In recent years as you've read in my previous blog posts, I visited museums like the Whitney, the Guggenheim, MOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, the New Museum, the Jewish Museum, just to name a few. I encourage you to look through the Categories Listing on the right side of this page and click on what interests you, whether it be museums, cities, or famous artists.
The Met has been in the news this past week because it was announced that its admission policy is changing, requiring visitors to pay for admission (the Museum has been pay-as-you-wish for over 50 years). The new admission policy will go into effect on March 1, 2018. Residents of New York State, and students from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will remain pay-as-you-wish. Children under 12 will remain free. Be sure to check out their website for more information: www.metmuseum.org
I'd recommend purchasing your ticket(s) online and arriving to the Museum when it first opens. You will wish you had more time for your visit if you don't! The line for admission seemed to span the entire length of the huge museum, but having purchased an advance ticket, I was able to walk in a separate door, check in, and head straight into the galleries. Admission will get you into the Met Fifth Avenue, the Met Cloisters, as well as the new Met Breuer.
I didn't have the chance to visit the Met Cloisters and the Met Breuer. My visit to the Metropolitan Museum of New York on Fifth Avenue was amazing. First of all, it is massive. I forgot just how large the museum is that is located on the Upper East Side on Fifth Avenue between East 80th and East 84th Streets. This blog post covers my experience of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, mainly what was on exhibit in their Modern & Contemporary Art galleries, 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture, and some of their Asian Art collection. There were also two special exhibitions going on that I'll include: One on the hugely talented artist David Hockney. And the other on an artist that you may have heard of before, Michelangelo! At the end of this blog, I'll include a few other artistic surprises outside of the Met I encountered on my trip to NYC.
In Marc Chagall's painting shown below, "Le Pont de Passy et la Tour Eiffel," painted in 1911, we experience a fascinating view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. The important thing about this painting is its composition. Chagall uses several converging diagonal lines: the bright red road, the orange cement wall, and the lines denoting the blue sky. If you think about the time period of the painting, it's interesting to note how it depicts some of the modern changes to the city of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the construction of the Pont de Passy Bridge and technologically modern train, electrical power-lines, and how it is juxtaposed alongside the element of the horses and wagon alluding to and earlier time in history.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, painters like Fernand Leger incorporated streamlined forms and contours of assembly-line production into their artwork. In the painting shown here, "Three Women by a Garden" painted by Fernand Leger in 1922, three generations of women are depicted. "Woman with a Cat" was painted in 1921.
Piet Mondrian is one of my favorite artists. Here is one of his iconic paintings called, "Composition" completed in 1921. It's an early example of the geometric style of painting that Mondrian called Neo-Plasticism, that emphasized planar relationships in painting, architecture, and design. Many people who look at my own personal artwork sometimes comment that they see hints of a Mondrian influence in my artwork. Here is Mondrian's painting at the Met, next to one of my paintings!
Mondrian used black lines to divide the canvas into rectangles that are sometimes painted in shades of blue and red, creating lighter hues by mixing primary colors with white. Later on in his artistic process, Mondrian stopped creating these hues and used pure, primary colors. In comparing his painting with mine, we each use an entirely different process to create our black lines and blocks of color. If you notice, the black line at the bottom right of his painting doesn't quite reach the bottom. To me, it detracts from the overall design. Here are two other artists, whose works are hung alongside Mondrian's at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I love Jackson Pollock's artwork! The painting below is called "Number 28" and was painted in 1950. His drip and pour paintings are widely recognized as his greatest achievement in art. He used simple sticks or paint stirrers and enamel house paint, sometimes poured right from the can, spilling lines directly onto raw canvas spread on the floor. What I love about his paintings are that the paint on the canvas we see is a record of the artist's creative process and his movement as he walked around all the sides of the canvas.
One of the Special Exhibitions on display during my visit was "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer." Michelangelo Buonarroti lived from 1475 to 1564 and is celebrated for his excellence of the power of drawing and invention that provided the foundation for all the arts. His drawing skills, design, sculpture, painting, and architecture all combined to give him the reputation of "The Divine One" by his contemporaries. The exhibition showed a range of over 200 works by the artist that was pulled together from 50 public and private collections across the United States and Europe. The exhibit opened in November and is on view through February 12, 2018. Below are just two of his incredible artworks I saw at the Met. #MetMichelangelo
During my visit there was a magnificent exhibit of the British artist David Hockney that showcases 60 years of his art career. I highly recommend visiting this exhibit that is at the Met Fifth Avenue through February 25, 2018. David Hockney's painting address translating movement, space, and time into a two dimensional painting. Hockney is probably best known for depicting California swimming pools and backyards in the mid-1960s. Many of his paintings are quite large, perhaps over 6 or 7 feet square. I love how he uses Acrylic paint on canvas.
Alexander Calder created a series of moving sculptures called mobiles that he created in a diverse range of abstract configurations. Shown here, is a free-moving wind mobile that is carefully balanced on a movable pivot point. I learned that he was inspired by the work of Joan Miro, and the similar shapes and forms can be observed in Calder's mobiles. In the video below, you can see the kinetic nature of his mobile, "Mobile" created in 1941 from painted aluminum, steel, steel rod, and wire.
Here are some of Claude Monet's masterpieces...
And lastly, I came across these wonderful sculptures created by artist, Jaume Plensa, that are permanently installed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Terminal. I learned that these two huge sculptures are reminiscent of the Moai sculptures on Easter Island.
Overall, my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was simply amazing. I could have spent the entire day looking at all the art and taking photos of every piece of artwork, but I could only include these 6 dozen or so photos! I wish I had the time to visit Met Cloisters and Met Breuer as well. Well, reason for another visit! I hope you enjoyed this blog and I welcome your comments! Have a friend who would enjoy reading this blog? Then please share it with them via email or social media! You can click on the Facebook and Twitter buttons below!
I'm pleased to announce that I was selected by Artsy Shark as their Featured Artist. Below is the article and you can view it online using this link:
Being a Featured Artist is an incredible opportunity to have your artwork seen and shared widely. The article is read by thousands of people who visit the Artsy Shark web-site.
This weekend, I participated in a wonderful juried art festival in Needham, Massachusetts. The 2017 Needham Winter Arts Festival was held at Town Hall and featured over 30 local artists exhibiting their work. It was wonderful to be a part of this event which attracted hundreds of people (despite the first snowfall of the season) and featured musicians and singers performing holiday tunes onstage. The event was made possible through support from the Town of Needham and the Massachusetts Cultural Council Festival Grant Program.
I decided to post this blog article because two paintings of mine found a new home! The paintings, shown here, "Honey, I'm Home" and "Love Shines #2" were both sold and is now part of a private collection, bringing smiles to people residing in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The "Honey, I'm Home!" painting is acrylic paint on canvas and is 18" x 24". I was inspired to paint the house upon being invited to exhibit in a group show with the theme, "House." Before being sold, the "Honey, I'm Home!" painting was exhibited at the Morse Public Library, in Natick, MA in October 2016. It was also exhibited at the Attleboro Arts Museum December 9, 2016-February 2, 2017. I love this painting because of all the mosaic illusion elements, the representation of bushes, and how I used a broken line to indicate the front doorway.
