Saturday, May 31, 2014

'Sorolla and America' opens in San Diego

This artist is one of my favorites and I am so glad that this massive exhibit has come to the west coast. First Anders Zorn and now Sorolla - if they show the work of John Singer Sargent, I will be one very happy woman:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gugger Petter at Andrea Schwartz

Friday is the last day to catch the work of Danish artist Gugger Petter at Andrea Schwartz Gallery. Weaving her portraits with material created by recycled newspaper, Petter's works are inspired by her passion for Renaissance art.

 In the series “Portrait of a Young Man,” the male subjects reference the style of Renaissance portraiture. While her subjects retain the air and grace of the period, Petter has reversed their gaze to look out onto their audience, connecting them to our world and us. Instead of the flat, glossy surfaces of Renaissance art, Petter's materials tread an intriguing and ambiguous line between 3-dimensional sculpture, painting and mosaic.

Photos courtesy of DeWitt Cheng. Used by permission. Images from Andrea Schwarz Gallery.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Golden Gate bridge opened 77 years ago today

The opened 77 years ago today - Happy Birthday GGB!

A foghorn blared into the California dawn at 6 a.m. on May 27, 1937, to signal the official opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. That day, nearly 200,000 people walked, ran, tap-danced and roller-skated across what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. The next day, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to automobile traffic.
Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in January 1936. (Credit: Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

1. The military wanted the Golden Gate Bridge to be painted in stripes.
The U.S. War Department initially objected to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge because it feared that Navy ships could be trapped in San Francisco Bay if the span was bombed or collapsed. The military eventually gave its approval, but it wanted the bridge to be covered in garish stripes. The Navy, concerned about visibility for passing ships in foggy conditions, pressed for black and yellow stripes to be painted on the Golden Gate Bridge. The Army Air Corps pushed for a more festive, if not less gaudy, candy-cane combination of red and white stripes to make the bridge more noticeable from the air.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge’s signature color was not intended to be permanent.
The steel that arrived in San Francisco to build the Golden Gate Bridge was coated in a burnt red and orange shade of primer to protect it from corrosive elements. Consulting architect Irving Morrow found that he preferred the vivid hue of the primer to more conventional paint choices such as carbon black and steel gray. The “international orange” color was not only visible in the fog, but it complemented the natural topography of the surrounding hills and contrasted well with the cool blues of the bay and the sky. Morrow ultimately selected the bold primer color, intended to be temporary, to coat the bridge. (The custom formula, manufactured by Sherwin-Williams, is no secret. It can be found on the bridge’s web site.)

More at:

The Bridge in the Movies:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Homage to Dorothea Lange

Born May 26, 1895. Dorothea Lange was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography. She, along with Margaret Bourke-White, was another one of my spiritual "mothers," showing strength, courage and compassion in the face of suffering.

Of her work during this era Lange said: “The good photograph is not the object, the consequences of the photograph are the objects. So that no one would say, ’how did you do it, where did you find it,´ but they would say that such things could be.”

 Linda Gordon, who wrote a book on the renowned photographer called Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits, recalls one of Lange's favorite sayings: A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera .

Dorothea Lange was named Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn at birth. She dropped her middle name and assumed her mother's maiden name after her father abandoned the family when she was 12 years old, one of two traumatic incidents early in her life.

The other was her contraction of polio at age seven which left her with a weakened right leg and a permanent limp."It formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me and humiliated me," Lange once said of her altered gait. "I've never gotten over it, and I am aware of the force and power of it."

From 1935 to 1939, Dorothea Lange's work for the RA and FSA brought the plight of the poor and forgotten — particularly sharecroppers, displaced farm families, and migrant workers — to public attention. Distributed free to newspapers across the country, her poignant and compassionate images became icons of the era.

Lange's best-known picture is titled "Migrant Mother." The woman in the photo is Florence Owens Thompson.

In 1960, Lange spoke about her experience taking the photograph:
"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it."

Lange informed the authorities about the grim conditions in the camp and they raced to provide food and medical care to prevent mass starvation. (a sad comparison with today's tea blobbers and GOP and their lack of true compassion). 

