Following and combining two of my recent posts is another quirky story. An Alma Thomas work was loaned to the White House by the Hirshhorn Museum thus creating a mini controversy with her painting, "Watusi (Hard Edge)." The 1963 painting is extremely similar to a 1953 piece entitled L’Escargot by Matisse. As we know many painters copy favorite paintings as part of their developmental process as well as their dialog with art. Copies, elaboration, appropriation and more are all common grist for the mill these days.
Anyway, there was a lot of comment on line and the painting was removed from the White House. The White House press office says,"it was moved because it didn’t fit the space right."
Take a look and see what you think...
Above: Henri Matisse, The Snail,1953 Below: Alma Thomas, Watusi (Hard Edge), 1963; courtesy of Flavorwire.
In spite of all our concerns about what's happening in the presidency these days, a "good thing" is the Obamas' interest in art (and cooking too if Michele Obama's guest appearance on Iron Chef is an indication). Museums and collectors have been quick to offer works for inclusion. Aside from changing the art dealer landscape, the works also have political implications. Included are: “Sky Light” by African-American abstract artist Alma Thomas; “Numerals, 0 through 9,” by Jasper Johns, “Berkeley No. 52,” by Richard Diebenkorn, and an Ed Ruscha canvas featuring the words, “I think maybe I’ll…”. Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson were also loaned from the National Gallery. F.Y.I. the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have more details.
Or at least I heard he sweeps it up to use again. He was at Union Square last week. I passed seeing the sparkling sand twinkling in the gloaming. The artist is Joe Mangrum who has created prints and book documenting the mandalas. It was fascinating to watch, mesmerizing like a Zen garden. He's received a lot of attention including the prestigious Lorenzo de Medici award in "New Media", for his striking piece, "Fragile." Catch him if you can, before it's swept or blown away.
The thing about gallery wandering through Chelsea is that you intersect with lots of people. At the openings you expect it. In fact, I recently introduced myself to Chuck Close, a personal hero because he has that renaissance touch in multiple media, at a Pace opening. But the sweetest moments are fleeting. At the instant I was taking the photograph above, Edward Winkleman walked by. He saw me and turned his head to see what I was seeing and kept striding. By the time I gathered my wits to say hello, he was gone. For the rest of the day I felt an odd kinship, every photo a mapping of that oh so slender event.
Today I expose myself. I have been taking pieces of earlier paintings and exploring them inside my current work. It started with a chance remark by Cora Cohen, who questioned my landscape/truck paintings as being too cinematic. It got me thinking about earlier landscape painters. I decided to follow a time honored painterly tradition of repainting others work in the service of one's own. Here are some examples: Chardin followed by Soutine, Manet followed by Mark Ryden, Jan Davidz de Heem followed by Matisse, Cezanne followed by Susan Shaw, Albert Marquet followed by Susan Shaw. The most terrifying thing for me was to realize that I had turned Cezanne's beautiful late afternoon stormy landscape onto a post-industrial slag heap.
At the event, using digital photo-booth technology, guests constructed their own take-away photographs using backgrounds newly designed by Gordon, Hewitt, and VanDerBeek. I thought the people shooting their self photos were riveting and, of course, Kurt and enjoyed seeing our heads 15 feet high at the museum. They now have a second life on Flicker in a group reminiscent of that famous Walker Evans studio image, "Penny picture displays" in Savannah, GA
I didn't sleep with Tiger Woods. Never even met the man. I wish I was a bull**** artist instead of a regular artist because right now my art would be in front of the nation. All I have to do is say, "I slept with Tiger Woods," and the scandal would be like magic.
Instead I slog along honing my skills with studio practice and the demanding flesh eating painting class. On this prurient topic, here are two new nude studies and one from recent Truck Paintings.
Susan Shaw is an internationally exhibited painter and photographer. Private and public collections include the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shaw is the recipient of two New York State Artist’s Fellowships and 2007/2009 residency fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center.
Kurt Hoss is a freelance photographer capturing the exuberance of
New York City for 35 years. A favorite project has been documenting life in south western Louisiana, culminating in two recent books, Going to Lafayette and Bosco Swamp.
Shaw and Hoss recently received an AVA gold award for video production, as producers of The Mermaid Parade.