The second painting sold, "Love Shines #2" is a 10" x 10" acrylic on board painting with resin and ground glass. "Love Shines #2" was one of my most recent paintings completed within the past month! This was one of my first few paintings that features my use of acrylic paint and ground glass with multiple layers of resin. I love using hearts in my artwork to convey the emotion of love, passion, romance, and fun! I really do feel that love does shine, and in the case of my artwork, it does too through the use of ground glass that reflects the sparkling light!
The accompanying painting, "Love Shines #1" is still available, and I'm glad that it received a lot of positive praise at the Arts Festival. I'm currently working on another series of 10 paintings, all 10" x 10" with acrylic paint, ground glass, and resin. So stay tuned for more information on those paintings once I'm done with them in my studio. They are going to be awesome and a LOT of FUN! OMG!
I also sold out all my puzzles and blankets featuring my artwork as well as sold a lot of greeting cards, coasters, candles, limited edition prints, and notepads too! The 2017 Needham Winter Arts Festival was a great and successful event! I'm looking forward to participating in it again next year!
I'm thrilled that these paintings sold to folks who absolutely loved them and I hope that they will enjoy their original paintings for many years to come!
To see the painting sold last weekend and read the blog article: CLICK HERE!
This past weekend, I was a visiting artist exhibiting my artwork at Gorse Mill Open Studios. Gorse Mill Studios is located in a historic old mill building in Needham, MA, a suburb of Boston. The building houses dozens of artists who create all types of artwork; from paintings to pottery, stained glass to mosaics, ceramics, jewelry, photography, illustration, encaustic, glass, performing arts, graphic design, and more! Gorse Mill Studios hosts openings, gallery shows, and art education programs throughout the year. It was wonderful to be a part of their event.
I decided to post this blog article because one of my favorite paintings found a new home! The painting, shown here, "Woof Woof! Gotta Get My Bone" was sold and is now bringing smiles to a new family! The painting is acrylic paint on canvas and is 10" x 20". I love this painting because of it's unusual size, the movement portrayed by the vertical lines of varying width, and how I incorporated mini-dog bones within the mosaic illusion part of the painting. It always makes me laugh!
Before being sold, this painting was exhibited at the Wellesley Community Center for the Wellesley Society of Artists Fall Show from September 2016-April 2017. This is the painting that I used for the cover of my new 2018 Calendar that features the birthdays of dozens of famous artists. I also created a coffee mug of this painting too! I'm thrilled that this painting sold to someone who shared with me how much he loved it and I know he and his family will enjoy it for many years to come!
Two years ago, my wife and I stumbled upon an amazing event happening in Boston near Fenway Park. It was Illuminus Boston, and we were completely blown away at how much fun it was to experience incredible and unique works of art. All of them used light in spectacular ways for an immersive experience in this public art event.
This year, I made every effort to attend Illuminus Boston, which was held this weekend in the Downtown Crossing and surrounding areas part of Boston. It was a great night, and the artworks were equally terrific. I've posted photos from a number of the exhibits but here are some highlights.
Perhaps my favorite exhibit was one called "Depth Compression" by Callie Chapman. I believe another performance art piece was done in conjunction with this exhibit called "Public Displays of Motion." Depth Compression basically took imagery of the sidewalk and projected it in a compressed format, duplicated, and at a 90 degree angle. The effect was very cool. There were three dancers with bright colored wigs that made various dance and body movements along the sidewalk that were then projected behind their performance. Perhaps you "had to be there" to get it, but it was very cool. Trust me.
Another exhibit was a projected movie showing dance, with a live DJ, which turned into a live Dance Party in the middle of Washington St. in Downtown Crossing.
One of my favorites was a collection of abstract video imagery created by several artists projected on the facade of a large downtown building. I've seen a similar type of thing before in Sydney, Australia, several years ago.
The event was Friday November 3, and Saturday November 4, 2017 from 6-11 pm, so if you missed it already, be sure to catch it next year!
Below are some of my photos, but I encourage you to check out illuminusboston.org and also look it up using the Hashtag: #illuminusboston
The artists and director of the film really captured van Gogh's style, bringing it to life on film. The swirls in the sky and starry night opens the film it’s opening credits. Every detail was taken care of regarding the casting of light and shadow as people moved in front of the light and moved away from the light or moved closer to the light. In some scenes where there were lamps, you really could tell by the painters brushstrokes the glow of the fire that emanated from the lamp. And it was that glow that was also masterfully captured in the characters faces, clothing, etc.
The plot-line of the movie is certainly more of a historical documentary, featuring a variety of different flashbacks and characters re-counting their impressions of van Gogh and their interactions with Vincent van Gogh. From from all of these characters' subjective accounts of Vincent van Gogh‘s life and death, we learn, in aggregate, all about Vincent van Gogh.
At the end of the film, we see the closing credits, which featured photographs of the actors in costume in character beside actual photographs or paintings by Vincent van Gogh of those characters and the images that inspired the scenery, etc. For example, the Vincent van Gogh's paintings of Joseph Roulin, the Postman, of which there are several of them, those images were shown beside the actor's portrayal of that character.
It really is hard to believe that Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. And it’s really hard to even fathom that he painted over 800 paintings in his eight year career as an artist. I always wonder what wonderful artwork he would have produced for the world to experience and enjoy had he lived a longer life.
Even describing this film does not do it justice. You really do just have to see it for yourself. The film has already won several nominations and awards at various internationally acclaimed film festivals. Anyone who appreciates Vincent van Gogh's artwork, or even Modern Art in general, needs to see this movie.
I can’t recommend this movie more highly. The official trailer is posted below. For more information about the movie, please visit the official website www.lovingvincent.com
Go see it! And I welcome your comments below.
What I loved about painting the Marathon-Themed Box in Natick was that painting it on-site allowed me to interact with people walking by, take photos together, and share my artistic process with them.
As I began to think about the project, I created several sketches that included a lot of ideas related to the town of Natick, the Boston Marathon, as well as how best to integrate my artistic style to create something visually appealing. I wanted to make it uniquely “Natick” by incorporating things like the Gazebo, the church, Natick’s zip code, etc. I like to include the American flag because Natick, I feel, is really an all-American type of town. Diverse, patriotic, down-to-earth, democratic, and inclusive.
And as I began to think about the Marathon component, I wanted to include visuals like the beautiful Boston Marathon Medal, the Marathon Runner Number, the Trophy, and the amazing runners racing toward the finish line. I also wanted to demonstrate the inclusive nature of the Natick community and the marathon itself by including a competitor in a wheelchair. I also gave a lot of thought to how the colors of the Boston Marathon (Blue and Yellow) would integrate into my overall design. And while most people won't be able to see the top of the box, I’ve painted “Boston Strong” on the top of the box.
Many of my paintings all use a similar color palette of primary colors, white, black, and neutral greys.
All my work focuses on lines, shapes, vibrant colors, and the integration of an illusion of mosaic tile.
This illusion of mosaic tile provides cohesion to my body of work and serves to provide balance, repetition, movement, and other elements of strong artistic design and composition.
I often think about the mosaic element as confetti, to further my goal of conveying fun, exhilaration, and happiness; the mosaic patterns add life and positive energy into my work.
I’m excited about the actual process of creating public art and/or installing the artwork on location with observers and participants.
There were a few funny stories of things that happened while I was on-site painting. It was the first day on-site at the electrical box. One of the first things I needed to do was make sure the box was clean of dirt, bugs, cobwebs, etc. before I could start painting. So imagine people walking by seeing a guy on a stepstool washing by hand an electrical utility box!
