Art Musings February 19, 2014: Obama rehabs art history loving image, sends apology letter, hosts Monuments Men



Obama rehabs art history loving image, sends apology letter, hosts Monuments Men

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Since causing an uproar when he mocked the importance and relevance of graduating university with an art history degree, President Barack Obama has been publicly trying to make up for the “glib” remark, showing he truly “loves…


President Barack Obama looks at the Edward Hopper paintings now displayed in the Oval Office, Feb. 7, 2014.

Obama appreciates two new Edward Hopper paintings now adorning the Oval Office

President Barack Obama appreciates two new Edward Hopper painting now adorning the Oval Office, Jan. 7, 2014; Obama is trying to rehab his image relating to the arts after joking about art history degrees in a speech about technical job training, Jan. 30, 2014 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Art Musings February 16, 2014: Obama’s Art History Remarks puts the humanities vs professional degrees debate back in the spotlight



Obama puts the humanities vs professional degrees debate back in the spotlight

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Obama needs to look back at President Kennedy’s idealism to recognize the importance of the arts
The debate of the importance of the humanities, liberal arts and social science university degree versus a professional degree, or a degree…READ MORE

Art Buzz August 14, 2013: University of California, Riverside to Launch Ph.D. in Art History in Fall 2014



UCR to Launch Ph.D. in Art History in Fall 2014

Source: UC Riverside, 8-14-13

The University of California, Riverside will offer a Ph.D. in art history beginning in fall 2014, a degree program that will focus on the history of photography, sculpture and architecture….READ MORE

Art Buzz July 22, 2013: Hoover Library and Archives brings out its art to illustrate history



Hoover Library and Archives brings out its art to illustrate history

Source: Stanford University News, 7-22-13

Hoover Library and Archives brings out its art to illustrate history. The archives of the Hoover Institution has amassed quite a collection over 90 years….READ MORE

Art Buzz May 8, 2013: Cezanne painting goes for $41.6 million at Sotheby’s Auction of Impressionist and Modern Art



Cezanne painting goes for $41.6 million at Sotheby’s Auction of Impressionist and Modern Art

Source: Art Daily, AFP 5-8-13


Cézanne’s painting ‘‘Les Pommes,’’ from around 1890.

Paul Cezanne’s “Les Pommes” sold for $41.6 million at an auction of Impressionist and Modern art held by Sotheby’s in New York, while a painting owned by pop star Madonna went for $7.16 million….READ MORE

Art Buzz May 9, 2012: Christie’s Record Making Contemporary Art Auction Takes $388.5 Million — Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961” Alone Sold for $87 Million



Rothko Leads a Record Contemporary Art Sale

Source: NYT, 5-9-12

In a surge of bidding unprecedented in art market history, Christie’s Tuesday evening sale of contemporary art took in $388.5 million, the highest amount ever in that field.


Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961,” which sold for just under $87 million, had not appeared in the market for 45 years.


Yves Klein’s “FCI (Fire Color I),” which was completed in 1962 shortly before the French artist’s death, brought an astounding $36.48 million.

A world auction record was set for a work of contemporary art when Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow” painted in 1961 sold for just under $87 million. Christie’s estimate was $35 million to $45 million, plus the sale charge of more than 15 percent. Christopher Burge, who conducted the session with exceptional brio, brought down his hammer on the $77.5 million winning bid after one of the longest bidding matches yet witnessed in a contemporary art sale.

The Rothko had everything going for it. Acquired from Marlborough Fine Art in London in 1967 by David Pincus, one of the leading American collectors in the second half of the century, the picture, consigned from the connoisseur’s estate, had never appeared in the market during the intervening 45 years….READ MORE

Art Buzz May 2, 2012: Edvard Munch: ‘The Scream’ auctioned for record $119.9 million at Sotheby’s



Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ goes for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s

Source: LAT, 5-2-12

Edvard Munch's 1895 pastel 'The Scream'

Sotheby’s sells Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ for $119.9 million on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 (Carl Court / AFP /Getty Images / April 29, 2012 / May 2, 2012)

Sometimes beauty is trumped by the beast. After bullish expectations and an aggressive marketing campaign for an image considered the quintessential expression of modern horror, Sotheby’sNew York sold Edvard Munch‘s 1895 “The Scream” for $119.9 million on Wednesday night, setting a record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction.
The top spot was previously held by Picasso’s 1932 “Nude, Green, Leave and Bust” — a painting of his much-younger lover Marie-Therese Walter that sold at Christie’s in 2010 for $106.5 million.

