Monday, July 25, 2016

Thomas Eakins

Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 - June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer,[2] sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history. In this image: A person views Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic," at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, on Jan. 5, 2007. To help finance a $68 million deal to keep the masterpiece in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts said Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, that it has sold another Eakins painting, "The Cello Player."

Back in 2010, I wrote about  him when LACMA was displaying “The Wrestlers:

Realism in the United States: The Gross Clinic


Images from Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, Edward Hopper, a great American painter

I see that the de Young will be having their Friday Night Festivities, but I prefer to celebrate the day by looking at Edward Hopper's glorious work and reflecting on his life and talent.

Born July 22, 1882, Hopper struggled for many years before selling his first painting (1911 for $250).

The popularity of "Nighthawks" has meant that it's been turned into kitsch, showing up in t-shirts, coffee cups and the ubiquitous dorm poster. But all that cheap popularity has not lessened its power. The inspiration for the picture may have come from Ernest Hemingway's short story The Killers, which Hopper greatly admired, or from the more philosophical A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. In keeping with the title of his painting, Hopper later said, Nighthawks has more to do with the possibility of predators in the night than with loneliness, (Wikipedia)

Nighthawks. 1942

"Hopper deliberately shows his people from outside, at unguarded moments, bored or dreamy, rarely engaging with the painter's gaze. They are caught flatly, as in the photographic moment, with all the mystery of their thoughts intact, avoiding the layered intrusion of portraiture. More importantly, they are merely small components of a bigger picture. What really interests Hopper, and what makes him a great painter, is his wider subject--not individuals but the human species, perching here on the immensity of earth. Hopper is a painter who shows us how we look in the perspective of the wide, inhuman spaces beyond our inhabited thresholds. And his ordinary people (like the sunlight-worshipping woman in Morning Sun) are caught looking out from their little lives at the beyond, just as he does. " New Statesman (1996) 133.4689 (May 24, 2004): p38(2). From Expanded Academic ASAP.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stanley Kubrick at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Contemporary Jewish Musum (CJM) is presenting a comprehensive and thoughtful look at Kubrick’s work, one of the most significant filmmakers of the last 100 years. It’s a real “this is your life” Stanley from his early photographs for Look magazine, taken in the 1940s, his 1953 debut, "Fear and Desire” film noir, to his last rather incoherent work with Tom Cruise (given Cruise’s bizarre "religion" and control freak nature, how much of the film’s miss steps are Kubrick and how much Cruise would be a good master’s thesis).

Photo Credit: Melanie Samay
Approximately 800 objects are on view, including annotated screenplays, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes, and props. Famous items include the little dresses of the sisters from The Shining, the survival kit from Dr. Strangelove, and the ‘Born to kill’ helmet of Private Joker from Full Metal Jacket, and a model of the centrifuge from 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are missives and memos, letters of complaint and production budgets, storyboards scribbled on whatever was to hand. Each film has an area, with visual and audio installations as well as props and costumes, including the togas from Spartacus and the 18th century costumes from Barry Lyndon.

These objects and more are part of “Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition,” which opened at CJM on Thursday, June 30, and will continue through Oct. 30, a show that occupies the museum’s entire second floor.

Among the exhibition’s sections is one on the film “The Aryan Papers,” a Holocaust drama that came so close to being made that Kubrick cast Dutch actress Johanna Ter Steege in the leading role. But the film — which he researched for two decades — was never made.

In an interview with Pam Grady at SF Gate, director Lori Star remarked on 2001, A Space Odyssey. “Scholars are calling "2001" his most Jewish film, and we’re asking scholars to tell us what’s Jewish about it, and we’re asking the public to tell us what’s Jewish about it,” Starr says. “I’ll just say that Stanley Kubrick called it his most Jewish film. We know two things: He was fascinated by the concept of the unknowable and how Jews don’t say the name of God, don’t even write it.” The CJM notes Kubrick’s connections to Jewish culture and concerns, from his upbringing in a middle-class Jewish home, to his interest in Jewish intellectual writers as a young man, to characterizations in his films, from Kirk Douglas in “Spartacus” and “Paths of Glory” to Peter Sellers in “Lolita” and “Dr. Strangelove.”

The museum has partnered with both the YBCA, the Alamo Cinema and the SF Symphony to present Kubrick films and related programs.

Related programs at the CJM:

Free First Tuesday Documentary: Color Me Kubrick
August 02, 2016 @ 01:00PM
Lectures + Gallery Talks: Stanley Kubrick, Futurist
August 11, 2016 @ 06:30PM
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition Gallery Chats: Rodney Hill on A Clockwork Orange
August 12, 2016 @ 12:30PM
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition Gallery Chats: Geeta Dayal on Electronic Sound in Kubrick Films
September 09, 2016 @ 12:30PM
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition Gallery Chats: Jamie Metzl on Futurism and Kubrick
October 14, 2016 @ 12:30PM
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition Gallery Chats: Rabbi Aubrey Glazer on the Kabalistic poetry of Kubrick
October 28, 2016 @ 12:30PM
Stanley Kubrick Exhibition Closes
October 30, 2016 @ 05:00PM

Kubrick in Black and White at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Spotlighting the early and mid-career of Kubrick, we see the artist evolve from a highly skilled, street-level photographer to the brilliant, meticulous creator of some of the most ambitious and powerful films in cinema history. CJM Members receive a special discount to YBCA screenings.

