November 21, 2014 | In Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century the Denver Art Museum has taken a seventy-five-year slice (1900-1975) from the illustrious firm's 160-plus-year history and illuminated a central paradox of great jewelry: greatness depends upon designs that capture a keen sense of the zeitgeist but do so with enough sheer awesomeness to stand far above it. And so, the exhibition's vitrines of precious jewelry, clocks, and luxurious accessories are set off by historic film clips, photographs, and period advertising materials. Two world wars, a worldwide depression, a wave of nihilism, and a new aristocracy of celebrities may have made their mark on Cartier's designs, but in the end, great jewelry just enduringly is, and therein lies much of its fascination.
Above: Crocodile necklace made by Cartier as a special order for Mexican film actress María Félix, 1975. Gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies. Nick Welsh photograph (c) Cartier.
The exhibition is organized around seven themes such as…» More
October 31, 2014 | When Virginia-born George Caleb Bingham was seven, his father lost most of the family's fortune, and they moved to Missouri to build a new life, settling first in Franklin, on the banks of the Missouri River, and later on a farm in Saline County. Who knows what would have caught his imagination had Bingham stayed in Virginia, but there is no question that life on and near the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers as the nation moved westward brought him lasting fame as a painter, providing him with subject matter that satisfied both his artistic aims and his belief in democracy. For the first time, Bingham's river pictures are being examined in depth in an exhibition organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, where it opens on October 2.
Above: The Wood-Boat by George Caleb Bingham 91811 - 1879), 1850. Saint Louis Art Museum.
At a time when images of the West proliferated--in paintings, prints, maps, magazine illustr…» More
October 31, 2014 | This year marks the 350th anniversary of NewJersey, a milestone celebrated across the state with events and programs highlighting innovation, diversity, and liberty. The Morven Museum and Garden in Princeton is marking the occasion with an exhibition that introduces all three themes. Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860 brings together 150 examples of needlework made in or by New Jersey schoolgirls and organizes them geographically to illustrate connections between the elaborate artworks and utilitarian objects crafted by girls of diverse religious, family, and socioeconomic backgrounds, from the Quaker schools in Burlington County to a luxurious silk-on-silk memorial to George Washington made at the prestigious Folwell School in Philadelphia by a New Jersey native.
Above: Needlework by Kiziah Sharp, Burlington County, New Jersey, 1825. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Diker.
Research for the show has made it possible to exhibit mul…» More
October 15, 2014 | What Egon Schiele would have achieved had he lived beyond his twenty-eighth year is a matter to keep art historians up at night. When he died of Spanish influenza in 1918 he had already accomplished an astonishing amount: some three thousand drawings as well as paintings and sculpture of sufficient merit to position him as the heir to the late Gustav Klimt as Vienna's preeminent artist. Whether Schiele would have mellowed into a grand establishment presence or continued as Vienna's delinquent wild child is open to question-and there is certainly evidence to support both suppositions.
Above: Self-portrait with Peacock Waistcoat, Standing by Egon Schiele (1890-1918), 1911. Collection of Ernst Ploil.
In 2005 the Neue Galerie staged a rich exhibition of Schiele's nudes that suggested, in its inevitable focus on his obsessive eroticism, the latter course, while its new exhibition of the artist's portraits gives us a slightly more mellow Schiele, at least in his late portraits such…» 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
[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