September 18, 2014 | This year marks the centennial of the Great War and museums around the globe have been in a wartime fervor setting up exhibitions to commemorate the conflict.
The Great War: A Cinematic Legacy • Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY • to September 21 • moma.org
The Great War: A Cinematic Legacy is comprised of 50 movie screenings emphasizing the power of film in keeping the memory of an historical event alive. Selections represent the viewpoints of all the nations who fought in the war and range from contemporary films, including Steven Spielberg's War Horse, to period pictures starring Hollywood legends such as Greta Garbo and Gary Cooper.
Screenshot from The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse directed by Rex Ingram (1892-1950), 1921.
Victory is a Question of Stamina: Posters from the First World War • William Benton Museum of Art, Storrs, CT • to October 12 • thebenton.org
Victory is a Question of Stamina by Harvey Dunn (1884-1952), 1917; color lithograph. The William Bent…» More
September 8, 2014 | History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000, ed. Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber (Bard Graduate Center and Yale University Press). 698 pp., color and b/w illus.
Books about design history abound, but this one may be the first to embrace both Western and Eastern design over the course of six centuries. The discussions address virtually every expected subject: furniture, textiles and costume, glass and ceramics, metalwork, and product design. But the book goes beyond these to include interior design, landscape and garden design, and even stage and film design.
The work of twenty-seven contributors, the volume is cogently arranged in four chronological sections. Within each section separate chapters discuss the development of design in its major global regions: East Asia, India, the Islamic world, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Literally hundreds of objects are depicted and examined within their historical and social context. We also witness the interpla…» More
August 25, 2014 | Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending one of the Frick Collection's "Summer Nights," a series that offers free after-hours admission and a number of activities centered on a single exhibition--lectures and live music among them. This particular evening was focused on Men in Armor: El Greco and Pulzone Face to Face, an exhibition with just two paintings. Jeongho Park, the show's guest curator, was on hand to give a gallery talk and take questions from the crowd. Also on the program, Celil Refik Kaya, a young guitarist from Mannes College of Music, wooed guests with music evocative of sixteenth-century Spain.
El Greco's Vincenzo Anastagi (Fig. 1) and Scipione Pulzone's Jacopo Boncompagni (Fig. 2) were contemporary works, the former dating to circa 1575 and the latter from 1574. Indeed, it is likely that El Greco saw the Boncompagni portrait whilst gathering inspiration for his own commission. Although it is not known whether El Greco and Pulzone were rivals, the exhibiti…» More
August 20, 2014 |
The staggering luxury of Downtown Abbey's turreted house and lush grounds have mesmerized audiences as much as any of the adventures of the Crawley family and their staff
The real Downton Abbey is Highclere Castle, located in Berkshire at a crossroads between Winchester and Oxford, Bristol and London. The property's thousand acres of parklands include the remains of an Iron Age hill fort, and the current house stands on foundations that for roughly eight hundred years held up the palace of the bishops of Winchester.
Since 1679 the property has belonged to the Herbert family. Henry Herbert (1741-1811), a grandson of the eighth Earl of Pembroke, inherited the estate from an uncle in 1769 and shortly afterwards commissioned Lancelot "Capability" Brown (1716-1783) to redesign the gardens, a project that included moving an extant folly and creating new ones.
In 1793 Herbert was granted the hereditary title o…» More
August 12, 2014 | In this, the quietest season of the year for the New York art world, when most of the commercial galleries are shuttered and the museums have been abandoned to the tourists, it behooves the critic to slow down for a few weeks and smell the flowers. By that I mean returning to the permanent collections and observing the recent addition of several significant objects. I refer in specific to two seventeenth-century paintings that have just entered the collections of the Metropolitan Museum: Saint Francis in Ecstasy by the Genoese master Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione and The Sacrifice of Polyxena by Charles Le Brun.
These are not exactly blockbuster acquisitions and have not even been done the honor of a press release. Rather, when no one was looking, they quietly appeared out of nowhere, assuming their places among the immortals of the collection. One will not love the Old Master tradition because of these two works: rather one will love these two works because they form part o…» More
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All