The identity of the buyer, who was bidding by phone during the 12-minute auction, has not been confirmed. Bidding started at $40 million, with at least five bidders. Rumors before the sale, not confirmed, focused on interest from the royal family of Qatar.

Munch’s “The Scream” achieved another milestone: It now ranks as the most expensive drawing publicly sold. For this version of “The Scream” — one of four — is best described as a crayon or pastel drawing, not a painting, on board. The Munch Museum in Oslo owns a pastel as well as a painted version, while the National Gallery of Norway holds the earliest painting, dated 1893….READ MORE

And it easily beat out the previous auction record for Munch, also held by Sotheby’s. In 2008, the auction house sold the 1894 Munch painting “Vampire,” a melodramatic image of a red-haired, bare-armed woman kissing a man’s neck, for about $38 million.

Art Buzz April 15, 2012: Christie’s to unveil a very rare 15th century Renaissance Jewish prayer book in New York



Christie’s to unveil a very rare 15th century Jewish prayer book in New York

Offered at auction for the first time, the manuscript is estimated at $540,000-800,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2012. 
On April 16-17, Christie’s New York will unveil a rare and splendid example of Renaissance Judaica, an illuminated manuscript Mahzor that will be included in the May 11, 2012 Books and Manuscripts auction at Christie’s Paris. Comprising over 400 pages, this illuminated manuscript on vellum is a festival prayer book written in Hebrew and was created in Tuscany, and probably Florence, circa 1490. Offered at auction for the first time, the manuscript is estimated at $540,000-800,000 (£360,000-530,000/€400,000-600,000).
The illuminating manuscript was purchased in Frankfurt before 1908 and was subsequently owned by Edmond Bicart-Sée. It has never been publicly exhibited and has remained in the possession of his descendants in Paris for over eighty years. This Mahzor, containing prayers for the entire liturgical year, is richly highlighted in gold with renaissance motifs and contains everyday customs, rituals and practices of Jewish life including daily prayers and blessings for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth. The striking frontispiece of the Mahzor is in the characteristic style of Giovanni di Giuliano Boccardi, known as Boccardino il vecchio (1460-1529) – ‘one of the last representatives of the golden age of Florentine Renaissance Illumination.’ The Jewish community of Florence flourished in the 15th century, their position closely linked to the fortunes of the Medici. While there are other Hebrew manuscripts illuminated by Christian Florentines, this Mahzor is the only example we know illuminated by Boccardino. The coat-of-arms on the frontispiece is azure, a rampant lion or holding a flaming chalice and sun; the lion is flanked by a crescent moon and a sun or star, having some resemblance to the coat of arms of the Ambron family. Coats of arms used by Jewish families in Italy were inventions, often using traditional Jewish symbols and often variable, making certain identification difficult. The 16th century binding of the Mahzor has a central medallion with another coat-of-arms of two affronted rampant lions flanking a palm tree, combined elements featuring in the arms of a number of families in Italy, including the Tedesco/Tedeschi and Uzielli in Tuscany.

Art Buzz April 13, 2012: Edvard Munch’s Modern art masterpiece ‘The Scream’ up for auction at Sotherby’s



The masterpiece ‘The Scream’ up for auction

Source: CNN, 4-13-12

It’s one of the world’s most famous paintings; Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is an iconic image of despair. And now a version of the painting is up for grabs in a public auction next month. But the winning bidder may also need to fork out money for extra security because this masterpiece also holds the dubious honor of being the “most stolen work of art”.

“Shivering with anxiety, I felt the great scream in nature,” so wrote Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1895. They are lines from a poem that inspired one of the most famous paintings in the world. Simon Shaw with Sotheby’s says, “What Munch was trying to do was create the modern life of the soul as he described it. a new kind of history painting for the godless age where he would draw on his own personal experiences of love anxiety and death and create universal resonate images that we can all understand”

Munch created four versions of the painting, three of which are on public display in museums in Norway. This is the only version in private hands and the only one to feature the poem that inspired it hand painted on the original frame and the only one for sale to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in New York in May. Shaw says, “Very challenging to put a price on a work so globally recognizable so famous as this one. Great modern masterpieces can sell for a bit over a hundred million dollars so we’re estimating that the scream will sell for somewhere above $80 million today.”

So what is so captivating about this painting? Shaw says, “It’s really a key image in the history of modern art. but on the other hand it’s become something quite different. It’s become a cornerstone of popular culture if you like.”…READ MORE

Sotheby’s London presents one of the most famous masterpieces in the world

Staff stand guard by Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ as it is hung for display at Sotheby’s Auction Rooms in London, Thursday, April 12, 2012. The picture made with pastels is one of four versions of the composition, and dates from 1895, it will be auctioned in the Impressionist and Modern Art Sale in New York on May 2, with an estimated price of 80 million dollars. AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth. 
Sotheby’s today presented Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream will lead its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 2 May 2012. The iconic work is one of the most instantly recognizable images in both art history and popular culture, perhaps second only to the Mona Lisa. The present version of The Scream, which dates from 1895, is one of four versions of the composition and the only version still in private hands. It will be on view in London for the first time ever, with the exhibition at Sotheby’s opening on 13 April. In New York, and also for the first time ever, it will be on exhibition at Sotheby’s in advance of the sale beginning 27 April.
The work is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbor and patron of Munch. “Munch’s The Scream is the defining image of modernity, and it is an immense privilege for Sotheby’s to be entrusted with one of the most important works of art in private hands” commented Simon Shaw, Senior Vice President and Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York. “Instantly recognizable, this is one of very few images which transcends art history and reaches a global consciousness. The Scream arguably embodies even greater power today than when it was conceived. At a time of great critical interest in the artist, and with the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2013, this spring is a particularly compelling time for The Scream to appear on the market. For collectors and institutions, the opportunity to acquire such a singularly-influential masterpiece is unprecedented in recent times.” Mr. Shaw continued: “Given how rarely true icons come to the market it is difficult to predict The Scream’s value. The recent success of masterpieces at Sotheby’s suggests that the price could exceed $80 million.”…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 10, 2012: Harlem Fine Arts Show Celebrates Black History Month



Harlem art fest

Source: NY Post, 2-10-12

While Fashion Week is all the rage on the Upper West Side right now, Black History Month is being celebrated in style a bit farther uptown with the third annual Harlem Fine Arts Show today and tomorrow at Riverside Church.

Work by more than 100 artists from all over the world is on display — from Haiti, Brazil, Jamaica, Ghana, France and elsewhere.

“We went from 2,000 people [attending] to 10,000 people last year, and we’re expecting 20,000 this year,” says the show’s founder, Dion Clarke.

Saying the exhibition represents “a new Harlem Renaissance,” Clarke adds that the art show puts young people in Harlem in touch with African-American history by mixing works by up-and-coming artists and pieces by established ones.


Herold Alvares

“That’s what we call cultural nutrition,” he says.

While far-flung artists are represented, it’s Harlem’s own James Van Der Zee, the late photographer, whose work is one of the highlights. His widow, Donna Van Der Zee, says celebs such as Spike Lee and Bill Cosby are fans of her husband’s work, which documents the first Harlem Renaissance and includes portraits of historical figures ranging from Marcus Garvey to Muhammad Ali to America’s first black female millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker.

Van Der Zee was shy, says his widow. “He’d call himself Bashful Jim,” and he didn’t like crowds, she recalls.

But he’d probably be happy with the Harlem crowd appreciating his work and that of other artists.

“As the kids say, it’s going to be a funky time,” says Clarke.

Harlem Fine Arts Show: $20 admission (free for uniformed armed forces members); today, 10 a.m to 8 p.m, tomorrow, 12:30 to 7 p.m., at Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, at 120th Street; 914-980-4427,

Art Buzz February 6, 2012: Peter Wood: Duke University professor to discuss his book “Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War” & role of art



Duke professor to discuss his book, role of art Tuesday

Source: The Gainsville Sun, 2-6-12

When Peter Wood taught his graduate seminar at Duke University he’d ask his students how many people enjoyed history in high school. No response. Then he’d ask how many liked it in college as undergraduates. A hand or two might have been raised.


If you go

What: Historian Peter Wood discusses his book “Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War.”

Where: Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art.

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“That’s the problem,” he said. “It’s our job as historians is to make it exciting.”

Wood, a professor emeritus at Duke University, will speak at the University of Florida on Tuesday at The Harn Museum about his book, “Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War,” and about what people can learn from art to get a better understanding of American history. His talk is part of the Black History Month celebration.

Wood will be paid $1,000 by a grant through the Oral History Program.

Paul Ortiz, director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at UF, was a graduate student at Duke University and had Wood as a professor and considers him a role model.

“He brings a passion about history that’s infectious,” he said.

Originally, Wood was supposed to speak just to Ortiz’s class, but word got out he would be on campus and students wanted to hear from him.

Ortiz said Wood is the kind of person who can engage his students and an audience. He knows you can’t tell history without visuals.

The book’s title comes from Winslow Homer’s 1865-66 painting “Near Andersonville.” In the painting, Homer, a 19th-century American landscape painter, depicts an enslaved woman stepping out of her home as Union soldiers are marched to the Andersonville prison camp by Confederate soldiers in the background.

