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