Sunday, October 30, 2016

Alfred Sisley

October 30, 1839. Alfred Sisley (30 October 1839 - 29 January 1899) was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air (i.e., outdoors). He never deviated into figure painting and, unlike Renoir and Pissarro, never found that Impressionism did not fulfill his artistic needs. In this image: French businessman Pierre de Gunzbourg, flanked by his son Vivien, left, looks at the painting, "Soleil de Printemps, Le Loing, " (Spring Sun, Le Loing) by impressionist Alfred Sisley at the Paris courthouse, Friday, June 18, 2004.

Molesey Weir – Morning, one of the paintings executed by Sisley on his visit to Britain in 1874
Avenue of Chestnut Trees near La Celle-Saint-Cloud, 1865
The Terrace at Saint-Germain, Spring, 1875. The Walters Art Museum

Flood at Port-Marly, 1876. Musée d’Orsay

Fog, Voisins 1874

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Emojis" are the new art?

The LA Times and other news organizations are now declaring these as "art." I have about as much respect for their opinion on this as I do on their coverage of this election and their creation of trump as a presidential candidate.

The design department at New York’s Museum of Modern Art has acquired everything from Tetris to the  “@” symbol for its permanent collection. Now it has added a palette of emojis. “Emojis as a concept go back in the centuries, to ideograms, hieroglyphics and other graphic characters, enabling us to draw this beautiful arch that covers all of human history,” Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at the museum tells The Times’ David Pierson. “There is nothing more modern than timeless concepts such as these.” Los Angeles Times

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The saga of Rama at the Asian

Sita, Rama’s wife and a key figure in the epic Ramayana tale, is depicted in this bronze statue created in 1,000 a.d. @ Asian Art Museum
The current show at the Asian Art Museum, “The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe" is an attempt to bring the Ramayana to the Western world and make it as colorful and entertaining as only they can. The exhibit explores Hinduism through the art inspired by the Ramayana, one of the oldest and largest epics in literature and still a viable part of the culture of Southeast Asia and the Hindu diaspora. To follow the exhibit closely is to both marvel at the wealth of art inspired by this epic and its vision of what makes a moral person, wife and king but also a crash course in Hinduism.

Rama kills the demon warrior Makaraksha in combat, from a manuscript of the Ramayana @Asian Art Museum
Through a wealth of art both ancient and contemporary, the Asian relates the epic of the life of Rama, the legendary prince of Kosala Kingdom, his banishment from the kingdom by his father, King Dasharatha, his travels across forests in India with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, the kidnap of his wife by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, resulting in a war with him, and Rama's eventual return to Ayodhya to be crowned king. Sīta is an important part of the saga and of the exhibit, the avatara of the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu and the epitome of female purity and virtue. She follows her husband into exile and is abducted by the demon king Ravana. She is imprisoned on the island of Lanka, until Rama rescues her by defeating the Demon King.

Rama. Indonesia, Wayang Golek Puppet. @ Asian Art Museum
When Rama gets Sita back by defeating the Demon King, he puts her through the 3rd degree regarding her fidelity to him and later banishes her because some non-immortal compares his immodest wife to Sita. Apparently, if the news about honor killings, the blind eye turned toward rape and the treatment of women in general in the 3rd world (and elsewhere) is an indication, punishing women for events outside their control and holding them to impossibly high standards hasn't changed through the millennia. Unfortunately, as in many gender issues, the Asian turns a blind eye to this. But not all are oblivious to the problems raised by the continuing influence of an ancient text on contemporary gender roles and male behavior. This is an interesting look at some questions around this theme where the teacher (and hopefully the students) recognize the double standard and question it for our times.

Otherwise, the show is big, colorful, entertaining and as usual with the Asian, beautifully mounted and organized. 135 pieces of art in every possible format from puppets to masks to scripture to paintings and weaving's, display the wide range of eras and cultures that found the Ramayana inspirational. The 25 "storytelling stops where the Ramayana is performed like a radio play" are a necessary resting place to process some of the cultural and visual overload.

