Seeing Artwork During Vacation

We just got back from vacation; we spent 7 days in Barcelona with my partner’s parents and then took a few extra days for ourselves to drive up into France and around Provence. 

Barcelona is a treat and it was great to get to share it with family.  I used to travel there on business, but it was new for the rest of our group.  We decided to rent an apartment right off La Rambla and enjoyed the convenience of being in the heart of the city.  From there we easily walked along the marina in Port Vell, over to the beaches of Barceloneta, through the gothic quarter and along the famed Passeig de Gracia.  One day we took a drive up to Figueres to see the Dalí museum and then we walked around Girona, enjoyed lunch in the old town and checked out the 11th century gothic cathedral.

After the folks left, we headed up into France and toured around a few days in Provence. The French border is only two hours and yet worlds away – we were struck by the changes in landscape as we skirted the Pyrenees and drove into the Camargue (an alluvial plain – a landscape that reminded us of the Chesapeake Bay), the food, the culture and the expense (seemed like the cost of everything immediately doubled). We stayed in Arles and then did excursions to Aix, Avignon and Montpellier.

All in all, it was a great trip for us – we did a lot but not too much…we paced ourselves and ultimately it was just right. We did wind up seeing a fair amount (okay, a lot) of art along the way – my top 10 this time around:

  1. Fundacio Miró
  2. Picasso Museum
  3. Sagrada Familia
  4. La Pedrera
  5. Dalí Museum in Figueres
  6. Palau de la Musica
  7. Park Güell
  8. Fundació Antoni Tàpies
  9. Hervé Di Rosa at Carré Sainte Anne in Montpellier
  10. Van Gogh café in Arles

La Pedrera

Palau de la Musica

Salvador Dali sculpture


Sagrada Familia


“l’Oeuf” (Place de la Comédie) in Montpellier

Hervé Di Rosa Yhayen (Procession)

Cafe Van Gogh

Three Museums in Cincinnati

Sunday I explored 3 museums in Cincinnati:

The Cincinnati Art Museum – is a wonderful collection of art, on par with state art museums around the country. It does a terrific job of bringing art to the city (it’s actually one of the oldest in the country) – like many art museums using a sort of checklist  approach to showing work: a cycladic statue, check; an Egyptian sarcophogus, check; a Monet, check; a Picasso, check; a Rodin, a Calder, a Roman this, a Greek that – check, check, check & check.

It does what it sets out to do and so I find no fault – I do especially like that it places emphasis on the rich history of art from the region with it’s Cincinnati Wing. This addition, opened in 2003 and includes the “Cincinnati Painters” and also Rookwood pottery, along with glass, metalworks and furniture.  There are beautiful examples of work by John H. Twachtman, Joseph H. Sharp, Frank Duveneck, and Henry Farny and many others – Cincinnati was one of the foremost art centers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

During this trip, I was happy to get to see a new statue installed this past Spring out front: Jim Dine’s Pinocchio (Emotional) – a 12 foot bronze greeting visitors upon the approach to the museum. His work was also featured prominently in an exhibit, In Celebration of Pinocchio with hometown artists including Jim Dine, Casey Rioden Millard, Mark Fox, Jay Bolotin and Will Hutchinson.

The Taft Museum of Art – This 1820’s house on a hill was donated to the city by the Tafts. Charles Taft and his wife Anna Sinton Taft were brother and sister-in-law to President WIlliam Howard Taft. Their collection of art, bequeathed to the city, includes Eurpoean and American master paintings, Chinese porcelains and European decorative arts – there are works by Rembrandt, Hals, Goya, Gainsborough, Turner, Ingres, Whistler and Sargent.

While I was there I enjoyed the collection and also 2 special exhibits. The first was Mathew Albritton’s photography in Ohio to the White House  – a look at the brithplaces and childhood homes of seven presidents.  The second, al look at the collection of French paintings on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum in the exhibit Old Masters to Impressionists. Additionally, the city was celebrating it’s 80th anniversary of the museum with an exhibit of 80 reproductions from the collection placed throughout the Cincinnati Valley.

The Contemporary Arts Center – This striking 6-story jig-saw puzzle of a building designed by Zaha Hadid opened in 2003. It is a non-collecting museum dedicated to presenting contemporary ideas from around the world. – this time around I saw Jannis Varelas’ Sleep My Little Sheep Sleep, Francis Upritchard’s A Long Wait, and Spectacle: The Music Video.

