Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Tag: Whitney Museum of American Art

The Art of the Book, special gifts any time of year, with Doug Flamm of Gagosian Bookshop

Gagosian Bookshop 976 Madison Avenue New York

Gagosian Bookshop
976 Madison Avenue
New York

THE PUBLICATION OF THE GUTENBERG BIBLE IN 1455 PRODUCED THE FIRST COMPLETE EXTANT BOOK KNOWN IN WESTERN CULTURE PRINTED BY USING MASS-PRODUCED MOVABLE METAL TYPE. TODAY, BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE IN MANY FORMS, BOTH PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL, ON KINDLE OR ANY NUMBER OF TABLETS AND e-READERS. PRESENTLY, A BOOK CAN ALSO BE A HIGHLY DEVELOPED ART FORM, A MEDIUM OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION THAT ADOPTS THE FORMAT OF  THE BOOK AS A SPRINGBOARD FOR CREATIVE INSPIRATION. AT THE CENTER FOR BOOK ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY,THE FIRST ORGANIZATION OF ITS KIND DEDICATED TO THE PRESERVATION OF THE TRADITIONAL PRACTICES OF THE ART OF BOOKMAKING, CLASSES ARE OFFERED IN BOOKBINDING, LETTERPRESS PRINTING, PAPER MARBLING AND TYPOGRAPHY. THE CENTER  SUPPORTS THE AESTHETIC ASPECTS OF A BOOK, ENCOURAGING BOOKMAKERS TO PRODUCE CREATIVE, NEWLY INTERPRETED FORMATS AND MATERIALS.

 

Center for Book Arts New York City

Center for Book Arts
New York City

AS 2016 DRAWS TO A CLOSE, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME BACK  DOUG FLAMM WHO HEADS THE GAGOSIAN BOOKSHOP, AN EXPERT IN BOTH RARE BOOKS, ARTISTS’ MONOGRAPHS AND ARTISTS’ BOOKS. DOUG SUGGESTS SOME PHENOMENAL, ALBEIT BELATED, HOLIDAY GIFTS.  YOU WILL BE FORGIVEN. THESE SELECTIONS ARE COLLECTORS’ ITEMS FOR ANY SEASON.

http://www.gagosian.com/shop/

 

Richard Artschwager The Hydraulic Door Check

Richard Artschwager
The Hydraulic Door Check

Richard Artschwager’s The Hydraulic Door Check (2002)

A fun and playful take on bookmaking, The Hydraulic Door Check is a special limited edition in which Artschwager applied rubberized horsehair, a material that he has used in many sculptures, to the book to create a new “binding.” This copy is one of five hundred copies, signed by the artist.

Kunst der sechziger Jahre. 5th erweiterte Auflage. (Art of the Sixties. Fifth Revised Edition) (1971)

Kunst der sechziger Jahre. 5th erweiterte Auflage. (Art of the Sixties. Fifth Revised Edition) (1971)

Kunst der sechziger Jahre. 5th erweiterte Auflage. (Art of the Sixties. Fifth Revised Edition) (1971)

I’ve always been fascinated by the design of this book. It’s part object, part book: a great document of a collection presented in a book that looks like no other. Created in 1971 as a catalogue of the Ludwig Collection on loan to Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, the covers are embossed plastic, the spine is Plexiglas, and the 209 color plates are tipped-in on special paper and covered with printed transparencies. It features the work of ninety-two artists, including Richard Artschwager, John Chamberlain, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Pablo Picasso, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol, among others.

THANK YOU, DOUG, AND…

THANK YOU,  READERS AND CONTRIBUTORS,  FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT.  BEST WISHES TO ALL, NEAR AND DEAR, FOR A STELLAR 2017!

Andy Warhol So Many Stars

Andy Warhol
So Many Stars

 

Curatorial legends: the life of Katharine Kuh with art historian and writer, Avis Berman

Katharine Kuh Museum of Modern Art

Katharine Kuh
Museum of Modern Art

THE WHITNEY MUSEUM WAS ESTABLISHED BY TWO DEDICATED WOMEN COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING THE LIVING ARTISTS OF THEIR TIME. TODAY, THE ART WORLD IS COMPRISED OF MANY POWERFUL AND INFLUENTIAL WOMEN: GALLERISTS, ART ADVISORS, AUCTION HOUSE SPECIALISTS AND DEALERS. THERE ARE BRILLIANT WOMEN CURATORS WHO HELP BUILD MUSEUM COLLECTIONS OR WORK INDEPENDENTLY CREATING COMPELLING EXHIBITIONS THAT WIDEN AND DEEPEN OUR CULTURAL AND AESTHETIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE ARTS.

Katharine Kuh. Mark Chagall and Dan Rich Art Institute of Chicago 1958

Katharine Kuh. Mark Chagall and Dan Rich
Art Institute of Chicago
1958

IN TODAY’S LRFA POST, WRITER AND CURATOR AVIS BERMAN WILL DOCUMENT THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF A WOMAN OF THE LAST GENERATION OF CURATORS WHO GREATLY CONTRIBUTED TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART.  KATHARINE KUH WAS ONE OF THE GREAT ART WORLD FIGURES OF THE MID-20th CENTURY, FORMER CURATOR AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO.  LIKE JULIANA FORCE, KUH WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN SUPPORTING THE CONTEMPORARY ART OF HER TIME.

Katharine Kuh Art Institute of Chicago May 1951

Katharine Kuh
Art Institute of Chicago
May 1951

AVIS, WHAT DREW YOU TO WRITING ABOUT HER AND CURATING AN EXHIBITION IN HER HONOR? WHAT WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS THAT SHE MADE?

I met Katharine Kuh in 1982 when I began conducting an oral history of her for the Archives of American Art’s special oral history project on Mark Rothko’s life and times, which was sponsored by the Mark Rothko Foundation. I was supposed to go three or four times, but she had almost total recall and what she was telling me was so interesting and compelling that I decided that I was going to keep going until the job was done. I recorded her fifteen times and, after that, we were friends. After I finished the oral history in 1983, I kept getting together with her and, as I knew more than anyone else about her professional life, she asked me to be her literary executor. In 1986 she began writing her memoirs, which she did not live to complete. So I finished them and got them published in 2005. 

Katherine Kuh: My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator by AVIS BERMAN

Katherine Kuh: My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator
by AVIS BERMAN

Katharine’s great achievement was her consistent championing of the avant-garde in a hostile environment. Chicago in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s was conservative in its artistic tastes, and it took great courage to stick to her principles. In the 1930s her gallery, which specialized in modern American and European art, was vandalized by “Sanity in Art,” a local organization rabidly advocating native regionalism and in the 1950s she was picketed outside the museum for buying a Jackson Pollock – protestors waved placards that said “Koo Koo Must Go!”

The Artist's Voice: Talks with Seventeen Modern Artists by Katharine Kuh

The Artist’s Voice: Talks with Seventeen Modern Artists
by Katharine Kuh

I always admired her most for her implacable belief that the center of art is not the art historian, critic, dealer, advisor, or curator – it is the artist. Katharine always hung around with artists as her best education, and I have tried to do the same.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney working in the Eighth Street studio

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney working in the Eighth Street studio

IN A CAREER AS VAST AND VARIED AS YOURS, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING HIGHLIGHTS? DO YOU FIND THAT THEY ARE MORE OFTEN AS AN ART HISTORIAN, CRITIC OR CURATOR?

I guess that the best thing I ever did was Rebels on Eighth Street, which brought a significant woman to light and established the history of an important American museum in context of seemingly no information about the subject. The book is still a part of the conversation on American art, and Force can no longer be ignored – I felt vindicated when the Whitney opened downtown last March and the gallery on the first floor was dedicated to both Gertrude Whitney and Juliana Force. In the past, only Gertrude Whitney would have been celebrated.

I am also very proud of the William Glackens exhibition. Most people have not seen the artist at his best, and we were able to bring together almost all of the top pictures under one roof. The critics, including several who had previously not been admirers, concluded that this was an artist who deserved a fresh look.

Robert Henri's portrait of Edith Dimock Glackens

Robert Henri’s portrait of Edith Dimock Glackens

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?

I am researching an essay on Edith Dimock Glackens, William Glackens’s wife and also an artist and thorough-going feminist, and I’ve embarked on a project with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

WHAT SUBJECTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO FOCUS ON IN THE FUTURE THAT YOU HAVE YET TO EXPLORE AS FULLY AS YOU WOULD LIKE, AND WHY?

I’m not ready talk about that at this time. I do want to write another book, subject to be named later.

AVIS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION OF TIME AND EXPERTISE. I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR NEXT BOOK!

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, I AM DELIGHTED TO INTRODUCE FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, MAX TEICHER OF GAGOSIAN GALLERY. MAX NOT ONLY WORKS VERY HARD BUT ALSO ALWAYS MAKES OUR COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS FUN AS WELL AS PRODUCTIVE.

PLEASE JOIN US! YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS AS FOLLOWERS AND READERS ARE MUCH APPRECIATED.

