 x 4 1/4 in. (18.5 x 24.5 x 10.7 cm). Musée de Cluny, musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, Cl. 1957 © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY. Photograph: Jean-Gilles Berizzi.
This December, the Dallas Museum of Art presents a major exhibition illustrating the evolution of representations of nature across six centuries of medieval European art. The DMA is the exclusive U.S. venue for Art and Nature in the Middle Ages, which is composed of more than 100 extraordinary objects reflecting the wide range of styles, techniques and iconography that flourished during this period. Organized by the Musée de Cluny, musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, and featuring works rarely before exhibited in the United States, the exhibition will be on view from December 4, 2016, through March 19, 2017.
“The Dallas Museum of Art has the remarkable opportunity to present this exceptional collection from the Musée de Cluny for the first time in the United States,” said Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA. “We look forward to introducing both local and national audiences to rarely seen works of art, and to a distinct vision of nature developed by medieval artists in Western Europe, which still resonates today.”

Spanning the 12th to early 16th centuries, Art and Nature in the Middle Ages explores the diverse modes of expression and variety of representations of nature in medieval art, whether plant or animal, sacred or profane, real or imagined, highlighting its continuities and changes. The featured works of art emphasize the fundamental bond between humans and nature, and nature’s constant presence in the immediate environment and spiritual life of men and women in the Middle Ages.

As techniques developed and changed over time, so too did artistic depictions of the natural world. Art and Nature in the Middle Ages will trace the evolution of the treatment of flora and fauna, from the decorative stylization that prevailed during the Romanesque period to a more naturalistic approach based on close observation that characterized the Gothic. The exhibition will also highlight the legacy of ancient traditions, the role played by the great European migrations that occurred between the 5th and 7th centuries, and the influence of Islamic and Eastern art forms on medieval artisans, who were quick to adapt and invent.

Encompassing both fine and decorative art objects made for religious and everyday purposes, the DMA’s presentation will feature a wide array of media, including stained glass, precious metals and gemstones, enamel, marble, terracotta and faience ceramics, textiles and tapestries, and illuminated manuscripts. Among the notable works are rare textiles, such as a scene of chivalry from The Seigniorial Life tapestry cycle (c. 1500), and enamelwork, including the Reliquary of St. Francis of Assisi (after 1228), in addition to stained glass panels with white rose and maple leaf decorations from the Rhine Valley (c. 1330) and an aquamanile (water jug) in the form of a unicorn (c. 1400).

“We are fortunate to be able to share these outstanding examples of medieval artistry from the collection of the Musée de Cluny with audiences in the U.S. for the first time,” said Nicole R. Myers, The Lillian and James H. Clark Curator of European Painting and Sculpture. “Visitors will have the chance to experience the diverse modes of artistic expression that flourished in Western Europe during this period, as well as gain insight into the incredible inspiration that artists drew from the natural world, both lived and imagined.”

Accompanying the exhibition is a Spanish-language booklet featuring the exhibition text available for individuals to use during their visit to Art and Nature in the Middle Ages. This booklet is the first initiative implemented by Dr. Arteaga to include multilingual materials across a variety of formats in DMA exhibitions, with a goal of moving this approach to all of the Museum’s collection galleries.


12445 - 20170326 - Exhibition brings to Los Angeles some of the greatest achievements of German Renaissance art - Los Angeles - 20.11.2016-26.03.2017


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is presenting Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach. Coinciding with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the exhibition brings to Los Angeles some of the greatest achievements of German Renaissance art. As the only U.S. venue of the exhibition, LACMA offers a unique opportunity to view masterpieces of this period, which have rarely been displayed outside of Germany. 
The period under consideration (1460–1580) was marked by conflicts, civil wars, and complex relationships with neighboring countries, but it also witnessed a flourishing of many states and cities, reflected in the skills of their craftsmen. Additionally, the era was characterized by profound changes in thought, philosophy, science, and religion, spearheaded by Martin Luther’s writings, which in turn transformed the work of many artists of the day such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hans Holbein, Mathias Grünwald, Tilman Riemenschneider, and Peter Vischer. These revolutionary ideas and innovations played a transformational role in the development of modern Western societies.

Organized with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, and made possible by the German Foreign Office, the exhibition comprises over 100 objects, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, arms and armor, as well as decorative arts.

“Renaissance and Reformation—organized in cooperation with these three German institutions—provides a rare opportunity to view works by artists not typically represented in local collections in Los Angeles,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director.

