Tag Archive | Whitney Museum

Modern Art Monday Presents: Night Bloom Still Life By Jonas Wood

Night Bloom Still Life
Photo By Gail

In  Jonas Wood’s (b, 1977) paintings, he often uses intricate decorative patterning to render ordinary objects that hold personal resonance for him. Some of the pots depicted in Night Bloom Still Life (2015)  were make by Wood’s wife, Shio Kusaka.   Thus, the painting  is just as much a self, or family, portrait as it is a still life. “You could call it a visual diary or even a personal history,” the artist has said. This  everyday quality, accentuated by flat planes of color and uniform detail, makes the spatial ambiguities in Wood’s work — such as the impossible perspective of the table — all the more disorienting.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Charles Demuth, My Egypt

My Egypt
Photo By Gail

In the 1920s, Charles Demuth (1883 – 1935) painted a remarkable series of “Poster Portraits” depicting friends and fellow artists. Rather than capturing a physical likeness, these works conveyed the subject’s character through arrangements of commonplace objects rendered in the crisp style of advertisements. While Demuth did not include a self-portrait in the series, My Egypt (1927), produced during the same period, suggests a parallel effort to distill his personal and artistic concerns in symbolic terms. This depiction of a newly built grain elevator in the artist’s native Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the apex of his quest to develop a dynamic geometric style that would herald America’s industrial prowess. By titling the painting My Egypt, Demuth equates the grain elevator with the ancient pyramids, but he also invites a more poignant, intimate reading. When he made this work, Demuth was confined by debilitating illness to his home in Lancaster. Calling the image his Egypt links his hometown to the Biblical narrative of Egypt as a site of involuntary bondage.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Modern Art Monday Presents: New Yorkers I By Howard Kanovitz

New Yorkers 1
Photo By Gail

This painting captures the professional milieu of Richard Rodgers, the composer who co-wrote, with Oscar Hammerstein, a string of blockbuster Broadway musicals, including Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music. Howard Kanovitz based New Yorkers I (1965) on a newspaper photograph. He explained, “I was impressed by a certain quality of low definition which suggested an isolation of the figures from their environment.” The resulting painting suggests that the creative class pictured here in their jackets and ties embody New York as surely as the cityscape in the background.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: John Wilde’s Work Reconsidered #1

Work Reconsidered #1
Photo By Gail

The “Work Reconsidered” in the title is John Wilde’s own drawing. This painting from 1950 is based on a “bridal” portrait that Wilde had made of his wife, Helen, in 1943. Its exacting realism and compressed perspective, as well as the subject’s pose and inscrutable expression, recall the Northern and Italian Renaissance portraits that inspired Wilde. He added surrealist details to these traditions: the butterflies on the woman’s body and head, the isolated food items on the table, and the moody landscape background create and otherworldly effect.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Missing Children (Captiva) By JoAnn Verburg

Missing Children (Captiva)
Photo By Gail

By photographing the interior scene depicted in Missing Children (Captiva) (1988) at eye level and printing the image at life scale, JoAnn Verburg provides a point of entry for the viewer: one can easily imagine sitting at this table. At first glance, the work depicts a cheerful, everyday moment; yet the milk carton’s images and descriptions of missing children inject the dangers of the world outside into the intimate setting. Verburg explains that the photograph involves “putting a lyrical, private moment together with difficulty — the political, public side of life.”

Photographed in the Whitney Museum on NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Allan D’Arcangelo, Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child
Photo By Gail

Allan D’Arcangelo’s portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her young daughter Caroline adopts the bold style of modern advertising, epitomized by the broad areas of bright, unmodulated color. The image trades on the Kennedy’s brand status and visual legibility: its sitters are recognizable merely by virtue of their signature hairstyles and clothing, as well as Jackie’s string of pearls. Made just months before President Kennedy’s assassination1963,  Madonna and Child’s take on an age-old religious theme is at once optimistic and disquieting. With their bright halos and featureless faces, Jackie and Caroline appear as contemporary icons and saviors even as they are reduced to mute images for public consumption.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC.

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Carmen Herrera, Lines of Sight at The Whitney Museum

Installation Sculptures 2
Installation View (All Photos By Gail)

Most of the better-known artists of the Geometric Abstraction school of art —- such as Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, and Frank Stella — are men; but that doesn’t mean there were no equally talented  women artists working alongside these giants, just because we don’t know about them.

Red Orange Yellow

One such artist is the Cuban-American painter Carmen Herrera, who, at 101 years of age, is likely the oldest working professional artist in America. Right now, you can see a collection of Herrera’s work spanning three decades at the Whitney Museum, and it is pretty sweet. Carmen Herrara: Lines of Sight is the first museum exhibition of this groundbreaking artist in New York City in nearly two decades. Focusing on the years 1948 to 1978, the period during which Herrera developed her signature style, the show features more than fifty works, including paintings, three-dimensional works, and works on paper.

Yellow and Blue

Installation View

Lines of Sight begins with the formative period following World War II, when Herrera lived in Paris and experimented with different modes of abstraction before establishing the visual language that she would explore with great nuance for the succeeding five decades. Many of these works have never been displayed before in a museum.

Pink Black and White

Black and White Green

Blanco Y Verde
Blanco Y Verde (White and Green) Installation View

The second section of the show is an unprecedented gathering of works from what Herrera considers her most important series, Blanco y Verde (1959–1971). Nine paintings from this series illustrate the highly innovative way in which Herrera conceptualized her paintings as objects, using the physical structure of the canvas as a compositional tool and integrating the surrounding environment.

Green and White

Estructuras

With work dating from approximately 1962 to 1978, the final section illuminates Herrera’s continued experimentation with figure/ground relationships and highlights the architectural underpinnings of many of her compositions. This section includes four wooden sculptures—Herrera’s “estructuras”—as well as her brilliant Days of the Week, a series of seven vivid paintings.

Estructuras

For those who can’t make it to New York to see Lines of Sight in person, you can check out a new documentary, The 100 Years Show — which celebrates Herrera’s career  chronicles her preparation for the Whitney exhibit — which is currently streaming on Netflix.

Lines of Sight Signage

Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight will be on Exhibit Through January 9th, 2017, at The Whitney Museum, Located at 99 Gansevoort Street, in Manhattan.

Installation Sculptures

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