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Matisse’s Chair

matisse shell chair s

The Boston Museum of Art has an exhibit of the works of Matisse along with many of the objects he used in his drawings and paintings.  He found this chair in an antique store and had to have it.  What a find…the arms are eels!

matisse early collage s

I went to Boston this weekend to visit my daughter and see the show.  You can never get too much Matisse in my opinion (having this year also been to see him in Baltimore and Montclair).  And there are always works I haven’t seen before, like one of his first collages, above.  I like how he drew/painted the objects and then cut them out and arranged them.

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There were some beautiful textiles, like this North African cut screen.

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And of course he drew from his textile collection to drape the models for his portraits.

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I love the vibrant colors in the still life above.

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And I had never seen this paper cut out before.

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The museum is good for wandering.  Suddenly you’re in a room with this burial urn from Mesoamerica.  That’s a bat on top.

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Botticelli…luminous.

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John Wilson’s Martin Luther King Jr. prints were a highlight.

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Eldzier Cortor, another African American artist in the museum’s collection, shaped many of his print plates.  This one is full of visions.

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There was a small show of the prints of Terry Winters, another favorite of mine.  I always want to recreate his organic visions in stitch.

And we didn’t even get to the Monets!  Next visit…

 

If It’s Magic

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if its magic magnetic

I did this little magician stitched collage for Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s (RoCo) 6 x 6 fundraiser.  I can’t remember where I first heard about it, but I’ve been sending them a piece of art to sell for a few years.  The opening is tonight, so if you are in the neighborhood…

magic growls liquid
breezes haunted by secrets
foolish wild wet stars

night is bleeding vast desire
day embraces naked sky

The Magnetic Oracle made me think of Stevie Wonder today.

If it’s magic
Then why can’t it be everlasting
Like the sun that always shines
Like the poets in this rhyme
Like the galaxies in time
….
It holds the key to every heart
Throughout the universe
It fills you up without a bite
And quenches every thirst

 

Montclair Art Museum

JT pickett 1

As Nina said in her post, the “Matisse and American Art” exhibit did not allow photography…but if you are in the area, you should definitely take the time to go and see it.  There are many wonderful works by both Matisse and artists who have paid homage to his work.

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One piece that attracted me immediately was by Janet Taylor Pickett, and to our delight there was an entire show in the museum based on a series she had done responding to Matisse.  Her creative spirit is definitely kin to mine.

JT pickett charm dress s

Other works that delighted:  a Nick Cave soundsuit.

nick cave soundsuit s

and several words by master collage artist Romare Bearden.  This one shows Circe and Odysseus.

bearden circe odysseus s

Painter George Innes is from Montclair, and has his own room full of mysterious light.

george innes s

And the Museum also has a fine collection of Native American art.

hopi kachina s

It was fun to visit with Nina and her family, and to celebrate her birthday in the company of Matisse and friends.

Kerfe visits New Jersey!

It was a lovely spring day yesterday and Kerfe took the train in from the city to take me out for my birthday and see a show at the Montclair Museum. 

That photo is me and Kerfe looking at some paintings. They didn’t allow photos of the Matisse show. One of my favorites was an Andy Warhol. I tried doing a drawing and am including an image from the internet. 

The show was about artists influenced by Matisse. There was a wonderful Rothko, a Frankenthaler, Motherwell, all with a nod to the great Henri Matisse. Very inspiring!

Kerfe gave me a beautiful gift. 

An Aries pendant with my birthstone, a diamond!  My new signature piece of jewelry. Thank you Kerfe!

Unmasked

french-mask

Lines that quote
the face, the hair, the
reign of years
first captured by sculpted earth.
Copy as copy copied.
Serial disguise.

I went to the Met to see Max Beckmann (excellent) and ended up drawing masks, as usual.  The one above is French, from the 1800’s, sculpted on a vessel of some sort.

twisted-face-mask-s

I drew this Mexican “twisted face mask” (dated 600-900) twice, because it looked very different from each side.  It reminded me of Jack Davis’ artistic attempts to define his relationship to his autistic brother Mike.  It must have been based on a member of the community, providing a link to the long-standing effort of humans to consider and include those who fall outside the spectrum of “normal”.

grinning-monkey

This grinning monkey from the Ivory Coast also caught my eye.

The poem uses the Secret Keeper’s prompt words this week.

I’ll be here a bit irregularly for awhile as I have some projects I need to finish…

At the Hawk’s Well

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In 1916, W. B. Yeats wrote a dance play, “At the Hawk’s Well”, inspired by Japanese Noh theatre (to which he had been introduced by Ezra Pound) and Irish folklore.

pound-and-mask

The Japan Society recently had an exhibit of UK artist Simon Starling’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Yeats’ work, along with some of the art that inspired both him and Yeats.

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I watched the beautiful video of the hawk dancing several times

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and then I drew masks until my hand cramped up and my legs hurt from standing.

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When I looked at the drawings, it struck me how humans have always struggled to understand and live their lives well.  We are united in both sorrow and dignity, all cultures, throughout history, all over the earth.

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Baltimore Museum of Art

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Yesterday I took the train to Baltimore to see the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  Wow!  but no photos allowed, so I’ll talk a bit about it at the end of the post.  But…the Cone Collection!  I had totally forgotten it was there too. The Gauguin cellist, above, stopped me in my tracks.

