Friday, August 26, 2016

JEWEL BOXES: Klimt's gaggle of glamourous gals coming soon to Neue Galerie, NY

         “Truth is like fire; to tell the truth means to glow and burn.”                                                                                       ... Gustav Klimt

Anyone who reads this blog knows that the Neue Galerie NY is one of my most-loved museums in the world, and that Gustav Klimt is one of my favorite early 20th century
artists. I have spent many an hour staring at the luminous and much-storied 
Adele Bloch-Bauer I, the saga of whose recovery from Nazi looting was recounted in the  2015 film "Woman in Gold". The iconic painting has now found a permanent 
home at the Neue Galerie NY, thanks to the persistence of Bloch-Bauer's niece 
Maria Altmann, and the generosity of Ronald S. Lauder, the heirs of the Estates of 
Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer, and the Estée Lauder Fund.
 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907
Gold, silver, and oil on canvas 

I am very pleased to let my readers know that a new exhibition of Klimt's work,
Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900-1918 will open at Neue Galerie NY 
on September 22, 2016. The show will put into a broader context Klimt's
fascination with the sensuality of women, and the way in which they embodied the 
spirit of fin de siècle Vienna, at that time the center of the art world.

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The two ethereal paintings below represent some of Klimt's earliest portrait art, in which the influences of Symbolism and the Pre-Raphaelite movement are evident. Klimt (1862-1918) is considered a pivotal figure in the cultural life of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Vienna, and provided a vital link between nineteenth-century Symbolism and the beginning of Modernism.

Portrait of Szerena Lederer, 1899
Lederer was a Vienna socialite who built up the most important Klimt collection of her era.

 Portrait of Gertha Loew, 1902
This lovely painting of 19-year-old Gerta, swathed in white gossamer,
was also looted by the Nazis, but also was eventually recovered
and returned to the subject's daughter. 

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Moving into the the early decades of the 20th century,
Klimt's portraits become much more lively, colorful,
and almost Fauve-like. 

 Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1912

Mäda Primavesi was, by her own account, "an independent, assertive young girl", 
qualities  captured in this portrait of her at about nine years old.  The image 
attests to the sophisticated taste of her parents, banker and industrialist 
Otto Primavesi and his wife Eugenia, 
ardent supporters of progressive Viennese art and design.

 Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer, 1914-1916

Elisabeth was the daughter of August and Serena Lederer, Klimt's most important patrons. 
The family's collection eventually grew to include fifteen canvases by the artist. 
Serena, whose portrait Klimt later painted, was described by many 
as "the best-dressed woman in Vienna."

Portrait of Ria Munk III, 1917

This painting is the third and final  in a series of three portraits commissioned by the Munk family of their daughter Ria. It is one of the last and most modern of Klimt’s full-length female portraits, and offers a glimpse into the artist's evovling style. The lavishly 
decorated background draws on his passion for Eastern art and 
iconography of which he was an avid collector.  
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Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1907

According to curatorial notes,
"The exhibition will include approximately
12 paintings, 40 drawings, 40 works of
decorative art, and vintage photographs
of Klimt, drawn from public and private
collections worldwide. Central to the
exhibition will be the display of Portrait of
Adele Bloch-Bauer I and Portrait of Adele
Bloch-Bauer II, which will be shown side-
by-side for the first time since 2006."

Much more to come -- hats, aesthetic fashion, Klimt's muse Emilie Flöge ♥ --  
after I've seen the show! 

"Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – 
they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize 
what I am and what I want." 
                                                             ... Gustav Klimt 

~ oOo ~


Friday, August 19, 2016

DESTINATIONS: Unassuming Rockland, Maine becoming the star of the state's arts scene

With its recent move into a new, purpose-built building in downtown Rockland, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art has elevated this unassuming city -- which already houses the venerable Wyeth-filled Farnsworth Museum -- into a star on the national art and design stage. The new venue, designed by architect Toshiko Mori, is expected to draw 40,000 + visitors annually. Formerly a quiet fishing village, Rockland has become a magnet for artists, hipsters and young entrepreneurs; Main St. is now replete with small shops, cafés, book stores, art supply stores and restaurants.

