12321 - 20171231 - Santa Ana Museum displays museum's most cherished California paintings - Santa Anna, CA - 11.06.2016 - 31.12.2017


Artist Unknown, Portrait of Don Bernardo Yorba, c.1840.
Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has announced the presentation of California Bounty: Image and Identity, 1850 – 1930, a momentous exhibition that features a rambling journey through California’s visual history depicted by many of the state’s most prominent artists.

The exhibition is exclusively on display at the Bowers Museum beginning June 11, 2016 and is continuing indefinitely. Guest curated by art historian Susan M. Anderson, California Bounty is the first curatorial interpretation of the museum’s distinguished painting collection since 1994.

The exhibition highlights the museum’s commitment to collecting fine art over its 80-year history and brings to the forefront 60 paintings that represent the finest of its California Art collection. These works include quintessential plein air paintings of California’s idyllic interior and coastal landscapes, realistic still lives depicting the bountiful fruits and flowers the state offers through its ideal year-round climate and stunning portraits of notable and common people who have contributed to California’s history in various ways.

A fresh approach
Each work has undergone conservation and framing as needed in order to offer visitors an optimal viewing experience. The collection includes never displayed works and well-loved collections that have not been on view in decades. The exhibition is being presented in the original 1936 Bowers Museum building that is now known as the Mary Muth Historic Wing. The Wing has been dramatically renovated for this exhibition and is now equipped with 21st century lighting.

More about the exhibition
Viewers will take a rambling journey through California’s visual history, a history shaped by a unique mixture of Mexican and Anglo traditions as well as the state’s position on the Pacific Rim. The exhibition looks at the way art in California reflected the state's natural bounty as well as the promotional efforts of real estate developers and others to bring Americans West. Each painting epitomizes California’s land, people and offerings as a place of produce and plenty.

Highlighted artists include:

· Guy Rose, who spent considerable time in Paris and painted with Monet, among other French Impressionists. Rose was a major influencer of the California Impressionism movement.

· William Jewett, Northern California’s first most influential portraiture artist. His painting of entrepreneur David Hewes, famous for providing the golden spike connecting the transcontinental railroad, shows his sitter as a younger man before he became involved in the citrus business in Southern California.

· William and Alberta McCloskey who worked separately and collaboratively. The couple is best known for their often copied realistic images of paper-wrapped citrus and their ability to capture their sitters’ personalities through life-like portraits. The Bowers is proud to be the largest holder of the McCloskey’s work in the world.

· Fannie Duvall, a student of Whistler, who among other subjects captured the Missions of California. Her Masterpiece Confirmation Class is included in the exhibition.

· William Wendt, known as the “Dean of Southern California” among artists whose unique style captured the verdant landscapes and canyons tucked throughout the Southland.

· Other artists include Anna Athena Hills, Roger Kuntz, Edgar Payne, Henri Penelon, John Hubbard Rich, George Gardner Symons and many, many more.

“This is an exquisite exploration of California history through art, we’re proud to be displaying this collection of wonderful paintings,” said Scott Dunagan, Vice President of External Affairs at the Bowers Museum.

A catalog, Legacy of Bounty: Paintings from the Bowers Museum will delve even deeper into the museum’s assemblage of paintings through 168 pages. Focusing on the breadth of the collection, the hardbound catalog will include 138 of the museum’s most important historic, plein air, American and European paintings. The catalog will include two essays, one recounting the 80-year story behind the collection’s formation, and another by California Bounty curator Susan M. Anderson that focuses on the core of the museum’s collection - California paintings. This first and only catalog focusing on the Bowers’ painting collection is a must have for any art enthusiast.


12320 - 20170514 - Linn Meyers creates site-specific work for inner circle of the Hirshhorn - Washington, DC - 12.05.2016-14.05.2017


Our View from Here (detail), 2016, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Photo: Cathy Carver
Linn Meyers (American, b. Washington, D.C., 1968; lives and works in Washington, D.C.) created her largest work, “Our View From Here,” at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden this spring. The site-specific wall drawing, which stretches the entire circumference of the inner-circle galleries on the museum’s second level, more than 400 linear feet, is on view May 12, 2016–May 14, 2017. The drawing is temporary and will be painted over at the end of the exhibition’s yearlong run.

“We are rethinking the ways our spaces can be used, throughout the museum,” said Melissa Chiu, the Hirshhorn’s director. “And we will be taking full advantage of the inner-circle galleries as venues for site-specific 360-degree artworks. Linn Meyers’ project will be the first in a series of exhibitions by some of the most exciting artists working today.”