As people walked by, I could tell people were a bit confused or thought I was out of my mind.
As you saw in the video, I began by painting a solid black color on the entire box, and then place lines of tape, to be uncovered later. When I started with the spray paint, painting it all black, again, some people were trying to figure out what was going on, if I was vandalizing the box, or why it was all black. Maybe they preferred it grey?
But as I continued with my painting, people began to stop, ask what I was doing, ask me what it was going to look like, etc. It was a great opportunity to share with people the great things the Natick Center Cultural District has done around town to enhance life for everyone in Natick.
I painted the box over 2 weeks, almost every day, so I got to see a few people on a number of occasions on their daily walk, and it was great to stop and chat with them and hear their reactions as they saw the progress over time.
In Boston, the box I painted is on Boylston Street, a very busy city street so most of my interactions were with pedestrians on their lunch break or people heading to a Red Sox game. But in Natick, I can’t tell you how many people honked their horns and smiled at me while I painted.
People even rolled down their windows and shouted things like “Great Job!, I love that! & That’s so cool!”
I’m so pleased that in all my interactions on site, people were really happy to see my artwork.
One woman said to me, “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in Natick. And that;s very cool.”
And it was great to see all the wonderful comments on all the Facebook and Instagram posts!
I love watching the first time a passerby sees my artwork on their evening jog, their walk home from work, or pushing a baby stroller on their way to Dunkin Donuts.
These are all inspiring reminders of the transformative impact a piece of public art can have on the overall look of physical space and the pleasure it gives people.
The Dedication on Sunday, October 22nd was a wonderful event. It was a beautiful, sunny and warm day. I'd like to thank everyone who came out to the Ribbon Cutting, especially my wife, kids, my in-laws, and cousins! It really meant to much to celebrate this special community event with family and friends. I've posted a video to YouTube, which you can watch here below of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
I'd like to also take this opportunity to thank the Natick Center Cultural District and the Public Arts Committee for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful public art project.
I hope everyone in the area will join me to watch the Boston Marathon at the site of the electrical box on Patriots’ Day 2018.
Here are some photos from the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony:
Last month I visited Napa Valley and had the pleasure of visiting Yountville, St. Helena, and Napa. The region of Napa Valley is known for incredible wine, so it was no surprise that it had incredible art as well.
During my visit, I visited a few wineries and did a few wine-tastings all in two days. I learned that many of the vineyards in the area have art galleries associated with them. I'll write about the artistic things that I came across, however, my blog is by no means a comprehensive listing of all the artistic offerings of this incredible region in California.
I had an amazing time at Kelham Vineyards, where I was lucky to have an incredibly delicious, gourmet dinner. Kelham Vineyards also sells a number of prints by the French artist Gerard Purvis. The artsist is best known for creating original sculptures & prints made from wine bottle foils. To my knowledge, Gerard Purvis' work can only be found in the United States at Kelham Vineyards. For more information, please visit: KelhamVineyards.com and kelhamvineyards.com/Puvis.html.
The next day, the first stop was in St. Helena at the Alpha Omega Winery, which was one of my favorites: aowinery.com. At our next stop, I enjoyed a private luncheon in Yountville at Cliff Lede, which is where I came across some very cool art. For more information about Cliff Lede, please visit: cliffledevineyards.com. Outside of the private tasting room on a beautiful terrace were these two incredible sculptures. I only wish my photos were better to really capture these sculptures. I posted the photos here:
The private tasting room, called the White Room, named after the Beatles White album, also had some very cool art in it. The lunch for our private party was served directly in the Tank Room where we saw the innovative technology used in producing their delicious wine. Looking up toward the White Room, were some beautiful paintings, which I posted here below.
That evening, I dined in Napa and had the pleasure of strolling around the town and exploring a number of public art sculptures in town. Many of the sculptures were part of the Napa Art Walk. The Napa Art Walk is a bi-annual, rotating exhibition of juried sculpture created by artists from the Western United States. For more information, please visit: www.napaartwalk.org.
Based in Napa is the Art Association of Napa Valley, which is a private, nonprofit arts organization that enhances life for the Napa Valley by supporting arts and culture in the area. Their website includes an artist listing, newsletters and class and event listings. Located in Downtown Napa at 1307 First Street is an art gallery that features the work of members of the Art Association Napa Valley. For more information, please visit www.artnv.org.
The Yountville Art Walk was one of the highlights of my trip to Napa Valley. Known for the finest food and wine in the country, Yountville is also known for art. The Napa Valley Museum is located in Yountville. For more information, visit www.napavalleymuseum.org.
Beautiful sculptures lined the streets of Yountville. I learned that in 2010, Gordon Huether partnered with Yountville Arts to establish the Yountville Art Walk. More information about Gordon Huether can be found on his website, www.gordonhuether.com. The sculptures are for sale, with a percentage of the proceeds going to Yountville Arts Fund to support their arts-related activities, programs, and events. Based on my observation, the sculptures ranged in price from $6,000 to $60,000! Yountville was a terrific place to explore and experience some great public art. Below are some photos of just a few of the sculptures I had the pleasure of seeing during my time in Yountville.
For more information about Yountville Arts, please visit www.yountvillearts.com.
See this beautiful, bright yellow painted piano reminded me of the piano I painted as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston's Play Me I'm Yours StreetPianos Boston 2016 Public Art Installation. To learn more about the piano I painted, please click the link to visit: StreetPianos Boston City Hall Plaza 2016.
There is so much to see and do in the Napa Valley Region. I barely scratched the surface of the art offerings the region has to experience, but I hope that this blog article inspires you to visit the area and explore on your own! I know that I'm already excited about the possibility of returning to the Napa Valley and exploring more the art world has to offer!
Many of these murals were created over the past few years as part of Pow! Wow!, which is a cool mural festival and celebration of art and culture. The festival also takes place in cities and countries such as Hawaii, Taiwan, Long Beach, Israel, Singapore, Jamaica, Washington D.C., Guam, New Zealand, Germany, and more. The POW WOW! Worcester mural festival, which was just in August 2017, has added dozens of murals in Worcester in less than 10 days while also hosting a number of arts and community-centered events and programs. Although I missed taking part of the festivities, I'm glad that I got to see a few of the incredible artworks that came out of this incredible festival. Visit www.powwowworcester.com for more information.
I came across this awesome video on Pow! Wow! Israel and you can check it out here: http://powwowhawaii.com/blog/pow-wow-israel-2017-official-video/
Another of my favorites was located at this parking garage, which had two tower-like paintings on each side by artist Victor Quinonez. Check out Instagram @Marka_27. This was very cool.
The Main Street area is pretty cool and full of history. If you look closely, you'll see that some of the older buildings have plaques on them that describe the history of the area as well as interesting facts about the architecture. For example, The Frankel Building was constructed in the mid-1800s and burned down in the Great Fire of 1898. It wasn't until 1966, that the building was renovated to establish the Silver Palace Saloon and later housed a variety of other shops. The Frankel Building is a typical example of mining town vernacular architecture and features large display windows and a recessed entryway. The brick walls demonstrate the preoccupation with using more fire resistant materials. (Sorry, no photo of the building, so you'll just have to visit yourself!)