The new CMCA, showcasing
“Particle Soul” figures by Ogunquit artist Jonathan Borofsky
photo credit to Boston Globe

"The glass enclosed space, with its corrugated metal exterior and emphasis on 
Maine’s legendary light, is unlike anything else in the state. It’s designed to 
be accessible and inviting, with a central courtyard that offers views inside and links the space to the community like an open embrace. Here, CMCA continues its mission 
as a current and future catalyst for carrying forward Maine’s 
exceptional legacy in American art, on a whole new scale."
                                                                                                   ... Portland Press Herald

 One of the many airy galleries at the new 7,700 square foot venue
Architect's rendering by Toshiko Mori

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Currently showing/upcoming exhibitions at CMCA: 

• Jonathan Borovsky: Particle Soul
   Closes August 21

• Laura Henkin: Second Nature
opens August 28

Henkin encourages her viewers to think about how the vast amount of imagery 
we see every day affects our relationship to the natural environment. Her art asks:
 "What is real in an increasingly digitized, virtual world?"

• 2016 Biennial, opens Nov. 4


An open, statewide juried exhibition featuring work in all media
produced by selected artists in the past two years.

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If you're in Rockland, don't miss the highly acclaimed Farnsworth Museum.
I love the Robert Indiana "Eat" sign (originally designed for the 1964 New York 
World's Fair) that perches atop the building, rescued from demolition. 
The museum's Wyeth Center houses many memorable paintings 
by three generations of Wyeths: N.C., Andrew, and James.

 Photo by Michael Schonbach

For more information about the CMCA, link here.
 To learn more about the Farnsworth Museum, link here.

Last but not least ...
while you're in Rockland, make sure to stop in at the Project Puffin's
Main St. headquarters! You're guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face,
and possibly an armful of puffinabilia.

~ oOo ~

Monday, August 15, 2016

JEWEL BOXES: The luminous, mesmerizing world of glass artist Dale Chihuly

I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.
Read more at:
I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.
Read more at:
"I want people to be overwhelmed by light and color
in a way they have never experienced."
                                                                             ... Dale Chihuly

 Glass forest by Dale Chihuly (2003)
All photographs by Michael Schonbach

Mesmerizing ... zany ... color-saturated ... puzzling ... elegant ... exotic ... These and many other adjectives have been used in an attempt to describe the extraordinary qualities of glass artist Dale Chihuly's dazzling artwork. My recent visit to downtown Seattle's Chihuly Garden and Glass confirmed that this 74-year-old Tacoma, WA native's talents are not only singular, but immensely entertaining to boot. Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition, opened in 2012 at the Seattle Center and quickly has become a destination crowd-pleaser.

Chihuly was introduced to glassmaking as an interior design student at the University of Washington. In 1965, he enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin; he continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established and taught for more than a decade in the school's the glass program. 

 Mille Fiore (A Thousand Flowers)

In 1968, Chihuly received a Fulbright Fellowship, and went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, 
which is essential to the way he works today. 

Ikebana and float boats (c.1995)

This installation, a wooden boat filled with glass orbs,
was inspired by Chihuly's childhood memories of seeing Japanese 
fishing boat floats along Puget Sound's beaches, as well as
the Japanese art of Ikebana (precise, formal flower arranging).

In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State; with this educational center, he led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide, including at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, over the canals and piazzas of Venice (sculptures for this project were crafted at glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the V & A Museum in London, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), and The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem. 

Left and below: Luminous, exuberant chandeliers by Chihuly. The artist has a longtime interest in the way art and architecture interact. In his 1995-1996 project Chihuly over Venice, he pushed the envelope on scale and placement, creating thirteen chandeliers to be hung in different sites throughout the city. Five of these installations from, or inspired by, Chihuly over Venice are included in the Seattle Center exhibition.

Below: Sealife Tower

The artist's love of the sea always shines through his work. This powerful 15-foot structure -- which includes forms such as starfish, octopus, conch shells, sea anemones, 
urchins and manta rays -- was inspired by the ocean and specifically by 
Puget Sound. The Towers evolved from Chihuly's desire to exhibit sculpture 
in spaces where ceilings could not withstand the weight of chandeliers. 