“The exhibition brings together some of the finest works by the greatest artists, painters, sculptors, and craftsmen of the period,” says J. Patrice Marandel, the Robert H. Ahmanson Chief Curator of European Art at LACMA. “We are very pleased to present the show on the momentous occasion of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary.”

The 1517 publication of Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses set in motion one of the greatest movements of ideas in European history. What began as a challenge to the Church for the practice of selling “indulgences,” or vouchers for reduced time in Purgatory, developed into a religious and political movement that reshaped the Western Christian world.

Luther’s Reformation, while considered from a strictly theological viewpoint, should also be studied within the complex political realities of early 16th-century Europe that includes struggles for power from various sides: the German princes, the House of Habsburg, and the Roman Catholic Church. It can also be viewed as one of the early manifestations of the broad movements of ideas and reconsiderations of the world’s order that define the Renaissance. The Reformation’s insistence upon the individual is also a trait that will be at the center of many humanist writers’ works later in the century.

Artists were affected by such changes. The structure of their profession was changing as the Church lost ground along with its sponsorship of artists. Some hinted in their works at a new attitude toward the divine. Others embraced neutral forms, such as the portrait, and gave it a new dimension.

Renaissance and Reformation is arranged in five major thematic sections which explore the fundamental changes that took place in art and society during the Reformation.

Traditional Imagery and Devotion illustrates the changes to visual language brought about by the Reformation. From altarpieces via depictions of the saints to the iconography of Christ’s Passion, the themes and modes of representation explored in these works highlight the differences that set the conflicting religious doctrines apart. Some artists accepted commissions both from Protestant clients and those who adhered to the “old faith,” meaning that their works often carried political implications. Over time, objects of religious veneration gave way to works of sculpture intended for aesthetic value—a transformation that can be observed with particular clarity among the sculptural pieces represented in this section.

Propaganda and Polemics illustrates the extent to which developments in art, media, and politics were intertwined. The Reformation was the first movement to use propaganda techniques to foster its cause. Using words and images, the supporters of the new Faith benefited from the fairly recent invention of the moveable type by Johannes Gutenberg to produce numerous and inexpensive broadsheets. Those who could not read received the message from explicit images. Polemics were both religious and political, and the images used by the reformers were often crude, even vulgar, but could at the same time be easily understood by the masses. The Church and the Pope in particular, were the most frequent targets. Literally demonized, they were presented as the representatives not of God, but of Satan himself. Printmaking techniques such as woodcut and copperplate engraving developed apace and spawned further copies of images. Alongside book printing, they played a vital role in disseminating reformatory ideas—not least as part of the propaganda campaigns that accompanied hotly fought polemical disputes.

Arms and Armor: The Splendor of the Saxon Court explores the political dimensions of the Reformation, while illustrating the extraordinary cultural significance of the princely states embroiled in the conflict raging between emergent religious factions. Objects from the royal art treasuries recall the era’s exquisite craftsmanship, and feature weapons and armor that lend a glimpse into life at the royal court. Armor was particularly praised. Most of the armor presented in this section were made for jousting or worn in ceremonies. Immensely costly, these were considered works of art in themselves. Arms, such as pistols or daggers, were often ambassadorial gifts and were admired both for their functionality and refinement of execution. The art of the Dresden court exemplifies a Protestant principality’s efforts to project an image befitting the high prestige it enjoyed and the political influence it wielded within the Holy Roman Empire.

Landscapes, historical scenes, and figures from ancient mythology—the themes explored in Humanism and Reality—attest to new and transformed ways of looking at the world, incorporating both idealized visions of classical antiquity and fastidious observations of nature and people. Here, the focus is upon delicate drawings by Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hans Beham, Hans Schäufelin, and Albrecht Altdorfer, as well as a number of other artists. These rare works provide a glimpse of each artist’s hand. Furthermore, they serve as an expression of European Renaissance art and the heightened autonomy it accorded both artist and artwork alike.

Portraiture enjoyed great favor in European painting from the 15th century onward. As religious paintings were less in demand, commissions for individual portraits increased and the studios adapted themselves to the new demand. Furthermore, the insistence of the new Faith on the individual found an echo in the art of portraiture. Most sitters were prominent members of the new church or belonged to the upper echelons of society: wealthy merchants or civic leaders, among others. Portraits range from intense studies such as those painted by Dürer, whose sitters are often set in shallow spaces, inspiring the viewer to concentrate on their gaze, to figures represented against finely detailed landscapes. All, however, are meant to convey not only the exact features of the subjects but also their social rank and moral qualities. Particularly sensitive are the drawn portraits. Whether executed as studies for prints or as free-standing works of art, German artists often used a combination of techniques and crayons to render their subjects with surprising likeness. Their delicate approach to the medium remains one of the most spectacular achievements of the German Renaissance.



12444 - 20170319 - Groundbreaking Dave Heath exhibition at Nelson-Atkins - Kansas City, MO - 19.11.2016-19.03.2017


Dave Heath, American (1931-2016). Kansas City, Missouri, 1967. Gelatin silver print (printed 1968), 7 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2011.67.23.
A major exhibition showcasing the work of Dave Heath, one of the most original photographers of the last half of the 20th century, opened at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City on Nov. 19. Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath is curated by Keith F. Davis, Senior Curator, Photography, who wrote a widely acclaimed catalogue of the same title to accompany the exhibition. The Nelson-Atkins has the largest holding of Heath’s work in the United States, and the exhibition was entirely assembled from the museum’s collection. A smaller version of the show opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in September 2015 to critical praise. 
“Dave Heath has had one of the most important careers in modern photography,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “With little formal training, he applied his determination and curiosity to learning about photography and the history of art. And we see the result in this exhibition: the flowering of one of the greatest talents of his generation.”

The exhibition spans the full breadth of Heath’s creative career, from the late 1940s into the 21st- century. It begins with his earliest pictures, his first book prototypes, his first audio-visual artistic work (“Beyond the Gates of Eden,” 1969), and concludes with his color street pictures of 20012007. The exhibition centers on Heath’s 1965 photo-book A Dialogue with Solitude, a sequence of 82 photographs widely considered his defining achievement.

Heath’s photographs are a powerful expression of his emotional life, his concern for interpersonal contact and communion. Abandoned by both parents at age 4, he grew up in foster homes and an orphanage in Philadelphia. This experience shaped his creative vision, an expression of a profound sense of pain, loneliness, alienation, longing, joy, and hope. Guided by an entirely personal expressive need, Heath used the camera to understand himself and the society around him.

“Heath has always, and instinctively, understood the power of sympathetic vision,” said Davis. “His photographs of people are infused with a special emotional directness and power. They reflect a fundamental, and almost tactile, need to connect.”

Heath’s interest in photography was sparked in 1947, when he saw Ralph Crane’s photo-essay “Bad Boy’s Story”, about an alienated boy in an orphanage, in Life magazine. He identified with Crane’s subject and grasped the power of the photograph to transcend simple reportage. Largely self-taught, Heath studied for a year at the Philadelphia College of Art before working for a commercial photo studio in Chicago. He came to national attention after his move to New York City in 1957. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963 and his work was included in major exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and elsewhere. He taught from 1965 to 1996, with 36 of those years spent at Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario.

Heath died on his 85th birthday, June 27, 2016, knowing that his work had reached wider audiences and recognized for his individual and powerful voice.


12443 - 20170312 - Acclaimed contemporary artist showcases monumental paintings - Cleveland, OH - 04.12.2016-12.03.2017


Bäume, 2004. Albert Oehlen (German, b. 1954). Oil and paper on wood, two sections; 265 x 385 cm. © Albert Oehlen. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris.
In an exhibition as innovative and daring as the art it showcases, Albert Oehlen: Woods near Oehle is the most ambitious project devoted to the work of leading German artist Albert Oehlen ever presented in the United States. Developed by the Cleveland Museum of Art in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition illustrates the depth and complexity of an artist who has been at the forefront of artistic innovation since the late 1970s. Albert Oehlen: Woods near Oehle features 45 works from the past 30 years and includes many new works. The exhibition brings together not only works by Oehlen, but contributions by some of his closest friends and other artists who have exerted profound influence throughout his oeuvre. Featured in the exhibition and the accompanying publication are curatorial, musical and written contributions by curator Julie Sylvester, artist Christopher Williams, and author and critic Diedrich Diederichsen. These help to illustrate and contextualize Oehlen’s diverse approach to art making. In addition, Oehlen and Swiss drummer and composer Michael Wertmüller have produced a new musical piece as part of a multimedia installation that makes its debut in Cleveland. Albert Oehlen: Woods near Oehle, a centennial special exhibition, is on view in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Hall from December 4, 2016, through March 12, 2017.
Multifaceted yet highly focused, Albert Oehlen: Woods near Oehle explores Oehlen’s primary themes and artistic approach. Over the last four decades, Oehlen’s practice has been deeply influenced by various fields of cultural production including literature, music, film, and graphic design. The exhibition reflects this complex layering of methods, subject matter and view points, while also celebrating an artist who continues to have an immeasurable influence on contemporary art.