To capture the spirit of the camps, Lange created images that frequently juxtapose signs of human courage and dignity with physical evidence of the indignities of incarceration. Not surprisingly, many of Lange's photographs were censored by the federal government, itself conflicted by the existence of the camps.

Children at the Weill public school in San Francisco pledge allegiance to the American flag in April 1942, prior to the internment of Japanese Americans.

 In 1941, Lange was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for excellence in photography. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she gave up the prestigious award to record the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to relocation camps, on assignment for the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Her images were so obviously critical that the Army impounded them.

The true impact of Lange's work was not felt until 1972, when the Whitney Museum incorporated twenty-seven of her photographs into Executive Order 9066, an exhibit about the Japanese internment. New York Times critic A.D. Coleman called Lange's photographs "documents of such a high order that they convey the feelings of the victims as well as the facts of the crime."

In the last two decades of her life, Lange's health was poor. She suffered from gastric problems, including bleeding ulcers, as well as post-polio syndrome — although this renewal of the pain and weakness of polio was not yet recognized by most physicians. Lange died of esophageal cancer on October 11, 1965 in San Francisco, California at age 70. She was survived by her second husband, Paul Taylor, two children, three stepchildren, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Her artistic and spiritual legacy still speaks to those who would look upon suffering, political injustice and cruelty with compassion and the courage to speak out for change.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to Mary Cassatt and Pontormo, the Brooklyn bridge and a breviary

First of all, a couple of birthdays. Mary Cassatt is one of my personal heroes. When I was a teenager and knew that I wanted to be an artist, I discovered her via a small paperback with black and white copies of her work. The reproductions were lousy which I realized even as a 13-year-old, but what I found inspiring was that she lived her life as an artist. And she was a woman! Coming of age in the early 60's and the daughter of a naval officer, women artists were not something I knew anything about and certainly not something I was encouraged to do or be. Her life gave me hope.

Mary Cassatt, born May 22, 1844 was an important member of the Impressionist circle, a painter and a printmaker. The daughter of a wealthy Pennsylvia stockbroker, Cassatt overcame her family's objections to become an artist.

She started studying at age 15, moved to Paris in 1866 where she as able to continue her studies, becoming one of the "les trois grandes dames" of Impressionism.

She continued to work until 1914 when increasing blindness forced her to stop painting.

A life-long feminist, she never married and supported "women's causes" with money from the sales of her paintings.

In recognition of her contributions to the arts, France awarded her the Legion d'honneur in 1904.

She died on June 14, 1926 at Château de Beaufresne, near Paris, and was buried in the family vault at Le Mesnil-Théribus, France.

Degas and Cassatt at the National Gallery of Art from the marvelous blog "Lines and Colors"

HappyBirthday to Italian painter Pontormo, born #OnThisDay in 1494. "Monsignor della Casa," probably 1541/1544:

Happy Birthday to the Brooklyn Bridge! May 24, 1883. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. At 5,989 feet (1825 m), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge in an 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Since its opening, it has become an iconic part of the New York skyline. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964

Video orientation to the University of Pennsylvania Library's Ms Coll 713 - Breviary collages. Two collages of manuscript miniatures on vellum, probably from a breviary in Northern France, possibly Rouen, in the late 15th century. Both feature a centerpiece of 9 panels with mostly Biblical pictures on them, with a piece of text on each side of the outer frame, with strips of illuminated borders around the edges.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Free access to more digital images

Can we say time sink? But what a glorious treat

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Grab Bag: Pick Strawberries, Francis Coates, pastel portraits & Expressionism at LACMA

Happy Pick Strawberries Day! Feast your eyes on Flemish painter Jacob van Hulsdonck's c. 1620 work

Francis Cotes RA (20 May 1726 – 16 July 1770) was an English painter, one of the pioneers of English pastel painting, and a founding member of the Royal Academy in 1768. An admirer of the pastel drawings of Rosalba Carriera, Cotes concentrated on works in pastel and crayon (some of which became well known as engravings). After pushing crayon to its limit as a medium—although he was never to abandon it entirely—Cotes turned to oil painting as a means of developing his style in larger-scale works.

