Saturday, November 26, 2011

Last Call - Georges Braque and Geoffrey Johnson Pose Existential Questions

Georges Braque, Harbor, 1909, oil on canvas, 16 x 19 inches,
National Gallery of Art, Washington,
Gift of Victoria Nebeker Coberly in memory of her son, John W. Mudd
Image Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Georges Braque: Pioneer of Modernism, Acquavella Gallery through November 30.

The glorious Georges Braque retrospective, long overdue, is scheduled to close too soon.  For beautiful as it is, Braque's work may not be as easy to understand as it may seem superficially.  It requires multiple viewings at different times to understand this exploration of the seen and unseen all at one time.  This is truly Cubism: a conceptual intersection of space and time.  Ideally, one should see the show, read the brilliant catalogue essays by curator Dieter Buchhart, French modernist scholar Isabelle Monod-Fontaine and CĂ©zanne specialist Richard Shiff, and then return for another look to study the writers' insights. 

However, if you have not seen the show already, just go before it closes midweek.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last Call - Hannes Schmid's Cowboys, Beatrice Wood Makes Artistic Whoopie, and Richard Serra at Lord Gaga's

Hannes Schmid, Cowboy, 1999
Courtesy of the artist and Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York and Zurich

Hannes Schmid: Cowboys at Edwynn Houk Gallery through October 29

Swiss-photographer Hannes Schmid (b. 1946) is a media-mediated mythmaker. The creative eye behind those hunky Marlboro Men who ride, rope and sell cigarettes.  Back in the day .. .  Schmid’s concept of hardcore masculinity entered our consciousness through the tiny television screen at home or loomed large on highway billboards.  The Marlboro theme song (can you still hum it?) transported us to a glamorized West.  These rugged wranglers silhouetted against the open sky joined with other faux cowboys -  Bonanza’s Cartwright family, Roy Rogers and Bat Masterson – to wrest right from wrong.  They were our flannel and jeans supermen (albeit invented by urban Mad Men trapped in gray cubicles between lunchbreaks and commuter rides to the suburbs). 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Best Things in Life Are Free: Robert Lobe's "Nature in Nature," Prospect Park through November 2011

Robert Lobe, Invisible Earth. 2007, heat-treated hammered aluminum, 9 x 5.5 x 13.5 feet

Following up on my last blog post about the high cost of museum admission, let's celebrate the Fall Art Season with an art exhibition that is free and open to the public. Today I want to shine a spotlight on Robert Lobe's magnficent installation of three sculptures in Prospect Park, Brooklyn: Nature in Nature (through November 2011).  Here three graceful works made out of Lobe's famous repoussĂ© method elide our concepts of abstraction and realism.

The chief experience derived from Lobe's eloquent work is a meditation on the existential nature of nature itself in terms of matter, time and context. "Each tree tells a story," Lobe wants us to know and see in Nature's Clock (2006), Invisible Earth  (2007), and Antique Jenny (2011).

Robert Lobe, Natures Clock, 2006, heat-treated hammered aluminum, 11.5 x 9 x 14 feet

Monday, September 5, 2011

The High Price of High Art - Museum Admission Rises as Economy Falters

If you haven't been to the Museum of Modern Art lately - or looked on its website, it may surprise you to learn that the museum increased its daily admission to $25 as of September 1.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art increased its "recommended" admission to $25 on July 1.  Is a museum visit worth $25?  Or $50, if you are a couple?  Or $100 - if you are a family of 4?  And so on . . .
As our wages or fixed-incomes are worth less and less everyday, POW!  the museums remind us that their financial situation are pretty dismal too.  Or are they?  Where are the big donor dollars going?  How is it possible that a collector can shell out millions on one painting and not donate generously to support hundreds of artworks for public consumption?

In his book Red Museum (The Orange Press, 2011)Dr. Paul Werner explains it all to you.
Fundamentally, it's the economics of the "haves" and "have nots" - and the irony that most artists (who potentially supply museums) can't afford the high cost of museum admission (a perfect topic for Labor Day 2011).  Consider van Gogh's financial situation.  Now you get it.
Of course, there are always the art galleries - which are absolutely free and often offer museum quality shows.  Thankfully, artists can visit these venues.  But what about the Old Master's?  It's a challenge -  and a disservice to everyone who finds such prices too dear.  Art should be free. And the cafeterias and shops can raise funds for the museums.  Membership as well.

That said, here are ways to minimize the high cost of museum admission:

Monday, August 1, 2011

McQueen Madness at the Met Until Midnight 8-7-11

All good things must end.  The spectacular exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty will close on August 7 at midnight.  It's a must-see.  Trust me on this.
Here is my review on Art History

If you cannot attend the show, please visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website to view the videos and photographs of the exhibition.

I just might see you there -

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weddings Galore! Congratulations to the Newlyweds on July 24, 2011

It's a day we can all celebrate as New York State officially begins to marry same-sex couples.
Best wishes to everyone, especially Patricia Cronin and Deborah Kass.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

America's Birthday: July 4th

In August 2001, my husband became a citizen of the United States.  The ceremony took place in White Plains.  Jeanine Pirro, then Westchester's District Attorney,  presided over the swearing in.  The moment was magical.  There truly is a transformative feeling when someone chooses to become American citizen. It's a choice. It's a commitment. It's a relationship - to be part of  a people, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and [we hope] justice for all.

Here is a preview of Alexandra Pelosi's HBO documentary Cititzen USA.   This is an opportunity to think about what we take for granted about our American life:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Find your 11 women - an appeal from First Lady Michele Obama

First Lady Michele Obama gave the keynote address to the class of 2011 at Spelman College.  Her words were directed to the students, faculty and guests gathered for this special occasion, but her message transcends this particular setting. We can all learn from her call for service and we can all be inspired.
Here is her speech.  May you find your 11 women: