Frida & I

And a lot more on display in Brooklyn Museum.

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving was ongoing, a collection of her clothing, jewelry, and other personal possessions like her corsets and prosthetics (themselves works of art), which were rediscovered and inventoried in 2004 after being locked away since Kahlo’s death, in 1954. Photography was strictly prohibited and all I managed was a couple of sneak pics. But, as is always the case in a museum, a whole world of other treasures is waiting to be discovered, photographed, and shared.

Ceremonial Wine Vessel on a Wheeled Phoenix, early 18th century
China, Qing dynasty

Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu
Green schist
Late Period, Dynasty XXX, ca 380-342 B.C.

Figure of a Recumbent Jackal (God Anubis)
Late Period-Ptolemaic Period, ca. 664-30 B.C.E.
From Saqqara

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Ran Hwang (South Korean, b. 1960)
East Wind, 2012
Plastic and metal buttons and beads, metal pins, wood panel

Kwang Young Chun
Born Hongchun, South Korea, 1944
Aggregation 18-JA006 (Star 1), 2018
Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper

Kwang Young Chun
Born Hongchun, South Korea, 1944
Aggregations (detail)

Kwang Young Chun
Born Hongchun, South Korea, 1944

Kwang Young Chun
Born Hongchun, South Korea, 1944

Kwang Young Chun
Born Hongchun, South Korea, 1944
Aggregation 15-AU043, 2015
Mixed media with Korean mulberry paper

Philip Pearlstein, b. 1924
Portrait of Linda Nochlin and Richard Pommer, 1968
Oil on canvas

Joan Semmel, b. 1932
Intimacy-Autonomy, 1974
Oil on canvas

Brookyn Museum

February 16th, 2019

Brenda Starr, Reporter: The Art of Dale Messick

Brenda Starr, Reporter debuted in June of 1940 and was an immediate hit with young women and girls. Brenda Starr’s name came from a 1930’s debutante, Brenda Frazier, and her body, fashion sense, and persona mirrored leading Hollywood actress, Rita Hayworth, complete with matching long red hair and a curvaceous figure.

At its peak, Brenda Starr, Reporter was included in 250 newspapers and read by more than 60 million readers. When Starr and her long-time “Mystery Man” boyfriend, whose very survival depended on the serum found in the fictitious but famous black orchid, finally married after 36 years in 1976, President Gerald Ford sent a congratulatory telegram. [source]

Random squares from an exhibition @ The Society of Illustrators

February 9th, 2019

Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal

“Birth Canal,” the first US solo museum exhibition by Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986, Cholet, France), debuts a new body of sculpture within an installation of light, sound, and scent. Humeau’s work centers on the origins of humankind and related histories of language, love, spirituality, and war. She prefaces each project with a period of intense investigation in which she engages diverse authorities on her chosen subject, including historians, anthropologists, paleontologists, zoologists, explorers, linguists, and engineers. Through her interdisciplinary, speculative inquiry, Humeau enriches her own thinking as an artist and researcher, and refashions historical quests in ways that reflect the technological age in which we live. – New Museum

New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York

January 6th, 2019

Looking at Jerry Lewis || The Nutty Professor Storyboards

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

Bill Crespinel
Jerry Lewis mixing music at this home, 1961

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

It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200

To commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, Frankenstein – originally published on 1 January 1818, the Morgan curated an art exhibition with movie memorabilia, film posters, comic books, publicity stills, aiming to explain how Frankenstein caught the popular imagination in the course of two hundred years.

Richard Rothwell (1800-1868)
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1831
Oil on canvas

This is how the world remembers Mary Shelley: a handsome widow at the height of her fame. Percy Bysshe Shelley had drowned in 1822 when a sudden storm overturned his boat, and she returned  penniless to London with their only surviving child. P.B. Shelley’s income had died with him, and his father, Sir Timothy, loathed his son and daughter-in-law and forbade her to publish under the Shelley name. Nonetheless she wrote, productively, as ”the author of Frankenstein.” Eventually she returned to society, giving modest parties where the Irish painter  Richard Rothwell, the painter of this portrait, was a guest.