A focus on the accomplishes of women in the arts with historian and curator, Avis Berman

Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, UK home of the New Hall Collection of Art

Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, UK
home of the New Hall Collection of Art

THE NEW HALL COLLEGE FOR WOMEN STUDENTS AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY WAS FOUNDED IN 1954 BY ROSEMARY MURRAY, EDUCATOR, PIONEERING CHEMIST AND FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE. IN 2004, SHORTLY AFTER HER DEATH, NEW HALL WAS RENAMED MURRAY EDWARDS COLLEGE IN HER HONOR AND HOUSES THE LARGE COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY ART BY WOMEN ARTISTS IN EUROPE.

THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME AVIS BERMAN TODAY TO SHARE IN HER DISCOVERY OF THIS COLLECTION AND TO LEARN ABOUT ANOTHER OF HER CONTRIBUTIONS ON OUTSTANDING WOMEN IN THE ARTS, HER STUDY OF JULIANA FORCE, GERTRUDE VANDERBILT WHITNEY AND THE FORMATION OF THE WHITNEY MUSEUM.

AVIS, THANK YOU FOR OUR CONTINUED CONVERSATION.

DO YOU PROPOSE THE SUBJECTS YOU WISH TO WRITE ABOUT TO PUBLICATIONS THAT YOU FEEL ARE APPROPRIATE? I KNOW THERE ARE LITERARY AGENTS FOR BOOKS BUT ARE THERE REPRESENTATIVES FOR SHORTER CONTRIBUTIONS SUCH AS ARTICLES?

As a rule, there are no agents for articles about art and art history – there’s not enough money involved for the labor to be worth their while. I have often proposed subjects to magazines and just as frequently an editor has come to me with an idea.

Amaranth Ehrenahlt Three Streams Acrylic on paper Gift of Anita Shapolsky

Amaranth Ehrenahlt
Three Streams
Acrylic on paper
Gift of Anita Shapolsky

I ASSUME WITH YOUR PROFESSIONAL HISTORY AS AN ART HISTORIAN, CRITIC AND WRITER, YOU RECEIVE MANY REQUESTS TO WRITE ON A SPECIFIC TOPIC? WHAT WERE SOME OF THE MOST GRATIFYING SUBJECTS, AND WHY?

The most gratifying subjects are either those that bring someone or something valuable to light that has been forgotten or overlooked or those for which I find that I have a genuinely new idea about. The latter being the most elusive not merely to possess, but to articulate in a sustained manner beyond the original aha! perception. The initial concept that seems so brilliant in your head is always subject to banal execution on the page.

Sandra Fisher Portrait of Jake Auerbach Oil on canvas Gift of R.B. Kitaj

Sandra Fisher
Portrait of Jake Auerbach
Oil on canvas
Gift of R.B. Kitaj

One was “Through the Eyes of Women,” an article that ran last fall in Antiques Magazine about a large collection of contemporary women’s art at Murray Edwards College at Cambridge University;   In discovering the existence of the art collection in Cambridge, I had the delight of exposing my own provincialism – here was a whole  slew of artists of whom I knew little, and writing the article helped me conduct my education about them in public.

http://www.themagazineantiques.com/articles/as-seen-through-the-work-of-women-the-new-hall-art-collection-at-cambridge-university/

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FROM AVIS BERMAN’S ARTICLE IN ANTIQUES ON AN ECLECTIC INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION OF ART BY WOMEN. NEW TO ME!

Art pilgrims intent on making Cambridge, England, their destination should extend their journey beyond the university’s majestic Fitzwilliam Museum and its old masters and Kettle’s Yard, the fey modernist cenacle of British art between the wars, to include the New Hall Art Collection at Murray Edwards College, one of three exclusively women’s colleges at the University of Cambridge. Unknown to many Cambridge students and faculty, and a substantial number of British art historians and critics, the college has collected and exhibits more than four hundred works of art by women. It is the most significant collection of its kind in Europe, and the second largest public collection of women’s art in existence, surpassed only by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., which houses some forty-five hundred objects.

One of the most laudable aspects of this unsung treasure is the message its installation sends: art is for everyone. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints are not sequestered in gallery spaces. Instead, they are installed everywhere within the college, from the dining room to the corridors and the lecture halls. Their presence underscores the notion of intellectual freedom in a community of women living and working together, one in which individual expression is an everyday occurrence that permeates their lives.

Thus the collection is not so much a hidden gem as a multiplicity of riches hiding in plain sight.

