The following text is an excerpt from the the New York Times. The entire story can be read at:
The great French modernist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was not a joiner. In the early 20th century he led the brief blitz of the Fauves — those “wild beasts” of fiery colors and blunt textures — but otherwise abstained from the signal movements of modern art.
He communed with artists of the distant or not-so-distant past, from Giotto to Cézanne, and periodically brushed shoulders with Cubism and the work of his chief rival, Picasso. But his main desire was, as he put it, to “push further and deeper into true painting.” This project was in every sense an excavation, and he achieved it partly by digging into his own work, revisiting certain scenes and subjects again and again and at times also making superficially similar if drastically divergent copies of his paintings.
His rigorous yet unfettered evolution is the subject of “Matisse: In Search of True Painting” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the most thrillingly instructive exhibitions about this painter, or painting in general, that you may ever see. As ravishing as it is succinct, it skims across this French master’s long, productive career with a mere 49 paintings, but nearly all are stellar if not pivotal works.
Organized at the Met by Rebecca Rabinow, a curator of modern and contemporary art, this exhibition, which is in previews for members through Sunday and opens to nonmembers on Tuesday, sheds new light on Matisse’s penchant for copying and working in series. (It was seen in somewhat different versions at the Pompidou Center in Paris and the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen.) To this end, the paintings proceed in pairs or groups aligned by subject: two still-life arrangements with fruit and compote, from 1899; two versions of a young sailor slouching in a chair, from 1906; four views (1900 to 1914) of Notre Dame seen from Matisse’s window across the Seine; three portraits (1916-17) of Laurette, a favorite dark-haired model, seen from various distances in a voluminous green robe from Morocco.
By Jim McKinniss
I posted a blog entry about the Mapplethorpe exhibition at the Getty Museum a few days ago. Well, there is a second Mapplethorpe exhibition in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The X, Y, and Z Portfolios (published in 1978, 1978, and 1981, respectively) by American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) summarize Mapplethorpe’s ambitions as a fine-art photographer and contemporary artist, reflecting the tripartite division of his mature work: homosexual sadomasochistic imagery (X); floral still lifes (Y); and nude portraits of African-American men (Z). Mapplethorpe’s work has consistently provoked strong reactions, notably during the so-called Culture Wars of the 1980s. The exhibition is an opportunity to assess Mapplethorpe’s confrontational photographs—with their paradoxical mix of classicizing, austere form and raw, uninhibited content—through three series that defined not only his artistic career, but also a moment in American cultural politics. The exhibition, together with the Getty Museum’s concurrent In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe, celebrates the landmark joint acquisition, in 2011, of the Robert Mapplethorpe Archive by LACMA, the Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute.
This exhibition runs October 21, 2012–March 24, 2013
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90036
Phone: 323 857-6000
By Jim McKinniss
A key figure in late 20th-century photography, Robert Mapplethorpe created work with a distinctive tension between opposites: sacred and profane, mainstream and underground, light and dark. From his early Polaroid portraits, to his fashion photography and later controversial work, Mapplethorpe’s photographs are well-ordered and emotionally restrained, with dangerously chaotic and sensuous elements below.
Born in Queens, New York in 1946, Mapplethorpe studied graphic arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before dropping out in 1969. He met the musician, poet, and artist Patti Smith in 1967 and they lived together as intimate and artistic partners until 1974. In 1972, Mapplethorpe met two influential curators. John McKendry gave him his first Polaroid camera, with which he made self-portraits and portraits of his friends and acquaintances in the art world. Samuel Wagstaff, Jr. later became the artist’s lover and mentor. By the mid-1970s, Mapplethorpe had acquired a medium format camera and began photographing the world of New York’s S and M clubs.
Mapplethorpe refined his style in the early 1980s to create elegant figure studies, delicate floral still lifes, nudes, as well as glamorous celebrity portraits. His preference for simple compositions and a sophisticated use of lighting to articulate subtleties of form distinguished his mature work
His career was successfully championed by pioneering photographs dealer Harry Lunn, who along with Robert Miller and Robert Self, published portfolios of some of the artist’s most challenging work. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mapplethorpe’s X Portfolio was at the center of an American culture war over whether public monies should be used to underwrite art some deemed obscene or blasphemous.
In 1989, at age forty-two, Mapplethorpe died from complications of AIDS. A year earlier, he had established the foundation that protects his work, promotes his legacy, and supports the causes he believed in, such as art programs and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
This show runs October 23, 2012–March 24, 2013
By Jim McKinniss
Organized by the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera, Mexico City,
and curated by Rachael Arauz and Adriana Zavala with James Oles as curatorial advisor
• Members Opening: September 22
Open to the general public September 23
The Museum of Latin American Art presents for its fall exhibitions the work of two Modern artists who defied the norms and were pioneers in their respective mediums—Débora Arango from Colombia and Lola Álvarez Bravo from Mexico. Lola Álvarez Bravo (1903-1993) is one of Mexico’s most important photographers from the twentieth century. Albeit the prolific aspect of her career, which spanned nearly fifty years, she remains historically overshadowed by her famous husband, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and other important photographers of her time such as Edward Weston and Tina Modotti. Lola Álvarez Bravo’s production combined commercial practice and teaching with her personal artistic concerns, including experimenting with various photographic techniques such as photomontage and photocollage, and the exploration of political issues of her time, which contributed to the development of modern Mexican photography.
Lola Álvarez Bravo: The Photography of an Era will provide an unprecedented opportunity to reconsider the career of this remarkable and influential artist, as it will introduce many photographic materials to the public for the first time. This will also contribute to the scholarship and open avenues for new research on her oeuvre. Soon after her death, a significant part of Lola’s archive, including negatives, documents, and over 100 prints, was acquired by the Center for Creative Photography, from her son Manuel Álvarez Bravo Martínez. However, a previously unknown portion of Lola’s archive remained in Mexico in the collection of the Rendón family.
The exhibition is comprised by this recently discovered group of photographs in the Rendón Collection, which includes unpublised negatives and archival material of Lola’s work, but also over twenty vintage prints by Manuel Álvarez Bravo and a group of images by Lola’s students at the Academia de San Carlos, including Mariana Yampolsky and Raúl Conde. This remarkable and well-preserved collection reveals the complex breadth of Lola’s career from the formation of her aesthetic in her husband’s darkroom in the 1920s to her influence on the work of her students in the 1950s.
Organized by the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera, Mexico City, and curated by Rachael Arauz and Adriana Zavala with James Oles as curatorial advisor, the exhibition Lola Álvarez Bravo: The Photography of an Era, will be on view at the Museum of Latin American Art from September 23, 2012 to January 27, 2013, before concluding its tour at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona.
Débora Arango / Lola Álvarez Bravo
Sunday, September 23, 2012, 2:00 – 4:00PM
Balboa Studio Room
Moderator: Cecilia Fajardo-Hill.
Panelists: Oscar Roldán Alzate, curator of Débora Arango Arrives Today (Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín); and Adriana Zavala, co-curator of Lóla Álvarez Bravo: The Photography of an Era.
Women on Women
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Join Associate VP of Education Gabriela Martínez and Assistant Curator Selene Preciado in a conversation about women artists depicting women in Modern Art, related to the exhibitions Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today and Lóla Álvarez Bravo: The Photography of an Era.
Lola Álvarez Bravo (Mexico, 1907-1993)
Diego Rivera, 1945
Gelatin silver print
Familia González Rendón Collection
© 1995 Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation
By Jim McKinniss
I have a new and unique opportunity, as my proposal to curate a photobook exhibition for the XI Edition of FotoGrafia Festival Internazionale di Roma (FotoGrafia – the International Festival of Rome) was accepted. Very nice!
The theme for this festival is “work”, which is an interesting subject and in my proposal, I addressed it rather broadly. I now have to articulate my concept for the exhibition catalog, but essentially a contemporary investigation into workers, what we do as “work” and the working we do, as a process or activity of “work”. Work as a noun and as a verb, eh?
The other part of my proposal is that each photographer will photograph a double page spread of their photobook, their personal choice, then I will have these photographs printed and hanging in the exhibition room to provide another dimension to the book object and photographic work. As the photobook is also a work of art by the photographer. Another layering of the theme of the festival.
