From Boston to Seattle there are some exciting museum shows coming this season. This New York Times article details some of the best including shows for artists including Dale Chihuly, John Marin, Picasso, Rembrandt, Pissarro, and Helmut Newton.
Call us prejudiced, but we are excited about the show “Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph” which will be at the Georgia O’Keeffe museum here in Santa Fe from May to September. The show looks at the relationship between painting and photography using work by Chuck Close Thomas Eakins, David Hockney and of course, O’Keefe herself. For more information on the show check out the O’Keefe Musuem website.
Occasionally we like to share glimpses into the work of some of our favorite contemporary artists. Martin Puryear’s sculpture is eloquent, enigmatic, poetic and finely crafted. Here is short video about Puryear’s 2008 exhibition at the Fort Worth Modern:
If you want to see more check out this PBS Art 21 episode. Puryear’s segment appears at 2:30 – 14:50.
We’ve gotten a ton of readership and responses to our last post. Who would have thought that stating the obvious, that good art is good art regardless of style, could have stirred up such feelings? We shouldn’t have been surprised though since we’ve talked to hundreds of representational artists over the past few years who feel under appreciated and marginalized because their preferred way of working isn’t considered cool by the reigning art powers (curators, critics and theoreticians). We’ve also talked to hundreds of non-objective artists who claim that the larger public still doesn’t understand or support their type of work.
Make no mistake, those who make a living trying to fashion public sentiment about the latest art movement aren’t necessarily wrong or venal. But they are personally invested in the outcome and their opinions should be considered in that light. And just as obviously, the public at large will always be more receptive to representational art because it is initially more accessible.
In the end, art is personal and what appeals to one viewer does not appeal to another. It will always be this way and we are damn glad of it. This is not to say that all art is equal. There are obvious (to the thoughtful viewer) degrees of skill and creativity evidenced in some masterful works that are absent in others. There is great conceptual art and there is conceptual art that is total crap. Likewise there are some wonderful representational painters and some who should take up another occupation.
We all have personal preferences that influence why we are drawn to one style of work over another, but it would be a great thing if we disregarded all the labels and simply experienced each work on its own merits. This is a richer way to enjoy the pleasures of art and frankly it is the only intellectually honest way of evaluating the “worth” of a particular piece of art no matter the style. Dare we say it – if you do otherwise you are just following what is fashionable or being a lazy viewer rather than thinking for yourself. Uh-oh we’ve really stepped in it now.
Posted in art, artists
Tagged art, artists
Roberta Smith, the New York Times respected senior art writer, has a great piece in today’s Times. She says essentially what we and many others in the art world have been saying for years. Namely, that the distinction between abstract and representational work is very “20th century”. It was necessary for the modernists and their followers to storm the gates of conventional representation in order to shock viewers into understanding that there are different (and equally valid) ways of representing the world and experience. But it is also true that former models of representation remain valid.
Smith writes about a new breed of painters who are rediscovering representation and combining it with aspects of abstraction. This mash-up is as welcome as it was inevitable. Enough already with picking sides and defending a particular “ism” as if it were holy writ. Enough with feeling guilty when we are drawn to art that isn’t fashionable or something the “art mob” hasn’t ordained. Good work is good work is good work.
DNG has always shown a variety of artists who work in a variety of styles, believing that it is more about the artist’s talent and sincerity than whatever happens to be hot this year in Soho. Good on you, Ms. Smith for saying something that should have been said long ago. Let the truce begin. War is over if you want it.
Posted in art
Tagged art, artists, Painting
Rectangle, upper left, is area where da Vinci's fingerprint was found
A USA Today article details one of those things that still occasionally happens in the art world. A Swiss collector paid approximately $19,000 for a painting in 2007. The painting has recently been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and appraised at more than $150,000,000.
The attribution came after a team of experts looked at the materials used; compared the style of the work with Leonardo’s known works; and found a fingerprint on the painting that matched Leonardo’s.
Read the USA Today article.
Herb Vogel was a postal worker and his wife Dorothy was a librarian, yet they amassed one of the largest and most influential art collections ever assembled in the US. The PBS series, Independent Lens, is airing a documentary tonight titled, “Herb and Dorothy”. The film details how this extraordinary couple turned their fervent love for art into a passionate obsession. Most of their collection now resides in the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The value of their collection is estimated to be in the millions and contains works by many of the leading artists of the latter 20th century.
Read the director’s account of her fascination with the Vogels and more about the film: Read Now
Click this link to read more about the program and find air times for your PBS station: “Herb and Dorothy”
In an earlier post titled, “Does Art Really Matter“, I wrote, “while some people consider art to be about things, it is only nominally about objects. It is about ideas and emotions…” New York artist, Joshua Allen Harris exemplifies this idea in spades. Harris takes trash bags, tape and a prodigious imagination; mixes them with steam from sidewalk subway grates and transforms those materials into kinetic sculptures.
Ancient alchemists were always searching for a way to turn lead into gold. Artists, such as Harris, are able to turn humble materials into visual gold.