After retiring from the footwear trade in 1935, Morris Hirshfield turned to the pursuit he had always dreamed of: painting. One of his first pictures, Angora Cat (1937), was painted on top of a pre-existing painting that his wife Henriette had framed and hung in their apartment in Bensonhurst Brooklyn. If you look closely, you can see that part of the underlying picture — the lion figurine displayed on the background wall — remains visible. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Morris Hirshfield, Angora Cat
Lynda Benglis‘ work of poured latex takes painting to an extreme. Despite employing a medium, that is not itself paint, Benglis nonetheless draws attention to paint’s essential, primary properties: color and liquidity. To make Contraband (1969), the artist created, mixtures of powdered pigment and latex in 5-gallon cans that she then poured and let run on the floor with minimal intervention. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Lynda Benglis, Contraband
The only painting in which Edward Hopper depicts a cinema screen, New York Movie (1939) is one of the artist’s most compelling and spatially complex theater pictures. This work depicts three distinct features within the movie house: the screen, the moviegoers watching it, and the usher tasked with watching them. The space itself is an amalgam of hoppers on-site research from four New York theaters: the Globe, Palace, Republic, and Strand. Hopper’s wife, Jo, who posed for both the usher and the audience members, noted Edward’s struggle in bringing this painting together: “it is such a difficult subject…Not to be there as he looks – not even taken from any one theater – bits from all of them.” Examples from the 53 extant sketches show both the design flourishes characteristic to each theater, as well as certain architectural typologies common to all.
Photographed as part of the Exhibit Hopper’s New York on View at the Whitney Museum, New York City, Through March 5th, 2023.
Cobalt is a town in Ontario, Canada, which had a population of 1,118 at the 2016 Census. In the early 1900s, the area was heavily mined for silver; the silver ore also contained cobalt. By 1910, the community was the fourth highest producer of silver in the world. Canadian artist Yvonne McKague Housser’s depictions of Cobalt ranged from the downright scruffy to the homey and cozy to the faceted and austere as she wrestled with her subject matter. Some of her larger paintings of Cobalt, made later in her Toronto studio, express a bold utopian vision of industry in the North, a view she relates in her letters to friends. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Deserted Mine Shaft, Cobalt, By Yvonne McKague Housser
Alexis Rockman’s Mazaruni River (1994) plunges the viewer into the watery world polluted by large-scale gold dredging in Guyana. The hyper-realistic scene is simultaneously seductive and terrifying, as sunny skies and tropical green foliage belie the river’s toxicity. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Mazaruni River By Alexis Rockman