Vera Paints a Scarf

”Vera Paints a Scarf was a selection of the work of artist Vera Neumann (1907-1993) and her contributions to the field of American design. Neumann was among the most successful female design entrepreneurs of the 20th century, and an originator of the American lifestyle brand. Over the course of her career, which spanned from her label’s debut in 1942 to her death in 1993, Neumann produced an iconic line of women’s scarves all signed with a cursive “Vera” and stamped with a ladybug, as well as thousands of textile patterns based on her drawings, paintings, and collages. This exhibition was the first to comprehensively examine her career—and highlights the keys to her success: her joyful and inventive aesthetic, democratic design ethos, fusion of craft and mass production, and clever marketing.”

Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

December 26th, 2019

Prickly Pear Don’t Care

Artworks

Salvador Jiménez-Flores
Nopales híbridos: An Imaginary World of a Rascuache-Futurism, 2017
Terra cotta, porcelain, underglazes, gold luster, and terra cotta slip

When Jiménez-Flores moved to the United States he spoke limited English. Art became his primary method of communication and means of commemorating his heritage. His practice prioritizes the depiction of Latinx people to ensure their representation in art for future generations. The “Nopales” series (nopales is Spanish for “prickly-pear cacti”) uses humor to challenge existing Latinx stereotypes in the United States. Likenesses of the artist, wearing shiny sunglasses and sticking out his tongue, are portrayed on cactus pads made of terra cotta and porcelain. This irreverent aesthetic references the work of Robert Arneson, father of funk ceramics, and also draws on the rich history of portraiture in Latin American visual culture, from Frida Kahlo’s paintings to Peruvian Moche vessels. The nopal, notable for its resilience in extreme conditions, is an important icon in Mexican culture—so much so that it is emblazoned on the country’s flag. For the artist, the cactus’s endurance symbolizes hope for the future.

Amber Cowan
Dance of the Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset, 2019, Flameworked American pressed glass
Snail Passing Through the Garden of Inanna, 2019, Flameworked American pressed glass

Two of the finalists for the Burke Prize 2019, in recognition of an artist’s extraordinary achievement in craft.

Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

December 26th, 2019


Art to lift the spirits

I think we can all use a booster

MoMA New York

December 8th, 2019

Sunday afternoon museum walk

The new MoMA had recently reopened after a four month closure, the last phase of a multimillion dollar expansion and renovation, and it was high time we explored all that extra space. These are a few of my favourite things:

MoMA New York

December 8th, 2019

John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was one of the greatest portrait artists of his time. While he is best known for his powerful paintings, he largely ceased painting portraits in 1907 and turned instead to charcoal drawings to satisfy portrait commissions.

The Morgan Library & Museum presented a major exhibition of his beautiful portraits of beautiful people, in charcoal.

November 10th, 2019

Joseph Cornell Illuminated

Hans Namuth

Joseph Cornell in His Backyard, Utopia Parkway, New York, 1969

”It kills me, it’s so good. Let’s pretend I took this, okay?… I used to go to Cornell’s house once a week for I don’t know how long. He would make tea on his ancient, Depression-era stove. He’d turn the gas on, and the flames shot up. He talked a lot, gesturing, in this very fluffy angora sweater he wore. And I’m thinking, I should keep the camera ready in case he goes up. A Flaming Cornell: that’d be amazing! Unfortunately, he never caught on fire. But this portrait is going to upstage the whole exhibit – I may have to set it on fire.” – Duane Michals

From ”Illusions of the Photographer”, an exhibition of the art of Duane Michals, which included this photograph of Joseph Cornell by Hans Namuth and, as far as I was concerned, upstage the whole exhibit, it did.

The Morgan Library

November 10th, 2019