Main Street Art Galleries:
All along Main Street are some fabulous art galleries. There is a Park City Gallery Association which hosts a Last Friday Gallery Stroll. On the last Friday of each month, from 6-9 pm, the Park City Gallery Association features artists, special exhibits, and art events. The Stroll is a free community event that gives local residents and Park City visitors the opportunity to explore Park City's art scene. The remaining dates for 2017 are August 25th, September 29th, October 27th, November 24th, and December 29th. Check out their website: www.parkcitygalleryassociation.com for more information.
For more than 40 years, the Kimball Art Center has inspired and connected the Park City community through art. The Kimball Art Center is a world-class community art center and Park city's cultural hub. The nonprofit center provides art education, free exhibitions, quarterly Art Talks, gallery tours, and a variety of events to the public, including the annual Park city Kimball Arts Festival that attracts more than 50,000 people to Par City's historic Main Street. They provide over 300 visual arts classes for all ages and free educational programs for K-12 schools in Utah. The Kimball Art Center is located at 1401 Kearns Boulevard. More information can be found on their website: www.kimballartcenter.org
A short ride from Park City took me to the Sundance Mountain Resort in Sundance, Utah. The resort is owned by Robert Redford; Redford hosted the first Sundance Film Festival in 1985 to promote independent films. Perhaps the two films I'm producing, "Dan and Carla" and "Avery's Sin" will end up at Sundance in the near future!!!
While at Sundance Resort, I took a scenic chairlift up Sundance Mountain to Ray's Summit at 7,150 ft. and hiked down to Stewart Falls, returning back to the main area. The hike was pretty intense (at least for me), but I was rewarded at the end with a cold drink and a view of a really cool sculpture set on a beautiful pond. Close to the main area, I came across this wonderful sculpture: Allan Houser's bronze sculpture, "Prayer Song" located in front of the Rehearsal Hall and pond at Sundance.
The Sundance Art Gallery is located in the Art Studio and features a number of exhibiting guest artists. The Art Studio has daily workshops in jewelry making, wheel-thrown pottery, journal making, soap making, watercolor, acrylic painting, oil painting, printmaking, and drawing and are open to both resort guests and day visitors.
More information about Sundance Mountain Resort can be found at: www.sundanceresort.com
More information about the Sundance Art Studio can be found at: www.sundanceresort.com/art-studio
I have no doubt that there is so much more to the art in Park City and the surrounding areas in Utah, beyond what I've written here, but it's my hope that you'll read my blog and perhaps explore on your own art adventures! Wishing you Creative and Happy Travels!
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Puerto Rico and traveling to various islands in the Caribbean on a family vacation this summer. It was a wonderful trip, filled with all the expected highlights one would expect such as sun, sand, beach, sightseeing, and adventure. But I didn't expect to see some incredible artwork during my time in Puerto Rico and on my cruise vacation.
I should note that by no means is this blog article a complete and accurate picture of the art of Puerto Rico or Curaçao. The following are just a few of the things I came across that struck my eye. In Puerto Rico, I did not have the chance to visit the Puerto Rico Museum of Art http://www.mapr.org/es or the San Juan Museum http://sanjuanciudadpatria.com/en/services/arts-culture-and-innovation/san-juan-museum/sanjuanciudadpatria.com/en/services/arts-culture-and-innovation/san-juan-museum/
What I discovered weren't major art installations in world-renowned art museums, or famous public art, but rather art that really captured the flavor of the local area.
After my visit to the Curaçao Museum, I took a walk near the water to get into the main shopping area. Along the water in Curaçao, is the famous floating pontoon bridge. This public artwork by Frank Van Der Loo was placed along the water near the pontoon bridge's entrance. Although the coloring of the artwork was faded (especially apparent from the real-life view across the water of the characteristically vibrantly-colored buildings), I really liked this mural. It reminded me of the mosaic shapes I use in my personal artwork. Especially the mosaic-like shapes shown in the sky and in the lower portion of the mural.
In Curaçao, I came across a storefront that is operated by the Art Foundation Curaçao. They teach classes and provide art programs for at-risk youth. Art Foundation Curaçao is a non-profit organization founded based on the idea that people of Curaçao are creative and talented and that Curaçao has all the ingredients to become an art destination.
On sale in the gallery were "Curaçao Cubes" created by local children in foster homes in a workshop titled "Big Power of Small Blocks." The proceeds from the sale of the approximately 4"x4" painted wood blocks go back to the foster homes for more free art classes.
One of its projects is the Plein Air Curaçao. Plein Air painting is a painting created in the open air; a form of rapid painting with the start and ending of a painting usually in one session of about 2-3 hours. Natural light changes over time, so the quick nature of painting with broad strokes creates impressions of reality as seen through the eyes of the artist.
Plein Air Curaçao is a bi-annual international art festival. For more information, please visit www.pleinaircuracao.com.
Not far from there was the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum, adjacent to the Mikve Israel-Emanuel (the oldest Synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, The museum housed numerous Jewish ritual objects as well as information about Dutch Jewry and the Jewish community of Curaçao. For more information, please visit: http://www.snoa.com/museum
I should mention the Cruise ship's art galleries and the on-board art auctions that are common on all the major cruise-lines. The art auctions were operated by Park West and all I care to say about this is that I found this online article that I found to be an accurate representation of my experience on the ship. Although I did not purchase any artwork from Park West on the ship, I did find it to be a fascinating experience interacting with their staff, viewing their artwork, and participating in their on-board auction champagne reception event.
That said, the cruise was wonderful and all the artwork I saw on this trip was amazing. I highly recommend visiting Curaçao and I welcome your comments!
In just a few days, the Venice Biennale will begin!
La Biennale di Venezia is the oldest and most prestigious international exhibition of contemporary visual art in the world. Often referred to as the Olympics of the art world, the event dates back to 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. Since then, millions of visitors have been introduced to exciting new art every two years. The 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (May 13-November 26, 2017) is directed by Christine Macel, Chief Curator at the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou in Paris.
As a graduate of Brandeis University and a huge fan of the Rose Art Museum, I'm thrilled that the Rose Art Museum will present the work of Mark Bradford as the representative of the United States at this year's exhibition.
Bradford's installation, titled "Tomorrow is Another Day," (after the closing line from Gone With the Wind), comes from his longtime commitment to the inherently social nature of the material world we all inhabit, and includes a collaboration with the Venice-based nonprofit social cooperative, Rio Tera dei Pensieri. In Venice, Bradford helped current and former prison inmates open a storefront where they sell cosmetics, tote bags that they create, and vegetables that they grow. Proceeds go to the organization Rio Tera dei Pensieri, which helps former inmates find employment, housing, and healthcare.
Best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that examine the class-, race-, and gender-based economies that structure urban society in the United States, Bradford’s unique work represents a connection to the social world through physical materials. In his artwork, Mark Bradford uses fragments of found posters, billboards, newsprint, and custom-printed paper to engage with and advance the future of abstract painting. Bradford has earned international renown for large paintings made by layering these fragments of posters, papers, and other materials on canvas—collages that he cuts, sands, and tears into fantastic abstract compositions.
So if you're in Venice, be sure to check out "Mark Bradford: Tomorrow is Another Day" at the United States Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. And if you can't make it to Venice, don't worry! Following its debut in Venice, "Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day" will be on view here in the United States at The Baltimore Museum of Art from September 2018 through January 2019.
