Several of us at the Museum are gearing up for summer 2013’s Warholiana bash here. We’re reading dairies and watching YouTube videos and enjoying it a lot because Andy is so quotable and his friends and associates were all so colorful.
Here is his story, from his memoir Popism, about meeting Mick Jagger, who was just about 20 years old at the time:
This spring of ’63 I had met a just-married, twenty-two-year-old beauty named Jane Holzer. Nicky Haslam took me to a dinner at her Park Avenue apartment. David Bailey was there, and he’s brought the lead singer in a rock-n-roll group called the Rolling Stones that was then playing the northern cities of England. Mick Jagger was a friend of Bailey’s and Nicky’s . . .
’We met him when he was Chrissy Shrimpton’s maid,’ Nicky told me, “Jean’s younger sister. She put an ad in the paper – ‘Cleaner wanted’ – and up turned Mick. He was a student at the London School of Economics; he was just cleaning flats to pay his way. And then she fell in love with him. We kept telling her, ‘But Chrissy, he’s so awful looking,’ and she’d say, ‘Not really.’
So, stay tuned for The Prints of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again, which includes Warhol’s portrait of Jagger, plus lots of other folks.
The Prints of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again will be on view at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute from June 9-September 8, 2013. It’s organized and circulated by The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.
See the “Scarab Vase” and all the treasures in Shadow of the Sphinx now because the exhibition will close in 11 days!
The Museum of Art was fortunate to borrow the so-called “Scarab Vase” for this all-things-Egyptian extravaganza because in early 1989 it was stolen from the Everson Museum of Art, which has owned it for decades. This is the February 15, 1989, account reported by the Los Angeles Times:
Syracuse, N.Y.: A vase valued at $500,000 and considered one of the best-known pieces of ceramics in the world has been stolen from a museum here.
“It’s the Mona Lisa of ceramics,” Ronald Kuchta, art director of the Everson Museum, said of the Scarab Vase, made in 1910 by potter Adelaide Alsop Robineau of Syracuse. The Scarab Vase was apparently removed from the Everson’s Falcone Gallery between 7:30 a.m. Monday and 10 a.m. Tuesday, while the museum was closed to the public, Kuchta said. A thief removed four screws holding a plexiglass cover over the vase, took the 17-inch-tall aqua-tinted work, and substituted a less valuable copper vase.
The vase was recovered and returned to the Everson before long, whew!, but since that time it has never left the museum. Until now.
The Scarab Vase is actually called The Apotheosis of the Toiler because it took Adelaide Alsop Robineau (1865-1929) more than 1000 hours of painstaking effort to create its exquisite, intricate design. Mrs. Robineau was a remarkable talent who studied painting with William Merritt Chase and ceramics with Charles Binns at Alfred University. She became internationally influential in the studio pottery movement at the turn of the 20th century by exhibiting her work widely, and with her husband, Samuel, publishing the journal Keramic Studio and operating the Four Winds studio and kiln in Syracuse.
See it now!
Seeing the World Within, now on view in the Institute’s Museum of Art, tells the remarkable story of the young Charles Seliger (1926-2009) and his first decade as a professional artist.
Seliger developed in the rich environment of 1940s’ New York City, which was temporary home to European intellectuals and artists who had moved there in exile from World War II. For Seliger and other Americans, the Surrealists were the most influential of these visitors, in part because they advocated automatic painting, a free flow of forms from the subconscious to the canvas.
Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979) was a key player in the story of Seliger’s young artistic life. An American heiress, Peggy was a niece of Solomon Guggenheim for whom the Guggenheim Museum is named. She lived the expatriate’s life in Europe and was an avid patron of modern art. Her collection included paintings, sculptures, drawings, and collages by the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Kandinsky Magritte, Mondrian, and Picasso, to name only a handful.
Peggy Guggenheim also left Europe during World War II. While she waited in New York, she founded Art of this Century, an unusual museum and gallery at 30 West 57th Street.
Art of this Century promoted both established European artists in her collection as well as Americans, including William Baziotes, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Richard Pousette-Dart, Theodoros Stamos, and Jimmy Ernst (fyi, all represented in the Institute collection, thanks to our patron, Edward Root).
These artists were experimenting with a new visual abstraction that was very inward-looking and was influenced by psychology, mythology and nature. It was an extremely stimulating environment for the young Seliger, who matured rapidly as an artist.
Peggy Guggenheim was so impressed with Seliger’s paintings, she gave him an exhibition at Art of this Century in 1945 – when he was just 19 years old! She wrote:
“His painting is extremely organic, and his technique highly accomplished . . . [he is] an extremely serious painter, and I have a great deal of faith in his development.”
In Seeing the World Within, you will enjoy what Peggy Guggenheim recognized in Seliger. His paintings are beautifully, thoughtfully painted with forms and colors evocative of living organisms always in the process of transformation.
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Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s opens in the Museum of Art this weekend.
Seliger was largely a self-taught artist and just a kid when he began exhibiting his paintings in New York City, alongside the likes of Jackson Pollock. But his youth notwithstanding, he had a clear vision. Seliger painted abstract organisms in flux and captured these microscopic, magical worlds with a confident technique. Seliger described his process as “a magnifying lens for the infinite minutiae forming reality.”
Back in August I wrote a preview of the exhibition. I was looking forward to the show then, and now that it’s installed, I can honestly report that it is beautiful, full of detailed paintings with textured patterns layered upon their surfaces that simply glow with rich color. You will want to linger over each one.
Seeing the World Within is organized and toured by The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC. Visit the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute website for more details about the exhibition and its programs.
I am all a-twitter about an exciting arts event for Central New York: the grand opening of The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum at Hamilton College.
On October 6 the Wellin opens to the public with three exhibitions: Art and Artifacts, Case Histories: The Hidden Meaning of Objects, and Affinity Atlas. There will be a full day of events, with student docent-guided tours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and an opening reception at 5 p.m.
Art and Artifacts is described as a “modern–day cabinet of curiosities,” while Case Histories, organized by Wellin Assistant Director/Curator Susanna White, features are variety of objects from ancient to contemporary about which Hamilton College faculty and students have written. And Affinity Atlas, conceived by guest curator Ian Berry of the Tang Museum, Skidmore College, is “built on idiosyncratic treasures from the Hamilton collection” and juxtaposed with contemporary pieces to find unexpected linkages. I can’t wait to see these shows!
Before the opening, we can at least enjoy these beautiful photographs taken by John Bentham.
It’s September and, like back-to-school, it’s a new art season around the nation.
Museums big and small and from coast to coast are opening new exhibitions. In Washington, D.C., the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden showcases activist Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in “According to What?” from October 7 through February 24. At the Seattle Art Museum, you can see “elles:pompidou / women artists from the centre pompidou, paris,” between October 11 and January 13.
Here at MWPAI, Piano Jazz Legend Joe Sample kicks off the Concerts-in-the-Court series on Saturday, September 22. Get your tickets now at 797-0055 or tickets online for a rare chance to see and hear this remarkable musician in person.
Next post: TONY (The Other New York)
Happy Labor Day!
Throughout history, artists have celebrated people at work. Here are some of my favorites.
This very early relief sculpture of stone masons dates from about 1300-something BC. It is from the Sphinx Gate at Alacahöyük, in modern-day Turkey.
Farm work is often documented by artists. Below is a detail from the extremely beautiful Les Très riches heures, an illuminated manuscript painted by the Limbourg Brothers for the Duc Jean de Berry between 1412-13.
I love this painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (died 1569), The Harvesters, 1565, of workers taking a break from their reaping.
Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848-94) captured muscle-aching labor in Floor Planers, 1875 (sometimes called Floor Scrapers), in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Edsel Ford commissioned Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886-1957) to celebrate the automobile industry with a large, multi-paneled mural, Detroit Industry, 1932-33, at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Rivera’s impressive compositions seamlessly integrate the workers with a maze of machinery.
Before he became director of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute School of Art, William Palmer (American, 1906-87) was employed as a W.P.A. artist and painted a mural titled The Development of Medicine, 1938, a section of which is reproduced here.
Photographer Elliott Erwitt (born Paris, 1928) is endlessly talented at capturing funny, poignant, fleeting moments. Here he visits the dressing room of Las Vegas showgirls in 1957 as they are about to perform.
And finally, another gal at work, a lovely Parisian barmaid in a strange composition by Édouard Manet (French, 1832-83), Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882, which you can see at the Courtauld Institute in London. Perhaps you can relax with a cold one, too, this weekend. Enjoy!
Jackson Pollock, one of the most original artists of the 20th century, was born in 1912. He lived a short, fevered life and left an enormous artistic legacy.
Pollock’s star began its ascendancy with a large painting, Mural, he created for Peggy Guggenheim in 1943.
The Jason McCoy Gallery recently organized an exhibition based on the new book, American Letters 1927-1947: Jackson Pollock & Family. The book has numerous entries of interest, including this excerpt from Jackson to his brother, Charles, about receiving the commission from Guggenheim:
July 19, 1943
“I have a year’s contract with The Art of this Century and a large painting to do for Peggy Guggenheim’s house, 8’ 11 ½” x 19’ 9”. With no strings as to what or how I paint it.
“I am going to paint it oil on canvas. They are giving me a show Nov 16, and I want to have the painting finished for the show. I’ve had to tear out the partition between the front and middle room to get the damned thing up. I have it stretched now. It looks pretty big but exciting as hell.”
What were you doing thirty years ago this week? Presuming you had been born at least thirty years ago, that is. I had graduated from college in May ’82 and was preparing to spend September through June in a convent.
Much more interesting were the goings-on recorded in Andy Warhol’s diary for that week:
Saturday, August 21, 1982: “Stopped at Schrafft’s on 58th and Madison and the waitresses there were all saying, ‘Is it him?’ ‘It’s him.’ ‘It isn’t him.’ And so when I went out I said, ‘It’s me,’ and they were thrilled.”
Monday, August 23, 1982: “The Duran Duran kids came by and brought some bigger and taller girlfriends.” [Editorial comment: OMG! Music videos from the early '80s were so bad they are hilarious!]
Wednesday, August 25, 1982: “Cabbed to Park and 74th ($2). It turned out to be a birthday party for Claus von Bulow. And Doris Duke was there with Franco Rossellini. He said that Isabella’s getting a million and a half for one of her modeling contracts and that she and Marty Scorsese are still trying to work it out.”
Have a good week, whatever you are doing, wherever that may be.
What’s on your to-do list?
At work, I have scattered notes about art conservation, labels to write, reading lists for graduate students, but most of the time I am thinking about exhibition planning and talking about art.
On my talking-about-art to-do list:
This autumn the museum hosts the exhibition Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s (see the last post, August 13), so I am planning different kinds of presentations. One of them is “40 Things about the ‘40s,” and I have about five things listed thus far. World War II must count for, like, 25 things, though, right?
The Seliger show will overlap for a time with Shadow of the Sphinx so I had the brilliant idea that I should address them both. In one talk. What was I thinking?! Something about bugs, I suppose, important to Seliger’s early work, and there are all those beetles in Egyptian art, too.
I’ve been invited to speak about “Flowers in Contemporary Art” to the Herkimer Garden Club in October, something I’m looking forward to, so I have begun to collect pictures of, surprise (!), Georgia O’Keeffe, among other artists.
On my exhibitions to-do list:
The next Central New York Artists exhibition will be on view in March and April 2013 and I have to make an appointment with artist Kim Waale about a big spider web installation she wants to create for the show.
For our summer 2013 show, The Prints of Andy Warhol, I have to find a photo booth rental and see if we can afford to borrow one for some exhibition-related events we are planning. Will YOU be ready for your close-up, by the way?
And I am talking to artist Sam Van Aken (sculpture professor at Syracuse University) about creating the next Sculpture Court Project for autumn 2013. Lately Sam has been grafting different kinds of trees together to create hybrids that are lovely to look at and disturbing to think about. Sam thinks about how things can look like one thing but be something else. I wonder what he has in mind for us?
I’ll bet you have some interesting list-making going on in your mind. Care to share with us?
Okay, gotta run. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it, lucky me.