New York, January 2013

We just got back from New York – it was a wonderful week  for us to spend time with close friends and, of course, for me to check out the art.  The highlight was the blockbuster (just closed) Picasso Black & White exhibit at the Guggenheim. After that it was a week-long frenzy of galleries and museums. I raced through The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  MoMA, The Museum of Art and Design,The New Museum, the Noguchi Museum, PS1, and The Whitney. I spent a couple of days roaming in and out of doors down in SoHo and Chelsea. I squeezed in a few galleries up on Madison Avenue and Bedford Avenue over in Williamsburg.

The reality is that no matter how I wear myself out, there is no way for me to really do more than take a cursory glance – I got to about 40 galleries this time around, but that is hardly a dent when you consider how much there is to see. As I reflect back on the week, it is already beginning to blur together but here are my top 10:

1) Picasso Black & White at The Guggenheim

This was the big blockbuster show – I love retrospectives in general, but really liked taking in a subset of works that spanned his entire career. Of course, the central atrium of the museum helps – there is such wonderful natural light and the spiral up the circumference allows for viewing from different vantage points. I loved being able to see works like “La Cuisine” close up and then check them out from across the rotunda.

2) George Bellows at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It was a treat to see this retrospective of arguably one of the greatest  American painters of the early 20th Century – a member of “The Eight,” he was a realist, and often focused his works on the daily realities of urban living. His works captured the essence of NYC as it expanded during the turn of the century.  Many of the paintings were familiar: fighters in boxing rings, prostitutes, the excavation of Penn Station, etc. Ones that I especially liked were taken outside of the city up in Woodstock or off the coast of Maine.

3) Judith Bernstein “Hard” at The New Museum

What can I say? I mean her work just fits so perfectly in the Bowery…I was glad to see the museum showcasing her. I think I’d love to see her confrontational imagery in a more rarified setting; maybe on the Upper East?

4) Mickalene Thomas at Brooklyn Museum

It was fun to see this show which got my head spinning in so many directions. She happened to be checking out her own show the day that I was there and so that somehow added inexplicable relevance. I am beginning to explore concepts of popular imagery put into compositions based in historical reference. That is nothing really new, but right now it is especially hot in the art world.  I was particularly moved by her candid and touching portrayal of the relationship she had with her mother who passed away this past Fall.

5) Noguchi Museum

It takes a while to get yourself out there, but it is totally worth it. If you can manage it on a nice day, combine it with Socrates Park.

6) Daniel Buren at Bortolami

It was funny because when I entered the gallery all of the printed materials by the door were for Jillian Clark (whose installation was on display in the back of the gallery). I immediately looked at the stripes on the wall with recognition, but then questioned myself because of the literature. Once I got past the momentary disconnect, I really enjoyed the show.

7) Seth Casteel “Underwater Dogs” at Dillon Gallery

This guy’s photos are just so fun – it was a great burst of energy to see this show in the middle of a long, cold day of gallery hopping.

8) Yayoi Kusama “Narcissus Garden” at Robert Miller Gallery

These are the same polished steel marbles that the gallery took down to Art Basel; an installation that illustrates the role of context in art.

9) David LaChapelle “Still Life” at Paul Kasmin Gallery

These celebrity portraits force the viewer to look twice; they are broken busts taken from a wax museum.  They are sumptuously colorful photographs that challenge notions of permanence and mortality.

10 ) Henry Moore “Late Large Forms” at Gagosian

I’ve seen a lot of his work through the city in London and in museums everywhere – last year the Denver Botanic Gardens. These large scale pieces make an impact at the gallery – WOW!

Picasso La Cuisine at the Guggenheim

Picasso La Cuisine at the Guggenheim

Noguchi Museum

Noguchi Museum

Mickalene Thomas at Brooklyn Museum

Mickalene Thomas at Brooklyn Museum

Yayoi Kusama Nacissus Garden

Yayoi Kusama Narcissus Garden

Seth Casteel at Dillon Gallery

Seth Casteel at Dillon Gallery

George Bellow Winter Afternoon at the Met

George Bellow Winter Afternoon at the Met


Boston July 2012

Earlier this month we took a week and a half to go to Boston and then up the coast of Maine. We got to visit dear friends in both areas and we got to unwind while checking out New England.