Hanuman (the Monkey King) revealing Rama and Sita in his heart. Courtesy Asian Art Museum
The Rama Epic - performances via the Asian's website:

Links to a whole page of performances of the Ramayana:

Wikipedia article on Rama:

The Ramayana

Asian's schedule of lectures around their current show:

Gamelan Sekar Jaya
Sunday, Nov 6 | 12-1 PM

Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe:
A Symposium on the Rama Epic
Saturday, Nov 19 | 10 AM-1:45 PM

Film Premiere of "Ramayana: The Great Epic
of South & South-East Asia"
Sat, Dec 3 | 2-4 PM

Chitresh Das Dance Company &
Chhandam School of Kathak
Sunday, Dec 4 | 12-1 PM

Forest Tales: An Eco-Cinema in Two Acts
Sat, Dec 10 & Sun, Dec 11 | 2-4 PM

Cambodian Dance with Charya Burt
Sunday, Jan 8 | 12-1 PM


Through: Jan. 15. 10 a.m.-5 pm. Tuesday-Sunday

Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco

Admission: $15-$20 weekdays, $20-$25 weekends. 415-581-3500,

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pablo Picasso

October 25, 1881. Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 - 8 April 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer who spent most of his adult life in France. As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. In this image: Pablo Picasso watches the filming of his life story in Nice, France, on July 26, 1955. Henri Georges Clouzot, seated, is producing the picture. Picasso's daughter Maya is at left.October 25, 1881. Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 - 8 April 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer who spent most of his adult life in France. As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. In this image: Pablo Picasso watches the filming of his life story in Nice, France, on July 26, 1955. Henri Georges Clouzot, seated, is producing the picture. Picasso's daughter Maya is at left.

Self portrait1906

Productive, yes but a shameless thief of other people’s ideas and designs. Cruel and abusive to women. A braggart and a user to those around him but probably the most significant influence in 20th century art. Amazing good luck in patrons and those who promoted him and always put himself in front of the pack, even though it is now clear that other painters were neck in neck with him in terms of talent — but not in terms of self promotion.

Hammer Museum 

Huff Post

Brain Pickings

NY Times 

Art Daily

Monday, October 24, 2016

Anonymous was a woman awards 2016

Anonymous Was A Woman is an unrestricted grant of $25,000 that enables women artists, over 40 years of age and at a significant juncture in their lives or careers, to continue to grow and pursue their work. The Award is given in recognition of an artist's accomplishments, artistic growth, originality and potential.  It is not need-based. The Award is by nomination only.

The name of the grant program, Anonymous Was A Woman, refers to a line in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. As the name implies, nominators and those associated with the program are unnamed. The award was begun in 1996 in response to the decision of the National Endowment of the Arts to cease support of individual artists.

Each year, an outstanding group of distinguished women – art historians, curators, writers and previous winners from across the country – serve as nominators.  To date, over 600 have participated. 

Artists may not apply directly for the award.

The Anonymous Was A Woman Award is administered by Philanthropy Advisors, LLC

Address inquiries to:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Fishwrap; Open Studios, Asian Art Museum, Festival of Lights, Rick Paulus Calligraphy

Arc Studios: Priscilla Otani in Studio # 207 with Tanya Wilkinson. Book "No Monkeys"
Fernando Reyes at the McRoksey Building, 3rd floor.
I will visit as many as I can, as long as my strength holds out: SF Open Studios Weekend Two: Fort Mason, Marina, Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, North Beach, Downtown, Tenderloin, MIDMA, SOMA, Western Addition, NOPA, Hayes Valley, Low

But top of the list are:
Journal Building Artist Residency
1540 Market St, San Francisco, California 94102

Friday, 10/21, 6pm-9pm: Preview Party
Saturday, 10/22, 11am-6pm: Open Studios
Sunday, 10/23: 11am-6pm: Open Studios

Resident Artists:
Tisha Kenny, Sophia Lee, Shane Izykowski, Sonia Leticia, Lexie Bouwsma, Sherry Schaffer, Nancer Lemoins, Rachel Styer, Ana Aranda, Uma Rani Iyli, Denise Laws, Le BohemianMuse, Claire Elliot, Hannah Marie Stahulak, Addendum24, Taiko Fujimura, Jana Grover, Salome Milstead

Guest Artists:
Ned Axthelm, Ivan Bajinov, Katie Chin, Gabriela Cobar, Russel Kiehn, Jeffrey Nemeroff, Darren Sears, Melissa Shanley, Lena Shey, Elena Zolotnitsky, Yuri Boyko

Eric of 3fish studios: Last night I went to the Hotel Biron (45 Rose St) to see Eric of 3 Fish Studio's wood cuts - great work which reminds me of Tom Killion, The bar is a tiny, tiny hole in the wall and if you are walking quickly, you will miss it: I was introduced to him by Michael Yochum:  Link to Eric’s website:

Arc Studios and Gallery: Preparation for Open Studio kicks into high gear! They have 24 artists exhibiting at Arc Studios. Come visit us Friday evening from 6-9 or over the weekend from 11-6. 1246 Folsom Street.

Open Studios at the McRoksey Building, 3rd floor.   McRoskey, 1687 Market St @ Gough

For those going to Berkeley, the Berkeley Public Museum has a fantastic calligraphy exhibit by Rick Palus, the official White House Calligrapher.

