art


Gallery installs Eunice Kennedy Shriver portrait – BostonHerald.com

It’s a good painting – meticulousiy rendered but not overwrought. I love the fact that this is a portrait of a woman who doesn’t need to be flattered. Her face shows all the pain and joy of living 87 years. It’s wonderful to see a portrait reveal something about a person’s interests and achievements instead of just their appearance.

It’s now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC (hence the shameless plug).

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Outlaws at the Art Museum (and Not for a Heist) – NYTimes.com

I should have mentioned this one last week but I just forgot.

See the photograph above: The three gentlemen work for the registrar’s department at the National Portrait Gallery (left to right – Dale, Mark and Todd). Normally they don’t dress this well to install art but it was a special occasion. Besides, it’s nice to know they scrub up so well and are still able to lift large art with style. The title above the portrait and the hidden label to the left of the portrait were created and installed by me.

The portrait was recently given to the museum and installed the Saturday before the inaugural. It was a pain to do at the last minute but I really love this piece. It really outshines the Bush portraits.

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Waterfalls Display Opens on Harbor – City Room – Metro – New York Times Blog

So, I missed The Gates in 2005. I will probably miss this one, too. Can I really justify a trip to NYC to see these waterfalls?
They look so cool. Only in New York City – right? DC never has cool stuff. Sure we have the Smithsonian and lots of formal buildings and pretty gardens but we never get stuff like this. DC is covered in tourist and yet we are boring.

Check out the official site to see photos of all the installations and their construction.

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Robert Rauschenberg, Titan of American Art, Is Dead at 82 – New York Times

I know, why do I keep blogging obituaries? I only pick people I think are interesting or important to me. Rauschenberg is important — to me. His work has always fascinated and intrigued me and sometimes repelled me. Painter, printmaker, sculptor, and photographer – he did it all and combined it all. He broke rules right and left and I loved him for it. Break the boundries, blur the lines and accept accidents and inspirations.

“I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop,” he said in an interview in the giant studio on Captiva in 2000. “At the time that I am bored or understand — I use those words interchangeably — another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore.”

He added: “Anything you do will be an abuse of somebody else’s aesthetics. I think you’re born an artist or not. I couldn’t have learned it. And I hope I never do because knowing more only encourages your limitations.

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Steichen, Sold on The Celebrity Aesthetic – washingtonpost.com

The link is for a review of our recently opened exhibition “Edward Steichen: Portraits” at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a positive review but it seems to have a bit of an edge to it.

“Self-Portrait With Brush and Palette” is a celebrity photograph, an early one, one of the first. If you want to understand the knack of Annie Leibovitz, or the useful affections of Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, or how dress-up self-promotion got so deep into the art world, this 107-year-old image is a place where you might start.

It’s half artwork, half ad.

It’s great exhibition – not too large, not too small, very intimate. Here is the link to the official site for the exhibition:

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NPR: Artists Lament Polaroid’s Latest Development

Chuck Close is an American painter who derives his works from photographs. He creates towering — sometimes 10-foot-tall — portraits. Some of those are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Close says he has Polaroids of every painting he has done.

“It’s very discouraging,” Close says.

He says he has probably 2,000 Polaroids.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do.”

Close likes the incredible detail you get from the large-format film. What’s more, there’s instant gratification: You see that final large image just minutes after you take the shot.

I blogged about the demise of the Polaroid camera a few weeks ago. I had forgotten about Chuck Close and his love affair with Polaroid. There are so many artists like him, too. I hope that some company (like Fujifilm) will take up the film production end so that the existing cameras (like my slide printer) can still be used.

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Polaroid Abandons Instant Photography – The Lede – Breaking News – New York Times Blog

It was a wonder in its time: A camera that spat out photos that developed themselves in a few minutes as you watched. You got to see them where and when you took them, not a week later when the prints came back from the drugstore.

But in a day when nearly every cellphone has a digital camera in it, “instant” photography long ago stopped being instant enough for most people. So today, the inevitable end of an era came: Polaroid is getting out of the Polaroid business.

The company, which stopped making instant cameras for consumers a year ago and for commercial use a year before that, said today that as soon as it had enough instant film manufactured to last it through 2009, it would stop making that, too. Three plants that make large-format instant film will close by the end of the quarter, and two that make consumer film packets will be shut by the end of the year, Bloomberg News reports.

I love Polaroid cameras – I still have one of them and a special slide printer. I also learned to make Polaroid transfers onto watercolor paper – really lovely prints with a vintage feel. Our family had one of the early B&W cameras that needed to have the rather smelly coating smeared on after it developed for preservation. The later color cameras were great fun at parties. It’s sad to see an entire industry die away.

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Marcel Marceau, mime artist, dies aged 84 – Times Online

The mime artist was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, France. His father, Charles, a butcher who sang baritone, introduced his son to the world of music and theatre at an early age. The boy adored the silent film stars of the era: Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx brothers.

When the Germans marched into eastern France, he and his family were given just hours to pack their bags. He fled to southwest France and changed his last name to Marceau to hide his Jewish origins. In 1944, Marceau’s father was sent to Auschwitz, where he died.

There are several articles out today but I like this one. The quote in the title is great. The New York Times article mentions that he had a role in the classic french film “Les Enfants du Paradis” (The Children of Paradise) with another acclaimed mime, Jean-Louis Barrault. It is an excellent film – rent it if you can. He also had a speaking role in Mel Brooks “Silent Movie.”

What amazes me most is the length of his career – over 60 years. The picture above is from 2005!

“I want to be a man who will represent as an active witness my time, and who wants to say, without words, my feelings about the world.”

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Ingmar Bergman, Famed Director, Dies at 89 – New York Times

On my first date with the man that I would later marry, he took me to see Persona and another film that I can’t remember but it was equally depressing. I remember wondering if my date was clinically depressed. Fortunately, he wasn’t.

I was a bit intimidated by Bergman after that but later we went to see Fanny and Alexander and I loved it. It also helped that I knew my guy better and had met his Swedish-born mother by then so I was more knowledgable of the Swedish sensibility.

For an intro to Bergman, I recommend Fanny and Alexander, Wild Strawberries or The Magic Flute. After those, then try Persona or Seventh Seal.

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I’m in Pittsburgh for the weekend. Instead of just hanging out at my in-laws apartment, we went to re-visit the Andy Warhol museum. Most of the exhibitions had changed since 10 years ago (or was it more?) but one thing has remained – the Silver Clouds.

Silver Clouds room at the Andy Warhol Museum

Next time we get back there, I must ask to see the wig collection.

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