For More Information, please visit: https://www.markbradfordvenice2017.org/
I had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, which is always an incredible experience. There are always new exhibits to see as well as a chance to see some of one's favorite works of art since visiting last.
Henri Matisse, perhaps one of the most famous artists in the world, was the subject of a fascinating exhibit. The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit pushed the limits of how one experiences Matisse's work. Having seen his artwork countless of times at museums all over the world, including visiting the Matisse Museum in the south of France, I've never quite have seen artwork presented in this unique format.
Henri Matisse was an artist who revolutionized 20th Century art. This international exhibition examines the critical importance of the objects in Matisse's studio and how they influenced his creative process and finished artwork.
The exhibit has a number of thematic sections that each focus on different stages of his career as an artist. Matisse didn't limit his work to one medium like painting or sculpture, but also did many drawings, cut-outs, collages, prints, and more. What makes this exhibit particularly fascinating is that the artwork is presented next to the objects that helped inspire Matisse's creativity and served as subject matter for much of his work. Matisse found inspiration everywhere: In sculpture, in a chocolate pot, textiles, furniture.
Below, the pewter jug served as inspiration for the painting below. You can see how the curved lines of the jug, the waviness, are imitated in the lines of the background tapestry, the woman's robe, and the actual jug he painted as a vase of flowers. As you can see in the close-up photos below, the wavy lines are not painted on, but Matisse rather scratched the paint off the surface of the canvas. This reminds me of how I used this technique in some of my artwork. You can see some of those paintings here and here.
Show above is a table that appears in the painting to the left. And below is a female torso Roman sculpture that Matisse used to create the "Formes, Plate IX" for the illustrated book "Jazz". Matisse used cut paper as its own medium. He also uses Guache paint on paper that he cut and pasted on canvas to create "Mimosa" and "Panel with Mask". The movie, "A Model for Matisse" discussed the relationship between Matisse and his longtime friend and nun, Sister Jacques-Marie. Their relationship began when she started working for him as his nurse, but later she often served as a model for Matisse's most famous artworks. The nun also helped paint the paper that Matisse used for his cutouts. The sister was instrumental in helping Matisse design the Vence Chapel (the Chapelle du Rosaire), one of his greatest accomplishments in his career as an artist. The two large cutouts were designs for the robes that the priests were to wear while celebrating Catholic Mass.
The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit runs from April 9, 2017 to July 9, 2017. For more information, please visit www.mfa.org.
Art of the Americas. Level 3
Below is just a few snapshots I took during this visit to the MFA, some of my old favorites as well as some new favorites. Below from are some wonderful photos of Piet Mondrian's work, "Composition with Blue, Yellow, and Red," Georgia O'Keefe's "White Rose with Larkspur No. 2," Joseph Stella's "Old Brooklyn Bridge" large, oil on canvas painting, Pablo Picasso's sculpture, and his "The Bull" series completed in 1945 and 1946.
Also below are two of Jackson Pollock's incredible paintings, along with a close up shot of his drip-work, splattering, etc. and lastly, I've included a piece by Charles Sheeler titled "On a Shaker Theme" and an incredible work of art by Stuart Davis, "Apples and Jug" where he takes the traditional still-life and transforms it into his modernist universe, with elements of cubism and even of advertising imagery.
In the Contemporary Art galleries, two pieces struck me on this visit. One is Carmen Herrera's, "Blanco y Verde (#1)", Acrylic on Canvas. Originally from Havana, Cuba, Herrera studied painting in New York. The simplicity of the forms here was really striking. I love the exactness of her straight lines, and her minimal use of color. We don't know if there is a background or a foreground, and we almost lose our-self within the painting completely. Carmen Herrera recently had a retrospective exhibit of her work a the Whitney Museum of American Art a few months ago.
Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross
This powerful exhibit recently opened in March and will be on view through July 30, 2017.
“Memory Unearthed” is a very moving exhibit that provides a rare glimpse of life during the Holocaust. Holocaust Survivor, Henryk Ross took this incredible display of photographs of life inside the Lodz Ghetto from 1940 to 1944.
Henryk Ross was confined to the Lodz ghetto in 1940 and enlisted by the Nazi regime as a bureaucratic photographer taking photos for Jewish identification cards, for propaganda materials, etc. Secretly, Henryk Ross documented the horrible living conditions and persecution of the Jews under the Nazis. Ross his the photos and negatives before the last of the Jews were sent from the ghetto to the Auschwitz and Chelmno death camps. The photos seen in this exhibit survived because Ross buried the photos and negatives hoping to provide a historical record of the persecution of the Jews.
All the photos were very powerful to see. However, there was one piece of artwork that I found completely incredible and breathtaking from an artistic perspective. I've included the photo below. It is actually a modern print from an original 35mm negative, depicting Ghetto police escorting residents for deportation. The image itself and the unfortunate and horrifying circumstances in the photo are very compelling. But beyond the face value of what is happening in the photo, you can see that the negative is partially destroyed, burned, or deteriorating. From one perspective, the visual piece of artwork is quite beautiful and striking. And from another perspective, it is quite ugly, off-putting, sad, and even symbolic. This exhibit helps us Never Forget the horrors of the Holocaust and its victims of persecution and death.
Overall, this was an incredible visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. With every visit, there are new things to see, experience, learn, and explore.
Part 1: Barcelona Architecture
One cannot talk about Barcelona's architecture without mentioning Antoni Gaudi. Part of the Modernista movement of the late 19th Century, Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona's most famous architect. Almost anywhere you look in Barcelona, Gaudi had some part in its creation, from the houses, apartment buildings, churches, sidewalks, parks, and even the city benches lining the streets. In Modernism, nature was a huge element present in decorative motifs as well as present in the actual architectural structure of Gaudi's buildings. Below are some of Gaudi's masterpieces, but there are dozens of others throughout Barcelona to visit and experience.
I really enjoyed seeing Casa Batllo, which is situated on a main street in the heart of Barcelona. Mosaic is everywhere. The Chimneys of the building are works of art. The roof is representational of a dragon's back. The exterior facade demonstrates Gaudi's expert use of texture and color. Below are some photos of the exterior of the building as well as the interior. The sidewalk tiles as shown in the photos below line the streets and feature an underwater, marine-life motif.
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia is innovative and highly symbolic. The architect's objective was to explain the teachings of the Church through sculpture and architecture. Following Gaudi's death, work on the Sagrada Familia continues to be carried out by collaborating architects and artists. The project is expected to be complete by 2026, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.
The stained glass windows were perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of the Sagrada Familia. The colors were so vivid and bright.
Park Guell is another one of Gaudi's masterpieces. It was build between 1900 and 1914. It was opened as a public park where Gaudi let his imagination run wild with his incredible use of mosaics throughout the park. Below are some photos of Park Guell. The mosaic work is unbelievable and reminds me very much of the mosaic illusion that I paint in many of my own paintings.
La Pedrera is also known as Casa Mila. It was completed in 1912 as an apartment building. There are curved walls that seemingly defy the laws of gravity. The rooftop is amazing at night and includes all of Gaudi's architectural trademarks. Bricks in the attic create arched ceilings and are uniquely used using the log side of the brick, which also features the brick-maker's fingerprints. There are terrific wrought iron balconies and exquisite ceramic mosaics. I highly recommend visiting La Pedrera by booking a night tour, which includes a full tour of the building and a surreal visual light display on the rooftop under the stars, followed by a champagne toast and cookies!
