Sunday, April 24, 2016

Willem de Kooning (April 24, 1904 - March 19, 1997)

April 24, 1904. Willem de Kooning (April 24, 1904 - March 19, 1997) was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In the post-World War II era, de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to as Abstract expressionism or Action painting, and was part of a group of artists that came to be known as the New York School. Other painters in this group included Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, and Clyfford Still.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

2016 Cesar E. Chavez Day Parade & Festival | Mission Dist. and more

There are several artists' birthdays today but a heck of a lot else is going on.

From the Fun and Cheap website:

2016 Cesar E. Chavez Day Parade & Festival | Mission Dist.
Saturday, April 23 – All Day | Cost: FREE | Dolores Park
The Annual Cesar E. Chavez Holiday Parade & Festival in San Francisco has become a significant event in the Mission drawing a diverse crowd of participants and attendees from different demographics and more...

All Day    Make Your City Great 2016: Volunteer Weekend | SF      FREE

9:00 am    Surfrider Earth Day Beach Clean Up & BBQ | Ocean Beach      FREE*

9:30 am    The Beatles Choir: Volunteer Singalong | SF      FREE*

All Day    San Francisco Earth Day 2016 Festival & Massive Street Fair | Mission Dist.      FREE

All Day    ArtSeed’s 2016 Earth Day 10-Hour Art-A-Thon | Presidio      $20*

All Day    Earth Day Festival 2016: Cute Chicks & Live Surf Music | SF      FREE

10:00 am    Heron Watch at Stow Lake | Golden Gate Park      FREE

All Day    Treasure Island Flea & “Yo Mama’s Day” Celebration | SF      $3

10:00 am    Free Sneak Preview Movie: “Ratchet and Clank” | SF      FREE*

All Day    2016 Shipyard Artsts Spring Open Studios: Saturday | Hunters Point      FREE
11:00 am    World Naked Bike Ride: Earth Day 2016 Edition | SF      FREE

All Day    Dutch “King’s Day” Windmill Festival 2016 | Golden Gate Park      FREE*

All Day    $1 Earth Day Sale | Buffalo Exchange      $1

7:00 pm    Prince Tribute Roller Disco Weekend | SF Church of 8 Wheels      $10*

7:30 pm    2016 Earth Day Film Fest Outdoor Movie “The Edge of the Wild” | Peninsula

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Birthday April 22, 1922. Richard Diebenkorn's painting 'Ocean Park No.129', 1984.

April 22, 1922. Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr. was born on April 22, 1922 in Portland, Oregon. His family moved to San Francisco, California, when he was two years old. From the age of four or five he was continually drawing. In 1940, Diebenkorn entered Stanford University, where he met his first two artistic mentors, Professor Victor Arnautoff who guided Diebenkorn in classical formal discipline with oil paint, and Daniel Mendelowitz, with whom he shared a passion for the work of Edward Hopper. Hopper's influence can be seen in Diebenkorn's representational work of this time. In this image: Richard Diebenkorn's painting 'Ocean Park No.129', 1984.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20, 1893.- Joan Miró

April 20, 1893. BARCELONA.- April 20, 1893.- Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramist born in Barcelona. Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride. In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an "assassination of painting" in favour of upsetting the visual elements of established painting. In this image: Joan Miro, Femme, 1949 and Oiseau Lunaire, 1946 (back) Successio Miro_ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2012. Photo Jonty Wilde.    


Monday, April 18, 2016

Untitled, Ink on Paper, 1961,  Courtesy Norton Simon Museum
Untitled, 1955

The Norton Simon Museum presents "Drawing, Dreaming and Desire: Works on Paper" by Sam Francis, an exhibition that features the artist’s drawings of erotica and the female nude, many on view for the first time. While Francis is renowned for abstract, atmospheric and vigorously colored paintings on a grand scale, these intimate drawings—meditations made visible—in pen and ink, acrylic and watercolor, show viewers a rarely-seen figurative aspect of his oeuvre. Dynamic but little known, this body of work ranges from line drawings of the 1950s to gestural brushstrokes of the 1980s and resonates with significant moments in the artist’s life. Francis began his artistic career at the age of 21 while strapped in a body cast and died at the age of 71 of cancer. In-between, he painted some of the most joyous works in the canon of modern art. By the 1950s, according to Time magazine,  he was the most popular painter in America, part of the group that included Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

Untitled, 1984
A native of California, Sam Francis (1923–1994) was drafted into the military in 1943 while still a student at UC Berkeley. During Army Air Corp training, he suffered a severe injury that led to a four-year hospitalization. In the midst of his confinement, Francis took up painting and quickly realized he had a passion and a talent for it. In 1950, he departed for Paris, ready to experience life to the fullest, in a new culture, while finding his way as an artist. The vibrant, sensual colors of French art, palpable in the work of Monet and Matisse, stimulated his own predilection for bright, intense colors. A youthful vitality emanates from these erotic drawings of the mid-1950s. The figures, shown in sexual embrace, float in the space of the paper, akin to the islands of color that occupy his paintings. Evident from the works’ calligraphic character is Francis’s early interest in Japanese art and aesthetics, specifically makura-e, or “pillow pictures,” which he is known to have collected.

By the end of the decade, Francis had become the first American postwar painter to win serious acclaim in Europe. Courted by major dealers, collectors and museum curators, he was exhibiting his work on two continents and in four countries. In 1958, he completed the monumental triptych known as the Basel Mural for the Kunsthalle in Basel, Switzerland (one panel and two fragments from a second panel are part of the Simon collections). But illness struck Francis in 1961, necessitating another hospitalization for most of the year in Bern, Switzerland. Perhaps the amorous couples that Francis drew while he was bedridden suggest the weight of this new setback. In contrast to the nimble figures of his work in the 1950s, the massive forms in these works hover between abstraction and figuration and swell to the edges of the paper as though struggling against its bonds.

The colossal energy that suffused the artist’s abstract paintings informed his frank, and sometimes provocative, depictions of the female nude from the 1980s. During these productive years in California, he employed the brush with a strength and vigor matched by his new passion for creating monotypes. The pigment trickles and twists across the paper. Splashes of paint confirm the physicality of the artist wielding his brush. The generative, sensual impulse found in his paintings invigorates these drawings and offers reason enough for their existence.

Francis once said that “each painting is like my body print, taken at different moments of my life.” This sentiment is germane to the works displayed in "Drawing, Dreaming and Desire,"  which, because of their intimate nature, provide insight into his psyche. His sustained attention to line, its descriptive and decorative power, offered a counterbalance to his abstractions, an aesthetic release for an artist whose public acclaim centered on the diffused surfaces of his bold abstractions.

"Drawing, Dreaming and Desire: Works on Paper" by Sam Francis is organized by Curator Gloria Williams Sander. The seventeen works presented in the exhibition are part of a larger donation of the artist’s drawings by the Sam Francis Foundation in 2012, and this exhibition is the first opportunity for the public to see them. It is on view in the Museum’s small rotating gallery on the main level from Friday, April 8 through Monday, July 25, 2016.

All images courtesy of the Norton Simon Museum