The Mandala Series by Janet Towbin
February 1st, 2019
Of all the stars who worked in the golden age of the Hollywood studio system, few valued the acts of looking and being looked at more than Jerry Lewis. Lewis had years of stage experience behind him by the time he emerged as a major screen actor and director, and acknowledging the audience became an essential aspect of the ”comedy of looks” that characterized his work. In no other Lewis film is the experience of being seen so central a theme as it is in The Nutty Professor (1963), in which he treats his audience as a main character. In this adaptation of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, his masterly dual performance as the self-effacing Professor Kelp and the narcissistic Buddy Love represents different sides of the Lewis persona, while on-screen students and night-club audiences who witness his character’s behaviour represent the critical gaze of the movie-going public.
[source: MoMA] Bill Avery
Jerry Lewis shooting a home movie, 1953
John Jensen (American, 1924-2003)
Scenes from the Hangover sequence, 1962
Black and coloured pencil on vellum paper John Jensen (American, 1924-2003)
Scenes from the Stella fantasy sequence, 1962
Black and coloured pencil and pastel on vellum paper John Jensen (American, 1924-2003)
Mina bird cage sketches, 1962
Pencil on paper John Lauris Jensen’s storyboards for The Nutty Professor were on display between October 2018 – March 2019; they were a recent gift to the Museum of Modern Art.
January 5th, 2019
the walking eye, 2018
Graphite and colour pencil on mat board
the eye’s level, 2018
Thread and staples
November 11th, 2018
From the Scofield Thayer Collection.
Scofield Thayer (1889-1982) was editor and co-owner of the Dial, a journal that published writing and art by the European and American avant-garde from 1919 to 1926. An aesthete, he was a brilliant abstract thinker and a complex, conflicted personality. In the early 1920s, Thayer underwent psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud in Vienna. While in Europe, he assembled a large collection of some six hundred artworks – mostly works on paper – with staggering speed, acquiring them from artists and dealers in Vienna, London, Paris and Berlin.
While Pablo Picasso’s work had been shown in America, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele were unknown in this country at that time. Both artists were remarkable for their frank portrayals of female nudity and sexuality.
In 1924 a selection from Thayer’s collection was exhibited at a New York gallery and won acclaim, but it found little favour when shown in his native city of Worcester, Massachusetts. Offended by intolerant views toward provocative art, Thayer drew up his will in 1925, leaving his collection to The Met before retreating from public life until his death in 1982.
An exhibition of the bequest has been planned since its arrival at the Museum in 1984, but its diversity, unevenness and vast quantity proved a challenge. While a select group of paintings by artists of the School of Paris is always on view, the light-sensitive watercolours, drawings and prints have been rarely displayed. This exhibition, held on the centenary of the 1918 deaths of Klimt and Schiele, presented these erotic and evocative works together for the first time.
It ran from July through October 2018 at The Met Breuer.
The Met Breuer
August 19th, 2018
A long-standing tradition at the College of Charleston, Young Contemporaries is an annual exhibition presented by the Halsey Institute, featuring work by College students selected by a nationally prominent juror.
In 2018, the 33rd Annual Juried Student Exhibition was curated by Amy Yoes.
on top of
”Many faces”, 2018 by Hailee Selby
Paper and wire
And the winner was…
Graphite and charcoal on paper
YC18 Best in Drawing
A small, personal selection from the Young Contemporaries 2018 @ The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
April 11th, 2018
From 1972 to 1980 Ruth Marten was a significant figure in the underground tattoo world in Greenwich Village and, as one of the few women practicing the craft, influenced people’s concept of body decoration. Hired by Jean-Paul Goude for her first illustration for Esquire, she had a 30 year career illustrating for many magazines, music and book covers.
The Halsey Institute hosts between five and seven exhibitions per year, highlighting adventurous contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists of national stature. All exhibitions are accompanied by extensive educational programming. In addition, the Halsey Institute has maintained a strong international component over the years, bringing in artists from all over the world for residencies, lectures, and exhibitions.
April 11th, 2018
What I was saying yesterday, about popular exhibitions? Well, David Hockney’s major retrospective held at the Met between November 2017 & February 2018, was one of them. Impossible to enjoy – oftentimes not being able to see anything at all, multiple rows of heads obscuring the art. So crowded were the galleries, we soon gave up. But not before catching at least a few striking images on camera, the most ”presentable” of which I’m glad to share today with you.
1/ & 2/
My Parents, 1977
Oil on canvas
Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, 1968
Acrylic on canvas
The Cha-Cha That Was Danced in the Early Hours of 24th March, 1961
Oil on canvas
Charcoal on paper
David Hockney @The Metropolitan Museum of Art
February 17th, 2018
We were back at The Morgan to see the magnificent Old Masters’ drawings from the Thaw Collection, that were displayed at the time.
These are some highlights, which I hope you’ll enjoy.
Odalisque with Slave, 1839
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) and Jean-Charles Thévenin (1819-1869)
Black chalk and graphite, black and brown wash with white and grey opaque watercolour
Energized by his visit to the seaside town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, van Gogh wrote enthusiastically to Bernard about his explorations of complementary colours (“No blue without yellow and without orange“) and his consideration of black and white as colours. He included several sketches to explain his ideas and enclosed a sheet containing drawings of canvasses in progress.
Writing to Gauguin, who was to arrive later that month, van Gogh extolled the attractions of Arles and chronicled his progress on one of his masterpieces from the period, Bedroom at Arles (1888; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), even including a sketch.
Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection, on view November 2017
November 18th, 2017
In 2017, MoMA – jointly with Columbia University – acquired the vast archives of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most prolific architects of the 20th century. To mark that acquisition, as well as the 150th anniversary of his birth on June 8, 1867, MoMA presented Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, an exhibition that comprised some 450 works made from the 1890s through the 1950s and included architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks. According to its curator, Barry Bergdoll, the show was meant “to announce that Frank Lloyd Wright is open to new interpretations” and that “the archive is here and it’s open.”
Having had a closer look on Mr. Wright’s incredibly detailed, delicate, at once artistically accomplished and architecturally precise designs, I can attest to the show’s success in opening the work of one of America’s – and the world’s – greatest architects, to new interpretations. At least to my, not-so-expert, eyes. Goron Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium, Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland
Project, 1924-25 // Pencil and coloured pencil on tracing paper
This project is often seen as a forerunner of the Guggenheim Museum, built two decades later.
Fallingwater (Kaufmann House), Mill Run, Pennsylvania 1934-37
Pencil and coloured pencil on paper
The bold design of a house over a waterfall for Pittsburgh department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann put Wright back in the public eye at a moment when he was increasingly anxious that his fame had faded. This drawing landed Wright on the cover of Time magazine in 1938 – he was only the third architect ever to receive that honour – and was also displayed that same year in an exhibition at MoMA devoted solely to his unprecedented house design.
Moore House, Oak Park, Illinois, 1895
Ink on paper
Madison Civic Center (Monona Terrace), Madison, Wisconsin
Project, 1938-59 // Ink and pencil on paper mounted on plywood
Even as Wright reimagined Chicago as a city dominated by a few super-tall skyscrapers but otherwise given over to a prairie landscape, he also designed urban projects – many of the megastructures, such as this one for Monona Terrace, which integrated transportation and infrastructure with public and commercial programmes – with the intention of revitalizing urban cores and engaging the preexisting city and its surroundings. This project was realized decades after Wright’s death.
The Mile-High Illinois, Chicago
Project, 1956 // Pencil, coloured pencil and gold ink on tracing paper
In this perspective drawing, Wright inserts his imagined mile-high skyscraper into the lakefront area of Chicago, which he transforms into a green landscape, rendering obsolete many of the city’s older, densely packed towers. The Mile-High becomes a singular object, in dialogue only with another Wright proposal: a tower called the Golden Beacon, visible in the background.
Plan for Greater Baghdad
Project, 1957 // Ink, pencil and coloured pencil on tracing paper
In 1957, Wright, along with a number of ”starchitects” including Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, was commissioned to design a signature building in Baghdad as part of an Iraqi government programme to bring Western architecture to the capital city. Although asked only to design an opera house, Wright expanded the programme into an entire cultural centre – including a university, two museums, a zoo and various recreational facilities – and moved the site to an island in the Tigris River. Wright’s project, like most of the others, was cancelled after the revolution of 1958.
Butterfly Wing Bridge, San Francisco
Project, 1949-53 // Ink, pencil and coloured pencil on tracing paper
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 1943-59
Gouache on paper mounted on board
American System-Built Houses for the Richards Company
Bogk House, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 1916-17
Watercolour, gouache, gold paint and graphite on paper mounted on Japanese paper
The two winged figures depicted in this sculptural frieze for the Bogk House recall, in their blocky, geometric forms, Mayan and Aztec motifs, while their wings resemble the eagle imagery prominent in the Pueblo Eagle Dance. The Eagle Dance was one of the most popular ceremonial dances performed at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, which Wright attended and where he encountered theories positing that contemporary American Indians were descendants of a venerable, ancient American civilization.
Lake Tahoe Resort, Lake Tahoe, California
Project, 1923-24 // Pencil and coloured pencil on tracing paper
Eugene Masselink (1910-1962)
Pattern studies // Pencil and coloured pencil on paper
Various cacti, rock formations and lichen are distilled into their essential organizing forms in these applied pattern studies, demonstrating the generative relationship between nature and architecture in Wright’s practice. According to Wright, the cellular structure of desert plants, for example, offered lessons in economical construction. Believing the artist should approximate nature through a process of conventionalization or abstraction – seeking underlying geometries rather than outward forms – Wright incorporated such pattern studies into his educational approach at the Taliesin Fellowship. Eugene Masselink, one of Wright’s most talented apprentices, drew these examples.
Frank Lloyd Wright and his assistant Eugene Masselink installing the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: American Architect at The Museum of Modern Art, November 13, 1940-January 5, 1941. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York
Photo: Soichi Sunami
Preliminary scheme for Imperial Hotel, Tokyo 1913-23
Ink and pencil on drafting cloth
The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo took over a decade to build and exerted a profound influence on both Wright’s designs and the architecture of a modernizing Japan.
Having survived the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923 and the American bombing of the city during World War II, it was finally demolished in 1968 to be replaced with a modern hotel tower.
Portions of the Imperial Hotel, including the grand entrance/lobby and the reflecting pool, were saved and painstakingly relocated to the Meiji Mura Museum, an open-air architectural theme park in Inuyama that contains more than 60 historic, culturally significant buildings from Japan and beyond. [source]
March Balloons, 1955
Drawing based on a cover design for Liberty magazine, c. 1926
From Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, an exhibition that ran through October 1st, 2017 at MoMA.
September 25th, 2017
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
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