As a first step, I had to determine if there were enough contemporary photobooks available to constitute an exhibition. Focusing on a contemporary investigation of the theme, I am also looking at recent published photobooks over the last three or four years. Examining my photobook library, I already thought this exhibition was feasible. After a couple of Facebook shout-outs, I became aware of even more book titles that were interesting and warranted further investigation. As such I now have my shortlist of photobook titles that should provide a very interesting exhibition. cool!
Now I need to make my final exhibition selection and then notify the photographers. I am also publishing a brief commentary of each photobook selected for my shortlist on my photobook review blog, The PhotoBook.
Which means that for the next couple of months, an emphasis on the photographic work and photobooks of others while my own photographic projects linger. Maybe a transition to a new career, eh? Or maybe create some opportunities to sell my photobook, Ciociaria?
The exhibition in Rome, Italy will take place at the MACRO Testaccio (Museo d’Art Contemporenea di Roma) in the Pelanda exhibition space from September 20 to October 28th. Maybe see you there?
Best regards, Douglas Stockdale
One of the most sensational and shocking images in European art, Edvard Munch’s painting of a man locked in a vampire’s tortured embrace – her molten-red hair running along his soft bare skin – created an instant outcry when unveiled a century ago. Some believed the Norwegian artist’s anguished 1894 masterpiece, Love and Pain – since known asVampire – to be a reference to his illicit visits to prostitutes; others interpreted it as a macabre fantasy about the death of his favourite sister. Some years later, Nazi Germany condemned it as morally “degenerate”.
Vampire has become one of Munch’s most sought-after and reproduced images, despite remaining in the hands of a private collector for the past 70 years.
The painting will go on the open market, The Independent can reveal, and is anticipated to smash the $31m (£17m) auction record for a Munch work. Vampire, which is often seen as the sister of The Scream, completed just months earlier, will be sold at a Sotheby’s auction in New York for an estimated $35m.
The painting was part of Munch’s seminal 20-work series The Frieze of Life, which included The Scream. It is the most significant version of fourVampires he completed in 1893 and 1894, and was first exhibited in 1902 in Berlin, where his works caused shock and awe.
Vampire was sold to the avid Munch collector, John Anker, in 1903, and is the only work from the original series in private hands. It was acquired by a private collection from Anker and his wife, Nini Roll, in 1934, and has since remained there – albeit loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York until last year. Vampire has not been since in Britain since 1974. Simon Shaw, head of Impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s in New York, said: “There have been past Munch works to be sold in recent times, such as a wonderful group of works in 2006 and a painting earlier this year, but this one is a real, knock ’em dead masterpiece.”
Vampire caused a sensation when it was unveiled, touching on turn-of-the-century fears about women’s liberation. Some critics were outraged by its perverse, almost sado-masochistic depiction of passion. Mr Shaw added: “It was shocking to Berlin society just as it is shocking today.” Munch, however, always insisted it was nothing more than “just a woman kissing a man on the neck”.
The work also became the basis for several pastels, woodcuts, lithographs and prints, one of which will be sold at Sotheby’s in London on 2 October, entitledVampire II and estimated to fetch up to £400,000. The painting will be on view in London from 3 to 7 October, and then in Moscow, before it is sold in New York on 3 November.
By Jim McKinniss
Herb Ritts’s photography is the obverse of AIDS. Populated by impossibly beautiful young people with impossibly perfect bodies frolicking in the outdoors, they are the picture of perfect health—and as such the polar opposite of the wan, cadaverous figures then increasingly visible as AIDS slowly lurched into public view. There are plenty of gay people in this aestheticized world, but straights too, women as well as men, black as well as white, a polymorphous collectivity of erotic desire that effortlessly transcended the then ubiquitous markers of identity mobilized to segregate the presumptively uninfected from those of us marked to die. Here the body, the newly declared enemy of an ever-larger segment of the gay community, reigns supreme, its possibilities and pleasures scopically available in an obverse relation to physical risk.
Herb Ritts’s career as a photographer neatly maps over the ravages of AIDS. In this talk, Jonathan Katz resituates Ritts’s work in the social and cultural context of the worst years of the plague, and argues that his commercial and critical import stem in large part from the fact that he was an openly gay photographer who nonetheless proffered a utopian dream of a time before the prospect of Eros was inevitably fused with the specter of Thanatos.
