The Idiosyncratic Eyes of Mme Bourgeois

Staring into your soul.

House 1994
Marble


the puritan 1990-97 (text: 1947)
Folio set no. 3: engravings with selective wiping, gouache and watercolour additions


Lullaby 2006
Series of twenty-five screenprints on fabric: title sheet and twenty-four compositions

Bourgeois created shapes by turning and tracing common household objects – scissors, a knife and a candy dish, among them. She published this set herself, under the imprint Lison Editions. Lison, Lise, Lisette, Louison and Louisette were among her childhood nicknames.


Ode à l’Oubli 2004
Fabric illustrated book with thirty fabric collages and four lithographs

The pages of this book are composed of linen hand towels saved from her trousseau. Many contain the embroidered monogram LBG (Louise Bourgeois Goldwater). Bourgeois later issued and editioned version of this book in twenty-five examples. In that version, the pages are tied together through buttonholes instead of bound so all of the pages can be displayed simultaneously, as seen on this wall.


Untitled 1998
Fabric and stainless steel


Stamp of Memories I 1993
Drypoint with metal stamp additions


Sainte Sébastienne 1992
Drypoint


Triptych for the Red Room 1994
Aquatint, drypoint and engraving

The subject of pain is the business I am in.“ – LB


Self Portrait 2007
Gouache on paper


Self Portrait 1990
Drypoint, etching and aquatint


I Redo (interior element) from the installation
I Do, I Undo, I Redo 1999-2000
Steel, glass wood and tapestry


Untitled 1940
Oil and pencil on board


Lacs de Montagne (Mountain Lakes), 19916 & 1977
Engraving and aquatint with watercolour, gouache and ink additions


Arch of Hysteria 1993
Bronze, polished patina


Spider 1997


Note from Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait, an exhibition that ran at the MoMA, until end January 2018: ”[…] explores the prints, books, and creative process of the celebrated sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010). Bourgeois’s printed oeuvre, a little-known aspect of her work, is vast in scope and comprises some 1,200 printed compositions, created primarily in the last two decades of her life but also at the beginning of her career, in the 1940s. The Museum of Modern Art has a prized archive of this material, and the exhibition will highlight works from the collection along with rarely seen loans […].”

September 25th, 2017

Fighting War with Art || Arthur Szyk: A Soldier in Art

The work of a Polish artist on show at the New-York Historical Society?  That seemed strange at first, but a quick read of the introduction shed light on the artist’s relation with the United States and his deep admiration of, and dedication to American democratic values – those same values that are under thread today, shaking American society to its core.

Arthur Szyk fought the demons of WWII in his own creative way, by focusing on political cartooning and producing works that were published as magazine covers, reproduced as posters, and exhibited in art galleries. Among the many admirers of his work during this period was Eleanor Roosevelt, who wrote in her newspaper column My Day: “In its way [Szyk’s work] fights the war against Hitlerism as truly as any of us who cannot actually be on the fighting fronts today.” [source]

Arthur Szyk was so dedicated to American democratic values that he actually became an American citizen in 1948. These are some of the artworks he made during his years in New York City.  FDR’s Soldier in Art, 1944
Pencil, watercolour, pen and ink on paper

Szyk’s lively portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) conveyed the artist’s reverence for the US and its principles of freedom and justice, and his belief that the president would lead the Allies – United States, Great Britain and Russia – in defeating the Axis powers. He dedicated the portrait to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1946 following the president’s death. Mrs. Roosevelt admired Szyk and mentioned his artistic crusade in her newspaper columns on several occasions.


We’re running short of Jews!…, 1943
Ink and graphite on paper

The drawing responded to an announcement made by the World Jewish Congress in November 1942 that confirmed the Nazis’ plan to annihilate Europe’s Jewish population. Szyk later dedicated the drawing to his mother, who died at the Chelmno extermination camp near the Łódź ghetto.


De Profundis. Cain, where is Abel thy Brother?, 1943
Ink and graphite on board


Palestine Restricted, 1944
Pen, ink and pencil on paper

Palestine Restricted furthered Szyk’s condemnation of the White Paper by likening it to a fierce vulture descending on masses of dead and dying men, women and children. The notation, March 31, 1944, marks the date when the British further tightened Jewish immigration, requiring the consent of Palestinian Arabs.


To be shot, as Dangerous Enemies of the Third Reich!, 1943
Ink and graphite on card

Szyk’s biting depiction of Heinrich Himmler declaring innocent Jewish children as enemies of the Third Reich emphasized the senselessness of Nazi anti-Semitism.


Modern Moses, 1944
Pen, ink and pencil on paper


Untitled (The Silent Partner), September 1941
Watercolour, gouache, ink and graphite on paper

Szyk anticipated the US entry into WWII and Hitler’s eventual downfall in this depiction of a decorated figure of Death observing a dangerous poker game between Hitler and ”Ivan”, a pre-Soviet Union Russian leader. Gambling with the fate of the world, Hitler’s cards represent his alliance with Italy, Japan and Vichy France. Ivan’s hand includes the US and Great Britain. Seven puppets, the collaborating leaders of Hungary, Finland, Japan, Italy, Vichy France and Spain, hang from Hitler’s belt. The painting appeared on the cover of Collier’s on November 1, 1941, one month before the US entered the war.


Murder Incorporated: Hirohito, Hitlerhito, Benito, December 1941
Watercolour and gouache on paper


Offset lithograph. Here, Szyk characterizes Mussolini, Hirohito and Hitler as venereal diseases, offering perfect incentive to stay healthy and fight in the war effort.


More than 40 artworks by illustrator and miniaturist Arthur Szyk (1894–1951), were on view at the New-York Historical Society between September 2017 and January 2018.

New-York Historical Society

September 23rd, 2017

The Watermill Center

A laboratory for the arts and humanities, a unique space for artists to explore, create and present their work, the brainchild of visual artist Robert Wilson and, for the two of us, an uplifting, almost spiritual experience.

It was Sunday, beginning of September and the Watermill Center was resting after a summer of buzzing activity. No one else was around, the grounds were ours to explore. In a strange, calming way we did not feel lonely; for the artists may have been absent but their essence still lingered in the air. And in the many totems scattered in the woods.

The Watermill Center, is a mere 5′ drive from the Parrish Art Museum and a 2-hour drive from Manhattan.

September 3rd, 2017

passing || by || passing

For a minute there, the museum’s windows became a work of art.

The blue screens on the external walls seen from a distance, are Clifford Ross’, Digital Wave, 2017, video on 2 LED walls. Another version, from 2105, was installed in the interior lobby:

September 3rd, 2017

Parrish Art Museum
Water Mill, Long Island

From Lens to Eye to Hand || Parrish Art Museum

The closer you look, the harder it is to believe that these photos are actually paintings.Richard McLean (1934-2014)
Western Tableau with Rhodesian Ridgeback (Trails West), 1993
Oil on linen


Richard McLean (1934-2014)
(Detail) Western Tableau with Rhodesian Ridgeback (Trails West), 1993
Oil on linen


Charles Bell (1935-1995)
Troupe, 1983
Oil on canvas


Ralph Goings (1928-2016)
Miss Albany Diner, 1993
Oil on canvas


Robert Cottingham (b. 1935)
Radios, 1977
Oil on linen


Robert Bechtle (b. 1932)
’73 Malibu, 1974
Oil on canvas


John Kacere (1920-1999)
Untitled, 1974
Watercolour on paper


John Kacere (1920-1999)
Reina ’79, 1979
Oil on linen


Randy Dudley (b. 1950)
Gowanus Canal from 2nd Street, 1986
Oil on canvas


Davis Cone (b. 1950)
State-Autumn Evening, 2002
Acrylic on canvas


Don Jacot (b. 1949)
Herald Square, 1936 (After Berenice Abbott), 2013
Oil on linen


Don Jacot (b. 1949)
(Detail) Herald Square, 1936 (After Berenice Abbott), 2013
Oil on linen


From Lens to Eye to Hand, Photorealism 1969 to Today, was an exhibition that took a fresh look at this contemporary art movement that found its roots in the mid-1960s in New York and California, evolving from the then dominant movements, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art and Minimalism. And, while Photorealism reached its height in the ’70s, there are some magnificent works proving that the movement continues today.

Parrish Art Museum
Water Mill, Long Island

September 3rd, 2017

Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again @Socrates_Sculpture_Park

Reading about how the local community took the initiative to save this abandoned space, between Long Island City and Astoria, by converting it into a sculpture park – and being the first to applaud such creative initiatives, I thought I owed it to myself to take a closer look, not least because it is named after Socrates (470-399 B.C.), the great Greek philosopher, which is not surprising considering New York’s largest Greek community is in Astoria.

The exhibition on view those days was Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again, G.O.A.T. being an acronym for Greatest of All Time, a phrase commonly used in American sports. The exhibition examined ‘how hubris creates misplaced expectations in American cultural politics. This exhibition also brought new insight into the artist’s exploration of identity, social progress, the urban environment, and group belonging.

While it was difficult for me to grasp the higher meaning behind the flock of goats carrying stuff on their backs, I found the artist’s explanation ”… articulation of social dynamics, conjuring the animal’s attributes and symbolic connotations, from an ambitious climber of great heights to an outcast” equally puzzling.

On the other hand, the Apollo/Poll sign, that read ‘APOLLO’, the letters ‘A’ and ‘O’ blinking on and off to spell out “POLL” was easier to interpret even without the help of the artist (but here it is anyway): ”… The size and font of the red LED-lit letters are inspired by those of the iconic neon beacon hanging over Harlem’s Apollo Theater, a renowned venue for African American entertainers. The word ‘POLL’ suggests not only the theater’s well-known amateur night in which the audience decides the winner, but also the democratic election process.

I wonder what would Socrates have made out of all this…

August 26th, 2017