When we spoke in 2000 the arts leader Ted Landsmark was director of the Boston Architectural College. He was on leave as chair of the board of the Institute of Contemporary Art but still serving on the board of the MFA. It was a time of transition and change. The ICA was constructing a new building on the waterfront. Its director, Jill Medvedow, was competing for funding with MFA director, Malcolm Rogers. Landsmark argued that they should be working together
Separately at Jewish Settlement houses Jack Levine and Hyman Bloom studied drawing with Harold Zimmerman. In 1929, when Levine was 14, they were instructed at the Fogg Art Museum by Harvard professor, Denman Ross. By the late 1930s, with Karl Zerbe, they gained national attention as Boston Expressionists. After a lapse of decades, through February, Bloom is featured in "Hyman Bloom Matters of Life and Death." The MFA has never given Levine the time of day. In 1986, while making a film with David and Nancy Sutherland, I interviewed Levine.
The Museum of Fine Arts last featured Boston Expressionist Hyman Bloom in a 1959 group show. The current exhibition Hyman Bloom Matters of Life and Death, curated by Erica E. Hirshler, attempts to make up for that lapse. The focus on cadaver paintings and drawings is bold and spectacular. The work is ghastly with haunting beauty. On a national level it is among the year's best museum exhibitions.
Whitney Museum Curator and Boston University Professor
By: Charles Giuliano - Jun 25th, 2019
A leading scholar of American Art, Patricia Hills curated major exhibitions for the Whitney Museum including "John Singer Sargent."Her books and catalogues range from Eastman Johnson, to Alice Neel and Jacob Lawrence. At Boston University she trained a generation of scholars and curators. As a Marxist she has been particularly involved in social justice projects.
During a recent road trip we visited museums in Montreal, Ottowa and Toronto. We noted different strategies to intergate First Nations artists into special exhibitions and permanent collection galleries. A third of the exhibition space of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto features First Nations artists. With an unfavorable comparison only a handful of American museums have a commitment to feature Native American art and culture.
The Warhol exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art leads you through the commercial illustrations, personal drawings, paintings, prints, photos, silkscreens, films, videos, music production, his Factory years and more. The last galleries show his giant Mao painting, works in collaboration with Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the 35-foot mural titled Camouflage Last Supper 1986, a rendition of the Last Supper under camouflage print.
Former MIT/CAVS Fellow, Ellen Kozak, and composer Scott D. Miller are presenting a 4-Channel Video Installation at the Hudson River Museum until September 9. The summer exhibition also includes monumental abstract drawings by Christine Hiebert as well as museum owned etchings that are titled: Donald Judd: Variations on a Theme.
Berkshires Heritage and Legacy Worth More Than $60 Million
By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 28th, 2017
To launch A New Vision for the Berkshire Museum it plans to sell 40 key works for some $60 miillion. That's a pot of gold but comes at a terrible cost to the heritage, legacy and cultural branding of the Berkshires. Van Shiields and the museum board insist that there is no other option. That disrespect raises questions regarding stewardship of the 40,000 works in the collection including 2,395 fine art pieces.
Renowned Former Whitney Museum Director Posts Statement
By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 13th, 2017
The renowned former Whitney Museum director, David A. Ross, in an exclusive statement posted to Berkshire Fine Arts strongly opposes plans initiated by the Berkshire Museum. “This is a sad affair. Perhaps the board, if unwilling to raise funds in the way all museums have to, should resign (along with its feckless director). My feeling is it should merge administratively with another educational non-profit in the region, and then begin the process of stabilization. It would be preferable to see the museum close for a few years of re-organization, than to forever destroy the core of its irreplaceable art collection.”
Members of the JACK Quartet are scattered across the eighth floor exhibit space at the Whitney Museum in which many Alexander Calder mobiles hang and stand. In the center of the room on the south wall, cellist Jay Campbell and violinist Austin Wulliman are conventionally seated with their music stands before them. They do not seem to notice violinist Christopher Otto who stands at the east entrance, only a music stand dividing him from a roaming, and finally seated and standing-still audience. At another entrance Jay Pickford Richards, violist, is completely in his own world, oblivious to in your face cameras, and the wandering audience. John Cage wrote the Quartet they will perform, not for a quartet, but for four soloists.
This think piece explores the difference between movies and cinema. In a compelling overview Kempf states that "I go to a lot of movies for a variety of reasons: to learn about other worlds/people/times through fictions and documentaries, to measure the zeitgeist, to ease a 100°+ summer day, but my primary desire is to experience the art of cinema, a remarkable art that, even more than stage, is collaborative and incorporates the entire constellation of the arts."
Sixty Three Artists to be Shown from March 17 to June 1
By: Whitney - Nov 19th, 2016
The Whitney Museum of American Art was founded in 1931 and opened its first of several venues in 1931. Initially American art was viewed as inferior to the School of Paris. That shifted after WWII with the ascent of the New York School. Early on the museum mounted Annuals which eventually evolved into Biennials. They have long been regarded as reflecting the latest developments in the field. With 63 participating artists the 2017 Whitney Biennial (March 17 to June 1) continues that tradition.