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The Cone sisters amassed an amazing collection of early 20th century art.  Plenty of Matisse, like the figures and dancer above.

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I loved this tiny Renoir landscape.

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And I had never seen this Van Gogh landscape either.  The brush strokes are almost like stitching.

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The museum also has many other rooms of modern art, and the painted wood relief sculptures above, by Gertrude Greene and Burgoyne Diller, reminded me of something Nina would do.

max-beckmann-still-life-with-shell-s

I’m keeping in mind this portrait by Max Beckmann for my self-portrait series.

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There are also smaller collections of European and African and Asian art.  I thought this mask from Angola complemented Raphael’s luminous and also enigmatic painting.

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But my very favorite item outside the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit was this cabinet decorated with reverse painted glass by Richard Lee.

I was introduced to Richard Diebenkorn by Nina in 1976 when he had a retrospective at the Whitney (she was working there at the time).  You can see a selection of the work on view now in Baltimore on the website, here, but as is true with any artist that works large scale, a reproduction can’t even begin to give the experience of the actual work.  Matisse was an inspiration to Diebenkorn throughout his painting life, and the juxtapositions of the works makes that clear.  Both artists:  just wow.

Two abstract paintings sit side by side.

There are plenty of figural drawings, too, and one common element was the reworking of the page in a way that layered all the different lines of the different attempts.  An example of Matisse’s work is below, a reminder that even great artists do not achieve satisfaction or perfection even after many lines have been drawn.  They just keep working to get there.

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Unhidden: the art of Ronald Lockett

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“I feel like every time I make a piece of artwork I express myself strongly so that a person can feel something.”
–Ronald Lockett

honest layers that
witness hurt, test memory,
note the silences
of secrets, now unhidden
with forgiveness and regret

trapped-3s

Ronald Lockett’s “Trapped” series records the complex relations between humans and the living world.  How do we treat animals?  the environment? each other?

I managed to visit the retrospective of Lockett’s found art last week at the Museum of American Folk Art, right before it closed.  These are powerful works.

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Lockett felt the world deeply, as the works from his Oklahoma City bombing series, above, show.  “You try to be honest about what you are trying to say,” he said about them.  He acknowledged his debt to quilts in their construction.

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His responses to the homeless

holocaust-close-up-s

and the holocaust

are reminders that the importance of bearing witness has no time frame.

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Lockett also made many tributes to those he knew and admired.  Above, a work honoring Jesse Owens, intricately formed in tin.

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He painted “Instinct for Survival” when his brother went missing in the Gulf War.

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And his tin tributes to his great aunt Sarah Lockett, the woman that raised both him and his cousin, the artist Thornton Dial, reflect both her love of gardening, and her quilts.

Ronald Lockett died in 1998 at age 32 from AIDS-related pneumonia.

You can read more about him here.

My poem uses the secret keeper’s words this week
WIT – HURT – NOTE – HONEST – TEST

Portraits from the Whitney

nicole eisenman half the artist s

“I don’t get it…do I have to get it?…does the artist get it?…”
–overheard at the Whitney Museum this week

Nicole Eisenman’s  “1/2 the artist…”, above, was a favorite in the Whitney’s widely varied show containing a selection of portraits from its collection.  And the young woman’s overheard observation seems a good summary of the state of the world right now.

annette lemieux  30 raised fists s

Annette Lemieux’s 30 photos of raised fists.

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de Kooning’s “Woman and Bicycle”

john wilde  portrait of wife helen s

John Wilde painted mystery into this portrait of his wife Helen.

calder wire portrait w shadow s

Calder’s hanging wire portrait was echoed in its shadow.

alston  the family s

Charles Henry Alston’s “The Family”

jay defeo  photo collage s

Jay DeFeo was represented with an enigmatic photo collage.

byron kim skin color grid s

This grid portrait by Byron Kim is ongoing as the artist continues to paint and rearrange squares reflecting the skin colors of his friends.

alice neel  andy warhol s

Alice Neel’s haunting portrait of Andy Warhol was another highlight for me.

This is a wonderful show.  And Stuart Davis is at the museum now too.

stuart davis 1s

I have to say this week has left me particularly disoriented.  I will be catching up with myself and everybody else slowly I think.

Degas: A Strange Beauty Indeed

ballerina close up s

My dentist’s office is just a few blocks from the Museum of Modern Art, so after my appointment yesterday I spent some time there before I went home.  I wanted to see the Dada exhibit, and it was fun, but the Degas exhibit overshadowed and overwhelmed it.

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The exhibit explored Degas’ process, starting with his extensive use of monotype printing.  He was able to get quite a lot of detail using copper plates.

monoprint celluloid s

He also did some prints using celluloid, the photography film of the day.

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But then he started adding color to his monoprints with both pastel and watercolor.  Wow!  It’s impossible to fully control this type of printing, so maybe that’s the secret to the other-worldliness of so many of his pastel works.

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The exhibit then went on to talking about how all this work influenced his drawing and painting.  This is a good lesson for all of us perfectionists.

sketchbook s

A page from a sketchbook shows Degas exploring.

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And here’s a look at how a sketch became a painting.

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My favorite part of this show was the room of landscapes though.  Here Degas used oil paints when printing, in colors this time.

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He used pastels over the printing on some of these as well.

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The labeling for this exhibit was also excellent.  It’s only there a few more weeks, but if you happen to be in NYC…be prepared for the crowds, but highly recommended.

degas quote