Archive for the 'Artists' Category

Aspen

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
Fred Tomaselli, Aspen Art Museum

Fred Tomaselli, Aspen Art Museum

Aspen is one of the great summer destinations due to its exceptional combination of the outdoors and first-rate cultural programming.  Hiking the Maroon Bells in the morning and listening to Mozart at the music tent in the afternoon is an unbeatable combination.    The Aspen Art Museum had an outstanding exhibition of work by Fred Tomaselli.   The show chronicles the work over the past fifteen years and it is an impressive group of paintings.  The show will travel to the Brooklyn Museum and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.    Aspen Art Museum

One evening there was a presentation of the film “Herb and Dorothy” (no relation!)  which recounts the collecting history of the Vogels.  They were clients of mine in the 80′s.  I visited their apartment in New York, and it was very much as depicted in the movie.  Artwork hanging off the blinds, under the bed, and stacked everywhere.   The film perfectly captures the passion of collecting and proves it can be done on a shoestring, given a sharp eye, an inquiring mind and personal conviction.  Check it out.

James Surls sculpture, view from the studio

James Surls sculpture, view from the studio
James Surls, sculpture

James Surls, sculpture

Aspen and the surrounding communities are also home to a number of working artists.  Chief among them is the sculptor James Surls.  This summer Surls’ sculpture graced the medians along Park Avenue in New York.  His studio near Carbondale is a dream come true for space and location, with a view that is breathtaking.   Scale and ambition have no bounds in this environment.  Surls’ aura has always been slightly larger than life, and so it continues here in the Rockies.   James Surls

Jody Guralnick, unique plate

Jody Guralnick, unique plate

Painter, Jody Guralnick, has created a more intimate direction by translating themes and patterns from her work on canvas to dishware, via an inspired new company, Dish Studio.   Every piece is unique, front and back, and hand patterned, painted, glazed, and fired in her studio.  Dish Studio

The convergence in Aspen of creativity, intellect, food, real estate and people from around the globe, all happily enjoying the mountains, conspires for a heady mix indeed.  And for a little extra edge, there are plenty of bears!

Basel

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

 

Yoshitomo Nara, Art Unlimited, Basel Art Fair, 2009

Yoshitomo Nara, Art Unlimited, Basel Art Fair, 2009

The Basel Art Fair is the world’s premier international art show for modern and contemporary  works.  Approximately 300 leading  galleries from around the globe featuring more than 2500 artists, ranging from modern masters to emerging talent, are on view in the show’s multiple sections.  The quality and quantity of works for sale is awesome and overwhelming.   Despite opening anxiety due to the current market conditions, business was much better than expected.  The fair reported 61,000 art lovers in attendance by the closing day.  Although there were fewer Americans than usual, Europeans were out in full force.   In it’s 40th year, Art Basel is the main event, but the entire town is given over to art during this period.  Satellite fairs included Scope, Volta, Liste, and Design Miami.  The major museums including the Kunstmuseum, the Kunsthalle, Schaulager and the Beyeler add to the must-see list.

 

Bharti Kher, "The Wag Tree", Art Unlimited, Basel Art Fair, 2009

Bharti Kher, "The Wag Tree", Art Unlimited, Basel Art Fair, 2009

The Art Unlimited section of the Basel Art Fair was launched in 2000 to showcase large-scale installations, video projections, massive sculptures and live performances.  Works are selected by the Art Committee and curated by by Geneva curator, Simon Lamuniere.  In addition to the individual gallery booths, this section is always a lively highlight of the main Fair.  The sculpture above by renown Indian artist, Bharti Kher, is a fallen tree made of fiberglass whose leaves are hundreds of gargoyle-like animal heads.

 

Chairs, Design Miami/Basel

Chairs, Design Miami/Basel

Following its success in Miami Beach, Design Miami/Basel has become a more highly anticipated part of the scene, featuring both historical and contemporary furniture.  The historical works exemplify pioneering forms and techniques of  impeccable quality and rarity.  The contemporary works represent the height of limited-edition production while embracing the most progressive design directions.  The presentation is closely vetted, moving  from pieces of exceptional refinement to exhilarating new statements.