Art for All, Taft Museum
Taft Museum

The Captive, by Henry F Farny 1885 at Cincinnati Art Museum

Top 10 in DC – May 2012

I passed through DC on my way home from vacation this week  – it was an opportunity to connect with a couple clients, do some research on a series of prints I’d like to make (my own work) and also to touch base with a few artists. While I was there I went to 4 museums and about a dozen galleries. As always, I found a broad spectrum of things to interest me – ranging from the gallery of Whistlers and The Peacock Room at the Freer to Jay Musler’s incredible feathery glass art at Maurine Littleton’s Gallery to Mark Morgan’s quirky sculptures made of discarded detergent bottles at Arts @ 1830.

For me, the two most exciting shows this time around were the Miró exhibit over at the National Gallery and then a small exhibit of privately-owned Matisse & Picasso prints and drawings at Neptune Fine Art in Georgetown.

Now, if you haven’t seen the show over at Neptune, I am sorry to say it is coming down – Christine Neptune shares the space with her husband, Robert Brown. He will be up next, celebrating his own gallery’s 30-year success with works from his stable of artists’ – including the likes of Mel Bochner, David Nash, William Kentridge and Oleg Kudryashov.

Okay, so I am getting ahead of myself – the Matisse and Picassos…what a treat! The show consisted of about 3 dozen prints and drawings that belong to two different collectors – they are all in beautiful condition. My favorites were the obvious Nadia portrait and then two tiny little Picassos, rare little prints that were from editions of only 10 and 14, respectively.

I really wasn’t expecting to happen upon the gallery at all; I was headed next door  to see another show when I noticed the gallery. The townhouse is like so many in Georgetown, a nest of intimate rooms that stand above a rear courtyard..perfect for showing off master prints and illustrating how potential buyers might actually live with revered works. Coincidentally, a dealer I had met with not an hour earlier had recommended this gallery to me so I figured, “why not?” I am so glad I checked it out and will keep it in mind as a “must see” in the future.

The Miró exhibit  over at the National Gallery is blockbuster. The show consists of more than 150 works, covering a period of 6 decades. I personally love this type of show –   it is constructed to lead the viewer through the life of the artist,  showing the progression of works in the context of what was going on around the artist.

“The Ladder of Escape” highlights Miró’s loyalty to Catalonia throughout a lifetime of hardship: two world wars, the Spanish Civil War, and during Franco’s dictatorship. His story winds its way from farmlife of the 1920’s through periods of politically-charged explorations in surrealism ultimately to the self-referential symbols that together make the vocabulary for his fantastical, poetic later paintings.

I am enamored with the constellation of works – each one a puzzle, revealing itself slowly, taking the effort of the viewer’s attention to decipher.

My Top 10 this time around:

  1. Joan Miró at National Gallery
  2. Matisse & Picasso at Neptune Fine Art
  3. Peacock Room at the Freer
  4. Colby Caldwell at Hemphill
  5. Foon Sham at Project4
  6. Ai Weiwei’s Fragments and Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji at Sackler Gallery
  7. Renate Aller at Adamson Gallery
  8. Julia Fernandez-Pol at Morton Fine Art
  9. Jackie Battenfield at Addison Ripley
  10. K Silve at Susan Calloway Fine Art
  11. Getting to go visit Gail Vollrath and Brian Petro in their studios.

Foon Sham – Spiral Vessel

Colby Caldwell – How to Survive Your Own Death

Jay Musler – Blue State Bowl at Maurine Littleton

Joan Miro – The Ladder of Escape

Picasso – Toute la Vie (1960)

Julia Fernandez-Pol

Nancy Lovendahl’s Sculpture

I guess I first took notice of Nancy’s work about a dozen years ago – I frequently ride my bike up and down the Cherry Creek and the Platte River trails and I saw her series of sculptures over near Coors Field, on the west side of the Flour Mill Lofts. “Elements” are actually four circular outcroppings of sandstone and granite that provide a contemplative resting place on the northern end of Riverfront Park; the indigenous stones rest in sympathetic poses on the river’s landscape contrasting the urban backdrop of the evolving city around them.

A few years later, I saw her work again at the Sandy Carson Gallery – she was exhibiting alongside another favorite artist of mine, Lorelei Schott. Nancy had egg sculptures made of stone, ceramics, wire & wood, a series that has gone on to be shown around the world.

Since then, I have seen her work around town, in publications and online.

Recently I ran into her over at Madeleine Dodge’s studio and she invited me to come down to Sedalia and check out her latest work, “The Gathering.”

WOW! What a treat!

