September 25, 2014 | There is an excellent reason why we no longer hang paintings as they have now done in an odd but worthy exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. Indeed, even at the N-YHS, that hanging would be inexcusable, were it not for the fact that the whole point of The Works: Salon Style at the New-York Historical Society, (on view through February 8, 2015) is to recreate the museum experience of nineteenth-century New York.
"Salon Style" refers to a way of exhibiting paintings that was common in the Salons of the 18th and 19th Centuries and that is antithetical to all the ingrained habits of modern museology. Rather than allowing the sacred object to be contemplated in isolation and at eye level, where its virtues can be best appreciated, the Salon Style stacks them up all the way to the ceiling.
In the great central gallery on the second floor of the New York Historical Society, that ceiling is about twenty feet high and the paintings are stacked in rows of thre…» More
September 24, 2014 | To understand the significance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's installation of Thomas Hart Benton's ten-panel America Today so many decades after it was created for the New School for Social Research in 1930 and 1931, you need to know a little about the school in those heady days. Founded in 1919, by the 1930s the New School had become the very definition of educational optimism, internationalism, and all things progressive. Its faculty included Franz Boas (anthropology), Sandor Ferenczi (psychoanalysis), Berenice Abbott (photography), Martha Graham (dance), Aaron Copland (music), and eventually W.E.B. Dubois (African-American history) among other luminous makers and doers. For its new building on West Twelfth Street it hired the Vienna-born architect Joseph Urban and commissioned murals by both José Clemente Orozco and Thomas Hart Benton. Those were the days.
Benton's ten muscular hymns to American greatness were inspired by sketches he made during his travels around t…» More
September 24, 2014 | Beeville, Texas, is not on everyone's bucket list, but a visit to the Beeville Art Museum this fall will provide a fascinating look at life in the lone star state in the last half of the nineteenth century. Made in Texas: Art, Life and Culture, 1845-1900 brings together Texas-made art and objects that reflect the lives of Texans from the state's admittance to the United States to the discovery of oil at Spindletop and the devastation of Galveston during the hurricane of 1900. Some think the history of Texas is all about cowboys, Native Americans, freedom fighters, and Texas Rangers, but the items on display in Made in Texas reflect the lives of other Texans too-immigrants, former slaves, students, parents and children, silversmiths and furniture makers, painters, and potters. The show is organized by the Beeville Art Museum in collaboration with the Bayou Bend Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and is drawn mainly from the private collections of William J. Hill (s…» More
September 24, 2014 | For more, visit our calendar.
On view at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart" to November 2.
Montgomery Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts: "Grand Tour: Prints from Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, and London"; September 27 to November 23.
Phoenix Phoenix Art Museum: "Antonio Berni: Juanito and Ramona"; to September 21.*
Tucson Tucson Museum of Art: "Trails to Rails: John Mix Stanley and the Pacific Railroad Survey of the 1850s"; to September 28.
Bentonville Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: "Born of Fire: Ceramic Art in Regional Collections"; to March 2, 2015.
Los Angeles Autry National Center: "Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork"; to April 26, 2015.* # "Route 66: The Road and the Romance"; to January 4, 2015.
J. Paul Getty Center: "Chivalry in the Middle Ages"; to November 30. # "Rococo to…» More
September 21, 2014 | On our cover, the cacophonous world in which we live--digital and artisanal, ephemeral and timeless--is rendered, ironically, in the disciplined quiet of limewood by the master carver (and prose master) David Esterly. Carving, Esterly has observed in his book The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making, is a metaphor for many things. I'd count among them the energetic meeting of past and present that you will find in his article on the centuries long tradition of letter-rack paintings that inspired his own creations shown here.
I hope Esterly's article will lead you to his book, where you will find in addition to his account of restoring a masterwork by Grinling Gibbons lost to fire at Hampton Court Palace, a dramatic meditation on physical skill, creativity, and beauty that will excite anyone who has ever, for instance, admired a great cartouche, wondered at the invidious distinction between craft and art, or pondered the fashions of the art world, where the word disci…» More
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All