Although my time in Barcelona didn't permit me to visit the Palau Guell, I should mention that it is an excellent example of one of Antonio Gaudi's early architectural masterpieces. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a magnificent example of domestic architecture in the context of Art Nouveau and one of the first important commissions Gaudi received at the start of his career. It is located just steps away from La Rambla, not far from La Boqueria.
Part 2: Barcelona's Art Museums and Fine Art
A Guide to Visiting Barcelona's Museums:
If you plan to visit Barcelona, I highly recommend purchasing the Barcelona Museum Pass, also known as an art passport from ArtTicket BCN, which will give you access to six Barcelona museums, including the ability to skip the lines. The Passport give you access to the Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso), the Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro), the National Museum of Art of Catalunya (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), the Antoni Tapies Museum (Fundacio Antoni Tapies), the CCCB, and the MACBA. I purchased the passport online (for 30 Euros), and simply showed the ticket to the first museum I visited to receive the passport. The passport is stamped upon entry at each museum. To learn more about the ArtTicket BCN, check out their website: http://articketbcn.org/en/barcelona-museum-pass. I should also mention that it is very important to check the hours of each of the museums as they vary significantly. Most museums, with a few exceptions, are closed on Mondays. Also, all city museums are free at last one afternoon per month, so be sure to check the websites in advance for hours and special exhibition dates.
If you're interested in contemporary art, check out this website that provides a network devoted to contemporary art in Barcelona: http://www.artbarcelona.es/circuit/en/.
Picasso Museum in Barcelona
The Museu Picasso of Barcelona is a wonderful center documenting Pablo Picasso's early years of apprenticeship. With over 4,000 works of art in its permanent collection, you'll see why this museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona.
The Picasso Museum highlights the artist’s relationship with the city of Barcelona. I learned that Pablo Picasso's father was a teacher at the San Telmo Fine Art and Crafts School. and had an important influence on Picasso's future career as an artist, who demonstrated a strong interest in art from a very young age. There are some drawings and small panels in oil that give an idea of his efforts to give his own creativity free rein and explore new techniques by taking in his immediate environment.
In Barcelona, Pablo Picasso continued his art education at the La Llotja Fine Art School. The photos here show his artwork featuring Barceloneta Beach and two ports. After taking these photos, I learned that photos were not allowed, so unfortunately, I do not have photos showing the rest of the museum. This Picasso museum focused on his earlier works, and very few on display were "well-known Picasso masterpieces." The museum highlighted Picasso's creative process of some of his work of his Blue Period. Some of the highlights of the museum included Las Meninas Series. This was a series of paintings based on the Velazquez painting Las Meninas.
For more information, please visit www.museupicasso.bcn.cat.
Fundacio Joan Miro
The Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro) is located in the Montjuic area of Barcelona and houses the work of Joan Miro as well as temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st Century art. The collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings displayed at the museum is one of the most comprehensive collections representing every stage of Miro's career as an artist. There are paintings related to Surrealism and works based on the Spanish Civil War. Miro's work on large canvases in the late 1970s onward demonstrate his use of large color fields and painting with free gesture.
For more information, please visit www.fmirobcn.org.
Museums Further Afield from Barcelona:
In the town of Girona, I visited the Museum of Jewish History. The goal of the Museum is to preserve the history of the Jewish communities of Catalunya. Art at this museum included various Jewish ritual objects. Be sure to visit if you are in Girona, which is not far from Figueres, where the Dali Museum is located.
On of my favorite pieces was this one below entitled, "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at a distance of 20 meters is transformed into the portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko).” Gala was his wife and muse for many years.
The exterior of the museum is a work of art as well. Statues with loaves of bread on their heads. Inside the museum in the open air courtyard is a spectacular and wild work of art called, "Rainy Taxi". If you put a Euro in the slot located at the base of the artwork, it will rain inside the taxi, and an umbrella will open up on top of the artwork!
The museum includes paintings by Old Masters with works from the 13th Century to the 18th Century. The largest section of the museum is devoted to works from the 19th and 20th Centuries and includes a wonderful selection of Catalan painting and sculpture of the Modern period. I was very impressed with their collection of paintings by the great masters of French and international impressionism (Degas, Sisley, Monet, Pisarro, Sargent, etc.). Picasso and Dali, avant-garde artists are also well represented!
Part 3: Barcelona's Public Art
The streets of Barcelona are filled with art by world renowned artists. Below are just a few of these that I came across on my artistic journey.
There's a great article that was recently shared with me on the pros and cons of some of the major brands of acrylic paint used by both professional and amateur artists around the world. As a professional artist, the paint I use for my artwork is of paramount importance to both me and those who purchase and collect my artwork. The article is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about acrylic paint, and finding the paint that works best for you, meeting your artistic and creative objectives.
The link to the article written by Lindsey Bourret on Wonderstreet.com can be found here: http://wonderstreet.com/blog/choosing-the-acrylic-paint-thats-best-for-you
For me, my go-to acrylic paint is Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paint. I like the drying time, the vibrancy of the color, the consistency of the paint, and I never experience any color shift. And I sometimes use Liquitex Professional Gloss Medium & Varnish to varnish some of my paintings to create a shiny or glossy look, or in some of my mixed media work where I use it to affix special papers on my canvases. I also like the Liquitex Acrylic Paint Markers, which come in both a small and large point or tip size.
I've also experimented with another acrylic paint, not mentioned in the article, called Flashe paint. Flashe comes in jars and once applied to the canvas, it dries completely opaque with a matte finish. It is made in France by Lefranc & Bourgeois. And for teaching, I often recommend that my students begin to learn how to paint with Grumbacher Academy student grade paint because it is fairly inexpensive and in my opinion has a similar feel to the Liquitex Professional Heavy Body. Grumbacher Academy Paint is discussed in the article using the link: http://wonderstreet.com/blog/choosing-the-acrylic-paint-thats-best-for-you
I encourage you to check out the article and see for yourself what works best for you and the artwork you want to create.
If your favorite color is blue, like it is mine, then you'll enjoy the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum called, "Infinite Blue." The exhibition's title hints at the connection between the color blue and the idea of spirituality as written by Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky, "On the Spiritual in Art." Blue is often associated with the heavens and the spiritual because blue is the color of the sky.
The artwork featured in "Infinite Blue" feature every variety of the color blue from ancient times to the present. The exhibit includes a wide range of artwork from the museum's permanent collection of Asian, African, Egyptian, American, Native American, and European art: paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, etc. My understanding is that this exhibit will expand to other areas of the first floor of the museum over time.
My favorite blue is Cobalt Blue. On display were a variety of blue and white ceramics from the Middle East. The use of Cobalt in the Middle East likely inspired the Chinese to use the pigment.
In the artwork below and the detailed close-up, artist Arlene Schechet has created handmade papers from abaca, a plant native to the Phillippines. The Flow Blue series, from which this work derives, is named after a British transfer pottery from the early 19th century. For more more information on the exhibit, use the hashtag #infinitebluebkm.
The museum also had a number of wonderful pieces from Alex Katz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin. Here are a few paintings on exhibit. Having walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn over the Brookyn Bridge earlier that day, I really appreciated Georgia O'Keefe's painting of the Brooklyn Bridge. I had always thought that most of her artwork was in the same genre of the Ram's Head painting below. Georgia O'Keefe's painting of the Brooklyn Bridge emphasizes the abstract elements of the composition. This painting was one of her last works of art painted in New York before relocating to New Mexico in 1949.
