Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Giovanni di Paolo’s Shimmering Worlds on Parchment and Panel at the Getty

Giovanni di Paolo (about 1399–1482), manuscript illuminator and panel painter, was one of the most distinctive and imaginative artists working in Siena, Italy, during the Renaissance. He received prestigious commissions over the course of his lengthy career from a range of patrons—private individuals and families, guilds, the pope, and numerous religious orders, including the Dominicans, Franciscans, Servites, and Augustinians.

More at:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29, 1933. James Rosenquist

November 29, 1933. James Rosenquist (born November 29, 1933) is an American artist and one of the protagonists in the pop-art movement. In this image: Then 71-year-old US artist James Rosenquist stands in front of his art work 'Brazil' which he created in 2004 at the art museum in Wolfsburg, Germany on Thursday, 17 February 2005. The piece was part of a retrospective which included 150 works of art spanning across three decades, allowing an insight into the work of a leading representative of US American Pop Art. The exhibition ran until 05 June 2005.

"The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (Painting 3)," by James Rosenquist, oil on shaped canvas, 13 feet 2 inches by 20 feet 3/16 inches, 1997-8, commissioned by the Deutsche Bank in consultation with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin
"Astor Victoria," by James Rosenquist, billboard enamel and oil on canvas, 5 feet 7 inches by 6 feet 10 1/2 inches, 1959, collection of the artist

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Celebrating 499 years but who is counting: Luther and the Protestant Reformation

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant split from the Catholic Church is next year. And the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is marking the occasion with a beguiling new exhibition, "Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach,” which brings together 113 magnificent objects from state museums all over Germany.

The period under consideration (1460–1580) was marked by conflicts, civil wars, and complex relationships with neighboring countries, but it also witnessed a flourishing of many states and cities, reflected in the skills of their craftsmen. Additionally, the era was characterized by profound changes in thought, philosophy, science, and religion, spearheaded by Martin Luther’s writings, which in turn transformed the work of many artists of the day such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hans Holbein, Mathias Grünwald, Tilman Riemenschneider, and Peter Vischer. These revolutionary ideas and innovations played a transformational role in the development of modern Western societies.

Der Reuter, erroneously called Knight, Death, Devil
“With these mass-produced prints, the modern media age dawns,” reports Times art critic Christopher Knight. “Gutenberg’s mechanical printing press allowed for their wide public dissemination, as it did for the Bible…. From the privileged text of a closed priesthood, the Bible went open-source.” Los Angeles Times

Happy Birthday to Toulouse Lautrec and José Clemente Orozco

Aristide Bruant

I am a bit behind on my birthday congratulations but this week saw the birthdays of two of the greatest: November 24, 1864. 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 ?uvre of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times.

"Lautrec was an aristocrat, but a bohemian, countercultural spirit animates his art. (He drank himself to death by the age of 36.) As opposed to the competitive aggression and rationalistic regimentation of modern business and industry, he evoked a world of sensual pleasure, personal intimacy, expressive spontaneity and erotic play." Ken Johnson, NY Times, 2006

Hombre de fuego (Man of Fire) in the Hospicio Cabañas

November 23, 1883. José Clemente Orozco (November 23, 1883 - September 7, 1949) was a Mexican social realist painter, who specialized in bold murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others. Orozco was the most complex of the Mexican muralists, fond of the theme of human suffering, but less realistic and more fascinated by machines than Rivera. Mostly influenced by Symbolism, he was also a genre painter and lithographer.é_Clemente_Orozco

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Green Friday - free passes to California State Parks

Rocks and Stream. @Nancy Ewart. 2016

116 of California’s 280 state parks will be free to the public to visit on November 25. That’s 13,000 free passes up for grabs.
Those who would like to visit a park for free on “Green Friday” may begin printing their day-use pass at noon Wednesday, November 16, 2016 and are subject to availability.

