August 20, 2010

On the Road - Anna Akhmatova

On the Road

Though this land is not my own
I will never forget it,
or the waters of its ocean,
fresh and delicately icy.

Sand on the bottom is whiter than chalk,
and the air drunk, like wine.
Late sun lays bare
the rosy limbs of the pine trees.

And the sun goes down in waves of ether
in such a way that I can't tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
or if the secret of secrets is within me again.

Anna Akhmatova
translated from Russian by Jane Kenyon

August 17, 2010

joan brown

Joan Brown, The Vanity, 1973; painting; enamel on canvas, 84 in. x 72 1/8 in

 "...[Joan Brown] is an artist who is equally in love with her intuitions and the history of painting. Brown is a fancy painter, but in the good sense: you can imagine her being surprised by her own inventions....Brown paints as if she were a born mimic of different styles, and that might explain why she isn't after the unity of any one style.  She wants to mix together as many ways of painting as possible, and see if some new clarity comes out of impurity."   -  excerpted from a 1976 review by Sanford Schwartz.

Joan Brown, Bather #3, 1982

Joan Brown, After the Alcatraz Swim #3, 1975

Joan Brown (February 13, 1938 – October 26, 1990) was an American figurative painter who lived and worked in Northern California. She was a notable member of the "second generation" of the Bay Area Figurative Movement.

She was born in San Francisco and studied at the California School of Fine Art (now San Francisco Art Institute), where her teachers included Elmer Bischoff. She achieved prominence with a style of figurative painting that combined bright color, sometimes cartoonish drawing, and personal symbolism.

Brown was married to Bay Area Figurative sculptor Manuel Neri from 1962 to 1966, though their relationship and artistic collaboration dated back several years prior to this.

In the late 1970s, Brown became increasingly interested in spirituality and New Age ideas, eventually becoming an adherent of Sathya Sai Baba. She made a number of trips to his ashram in Puttaparthi, India. In 1990, she died in a construction accident while installing an obelisk at the Sai Baba's Eternal Heritage Museum in Proddatur, India.

Brown was also a competitive swimmer.

Joan Brown, Fur Rat, 1962

Joan Brown, Untitled (Bird), 1957-1960; sculpture; cardboard, fabric, string, wood, and electric wire, 12 in. x 6 in. x 8 in.  

click here to watch Joan Brown interviews 

August 15, 2010

Turner and the Masters | Prado Museum | Madrid

The following are my picks from the Turner and the Masters show at the Prado Museum, Madrid.  August 4, 2010 - The Turner show was the start to my excellent day at the Prado.

jw turner, limekiln at coalbrookdale. 1797

jw turner, the fall of an avalanche in the grinsons. 1810

jw turner, snow storm: hannibal and his army crossing the alps, 1812.

"The aim of Turner and the Masters is to reveal the extent of Turner’s links with other historically important artists and the profoundly original way in which he assimilated their influence. This comparison will assist in an understanding of how Turner’s approach to and assimilation of other artists was intended not just as an homage to them but also involved a subtle and highly original type of transformation of their teachings." Click here to learn more about JW Turner.

jw turner, peace, burial at sea. 1842
francis danby, subject from revelations, 1829.
jw turner, light and colour (goethe's theory)/the morning after the deluge, 1843.

August 9, 2010

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte - Reina Sofia | August 5, 2010 | Madrid, Spain

Jean Nouvel added an impressive expansion to the museum in 1999

below you will find work that caught my attention.

Birds in Sweden

new realism (1957-1962) Object Strategies Between Readymade and Spectacle

mimmo rotella - the two faces - 1962
yves klein - 1961 - this film documents the creation of one of Klein's Peintures de Feu [fire paintings].
jean tinguley - c. 1960s - drawing machines and videos about his larger machines

Ade-Ledic Nander II - more from Öyvind Fahlström

Ade-Ledic Nander II (detail) - 1955-57 - (74 13/16 x 83 1/16 inches)
Ade-Ledic Nander II - 1955-57 - (74 13/16 x 83 1/16 inches)

Öyvind Fahlström is included in the Museo Renia Sofia's: New Realism (1957-1962) Object Strategies Between Readymade and Spectacle.  Fahlström was Swedish and became a productive and well known artist that worked in many genres - often with political and social questions. He exhibited in Europe and at Sidney Janis Gallery in New York City in 1967, 1969, 1973 and 1976. 

The Computing Centre and the Seminar "Automatic Generation of Artistic Forms"

Manuel Barbadillo - Roseta 1967
In 1966, at the height of Franco era development, the Computing Centre of the Complutense University of Madrid began its operation, under the direction of the mathematician Florentino Briones. Starting in 1968, the Centre put into motion a pioneering project in the use of computers for artistic creation, by organizing a seminar under the title "Automatic Generation of Artistic Forms", which brought together an important group of artists, architects, mathematicians, economists, etc. The huge number of participants reveals to what point new technologies, the embodiment of the future society, were able to pull together the aesthetic and extra-aesthetic concerns in the Spain of the time. Despite its short duration, the experience marked the later career of many of its participants, not just in procedures and the use of the technologies, but also in the experimentation with materials, forms, and new work methods.

The New Topographers

Robert Smithson's film, Spiral Jetty, was included in: The New Topographers at Museo Renia Sofia. The 32 minute film is a poetic account of the conception and execution of Smithson's most well-known work. 

you can watch an excerpt from the film - click here 

Spanish Figuration to Surrealism

Jose Gutierrez Solana - The Showcases - 1910
Rosario de Velasco - Adam y Eve - c.1920s
As an answer to the revolutionary nature of the avant-garde and the climate of political instability after World War I, in the 1920's and 1930's there is a "call to order" in the European art world. Its origin is situated in metaphysical Italian painting and in German Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). It involved a re-reading of traditional genres through a return to representation and to a set of figurative visual codes which would reveal the tensions between Modernity and Anti-Modernity. In Spain, artists such as Ángeles Santos (1911), Alfonso Ponce de León (1906-1936), o the Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) of the 20's, would move between magical realism, metaphysical painting, Surrealism and even Hyper-Realism, with no perceived contradiction. On the contrary, this nomadism was characteristic of those years.
Angeles Santos - Tertulia (The Gathering) - 1929
Remedios Varo - Modernity - 1936

Man Ray - Dust Breeding (Duchamp's Glass with Dust Notes - 1920
(This photo is a document of The Large Glass after it had collected a year's worth of dust while Duchamp was in New York. The photograph was taken using a two-hour-long exposure.)
Ives Tanguy - Belomancia I - 1927

Maruja Mallo (1902-1995) - Earth and Excrement

alvin baltrop

Alvin Baltop was my total fave from exhibition: Mixed Use, Manhattan: Photography and Related Practices 1970s to the present.  I remember the artforum piece on him, but hadn't seen the photos up close....this show was massive.....there was LOTS of Alvin's work. Alvin photographed the 'late night artworks' in and around the now gone West Side Piers in Manhattan (c. 1970s)  View an amazing interview of AA Bronson about Alvin here -- DARK tab on website.


At the age of 26, Alvin Baltrop began photographing what was going on at Manhattan's West Side piers. The area, full of abandoned warehouses and dilapidated industrial piers, became a temporary home for queer teenage runaways and a cruising spot for gay men. It was a place that was under the radar. People went there to do drugs, muggings were common and so, unfortunately, were rape, murder and suicide. Baltrop's camera captured gay public sex, the public art of muralist Tava, various unknown graffiti artists, as well as pieces by David Wojnarowicz, who also visited the piers. Baltrop documented homelessness, death and the stark decay of run-down warehouses with depth and grace.
Of course, not everyone saw it that way. The mainstream art world, even the gay portion of it, couldn't see the value in Baltrop's work. Hostile reactions to his pictures were common. One curator he showed his portfolio to likened Baltrop to a sewer rat because of the content of his photos. Most art gallery owners and academic art critics could only see dirty homeless fags fucking in an abandoned warehouse, and stopped there." excerpted from article by Osa Atoe in Colorlines.