Local color, global appeal

Chris Waddington Art, Exhibitions

Three New Orleans museums and two community cultural institutions draw visitors from afar by keeping the focus on indigenous artistry. Detail of the feathers and beadwork on one of the many ornate Mardi Gras Indian suits on display at the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Photograph courtesy of Meghan Henshaw and the Backstreet Cultural Museum.  Visit …

Walker Evans: early and late

Editorial Staff Art, Exhibitions

The man who, more than any other, gave visual expression to American life during the Great Depression was not a painter, but a photographer who originally wanted to be a writer. As surely as Aubrey Beardsley’s graphic mastery defined London in the mauve nineties, Walker Evans’s stark photographs remain the most powerful and enduring images of America in its time …

Undersea Adventures

Art, Exhibitions

A summer day on a Cape Cod beach. Blue skies. Warm weather. A slight breeze. Strolling with my wife and four young children. A moment to relax, a time to unwind. Could it get any better? STOP! NOW! DON’T TOUCH THAT! Model of Ommastrephes sagittatus (Blaschka Nr. 578) by Leopold (1822–1895) and Rudolf Blaschka (1857–1939), 1885. Overall height, approximately 7 …

New Worlds, New Art

Editorial Staff Art, Exhibitions

Artistic representation of human interaction with the land has a long history in the Americas. It spans more than thirty thousand years, from the earthworks and pictographs of ancient indigenous cultures to the land art of the 1960s and 1970s to contemporary photographs of the terrible beauty of environmental destruction. It was during the early years of the nineteenth century, …

A Rich and Beautiful Sadness

James Gardner Art, Exhibitions

Silence, stillness, and darkness in the paintings of the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi In one of his most famous works, the esteemed art historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner sought to define “The Englishness of English Art.” If anyone were to under take a comparable inquiry into the Danishness of Danish art, the painter Vilhelm Hammershøi could well stand as the palmary …

Still Startling, Still Electric

Editorial Staff Art, Exhibitions

Julia Margaret Cameron was almost twenty-four when Louis-Jacques-Mondé Daguerre announced the invention of photography at the Académie des Sciences in Paris in 1839. But it wasn’t until she was forty-eight—another lifetime later—that she would fully take up the medium herself. The catalyst was a Christmas gift from her daughter Julia and Julia’s husband in 1863.”It may amuse you, Mother,” they …

A Look at the Life of “Blind Tom” Wiggins

Editorial Staff Exhibitions

The once famous career of the musical prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins, born a slave and raised to entertain audiences here and abroad with uncanny feats of musical mastery, tainted virtually everyone who touched it. Wiggins’s owners exploited him and profited hugely from his earnings (his concerts and sheet music yielded an astonishing $20,000 in 1879); critics and reporters wrote …

Art Brut in New York

Editorial Staff Art, Exhibitions

Although the American Folk Art Museum’s exhibition space has contracted since it moved to 2 Lincoln Square from the now-demolished Tod Williams and Billie Tsien building on West Fifty-Third Street, it continues to expand thematically. Following its recent exhibition of self-taught performance artists, When the Curtain Never Comes Down, which stretched from Japan to Brazil, the museum is now mounting …

Gilded Age Cartoonists at the Flagler

Editorial Staff Art, Exhibitions

Often cited as an early influence on the humor of the New Yorker magazine, Puck ran in this country from 1877 to 1918 (it began with a German-language edition). The choice of Shakespeare’s mischievous fairy as the magazine’s namesake and mascot pretty much set the tone for its lighthearted mockery, and judging by the drawings and published cartoons on exhibit …