Juliana R. Force Founding Director Whitney Museum of Art

Juliana R. Force
Founding Director
Whitney Museum of Art

In 1990, YOU AUTHORED AN OUTSTANDING BOOK ENTITLED “REBELS ON EIGHTH STREET: JULIANA FORCE AND THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART”. THIS WAS THE FIRST AND ONLY BOOK ON THE HISTORY OF THE WHITNEY MUSEUM. HOW DID YOU ACCCOUNT FOR THAT AND WHAT PROMPTED THE PUBLICATION AT THE TIME THAT YOU WROTE IT?

I wrote a brief and early article on Juliana Force in the mid-1970s for the AAM journal Museum News, and thought no more about it. Then a couple of years later, one of her nephews, whom I had not known about, saw the article and got in touch with me. He liked what I had written and persuaded me that there was a book about his aunt if I cared to tackle it. He couldn’t help me financially, but he would turn over the family papers and introduce me to people he knew, and I in my innocence said yes. And then my real life began.

That there had not been a book before was the ultimate challenge – at the time, if something in 20th-century American, particularly in American modernism, hadn’t been done by the Museum of Modern Art or by Stieglitz, it didn’t exist. I wanted to change that perception.

Portrait of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney by Robert Henri, 1916

Portrait of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney
by Robert Henri, 1916

WHAT IS THE RESEARCH PROCESS THAT WAS NECESSARY TO WRITE A BOOK ON A SUBJECT OF SUCH SIGNIFICANCE THAT HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY IGNORED?

I spent 10-12 years on that book, because I had to cover so much. Not just Juliana Force, the first director of the Whitney Museum, but Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the woman who hired her and made her possible. And then I had to judge the quality of their achievement, so I had to steep myself in all the artists and exhibitions of the Whitney-Force enterprises between 1908 and 1948. So it was a tremendous educational grounding in the art and culture of the New York art world between the wars. I had to read the books, the articles, the memoirs, the exhibition checklists, not to mention the 120 people I interviewed.

I also made a vow not to write around anything. If I didn’t know something, I didn’t skip it. I made myself sit there, figure it out, and cast it into prose.

THE NEW WHITNEY MUSEUM, DESIGNED BY ARCHITECT RENZO PIANO, SITUATED BETWEEN THE HIGH LINE AND THE HUDSON RIVER, IS A DAZZLING BUILDING. IT INCORPORATES 13,000 SQUARE FEET OF OUTDOOR EXHIBITION SPACE AND TERRACES, ALLOWS THE MUSEUM TO EXHIBIT A GREAT DEAL MORE OF ITS OUTSTANDING PERMANENT COLLECTION AND PROVIDES CURATORIAL FREEDOM TO PRESENT A MUCH BROADER RANGE OF EXHIBITIONS, PERFORMANCES AND THEATER. MOST OF ALL, FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, THE EXTRAORDINARY ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN RESPONDS EXQUISITELY TO THE CHARACTER OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND THE MULTI-DIRECTIONAL VIEWS OF THE GREAT CITY OF NEW YORK.

THE NEXT LRFA BLOG WITH AVIS BERMAN WILL FOCUS ON THE WHITNEY, ITS FORMATION AND UNIQUE HISTORY.  THE LRFA BLOG WELCOMES ALL COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS AND URGES YOU TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AVIS’ PRESENCE AND DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE.

THANK YOU FOR SUBSCRIBING!

Avis Berman, curator and writer, documents the radical transformations of 20th Century American Modernism

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Semé, 1953. Oil on canvas, 52 × 40 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Semé, 1953. Oil on canvas, 52 × 40 in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN  ART, CELEBRATING ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY IN ITS GLORIOUS NEW RENZO PIANO BUILDING AT THE BASE OF THE HIGH LINE, OPENS STUART DAVIS: IN FULL SWING, ON JUNE 10th. STUART DAVIS WAS A REVOLUTIONARY MODERNIST ARTIST FIRST TO APPROPRIATE IMAGES FROM THE WORLD OF ADVERTISING INTO HIS PAINTINGS. HE CREATED AN ART THAT MERGED EUROPEAN AVANT-GARDE ABSTRACTION WITH THE ENERGY OF FAMILIAR AMERICAN SIGNS AND SYMBOLS , THUS SETTING THE STAGE FOR JASPER JOHNS, ED RUSCHA, BARBARA KRUGER AND COUNTLESS “WORD AND IMAGE” ARTISTS WHO FOLLOWED.

http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/StuartDavis

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Owh! in San Paõ, 1951. Oil on canvas 52 1/4 × 41 3/4 in. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Owh! in San Paõ, 1951.
Oil on canvas
52 1/4 × 41 3/4 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