"From the White House to the Sea: A Calligrapher's Journey"

Come to the 5th floor Art & Music Department to view From the White House to the Sea: A Calligrapher's Journey - an exhibit showcasing the work of calligrapher Rick Paulus. See examples of his impressive work as chief calligrapher of the White House and calligrapher to five secretaries of state, as well as recently created works celebrating the sea. Come back on October 17 to hear the artist talk about his art, his experiences at the White House, and the great changes in calligraphy as we enter the digital age.
You can see more of his work on his website and

The Asian Art Museum is hosting the "Festival of Lights (Divali)"

The Festival of Lights launches The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe with performances, storytelling, art projects, henna and fun. Watch an awe-inspiring Bharatanatyam performance, make a diya lamp, and hear about the abduction of Sita as told by a museum storyteller!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp

October 20, 1620. Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp (October 20, 1620 - November 15, 1691) was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp (1594–1651/52), he is especially known for his large views of the Dutch countryside in early morning or late afternoon light. In this image: The Negro Page circa 1652, oil on canvas; Royal Collection.

What made art like Cuyp's possible was a radical change in government. In 1555, the seventeen provinces of the Low Countries came under the control of Philip II of Spain. After a long period of protest against Spanish religious bigotry and intolerance, including the Inquisition's attacks on Protestants, inept governmental dictates from the Spanish court combined with high taxes, the seven northern provinces, which were largely Protestant openly rebelled against Spanish rule. Two years later, they declared their independence from Spain and after a long and brutal war, the Dutch finally drove the Spanish out of what is now Holland.

For the new United Provinces, as Holland was then called, the following century would be marked by enormous economic growth fuelled by trade, and by the unprecedented prosperity and cultural flowering known as the Dutch Golden Age.

Wealthy merchants, bankers and other prosperous citizens replaced monarchs, the Catholic church and the aristocracy as patrons and collectors of art. This led to the rise of an open art market. Dutch-art subjects shifted from classical myth, Biblical scenes, and portraits of royalty to still lifes, pictures of everyday life called genre scenes, landscapes, and city scapes rendered with a fresh realism. Paintings tended to be fairly small in size and scale, as they were purchased not for churches or palaces, but for private homes. Subject matter was secular, spanning a range of genres, including portraits, facial studies, town scapes, church interiors, scenes of daily life, home interiors, landscapes and seascapes, and still-lifes. Modesty was a virtue, though it did not preclude national pride.

The art reflected the Dutch interest in their seas, the source of their prosperity, their urban world and their landscape of canals, luminous grey skies and flat fields. The great artists of the seventeenth century were better served with materials than any previous era. Along with it's other mercantile products, the Netherlands had become the major producers for pigments, ranging from white lead to vermilion. The art guilds required a long apprenticeship to obtain mastery in the craft, This meant that those who obtained the title of "master" had a complete knowledge of all aspects of craftsmanship - from making paints to preparing the supports (mostly panels but some of the paintings are on copper and others on linen canvas).

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Farmer's Market, October 2016

A medley of carrots
Grapes, chestnuts and two peaches (older pastel piece)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

William Blake at John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller in San Francisco

The complaint of Job. courtesy FAMSF
After 50 years in the book trade and 43 years operating John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller, longtime rare book dealer, John Windle, launched his retrospective of the artist in October, 2016, within San Francisco’s historic 49 Geary building. The first physical space exclusively dedicated to Blake's work in over two hundred years, The William Blake Gallery is displaying over 1,000 original Blake pieces alongside thousands of reproductions of the artist’s own writings and artwork, including one of a kind books, reproducing Blake's own books in a magnificent display of craftsmanship
The Lovers' Whirlwind, Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta, Wikipedia
The opening exhibition features works by Blake's own hand, including a stunning tempera painting, an important preparatory wash painting, and the earliest impression of an illuminated plate printed by Blake ever offered for sale - a proof plate from Songs of Innocence. Also exhibited are many other prints of unparalleled quality, displaying Blake's range and many of his most iconic images.

 Over the years, I have had some great talks with Mr. Windle, and have been impressed by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and was immensely impressed by this collection. I don't think any of our museums have any pieces by Blake on display.

Of the decision to open a gallery of William Blake’s works, John Windle remarks: “I must be stark raving mad. Like Blake.”

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and print maker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic works have been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he lived in London his entire life (except for three years spent in Felpham), he produced a diverse and symbolically rich oeuvre, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God"or "human existence itself". His work and beliefs are far to complex to be summarized in one paragraph but they include political beliefs that were revolutionary and anarchist, anti-slavery, pro free love, radical religious ideas, and a humanitarian goal of wholeness of body and spirit. His visionary works, complex and symbolic were looked upon with scorn by the critics of the day and he lived and died in poverty.