“The Hirshhorn’s unique architecture presents opportunities that simply don’t exist elsewhere,” said Stéphane Aquin, the museum’s chief curator and the curator of the exhibition. “Meyers’ process involves both planning and accident. The interaction between her fluid lines and the building’s rigorous geometries will produce stunning effects.”

Meyers creates her works by hand-drawing thousands of closely spaced, rippling lines, each nested beside the one that came before it. Drawing alone for long hours each day with a type of marker often used by graffiti writers, she welcomes the imperfections that are a natural part of working without templates or taped lines. The resulting patterns flow and pulse with energy.

Meyers has had solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the American University Museum at the Katzen Center in Washington, D.C., among other venues. She has participated in group exhibitions at institutions including the Hirshhorn, the Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, all in Washington, D.C., the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh. Her work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Hirshhorn, the Phillips Collection and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She received a Master of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Cooper Union.


12319 - 20170430 - Penn Museum in Philadelphia explores magic in the ancient world in new exhibition - Phliadelphia, PA - 16.04.2016-30.04.2017

Wedjat Eye Amulet. Faience, 1539–656 BCE. Egypt. Photo: Penn Museum for photography.
Protective amulets, incantation bowls, curse tablets, powerful rings, magical stones, and anatomical votives—these objects and more, once used by ancient peoples seeking to fulfill desires through supernatural means, are featured in Magic in the Ancient World. The new exhibition opened Saturday, April 16 at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, and runs through April 2017.

Deeply entwined with science and religion, magic was a real and everyday part of life for many ancient peoples around the world. Ancient magic addressed many of the dreams, hopes, and passions humans grapple with today: desire for health and wellbeing, protection from evil—even revenge. Magic in the Ancient World takes a survey approach, featuring 81 artifacts from the Penn Museum’s collections. The exhibition explores some of the magical objects, words, and rituals used in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome.

Are people who used magic in the ancient world so different from people today? The exhibition invites guests to reflect at two interactive stations: one that provides ancient magical solutions (via objects found in the gallery) to modern problems, and a second that asks guests to consider their own magical thinking via a survey, “do you believe in magic?”

Magic for Many Purposes
After a brief introduction into the unique perspectives on magic held by ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Greeks, and Romans, the exhibition considers diverse uses of magic: for protection; for health and healing; for curses and countercurses; for wielding secret power; and for special help in the afterlife.

A Near Eastern frog amulet (circa 1400 to 1000 BCE) could encourage good luck; the frightful Macedonian Gorgon face on a silver coin (circa 411 to 350 BCE) could keep enemies at bay; the popular wedjat eye amulet from Egypt (circa 1539-636 BCE) symbolized health and protection; Mesopotamian incantation bowls (circa 300 to 700 CE), decorated with Aramaic spells and bound demons, offered protection.

While some magic was intended for protection, other magic was less benign: magical curses could harm, impair, or disable one’s enemies. Roman lead curse tablets from Beth Shean (circa 100 BCE to 400 CE), and Babylonian anti-witchcraft clay tablets (circa 750-300 BCE), offer insight into ways that people have attempted to lay curses upon others—or combat perceived bewitching.

In ancient Egypt, magic was used extensively to help the dead achieve a happy afterlife. There were magical spells from the Book of the Dead (a sample on papyrus dates to circa 1279-1213 BCE), and elegantly carved canopic jars (circa 1539-1292 BCE) bearing likenesses of gods, designed to protect the deceased’s internal organs. Inside the tomb, enchanted shabti figurines (circa 1075-945 BCE) were ready to come to life and do the work that the deceased would be otherwise obligated to perform in the underworld.

There was secret magic, too. Through mystical arts, practitioners sought to transform metals into gold, read minds, see the future, control the gods—even become immortal. Throughout the Mediterranean, magical rings and gems, created as objects to grant their bearer godlike magical powers, were made. A selection of magical rings, gems, and pendants, from 200 - 500 CE, bear testament to the beauty—and diverse uses—of these small treasures.

Frequently invoked to heal the sick and protect women in childbirth, magic was often used in addition to, or in lieu of, medical treatments of the day. An ivory wand from Egypt (ca. 1938-1739 BCE) was used to draw a protective circle around a woman giving birth or nursing. Anatomical offerings, like a terracotta foot votive (circa 300-100 BCE) from Etruscan Italy, were dedicated to a god for healing the body part represented.

Erotic plaques, examples of which come from Babylon (circa 2000-1800 BCE) and ancient Egypt (circa 1539-1075 BCE) may have been in use in magic rituals to ensure potency. Sexual acts could also be interpreted as portents of the future.


12318 - 20170108 - New treasures of history revealed in "Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia", at Winterthur, DE - 26.03.2016-08.01.2017


The Wedding at Cana. Nicolas Correa (born 1670/75). 1693. Mixed media with encrusted mother-of-pearl on pane. On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library announces Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, the landmark exhibition pressing the reset button on the history of globalism and the colonial Americas, March 26, 2016 through January 8, 2017, in the Winterthur Galleries.

Described as “scintillating” by the Wall Street Journal during its debut at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (August 18, 2015 – February 15, 2016), Made in the Americas is the first large-scale, Pan-American exhibition to examine the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Over 80 works, including fine furniture, textiles, ceramics, silverwork, and paintings dating from the 17th to the early 19th centuries relay the complex story of how craftsmen throughout the hemisphere adapted Asian styles in a range of objects. The exhibition features works from the MFA, Winterthur, and on loan from public and private collections, many never previously publicly displayed or published.

“Made in the Americas focuses on a history not taught in school,” said exhibition curator Dennis Carr, a graduate of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, and Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, MFA, Boston. “The history of the colonial Americas has long been written as a series of encounters between Europe and the New World; however, the extraordinary objects in this exhibition encourage us to think more broadly about the Americas as being at the center of this global cultural and commercial exchange. They invite us to review the powerful influences from across the Pacific that changed the course of history. It is an honor to return to Winterthur with this exhibition.”

Carr said the exhibition has served as a catalyst for reevaluation of traditional history, art history, and other curricula relative to the period. He has been working with educators at Harvard, Yale, Wellesley, Northeastern, Holy Cross, and other educational institutions that are instituting new curricula. Winterthur will be working with a variety of colleges and universities in the mid-Atlantic region to introduce this new scholarship into their courses.

Linda Eaton, Winterthur John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles, is the project curator for the Winterthur installation of Made in the Americas, which she called groundbreaking.

“Winterthur proudly welcomes Dennis Carr home to Winterthur with this seminal exhibition,” Eaton said. “The range of exquisite objects Made in the Americas brings together is remarkable, but it is the riveting scholarship presented that is eye-opening. We clearly lived in a global age long before the internet and smartphone.”

The Global, Glamorous World of “Chinoiserie”
The fashion for Asian art as a decorative style, today known as chinoiserie (“in the Chinese taste”), was a global sensation during the colonial period, reaching its zenith in the mid-18th century. In the Americas, the style manifested itself in lavishly painted and decorated interiors, furniture, ceramics, silverwork, textiles, and paintings. Citizens eager to show off their wealth and worldly interests fueled an almost insatiable demand for exotic products from East and South Asia.

Visitors to Made in the Americas are greeted by stunning objects made in Mexico City, Lima, Quito, Quebec City, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia dating from the 17th to the early 19th centuries that reflect the influence of Asian design, such as blue-and-white talavera ceramics copied from Chinese porcelain, and luxuriously woven textiles made to replicate fine silks and cottons from China and India.

At the entrance to the exhibition are a number of works that explore the trade routes that connected Asia and the colonial Americas including a 6-panel folding Japanese screen (1624-35) measuring approximately 5-1/2 feet tall and 11-1/2 feet wide depicting the Southern Barbarians at a Japanese Port.

Among the rarest pieces of furniture in the exhibition is a desk-and-bookcase mid-18th century) from Mexico, which features a dramatic interior displaying chinoiserie-style painting in gold on a red background. Recalling early colonial maps drawn by indigenous artists, the inside of the doors show views of an extensive hacienda in Veracruz drawn in an indigenous style. The geometric designs on the exterior are Spanish-Islamic (Hispano-Moresque) in style.

The practice of japanning, a painted imitation of Asian lacquerwork on furniture and wall paneling using layers of varnish, gold paint, and occasionally metallic powders, spread like wildfire throughout New England, New Spain, the Caribbean, and parts of South America during the 18th century. In North America, Boston became a major center of the production of japanned furniture – where over a dozen japanners worked before 1750 -- but it was also made in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, and other port cities in the British colonies, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Port Royal, Jamaica. Among objects from Winterthur’s collection featuring this technique are a high chest and clock whose decoration is attributed to Robert Davis (d. 1739), an important Boston japanner who is credited with creating some of the most beautiful examples of the period.