THIS WILL BE THE MOST RECENT OF MANY EXHIBITIONS, IN BOTH MAJOR MUSEUMS SUCH AS THE WHITNEY AND MORE MODEST REGIONAL AND UNIVERSITY  MUSEUM VENUES THAT FOCUS ON THE TRANSFORMATIVE PERIOD OF MODERNIST AMERICAN ART REPRESENTING ONLY ONE DYNAMIC ASPECT IN THE EXPLOSION OF 19th CENTURY NORMS IN SOCIETY AND CULTURE IN GENERAL.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG WELCOMES BACK AVIS BERMAN,  WRITER, CURATOR AND EXPERT ON AMERICAN MODERNISM.

AVIS, YOUR NUMEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS INCLUDE NEWSPAPER PUBLICATIONS SUCH AS THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, AND THE BOSTON GLOBE, JUST TO NAME A VERY FEW. I AM ASSUMING THAT YOU WERE ACTING IN THE ROLE OF A REVIEWER OF EXHIBITIONS.

I almost never review exhibitions. I prefer to write long, research-based pieces that rely on primary sources. These articles were profiles of artists, observations on the social history of the art and artists, art-travel pieces, and book reviews.

ELIE NADELMAN Seated Woman, 1924 Estate of Elie Nadelman Photo courtesy of AFA)

ELIE NADELMAN
Seated Woman, 1924
Estate of Elie Nadelman
Photo courtesy of AFA)

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS THAT, IN RETROSPECT, WERE PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT AND WHY?

One of the most significant articles that I wrote was called “Sculptor in the Open Air: Elie Nadelman and Folk and Popular Art.” It was the first research to delve deeply into the myriad aspects of artist’s connection with aspects of Polish, French, American, and other European folk arts, and I presented many new ideas, based on both my own analyses and on previously overlooked archival sources. The essay was for an AFA exhibition called “Classical Folk.” It was an excellent show, but it didn’t receive much publicity, especially because the Whitney was mounting a large Nadelman retrospective shortly to follow, but the article has been consistently cited (and sometimes plundered) ever since.

Elie Nadelman: Classical Folk by Elie Nadelman and Suzanne Ramljak Essay contribution: Avis Berman

Elie Nadelman: Classical Folk
by Elie Nadelman and Suzanne Ramljak
Essay contribution: Avis Berman

Recently I wrote two different types of articles that gave me much pleasure because they were so different from the norm.  One was an essay about images of urban night in early twentieth-century American painting and photography for the catalogue of “Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art, 1860-1960,” an exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

 

Night Vision: Nocturnes In American Art, 1860-1960 Essay contribution: Avis Berman

Night Vision: Nocturnes In American Art, 1860-1960
Essay contribution: Avis Berman

THE CATALOGUE OF NIGHT VISION: NOCTURNES IN AMERICAN ART, 1860 – 1960 MEMORIALIZED A MAJOR EXHIBITION OF AMERICAN ART AT THE BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART IN MAINE FROM JUNE – OCTOBER 2015 . THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT SURVEY OF  AMERICAN NIGHT SCENES BY ARTISTS SUCH AS ANDREW WYETH, GEORGIA O’KEEFFE AND WINSLOW HOMER, IT EXPLORES THE DEPARTURE FROM THE CONVENTIONAL STYLES AND TRADITIONS THAT  TRANSFORMED OUR AMERICAN ART  AND CULTURE  WITH THE ADVENT OF NEW POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND TECHNOLOGY.

http://store.bowdoin.edu/collections/art-museum/products/night-vision-nocturnes-in-american-art-1860-1960-pre-order

AVIS, WHAT WAS THE FOCUS OF YOUR ESSAY IN THE CATALOGUE AND WHY?

For “City Lights: Urban Perceptions of Night,” I approached the work of artists from Hassam and Steichen and Stieglitz to Sloan and Hopper and Martin Lewis as evolving responses to the phenomenon of New York jettisoning gas lamps for electrification. Focusing on these images in relation to a new technology fascinated me. 

IN HER OWN WORDS, SOME EXCERPTS FROM THE ESSAY:

 JAMES ABBOTT MCNEILL WHISTLER Nocturne in Black and Gold (The Falling Rocket), 1875


JAMES ABBOTT MCNEILL WHISTLER
Nocturne in Black and Gold (The Falling Rocket), 1875

Beginning in the early 1880s,New York’s main source of nighttime light was no longer the faraway moon or the stuttering flame of a gas lamp, but the clear, steady glow of the incandescent filament. These brilliantly illuminated streets, public places, and private residences changed entire patterns of existence, to which contemporary artists had to respond. Elec­trification catapulted New York into the modern age and pushed artists to chronicle the city’s altered tempo and appearance. Just as Whistler’s melding of forms, textures, and colors of his night scenes took him to the brink of abstraction, most daringly in Nocturne in Black and Gold. The Falling Rocket (fig. 1), contending with the electrified city after dark meant that his successors would reveal a host of new forces at work in their representations of New York….