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Persian Ceiling 
This spectacular installation is lit from above and rests on a clear glass pane. 
It's part of the artist's Persians series (begun in 1986), a bold experiment in form and color incorporated into an architectural framework. Smaller shapes nestle inside 
larger ones, and the entire work can be seen either as one seamless piece, 
or as a collection of distinct design elements.  

Perhaps one of my favorite of Michael's photos from our visit on 7/2/16:
a hanging flower sculpture in the  shadow of the Space Needle

This orange and yellow suspended sculpture seems
to stretch forever inside the glass house that leads out to the garden.
It is 100 feet long and contains 1,340 individual pieces.

Chihuly has said that memories of his mother's abundant gardens 
serve as constant inspiration to his work. His lifelong fascination for glasshouses has
grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. 

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Below: I modestly call this extravaganza of purple glass and greenery
Judy's Magical Garden. 

Chihuly's Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. 
Other major exhibition venues for this cycle include the de Young Museum in 
San Francisco (2008); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011); 
and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2013).  
I'm an artist, a designer, a craftsman, interior designer, half-architect. There's no one name that fits me very well.
Read more at:

For more information about Dale Chihuly's life, philosophy and politics
please visit the link below.

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originally posted 7.10.16

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ODD BITS: John Margolies' quirky photos of roadside Americana: "Exclamation points of the landscape"

I wanted to note the passing of John Margolies, America's foremost photographer of vernacular architecture, on May 26, 2016, at 76. He specialized in shooting quirky, playful subjects: incomprehensible neon signage, miniature golf courses, motels shaped like everything from wigwams to railroad cars, ice cream stands shaped like (of course) ice cream cones, and architectural mixed metaphors such as a gas station in the form of a teapot or flying saucer. 

Below: Teapot Dome Service station, Zillah, Washington 
Built in 1922, in business for 80 years
Restored by the community and now in use as a visitors' center

As a child, I was enchanted by these totems of the highway, and I recall my Uncle Arnold once "giving" me a giant milk bottle that marked a dairy farm in upstate NY. (Later, he gave me all the giant milk bottles in the US, but by that time I was a bit suspicious about the whole caper.)

 One of "my" milk bottles, this one at the
Frates Milk Bottle Building in New Bedford, MA

In a remembrance of Mr. Margolies, the NY Times wrote, "Starting in the 1970s, he spent much of his life scouring back roads for those vanishing emblems of midcentury enterprise, which were already imperiled by air travel, interstates and big-box sprawl. Over more than 30 years and 100,000 miles Mr. Margolies produced tens of thousands of images, resulting in a spate of richly illustrated books, including John Margolies: Roadside America (2010), with text by design writer Phil Patton and the architectural historian C. Ford Peatross."

This book cover features Margolies' iconic photo of the
Big Fish Drive-in Supper Club, Bena, Minn

Home Away from Home: Motels in America
Nov. 1995

                                                                               Above: Fun Along the Road: American                                       Tourist Attractions - Another Amazing Album from America's 
                                                                                Number One Roadside Observer

Above: Martin Theater, Talladega, Alabama, 1980
This photo became the cover for Margolies' book 
Ticket to Paradise: American Movie Theaters and How We Had Fun

Margolies lectured widely and his photographs were exhibited around the world, including at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers; the Building Centre in London; the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.; and, last year, at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. Below are a few more photos for your viewing pleasure.

Flying Saucer Gas Station, Ashtabula, Ohio

 The Donut Hole
Doughnut shop in La Puente, Calif.

Twistee Treat soft ice cream stand
[Location unknown] 

Writing in The New York Times in 1981, famed architecture critic Paul Goldberger said, “The architectural historian John Margolies must surely be the father of this entire movement — he has led dozens of his colleagues toward an appreciation of those buildings that might be called exclamation points of the landscape.”

Much of Margolies' huge collection of ephemera of the road (menus, postcards, matchbooks, placemats) is now housed at the Library of Congress 
along with 13,000 of his images. 

For a day-glo lunch, stop in at 

 Uranium Cafe, Grants, N.M., 1979. 
John Margolies/courtesy Taschen Books

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