Category Archives: Art

Mentors: The Making of an Art Historian by Francis M Naumann

Mentors: The Making of an Art HistorianMentors: The Making of an Art Historian by Francis M Naumann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My commutes this year have been enhanced by lectures on concert music (The Great Courses lecture series by Dr. Robert Greenberg, ten Great Masters, Their Lives and Music), and when this came across in an email, I was happy to expand my arts education again. I received a review copy of this from Edelweiss, Above the Treeline. I had read Maxwell Anderson’s The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye six years ago (must reread it soon!) and wondered if this might be a bit of seeing art through a historian’s eye. Not really, but engaging nonetheless. Naumann is forthcoming with his naiveties, candid with his relationships (be forewarned, he is open with some…adult…interactions), and while I didn’t get the full sense of his subtitle until the end, I did feel a privilege of his sharing of his mentors. Those mentors were Leo Steinberg, John Rewald, Beatrice Wood, and William Rubin, Robert Rosenblum and Robert Pincus-Witten. I’ll not pick much from his memories here…best to read about them yourself. Continue reading

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Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury by Carolyn Burke

Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca SalsburyFoursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury by Carolyn Burke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was provided a review copy of this from the publisher through First to Read. I admit unfamiliarity with three of the foursome, though I recognize Strand and of course, O’Keeffe (I got to see an exhibition of some if her works in Oklahoma some 30 years ago, too young to truly appreciate them) and I didn’t make many notes in this reading… just absorbed. There are intimate stories here. I do not know how much is known already to students of these four, but I suspect – obviously, as the book had to be written – that having them all together is new, and perhaps unknown.

More than a telling of their stories, Ms. Burke also frames the times that shaped them, shaped their arts. New arts to the world, new visions, self discovery and explorations. One of the things I appreciate about Ms. Burke’s exposition and sometime dramatization is that she qualifies any speculation; if she found no evidence to support suspected relationships, interactions, she doesn’t embellish. Or at least those parts of her narrative where she caveats “tempting to think … but impossible to know” would indicate.

We tend to think in two dimensions, and might think of a “foursome” as a rectangle/quadrangle, but they were rather a tetrahedron, with Steiglitz at the apex for most of their relationships. O’Keeffe eclipsed him in fame and ascended to that apex, but his … seniority … tended to prevail. This is not to say that any of the other three were not their own people, individual and distinct. Clearly, they were, but he was the progenitor of that foursome. They fed off of each other. Built. And also held each other at bay. To preserve their individuality.

This is about the people, and much less their arts, which serve to support here but not stand center. So what do I take away? Well, I looked up Salsbury’s reverse oils on glass, and Stieglitz’s and Strand’s photographs. And I revisited O’Keeffe. And I have things to think about.

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“Painting with TWO Twists”

Far too often in this country we blame the teacher for the performance of the students. This is wrong, as you will soon see, because tonight I took Andrea’s class at Painting with a Twist.

When we were first married, Andrea wanted to make a quilt, and the quilt she chose was quite complex. I think she learned to speak sailor on that quilt. After the class, I asked Andrea, “Do you remember your quilt? This is my quilt.” She asked me, “Because you chose a hard one first?” And I said, “No. Because it’s the only one I’ll ever do.”

I was supposed to paint this:

Starry Night Continue reading

Sixteen Men (and Women) on a Dead Man’s Chest

What a crazy two weeks this has been: Brandon graduated from Brookhaven Community College  … Colin had some car trouble … Dylan turned 16 … Andrea’s CityArtCal partnered with TWO businesses – a one-night show and a gallery featuring CityArtCal artists  … we started playing racquetball again … Dylan got a job as a life guard … we played dominoes and I was reacquainted with a host of endearing euphemisms … I got an iPad mini … Andrea created a piece that became an instant sensation … AND we hosted a Pirate Murder Mystery Party for Dylan’s birthday …
Whew… where to start? Art first -then pirates, graduation, Robert Anton Wilson, and we’ll see… Continue reading