Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A belated happy birthday to Toulouse-Lautrec

A belated happy birthday to Toulous-Lautrec: Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (24 November 1864 - 9 September 1901) was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an oeuvre of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and often decadent life of those times.

More than a man who made posters:

"There always have been two Toulouse-Lautrecs. His posters glamourise sex and the city. They do it well. But the real greatness of his art is elsewhere, in his unvarnished, rough and tender portrayals of the true nature of the demi-monde he inhabited. Wild, savage dances, raw desire, aching loneliness and fragile intimacy make this other, less famous side of Toulouse-Lautrec far more significant."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cats at Disneyland

Did you know that there are 200 or so feral cats who live at Disneyland? Cats have lived there since it opened back in the fifties, doing their job of keeping the rodent population down. These cats keep a low profile and mostly hide from the tourists, but they have their own web site and Instagram account.

 Of course, The Mouse itself is not affiliated with either account. What would you expect from a mouse? Although it's lovely that they've been doing the trap-neuter-release thing with these cats for so many years.

And finally, a very helpful cat who does not live at Disneyland, helping his human rake autumn leaves.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Art at Big Crow Studios and other Holiday Art Fairs

Bill Bruckner’s “Lunar Eclipse” series, mixed media on board, canvas, and paper

 On the left: two acrylic paintings by Judi Gorski, “Rainbow on Beach Wall” and “Halfway There”
Middle four pieces: some of David Steinhardt’s “Flat Earth” cartoons, mixed media on paper on board
Left: David Steinhardt’s “The Workout” acrylic on canvas

 Two of Sherry Miller’s ”Volcano” series paintings, oil on canvas

For 25 years, BigCrow Studios has been the home and workspace of artists Anna Conti, David W. Sumner, and an evolving cast of painters, photographers, musicians, writers and other artists. Artists are leaving the city and galleries are closing but while the facts are depressing, Anna and David's response to this is not. They have created a new art space in the outer Sunset by using their own home,

The new exhibition space is opening with "Premier," a group show with 40 works by a dozen of the artists who have passed through here over the years. The space will operate free-to-the-exhibiting-artist (the gallery does not take a cut of sales) but it is not a co-op.

 untitled wool fiber handwoven panel by Ama Wertz

The primary Exhibition Space (on 41st Avenue) will be open to the public every Friday (1 p.m. - 8 p.m) and Saturday (noon - 6 p.m.)

Other days/hours by appointment (call Dave at 415-632-7746 or email Anna at ) The BigCrow Annex space (on 46th Avenue) is open by appointment.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

RIP Marian Brown

San Francisco lost a very special person today. Our condolences to the friends and family of Marian Brown.

She is with her sister, strolling along the streets of an idealized SF, never changing, always stylish, always Baghdad by the Bay. 

Catalogues galore

A great day for art lovers: You can access the first set of art catalogues released under the OSCI initiative. As you can see, where the Getty goes, other institutions follow: The Art Institute of Chicago has released catalogues on the work of Monet and Renoir. The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery has a catalogue on The World of the Japanese Illustrated Book, which sits nicely alongside LACMA’s catalogue on Southeast Asian Art. Other titles include Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century from the National Gallery of Art; The Rauschenberg Research Project from SFMOMA; Discover the Chinese Painting & Calligraphy Collection at the Seattle Art Museum; The Tates’s The Camden Town Group in Context; and the Living Collections Catalogue from the Walker Art Center.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The invention of the daguerreotype process of photography

A very important day for photography: November 18, 1787. Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (18 November 1787 - 10 July 1851) was a French artist and physicist, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography.

He became known as one of the fathers of photography. Though he is most famous for his contributions to photography, he was also an accomplished painter and a developer of the diorama theatre. In this image: "Boulevard du Temple", taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known photograph of a person. The image shows a street, but because of the over ten minute exposure time the moving traffic does not appear. At the lower left, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bay Area art picks for Nov 14 - 20

"Tetsuya Ishida: Saving the World with a Brushstroke" just opened at the Asian Art Museum. This is the first U.S. exhibition of paintings by the Japanese artist, who died in 2005. Ishida blended dreamlike realities with everyday life and melancholy isolation with bizarre wit, producing a body of work that triggers strong emotions but resists easy explanation.

Ishida once said he wanted his paintings to “depict the world as [he felt] it and let other people feel it freely.” The eight paintings at the Asian exhibit the range of Ishida’s themes, including the pressures of academic and office life, social dislocation, the dulling effects of mechanization and the search for identity.

His fame comes not just from his reputation as a maverick but also for his brilliant characterizations of Japanese society and the personal isolation that resulted from the country’s economic downturn through the 90s.

“Ishida captured the feelings of hopelessness, claustrophobia, and emotional isolation that burdened him and that dominated Japanese society during this era,” wrote Nick Simunovic of Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, site of an exhibition last fall. His characters are melancholy, introverted and seen on the edge of a nervous breakdown - probably reflecting the artist’s own psyche. His work is powerful but also disturbing; I left the museum feeling very “off.”  Ishida lived in a very bleak, bitter and frightening world - which probably is what led to his suicide.

Links to Keith Haring videos, Victor Cartegna and more at: