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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