More digital images available for download:

"Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky" sheds new light on the extraordinary response of artists in Germany and France to key developments in modern art in the early 20th century. For the first time in a major museum exhibition, Expressionism is presented, not as a distinctly German style, but as an international movement in which artists responded with various aesthetic approaches to the work of modern masters such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, and Paul Gauguin.

The exhibition features Post‑Impressionist, Fauvist, and Cubist paintings by more than 40 artists—including Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Robert Delaunay, and Paul Signac—that the Expressionists, such as Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Gabrielle Münter, and Franz Marc, were able to see in landmark exhibitions and collections in Germany and on their travels to Paris. Ninety paintings and 45 works on paper tell the story of the extraordinary cultural dialogue taking place amongst artists of the time.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy birthday to St. Dunstan and Jacob Jordaens.

"Ow! by dose!!" MT : Happy St Dunstan's day! seizing the devil by the nose with red-hot tongs. Dunstan was famed for his cunning in defeating the devil - leading the devil around by the nose as it were.

 Jacob Jordaens. The King Drinks. c.1640.. 

 May 19, 1593. ANTWERP.- Jacob Jordaens was one of three Flemish Baroque painters, along with Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, to bring prestige to the Antwerp school of painting. Unlike those contemporaries he never traveled abroad to study Italian painting, and his career is marked by an indifference to their intellectual and courtly aspirations. In fact, except for a few short trips to locations in the Low Countries, he remained in Antwerp his entire life. As well as being a successful painter, he was a prominent designer of tapestries. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

International Museum Day

SF is filled with the Bay to Breakers runners and there's no going anywhere unless you can endure the crowds, drunken idiots and general mayhem. But there's always the web: Today is International Museum Day, and this year’s theme is “make connections”—check out our Connections web series:

More about the Art Market 2014 later. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Art weekend hotter than the temperature outside

Dave Egger at Electric Works

Art Market San Francisco 2014, San Francisco's edition of the international art fair opens tonight with a gala and runs through May 18, 2014. With over 70 galleries, even the most dedicated art viewer can be overwhelmed by booths, projects and performances so here are a few standouts from the San Francisco gallery scene.

 Thiebaud. Lipsticks. @ Adler & Co.

Other openings via Alan Bamburger's SF Openings Calendar:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

44th Annual MFA show at Berkeley Art Museum

Jessica Hanley

For once, the MFA show looks exciting. I often find these shows very ..well.. the students are often very young and their work is not very exciting. But this work is from a variety of very different artists and it all looks good.

Plus, it looks like the city might, just might go after the Academy of Art for their numerous code violations. I included a link to the article in my column. 

 I also went to the effort of looking up images and links for every artist who had one. whew! Now I am tired tired tired. It's 84 here and the temperature is rising. I do not function well in the heat.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

Flax's to be torn down for more luxury condos and Marcus Books evicted

 Sad lion fiddles while observing the destruction of SF. 

Well, damn. I had hopped the story about Flax's having to move to make room for more expensive condos was wrong. Guess I was wrong. So hooray for another housing development for the 1% because nobody else can afford the current prices:

What a dark day! I was hoping that Marcus Books could be saved but guess not. Another victory for the rampant greed that's ruining the SF that was and changing it to a SF that few of us can afford, much less want to live in:

Monday, May 5, 2014

'Iconoclasm' at the McLoughlin Gallery

The title of the current show at the McLouglin Gallery, "Iconoclasm" is apt for the work presented by Italian artist Max Papeschi and Dutch artist Arnix is a deliberately provocative challenge to our common  assumptions about icons of popular culture and organized religion.

Sinclair Lewis is purported to have said, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Italian artist Max Papeschi updates that idea to the 21st century with his images of capitalist destruction masked by cute icons of consumer culture. Mickey Mouse wears a Nazi uniform, Kermit and Miss Piggy are posed in front of a burning house - coded symbols for the Fascism, the attack on democracy, financial crisis, and false advertising promoted by Fox News and financed by the Koch Brothers. Papeschi's background as a writer and director for theater, TV and film shows in his theatrical imagery, which doesn't make it any the less accurate.