For 24 years Carl Belz was the director of the Rose Art Museum where he was a champion of regional artists with an emphasis on women. There was an annual major exhibition sponsored by Lois Foster who was later instrumental in his ouster when she and her husband Henry were the primary donors of an addition in their name designed by Graham Gund. Belz passed away recently at the age of 78.
When Stefan and Linda Stux, with a partner, opened a gallery on Newbury Street in Boston in 1980 it was a year before they made a sale. The partner left and they continued to support the gallery while working full time jobs. His brother asked how long he intended to maintain his "museum." The answer was "forever." But now that day has come with the closing of the New York gallery after some 35 years of ups and downs. Stefan and Linda had an enormous impact during the era of Boston's cultural revolution in the 1980s.
Paul Cadmus's works in Whitney Museum's Inaugural Show
By: David Bonetti - Sep 29th, 2015
For years midcentury magic realist Paul Cadmus and other artists of his generation were neglected by the Whitney Museum. Now, in the inaugural exhibition of its new meatpacking facility, titled "America Is Hard to See," Cadmus and his peers return in force.
Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is a full-scale exhibit of about 45 of Motley's paintings now on view at the Chicago Cultural Center. Along the corridor leading to the gallery is a display of information about Motley's life and work. Jazz age music plays on the gallery sound system. Prior to Chicago the exhibition was on view at the LA Country Museum of Art. The next stop if the Whitney Museum of American Art
While a graduate student at Brown University, in 1970, the art historian Edmund Barry Gaither was recruited for a shared appointment as adjunct curator of the Museum of Fine Arts and working with Elma Lewis as director of the National Center for African American Artists. He still holds those positions. In this first part of an extensive interview Gaither describes jumping in to curate the major MFA exhibition African American Artists from New York and Boston. He was soon multi- tasking while being pressured by a diverse range of individuals and groups.
George McNeil emerged as one of the First Generation Abstract Expressionist and New York School painters during the late thirties. He was shown in the New York Worlds Fair in 1939, and in 1935 he was a member of the W.P.A. and served on the Federal Art project with artists such as Willem de Kooning and James Brooks.
After giving away more than 50,000 artworks by Andy Warhol and making approximately a quarter of a billion dollars in cash grants, the Warhol Foundation is now approaching its 30th anniversary with a renewed focus on grant-making programs, as seen in the grassroots activity it is seeding through Common Field and the exhibitions resulting from its last round of gifts.
In the November issue of Art in America there was a story "Richard Bellamy. Interview by Billy Kluver and Julie Martin, introduction by Judith E. Stein." It was a sidebar of Stein's research on the Bellamy an eccentric, brilliant and complex art dealer. We spoke about that research as well as work with the little understood or appreciated movement of Figurative Expressionism.
Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde To Iconic
By: Mark Favermann - Nov 05th, 2014
Alexander Calder's brilliant abstract works revolutionized modern sculpture and made him one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. This wonderful exhibition brings together 40 of the artist's mobiles (kinetic) and stabiles ( stationary) to explore how Alexander Calder introduced the visual vocabulary into American cultural vernacular. At this once in a generation show, the power of his poetic mastery of elegant form, balance and motion is underscored by his infectious personality of delight and whimsy.
The Modern Spirit: The Arts of George Morrison is a five venue traveling exhibition which is on view at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona through January 12. Morrison (1919-2000) left the Chippewa people of Lake Superior to study at the Arts Student League in 1943. He enjoyed success in New York with numerous gallery and national museum exhibitions. In 1970 he returned to teach in Minnesota where he primarily lived and worked for the remainder of his life. As an abstract artist Morrison defies narrow definitions of American Indian Art. His life and work did much to expand that.
Twelve days after breaking news the New York Times has reported on $25.4 million in Commonwealth funding for the $50 million renovation of the final phase of build out for Mass MoCA. While damning the museum with faint praise the Times drags up an eight year old controversy of a botched installation by Christoph Buchel. The reporter probed far and wide for on and off the record smears of the museum and its critical reputation.
Judith Bookbinder's 2005 publication Boston Modern: Figurative Expressionism as Alternative Modernism is the definitive study of this important but neglected movement. Her study is meticulously researched and documented. This is the catalogue for the exhibition that the Museum of Fine Arts has failed to deliver. Significantly most of the Boston Expressionists were Jews struggling with Biblical constraints against the graven image.
When Pop Art dominated the art world and mass-media a group of New York expressionists said no thanks. The primal, raucous, and confrontational approach to painting exhibited by the group’s members kept the emotional impact of Figurative Expressionism alive. However, aesthetic tradition was less important than the moral obligation of depicting the reality that the artists perceived. This put the Rhino Horn artists at odds with many of the mainstream artists that had turned away from expressionism and humanist art.