Thursday, April 30, 2015

Art weekend extravanga in San Francisco

 "Wait" by Theresa Morgan, one of the local artists exhibiting at the StARTup Art Fair (room 311)

Two art fairs, one local gallery opening, warm weather ( at 86 degrees way too warm for me but Mother Nature does what Mother Nature wants) -a weekend to pace yourself so as not to overload on all the art.

Closing this weekend but worth the visit: Sanaz Mazinani: Threshold: This Iranian-born Canadian artist, now living in the Bay Area, presents a specially constructed space, faceted with mirrors that reflect a projected video of explosions excerpted from 11 recent Hollywood spectacles. She draws on the decorated architecture of her childhood homeland and the highly manipulated products of today’s mass culture to create a collision of approaches to imagination and action.
images courtesy DeWitt Cheng

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hung Yi's 'Carnival of Animals' at the Civic Center

Eagle Dove of Peace and Buffalo. I don't think I've ever seen our "national bird" portrayed in such a manner but you've got to admit it's unique. The Buffalo. red eyes and all,  represents Tiawanese spirit.
Michelangelo's David it's not but then, SF is not Renaissance Florence. I thought that the animals were fun and people seemed to enjoy them. Kids were climbing all over the sculptures while their parents ignored the "do not ... " signs. But the animals look pretty sturdy and they will only be there for another week or two. It's a goofy, colorful and charming addition to a part of the city that is often overrun with the homeless.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

'Promised Land: The Art of Jacob Lawrence' at the Cantor

The Cantor has brought together for the first time the complete series of “The Legend of John Brown.” Twenty-two silkscreen panels illuminate the legend of the white abolitionist, a fanatic who believed that he was chosen by God to end slavery. While Brown’s rebellion didn’t in itself end slavery in the United States, it was one of the catalysts that did – the power of this act told in austere, somber panels.

More at:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Diebenkorn

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 54.

 Ocean Park 114

"One of the most important hallmarks of the Ocean Park paintings, evident from the very beginning, is that each one creates its own, self-contained chromatic universe, and each functions within that universe in a structurally self-sufficient way. The sheer complexity of incident within each painting, to say nothing of their comparative serial complexity, is unrivaled in the abstract painting of the period. It might well be argued that, in this sense, Mark Rothko takes a distant second place to Richard Diebenkorn."

Never a doctrinaire Abstract painter or Realist painter, Diebenkorn rejected identification with any one school. Indeed, the Ocean Park series, the culmination of his work as an artist, may be seen as a combination of abstract, realistic, and specifically Californian approaches to art.

Injecting the figure into his work, Diebenkorn attains the human element that rejuvenates his creative spirit. 

He always insisted in going his own way. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14 1865. Anniversary of Lincoln's murder

Apr 14 1865 Lincoln was shot; he was the first American President to be assassinated

Online version of the Exhibit: 

Perhaps it's too optimistic and naive to believe that Lincoln, if he had lived, would have helped a genuine Reconstruction which gave the newly freed slaves a much better footing in the post-Civil War ear. It's another one of the tragedy's of American history that we will never know.

"The dangerous myth of Appomatox.." 

ON April 9, 1865 — Palm Sunday — Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee negotiated their famous “Gentlemen’s Agreement” of surrender. In the ensuing celebration, a relieved Grant told his men, “The war is over.”

But Grant soon discovered he was wrong. Not only did fighting continue in pockets for weeks, but in other ways the United States extended the war for more than five years after Appomattox. Using its war powers to create freedom and civil rights in the South, the federal government fought against a white Southern insurgency that relied on murder and intimidation to undo the gains of the war.
Once white Southern Democrats overthrew Reconstruction between the 1870s and 1890s, they utilized the Appomattox myth to erase the connection between the popular, neatly concluded Civil War and the continuing battles of Reconstruction. By the 20th century, history textbooks and popular films like “The Birth of a Nation” made the Civil War an honorable conflict among white Americans, and Reconstruction a corrupt racial tyranny of black over white (a judgment since overturned by historians like W. E. B. DuBois and Eric Foner).

Win the battles but lose the war...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Music: Ukulele Orchestra

Utterly delightful and thought provoking - who would have thought that the dinky ukulele could be so versatile.

Original link from the blog "As Time Goes By."

Friday, April 10, 2015

Market St. Revamp and a critical look at Oakland in a new show at the Oakland Museum of California

I did not much care for the show in Oakland. I have to give the curator a high five for trying but political art is really hard to do. I'd give the show a C- with good marks for a couple of the artists. However, it's very interactive and that should strike a cord with some sections of the media obsessed public:…/market-st-revamp-and-a-critical-l…

Thursday, April 9, 2015

'She who tells a story' - and can't return home

When I first wrote this, I wondered, asked - and did not get an answer - as to how many of these women photographers could return to their countries of origin. With the current war in Yemen, I think I know the answer for one of them.…/she-who-tells-a-story-at-the-cant…

I think that Lala Essaydi, who is from Morocco, lives part of the year in Morocco but the rest of the time in NY and France. The photographer from Iran is now in NY along with a couple of the other artists. Obviously the  women from Yemen does not dare return hom.

The premise of this exhibit was that women in the Middle East aren't shut up, shut out and shut down. Since this show was in Stanford and most of the work has never been shown in the Middle East - and can't be - I don't think they proved their point.  There is a lot of talent on display but being showing in two upscale US locations doesn't mean a darn thing if the critique is about women in the Middle East.