Luce Center for American Art: Visible Storage Study Center:
One of the many wonderful surprises at the Brooklyn Museum was discovering the Visible Storage Study Center. The beautiful display gives you an inside look at how museums work and provides you with a glimpse of the breadth and scope of the Brooklyn Museum's collections. The Visible Storage Study Center contains artwork organized and identified by the accession number assigned by the museum's registrar. Visitors can learn more information about the object by entering an item's identification number on a special web site at computers located throughout the space.
I had the opportunity to see the Marilyn Minter "Pretty/Dirty" exhibit that was on display at the Brooklyn Museum from November 4, 2016 to April 2, 2017. The exhibit featured many over-sized paintings showing seductive and sexual visual statements. The artwork included paintings and videos mostly sexual in nature. The photographs, paints, and videos in one gallery focus on licking, dripping, and devouring mouths. I believe it is a commentary on American culture's inexhaustible appetite for glamour and stimulation. I've included a few photos from the exhibit below.
The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago is the most significant icon of 1970s American feminist art. It took Judy Chicago 5 years to complete the project from 1974 to 1979 with the help of hundreds of collaborators. The Dinner Party represents 1,038 important mythical and historical women, most of whom had been neglected by history. The Dinner Party consists of a series of Entry Banners, Heritage Panels, a Heritage Floor, and a huge ceremonial triangular banquet table measuring 48 feet on each side with a total of 39 place settings. The Dinner Party is housed a the Brooklyn Museum as the central installation of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
The Table is in the shape of an open equilateral triangle, a symbol of equality. Each place setting represents a woman of great historical significance, either real of mythical. The Heritage Floor beneath the table is comprised of 2,300 porcelain tiles.
The Brooklyn Museum was a fascinating experience. Check out the Museum in you are in the vicinity. You won't be disappointed!
Just recently, on February 14th, I came across an editorial article on Artsy.net by Isaac Kaplan entitled, "Do Francis Picabia's Anti-Semitic Remarks Tarnish his MoMA Retrospective?" After reading the article I learned about Picabia's anti-Jewish feelings (and womanizing behaviors). MoMA's exhibit apparently does address this part of Picabia's character; however, I must have missed this as I walked through the gallery. To answer Kaplan's question personally. I think it does, in fact, tarnish his reputation. I really enjoyed his artwork during my visit to the MoMA. But after learning more about the artist, I can't say that I can admire him. Famous artists are people that I want to look up to and admire. They are people that I want the next generation of artists to look up to. And so, while I can appreciate his artwork at face value and his artistic technique, learning about his anti-Semitic behavior does take him down several notches in my book. Similarly, just like we want our kids to admire our professional sports players, it's hard to have our kids look up to them if they do drugs, treat women badly, are anti-gay, or are anti-Jewish, or discriminate in any way. So, I'm kind of let down after my great experience viewing his work in the gallery. But for this blog article, I will continue to proceed sharing my thoughts on the exhibit as if I hadn't learned of his anti-Semitic feelings and behavior.
Here is the link to the article for your information: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-francis-picabias-anti-semitic-remarks-tarnish-moma-retrospective
As I walked though the gallery rooms, the one thing that struck me the most was how his artistic style changed throughout his lifetime. Picabia was an artist of many genres, and his body of work lacks consistency and categorization. He shifted styles over time. The exhibit highlights his impressionist landscapes, abstract works, paintings, photo-based nudes, etc.
Here are some photos from the exhibit.
These two Picabia paintings shown below reminded me of one of my own paintings that I painted earlier this past year, "Woof Woof! Gotta Get My Bone." All three works utilize black lines in a similar fashion. I should note that my painting was created without ever seeing Picabia's work; I am just noting the coincidence in how we both used these lines in the same fashion.
"Revolutionary Impulse: the Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde" was another wonderful temporary exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art that runs through March 12, 2017. The fact that all the artwork on display comes directly from MOMA's permanent collection, demonstrates how wonderful MOMA is and how impressive their permanent collection is. Of all the artwork on view, there were two artists whose work caught my eye.
The two photos below are from the Russian artist Alexandra Exter. The oil on canvas painting on the left, called "Theatrical Composition" was very intriguing to me. I loved the colors, shapes, and overall composition of the painting. The other smaller works, pictured to the right are six designs from various stage sets like The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and others.
To photograph all the well-know paintings from all the famous artists would be a huge undertaking. So I'm including a small selection of some of my favorite pieces along with some detailed close-up photos from the following artists: Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger, Jim Dine, Andy Warhol, Edward Ruscha, Josef Albers, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, and Sol LeWitt. I have the close-up photos to show the brushstrokes, the detailed use of color, and a glimpse into what the artist was focused on while painting their masterpiece.
Pablo Picasso's Guitar Sculpture (3 views), and below, "Vase of Flowers" & "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
I highly recommend visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. More information about the museum can be found on their website: www.moma.org.
Part of the Museum's focus is dedicated to the subject of the Jewish Journey, Jewish culture, and Jewish continuity. The main exhibition is about the Jewish experience as it has evolved from ancient times to the present day. The exhibit highlights the question of how Judaism has been able to thrive for thousands of years across the globe, even in challenging times, through Jewish texts and objects.
Jewish texts have been the central factor in the survival and evolution of Jewish continuity. The objects on exhibit such as Torah scrolls, other religious scrolls, and Jewish ritual objects, all reflect the different ways Jews have expressed their sense of what it means to be Jewish throughout history, in various countries, cultures, and religious contexts. The Culture and Continuity exhibit is located on two floors of the museum. There is so much to say about the exhibit, but most of what I will blog about will focus on the visual arts.
After the destruction of the Second Temple, and beginning in the 3rd Century CE, synagogues were often decorated with beautiful mosaic floors and wall frescoes. Jewish symbols included biblical figures, Hebrew writing, the menorah, and the shofar. Below are some photos of one of these mosaic floors, including a detailed/close-up photo. These mosaics reminded me of my signature style of my personal artwork, creating the illusion of mosaic tile using acrylic paint for my paintings.
I was particularly interested in the paintings at the museum, many of which I will highlight in this blog article. Max Weber, who lived from 1881 to 1961, is perhaps one of the most notable artists who portrayed Jewish life in his artwork. Max Weber was born in Russia and emigrated to the the US. Below on the left is a photo of Weber's famous oil on canvas painting, "The Talmudists," painted in New York in 1934. In his early years, he was a great admirer of the artist, Paul Cezanne, and studied art in Paris from 1905-1908. Cezanne's influence can be seen in his earlier works, including the painting, "Still Life with Challah" exhibited at the Jewish Museum. Most of his early works were still lifes and focused on Jewish ritual objects for Shabbat. By 1919, Weber abandoned formal experimentation and turned to Jewish subjects in pursuit of the spiritual.
Marc Chagall was another famous Jewish artist who had work displayed at the Jewish Museum. Chagall had a lifelong fascination with the Bible and much of his artwork expresses his passion for using his artistic expression to convey the imagery of the Bible. A lithograph on paper, "Moses Displays the Ten Commandments" from "The Story of the Exodus", 1966, is shown to the right.