This exhibition runs April 3 through August 26, 2012
J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1687
Phone: +1 (310) 440-7330
E-mail: (for general Museum inquiries)firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jim McKinniss
Photographs copyright Douglas Stockdale 2012
I am now able, as well as extremely happy, to share some wonderful news. Over the past month I have been in discussions with Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO), the largest contemporary art museums in Rome Italy, regarding the acquisition of three Limited Edition photographs from my photobook project Ciociaria. This week I received the really great news that the acquisition has been completed. The three photographs that they acquired are provided in this post. The photographs will become part of the museums permanent collection of contemporary photography.
What I am finding out is that with many museum acquisitions, the process can become very complicated. In this case there was a need to balance what the museum wanted in the number and size of the photographs with their acquisition budget, which initially did not add up very well. Thus a small group of collectors were brought into the process who provided underwriting (financial gifts as new museum patrons) assistance with the museum’s acquisition. And thus the program successfully came together.
This is the first museum acquisition as well as the first inclusion into a permanent photography collection. To now be a part of the MACRO’s contemporary photography collection is an honor, as the MACRO is becoming a very well-known contemporary art museum in Italy as well as in Europe.
Best regards, Doug
In conjunction with Pacific Standard Time, dnj Gallery is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition “Then and Now,” a group exhibition consisting of eight Southern California photographers: Darryl J. Curran, Robert Fichter, Robert Flick, Suda House, Patrick Nagatani, Jane O’Neal, Susan Rankaitis and Robert von Sternberg. In the late sixties and seventies, New York and Paris may have been considered to be the hub of the art world with the accepted aesthetic traditions. Los Angeles was artistically less structured, allowing its artists to explore ideas outside of the mainstream. “Then and Now” highlights artists who defied common conventions and experimented with techniques and innovative uses of contemporary subject matter.
This exhibition will trace the stimulating progress of these photographers who flourished within the Southern California environment. It will show the full trajectory of their development, to work completed in the present day (and with a similar ideology). Each of the eight artists will showcase a few two-photograph pairings of their work. Each pairing will consist of a piece from ‘Then’ shown side by side with another piece from ‘Now.’
For the past forty years, these artists have sought to expand the definition of ‘photography’ through significant experiments with non-traditional methods, such as abstraction, conceptualism, multiplicity of meanings and subjectivity, appropriation, light as subject, emphasis on banality, camera-less image-making, obsolete photographic printing processes, slide projection, collage making and collaboration. The artists discovered and embraced a broader potential of their art, and developed their own means of creative self-expression, separate and apart from the conventional paradigms.
Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980
Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Initiated through grants from the Getty foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months beginning October 2011.
Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.
This exhibition runs November 19, 2011 through January 7, 2012
dnj Gallery is located in Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Avenue, Suite J1
Santa Monica, CA 90404
tel: (310) 315-3551
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm
By Jim McKinniss
This Winter the Muckenthaler Cultural Center (a.k.a. The Muck, Fullerton, CA) introduces a unique and creative new Book-Arts Program for adults and high school students. From intricate diaries to wacky journals, students will learn the detailed art of handcrafting books. Taught by Betsy Holster, the class will be offered for two Winter Sessions and two Spring sessions, each session lasting for six weeks with one meeting per week on Thursday night from 6 to 9 p.m. The program will also host a special workshop to coincide with the Spring gallery opening of the Muck’s Combat Paper Exhibit, honoring war veterans through the transformation of their uniforms into paper. This special workshop will be held June 4-11, followed by the Combat Paper Exhibit which opens on June 21.
A unique and creative class for adults!
$180.00 per adult, $144 for members
Winter Sessions: January 2 – February 10
February 13 – March 23
Spring Sessions: March 26 – May 11
May 14 – June 22
Thursday 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
With years of experience in teaching, Ms. Holster is a highly respected instructor in art and craft; she specializes in Book Making using a wide variety of techniques such as creating materials, printmaking, and collage. She is currently an Associate Professor at Cal State Fullerton where she teaches Book-Arts and Papermaking as well as Materials and Methods classes.