What Wood says is so important about the painting is Homer’s depiction of African-Americans. Unlike his predecessors, he painted the enslaved woman as she would be in real life and not as a caricature.

Ortiz said it’s amazing what people can learn about American history during the Civil War.

“Long before Facebook and YouTube, they had to communicate the epic events happening right in front of them,” he said.

He said they did this through art.

Wood also will speak with students at Pugh Hall at 1:55 p.m.

Tuesday night, he’ll show a number of paintings during the Civil War period and explain the historical context of each piece, from landscapes to battle scenes. Ortiz said Wood believes the real history of slavery hasn’t been told yet because of its brutality.

He said people should come prepared to change the way they think about what they’ve been taught about the Civil War…..READ MORE — Next Page

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 31, 2012: Bob Schiffauer: Black History Month Torchbearers Art exhibit peers into forgotten past





Art exhibit peers into forgotten past

Source: Texas A&M The Battalion, 1-31-12

Bob Schiffauer

David Godinez — THE BATTALION

Artist and architecture professor Bob Schiffauer adjusts pieces of his portrait series “Torchbearers” at the Wright Gallery.


A&M’s 2012 campus celebration of Black History Month begins with artistic tributes to the greats of African-American history.


Opening Wednesday, architecture professor Bob Schiffauer’s “Torchbearers” portrait series will be on display in the Langford Architecture Building’s Wright Gallery through Feb. 28. Among other influential icons, the gallery features Charles Gordone, the first African-American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. After retiring from acting and directing, Gordone came to A&M to serve as professor of English and theatre from 1987 to 1995.


A symbolic sculpture of Gordone stands prominently in the center of the exhibit. Also featured are drawings of a western play that Gordone and his wife, Susan, were creating before he died in 1995. Mrs. Gordone saved her husband’s writings and has worked with Schiffauer and his students to recreate the play through artwork.


“When somebody leaves behind this kind of a work, you don’t want to leave it in a box collecting dust,” Mrs. Gordone said. “He gave the last nine years of his life to these students and he loved it. I think there is still something to be learned from his last works.”


Mrs. Gordone and Schiffauer share the motivation is to shed light on the “beautiful and sometimes overlooked history of America.” Mrs. Gordone quoted a phrase that she said captures the meaning of the display.


“What we are trying to do through portraiture is bring these people back into


history,” Mrs. Gordone said. “These were the people whose contribution to making America a more free and just society is so enormous that to not remember may be even losing rights they fought for.”…READ MORE

Art Buzz January 16, 2012: George Wingard: Discovery of jar brings new insight into history of artisans who created pottery near Augusta



Discovery of jar brings new insight into history of artisans who created pottery near Augusta

Source: The Augusta Chronicle, 1-16-12

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program shows a reassembled jar that was found in pieces at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina near Augusta, Ga. The jar was made by the slave potter known only as Dave, and dated April 16, 1862. After its discovery, it helped inspire a new documentary film that will be released later this year. (AP Photo/Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, George Wingard via The Augusta Chronicle)
Click to view (2 Photos)

Savannah River Site historian George Wingard’s fascination with the slave potter known as “Dave” began with a phone call in 2006 and led to an upcoming film honoring one of the South’s most mysterious artisans.

“That morning, we had people looking around in an area where some monitoring wells were planned,” said Wingard, the administrative manager for the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, whose workers are required to evaluate areas to be disturbed by construction.

As routine, random test holes were dug to determine whether any important artifacts might lie beneath the soil, the technician discovered the proverbial needle in a haystack: a large, greenish-glazed shard of stoneware pottery.

“When he pulled it out, it had ‘Dave’ inscribed on it,” Wingard said. “He called me right away, from his cellphone.”

Both men knew immediately the find was an important one.

Dave was a slave who worked among the dozens of potteries that operated during the 1800s throughout South Carolina’s plantation-strewn “Edgefield District” near Augusta.

The region’s alkaline-glazed pottery is widely sought by art collectors, but the works of the mysterious Dave are the most prized examples of all. Further excavation at the remote hillside within Savannah River Site yielded more pieces of Dave’s handiwork.

“We were digging in what turned out to be a mid-20th century trash pile,” Wingard said. “We found about 95 percent of the jar.”

In addition to Dave’s signature, the jar – which was carefully reassembled – carried the date of manufacture: April 16, 1862. Soon it became a popular item in the research program’s outreach activities, which include educational programs to acquaint others with the region’s cultural past….READ MORE