Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Meryl at the Rose

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Hundreds of people came to MERYL BRATER’s Memorial Exhibition at the Rose Art Museum. We all believed that Meryl would live on at the Rose, and that many generations to come would have the chance to know her through her art. To close the museum now would be a terrible blow to everyone who loved her – to everyone who trusted their treasure to the Rose.

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John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, June 29th, 1999

He was the preeminent portrait painter of his day, and he gave it all up to paint landscapes. His private life is a mystery. His brushwork is still dazzling. JOHN SINGER SARGENT seems to have walked out of the pages of a novel by Henry James, who wrote of him: “Yes, I have always thought of Sargent as a great painter. He would be greater still if he had done one or two little things he hasn’t—but he will do.”

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Object as Insight: Japanese Buddhist Art and Ritual

Saturday, June 1st, 1996

Bodhisattvas with serene, all-embracing smiles; golden flower baskets for carrying lotus petals to purify a sacred space; ritual bronze chimes adorned with peacocks. “Each article is incredibly beautiful, but it’s only when all the articles come together, evoking the presence of the Buddha, that you can understand Buddhist art.”

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The Fire of Hephaistos

Wednesday, May 1st, 1996

These ancient bronzes, which have long since lost their golden gleam, are still numinous fragments of a vanished world. One statue of young man was recently pulled out of a river; his pale sea-green body is scratched and scarred; but he is still a lovely apparition, reminding me of some lines from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”:
“Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea change
Into something rich and strange.”

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Winslow Homer

Saturday, March 2nd, 1996

WINSLOW HOMER spent most of his life fishing and painting, reeling in the deep, unfathomable mystery of the sea. His pictures often show somebody gazing out to sea, concentrating on something no one else can see. Maybe it’s the light on the water, or the wind in the sails, or a boat coming home to shore, or just the flicker of a dream.

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Lazlo Moholy-Nagy’s Light-Space Modulator

Friday, October 4th, 1991

“When the “light prop” was set in motion for the first time in a small mechanics shop in 1930, I felt like the sorcerer’s apprentice. The mobile was so startling in its coordinated motions and space articulations of light and shadow sequences that I almost believed in magic.”

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Busch-Reisinger Museum

Saturday, September 14th, 1991

A crowded stage, and all the players on it. A king, wearing a crown, stabs himself in the heart. A woman looks at her reflection in a mirror, next to a statue of a Greek god. Modern men and women read the newspaper, talk, flirt, and fight with real knives. MAX BECKMANN’s The Actors aims to encompass all of Art and Life in thick, sure slashes of paint.

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Pleasures of Paris

Friday, September 6th, 1991

in a moment, the door will swing back shut, and the cafe will disappear, and then the street singer will vanish, into the street, into the night, never to be seen again. Only here, in this painting, where she is forever caught in the golden net of the Paris night at the moment when she stepped out through the swinging door, onto the street, and into our dreams.

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John Singer Sargent’s EL JALEO

Wednesday, August 28th, 1991

In a dark, smoky room, a solitary dancer raises up her arm in a tense, ecstatic movement of inspiration; her other hand clutches the skirt of her dress — a flash of white light gleaming in the dark. You can almost hear the rhythmic weeping of the guitars; you can almost feel beating of the dancer’s tumultuous heart.

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Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun

Friday, July 19th, 1991
Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun

Madame Vigee-Lebrun revolutionized the portrait. She despised the powder and stiff clothes that women wore; she let their hair down, and draped them in soft, flowing shawls and painted them looking soft, dreamy, natural, alive. Her paintings helped to create a new look, a new style, a new attitude to life in pre-revolutionary Paris.

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Dream Lovers

Friday, July 12th, 1991

When Berthe Morisot met Édouard Manet at the Louvre in 1867, he was 36 years old and married; she was ten years younger and still living with her parents at home. She was lively, intelligent, charming, talented. He was brilliant, difficult, fickle, famous, fascinating. She had long admired him from a distance; he immediately wanted to paint her portrait.

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Fragments of Antiquity

Friday, June 21st, 1991

All that we know of Greece has come to us in ruins–armless, headless, faded, fallen, broken, battered, lost in translation. What we have are fragments, fragments that have lost almost everything–except their poetry. But, generation after generation, that poetry has never lost its thrilling, visionary gleam.

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Guercino

Thursday, March 14th, 1991

GUERCINO drew like an angel—his gorgeous line curls across the page; his brush forms shadows that suggest a sense of the roundness and fullness of life. His best drawings are more than drawings—they are blessings, exquisite expressions of those moments when Art and Faith are one.

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The Unique Print

Sunday, December 9th, 1990

In monotype, there is no fixed image on the printing surface. The artist paints or draws on a printing plate, makes changes, and prints again; the final proof is an accumulation of all the changes that have been made. Pale, faded images of past impressions often cling to monotypes like shadows; they are called “ghosts.”