  • China Camp State Park
  • Mount Tamalpais State Park
  • Samuel P. Taylor State Park
  • Tomales Bay State Park
  • Hendy Woods State Park
  • Russian Gulch State Park
  • Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area
  • Van Damme State Park
San Mateo
  • Año Nuevo State Park
  • Butano State Park
  • Half Moon Bay State Beach
  • Pomponio State Beach
  • Portola Redwoods State Park
  • San Gregorio State Beach
Santa Clara
  • Henry W. Coe State Park
Santa Cruz
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park
  • Castle Rock State Park
  • Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
  • Manresa State Beach
  • Natural Bridges State Beach
  • New Brighton State Beach
  • Seacliff State Beach
  • Sunset State Beach
  • The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
  • Wilder Ranch State Park
  • Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
  • Austin Creek State Recreation Area
  • Fort Ross State Historic Park
  • Jack London State Historic Park
  • Salt Point State Park
  • Sonoma Coast State Park
  • Sonoma State Historic Park
  • Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
  • Trione-Annadel State Park
FAQ – Register to receive your Green Friday day-use parking pass which is valid for day-use parking admission to your selected park only. Pass valid only for one vehicle on November 25, 2016. Passes are limited in availability.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Frank Stella at the de Young and Bruce Conner at SFMOMA

The museum visitor could not ask for a great contrast in styles and philosophy than the two retrospectives now up in San Francisco; Frani Stella at the de Young and Bruce Conner at SFMOMA. Stella specializes in bright, bold, non-expressive art, just right for that expensive loft, big corporate office or museum wall. He was crowned "Art King of NY" right out of art school and has consistently remained popular.

Bruce Conner's huge retrospective, now at SFMOMA, is a polar opposite. A deliberate outsider, a Peck's Bad Boy of art, Conner adored being angsty, depressive, grim, an avant guarde practice of art sketched in black. By the time he died at age 74 in 2008, the San Francisco–based artist had created films, collages, photograms, performances, assemblages, drawings, and paintings. He avoided celebrity like the plague and reveled in his outsider status. If Stella's work deliberately avoids emotion and any definition of self, Conner positively played with both ideas to the point where he announced his death....twice, before actually dying in 1974.

Conner told Kenneth Baker (then art critic for the SF Chronicle), "My entire history as an artist coincides with the history of the bomb," he told me in 2000, "and it's colored almost everything I've done. But I also don't see why you can't have a good time and be aware of your own mortality."

Frank Stella at the de Young through Feb 26, 2017

Bruce Conner at SFMOMA through Jan 22, 2017

Friday, November 18, 2016

Jacques-Louis-Mandé Daguerre

Jacques-Louis-Mandé Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype, was born in 1787. See how they are made:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Films of Ana Mendieta at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Ana Mendieta: still from Anima, Silueta de Cohetes (Firework Piece), 1976; Super 8 film, color, silent. © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents "Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta." During her brief career—just fourteen years, between 1971 and 1985—the Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta (1948–1985) produced a stunning body of work that included performances, drawings, sculptures, installations, and photographs.

Ana Mendieta, “Untitled (Facial Hair Transplant)” (1972) and “Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints)” (1972) at ‘Ana Mendieta Traces’ exhibition, Hayward Gallery 2013 (all images courtesy Hayward Gallery)
Mendieta claimed for herself the tradition of the neolithic. This was a gesture towards a time when all current critical pigeon holes appear redundant. And if a single project makes a case for creative time travel, it is her Rupestrian Sculptures of 1981. These really took art back to its source, carving elemental forms out of the soft limestone wall of a Cuban cave called Escalaras de Jaruco. The artist talked about reawakening local Taíno goddesses. In her search for the neolithic, Mendieta tapped into a primal strain which makes her work even more powerful.

But Mendieta’s best known works were a series known as Siluetas, outlines of her own body in and around the natural environment. She fashioned them in Mexico, Long Island, ironically given last week's vote, Indiana, and, Iowa. She shaped them from rocks, leaves, branches, dye and gunpowder, photographing each after completion.