His work is subversive, crude, genuinely populist and while made by an Italian, reflects the way that many Europeans and Americans view the current political and social scene. Eighteen altered photo collages display the heads of political figures photo shopped on the bodies of cartoon figures. Black against a white background, they only fail in two instances; Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln don't belong in this gallery of the dictators and sadists. In his 12'x12 images, Papeschi portrays dictators such as Hitler as Charlie Chaplain, Lenin and Stalin as Laurel and Hardy and Marx as a cheerleader. The effect is shocking and slightly nauseating.

One can't call the Disney characters and the Muppets images limited to America; American advertising and ubiquitous advertising have popularized these images - and the ideas they represent - over the globe. To look at his work carefully is to see the hypocrisy behind the slick facade of fake prosperity to hollow ideas and genuine looming disaster.

The “American Dream” so glossily and sardonically presented at the McLoughlin Gallery is becoming a fantasy with upward mobility almost nonexistent for the poor living within a stratified society and placated by the fantasies of mass advertising so cleverly and crassly shown by Pappeschi’s digital images.

Dutch Artist Arnix (a pseudonym) confronts the power of largely Catholic iconography through a subversive engagement with religious symbolism. Raised as a Roman Catholic, Arnix also has a sharp eye for manipulation and hypocrisy. In a statement on his website, Arnix wrote, "Faith and power. I get their reason for being. Although I have no faith myself, I understand that religion helps and supports people. Great, let’s keep it that way. I also understand that we need to guard our territory. What I really don’t get is that institutions dealing with power turn away from justice."

"The Seven Deadly Sins" are portrayed in pastel images with stick on shapes fixed on linear plastic plates.  Each plate is topped by a silicone (and realistic looking) pig's head. The pig represents filth, dissolute living, an image that rightly or wrongly disgusts us. Each panel represents another one of the deadly sins - anger, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Given the saturation of our culture with pornographic and quasi-pornographic images, Arnix’s use of pig’s heads was necessary to get the viewer’s attention. Otherwise the delicate and pastel colored figures on his plates would be admired for their beauty while the deeper message is ignored.

Elegant votives containing candles and male genitalia, sculptures combining creepily realistic silicone body parts placed inside antique copper and brass buckets and adorned with strategically placed crucifixes are set out in orderly fashion on the floor and along the walls of the gallery. Masks of the human face with a cross in their mouths mimic the graveyards to the “honored dead” which are scattered all over Europe. This particular instillation misses the mark as many of those buried died to free Europe from Nazism but, then, there is no mandate for a conceptual artist to be completely historically accurate. Nevertheless, the mark of a Catholic upbringing has left its mark on Arnix as well as many others. Speak truth to power might be Arnix's motto as he holds up for the thoughtful viewer the cost of unjust political power welded by religious institutions.

Through May 2014

49 Geary Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94108. 415.986.4799 . 
 Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Cinco de Mayo

What is it - a day to commemorate the Mexican army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Matisse on Sunday

If I had my own private plane, I would be jetting off to London where Matisse is having a spectacular retrospective at the Tate. The show opened this April to a chorus of praise, well deserved praise, bringing together 120 of Matisse's innovative last works.

Tate Modern’s major exhibition, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, is the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the artist’s paper cut-outs made between 1943 and 1954. It brings together around 120 works, many seen together for the first time, in a groundbreaking reassessment of Matisse’s colourful and innovative final works. The exhibition opens at Tate Modern on 17 April 2014.

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Tate Modern’s major exhibition, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, is the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the artist’s paper cut-outs made between 1943 and 1954. It brings together around 120 works, many seen together for the first time, in a groundbreaking reassessment of Matisse’s colourful and innovative final works. The exhibition opens at Tate Modern on 17 April 2014.

More Information:[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.or

In March 1946 Pablo Picasso paid one of his fortnightly visits to see Henri Matisse in Vence, a few miles inland from Nice. Five years after the medical crisis that had nearly killed him, Matisse, at 76, was still an invalid: he had endured radical colon surgery and much of his work was now done either from a wheelchair or in bed. But, creatively, he was phenomenally fertile in the midst of what he called, with undisguised gratitude and wonder, “his second life”.

In his late sixties, when ill health first prevented Matisse from painting, he began to cut into painted paper with scissors to make drafts for a number of commissions. In time, Matisse chose cut-outs over painting: he had invented a new medium.