 

Franz West installation, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

Franz West installation, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

 

Installation, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

Installation, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

The Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, near Basel, was designed by Renzo Piano and opened in 1997.   The collection comprises approximately 200 works by 40 artists beginning with Late- and Post Impressionism, through Cubism,  American Abstract Expressionism and selected European modernists.  These works are supplemented by sculptures from Africa, Alaska and Oceania.  The exquisite aesthetics of the architecture framing the artworks of exceptional quality combine for an unparalleled viewing experience.  Every time I am in this museum, I am moved to tears.  It is visually and intellectually arresting at the highest level.

 

Dionisio Gonzales, "Post Utopias" (detail), Scope Art Fair

Dionisio Gonzales, "Post Utopias" (detail), Scope Art Fair

 

Cordy Ryman, Volta Art Fair

Cordy Ryman, Volta Art Fair

In contrast to Art Basel, the satellite fairs generally offer younger and less well known artists at prices that are more accessible than those found at the main fair.  The presentations may be quite uneven, but combing through them is informative and useful for discovering new galleries, new artists or familiar artists in unexpected places.  Whether you’re a connoisseur or a novice, a week spent in Basel during the fair is one of the richest art experiences of the year.

Palm Springs

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
Frey House II, Palm Springs, CA

Frey House II, Palm Springs, CA

Julius Shulman, "Frey House II"

Julius Shulman, "Frey House II"

Palm Springs is a premier area for viewing a number of the mid-century modern architectural masterpieces.  This weekend I had the opportunity to visit two of them, the Frey House II and the Kaufmann House.  Frey House II was gifted to the Palm Springs Art Museum by  longtime resident, Albert Frey, one of the most important mid-century modern architects.  Built in 1963-64, it is steel-frame construction, with massive  sliding glass doors that allow the entire space to open up to the outdoors.  Sheathed in painted, corrugated metal and occupying a mere 800 sq ft., it offers expansive views of the entire desert.  At the time it was built,  it was at the highest elevation of any residence in the city.

Kaufmann House, Palm Springs, CA

Kaufmann House, Palm Springs, CA

Julius Shulman, "Kaufmann House"

Julius Shulman, "Kaufmann House"

The Kaufman house was commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., the Pittsburgh department store magnate who had earlier commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.  Designed by Richard Neutra in 1946, the house is constructed as a series of horizontal planes that seem to float over the glass walls.  An iconic example of mid-century modernism, the house achieves a breathtaking harmony with the surrounding landscape.   It is also the site of one of Julius Shulman’s most memorable photographs.

The Palm Springs Art Museum has become a true oasis in desert.  Founded as a one-room facility in 1938, it has grown into the current 150,000 square-foot facility. Designed in 1974 by  E. Stewart Williams, the top floor was added in 1995. Numerous signficant gifts to the Museum have greatly enhanced the permanent collection which includes Modern and Contemporary painting, sculpture  and photography, architectural drawings, Western and Native American Art,  and Contemporary Art Glass.

Wayne Thiebaud, from "70 Years of Painting", Palm Springs Art Museum

Wayne Thiebaud, from "70 Years of Painting", Palm Springs Art Museum

I was pleased to catch the closing day of  the major exhibition, “Wayne Theibaud: 70 Years of Painting”.  This impressive survey included more than one hundred works drawn from Theibaud’s lengthy career.  The exhibition will travel to the Pasadena Museum of California Art, opening Oct 3. Best known for his lusciously painted still life compositions of bakery goods and delicatessen counters,  Theibuad has also specialized in large-scale portraits, studies of Northern California landscape, and cityscapes featuring San Francisco’s vertiginous streets and sidewalks.  All were represented here with splendor.

