Outsider Art and the Mainstream was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) on March 1-2 in conjunction with the opening of Great and Mighty Things; Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection (on view through June 9, 2013). The large exhibition includes more than two hundred works by twenty-seven American artists, all of which have been promised to the museum, making the PMA a significant resource for art that, however uneasily, is generally termed outsider. Whenever artists have tired of the deadening effects of academic art standards, they have looked elsewhere for art that they thought ... More » »
The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) has just opened a glorious exhibition celebrating painting and the twin subjects of myth and desire, which are behind so much great art. The myth in Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse; Visions of Arcadia (through Sept. 3, 2012 and only to be seen in Philadelphia) involves Arcadia – a mythical land of contentment and harmony with nature that was conceived by the ancient Greeks and passed on via the Romans (most pointedly Virgil, in his Eclogues), Italian Renaissance writers and artists, and Poussin, a seventeenth-century French painter who spent almost all of his career in Rome. ... More » »
Given the importance of music in our everyday life and our cultural obsession with musicians, we tend to know little about the often exquisite tools of music making. Two recent experiences shed light on the overlooked history and craft methods of America’s quintessential instrument, the guitar— a trip to the C.F. Martin Guitar Factory, and to the Met’s current exhibition “Guitar Heroes”.
Picasso Guitars 1912-1914, on view at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) through June 6, 2011, is an intense and thrilling experience for anyone concerned with art and visual thinking in the early 20th Century. What it reveals, at least to someone who has worked and thought in three dimensions, are Picasso’s first, profound experiments with one of the key concepts of Twentieth Century plastic arts: negative space. Moreover, the exhibition indicates that like abstraction, for which music was both inspiration and justification, Picasso’s interest in negative space grew out of thinking about music; not musical form and language, but ... More » »
When the Nazi army rolled over Paris in late spring, 1940, and occupied the city on June 14, 1940, one might say the lights went out in the world’s greatest cultural beacon. But the truth is more complex, morally and aesthetically, as artists, performers, writers and others in the Paris culture industry either co-existed or collaborated outright with the occupiers. Artists and intellectuals “survived” the war in a fashion, and others, particularly in cinema, enjoyed a “good war.” Sartre famously burnished his war credentials after the Occupation; Picasso was largely selfish and unpolitical; painters Derain and Vlaminck traveled as visiting ... More » »
A stealth contemporary art work is nestling inside the very core of the Picasso and the Avant-Garde exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The premise of Paint Made Flesh is that despite the dominance of abstraction, a number of European and American artists since the early 50s have depicted the human body as a way to explore both the pleasures and pains of humanity.
The impact of a great master on his followers is a fascinating topic. Rodin’s work loomed so imposingly over the next generation of sculptors that they all claimed to dis-own his influence (not entirely truthfully); many did so by returning to direct carving, since Rodin was a modeler whose carved work was executed by assistants. Cézanne’s followers showed no such anxiety of influence, as can be seen in Cézanne and Beyond at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (through May 17). The exhibition is truly spectacular in the quality of the works and the questions they provoke.
Richard Serra sculptures in the Sculpture Garden, MoMA. Note the photographer on the roof taking overhead pictures. MoMA was packed last Thursday. I said to Steve remember when we used to come visit the old MoMA, the little squishy MoMA? We would make trips to New York from Madison all the time in the late 1970s. We were always there the week between Christmas and New Years, a high tourist invasion time. Yet our trips to MoMA — in my rosy memory — were not marred by uber-crowded conditions. Crowd in front of Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignon, now celebrating its hundredth ... More » »