 The evidence of this resurrection was almost entirely on paper: illustrative drawings done for books of poetry, Renaissance and modern and, most arrestingly, glued or pinned to the walls, the radically new form of modernism that Matisse had just invented – the cut-outs, an extended series of which would be published as Jazz by his friend, the critic and publisher Tériade, in 1947.

Découpage. Cut-outs. A new, brilliant way of drawing. Matisse frequently quoted Toulouse-Lautrec’s exclamation “At last I don’t know how to draw”, by which he meant the escape from convention and conformity.

For instance, take "The Snail." One of the painter's last works, created a year before his death, it is made of pieces of painted paper that have been cut and pasted onto white paper. There is nothing in this picture that looks like a snail, or like anything other than the brightly colored irregular rectangles. Like "The Bees, "the composition is essentially cubist, the blocks of color correcting the curve of the shell." But the intuition of the viewer fills in the blanks and the mind "sees" a snail in that collection of colored paper blocks.

In her masterly biography of Matisse, Spurling points out, it is difficult to understand today just how revolutionary this approach was:

   "Matisse was not simply discarding perspective, abolishing shadows, repudiating the academic distinction between line and color. He was attempting to overturn a way of seeing evolved and accepted by the Western world for centuries.... He was substituting for [an] illusion of objectivity a conscious subjectivity, a 20th-century art that would draw its validity essentially from the painter's own visual and emotional responses."

 Their asymmetric symmetry is the culmination of a lifetime of courageous experiment. Color and forms dance across the space, creating rhythms that change even as you watch. Matisse said that , "The scissoring itself was the graphic, linear equivalent of the sensation of flight."

"A perfectly timed caption at the end of the exhibition – curated with great insight, tact and judgment by Nicholas Serota and Nicholas Cullinan – alerts you to the thousand and more pinpricks visible in the paper pieces of these last acanthus cut-outs. This is what it took, not just the scissoring but the pinning, trying it all out over and over again until the relationships between the pieces are exactly right. It is the lesson of a lifetime, and an inspiration to the viewer: this is how we should all be, still aspiring, still relishing the beauty of life even as we face its end."

“Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs” is at Tate Modern, London SE1, until 7 September

The Magic of Matisse:

Alastair Sooke, the author of "A Second Life," discusses Matisse’s Cut-Outs exhibition and why this is a “once in a lifetime” display.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

California Bookstore Day

No need to be bored. Get out and explore your local bookstore. Today is California @bookstoreday - 90 stores in 80 zip codes are ready to party! Now get out there..

Friday, May 2, 2014

The weekend ahead. SOMarts 'Eating Cultures' and more.

SOMArts Asian American Women Artist Association (AAWAA) and Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) join forces to present the multidisciplinary art exhibition "Eating Cultures." Featuring over thirty emerging and established Asian Pacific American artists from around the country, "Eating Cultures" is a provocative multi-disciplinary arts exhibition of artworks inspired by Asian American food and foodways.

Cup of Noodle by Jessica Tang

Using food as a lens, artist share stories of global migration, adaptation, entrepreneurship, and the central importance of food in Asian communities around the world. In addition to over fifty art, film, and literary works, "Eating Cultures" will feature Asian American oral histories provided by Southern Foodways Alliance via Guide by Cell, dynamic programming co-presented by Asia Society and the Culinary Historians of Northern California, a pop-up shop, and a recipe wall for audiences to share their favorite family recipes.

Photo by Bob Hsiang

"Eating Cultures" is curated by lead curator Michelle A. Lee and co-curators Linda Inson Choy and Cynthia Tom, featuring APA artists of all genders selected by University of Connecticut Art History & Asian American Studies Professor Margo L. Machida. Invited artists include Chinese-American San Francisco-based painter and sculptor Cathy Lu, Vietnamese-Irish American Los Angeles-based artist Genevieve Erin O’Brien, and Korean-American Berlin-based artist Kate Hers Rhee.

SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco. Opening on May 1, 2014 through May 30, 2014

May 3rd and 4th and May 10th and 11th...11am to 5 pm
ICB Building. 480 Gate Five Road Sausalito Ca.....Over 40 Artists!

Art work by Sherry Miller

Plus: Tomorrow is California - 90 stores in 80 zip codes are ready to party! Now get out there..