There is a complete set of Blake's illustrations to the Book of Job, Dante's Inferno, Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Gates of Paradise, and one of Blake's few paintings, "The Virgin Hushing," 1799, Tempera on Paper.

In his set of essays about "The Romantic Rebellion," Sir Kenneth Clark describes Blake as producing, in his best work, "a concentration of poetry and a prophetic power that make him one of the key figures in the Romantic movement."  Blake was a religious artist for a new non-Christian art, in which his illustrations suggest divine energy more convincingly than anybody "since Michelangelo."

John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller, 49 Geary St, #205, SF. Check at the store to have the gallery opened for a visit.

Visit the gallery:
The book store:

Other references: Northrup Frye, Blake
Martin Myrone, The Blake Book
Robert N. Essick. William Blake at the Huntington

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Friday Fish Wrap: Legion, Guerrerro Gallery, Italian Cultural Insitute, Black Panthers

Penitent Magdalene. Courtesy Legion of Honor
The Bay Area has a number of good exhibits that opened in the last week or will open in the coming week. Of course, don't forget Open Studios. This is the 2nd week then thousands of local artists open their studios to the public. Maps and Guides here to what is open for the coming weekend:

Le Nain Brothers at the Legion - Three brothers who lived together and painted as a trio in 17th century France. For some reason, they had to wait for the 21st century to be rediscovered but the show is well worth a visit to the Legion of Honor. The exhibit "California BookWorks" ends on October 16 but the Sonia Delaunay piece is worth the price of admission. While the Barry McGee illustrations are getting the hype in the show of artists' books from the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the exquisite Picasso etchings are what the visitor should be looking at.

Pablo Picasso, Visage [Marie-Thérèse Walter], frontispiece in Picasso, by André Level (Paris: Les Éditions G. Crès and Cie, 1928). Lithograph, 8 1/2 x 5 9/16 inc. FAMSF, gift of the Reva and David Logan Foundation, 2016.15.15. © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

SFMOMA reopened earlier this year and the Photography Gallery is going strong. The Anthony Hernandez exhibit has already closed and a new exhibit on Contemporary Japanese Photography just opened. The gift of over 200 works from the Kurenboh Collection, Tokyo, completely fill up the 3rd floor galleries. Bring your walking shoes because the show is huge and the themes complex.
Courtesy Oakland Museum of California
The Oakland Museum of California opened "All Power to the People," an exhibit both artistic and historical of the Black Panthers and their place in American history. It's tragic that decades after their call for equality and inclusion in American life, African-Americans are still calling for equal rights and an end to senseless and unprovoked police violence.

"As an organization, the Black Panthers lasted just 16 years, from 1966 to 1982, but the legacy is still going strong at 50, and for those three days in October, “people will be coming from all over the world,” predicted Brown. It won’t be for nostalgia. The title of the conference, “Where Do We Go From Here?” suggests the goal will be to recapture that momentum, which was sparked in 1966 and is waiting to be rekindled." Full review here:

Guerrerro Gallery: "Regarding appropriation".... As a critical strategy, appropriation provides the means to reorient hierarchies and expand dialogues across borders and boundaries within art discourse, restructuring a linear historical narrative and thereby obliterating the naive heroism that comes with such a foolhardy climb.
More here 

Viva Italia! 

ibreria Pino and Istituto Italiano di Cultura are proud to present the first Fiera del Libro + San Francisco! This 10 day event will showcase books, cds, and dvds imported directly from Italy.
The fair will be open 9 am to 5 pm weekdays, 1 pm - 5 pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday.
For more information and tickets, please visit

Art Span/Open Studios Weekend Oct 15-16

Covers the following locations: Weekend 1: October 15 & 16, 11 am to 6 pm
Hunters Point Shipyard & Islais Creek Studios

Guide and Map

Main Link:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Lucas Cranach the Younger

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery
 October 04, 1515. Lucas Cranach the Younger (October 4, 1515 - January 25, 1586) was a German Renaissance artist, known for his woodcuts and paintings.He was the youngest son of Lucas Cranach the Elder and Barbara Brengebier, and began his career as an apprentice in his father's workshop alongside his brother Hans. Henceforth, his own  reputation and fame grew. After his father's death, he assumed control over the workshop. They lived in the city of Kronach, in Franconia (in Germany). In this image: Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery. Hermitage Museum, Russia.

Elizabeth of Austria

Adam and Eve

Portrait of a woman

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 1st

From "Following Hadrian" on twitter: Happy October 1st. Kalendae Octobres Image: Detail of Monnus Mosaic from Trier with personification of October, Bacchus with thyrsus.