Sunday, August 29, 2010
When Roland Penrose began buying artwork after returning to England in 1935, he focused on purchasing the works of the Parisian Surrealists—the circle of artists that had embraced him as one of their own. Old friends such as Dali, Magritte, Miro, Picasso, De Chirico, and others graced Penrose’s walls. Penrose left most of his collection to the National Galleries of Scotland, who bring the old gang together in Another World: Dali, Magritte, Miro and the Surrealists, an exhibition running through January 9, 2011. Scotland doesn’t seem like the obvious place for Surrealism, but isn’t that the point of Surrealism? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Old Friends."
[Many thanks to the National Galleries of Scotland for providing me with a review copy of the catalogue to Another World: Dali, Magritte, Miro and the Surrealists, which runs through January 9, 2011.]
Friday, August 27, 2010
On August 23rd, the Public Broadcasting System launched a new web portal for promoting the arts. PBS Arts spearheads an overall expansion of arts programming to take place over the next year that will include a night each week dedicated solely to the arts. What makes this development especially encouraging is that the emphasis remains on the public, social component of art in America. From Katrina to Guantanamo Bay, the art appearing in these virtual exhibitions takes a no holds barred look at how contemporary art reflects what is happening in America. PBS Arts puts your tax dollars to work to show you just how relevant the arts are to American life today. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Tax Dollars at Work."
[Image: Eleanor Antin. Plaisir d'Amour (after Couture) from Helen's Odyssey, 2007. Chromogenic print, 61 x 92 1/2 inches.]
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
If you think that a thumbs up in ancient Rome meant that the beaten gladiator would live and that a thumbs down meant death, you can thank Jean-Léon Gérôme’s 1872 painting Pollice Verso (shown above) for that. In reality, thumbs down meant “stick your sword in the ground” and no kill. Thumbs up meant “stick the sword in his neck.” It’s amazing to think of how a single work could generate such a widespread idea, but Gérôme enjoyed that kind of influence in the nineteenth century thanks to hi show-stopping scenes of the ancient world and exotic east. As tastes shifted towards modernism with the turn of the twentieth century, Gérôme slid into obscurity. Reconsidering Gérôme, edited by Scott Allan and Mary Morton, accompanies The Getty Center’s exhibition, The Spectacular Art of Gérôme, in trying to restore Gérôme’s good name in today’s art world. Their efforts amount to one big thumbs up for an artist whose old-fashioned realism masks modernist impulses that make Gérôme’s art relevant today. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Thumbs Up."
[Image: Jean-Léon Gérôme. Pollice Verso, 1872. Oil on canvas, 39.5 x 58.6 cm (15.5 x 23 in.). Phoenix Art Museum. Museum purchase.]