Shown below, this 1986 large acrylic on canvas painting by David Reeb, an Israeli artist, titled "Map of Israel" is one of a series of paintings that incorporated the pre-1967 Israeli border, known as the "Green Line." Reeb was one of the most outspoken Israeli artists of his generation and was preoccupied with the political implications of the map of Israel. The ongoing conflict between Israel and her neighbors and the conflict around national borders is the major theme in his series of paintings. In this painting, Reeb portrays the outline of the realistic map as the main motif on an abstract patterned surface. In the photos below, I've included 3 photos showing some of the incredible detail of this fascinating painting.
Another fascinating exhibit called "You Don't Have to Be Jewish" featured a compilation of television commercials and clips from the museum's National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting, paired with print advertising campaigns, works of art, and more. The exhibit explores material produced for Jewish audiences or with Jewish content and the way religion, ethnicity, and identity play out on American television. The exhibition closed in early February.
Also on exhibit from November 4, 2016 to March 26, 2017 was "Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design." Pierre Chareau was a celebrated French furniture designer, architect, and art collector. The exhibit showcases rare furniture, lighting fixtures, and interiors, and even featured virtual reality glasses to immerse the viewer in the architectural renderings.
One of the most fascinating exhibits that I've seen this past year was "Take Me (I'm Yours)." The exhibit is based on a 1995 exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery in London, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and the artist Christian Boltanski.
In a conventional museum experience, it is the visitor that consumes art by looking at the paintings, sculptures, or photographs on exhibit. Typically, one is not allowed to touch the art, and certainly not allowed to take them home! Take Me (I'm Yours) defies this well-established standard by featuring works by more than 40 artists from different generations and from all over the globe: The goal of the exhibit is to encourage you to not only touch the artwork, but also to take them away with you and keep them for yourself. Some of the things I walked away with were a can of lemon-flavored sparking water, photographs of glamorous women from the 1950s, stencils, temporary tattoos, pins, hard candies, pill capsules, fabric patches, and more!
The exhibition ended in February. I've posted a few photos below. Photos of visitor experiences can be found online using the hashtag: #TakeMeImYoursNYC.
During my visit, I saw a drop-in art workshop underway, where families were creating works of art together inspired by exhibitions currently on view at the Museum. On Sundays, families can participate in studio art sessions, experience a simulated archaeological dig, or experience the museum's exhibitions with a printed Kids Gallery Guide. The Museum hosts family concerts, workshops and vacation week programming, and workshops for kids with disabilities. For more information, visit: TheJewishMuseum.org/Families.
For more information about this tour, please visit: http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/new-york-tours/walking-tours/manhattan-street-art-tour/
The area of SoHo in Lower Manhattan was started as a result of imminent domain. Artists squatted in the old, run-down buildings in SoHo. It was the artists who made SoHo great. After the artists came, DJs arrived, parties took place, and the changing culture in the 1980s and the burgeoning fashion scene helped shape SoHo into what it is today.
Graffiti is about messages. A lot of street art I saw used cognitive dissonance to make a statement. Cognitive dissonance is when the artist challenges you to think about something. The artist makes you wonder what their message is all about. The artist, Kai, uses this technique in “Save Urself”. Whereas, on the other end of the spectrum, the art used in advertising and marketing ads, the message needs to be crystal clear. I learned about the term “Artivism,” meaning Art-Activism. Using a social, environmental, or political message in street art. Kai uses Artivism. One of his works is near 52 Spring St. called “Save Urself.” I learned that this is a mold that is made and is just slapped on with adhesive on a brick wall. Check out his website: http://kaiart.com/. Here are some other images of Kai's other artwork that I came across on the tour and later throughout the day! If you look at each piece closely, and give it some thought, you will discover his very clear message about society in general.
Some of the art was political in nature, like this one. But there is street art that is done with the building-owner’s permission. Another unique part of street art is the language used. People would describe how their fellow street artist friends create their art fast, incognito, and without being discovered. They’d say “You Bomb it.”, “You'd hit it.”, or “You'd strike it.” A lot of the street art was created somewhere else and then put up in a matter of seconds with adhesive, or wheat paste. Artists would also have “Style Wars”; Who can do this the biggest, the best, etc. Some artists get permission to post their art, while others do not. I learned that the artist who created "Man on Floor" was arrested for creating this. Many artists are looking to have freedom of expression.
Shepard Fairey’s large OBEY mural below. Fairey is also known to have done the famous Obama Hope election poster of President Barack Obama. To learn more about Shepard Fairey, check out his website: https://obeygiant.com/.
What’s known as the “Keith Haring Wall”, was later turned into the Houston Bowery Foundation in the 1990s, with developer Tony Goldman involved in developing SoHo. Keith Haring made the wall infamous by painting an original mural as a gift to the community in the late 1970's. With ownership of the wall, the Goldman family felt a sense of responsibility to bring art and beauty to the public on a grand scale. On a rolling basis, the wall continues to feature the work of established and emerging street artists. The mural located in that spot during my visit was from the artist, Logan Hicks. It was a huge mural created using stencils, with 6 layers of cutouts. I learned it took 2 weeks to do the painting onsite with about 600 hours of preparation. Check out his website: http://workhorsevisuals.com/new
“Audrey on Mulberry” (Audrew Hepburn) by Tristan Eaton was commissioned by an organization called the LISA Project [see below for more info on the Lisa Project]. Check out Triston Eaton's website: http://tristaneaton.com/
The Vandal was painted by the artist, Nick Walker. http://www.theartofnickwalker.com/ This mural is part of his number series. The British artist, Nick Walker, was one of the first of the British graffiti artists. He’s a stencil artist who uses the free-ness of graffiti coupled with beautiful and intricate stenciling. Here is a photo of the mural as well as a photo showing the detail.
Many artists look to create art at a location what they legally have permission to paint. Little Italy has a nonprofit Street Art Association called The LISA Project. The LISA project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that brings together a diverse group of street artists to Little Italy creating Manhattan's first and only mural district. For more information as well as links to many of NYC Street Artists, please visit: http://www.lisaprojectnyc.org/. Centre-fuge transforms construction-sites, transitional spaces, and structures in under-appreciated neighborhoods into outdoor gallery spaces in New York City and also in Miami. First Street Green Art Park: Since 2008, First Street Green has converted a derelict building lot at 33 E. 1st Street in Manhattan into an open art space.
To learn more, I highly encourage you to take the Free Manhattan Street Art Walking Tour By Foot. It was a fantastic way to spend 2 hours in New York City. As I walked the streets later that day, at nearly every corner and also in-between, I found new artwork, and began to see more street art of some of my favorite street artists.
As an artist myself, it's fascinating to experience this type of art and understand its context in the New York Art Scene and on the World Art Scene. Many of these artists have made a name for themselves, been invited to participate in Museum shows, secured gallery representation, and/or have become successful in the art world. The Piano I created this past summer gave me a sense of putting art out in the public realm for all to see and experience. Walking through this area reinvigorated me and I hope to find public art projects to be involved with in the future.
In addition to the tour, you can learn more about NYC Street Art at the website: Streetsmartguide.org or http://www.3rdculturecreative.com/. The 3rd Culture Creative also has a great list of bios on many of the street artists: http://www.3rdculturecreative.com/art-street-artists-bios.html.
The Art Connection
Welcome to Eddie Bruckner's Art Blog!