Childe Hassam Cab Stand at Night, Madison Square, New York Smith College Museum of Art Northampton, MA

Childe Hassam
Cab Stand at Night, Madison Square, New York
Smith College Museum of Art
Northampton, MA

When the Bostonian Childe Hassam moved to New York in 1889. he was determined to capture the daily occurrences of urban life, at least in the city’s more refined precincts. His vision extended beyond New York’s streets, buildings, and inhabitants to include the exploitation of natural phenomena. Like Whistler and the French Impressionists, he sought to capture atmospheric light in all its embodiments— during rain, snow, and mist, and after dark. These interests coalesce in Cab Stand at Night, Madison Square,  especially as Hassam was an eager portrayer of horse-drawn cabs. Sometimes he even hired one as an on-site studio, using the seat in front of him to set up an easel.3 In describing how he created the painting that is probably Cab Stand at Night, Madison Square, Hassam stated, “I use an ordinary sketch book and pencil a great deal for making notes of characteristic attitudes and movements…

Alfred Stieglitz Reflections - Night (New York), 1897 Gelatin silver print Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Alfred Stieglitz
Reflections – Night (New York), 1897
Gelatin silver print
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

One would hardly expect to find affinities between the talented but moderate Hassam and Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen, innovators who were leaders of the photographic avant-garde. Stieglitz claimed to be the first photographer to achieve success with night photography and, in 1898, a year after he began com­posing nocturnal scenes, he stated that their expressive potential opened “up certain possibilities that have not as yet been attempted.” 

Berenice Abbott Night View: Midtown Manhattan, (New York at Night), 1934 Gelatin silver print Smith College Museum of Art

Berenice Abbott
Night View: Midtown Manhattan, (New York at Night), 1934
Gelatin silver print
Smith College Museum of Art

The unalloyed triumphs of technology without which the modern city is inconceivable—incandescent lighting and the tall building—are apotheosized in Berenice Abbott’s anthem to the electrical grid, New York at Night (alternately titled Night View:Midtown Manhattan). The spectacular Olympian view of towers blazing like icy prisms on a dry winter evening was taken from a high floor of the Empire State Building, the successor to the Flatiron and the Chanin buildings as New York’s reigning icon of architectural modernity. Abbott had to calibrate exactly when the night would begin in order to get what she envisioned. She knew that most employees worked in their offices only until about five o’clock, after which the lights would be turned off. She thus waited until one of the shortest days of the year December 20.1934 – to create the photograph. At sunset, shortly before five, when evening began for most workers, Abbott exposed the negative for fifteen minutes and created an immaculate image of “the vertical city with its unimaginable diamonds. Night was no longer there to veil New York’s architecture: it was to exalt it. Artificial light had conquered nature and taken possession of it.

IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, AVIS WILL INFORM US ON HER STUDY OF THE NEW HALL COLLECTION AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY’S MURRAY EDWARD COLLEGE, A BODY OF WORK SHE DISCOVERED, PUBLISHED IN ANTIQUES MAGAZINE.

PLEASE JOIN US!

Avis Berman, writer, curator, historian of American art, architecture and culture

Avis Berman Author and art historian

Avis Berman
Author and art historian

THE ROLE OF THE ART HISTORIAN IS CRUCIAL TO THE KNOWLEDGE AND APPRECIATION OF OUR CULTURAL LEGACY IN THE VISUAL ARTS. THE HISTORIAN IS THE KEEPER OF OUR HERITAGE DOCUMENTING AND SHARING HISTORICAL AND GEOPOLITICAL INFLUENCES ON ART, DEEPENING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF A WORK OF ART BOTH IN TERMS OF ITS MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES AND ITS PLACE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PERIOD IN WHICH IT WAS CONCEIVED.

AVIS BERMAN IS AN INFLUENTIAL AND DELIGHTFUL PRESENCE  IN THE ART WORLD. HER LECTURES AND WRITING CONTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANTLY  TO OUR APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF 20th CENTURY AMERICAN ART. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF MANY BOOKS AND ARTICLES; REBELS ON EIGHTH STREET: JULIANA FORCE AND THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART,  EDWARD HOPPER’S NEW YORK AND CO-AUTHOR OF KATHARINE KUH’S MEMOIR. MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MODERN ART: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH A LEGENDARY CURATOR, TO NAME A FEW.