The pressbook for the Bride of Frankenstein, a collection of photographs and promotional materials sent to journalists, depicts an imperious Mary Shelley whose glance projects power and knowledge. It also reflects her novel, in which the monster does demand a mate. In James Whale’s film, however, the idea of  a bride originates with a new character, Dr. Septimus Pretorius, Henry Frankenstein’s former university teacher and a paragon of evil. He has come to induce Frankenstein to collaborate with him, in the scene ending with Pretorius’ toast on gin, ”my only weakness,” to ”a new world of  gods and monsters!”

The model for Robert De Niro’s makeup is twisted in pain that might make one turn away. It was fabricated by Daniel Parker, who earned an Academy Award nomination for this makeup concept

Frankenstein (1994), directed by Kenneth Branagh
Starring Robert De Niro, Kenneth Branagh, Helena Bonham Carter

Colour offset lithograph poster for the ”Bride of the Monster”, 1956

Roman Freulich (1898-1974)
Elsa Lanchester in The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935

In the novel, Victor Frankenstein destroys the bride before she is vivified. In the 1935 sequel to Frankenstein, she is given little screen time. She is brought out just long enough to be introduced, to spurn the other monster – screaming so hard at him that Lanchester’s vocal cords were damaged for months – and to be returned to death when the monster brings down the tower.

Roman Freulich (1898-1974)
Jack Pierce devising makeup for Boris Karloff
in The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935

Boris Karloff, born William Henry Pratt, was a handsome man. Here, Pierce is at work making him ugly. The creature’s forehead is clamped where his transplanted brain has been popped in. Karloff’s head  was built up with layers of collodion and cheesecloth. This was covered with blue-green greasepaint, which photographed a deathly gray. Boris Karloff removed a bridge from the side of his mouth and sucked his cheek in. Finally, because his eyes were to lively, Karloff said, ”too understanding where dumb bewilderment was so essential,” Pierce added wax to his eyelids, making  them ”heavy, half-seeing”.

Prince Hoare (1755-1834)
Acrobats, 1779
Pen and ink, brown ink and wash over pen and black ink on laid paper

Prince Hoare may have sketched this lively group of acrobats when he was studying art in Rome with Fuseli and James Northcote. His career was unsuccessful, and he stopped exhibiting in 1785, remaking himself as a playwright. Hoare was a longtime friend of Mary Shelley’s father, William Godwin,  whom Northcote painted.

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)
The Nigthmare, 1781
Oil on canvas

In this, the most famous of Gothic paintings, a sleeping woman is beset by a nightmare – defined by Samuel Johnson as ”a morbid oppression in the night, resembling thee pressure of weight upon the breast” – here embodied as a goblin with cat’s eyes. The mare at the window is both comical and frightening. The Swiss immigrant artist Fuseli was the first many Mary Shelley’s  mother, the writer Mary Wollstonecraft, loved, and both mother and daughter would have known this painting.

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)
The Three Witches (or The Weird Sisters), ca. 1782
Oil on canvas

Fuseli was not above humour in his paintings. Here, the second of the three witches  from Macbeth is the likeness of Fuseli’s old friend and painting master, John Jakob Bodmer.  Hugely ambitious, Fuseli was celebrated not just for his visionary paintings but for his work in the lucrative market for literary scenes, and he became known as ”Shakespeare’s painter”. This is the earliest of three versions of this work, depicting the witches at the moment of their conversation with Banquo.

Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827)
The Covent Garden Night Mare
Etching on wove paper, hand-coloured

The late eighteenth century was the great era of the satiric print in Britain; audiences loved the savage pleasures of their political attacks. Here, Rowlandson coopted Fuseli’s Nightmare, swapping the lissome sleeping woman for the roly-poly leader of the Whig opposition, Charles James Fox, who had just lost power in the 1784 election.

James Gillray (1756-1815)
Wierd-Sisters, Ministers of Darkness, Minions of the Moon
Etching and aquatint, hand-coloured

Gillray turned to Fuseli’s Shakespeare paintings as models six times. Wierd-Sisters, an ”attempt in the caricatura-sublime” modeled on Fuseli’s Three Witches, was seen as Gillray’s masterpiece. (Wierd is a contemporary alternative  spelling).

Three  witches are the three most powerful politicians at the time – William Pitt, Lord Thurlow and Lord Dundas – who were joined in an unstable government.

The Morgan Library & Museum

January 04th, 2019

The Velvet Underground Experience

An alternative title could have been ”The Andy Warhol Clan”.

