Tag Archives: whitney museum

Modern Art Monday Presents: Norman Lewis, American Totem

norman lewis american totem photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

American Totem (1960) is one of a series of black-and-white paintings that Norman Lewis made which explore the emotional and psychic impact of the civil rights movement. Lewis, one of the few Black artists associated with Abstract Expressionism, created a form  that evokes the infamous hooded Klansman, but the monolith is composed of a multitude of smaller forms resembling apparitions, skulls and masks.

Lewis’s work suggest that terror is both representable and abstract, conscious an unconscious, visible and hidden. The painting was made more than decade after Lewis’s first solo show at the Willard Gallery in New York in 1949, which had earned him considerable renown but neither the financial rewards nor exhibition opportunities if his peers.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Rosie Lee Tompkins, Three Sixes

rosie lee tompkins three sixes photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

To make this quilt, Rosie Lee Tompkins (19362006) drew on many techniques developed by Black women quilters in the American South who blended West African textile traditions, European patterning, and individual improvisation in their art.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Ed Ruscha, The Old Tool & Die Building

old too and dye building photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

The title of Ed Ruscha’s The Old Tool & Die Building (2004) suggests that the industrial space pictured here — decorated with signage in a mix of altered, nonsensical Korean and archaic Mandarin characters, an unidentifiable corporate symbol, and graffiti — was once a place where machinists manufactured parts.

The Old Tool & Die Building is part of the Course of Empire series — a group of five paintings that revisit the subjects of Ruscha’s 1992 series Blue Collar. In those back and white canvases, the artist had pictured the industrial buildings once common to the American urban landscape. The newer paintings, rendered in color, capture old sites repurposed, abandoned, enlarged, or made obsolete

Ed Ruscha named the series after a group of paintings by the Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole (1801 – 1848). Cole’s The Course of Empire (183336) traces the transformation of an imagined civilization from an Edenic state close to nature, through the rise of culture, to a dominating Empire, and then on to decline and ruin. Although Ruscha’s coolly removed depictions do not editorialize on their subjects, like Cole’s works they chronicle the unrelenting developments and the inevitable cycles of human civilizations.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

 

David Hammons Day’s End at Pier 52

days end david hammons photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

One of the great things about public art is how the viewer can have such a wholly unique experience of the piece depending on the time of day it is viewed. In the case of  Day’s End, the new, permanent sculpture by David Hammons (b. 1943), I saw it up-close for the first time at, well, day’s end. Watching the sun set through the sculpture and dip behind the New Jersey skyline was a beautiful thing to behold, especially as many of us are only just now able to walk outside free of masks for the first time in over a year.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: 72, March 1965 By Marcia Hafif

72 by marcia hafif photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Marcia Hafif (19292018) made this painting in Italy, where she lived for nearly eight years in the 1960s between college and graduate school. Her works from this period feature certain abstract forms that elude to landscapes, music or the body.  For example, she characterized the hill-like curve — which here appears twice and inverted — as “a compact shape, archetypal, referring to the cave, the house, the home, safety, endurance, intensity.” Hafif embraced an open-ended approach to abstraction that was grounded in observing the world, and the nature of painting itself.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

Must See Art: Julie Mehretu at The Whitney Museum

Memorial Day weekend is literally a washout here in Manhattan, but I managed to save the day on Saturday by taking a trip to the Whitney Museum to see the Julie Mehretu exhibit, which is just mind blowing! Mehretu is an Ethiopian-born, New York-based abstract painter whose monumental canvases create layered worlds and vortexes of energy that must absolutely be experienced in person to really lose yourself in their surreal presence. Two Thumbs way up on this one. Be sure to follow me on Instagram by clicking on the image above so that you don’t miss out on any of my exciting weekend art adventures!

Modern Art Monday Presents: Bob Thompson, Triumph of Bacchus

bob thompson triumph of bacchus photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

In Triumph of Bacchus (1964), Bob Thompson borrowed compositional elements from Renaissance depictions of the Roman god of wine. He rejected descriptive clarity, however, substituting vividly-hued arrangement in which the figures’ identities are left open-ended. In reimagining these historical sources, Thompson painted in a manner akin to jazz musicians’ innovations, where improvisation was based on a thorough understanding of preexisting styles. Saxophonist Steve Lacy, a friend of Thompson’s, referred to the artist as “jazz himself,” explaining that “the way he painted was like jazz — taking liberties with colors.”

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in Manhattan.