Posted 05/26/15

The gold dust twins: Thomas Hart Benton, Walt Disney, and the mining of frontier mythology

In March 1946 Thomas Hart Benton and Walt Disney took a meeting, as Hollywood would have it, just as Disney Studios was beginning to consider a project giving new life to an old hero, Davy Crockett. On the drawing board, to which Benton was invited to lend his hand, was a movie conceived as an animated folk operetta. You can picture Benton and Disney in an executive conference room bursting with creative talent—not unlike the smoke-fi‰lled atmospherics at 20th Century-Fox that Benton had sketched during his ‰first trip to Hollywood

Posted 05/26/15

Wonder and menace, dreams and nightmares: Visions of Coney Island

An extraordinary array of artists have perceived Coney Island as a prism through which to view the American experience. Their visions have imagined the future and recalled the past; they have conveyed shifting ideas about leisure, and explored issues of race, ethnicity, and class. What artists saw at Coney Island, known as America’s Playground, from 1861 to 2008, and how they chose to depict it has varied widely in style and mood, mirroring the aspirations and disappointments of their times

Posted 05/22/15

Figures in a landscape: sculpture in the British garden

No English country-house garden would be complete without the well-placed statue erminating a vista--Thomas Gray's "storied urn and animated bust"1 --giving a classical and literary reference to the landscape and subtly humanizing the wildness of nature. The origin of this, as of so many other aspects of British garden design, can be traced to sixteenth-century Italy

Posted 05/22/15

George E. Ohr

In 1893, in the small town of Biloxi, Mississippi, George E. Ohr's Biloxi Art Pottery burned down. In common with all calamities of this kind it must have caused considerable disruption and financial distress to the victim, but a propitious effect was to ignite a smoldering radicalism in Ohr, who thereafter began to produce some of the most inventive pottery of modern times

Posted 04/27/15

Catesby—Man of Many Talents

This article was originally published in the April 1952 issue of ANTIQUES. A full century before John James Audubon published his Birds of America, an Englishman, Mark Catesby, brought out two folio volumes of what he grandly named Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands....This is probably the first history of any importance ever done of American flora and fauna

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NYG 2013