The indigenous lacquer of Mexico and South America was transformed by the introduction of Asian lacquerware and their European imitations. Because indigenous artisans did not have access to the tree resin used to create Asian lacquers, they developed new styles and techniques made from a mixture of oils from the aje beetle and chia seeds, clay, and organic and mineral colorants. By doing so, they were able to participate in the burgeoning market for luxury goods such as finely decorated boxes, cabinets-of -drawers, and large bateas (or trays).

In particular, lacquerware from the Mexican cities of Periban, Uruapan, and Patzcuaro exhibited a variety of motifs adapted from European and Asian sources. Jose’ Manuel de la Cerda, a celebrated painter of noble Indian lineage is considered the finest of the Patzcuaro lacquer artisans. Works from his workshop show pronounced Asian influence, including a desk-on-stand (18th century, Hispanic Society of America), painted in a chinoiserie style with exotic-looking buildings and weeping willow trees delicately picked out in gold paint on a black background.

Furniture making in Peru featured a variety of precious materials, poignantly demonstrated in the exhibition by a group of furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell. Described in Spanish as enconchado (shellwork), the objects recall the elaborate Japanese shell-inlaid lacquers or fine inlaid furniture imported from India, Korea, and other parts of Asia. A pair of enconchado writing cabinets (first half of the 18th century, Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros) from Alto Peru (modern-day Bolivia) show that this interest in shell-inlaid woodworking extended into rural South America. Probably made by indigenous artists for the Jesuit mission churches in this remote region, the cabinets display a worldly, cosmopolitan flair that was typical of the religious order’s establishments throughout the Americas.

Southeast of Mexico City, along the trade route that brought Asian goods overland from Acapulco, a ceramics tradition in the town of Puebla flourished based on imported Chinese blue-and-white porcelains. Because artisans in Puebla did not have access to the fine materials needed to create true porcelains, they covered earthenware pottery with a thick, white tin glaze—in much the way potters did in Delft in the Netherlands and Talavera de la Reina in Spain during the same period—decorating it with expensive cobalt blue. In some of these ceramics, known as talavera poblana, artists replaced Chinese figures with local imagery, switching out Chinese phoenixes in favor of native quetzals (small birds with long, colorful tail feathers). In addition to depicting Chinese characters and decorative motifs, Puebla potters also adapted traditional Chinese forms, such as broad-shouldered jars (tibors), gourd-shaped vessels, and thin-necked wine jars. Talavera is still made in Puebla today, continuing a tradition that has lasted more than four centuries.

China’s growing appetite for silver helped fuel the robust trade with the Americas. Likewise, colonial silver was an important part of chinoiserie style in the New World. As imported Chinese tea became all the rage in the 18th century, a number of American craftsmen produced silver vessels in an Asian style to satisfy the demand for a host of specialized vessels, including teapots, hot-water urns, tea caddies, strainer spoons, creamers, and sugar bowls—many of which are on display in the exhibition. In particular, colonial silversmiths such as John Hurd excelled at producing elegant vessels whose design was based on both Chinese and European styles.

Chinese silks as well as Persian and Indian textiles were prized in the Americas, and a variety of Asian and American textiles are included in the exhibition. An important part of the Asian textile trade were colorful cottons from India, which came to the Americas through Manila as well as from European ports. The exhibition also includes an extraordinary embroidered hanging from Peru, dated 1661, which was probably displayed hanging from a window or balcony during the procession which welcomed Peru’s new viceroy, Diego de Benavides, into Lima in that year. The bright red embroidery was dyed with cochineal, a natural dye still used today that comes from the body of female insects that live on cactus.

To be a colonial citizen in the Americas was to be a global citizen, as embodied by a number of paintings in the exhibition. For example, a portrait from Mexico, María de los Dolores Juliana Rita Nuñez de Villavicencio (about 1733, Carlos de Ovando Collection), shows a young noble woman wearing an embroidered dress with a menagerie of imagery from China, Europe, and the Near East. Chinese men, exotic-looking animals, military tents, and oversized flowers and trees were all part of the chinoiserie vocabulary when this fashionable style found its way to Mexico in the 18th century.

A portrait of Nicholas Boylston (about 1769, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) by John Singleton Copley shows the Bostonian as a wealthy man at leisure––the embodiment of the era’s global merchant. His red velvet turban and silk morning gown (banyan or Indian coat) were the clothes of a gentleman. His firm, Green and Boylston, became extremely successful in the 1760s, importing textiles, paper, tea, and glass that were eagerly sought by Bostonians. This painting is paired with another from Mexico, De Español y Negra, Mulato (about 1760, attributed to José de Alcíbar, Denver Art Museum), which also shows its subject wearing a long coat in an Asian style. In this case, the robe is made of embroidered or printed Indian cotton, but it is difficult to know whether the fabric was made in India, was a European copy or was of local origin. It, like many works in the exhibition, reflects the global story of trade and artistic influence found in the colonial Americas.