It’s a monumental sculpture, carved out of 300,000 pounds of limestone…the sculpture is made up of 18 pieces and is 38′ long, 30′ wide and 8′ high. The sculpture is destined to be placed on private land near the Ohio Creek Valley, an interactive display of oversized stones strewn on the stream’s edge.  Emerging from landscaped grounds, “The Gathering” will resemble bones exposed from the earth’s manicured surface.

Nancy’s new work (two years in the making) reveals a record of mythical bison – giants that spark the imagination. The ‘bones’ will provide seating and shade in the clearing near the creek. It will be a shocking discovery to the uninitiated that will beg the question “who was here before us?”

Check out her website, to learn more about this project, her other works and her storied career as an artist.

Nancy Lovendahl The Gathering

Nancy Lovendahl The Gathering

Nancy Lovendahl – The Elements

Nancy Lovendahl

My new artwork at Space Gallery

I am showing new work at Space Gallery April 13 through May 19 and I would love to have you come check it out  – it includes one of the largest pieces I have worked on to date.  Please do swing by and check out the show at any time that works for you or contact me and I will walk you through it when it’s convenient.I am continuing the burn series with multiple layers of paper, burning imagery through each layer. I love to explore the interplay of light and shadow and the manipulation of the viewer’s eye to explore movement and depth.
Additionally, I have started 2 new series – the first is a group of photopolymer etchings I did this past year that allow me to explore the pyrographs while introducing color. The second series is a group of deconstructed pieces that I have then reassembled.
These new works are fun for me and I hope that you will like them.

Installation shot at Space Gallery; Marlene's sculpture in foreground.

detail image of pyrograph, courtesy of the artist

Untitled, pyrograph mounted on panel 63″ square, image courtesy of the artist.

This piece is 20 layers of burns stacked together; I love the spaces where you can see all the way through it and also the shadows it casts. It can be hung vertically, but I chose to showcase it horizontally in the show.

Clyfford Still Museum Opens

Last night my partner and I went to the opening of the Clyfford Still Museum here in Denver.  WOW!  It is amazing!

The inaugural exhibit it thoughtfully curated – offering a chronological view of his work spanning his career. I think, for me what struck me the most was seeing the evolution of the work. The show clearly presents a progression beginning with landscapes and portraits, quickly leading us into his exploration of abstraction and ultimately his readily identifiable expressionist pieces.

I was anticipating the darker, heavier pieces that represented his agrarian roots during the depression but didn’t anticipate the lighter, more cheerful works. These treasures, hidden for so many years, are a bit like giants awaking from their slumber – still stretching out and beginning to tell their stories.

The rooms are perfectly proportioned and sequenced to showcase his art with carefully constructed vantage points revealing from one gallery, the next.  The honeycomb ceiling allows natural light to permeate the concrete building, providing ideal viewing conditions while louvers protect the artwork from the damaging sun.  The two-story building, designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture is refined – it is an elegant solution to display the work and to house art being stored, archived & researched.


Clyfford Still’s work was marked by expressive brush work, and abstracted forms – the blending of color, texture and shape to create something entirely new. His shift away from figurative and surrealist styles in the late 30’s and early 40’s happened nearly a decade before other artists including Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman began the pursuit of what is now known as Abstract Expressionism. His estate, along with that of his wife, has been left to the city and will be maintained by the museum – it represents the bulk(94%) of Still’s life work – some 2400 paintings, works on paper and sculptures.

At the Clyfford Still Opening

At the Clyfford Still Opening

My Picks for Portland

This past week, I had a great trip to Portland, OR. It was only my second time visiting the City of Roses, but I have to say that I really like it.  It has a cool urban vibe and offers city living in a truly gorgeous setting alongside the Willamette River with the mountains in the distance. There is definitely a coffee culture – and that is fine by me; I tried several, with my favorites being Barista in the Pearl District and also NW Coffee over in Goose Hollow. The food was great –  beginning with a delicious pastrami sandwich at Kenny & Zuke’s and ending with northern Italian at Nel Centro (oh, and a stop by St. Cupcake…yum!)

The city has a convenient free shuttle that runs in the heart of the city. I typically like to get a sense of a place by going through it block by block so, as is normal for me, I walked and walked and walked – into different neighborhoods, up into Washington Park (overlooking the city) and through the downtown districts.

Portland has an growing artist community and a number of galleries that devote themselves to promoting local and regional artists and a few that showcase national and international talents. At the Portland Art Museum, I enjoyed revisiting the contemporary collections. They had a really beautifully curated exhibit on Japanese prints – it led visitors through 3 centuries of printmaking and placed the art trends in the context of societal evolution.