In Boston, we did our normal walkathon tour of the city, winding our way up the Harborwalk , heading into the North End, wrapping around to Beacon Hill, Back Bay over to the South End and back by Tufts and into Downtown. We went jogging through Boston Common and shopping over on Newbury Street. While we never miss Faneuil Hall or Mike’s Pastry Shop over on Hanover Street, this time we also made the effort to branch out and we were glad we did. We enjoyed our meals down on newly-trendy Tremont Street and in Chinatown and we tried out the food trucks on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

On our fifth day we headed up the coast of Maine toward Portland and stayed the rest of the week with friends in Yarmouth. We slowed our pace way down – we hiked a little and checked out a nearby beach, one evening we took a water taxi to one of the islands for dinner. We took a drive up to Christmas Cove, and spent a little time shopping in Freeport. We drank wine and gorged ourselves on lobster … actually having lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Most of the time we simply sat out on the veranda and enjoyed letting ourselves do nothing.

I couldn’t help myself – I tried, but I just couldn’t. We managed to skip the art galleries altogether (I looked longingly into a few windows), but still wound up visiting three art museums in Boston: The Museum of Fine Arts, The Isabella Gardner and the Institute of Contemporary Art.  We were impressed with the new architecture at each of the museums and we enjoyed the exhibits – two of my favorites:

Josiah McElheny’s exhibit at the ICA, Some Pictures of the Infinite, takes a conceptual look at time and space continuums.   McElheny is the kind of artist that makes me wish I was smarter – each display challenged me  to try to grasp a concept of infinity that, by definition, is unattainable.  His blown-glass works break down barriers between craft and art – the mirrored spirals of suspended orbs combine scientific theories of the cosmos with iconic mid-century modernism.

At the MFA, the highlight was Alex Katz Prints – the show includes 125 pieces on display that together emphasize Katz’s artistic clarity of voice over the past 60 years.  He creates arresting images using as few elements and details as possible. He reduces form and color to produce images of graphic quality that are immediately recognizable and the subjects – his beloved Ada, his family & friends and the Maine landscape retell his story of a life well-lived.

Orange Hat by Alex Katz

Endlessly Repeating detail by Josiah McElheny

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.

ArtLook art consulting

ArtLook will primarily focus on helping individual clients (residential) with 3 basic offerings:
1) Art Collector’s Boot Camp – The Boot Camp will consist of a home visit and style diagnostic, an art community overview including a museum visit, 1-2 gallery visits, and ideally an artist studio visit. Each visit will be tailored to developing a collector’s awareness of their own personal style, interests, and goals and ultimately to establish a foundation of knowledge to begin collecting with confidence. The Boot Camp is designed to take place in four 2-3hr. sessions, but can be modified for clients in other cities.
2) Acquisition Assistance – I see a lot of art…more than most. In the past 10 years, I have seen roughly 1000 museum exhibitions and 2500 gallery exhibitions all over the world; that coupled with books, magazines, websites, television, restaurants, offices, and homes…well, it adds up to a LOT of artwork.  I am happy to assist collectors with finding the perfect piece or pieces to add to their collections. Whether it is to find that specific piece to go into your space or to develop a plan for you to build upon over time, I can help you define your goals and then do the legwork – researching options for you. I will introduce you to artists, dealers, galleries so that you can feel confident in your choices. 
3) Assistance with Art as Investment – Most artwork is not purchased as an investment; it is simply purchased by admirers who are willing to pay for it. Almost all artwork, even if it is expensive, is priced very subjectively, and most often will not appreciate in value. That said, if you are interested in buying artwork as an investment, I can assist you in finding works that have investment potential. There are always artists that are up and coming and that are on the verge of greater recognition – their works may have special appeal to collectors with the guts for speculation. Additionally, there are works that are already being bought and sold in secondary markets (dealers & auction houses) and those with strong track records are likely to continue to be bought and sold over time and are often good investments. Working with galleries, dealers and auction houses, I can assist you with finding pieces that you like and that have the potential to appreciate. 
Additionally I offer assistance with curation, cataloguing, shipping, framing & installation for artwork. I will be doing exhibition development, some gallery curation and sales and corporate art consulting so if you think of anything to do with art, please keep me in mind because I would love to try to help.