Monday, April 6, 2015

'Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts' at the Getty

Everyone has heard of the Renaissance. For most, this means Florence and Rome, the art of Michelangelo and Leonardo. But the art of the Renaissance was equally present in the courts that spread across Northern Italy - Mantua, Padua, Sienna, Urbino, Milan, Ferrara. These were some of the most wealthy and sophisticated courts in Europe. Rulers and wealthy patrons commissioned artists to create works that exhausted both the patron and the city of origin. Some of the most brilliantly and elegantly illuminated manuscripts emerged from this courtly context.

More at:

The Coronation of the Virgin. Fabriano, about 1420. Artist: Gentile da Fabriano. Tempera and gold leaf on panel. Fabriano likely painted this work for a Franciscan church in his native Fabriano, where the local lord—following the example of rulers at the courts of Venice, Brescia, and Foligno—contracted this highly sought-after artist to execute various works.
Madonna of the Quail. Verona, about 1420. Artist: Pisanello. Tempera and gold leaf on panel. In his early career, Pisanello studied and worked closely with the painter Gentile da Fabriano. Both artists rendered surfaces with elegant patterning and precision, especially evident here in Pisanello's punched and tooled gold background, the Virgin Mary's brocaded garment, and the many carefully painted details from the natural world. Pisanello was held on retainer by the Gonzaga family in Mantua.

 Saint Bellinus celebrating Mass

 The Annunciation. Initial D: The Virgin and Child. Ferrara, about 1469. Artists: Taddeo Crivelli and Guglielmo Giraldi. Ms. Ludwig IX 13, fols. 3v–4. In an intimate domestic setting at left, painted by Taddeo Crivelli, the Virgin Mary appears poised upon learning from the angel Gabriel that she is with child. At right, painted by Guglielmo Giraldi, Mary tenderly holds the infant Jesus. The Latin mottoes and coat of arms through the manuscript reveal that the book was commissioned for Andrea Gualengo, courtier and diplomat, and his wife, Orsina d'Este, daughter of the ruling family of Ferrara. This devotional book was likely given to the couple when they married. Over the course of several decades, Crivelli and Giraldi illuminated numerous manuscripts at the Este court. Their use of jewel-like colors and golden pen flourishes are hallmarks of Ferrarese painting.

All Saints. Guglielmo Giraldi, MS Ludwig IX 13, fol 159v

 Saint Gretory, Crivelli, MS Ludwig IX 13, Fol 172v

 Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Taddeo Crivelli. Ms. Ludwig IX 13, fol. 187v

Initial D. The calling of Saints Peter and Andrew

Christ in Majesty with the symbols of the Four Evangelists. Milan. 1400. Anovelo da Imbonate. Archivio e Biblioteca Capitolare di Sant’Ambrogio, Milan. This missal, a manuscript containing the texts used during the celebration of the Mass, bears the signature of Milanese illuminator Anovelo da Imbonate beneath the stunning, pattern-filled image of Christ enthroned in heaven: HOC DE IMBONATE OPUS FECIT ANOVELUS. The coat of arms of Gian Galeazzo Visconti (reigned 1395–1402) appears in the lower margin, thereby commemorating him and his family as the patrons of this book, which was used at a church dedicated to Milan’s patron saint, Ambrose.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Greetings

This missal probably belonged to Henry of Chichester, as a late 13th-century note in the manuscript implies. His donation of a missal to Exeter Cathedral is recorded in 1277, and a 1327 catalog of the Cathedral describes the missal as having gilded pages.

It was probably produced in the Salisbury area, by the group of 'the Sarum Master', perhaps around 1250. The occurrence of the feast of St Edmund of Abingdon in the original hand in the Calendar indicates that the missal post dates his canonization in 1246.

The book has eight full-page miniatures and twelve historiated initials, a rather lavish scheme of decoration not usually found in the text of a missal. The artist's work shows his liking for monumental and dramatic compositions. His style is characterized by elongated figures with drapery in strong linear folds, and with heads showing some delicate workmanship.

The handling of the Resurrection is particularly dramatic. Christ steps from the tomb on to the sleeping body of one of the soldiers guarding the tomb. One of the soldiers clutches, in his sleep, both a curved sword and an axe; another holds an upright sword. The faces of the two soldiers are blackened, to suggest infamy.

The figure of Christ, outsize in proportion to the rest of the composition, adds to the drama of the moment depicted, as do the two angels who accompany the event by playing music energetically on their instruments. The elongated, thin figure of Christ is characteristic of the Sarum Master's style. Note how parts of some figures overlap the edges of the decorative frame, suggesting that the subject is bursting from its confines. Some Byzantine-derived influence has been suggested. Marks and Morgan 1981, pp.54-7

Thursday, April 2, 2015

'The Woman in Gold' and the saga of the portrait of "Adele Bloch-Bauer"

The lawyer on the case, Schoenberg, told Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, however, that the courtroom wrangling to win the return of Nazi-looted art continues, with an estimated 100,000 works of art still at issue, many missing. He’s involved in legal efforts to return 16th century Adam and Eve paintings, now in the possession of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, to the family of a Dutch art dealer who fled Amsterdam with his family in World War II. (The paintings were featured in the opening credits of “Desperate Housewives.”)

“There are many, many cases like that and many, many items that haven’t been discovered,” Schoenberg says. “The 100,000 number — you could put any number on it because it just depends how far down you want to go in people’s possessions.”

What a surprise - just wait for the survivors to die and get to keep all your stolen loot: