Art Buzz March 28, 2013: Canterbury Cathedral’s Stained-Glass Windows at the Getty Museum



Canterbury’s Windows at the Getty Museum

Source: NYT, 3-28-13

Dean and Chapter of Canterbury

One of the stained glass panels from the Canterbury Cathedral that will be on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Two rare examples of English medieval art — stained-glass panels from the Canterbury Cathedral in Kent and the illuminated book of psalms known as the St. Albans Psalter — will be exhibited together at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles….READ MORE

Art Buzz February 22, 2013: The Cross-Dressing of Art and Couture Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art



The Cross-Dressing of Art and Couture ‘Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity,’ at the Met

Source: NYT, 2-22-13

Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity Monet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” and a white cotton piqué day dress in this exhibition at the Met. More Photos »

The Met’s exhibition “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity” brings together great paintings, lavish garments and accessories to detail the entwined rise of modern painting, modern fashion and modern (upper middle-class) life in the 19th century….READ MORE

Art Buzz June 21, 2012: Exhibition Review: “Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art



Erotic Nudes, Satyrs Frolic in Philadelphia Exhibit

Source: Bloomberg, 6-21-12

The mythic Greek valley Arcadia, a harmonic realm balancing dignity with desire, is an enduring source for artists and the subject of a pleasurable exhibition, “Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

At the entrance to the show, which opened yesterday, is a long, narrow, light-green hallway that functions like an intimate, shaded glen.

Enlarge image Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“Where Do We Come From? What Are We Doing? Where Are We Going?” (1897-98) by Paul Gauguin. To create this mural-sized piece of paradise, Gauguin fled his family and France, going all the way to Polynesia.

Enlarge image Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“The Dream” (1910) by Henri Rousseau. The large dreamscape, a peaceable kingdom in which lions share space with a reclining nude, is among a room full of masterworks in “Visions of Arcadia.”

Enlarge image Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“The Large Bathers” (1900-06) by Paul Cezanne. The monumental masterpiece, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s permanent collection, is among approximately 60 works by 25 artists in a show that explores the dream of Arcadia, a mythic Greek valley of beauty and repose, dignity and desire.

Enlarge image Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“Bathers by a River” (1910-17) by Henri Matisse. Matisse’s large oil painting is part of a once-in-a-lifetime grouping of masterpieces by Poussin, Gauguin, Cezanne, Rousseau, Derain and Picasso. Source: Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

Enlarge image Robert Delaunay

Robert Delaunay

Robert Delaunay

Philadelphia Museum of Art via Bloomberg

“The City of Paris” (1910-12) by Robert Delaunay. In this mural-sized painting, Delaunay, inventing Modernist abstraction, looked to the past, fusing his contemporary view of Paris with his vision of Arcadia.

An erotic reverie of poetry and flesh, the passageway is rich with illustrated verse by Stephane Mallarme and Virgil as well as a bounty of small works — frolicking nudes, gods, goddesses, bathers, nymphs and satyrs.

Here, lovers entwine and tussle, fauns eat grapes and prance, and a Matisse woman’s dangling hair spreads like tentacles. Narcissus listens to the laments of Echo in a 19th- century bronze copy of an ancient Roman original….READ MORE

Art Buzz Review March 30, 2012: How to Teach Art in 89 Simple Lessons ‘Draw It With Your Eyes Closed,’ Edited by Paper Monument



How to Teach Art in 89 Simple Lessons

‘Draw It With Your Eyes Closed,’ Edited by Paper Monument

Source: New York Times, 3-30-12

When the American painter, sculptor and installation artist Paul Thek (1933-88) taught art classes at Cooper Union in the late 1970s, he wrote and then gave to his students a long, provocative and now famous list of questions and marching orders he titled “Teaching Notes.”

Patricia Wall/The New York Times


The Art of the Art Assignment

Edited by Paper Monument

128 pages. Paper Monument. $15.

Thek’s list has been passed around by serious art teachers for decades. It is now reprinted in — and its spirit lingers over — a mischievous and nourishing new book called “Draw It With Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment,” compiled by the editors of the art magazine Paper Monument, a sibling publication of the literary magazine n + 1….

Here’s what Paper Monument’s editors, in this slim book, have had the wit to do: They’ve asked dozens of artists and teachers, some well known and some not, to speak about the best art assignments they’ve given or received or even heard of.

The results are aimed at M.F.A.-level teachers, but these 89 entries are accessible to anyone, many even to children. Like the conversation in the final hour of a boozy art opening, these small anecdotal essays mix gossip, profundity, bogosity and lecherousness in equal parts. The book is buzzy and wild, like real talk….READ MORE

Art Buzz February 9, 2012: South African Art: Art history that lifts the value of the book



Art history that lifts the value of the book

E-readers rarely do the ‘art book’ justice, writes Chris Thurman

Source: Business Day NZ, 2-9-12

DETAILED: The four volumes of Visual Century contain a polyvocal history of South African art that includes healthy disagreements between contributors.

IN OUR era of e-readers and tablets, the prevailing wisdom is that printed books are destined to become moribund. At best, they’ll be quirky relics of centuries gone by that are kept for the sake of nostalgia; at worst, clunky tomes chucked into the recycling bin of history.

Those of us inclined to pontificate about the talismanic qualities of hard copy tend to come across as reactionaries, Luddites or even anti-environmentalists.

But there’s one kind of publication Kindle and company rarely do justice to: the “art book”. Whether it’s a coffee-table exhibition catalogue, an artist’s portfolio or a text-and image-rich art history, the art book needs to be handled, fondled and otherwise physically browsed, perused, paged through, scanned or mulled over. Often the choice of packaging, binding, paper and printing technique is as much a part of the reading experience as the content and layout.

SA has a particularly curious mixture of readers with divergent means and preferences; for now, the printed word is still able to vie with the electronic word. Local publishers have tried to win customers through sexed-up genre fiction (bulky “airport thrillers” and “beach reads”), SMS novels for teens, books with multimedia tie-ins and various other initiatives. Critics have pointed out that sloppy editing practices have crept in as books have been rushed to print.

Art books, on the other hand, are promoted according to a distinct model. They are niche publications, often produced in limited editions and typically quite expensive: their publishers target buyers who value books as objects or as works of art in themselves. While there may be cause to fret about the future of publishing, digital or otherwise, an encounter with a high-quality South African art book (and there are many of them) is likely to leave the reader feeling more than sanguine.

Early last year, at about the same time that TJ/Double Negative — a remarkable collaboration between photographer David Goldblatt and novelist Ivan Vladislavic — won the prestigious Kraszna-Krausz award, FourthWall Books published Fire Walker, a striking collection of images and essays relating to the now-iconic Johannesburg sculpture by William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx. Then, late last year, Wits University Press launched the four-volume Visual Century: South African Art in Context.

Each of these publications is significant in its own way. While the former two are idiosyncratic commentaries on specific works, the latter is a compendious survey. A book such as Fire Walker can pay attention to the minute details of artistic conception and execution; its editors and contributors engage variously (and in various modes or formats, by turns textual and visual, “academic” and “creative”) with the sculpture alone, with comparable public artworks, or with directly related aspects of city space and urban planning. The many participants in the Visual Century project, under director Gavin Jantjes, have tackled a different task.

While the four volumes are not reference books per se, they do offer an overview of South African art (from 1907-2007). This is huge terrain to cover and the authors do so admirably, presenting art and artists not simply within set periods but also through key themes. Nonetheless, like most expansive art history endeavours, it cannot afford the luxury of particularity: artist biographies, the nuances of method, questions of form and even, to an extent, formal analysis are all secondary concerns. Instead, the imperative driving the book — as indicated in the subtitle — is “context”, which means national (and sometimes international) sociopolitical context.

In his general introduction, Jantjes writes of the history of SA ’s art as “a river … growing in stature as it glides towards the estuary of the present. It connects to the history of the world’s art just as rivers inevitably connect to the great oceans of our planet.” This analogy is a useful one as it allows that the process of navigating and mapping our country’s art history will neglect some minor tributaries and, ultimately, will be unable to trace the major waterways to their sources.

Nonetheless, although he emphasizes “there are plural narratives of art history” and that “all history remains incomplete”, Jantjes does delimit the project within the confines of the nation and national culture. According to this logic, those artists who rejected the politics of the national — who did not wish to see their art as articulating “moments in the life of a nation” — could not and did not “become actors in the making of history”. There is a teleological bent to any construction of South African history according to “the politics of national liberation”: as Jantjes affirms, artists who held “a critical light up to their nation’s moral potential” created works that are now “testimony to historical progress”.

The multiple perspectives offered by the contributors (and by many of the works of the art reproduced on its pages) do, however, unsettle this framework. Moreover, the series presents many examples of artists who were not defined by their “context” and whose work disrupts the standard black/white narratives. In Volume One, which covers 1907-1948 — from the post-war detente between Briton and Boer to the National Party election victory that ushered in apartheid — this occurs, for instance, in intriguing visual pairings such as the twin landscapes by Moses Tladi and Gregoire Boonzaier.

Volume Four, which covers the transition to democracy and beyond (1990-2007), has a foreword by Sarat Maharaj that complicates claims about “SA -in-the-world”, reminding readers (notwithstanding the country’s isolation for so long ) of the “runaway translation, cultural swap, pidginisation” and “dirty cosmopolitanism” that has long defined this part of the world. In the same volume, however, Jantjes rightly exposes the “masks and myths of globalism”; his perspective as an inside-outsider (he has been based in Europe for more than 30 years ) is valuable in this regard.

This is, then, a polyvocal history. It was evident at the launch events in Johannesburg and Cape Town last year that there is a healthy disagreement between contributors to Visual Century on how to approach race, medium, ideology and any number of contentious issues that arise in writing about art in/and SA. The series manages to be both comprehensive and contradictory, and the editors (Jillian Carman, Lize van Robbroeck, Mario Pissarra, Thembinkosi Goniwe and Mandisi Majavu) have corralled diverse opinions within its four volumes.

Detailed, dense and beautifully presented, Visual Century is more than an account of the material circumstances under which our artists have worked for the past 100 years. In its own appealing materiality, it makes a significant contribution both to South African art history and to the value of the book in this country.

Art Buzz February 8, 2012: Sinclair Bell: Northern Illinois University art historian co-edits book that explores cultural, societal impact of freed Roman slaves



NIU art historian co-edits book that explores cultural, societal impact of freed Roman slaves

Source: NIU Today, 2-8-12

Free At Last! book coverSinclair Bell, assistant professor of art history, has co-edited a volume on freed slaves in ancient Rome that was published this week.

“Free at Last! The Impact of Freed Slaves on the Roman Empire,” which he co-edited with Teresa Ramsby, was published by Bloomsbury Press in London, and will become available in the United States next month.

The book builds on recent dynamic work on Roman freedmen.

Contributors draw upon a rich and varied body of evidence – visual, literary, epigraphic and archaeological – to elucidate the impact of freed slaves on Roman society and culture amid the shadow of their former servitude.

The contributions span the period between the first century BCE and the early third century CE and survey the territories of the Roman Republic and Empire, while focusing on Italy and Rome.

Advance notice of the book has been highly positive.

Glenys Davies, senior lecturer in classical art and archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, writes: “The essays in this book explore the experiences of Roman freedmen (and women) from a new set of perspectives: they enrich our knowledge and understanding of a social group which has no exact equivalent in any other society.”

Eve D’Ambra, professor of art and the Agnes Rindge Claflin Chair at Vassar College as well as a noted authority on ancient art, writes: “Roman freedmen have taken central stage in historical and literary studies recently, but their role as independent actors (e.g. as patrons of art and architecture) has long been suspect. This compelling and lucid volume addresses this oversight and plots a course for future research.”

This is Bell’s fifth edited volume and his third book since arriving at NIU in 2008.

Art Buzz February 3, 2012: Louis Kahn: Can You Tell An Architect Is Jewish By His Style of Building?



Can You Tell An Architect Is Jewish By His Style of Building?

Source: Philly Curbed, 2-3-12


Louis Kahn’s illustration of his design for Mikveh Israel via Louis I. Kahn Archives at Penn

Professor of Visual Studies at California College of the Arts Mitchell Schwarzer reviews Gavriel Rosenfeld‘s latest book, Building After Auschwitz: Jewish Architecture and the Memory of the Holocaust—and finds its “shaky thesis” is largely unsubstantiated. Rosenfeld claims that American Jewish architects in the 20th-century architecture have been markedly influenced by their Jewish identity, creating a “new Jewish architecture.”

Schwarzer is unconvinced. He assesses a few of the architects profiled—like Louis Kahn—and sees little evidence of Jewish thematics in their work.

Schwarzer writes:

It is only when the book reaches Louis Kahn that readers are asked to detect, and then only slightly, a Jewish building sensibility. Yet where does Kahn’s architecture show that sensibility? … We read that Kahn, though not a practicing Jew, visited Israel. This correlation seems a stretch.

In fact, the question of Kahn’s relationship to Judaism and architecture has been asked before. In Louis I. Kahn’s Jewish Architecture: Mikveh Israel and the Midcentury American Synagogue, Susan G. Solomon uses Kahn’s (later abandoned) plans for Philadelphia’s Mikveh Israel to broach a larger conversation about the evolution of synagogue architecture. When the book came out, in 2009, it was Rosenfeld who reviewed the book for The Forward:

Does a building’s Jewishness lie in its form, its function, its designers’ personal background, its clients’ program? Solomon does not explore these questions in much detail, and so it remains difficult to glean exactly how Kahn injected “Jewish content.”

Apparently, he thought he could probe the subject more thoroughly than Solomon did, but according to Schwarzer, he’s failed to persuade.

REVIEW: MITCHELL SCHWARZER / Building After Auschwitz [Places]

Art Buzz February 2, 2012: Vincent van Gogh: In the Eye of His Storms “Van Gogh Up Close” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art




In the Eye of His Storms

Source: NYT, 2-2-12

Cincinnati Art Museum

“Undergrowth With Two Figures,” from 1890, part of the 45 paintings by van Gogh in a show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. More Photos »

Vincent van Gogh was shaken but also calmed by nature. The natural landscape inspired some of his most implacably innovative paintings, roiled of surface, ablaze with color and steeped in feeling. They are blunt, irresistible instruments for seeing. Yet nature — and its tiniest details in particular — also sharpened his visual acuity and soothed and comforted his often unstable personality.

In the catalog to “Van Gogh Up Close,” a succinct, revelatory exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the art historian Anabelle Kienle notes van Gogh’s repeated references in his letters to “a blade of grass,” “a single blade of grass,” “a dusty blade of grass.” He not only thought that something this small and modest was a worthy subject for art — as demonstrated by the spare works of the Japanese artists he so admired — he also invoked it as a kind of centering technique for regaining concentration. Writing to his sister-in-law, he recommended focusing on a blade of grass as a way to calm down after the tumult of reading Shakespeare.

“Van Gogh Up Close” has been organized by Joseph J. Rishel and Jennifer A. Thompson, curators in Philadelphia, working with Ms. Kienle, a curator at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and Cornelia Homburg, an independent scholar. It examines van Gogh’s relationship to nature at its most intimate, cutting a narrow path through his achievement, with 45 often small, sometimes seemingly tossed-off paintings. In doing so it manages to lead us to the fullness of his achievement along a fresh and eye-opening route….READ MORE

Van Gogh Up Close 

WHEN AND WHERE Through May 6. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

MORE INFORMATION (215) 763-8100,

Art Buzz February 2, 2012: Henry Taylor: A Visual Equivalent of the Blues, in Warm Shades on Exhibit at MOMA




A Visual Equivalent of the Blues, in Warm Shades

Source: NYT, 2-2-12

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Henry Taylor This show of works by Mr. Taylor at MoMA PS1 includes the sculpture “Rock It” and the paintings “Warning Shots Not Required,” left, and “Peanuts.”

The putative gap between art and life is a pernicious myth. Painting in a studio is no less a form of life than, say, occupying Wall Street. Consider the exuberantly vital art of Henry Taylor, whose paintings are in an exhibition named for him at MoMA PS1.

Mr. Taylor, who lives in Los Angeles, paints fast, loose and sensuously on canvases great and small. Portraiture is his work’s center of gravity. His subjects include friends, relatives, acquaintances from the art world and off the street, and heroes from the worlds of sports and politics. Along the way he takes in downbeat cityscapes patrolled by cop cars and envisions allegories of spiritual trauma in the Land of the Free.

It is not incidental that most of his subjects are African-Americans, like himself. The opposite of an abstractionist, Mr. Taylor is a Social Realist in the best sense of that oft-maligned term. He paints roughly the rough world of his own experience, but he does so with a rare spirit of generosity and love. Visual equivalents of the blues, his paintings may resemble those by an Outsider, but they also call to mind Alice NeelRobert Colescott and Bob Thompson, among others….READ MORE

Art Buzz January 22, 2012: Exhibition Review A Jewish Museum Shifts Identity Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life



Exhibition Review A Jewish Museum Shifts Identity

Source: NYT, 1-22-12

Keegan Houser

Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life A Bay Area museum is part of the University of California, Berkeley. Above left, Italian Book of Esther scroll; right, German Torah binder, both 18th century. More Photos »

The story of how the Judah L. Magnes Museum — whose collection of Judaica is the third largest in the country — became the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, might not seem terribly ripe with complication or implication. In recent years small private museums facing financial strain have often sought refuge by negotiating new lives within universities. Perhaps on Sunday, when the Magnes opened its doors to the public in a building it had long owned near the campus here, it was simply inaugurating another phase of its 50-year life.