Rebels of Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art by AVIS BERMAN

Rebels of Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art
by AVIS BERMAN

WITHOUT AVIS BERMAN’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE SCHOLARSHIP OF AMERICAN ART, OUR UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF THIS PERIOD WOULD BE GREATLY DIMINISHED. HER WRITINGS HAVE PROVIDED A WEALTH OF INFORMATION ON OUR AMERICAN CULTURE AND THE INNOVATIVE AND REVOLUTIONARY PRESENCE OF AMERICAN ART THAT EMERGED IN THE EARLY 20th CENTURY.

My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator Avis Berman, Editor

My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator
Avis Berman, Editor

IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO WELCOME AVIS BERMAN TO THE LRFA BLOG.

AVIS, YOUR PRIMARY SCHOLASTIC FOCUS AT UNIVERSITY AND GRADUATE LEVELS WAS IN ENGLISH LITERATURE. WHAT PROMPTED YOUR SHIFT TO WRITER AND CRITIC IN THE ARTS?

While looking for a job in my field, I got a position as a researcher at the Smithsonian, and I got so excited by the wealth of American art around me, which I had never seen in such mass and depth, that I decided that I wanted to learn more about it. However, I have never regretted studying literature – it has helped me in both analyzing and in writing.

DID YOU GROW UP WITH AN INTEREST AND EXPOSURE TO ART AND, IF SO, WHAT PARTICULAR PERIODS OF WORK RESONATED WITH YOU INITIALLY?

I wasn’t enormously exposed to art, but I grew up in the Hartford area, and I did go to the Wadsworth Atheneum. But my sister was an artist, and I enjoyed taking courses in high school. I wasn’t talented, but I got high marks because I always had ideas that I executed.

DURING YOUR COLLEGE AND POST-GRADUATE YEARS, DID YOU ELECT TO TAKE COURSES IN STUDIO ART AND/OR ART HISTORY?

I went to Bucknell University as an undergraduate, and I took some survey courses in art history, but I ended up choosing literature as a major because there were no great art collections nearby – Philadelphia was about three hours to the east and Pittsburgh three hours to the west. We had to study through slides and minor examples from the Kress Foundation (which used to give works of art to universities as study collections), and I found that looking at reproductions alone was not the way to learn about art, so I decided I would not major in it. But evidently I was mistaken, because I was at Bucknell with two women who became very distinguished art historians and museum directors – Doreen Bolger and Lynda Roscoe Hartigan – who had no trouble with an art major at Bucknell.

A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America by Richard Miller Essay contribution: Avis Berman

A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America
by Richard Miller
Essay contribution: Avis Berman

WAS THERE A PARTICULAR PERIOD OF ART THAT WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF YOUR STUDIES? IF SO, WHAT MOTIVATED YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND INTEREST IN THAT PERIOD?

I have always loved the period 1890-1950 in American art, and I continue to do so. I am fascinated by the prospect of artists struggling to find their artistic identity and establish their artistic heritage. Also, when I started, the only period of American art not considered provincial was 1945 to the present, with an emphasis on Abstract Expressionism and internationalism.

Photo Caption: John Sloan at work in his studio, ca. 1925 Smithsonian American Art Museum

Photo Caption:
John Sloan at work in his studio, ca. 1925
Smithsonian American Art Museum

When I started working at the Smithsonian, it was the first time I saw a painting by John Sloan, and I became curious about that mass of semi-buried history, which was not at all fashionable then. I was also fortunate enough to be encouraged by superb mentors, including Adelyn Breeskin and Lloyd Goodrich.

IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, AVIS WILL SHARE HER PROFESSIONAL HISTORY AS A WRITER AND HISTORIAN. WE HOPE YOU WILL PARTICULARLY ENJOY EXCERPTS OF SOME OF THE ACTUAL TEXTS AND ILLUSTRATIONS OF HER WRITINGS.

PLEASE JOIN US!

