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Crystal Bridges: The Anti-Whitney-Biennial


Saturday is the day. That's when the art world, which has been wondering what Don Bacigalupi, president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and assistant curator Chad Alligood have been seeing for the better part of 2013 and much of 2014 on their search for underappreciated artists, will find out. That's when the museum unveils State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now -- their selections. It is definitely an unconventional ride through art in America. I say that even though I haven't seen the show, though the press preview was … [Read more...]

Artisan: Anyone For Fake Wood?


Or, the more elegant term, faux bois? Faux bois furniture and furnishings are made of concrete to look like real wood. It's a 19th century art that is, in some circles, making a bit of a comeback. False, it seems, lasts longer than the real, which is prone to decay. It works especially well in garden fixtures. Michael Fogg, a Connecticut practitioner of the art, is updating faux bois -- making bonsai tables and chandeliers with slender branches as well as planters and garden furniture. I'm just telling you this because I wrote about the … [Read more...]

“Anonymous” Women, Once Again


It's that time of year -- actually, it's a little past that time of year -- when the Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation makes public the ten female artists who will receive $25,000 no strings attached, just to support them. This is the 19th set of winners  -- and I was there at the creation, sort of. So I sometimes like to publicize the winners (which were announced on July 2). The awards go to women over 40 "who have significantly contributed to their field, while continuing to grow and pursue their work." This year they are: Janine … [Read more...]

American Art Bonanza Left By Richard Mellon Scaife


Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, scion of two wealthy families, died on July 4, leaving a large art collection -- apparently -- to two small Pennsylvania Museums. Scaife's attorney called the art collection "expansive." And according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- which Scaife owned: The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg and Brandywine Conservancy near Philadelphia will split Scaife's art collection, according to the will. The will allows the organizations to decide how to divide the collection and sets up a rotating … [Read more...]

Back To Koons: More Food For Thought


So far, the most thoughtful review I've read of the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney is by Thomas Micchelli of Hyperallergic Weekend. It starts well, noting that excepting the vacuum cleaners, "...The rest of the work, however, with few exceptions, reveals itself to be as thin, puerile and derivative as the artist’s harshest critics would expect. But to take Koons’s art to task for the hollowness at its core is shooting fish in a barrel — a truism that leads us nowhere." Most of us have been content to dismiss Koons, blame his fame on … [Read more...]

Koons: One Big Show In More Ways Than One

Koons interview

I've never seen a press preview like the one I attended today. The Whitney was unveiling its Jeff Koons retrospective. When I arrived, safely 10 minutes or so after the doors opened, the line of press people extended around the corner. Inside was packed too. Some of us went straight to the galleries; then there was a program. After Whitney director Adam Weinberg spoke, Donna DeSalvo, the chief curator and deputy director for programs, and exhibition curator Scott Rothkopf took center stage too -- and then, when it was time for Koons to … [Read more...]

Transforming Art: A Look Back At What Mattered


Artspace -- which makes its money selling art online -- provided a provocative list a few weeks ago: Ten Alternative Art Spaces That Transformed American Art. The writer, Ian Wallace, and maybe others there (I don't know how Artspace works, editorially) specifically tried to consider the national picture, not just NYC, which is good. Just four of the spaces are in New York -- and you might guess their names: The Kitchen, Artists Space, Franklin Furnace and -- Food, which I didn't know. Then again, I wasn't living in New York the years that Food … [Read more...]

Who Would You Pick To Play Picasso? Plus, Best And Worst Artists’ Films


Most movies about art and artists leave a lot to be desired. We shall see how Picasso is treated in a movie about the making of Guernica, with Antonio Banderas starring as the artist. Banderas, who like Picasso is a Malaga native, said that he "turned down the chance at one point of playing Mr. Pablo, but the time has come in my life where I understand him better, and I am nearly at the age he was when those events happened, in 1937, when he was 55 or 56, and I'm getting close," according to Fox News Latino. Banderas is 54. Carlos Saura will … [Read more...]

Friendship Outs: Giant Gift Of Marin Watercolors Goes To…

Tree, Stonington, Deer Isle

Not a museum in Maine, where he painted for much of his last 40 years. Not a museum in New York, the center of the U.S. art world, or in Los Angeles, the west coast hub. Or New Jersey, Marin's birthplace. No, Norma B. Marin, the artist's daughter-in-law, recently donated nearly 300 watercolors, drawings and sketchbooks to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, according to the Kennebec Journal. ...Norma Marin’s gift to the Arkansas Arts Center was neither random nor the result of a falling out with Maine’s cultural institutions, as some … [Read more...]

Thelma Golden Adds New Duty To Director’s Role


As if museum directors don't have enough to do, Thelma Golden -- director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem -- has generously decided to be a consultant to artists. It is, of course, an attention-getter (and good for her on that score). Golden plans to hang up a consultant's shingle at the museum at an event on Feb. 9 for artists living or working in Harlem. For three hours, from noon to 3 p.m., Golden will hold 15-minute meetings with artists -- a bit like speed-dating -- where she will review their work and assess their … [Read more...]

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