But along the way the Magnes has had more than its share of high drama, including a much anticipated union with another local Jewish museum in 2002, closely followed by a quickie divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. Then, the Magnes had to watch as its onetime partner achieved local glory as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, opening in downtown San Francisco in 2008 in a new building designed by Daniel Libeskind. Meanwhile the Magnes struggled to map out a future for its rambling and exotic collection of some 15,000 objects and manuscripts, which since 1966 had been housed in a rambling and exotic mansion on a residential street. It attracted no more than 10,000 visitors annually and cost $2 million a year to maintain.

The story also has larger resonance. The fate of the Magnes has much to do with the evolution of the American identity museum, with its chronicles of ethnic liberation amid hardship. And it is also intimately connected to the political and cultural temperament of the Bay Area.

But to understand those issues it is best, first, to consider the collection itself. The Magnes was created in 1962 by Seymour Fromer, a Jewish educator, and Rebecca Camhi Fromer, his wife. Its artifacts were deliberately wide-ranging, including not just Jewish ritual objects but manuscripts, music and ephemera. As the collections grew they shed light on Jewish life in the pioneering era of the American West, on Jewish observance in communities in India or Tunisia, and on artworks that testified in some way to Jewish experience in the 20th century. Over the decades scholarly catalogs were published and exhibitions were mounted in the museum’s Berkeley mansion, examining, say, the culture of Kurdish Jews or the nature of Jewish cemeteries during the Gold Rush….READ MORE

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is at 2121 Allston Way, near Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, Calif.;

A version of this review appeared in print on January 23, 2012, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Jewish Museum Shifts Identity.

Art Buzz January 20, 2012: ‘L.A. Raw’ offers a dark slice of art history at the Pasadena Museum of California Art



‘L.A. Raw’ offers a dark slice of art history in Pasadena

Source: Pasadena Star-News, 1-20-12

“My Lai,” assemblage painting with skulls, by Hans Burkhardt, Courtesy of Jack Rutberg Fine Arts. (Courtesy of Jack Rutberg Fine Arts)

The heyday of the Los Angeles art scene is often thought to be centered around the Ferus Gallery and its contingent of pop and abstract artists in the 1960s.

There was a dark side; the art often was obsessed with political and social issues.

Curator Michael Duncan assembled works that illustrate the light and the dark in “L.A. Raw: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The exhibit opens Sunday and is part of the Getty Foundation’s ongoing initiative “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980.”

Duncan is the corresponding editor for “Art in America” and an art writer. He previously curated “Post Surrealism” at PMCA.

“Deposition (Descent from the Cross,” fiberglass sculpture, by Jack Zajac. (Pasadena Museum of California Art)

“What I’m excited about is this show is tracking a different history for the art depicting human needs of today,” Duncan said. “I think that art history has all sorts of different pathways and this is a fresh one that really hasn’t been explored.”

“L.A. Raw” begins with a look at the post-World War II artists around Rick Lebrun. Lebrun taught at the Jepson Art Institute in Los Angeles, emphasizing figure drawing. His own work had ties to European traditions and influences from the Spanish romantic painter Goya, as well as Mexican muralists.

“He wanted to extend the techniques of the Renaissance and also of cubism and make it more like a sculptural rendition,” Duncan said. “That’s where the expressionism comes in: wanting to turn a two-dimensional drawing into a three-dimensional idea of the human body.”

The show tracks Lebrun and his followers and how their work leads to the political art of the ’60s, branching out through artists of different ethnicities and on to the emergence of feminist and performance art.

The selection process for “L.A. Raw” was tough. For example, Masonite painter Jan Stussy taught at UCLA for 35 years and was a respected artist in the 1960s. His entire life’s work is about 2,000 pieces; Duncan chose four for the exhibit.

“The art world is very fickle and unless you have powerful galleries behind you, you just get sent to storage units in Burbank,” Duncan said.

“The basic message of the show is very simple: Expressionism is a kind of art form that never goes away,” he said. “Abstraction and other art movements may come in and out of vogue, but the expression of the human condition is a through-line that you can find since the Renaissance. And it’s here in L.A.”


Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy

Opens Sunday . Noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays through May 20

Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union St., Pasadena



Opening reception

7-10 p.m. Sunday $5 admission.

“L.A. Raw” features more than 120 works by more than 40 artists. The media ranges from paintings and sculpture to videos and photography. Highlights include Hans Burkhardt’s 12-foot wide painting, “My Lai,” which bears a scattering of real human skulls affixed to the canvas to sharpen the artist’s anti-Vietnam War message.

“Some critics have referred to it as the most powerful anti-war statement ever made by an artist,” Duncan said.

The Ceeje Gallery is represented by Armenian artist Charles Garabedian and Chicano artists Roberto Chavez and Eduardo Carillo, who incorporated humor and references to art history into their work. There are also early paintings and videos of performance artist Paul McCarthy, along with footage of Chris Burden and Nancy Buchanan.

L.A. Raw “is a dark vision of mankind, but it’s a very powerful and meaningful work,” Duncan said. “It’s not a frivolous day at the beach.”

626-962-8811 Ext. 2128

Art Buzz January 14, 2012: New American Wing Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Opening



Art review: New American Wing Galleries at the Metropolitan

Source: NJ The Record, 1-14-12


Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's 'Washington Crossing the Delaware,' 1851, oil on canvas, restored and reframed.

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware,’ 1851, oil on canvas, restored and reframed.


Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd Street; 212-535-7710 or

Permanent installation. Schedule: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday, to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Recommended admission: $25, seniors $17, students $12.

You’re going to see a lot of George Washington in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new galleries for painting and sculpture. And that’s as it should be, given that this third and final phase of a $100 million-plus renovation – opening Monday – aims to tell the story not only of American art, but of the country itself.

Trying to capture the sweep of American history through paintings is an ambitious undertaking, but the Met, as always, is up to the task. The museum might have been a little slow to recognize the accomplishments of its native-born painters – it took till 1980 for it to open its first large galleries dedicated to American art. Now the American Wing attracts more than a million visitors a year.

All collections have their gaps, but it’s hard to find a hole in this display, which takes you from Colonial portraits through Hudson River School landscapes through American impressionism and the canvases of individual geniuses such as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins and George Bellows….READ MORE

Art Buzz January 9, 2012: The Tate Modern’s New iPhone Art History Game Is Actually Super Fun



The Tate’s New iPhone Art History Game Is Actually Super Fun

Courtesy iTunes
The Tate’s new App, “Race Against Time”

The Tate Modern has just launched “Race Against Time,” a free iPhone game designed by creative firm Somethin’ Else and available now in Apple’s app store. A cheery, cartoony dodging exercise, the game stars a chameleon on a time-traveling quest to stop one Dr. Greyscale in his evil plan of removing all the color from the world. Though the gameplay is fast-paced and certainly addictive, the real charm comes in the character design and brightly colored backgrounds of “Race Against Time.”

Over the course of the adventure, our hero encounters striped-shirt-wearing Picassos, flaming absinthe bottles, deadly Dan Flavin light sculptures, and a giant Joseph Beuys figure strung up in a parachute and cradling a hare. A collision with any of these figures will cause the chameleon to lose a life. Each progressive level in the game reflects a consecutive era in art history, ranging from 1900 to 2011. The game kicks off with Impressionism, showcasing a background of Monet bridges that slowly bleeds into Seurat park-goers. Soon, we encounter Cezanne tablescapes and African masks in Fauvism. There’s even a Mexican muralism level complete with cacti, snakes, and Aztec imagery.

Exploring further into the future, Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” morphs impressively into abstract Jackson Pollock paint swirls. The Pop level goes from Campbell’s Soup cans to a cameo by Robert Rauschenberg’s “Monogram,” a sheep belted by a tire. The game is clearly up on its art-historical references, and it’s fun to name them as they pop up (though the division of art historical movements is a little strange at times).

What’s in this free iPhone game for the museum? Well, it’s a great, fun publicity stunt for one thing. But it also encourages players to go to the actual museum: opening the game inside the Tate (location is ensured by smartphone GPS) will unlock “Turbo Mode,” which lets the chameleon use a supercharged jump and kill enemies with its tongue. Once players beat levels of art history, they also have access to an “achievements” section that compares the works seen in the game to actual paintings in the Tate’s collection.

ARTINFO had quite a bit of trouble on the Minimalism level, but we offer this hint: make sure to grab one of the invisibility power-ups, and be ready to use it quick.