Wednesday, September 29, 2010
When critic Randall Jarrell mentioned Vermeer in a review of Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry, Bishop excitedly expressed her joy over someone making the connection. We can only guess how she’d feel about Peggy Samuels’ Deep Skin: Elizabeth Bishop and Visual Art, in which the Drew University professor analyzes the influence of more modern artists such as Paul Klee, Kurt Schwitters, and Alexander Calder on Bishop’s poetry. “From the late-1930s through the mid-1950s, Bishop drew on visual art intently to work out her own aesthetic,” Samuels asserts. Like a great quarterback, Samuels huddles up these visual artists and the poet and explains how they team up to create a whole new understanding of surface and depth in images and words. Deep Skin goes deep, and scores. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Going Deep."
[Many thanks to Cornell University Press for providing me with a review copy of Peggy Samuels’ Deep Skin: Elizabeth Bishop and Visual Art.]
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The first time you see a painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, you probably don’t know what to make of it. It’s clearly some kind of joke, but what kind? When you discover that the artist emulated Leonardo Da Vinci, it seems even more puzzling. In Arcimboldo, 1526–1593: Nature and Fantasy, which runs through January 9, 2011 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the puzzle of this puzzler in fruits, vegetables, small animals, and sometimes even aquatic life may not be solved, but we get a fuller picture of this strange picture-maker from the past. Arcimboldo loved to create series of works—the elements, even the seasons of the year—that spanned wholes in an assemblage of parts. This man for all seasons now enjoys a new season in modern times, perhaps where he belonged all along. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "A Man for All Seasons."
[Image: Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Vertumnus, c. 1590. Oil on panel; framed: 81 x 68 cm (31 7/8 x 26 3/4 in.); unframed: 68 x 56 cm (26 3/4 x 22 1/16 in.); Skokloster Castle, Skokloster.]
[Many thanks to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, for providing me with press materials and the image above from the exhibition Arcimboldo, 1526–1593: Nature and Fantasy, which runs through January 9, 2011.]
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The modern view of the American soldier at war is invariably shaped by television. Beginning with the Vietnam War, the first war brought literally into the living rooms of private citizens halfway around the world from the actual shooting, even the most remote conflict seems nearby thanks to modern technology. Since the very beginning of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, when news cameras literally rode in the first wave of tanks, those conflicts, too, have been defined by the immediacy of video (and, perhaps, even lost to public consciousness in the sea of images that assault us daily). Art of the American Soldier, an exhibition at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, restores the human touch and human vision to the daily experience of men and women in combat. Finally brought out of storage, many of these images have never been seen by the public before, and may never have been needed to be seen by the public before as they need to be now. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "War and Peace."
[Image: Peter Hurd. War and Peace. World War II, 1942.]
[Many thanks to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA for providing the image above from the exhibition Art of the American Soldier, which runs through January 10, 2011.]