 

Welcome to Lisson New York with gallery director Claus Robenhagen

CLAUS ROBENHAGEN LISSON GALLERY photo credit: Max Logsdail

CLAUS ROBENHAGEN
LISSON GALLERY
photo credit: Max Logsdail

LISSON GALLERY, FOUNDED IN LONDON IN 1967 BY NICHOLAS LOGSDAIL,  IS ONE OF THE MOST  INFLUENTIAL AND RESPECTED INTERNATIONAL GALLERIES SPECIALIZING IN CONTEMPORARY ART. SINCE ITS INCEPTION, LISSON HAS SUPPORTED AND DEVELOPED THE CAREERS OF ARTISTS WHO HAVE TRULY TRANSFORMED OUR AESTHETIC AND INTELLECTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF ART. IN ANTICIPATION OF FRIEZE NEW YORK, AND THE NEW YORK AUCTION SEASON,  LISSON GALLERY NEW YORK IN CHELSEA OPENS TO THE PUBLIC NEXT MONDAY, MAY 2ND, WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY INAUGURAL EXHIBITION OF WORKS BY THE LEGENDARY CARMEN HERRERA, SOON TO BE HONORED WITH A RETROSPECTIVE AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM.

http://www.lissongallery.com/

Lisson Gallery New York

Lisson Gallery
New York

 

THE BEAUTIFUL NEW CHELSEA SPACE LOCATED AT 504 WEST 24th STREET , FLOODED WITH NATURAL LIGHT AND DESIGNED BY STUDIO MDA AND STUDIO CHRISTIAN WASSMAN, IS HOUSED IN A NEW BUILDING LOCATED UNDER THE HIGH LINE THAT CONNECTS 24th TO 23rd STREET. ITS ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN HONOR THE FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS OF THE HIGH LINE AND THE EXISTING PARK STRUCTURE.

Lisson Gallery 504 East 24th Street New York, NY

Lisson Gallery
504 East 24th Street
New York, NY

http://www.lissongallery.com/news/lisson-gallery-new-york-to-open-on-3-may-2016

IN ANTICIPATION OF LISSON NEW YORK, THE LRFA BLOG HAS GREAT PLEASURE IN INTRODUCING MY FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, CLAUS ROBENHAGEN. CLAUS PROVIDES A RICH PERSPECTIVE ON THE LONDON ART MARKET AND A DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND ENTHUSIASM FOR THE VITAL ARTISTS THE GALLERY REPRESENTS.

Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera

CLAUS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG. I ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU, YOUR PROFESSIONALISM AND UNFLAGGING KINDNESS AND PERSEVERANCE.

HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN PURSUING A CAREER IN THE ARTS?

While I was growing up parents took me to galleries and museums – I always thought these were important places for education and reflection.

WHAT WERE YOUR ACADEMIC PURSUITS? WHERE THEY IN THE AREA OF ART OR OTHER FIELDS?

I studied art history at the University of Copenhagen.

YOU WORKED FOR OVER A DECADE AT GALLERI NICOLAI WALLNER IN COPENHAGEN. IS THIS WHERE YOU GREW UP AND WENT TO SCHOOL?

My family is from the Northern part of Denmark – Aalborg, while the city is mostly known for industry, it does have a beautiful art museum designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto in the 1960s.

Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg

Kunsten Museum of Modern Art
Aalborg

WHAT WAS THE SCOPE OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A DIRECTOR AT NICOLAI WALLNER AND HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THE ROSTER OF ARTISTS THE GALLERY REPRESENTED?

The gallery opened in 1993 and at the core of the program was this wonderful group of Danish artists who true to their time work in a quite activist, engaging manner.

Jakob Kolding Galleri Nicolai Wallner

Jakob Kolding
Galleri Nicolai Wallner

This could take the form of art with a societal agenda like in the works of Jakob Kolding or a more personal approach found in the videos of Peter Land. Obviously the program expanded since then and has also come to include older, international artists like Dan Graham, Richard Tuttle.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Denmark

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Denmark

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE DANISH ART SCENE AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN COPENHAGEN?

There are a number of great art institutions in Denmark with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art as the most famous. Copenhagen is small and the art scene reflects that – however I do feel things are changing. There is now a wonderful Nordic art fair CHART happening in August that brings in a number of international visitors. http://chartartfair.com/

CHART ART FAIR August 26 - August 28, 2016 The Courtyard of Kunshal Charlottenburg during the fair.

CHART ART FAIR
August 26 – August 28, 2016
The Courtyard of Kunshal Charlottenburg during the fair.

CLAUS ROBENHAGEN, OF LISSON GALLERY, IS AN EXTREMELY WELL-INFORMED AND PERCEPTIVE GALLERIST. PLEASE DO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIS PRESENCE ON THE LRFA BLOG AND DIRECT ANY QUESTIONS TO US ABOUT THE LONDON GALLERY SCENE AND THE INTERNATIONAL ART MARKET.

THANK YOU ALL FOR FOLLOWING THE LRFA BLOG!