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.
I must admit celebrating a holiday of questionable historical value, both for its' perhaps untrue origin, and the added fact that it came into existence after the Civil War, is rather odd. But if it came into that post war existence to promote the healing of a war torn country then I'm all for it.
I do love being together with family and friends so any rationale is a good one,and of course, an excuse to make pies is never wasted.
Warm thoughts to all of you on the occasion of this Thanksgiving. I am grateful, my friends, for your support, so what ever you're doing and wherever you are, have a truly lovely day. Happy Thanksgiving!
According to the New York Times, "a major new survey of American artists and how they are weathering the economic downturn has found that slightly more than half experienced a drop in income from 2008 to 2009, a blow to an already struggling group, two thirds of whose members reported that they earned less than $40,000 last year."Even worse according to the survey, 18% of those who responded said their income had dropped 50 percent or more in the last year.
So what's the good news? Well...if we take the Pollyanna view of life, it's not bad news. Artists live in a recession all the time, so this is just business as usual. Heart warming, no?
From the Library of Congress FSA Collection of Depression Era photographs, hitching north for work by Jack Delano.
We're back...after burn out and soul searching with a serious recommitment to blog world. Managing family, studio practice, art networking and an upcoming major solo show has been a challenge but I'm sure I can commit to blogging at least twice a week for the next year and maybe more.
Some of the fun things I've missed blogging about are having a film Kurt and I worked on shown at the Coney Island Film Festival. I've been making other movies and painting up a storm. Here are some new paintings both from "Moving Violations."
And finally I have another new project, "Videos on Broadway". Window and sidewalk projections at Union Square. This is an open call —— it could be your chance to be on Broadway —— details to follow. In the meantime, here's a little video about the project. See you soon...
In the olden days, there was a video game arcade where Max's Kansas City used to be. I played there many a night communing with Pacman and the ghost of Andy Warhol. My favorite game was called Crazy Climber. My little guy would frantically climb, windows shutting on his fingers, pots of flowers thrown on his head and the reward to have King Kong try to stomp you at the top. When he invariably fell, he'd cry, "Oh Noooooooooooo." It was a perfect metaphor for my life back then.
I've been seeing these little Pacman-like creatures appearing on the buildings around town. If one defines the past as my daughter did, "Yeah mom, I'm playing old time music, you know -- The Rolling Stones," then this is a fine and peculiar form of urban archaeology. They always make me smile.
I am the happy recipient of a glorious painting by Cora Cohen and it's arriving today. It's called Green Drips but drippy it is not. It is a glorious enmeshing of color and brushwork and as Cora would say, "...full of air." And you know what? I'm walking on that air!!!
I'm always interested in how people market their art. I saw this piece by Linda Scott, sitting in a field and pulled over to look. It's positioned on a road leading to the Hamptons, a place where people might have yards big enough to host a monumental sculpture. I liked too that her URL was front and center. Let's just hope that the birds aren't too critical.
In my former life as a collector of things, one of the categories I collected was surrealist postcard photo montages done by W.H. Martin, who operated out of the Midwest after the turn of the last century.I loved how American they are. Braggart or Tall Tale, full of optimism and good cheer. When I was recently in Southampton, NY, I came across some giant vegetables on a flat bed. I screeched to a halt, jumped out and Kurt and I photographed each other a la Martin.
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.