Mary Jane Jacob suggests in her book Ana Mendieta: The "Silueta" Series (1973-1980) that much of Mendieta's work was influenced by her interest in the religion Santería, as well as a connection to Cuba. Jacob attributes Mendieta's "ritualistic use of blood," and the use of gunpowder, earth and rock to Santería's ritualistic traditions

This exhibition, organized by the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota, brings together twenty-one of Mendieta’s recently preserved filmworks—many of which have had little previous exposure—in addition to a selection of related photographs; to date it is the largest grouping of the artist’s filmworks to be presented in an exhibition in the United States. With her unique synthesis of sculpture, earth art, and performance, Mendieta unflinchingly investigated what it means to be human, and her artwork continues to speak powerfully to diverse audiences across generations.

Shrine to Oshun in the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove.
Ana Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1948. Because of her father's political activities in Cuba, she was sent to the United States (without her parents) in 1961 at the age of twelve. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in studio and intermedia art from the University of Iowa, Mendieta moved to New York in 1978. She received multiple grants, including the Rome Prize from the American Academy, and she produced important artworks in Cuba, Italy, Mexico, and the United States.

She died in 1985 at the age of thirty-six under mysterious circumstances, possibly murdered by her husband, the artist Carl Andre. This case still is not resolved although Andre used his influence to get a verdict of "not guilty" from a jury. (The Case of Anna Mendieta in Art in America).

Blood and Feathers, courtesy BAMPFA
The exhibition comprises twenty-one filmworks projected in the galleries, many made during her travels to Mexico in the 70's.  It is in these filmworks that Mendieta established her unique earth-body aesthetic, merging her figure with the natural landscape through an exploration of history and memory. The artist was influenced by and interested in many of the artistic movements of her time, including Minimalism, Conceptualism, earth art, performance art, and feminism, as well as the historical and spiritual legacies, both ancient and modern, of many indigenous cultures from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. She drew from each of these influences but ultimately it is the originality and surprising inventiveness of her work that sets it apart.

Also on view are three series of photographs related to the filmworks, and a short 2015 documentary, Ana Mendieta: Nature Inside, produced by Cecilia M. Mendieta,

On view November 9, 2016 through January 15, 2017 in BAMPFA's lower-level Theater 2.


From Wikipedia:  Jacob, Mary Jane. "Ana Mendieta: The "Silueta" Series, 1973-1980." Galerie Lelong, 1991. pp. 4, 10, 

Her Body, Herself from the NY Times: 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

Armin Hansen, "War", 1942. At the Crocker Museum, Sacramento

Thursday, November 10, 2016


November 10, 1697. William Hogarth (10 November 1697 - 26 October 1764) was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects". Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as "Hogarthian.”

From the review when the Tate had a Hogarth retrospective: Hogarth was in many ways a contradictory figure: a satirist who wanted to be part of the Establishment; a popular engraver who wished to be recognised as a serious artist. He succeeded in being all these things (although, in the first instance, at great personal cost). But first and foremost he was a polemicist. That may seem to be a pretty obvious thing to say when you look at A Rake's Progress (1735), or A Harlot's Progress (1732), or The Idle and Industrious Apprentice (1747), or Stages of Cruelty (1751). But what's truly interesting is the way he did it, because it was essentially contradictory. Take his most famous print, Gin Lane (1751). At face value it is identical, in intention and effect, to a modern tabloid headline. It was inspired by a news story Hogarth heard about a woman who murdered her infant daughter so she could sell her clothes to buy gin - the equivalent of a banner headline today about teenagers killing an OAP to steal a fiver to buy crack. It's meant to shock; moreover, it's meant to shock its reader (viewer?) into better behaviour. Thus its companion piece, Beer Street (also 1751), showing the advantages of honest English ale over evil foreign gin. To this end it was sold cheaply in order to reach as wide an audience as possible. In other words, it was a kind of proto-popular journalism, the first glimmer of the developing mass media. ….

