Color/Pattern Studies


This gallery contains 7 photos.

I am excited to share these two new series I began this the past year. They are hand-painted pyrographs on wood; the images on the longer strips are based on patterns I have created over the past 12 years and … Continue reading

Nam June Paik at the Smithsonian

I have long been mesmerized by the frenetic visual displays of Nam June Paik’s video installations, but taking a look at the Smithsonian’s current show, “Nam June Paik, Global Visionary” takes it all to another level.  I love seeing retrospectives, and this viewing of his archives, is definitely that – and I do love it!

The thing that I have mentioned with other artists is that it is so helpful to see their work in the context of what was going on in the world at the time. What really sets Paik’s work apart is that he changed the context. He coined the term “Super (Electronic) Highway” 40 years ago and his work foresees the availability of information and unlimited access to media through electronics…at a time when people were still using typewriters, telegrams and postage stamps. His work clearly shows an eye to the editorial – synthesizing historical imagery with news media, cultural commentary and futuristic fantasy in a collage of (at the time) groundbreaking technology.

Check out the show – it is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through August 11, 2013.

Merce-Digital, 1988

Merce-Digital, 1988

Electronic Superhighway Continental US, Alaska, Hawaii (1995)

Electronic Superhighway Continental US, Alaska, Hawaii (1995)

Megatron/Matrix, 1995

Megatron/Matrix, 1995

TV Buddha (1974)

TV Buddha (1974)

Consider Building an Art Collection

I like to go on home & garden tours to get inspiration and to see how my place measures up, and to see art (of course, since it’s what I do). There are the decorated homes – the ones where the artwork just matches each room so perfectly, the size and colors. Those certainly are beautiful homes. Some of the homes have an eclectic vibe which I guess I relate to because that is most often how I describe my own home. Then there are the homes where the owners have so much stuff: posters, paintings, photographs, odd farm-equipment sculptures, wind chimes, glass-eyed porcelain dolls in the guestroom, bric-a-brac.

Every once in a while, a home just makes so much sense – those are the ones where there is such obvious thought behind every decision. The artwork seems to take on a different purpose – each choice is made in the context of the others. Whether the homes have American folk art, impressionist paintings or black & white photography, those are the tours I really love.

The art collections that get me going are really focused; I love the idea that someone develops a set of ground rules and then uses those parameters to actually choose their art. If you want to take a more deliberate approach to getting artwork – try to at least consider it in terms of how it might work in your “collection”.  Most of us wind up finding something we like here and something we like there and then just kind of throw it all together, wondering why it doesn’t necessarily work. The result is that trove of abandoned treasures under the beds, in the closets, basements, attics, or out in the garage.

Of course, you could hire a consultant like me – but even if you don’t, give your choices some thought.  Whether you just discuss your ideas with someone or you chart it out or put it into a spreadsheet, try to establish some guidelines. If you can articulate a framework for the artwork you choose, you can begin to build a collection.

For more information on how I can help you acquire art and/or care for what you already have, see the about tab on my blog.  I’d love to help.


The Lucky Elite

I was reading an old article that Janet Tassel wrote in the Harvard Magazine about the role art museums play in civilization. She goes on a bit in different directions, but ultimately reflects the line of thinking that museums are repositories of collected objects that showcase the greatest achievements throughout the ages. As institutions, they should be be set apart and keep a view to the long arc of history, not the whims of popular society.

In the article, James Cuno (then of the Harvard Museum, now head of the Getty) and Philippe de Montebello (the Metropolitan) both concur that museums are by definition elitist. “That is what art is, and that is what every visitor to the museum is—by crossing the threshhold they are joining the elite.”

This got me to thinking – the other day I went to the Hirshhorn to see Ai Weiwei’s exhibit “According to What?”  I was really looking forward to it and wanted to make sure I took my time and thought about the works and gave each and every installation and object the thoughtful consideration it was due.  Given I might have been a little hungry and going to an exhibit with low blood sugar is not the best, but I found myself distracted and really annoyed by almost everyone around me.