Brett

Brett Weston, Palm Springs Art Museum

Downstairs the Museum was featuring “Modern Moments: Recent Gifts in American Photography”.   The exhibition features some of the gifts that have elevated and expanded the museum’s photographic holdings which now number over 1000 images.  
The collection spans the history of photography, but the focus of this show is post-World War II American photography.

Matta (Roberto Sebastian Matta Echaurren) "Untitled", 1959, oil on canvas

Matta (Roberto Sebastian Matta Echaurren) "Untitled", 1959, oil on canvas

Matta, "Burn Baby Burn", Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Matta, "Burn Baby Burn", Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Lastly, an installation titled “Ancient and Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection” offered works by artists from Mexico, Central and South America.  Notable among them is a significant painting by Matta. LACMA’s recent acquisition of Matta’s extraordinary and massive painting, ”Burn Baby Burn”,  has put this artist back on the radar screen.

Around Town 2

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

 

"Hercules", The Getty Villa

"Hercules", The Getty Villa

I recently spent three days touring Los Angeles with the Director and trustees of the Virigina Museum of Fine Art.  Successive visits to our great institutions underlined the extraordinary visual wealth that surrounds us. Focused on classical treasures, we began at the Getty Villa.  The permanent collection as well as the four temporary exhibitions, including the seductive “Lasting Allure of Ancient Gems”, was impressive and edifying.   Viewing was made especially lively with a very knowledgable docent.  Sans docent, I highly recommend the complimentary audio along with the map of  Highlights.  These tools will make your visit to the Villa one of insight and pleasure.  Getty Villa

 

guido-reni-joseph-and-potiphars-wife

Guido Reni, "Joseph and Potiphar's Wife", Getty Center

 At the Getty Center, “Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna 1575-1725″  was a highly engaging  exhibition focused on the Carracci family of painters from Bologna.  During a time when painting was thought to be stagnant, Annibale and Agostino, and their cousin Ludovico were  changing  the course of art history.  They set standards that were to remain authoritative for 200 years, influencing artists such as Guido Reni.  The show ended May 3, but the enlightened catalog is available in the bookstore.  Getty Center 

 

Gamble House, Pasadena

Gamble House, Pasadena

Pasadena’s glory is almost boundless, starting with the Gamble House.  If you’ve never been or haven’t been lately, put it on your list.  Designed by Charles and Henry Greene in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company, it is one of the outstanding examples of  American  Arts and Crafts style architecture.  The level of commitment and quest for quality from  both the architects and the clients is truly an inspiration.  Reservations required for the tour.  Gamble House

 

Pablo Picasso, "Girl with a Book", Norton Simon Museum

Pablo Picasso, "Girl with a Book", Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum is a gift on every visit.   One of the greatest private collections ever assembled by an individual,  it comprises more than 12,000 works of art from from the Renaissance to the 20th century as well as remarkable work  of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years.  In preparation for our visit, I recently reread Suzanne Muchnic’s informative biography “Odd Man In”.  Not only does it detail Simon’s passion for collecting, it comments extensively on the history and  growth of LA’s art institutions.  It also details Simon’s legendary machinations involved in the acquisition of specifc works, such as Rembrandt’s “Titus”. Insight gained from the book makes the work even more compelling.   Norton Simon Museum

 

Treasures Through Six Generations, Weng Collection, Huntington Library

Treasures Through Six Generations, Weng Collection, Huntington Library

Exhibitions at the Huntington just keep getting better.  This small but exquisite show of calligraphy and paintings from the Weng Collection offer another example of erudite collecting on the part of an individual collector.  Beautiful examples of scroll paintings and calligraphy are presented for optimum viewing and are fascinating even for viewers less familiar with this genre.

 

Desert Garden, Huntington Library

Desert Garden, Huntington Library

Lastly, no trip to the Huntington is complete without a stroll through the Desert Garden.  At this time of the year many plants are in bloom.  The whole garden is incredibly exotic and visually arresting.  It is a premier place to contemplate the power of sculpture, as these plants rival  the best of it.  And of course, the other gardens are a delight, including the recently completed Chinese Garden based on the classical gardens in Suzhou, China.