The exhibition was set to explore how The Velvet Underground influenced modern music, fashion, art, and popular culture in Lou Reed’s native city. Yet, so many were the references to Andy Warhol, he might as well have been part of the band. One couldn’t take two steps in The City’s artistic sphere without stumbling upon Warhol. The man who created ”superstars” would become a superstar himself.

Marjorie Strider in front of Girl with Radish, 1965
This painting was the icon of the 1964 exhibition ”First International Girlie Show” at the Pace Gallery, where Strider exposed along with several soon-to-be stars of the movement, including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein

Nathan’s Famous, 1965
Gathering in front of a restaurant in Lou Reed’s favourite seaside resort, Coney Island. In May 1969, the Velvet Underground recorded a song called Coney Island Steeplechase. In 1975, Lou Reed’s fifth solo album was entitled Coney Island Baby.

Diane Arbus, 1967
The photographer participates in a pacifist and psychedelic gathering organized by New York students

Louise Bourgeois and Robert Goldwater, 1963
The French sculptor, a New Yorker by adoption, and the art historian Robert Goldwater, her husband, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York

Edward Hopper, 1965
The painter of urban loneliness, facing his easel.  Is it possible that Edward Hopper had an impact on Lou Reed? The first song of The Velvet Underground & Nico, Sunday Morning, is a troubling reference to the atmosphere of Hopper’s 1930 painting, Early Sunday Morning

Death to the Highway!, 1962
Protest against the upcoming construction of an urban highway, the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have resulted in the expropriation of thousands of Greenwich Village residents. As a result of the mobilization, the project was abandoned

Andy Warhol and Julia Warhola

John Cale, Lou Reed and Andy Warhol at the Ocean Club, NYC
July 1976 – Photography by Bob Gruen

New York City

December 16th, 2018

Dress For Distress

Ines Doujak, Not Dressed for Conquering: 01 Fires, 2015. Installation with various materials


Chun Tae-il, textile worker, setting himself alight, Seoul 1970 in protest at the ultra-exploitation of the mostly women workers in clothing factories.

“The labourer supplies himself with necessaries in order to maintain his labour-power, just as coal and water are supplied to the steam engine and oil to the wheel.” Karl Marx: Das Kapital Volume I, 1866

“In some cases the young seamstresses did not undress during nine consecutive days and nights, and could only rest a moment or two upon a mattress, where food was served to them ready cut up in order to require the least possible time for swallowing.” Friedrich Engels: The condition of the Working Class in England, 1887



Diary of Sammi, worker at the Greenhill Textile Company, Seoul, who did die along with 21 other workers on 25th March 1988 in a locked in dormitory when a fire broke out in the factory below.

“My main finding is that the garment industry is so bad for women’s health that they cannot continue for more than 4 or 5 years. Often they leave as invalids. It’s just too strenuous.” Dr. Pratima Paul Majumber, Bangladesh

“Because we have no holidays, night shift is too tiring and so our bodies become exhausted. Therefore we take ’Timing’ a medicine to keep us awake. Some of us have eaten too many and are addicted to these pills. If we fall asleep we are reprimanded, beaten and shaken.” A public statement by women workers at Pangrim textiles in Korea in 1978



24 workers were killed and many more injured at the Mirpur clothing factory, Dhaka, in a fire caused by sparks from an overloaded electricity circuit board on the 6th floor. They were doing enforced overtime and the emergency gates were locked.

“If you didn’t do overtime they would dismiss you, it didn’t matter if it was night or day.” Sophal, Cambodian clothing worker

Haute Couture 01 Fires is in progress.


From WOMEN.NOW, a group exhibition showcasing contemporary female artists based in Austria and the United States. On view from September 2018 to February 2019, the show united artists from different generations, commenting on women’s role in society and the arts.

Austrian Cultural Forum

December 8th, 2018


Women’s Words

Betty Tompkins’ Women’s Words, 2016. Installation, acryl on paper, acryl on canvas

∼paired with∼

Sevda Chkoutova’s Untitled, 2018 (Detail). India ink, painted on wall over two floors

From WOMEN.NOW, a group exhibition showcasing contemporary female artists based in Austria and the United States. On view from September 2018 to February 2019, the show united artists from different generations, commenting on women’s role in society and the arts.

Austrian Cultural Forum

December 8th, 2018