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A Tribute to Kojiro Tomita

Thursday, November 8th, 1990

It is said that CHU TA never spoke — but he laughed, cried, waved his hands, and drank rice wine most expressively while he painted. Every single touch of Chu Ta’s brush means something. Every mark still matters. Hundreds of years later, you can still almost feel the movement of his hand — the bold drunken touch of his brush.

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Barbizon

Monday, October 1st, 1990

Barbizon was a place and a style — and also a feeling—a mood—a time of day — dusk, when the forms of things soften and the edges blur, and a kind of hush falls over the world. The earth is solemn, soft, and tender, like a bed—and sometimes like a grave.

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Pierre Bonnard: Prints

Saturday, September 1st, 1990

BONNARD’s art is an art of nuance and suggestion. His friend, the Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine, wrote:
“You must have music first of all,
and for that a rhythm uneven is best,
vague in the air and soluble
with nothing heavy and nothing at rest.”

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Martin Puryear

Monday, July 9th, 1990

His falcons are elegant objects, yet they are also birds of prey. They are chained to a perch, dreaming of flight; perfectly at rest, yet poised to spread their wings and reach for the sky. His art conveys a sense of scraping away and discarding everything that is not essential – of travelling light, like a nomad, and soaring high, like a bird.

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Madame de Pompadour

Friday, June 1st, 1990

Madame de Pompadour always managed to look graceful, even in the most constricting clothes — corsets, bustles, and stays. Like Madonna, she created a Look that was supremely artificial — the powdered hair, the heavily applied make-up, the elaborate gowns. Like Madonna in her John-Paul Gaultier bustiers, La Pompadour in her negligée proudly displayed her sexuality as the source of her power.

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Robert Rauschenberg

Tuesday, May 22nd, 1990

Great art cheats death of its victory by transforming memory’s fragile fragments into something lasting, precious, and incorruptible. The ghostly white porch is a window to a world beyond flesh and paint – a world without sorrow or substance, color or weight. It is cool, pale, and white as a bone.

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Shaker Spirit Drawings

Tuesday, May 1st, 1990

In the nineteenth century, women in Shaker communities recorded their visions of heavenly gardens in “spirit” or “gift” drawings — simple gifts that speak to the heart. The words, written in tiny, spidery handwriting, are faded and almost illegible, but the little birds and hearts and flowers make the feelings clear.

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Monet in the ’90’s: The Series Paintings

Monday, April 30th, 1990

In painting after painting, the earth moves and the water swoons and the sky tumbles and all the blues and pinks and purples and reds and oranges dissolve into one. Earth and water come together, again and again, and explode in a symphony of light and color and air.

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Farewell Concert

Thursday, March 29th, 1990

I loved THE CONCERT, the beautiful little painting by VERMEER. Each time I looked at it, I saw something new. Now it’s gone. I try to remember every line, every shadow, every gleam of light, every sweet cadence of its silent music, but I can already feel it fading. As time goes by, it will darken and grow dim.

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Textile Masterpieces

Thursday, February 8th, 1990

Rugs and blankets, shrouds and shawls: textiles touched the lives of the people who lived with them. Slumbering in storerooms, rolled up and protected from light, these textile masterpieces have kept their vibrant colors and something of their human warmth. Now, unfurled, they look like magic carpets, poised to rise.

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The Grand Tour

Sunday, January 28th, 1990

Light as a whisper, these elegant images, in the delicate style known as ROCOCO, convey the “sweetness of life” before the Revolution. Something of the warmth of the artist’s hand still lingers in all the little jabs and touches of chalk or ink that make up these delicious little 18th century drawings and prints.

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The Cone Collection

Sunday, January 28th, 1990

The CONE sisters collected art because they loved it and wanted to live with it. Their art collection became an emblem of their secret selves — a vision of the richness of their inner lives. Many of the images here show women the same expression on their face — a look of contentment, completeness, and self-fulfillment.

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Weston’s Weston: Portraits and Nudes

Sunday, January 21st, 1990

WESTON’s portraits of friends and lovers are so intense that their souls seem to flicker through their sensitive faces and expressive hands. But Weston’s Nudes are seen in nameless fragments, as cool and smooth as marble. You see their bodies, but their faces are turned away.

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Ruins at the Rose

Friday, December 8th, 1989

The 80’s began with big, shiny, self-confident paintings, but they are ending with of shreds and tatters, and anxious premonitions of a ruined world. They reminded me of the ending of William Gibson’s science fiction novel Count Zero, when a brilliant computer distills the few remaining fragments of a ruined civilization into exquisite little constructions. Or these lines from a Shakespeare sonnet; “bare, ruined choirs, where late the sweet bird sang”.