“We are extremely proud to organize an exhibition that features the work of Albert Oehlen, one of the most influential artists working today,” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Oehlen’s interest in collaboration is an essential component of his practice, so the incorporation of works by his esteemed companions makes this a fantastic experience for our visitors, and the perfect show to lead us into our next 100 years.”

“To create a compelling narrative based on Oehlen’s seemingly inexhaustible artistic practice has been incredibly rewarding. The exhibition and the publication celebrate one of the most important painters of our time whose relevance to a younger generation of artists is immense,” said Reto Thüring, curator of contemporary art at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Albert Oehlen: Woods near Oehle features outstanding examples of Oehlen’s recent series of Baumbilder (Tree Paintings) as well as a never-before-seen suite of large etchings. The tree has reappeared as a motif in Oehlen’s work since the 1980s, providing a subject through which he has continuously tested the boundaries of figuration and abstraction. In the most recent series of tree paintings, begun in 2013, Oehlen elaborates on the subject that has captivated his imagination for the past 40 years.

In order to place Oehlen’s extensive body of work in a broader historical and cultural context, Curator of Contemporary Art Reto Thüring, together with Oehlen, invited the participation of curator Julie Sylvester and critic and author Diedrich Diederichsen—who have championed Oehlen’s artistic production from early on. At the suggestion of Sylvester, Albert Oehlen: Woods near Oehle juxtaposes two late paintings by Willem de Kooning with Oehlen’s seminal work Strassen (Streets) from 1988 as well as two more recent large-scale charcoal drawings. In these works, visitors will observe a sensibility and poetry of line and color shared by both artists, one whose career was drawing to a close and the other whose vision was still emerging. Diederichsen recommended the inclusion of works by three artists: Jackson Mac Low, Rodney Graham, and Harun Farocki. In all of these works in different media, the tree appears as subject matter, but more importantly, it represents a conceptual starting point for each artist’s consideration of representation and abstraction. Sylvester and Diederichsen’s contributions offer visitors a more profound understanding of Oehlen’s works and a path to appreciating his unique artistic vision.


12442 - 20170212 - Museum exhibits twenty-three vintage photographs by Brett Weston - Greenwich, CONN - 05.11.2016-12.02.2017


Susan Ball, Bruce Museum Deputy Director and curator of the exhibition "Towards Abstraction, 1940-1985: Brett Weston Photographs from the Bruce Museum Collection", looks at one of the works in the exhibition.
Throughout his nearly seventy-year career, photographer Brett Weston (1911-1993) was obsessed with abstracted micro-images of reality as well as of cities and landscapes captured by a long telephoto lens that diminished the depth of field, thus flattening the image.  
The Bruce Museum in Greenwich presents an exhibition of twenty-three vintage 11 x 14 and 8 x 10-inch, black and-white photographs by Brett Weston that were part of a 2015 gift to the Museum from the Christian Keesee Collection. Keesee, who is a collector and philanthropist, acquired the vintage prints from the Brett Weston Estate in 1996, then created an archive to organize and catalog the works as well as increase public awareness of the artist.

The exhibition titled Towards Abstraction, 1940-1985: Brett Weston Photographs from the Bruce Museum Collection features images of architectural designs from major cities and natural elements from the desert to lush tropical landscapes.

“Whatever the subject, the images are crisp, flattened, black and white, and brilliantly composed, but not staged,” notes Susan Ball, Bruce Museum Deputy Director and curator of the exhibition.

Weston used medium and large-format cameras and usually contact printed directly from the negative, selecting his subjects carefully rather than relying on manipulation in the dark room. He rarely cropped images and only occasionally used an enlarger, but not until the 1960s when the technology became sophisticated enough to meet his exacting standards. His subjects became increasingly less recognizable as time progressed.

“He often combined groups of photographs in portfolios, and although only a few portfolios were actually labeled ‘Abstractions,’” Ball explains, “they all share Brett Weston’s signature abstract and flattened style.”

Brett Weston gained international recognition at the age of seventeen, when he was included, with his father, Edward Weston, in an avant-garde exhibition at Film und Foto in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1929. Three years later, he had his first one-person museum retrospective in San Francisco and frequently exhibited in the 1930s with the California group of photographers known as Group f.64, named for the aperture setting.

The exhibition Towards Abstraction, 1940-1985: Brett Weston Photographs from the Bruce Museum Collection is supported by the Deborah G. and Charles M. Royce Exhibition Fund and the Connecticut Office of the Arts.