Thursday, Jul 21, 7:30pm | Fear and Desire (+ short films) (1953, 35mm, 62 min.)
Saturday, Jul 23, 7:30pm | Killer’s Kiss (1955, 35mm, 67min)
Sunday, Jul 24, 2pm & 4pm | Fear and Desire (+ short films) & Killer's Kiss (1953, 35mm, 62 min.) and (1955, 35mm, 67min)
Thursday, Jul 28, 7:30pm | Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, 35mm, 95 min.)
Saturday, Jul 30, 7:30pm | Lolita (1962, 35mm, 95min.)
Sunday, Jul 31, 2pm & 5pm | Lolita & Dr. Strangelove (1962, 35mm, 95min.) and (1964, 35mm, 95 min.)

See for tickets and details.

Kubrick in color at Alamo Drafthouse New Mission

Picking up the baton from the YBCA’s Kubrick in Black and White series, the Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission focuses on Kubrick’s career from 1968 to 1999.
Learn More:
Saturday, Aug 13 | The Shining (1980, 144min.)
Wednesday, Aug 31 | Eyes Wide Shut (1999, 159min.)
Sunday, Sep 4 | Barry Lyndon (1975, 187min.)
Wednesday, Sep 7 | Full Metal Jacket (1987, 116min.)
Sunday, Sep 18 | 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, 142min.)
Saturday, Sep 24 | A Clockwork Orange (1971, 136min.)

The San Francisco Symphony Presents 2001: A Space Odyssey
The San Francisco Symphony Presents 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, 142min.)
Feature film with the score performed live by the San Francisco Symphony. 
Learn More>>
Thursday, Oct 13 | 8pm
Friday, Oct 14 | 8pm 
Saturday, Oct 15 | 8pm
See for tickets and details.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kenneth Clark's Civilization

If you want to watch something other than the endless televising of the GOP Yahoo's at their convention, Kenneth Clark's Civilization is up on uTube - all 13 episodes. Given what's happening today, his hymn to the survival and great works of Western Civilization comes as a salutary reminder that we have been to the edge before .. and survived. Let's hope that if the Barbarians breach the walls, we do so again.

Erudite, patrician and opinionated, Clark is not to everybody's taste and many have criticized his points of view but it's better than anything on TV now, educated a whole generation in the classical point of view and reminds us (if we need reminding) of the great gifts Western Civilization has to offer. 

The series:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


" Yesterday i spent the whole day in the studio of a strange painter called Degas," Parisian man of letters Edmond de Goncourt wrote in his diary in 1874. "Out of all the subjects in modern life he has chosen washerwomen and ballet is a world of pink and white...the most delightful of pretexts for using pale, soft tints." Edgar Degas, 39 years old at the time, would paint ballerinas for the rest of his career, and de Goncourt was right about the pretext. "People call me the painter of dancing girls," Degas later told Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard. "It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes." Smithsonian

Degas loved to deflate the image people had of him, but his words ring true, expressing his love for the grace of drawing and the charm of color. As a student Degas dreamed of drawing like Raphael and Michelangelo, and he later revived the French tradition of pastels that had flourished with the 18th-century master Chardin. But like his contemporaries, Manet, Cezanne and the Impressionists, he lived in an age of photography and electricity, and he turned to aspects of modern life--to slums, brothels and horse races--to apply his draftsmanship. Bathing nudes became a favorite subject, but he once compared his more contemporary studies to those of Rembrandt with mocking wit. "He had the luck, that Rembrandt!" Degas said. "He painted Susanna at the bath; me, I paint women at the tub."

At the ballet Degas found a world that excited both his taste for classical beauty and his eye for modern realism. He haunted the wings and classrooms of the magnificent Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera and its Ballet, where some of the city's poorest young girls struggled to become the fairies, nymphs and queens of the stage. As he became part of this world of pink and white, so full of tradition, he invented new techniques for drawing and painting it. He claimed the ballet for modern art just as Cezanne was claiming the landscape. The writer Daniel Halevy, who as a youth often talked with Degas, later noted that it was at the Opera that Degas hoped to find subjects of composition as valid as Delacroix had found in history.

Essay at the Met: 

At the races:

Monday, July 18, 2016

August 2016 at the GLBT History Museum

A full line up at the GLBT center for August

August Museum Programs Highlight
Queer Theater, Erotic Photography, Dance Music  
San Francisco -- The program series set for August 2016 at the GLBT History Museum will highlight LGBTQ theater as well as homoerotic photography from the 1940s to the 1960s and the brilliant performance of San Francisco's greatest disco diva. Events take place at the museum at 4127 18th St. in San Francisco. For more information, visit

Happy Monday

Some things seldom change (found on twitter). People have liked cat pictures since for ever.

This tabby cat painted by Horatio Couldery is wishing you all a happy Monday!