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American Screenprints

Tuesday, September 26th, 1989

Many of the most memorable images of the sixties were silkscreen prints: Andy Warhol’s soupcans, Marilyns, and Jackies, Roy Lichtensteins’s day-glo brushstrokes on Ben-Day dots, Sister Corita’s Flower Power messages, Robert Indiana’s LOVE, and Ed Ruscha’s dazzling 1966 Standard Station, radiant and gleaming in the California light.

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Imperial Taste

Monday, July 24th, 1989

In the 12th century, the Emperor Quianlong, who was a also a poet, said, “I want color”. He got color: exquisite pale blues and greens that seem to float on the surface of the bowls’ smooth surfaces like clouds; purple splashes called “the sky at dusk”; and a pale cobalt blue that seems distilled from a serene and cloudless summer sky.

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Mary Cassatt

Friday, July 14th, 1989

In many of the prints, a woman’s face is partially obscured, either because of the way she has turned her head, or because she is holding something in front of her face ‑‑ a hand, a letter, a child. This conveys a sense of mystery, a feeling that there are secret meanings and moments of tragedy and what Virginia Woolf called “ecstasy” — hidden in the texture of a woman’s daily life.

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Adolph von Menzel

Tuesday, July 11th, 1989

MENZEL’s drawings often show people and things as if they were turning into shadow, turning into smoke, dissolving into a cloud; just about to disappear. He said, “I early cultivated the habit of drawing things as though I were never to see them again.”

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Courtly Splendor: Twelve Centuries of Treasures from Japan

Tuesday, March 21st, 1989

The silvery glow of the moon and the flow of an underground river are reflected in sinuous calligraphy that swoons down a page from 12th century book of poems, strewn with shimmering silver roses: “True, I say nothing/ but the longing in my heart/ reaches out to you,/ secret as the constant flow of an underground river.”

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Anselm Kiefer

Wednesday, February 1st, 1989

Anselm Kiefer uses the language of modern art to rewrite the kind of grandiose nineteenth-century history painting that modern art rejected. He paints a raging elegy for the failure of reason and civilization to overcome the evil that is part of human nature. Yet for Kiefer, only the magic of art can build something beautiful out of the wreck of reason and the failure of history.

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Images of the Mind

Monday, May 19th, 1986

Tao Chi was a prince who became a wandering Buddhist monk. His “Melancholy Thoughts on the Hsiao and Hsiang Rivers,” captures the mood of the end of autumn. A lonely fishing hut is half-hidden by a few sparse trees; a flock of wild geese flies over a river. The calligraphy echoes the flight of the birds and the quiver of the leaves. Without understanding a word, we can feel the poetry.

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Jean-Francois Millet: Seeds of Impressionism

Friday, June 1st, 1984

Jean-Francois MILLET saw a timeless beauty and sadness in life, in evenings dark and filled with color. “What I know of happiness is the quiet, the silence, that you can savor so deliciously, either in the forests, or in the fields,” he wrote.

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The Drawings of Palladio

Saturday, May 1st, 1982

“There is something divine about his talent, something comparable to the power of a great poet who, out of the worlds of truth and falsehood, creates a third whose borrowed existence enchants us.”

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Kush: Lost Kingdom of the Nile

Tuesday, December 1st, 1981

Red Sea shells and polished stones from the pyramid tomb of Queen Khensa — “great of charm, great of praise, possessor of grace, sweet of love” — and other treasures from KUSH, Lost Kingdom of the Nile. A meditation on Art, Time, and the ancient river.

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The Dial: Arts and Letters in the 1920s

Wednesday, April 1st, 1981

THE DIAL was a literary magazine that published T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, as well as reproductions of artworks collected by Schofield Thayer, a Henry Jamesian character who went abroad in search of old knowledge and new art.

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Ingres 1780-1980

Monday, December 1st, 1980

For a twentieth-century audience brought up on abstraction, INGRES’s greatness, his fascination, lies in the abstract qualities of his line, its restless, obsessive movement across the page. Ingres’ line has power, grace, life; it’s brilliant, dramatic, neurotic, even perverse. He told his students, “Drawing is everything; it is all of Art.”

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Gabriele Munter: From Munich to Murnau

Saturday, November 1st, 1980

A woman sits thinking, resting her head on her hand in a room filled with flowers and fruit. The room seems charged with meaning, filled with her extraordinary presence. For GABRIELE MUNTER, art was not about appearances, but about realities lying behind appearances. Abstraction was a way of seeing into the heart of things.

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Claude Le Lorrain

Tuesday, April 1st, 1980

CLAUDE LE LORRAIN depicts the moment just before transfiguration — the moment just before women turn into goddesses, or girls turn into swans, or life turns into art. His light is dusk and twilight — the darkling light that washes the physical world in unearthly beauty and fills the heart with an intoxicating sense of possibility.

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