Sunday, November 30, 2014
On October 3, 1948, at 3:50 pm, Peter Blume finished his epic painting, years in the making, titled The Rock (shown above). “After a turbulent decade in which Peter Blume embarked on false starts, endured debilitating anxiety, experienced self-doubt, and found his faith in the creative process renewed,” Robert Cozzolino writes in the catalog to the new exhibition Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, finishing The Rock must have been a great relief. Blume recorded that date and time the way many record the
birth of their children, for The Rock was his precious baby, but completing
it marked a rebirth of sorts for Blume as a different kind of artist.
Shaped by political and artistic currents of the first half of the 20th
century, Blume emerges as a difficult to categorize artist, but also as
a fascinating visionary who struggled to paint a personal reality
clinging to the foundation of hope. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Peter Blume Painted His Personal Reality of Hope."
Monday, November 24, 2014
With a $20,000 check and
instructions to bring back “some good paintings” from friend and financier Dr. Albert C. Barnes, American artist William Glackens
set off for Paris in 1912 with carte blanche to buy the very best
modern art he could find. Long a champion and connoisseur of European
and American modernism, Glackens sent back to Barnes 33 works by
now-renowned artists such as Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh that helped shape the collection that eventually became The Barnes Foundation.
Glackens, however, was much more than a buyer. Glackens early on bought
into the ideas of European modernism and interpreted them for an
American idiom, as can be seen in a new exhibition at The Barnes
Foundation. William Glackens, the first comprehensive survey
of this undeservedly neglected artist in almost half a century, makes a
powerful case for William Glackens as the forgotten father of American
modernism. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "William Glackens: Forgotten Father of American Modernism?"
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
“Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it. Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it,” Madonna lied and “Vogue”-ed way back in 1990. Contrary to popular opinion, posing is hard work, made even harder by the requirement to look effortless. The reigning “Queen of Pose,” Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha has been clocked at 160 different poses per minute and viral videoed striking 50 poses in 30 seconds. When photographer Steven Sebring approached Rocha back in 2010 with the idea of a project involving one
model striking a thousand different poses captured using Sebring’s revolutionary, 360-degree photographic technology, it seemed a match made in modeling heaven. Study of Pose: 1,000 Poses by Coco Rocha
tests the limits of expression by the human form while capitalizing on
the latest in technology to produce no less than a new manifesto on
posing the human body as an object to be both admired and accepted for
all its truth and beauty. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Steven Sebring and Coco Rocha’s Visual Manifesto of the Human Body."
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
“Bürgerschreck!” rang the accusations in German at Austrian painter Egon Schiele in April 1912. This “shocker of the bourgeois” found his home rifled by local constables
for evidence of the immorality locals suspected of a man who lived with
a woman not his wife and invited local children to pose for him. The
constables brought over one hundred drawings as well as Schiele himself
to the local jail, where he sat for 24 days until a court trial during
which the judge flamboyantly burned one of Schiele’s “pornographic”
portraits in front of the chastised artist before releasing him. That
experience changed the rest of Schiele’s life and art. Egon Schiele: Portraits at the Neue Galerie
in New York City centers on this turning point in Schiele’s portraits,
which remain some of the most psychologically penetrating and sexual
explicit portraits of the modern age. Schiele’s capacity to shock
today’s audience may have declined as modern mores finally catch up to
him, but the power of his portraits to captivate through their
unconventionality, sensitivity, and empathy never gets old. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Prison Changed Egon Schiele’s Portraits for Better or Worse."
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Architect Frank Gehry’s raised many controversial buildings over the years, but few as controversial as the middle finger he recently raised during a press conference in Spain. During a press conference for Gehry’s upcoming receipt of the Prince of Asturias Prize from the hands of Spain’s King Felipe VI, a journalist touched a nerve when he asked if Gehry’s buildings were just about public relations-grabbing spectacle. Gehry glowered and raised the one-finger salute in response, a clear, if vulgar (and not necessarily international) sign of his displeasure with the pejorative title of “starchitect” he’s been saddled with over the years. Gehry’s gesture captured the headlines, but it was his response to the next question at that press conference where he really expressed his concern not over his reputation, but rather over the purpose of contemporary architecture itself. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "What’s Behind Frank Gehry’s Raised Middle Finger to Contemporary Architecture?"
Photographer Ansel Adams, whose beautiful black and white landscapes full of mountains still grace both museum and
office walls, called fellow photographer William Mortensen
“the anti-Christ” for what he did to the art of photography. Mortensen
inspired a great passion in his near-contemporary Adams thanks to the Pictorialism
of his images, whose illusions and painterly gestures offered a
devilish alternative to Adams’ “straight,” realistic photography. In the
exhibition William Mortensen: American Grotesque, which runs through November 30, 2014 at Stephen Romano Gallery,
Brooklyn, NY, Ansel Adams worst nightmare comes true, as his personal
“anti-Christ” rises from the grave of unfair neglect to collect fresh
converts to the eerie beauty of his decades-before-their-time artistry. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "William Mortensen: The Anti-Christ of American Photography?"