As for the galleries, I visited about 15 and found them to run the gamut from co-ops to commercial – some conceptual, some great and others, not so much.  I generally find the gallerists to be very friendly and approachable, willing to talk about the artists, the shows and the galleries.   Below I list my favorites:

    • Lee Kelly @ Elizabeth Leach
    • Jim Riswold @ Augen Gallery
    • Roll Hardy @ Laura Russo Gallery
    • Fritz Liedtke @Blue Sky
    • Ellen George @ PDX
    • Jack Davidson @ Pulliam
    • James Boulton @ Pulliam

Jim Riswold – Don’t Shoot We’re Camels

    James-Boulton – Orionid #1

    Lee Kelly @ Elizabeth Leach

    Use your Museum Membership

    Even if you have have just a little bit of time to spare, go ahead and use your membership(s). Visiting a museum doesn’t have to be an all day event – in the past week I visited the Denver Art museum once as part of a work project and then I went back a second time by myself, just to look at 2-3 pieces.

    Instead of planning your museum excursions to be ‘do-it-all, see-it-all’ outings, try popping in once in a while and looking at just one exhibit or even just a room.

    I know we all run around from place to place and meeting to meeting with less and less time to ourselves. Allow the museums to offer you a break, a moment to pause and enjoy.

    David Schnell 'Aussicht', 2005 at Denver Art Museum

    My “Top 10” Art Shows in NYC (Oct 2011)

    This past week I went to NYC to see the first art shows of the season  – Wow! What a season it is…this year the museums and galleries are really hitting it out of the park with major retrospectives and beautifully produced shows.  De Kooning at MoMA heads the pack, but there were great shows everywhere.  The galleries are ambitious – they are showing an awful lot of incredibly expensive works (moderately priced works in the $100k-500k+ range) – I did see works range from as little as $500 going beyond  the $1m mark.  

    Of course there is no real way to cover it all, especially in 4 days.  I only barely scratched the surface but what I did get to see was amazing.  I walked up and down the city (100-200 blocks a day) and managed to squeeze in 5 museums and about 60 galleries.  Of course I experienced the NY gallery snobbery… I understand it though as I was out of uniform. I wore my sneakers  instead of Pradas and I opted for a white jacket instead of Black…I was actually told that I looked like I was auditioning for “Miami Vice.”

    I tend to have a voracious appetite for all things visual so I ate it up; there were a lot of shows that I could have lingered over for hours to look at all the nuances of the works, but I set out with a mission to take in as much as I could so I literally kept moving the entire time. 

    Usually when I travel I like to compile a “Top 10” as a record for myself and to share, but with a so much going on, I couldn’t really bare to whittle it down past 7 museum shows and 15 gallery exhibitions:


    • De Kooning @ MoMA
    • Cy Twombly Sculptures @ MoMA
    • Lyonel Feininger @ Whitney
    • David Smith @Whitney
    • Master Painters of India (1100-1900) @ the Metropolitan
    • Frans Hals @ the Metropolitan
    • Hans Peter Feldman @ Guggenheim


    • Do Ho Suh @ Lehmann Maupin
    • Leandro Erlich @ Sean Kelly
    • Agnes Martin @ Pace
    • Frank Stella @ Paul Kasmin
    • Milton Resnick @ Cheim & Read
    • Nicholas Krushenick @ Gary Snyder
    • Ronnie Landfield @ Stephen Haller
    • Ad Reinhardt @ Pace
    • Nick Cave @ Jack Shainman
    • Jenny Saville @ Gagosian
    • Ethan Murrow @ Winston Wӓchter Fine Art
    • Nathan Slate Joseph @ Sundaram Tagore
    • Monroe Hodder @ Andre Zarre
    • Andy Denzler @ Claire Oliver
    • Paul Winstanley @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash

    With any luck I will get to go back in November and continue the expedition  – places I was really eager to see but missed this time around included the Neue Galerie (they are installing an exhibition of works from Ronald S. Lauder’s Collection), The Noguchi Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum down in the Bowery. I didn’t make it over to Williamsburg or DUMBO this visit so they will be a must and I only got through about half of the Chelsea neighborhood. 


    Do Ho Suh @ Lehmann Maupin Gallery


    Frank Stella at Paul Kasmin Gallery


    Nicholas Krushenick at Gary Snyder Gallery


    In NYC – looking at art

    Cy Twombly Sculpture


    Daniel Buren


    De Kooning, Judgement Day, 1946