An illustrated catalogue of essays (Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, MFA Publications, 2015) accompanies Made in the Americas, described as “horizon-expanding” by The New York Review of Books. The essays were written by a team of experts, including exhibition curator Carr.

The opening of the exhibition in Boston in 2015 was timed to mark the 450th anniversary of the Galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico, inaugurated in 1565 and lasting for two and a half centuries, until 1815.


12310 - 20170402 - Exhibition at the Frick Collection takes a fresh look at Meissen porcelain - New York - 24.05.2016-02.04.2017


Arlene Shechet, Big Dragon, 2012, glazed Meissen porcelain, gold, D: 15 ¼ inches, unique, © Arlene Shechet, courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; photo: Jason Wyche.
The Frick presents a year-long exhibition exploring the complex history of making, collecting, and displaying porcelain. Included are 130 pieces produced by the renowned Royal Meissen manufactory, which led the ceramic industry in Europe, both scientifically and artistically, during the early to mid-eighteenth century. Most of the works date from 1720 to 1745 and were selected by New York−based sculptor Arlene Shechet from the promised gift of Henry H. Arnhold. Twelve works in the exhibition are Shechet’s own sculptures—exuberant porcelain she made during a series of residencies at the Meissen manufactory in 2012 and 2013. Designed by Shechet, the exhibition avoids the typical chronological or thematic order of most porcelain installations in favor of a personal and imaginative approach that creates an intriguing dialogue between the historical and the contemporary, from then to now. With nature as the dominant theme, the exhibition is being presented in the Frick’s Portico Gallery, which overlooks the museum’s historic Fifth Avenue Garden. Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection is organized by Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection.

Long admired for their masterfully modeled shapes and gemlike glazes, Meissen porcelain offers a window into the early years of manufacturing porcelain in the West and celebrates a fascinating chapter in the history of the ceramic medium. Although the formula for manufacturing true porcelain had been developed in China by the sixth century, it remained a consuming mystery in the West until its discovery in 1708 under the patronage of Augustus I (1670–1733), elector of Saxony and king of Poland. In 1710, the king established a royal manufactory outside of Dresden in the town of Meissen, and the porcelain created there has been known by that name ever since. Early Meissen porcelain was at the forefront of the European ceramic industry until the ascendency of the Royal Sèvres Manufactory in France in the 1750s.

The Arnhold Collection, one of the greatest private holdings of Meissen porcelain assembled in the twentieth century, was formed in Dresden between 1926 and 1935 by Lisa (1890–1972) and Heinrich Arnhold (1885–1935), with a focus on tablewares and vases and objects of royal or noteworthy provenance. The Arnhold collection came to America with Lisa Arnhold and her family at the start of World War II. Lisa and Heinrich’s son, Henry, has since extended the size and scope of the collection, sometimes following his parents’ tastes and preferences, sometimes departing from tradition with the acquisition of Meissen with underglaze blue decoration, figures and groups, and mounted objects.

In 2011, Arnhold promised a gift of 131 objects from the collection to the museum. Meissen porcelain is well known to specialists, but drew appreciation from a much wider public through its presentation at the Frick in two acclaimed exhibitions: White Gold: Highlights from the Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain (2011) and The Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain, 1710–50 (2008).

Arlene Shechet is a New York–based sculptor, whose diverse body of work draws on balance, breath, humor, and the creative potential of failure. Corporeal yet transcendent, her work explores the friction when categories start to slip, giving way to subliminal play. A major survey of her work, All at Once, was exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston in 2015, with an accompanying catalogue. Meissen Recast, also published in 2015, is based on Shechet’s solo exhibition at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, Providence. This project focused on the works that the artist made in 2012–13 at the Meissen porcelain factory in Germany, as well as of her installation of RISD’s porcelain collection. Shechet is the subject of much critical acclaim including a 2012 Art in America cover story, is featured in the season 7 of PBS’s Art 21, as well as season 4 of The Met Artist Project. Shechet is the recipient of many awards, including a John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship Award in 2004, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2010, and an American Arts and Letters Award in 2011. She is the 2016 recipient of the CAA Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work. Her work is included in many renowned public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, the Brooklyn Museum, and the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.