I was put off that no one seemed to treat the show with the same deference that I was giving it. I know it was a holiday weekend and a lot of people were travelling but really…pulling suitcases through the museum?  It seemed to me like the kids were running around – making shadow puppets on the walls of video projections; people were taking calls to arrange travel, to make dinner plans, and who know what kind of sordid engagements. One guy had his skateboard – and the cameras were click, click, clicking….ughhhh!!!

I got to the installation of beautifully crafted chests that are designed so that viewers can look through their various openings and see the phases of the moon. After waiting patiently for my turn to check it out, when I got to the opening my lovable and humorous partner was there smiling through the other side.

He got me to stop a moment, breathe and re-frame my experience.  I could choose to enjoy myself or not and I could choose to be bothered by the crowds or not.  I looked around and actually envied those other people – the kids running around without a care and the adults that didn’t need to give their full attention to the exhibit. How wonderful it is that children are exposed to art and given the opportunity to be themselves around it. All those visitors were living their lives in a setting where art was a part of it.

It occurs to me that a lot of us don’t get that luxury of experience – I didn’t grow up running around inside museums and galleries. For most of us, if we do wind up crossing that ‘threshhold’, we stand in awe of what we’ve been missing.

For those lucky elite, they’re not missing a thing.

Moon Chests – Ai Weiwei with Warren

El Anatsui at the Denver Art Museum

“When I Last Wrote to You about Africa” is El Anatsui’s retrospective show, currently at the Denver Art Museum.

It’s funny…I find myself talking about favorite artists and I guess I have a lot of them because he is definitely one of my favorites.

I first began seeing his work about 10 years ago when I was travelling back and forth to London. Since then, I have admired his work in New York, Washington, DC, Paris, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Seattle and here in Denver. I have been enamored with the metal tapestries of bottle caps draped on walls, suspended from the ceiling and seemingly dropped onto the floors. I have tried to grasp the underlying meanings of using recycled found materials, and the obvious consumption and economic engines behind the overwhelming volume of bottle caps, largely from liquor bottles.  I have looked at the patterns and made my assumptions about their connection to distant and unkown (to me) cultures.  Mostly, I have enjoyed the high/low; hard/soft; heavy/weightless; effortless/meticulous nature of the work…they are truly stunning, shimmering works that leave me spellbound.

So with all that in mind, I thought I had some idea of who El is as an artist and what I could expect in seeing the retrospective, pulled together by Lisa Binder, Curator at the Museum for African Art, New York.

I was so wrong – I was in no way prepared for the breadth of experience and depth of his work.  The show brings together the full range of the artist’s work, from wood trays carved with symbols familiar to the Akan people of Ghana; his Broken Pots series (and his unbroken ceramic pots); beautiful paintings rich in color, symbology and landscape; driftwood statues, and even the beloved metal wall-hangings that have taken the art world by storm in recent years. I was thankful to get to hear him talk about his experiences, his development as an artist and as a professor and his mostly just his work.

If you get the chance to see the show, in Denver through the end of the year, and then in Dallas this winter, do…definitely do.  I have a feeling you might just discover one of your favorite artists too!

El Anatsui – Old Cloth Series at Denver Art Museum

Antony Gormley at Phillips Collection – Drawing Space

You may be familiar with Gormley’s sculpture; immidiately recognizing his body dissolving into space – blurring the distinction between materials and their surroundings.

This exhibit, of 70 works on paper and two recent sculptures continues that exploration of form in space. It is a beautiful show that fills only 2 salons in the museum, but creates a lingering sense of the engagement we, the viewers, have with our environment.

I am including some of my favorites from the show:

Aperture XIII, 2010 by Antony Gormley @ Phillips Collection


















Bodies in Space, Black, 2007 Antony Gormley @ Phillips Collection