There's still more to it, and probably more than Hogarth ever intended. Because of its enduring power, Gin Lane has come almost to define what we think we know of the eighteenth century. If a twenty-first-century time traveller went back to Hogarth's London, he or she would probably be horrified by the stench and the poverty and the crime and the filth, far worse than anything we'd find in our own developing countries. Yet we look at Gin Lane with a kind of amused affection. It's earthy rather than just shitty; rumbustious and not just repulsive; endearing rather than evil. You can put that down to the redemptive power of passing time, or you could say it was another of Hogarth's instigating influences: of taking the unspeakable, depicting it visually, leavening it with humour to make it digestible and, moreover, bearable. Modern cartoons do that too.

Hogarth, supported by Tate Members, Tate Britain, 7 February - 29 April 2007.
Martin Rowson is the chairman of the British Cartoonists' Association. His first novel, Snatches, is published by Jonathan Cape. Stuff, a memoir of his parents and his adoption, is out in April 2007.
Hogarth, supported by Tate Members, Tate Britain, 7 February - 29 April 2007.

Hogarth. Wikipedia.
National Gallery

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I need something calm to meditate on after last night's election returns.These watercolors were all inspired by photos taken by DeWitt Chang, a local photographer, arts writer and friend.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Weekend picks for Nov 5-6

Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is galloping towrd us, faster than a fleeing turkey running from it's intended goal as dinner (plus fixings). 

This is the 4th and last weekend in 2016 for Open Studios which SF artists open their art spaces to the public. 


Monica Lundy, Jack's Tavern, 2016, 22k Gold, 16k Gold, 12k White Gold, Coffee, Mica Flake and Pulverized Charcoal on Arches Paper Mounted on Panel, 41 x 61 Inches
Bay Area artists Monica Lundy and Rodney Ewing come together to tell the history of the Fillmore District community, focusing specifically on the early-to-mid 20th century. During WWII and the Japanese Internment, the Fillmore was largely Japanese; later, it would become an African American neighborhood until the Redevelopment altered it once again." Read more...

Exhibition through November 19, 2016

Nancy Toomey Fine Art, Tues-Fri 11am-5:30pm, Sat 11am-5pm
Minnesota Street Project
1275 Minnesota Street
San Francisco

Adam Beris, "Pink Panther", Acrylic on Panel, 50 x 50", 2016. @ the artist

Guerrero Gallery: Copypasta, copy paste, pasta copy, pasty copy. Etymologically, the “pasta” component of the term is a playful turn on the word “paste,” which can also define a particular mixture of pigment and binder, while the “copy” component speaks to the act of reproducing semblances, an experience, or an emotional reaction. Despite its origins within the virtual space of an online message board, “copypasta” has a capacity for deconstructing and simplifying how painting operates. Similarly, the artists within Copypasta gracefully distill painting down to a set of base components—those of symbolic communication, labor and materiality.

Adam Beris, William Emmert & Isaac Vazquez Avila

Opening Reception:  Saturday, November 12th, 2016, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Exhibition Dates: November 12th – December 3rd, 2016

1465 Custer Ave
San Francicso, CA 94124

Kimura, Untitled, 977, primised gift, Estate of Tsuneshisa Kimura, courtesy SFMOMA

SFMOMA: Three new exhibitions opened this past month at SFMOMA: Bruce Conner: "It's All True," " Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now," and "New Work: Sohei Nishino." For a deeper dive during your visit, check out the Spotlight Conversation that explores Nishino’s Diorama Maps or take a daily tour of Conner's retrospective.

What in the world is going on with the art that was supposedly given to the electrician who worked for Picasso? Picasso's heirs have gone after the old boy like a shark going after red meat.

Picasso’s heirs, not content with their billions, are going after the little guy and Jacqueline, now deceased, one of Picasso’s widows: