The Gibbes Shades of Green

”Because when we open ourselves to art, we open ourselves to the world – to people and ideas, to beauty, craft, process and detail, to different cultures, to pain and pleasure, to questions, expression and emotion, to truth and transcendence.” 

”The Gibbes Museum of Art is home to the foremost collection of American art that incorporates the story of Charleston. The Museum connects the city and region’s artistic past to a vibrant contemporary art scene. This is what we believe.” 

– The Gibbes Museum of Art

Mrs. Elizabeth Digby Peale Polk, 1770
By Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)


Girl with Cat, ca. 1845-50
By unidentified artist (painted in New England)
Oil on canvas


Rosy Moon off Charleston Harbor, ca. 1908-1916
By Birge Harrison (1854-1929)
Oil on masonite


April (The Green Gown), 1920
By Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Oil on canvas

Originally titled April 1859, this painting is believed to be a portrayal of the artist’s mother, Rosa Hawthorne Hassam, pregnant with her son. In April 1859 she would have been three months pregnant with Hassam, who was born on October 17, 1859.


The Green Fan (Girl of Toledo, Spain), 1912
By Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Oil on canvas


Magnolia Gardens, ca. 1920
By Alfred Hutty (1877-1954)
Oil on canvas

Alfred Hutty traveled to Charleston for the first time in 1920 to teach a season of painting classes at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Overwhelmed by the city’s beauty, he returned every winter for the next thirty years.


Designs, Wrightsville Beach, 1968
By Minnie Evans (1892-1987)
Collage with oil, crayon and pencil on canvas


Ms. Johnson (Estelle), 1972,
By Barkley Hendricks (b. 1945)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas


Corene, 1995
By Johathan Green (b. 1955)
Oil on canvas


Steamboat ”Victoria”, 1859
By James Bard (1815-1897)
Oil on canvas


Among the various treasures, a small sample you have seen – and hopefully enjoyed – above, there is a very interesting collection of miniature portraits such as the one below, of the fair Eliza Izard (Mrs. Thomas Pinckney, Jr.), painted by Malbone & dated 1801.

This is where we learned that the first American miniature portraits were painted in Charleston, and the Gibbes’ collection is one of the most important portrait miniature collections in the United States. Containing more than six hundred objects, it spans nearly two hundred years and represents the work of over a hundred artists.

The miniatures, too small to be photographed with a smartphone camera, are not just tiny masterful works of art, but also remembrances of loved ones in the age before photography. They are tokens of love and affection, passed down to us through generations and, as such, should be treasured for ever.  

The Gibbes Museum of Art – Charleston, SC

April 11th, 2018

The art of ageing gracefully

1/
Mama, You Known I Never Paid Matisse
No Never Mind, 2000
By Sigmund M. Abeles (b. 1934)
Pastel on handmade paper

Sigmund Abeles captures the very essence of old age in this portrait of his mother shown seated in a nursing home setting. The portrait was painted from a photograph shortly after the sitter’s death.

2/
Kona Kai, 1967
By Robert Bechtle (b. 1932)
Oil on canvas

3/
502 Lucerne Street, ca. 1983-86
By Edward Rice (b. 1953)
Oil on canvas

Rice is well known for his ultra-realistic paintings of architecture, often picturing southern locales with which he has a personal relationship. 502 Lucerne Street was at one time the home of his grandmother. The building, located in North Augusta, South Carolina, originally served as the city jail and is now the artist’s studio

4/ & 5/
View of the Schuylkill County Almshouse
Property of the Year 1881, 1908
By Ralph F. Reed (1884-1966)
Oil on canvas

The Gibbes Museum of Art

Charleston, SC

April 11th, 2018

Charleston || And now for some Art…

@ the Gibbes Museum of Art.

We will have a better view of the galleries tomorrow but, today, I wanted to share with you the one portrait that stood out from the entire collection of the Museum, in my eyes at least. I can’t explain why, but the longer I look at her, the more she captivates me.

Mary Whyte, 1999
by Jill Hooper (b. 1970)
Oil on canvas

A classically-trained painter, Jill Hopper has earned acclaim for her portraits, landscapes and still-life paintings. She paints from life with natural light and attentive engagement with her subjects is the hallmark of Hooper’s work. This portrait conveys Hooper’s deep respect for fellow Charleston artist Mary Whyte. Posed holding the tools of her trade, Whyte is clearly identified as an artist. 

Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC

April 11th, 2018

Young Contemporaries 2018 @ The Halsey

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.

Hope Morgan
Smokers, 2017-18
Charcoal on paper


Austin Darby
Moon, 2017
Graphite and charcoal on paper


Austin Darby
Edge City, 2017
Graphite and charcoal on paper


3 untitled works (2017) by Bow Smith
Liquid silver emulsion print


Lilli Cameron
Le Petit Déjeuner, 2017
Graphite on paper

on top of

”Many faces”, 2018 by Hailee Selby
Paper and wire


Danielle Dungo
Rose Series, 2017-18
Oil on panel


Chloe Hogan
Sunday Afternoon, 2018
Oil on canvas


Timothy Hunter
(I Can’t) Stop Daydreaming, 2018
Oil on canvas


Danielle Dungo
Self Portrait, 2018
Oil on canvas


And the winner was…

Anna Newell
Closish, 2018
Graphite and charcoal on paper

YC18 Best in Drawing

A small, personal selection from the Young Contemporaries 2018 @ The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Charleston, SC

April 11th, 2018

SCAD || To-day and To-morrow (and To-morrow…)

One of the pleasures of traveling is the discovery of museums like SCAD. Surprisingly stimulating, visually & intellectually, we found some of the most interesting, powerful and – why not, funny works, both within the brick walls of this magnificent 1853 structure that once housed a railway depot for the Central of Georgia Railway, as well as in the surrounding area outdoors. And to think that, before visiting Savannah, we had never even heard of SCAD!

Christopher Chiappa
LIVESTRONG Savannah, 2018


Melissa Spitz
”Do you need some Xanax? You’ll feel better”, 2013


Melissa Spitz
”I fell down and broke my jaw”, 2012


Toyin Ojih Odutola
Waiting for Supper, 2017
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper


Toyin Ojih Odutola
The Abstraction of a Continent, 2017-2018
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper


Mariana Castillo Deball, “To-Day, February 20th,”

For her exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art, Castillo Deball presented the most recent iteration of the project “To-Day,” which combines historical research about a specific site and a physical form that contains this research, which the artist calls a “fictional character.”

This ongoing project is founded in a set of parameters that the artist herself has set:

“Each time the piece takes place, the character is shaped by this one-day history. It is important to mention that the date is decided by the situation and not by the artist. The date always coincides with the official opening of the exhibition, in this case the 20th of February. The documentation and visual material departs from newspapers, travel logs, birthdates, obituaries, holidays, observances and any other traces related to this particular date. ‘To-Day’ is an archive of events, with an arbitrary point in common. The piece will be completed after 365 editions.”


SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah, GA

April 4th, 2018

Savannah || The Jepson Center

Part two of our Telfair Museums round, just across the street from the Telfair Academy is the most recent addition to the group, the Jepson Center. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie (see also the National Gallery of Canada), this sleek art space was opened to the public in 2006. It is home to Savannah’s famous Bird Girl and, on the day of our visit, some pretty powerful works attempting to address the region’s atrocious past relationship with slavery through contemporary art.

Adolfo Alvarado (b. 1982)
Piece, 2018
Mixed media


Adolfo Alvarado (b. 1982)
Tweet Tweet, 2018
Mixed media


“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, the 1994 publication of John Berendt’s bestselling novel with Jack Leigh’s cover photograph featuring Silvia Shaw Judson’s Bird Girl sculpture from Bonaventure cemetery, brought a tidal wave of tourism to Savannah. Devotees of the book flocked to Bonaventure, some trampling the gravesite, which resulted to the removal of Judson’s sculpture to Telfair Museums.


Gene Kogan
Cubist Mirror, 2016
Interactive installation (people standing in front of it, can see themselves as a cubist painting)


Wangshu Sun
Dream of Wings, 2017
Interactive virtual reality installation (people sitting in the chair, open their arms and dream they can fly)


Paul Stephen Benjamin (b. 1966)
God Bless America, 2016
Three-channel video installation, 54 video monitors, DVDs, cables and cords


Paul Stephen Benjamin (b. 1966)
H.Res 194, 2017
Black Light, Black T8 Fixture 32W, Black Cords

”I’m curious about the relationship of the colour black and ”blackness”. What is its visual aspect?”

Benjamin’s new site-specific black light work H.Res 194 connects the medium of black lights with the subject of House Resolution 194, titled ”Apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans” and passed on July 29, 2008 by the 110th Congress. H.Res 194 suggests that shining a light, literally and conceptually, on a difficult past by acknowledging something through gesture, even if symbolic, is a positive step to change and grow as a nation.


Paul Stephen Benjamin (b. 1966)
Summer Breeze, 2016/17
Three-channel video installation, 40 video monitors, DVDs, cables and cords

Summer Breeze shows performances of the song ”Strange Fruit” by two leading African American vocalists: Billie Holiday and Jill Scott.

Strange Fruit is a poem written by Abel Meeropol, under the pseudonym Lewis Allan, a New York City poet, educator and social activist of Jewish descent, as a response to his viewing a photograph of the lynching of J. Thomas Shipp and Abraham S. Smith, taken by Lawrence Beitler on Augus 7, 1930, which became the most iconic photograph of lynching in America.


In 1850, Swiss-American biologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) commissioned a series of photographs for his study of ”races”. Agassiz intended to use these portraits as visual evidence to support his racist theories of the inferiority of Africans and to prepare a taxonomy of the enslaved population. He commissioned photographer Joseph T. Zealy (1812-1893) of Columbia, South Carolina, to produce a series of daguerreotypes of slaves.

Weems discovered Agassiz’s images in museum and university archives and appropriated them for her own use in 1992. In this series, Weems exposes how photography has played a key role throughout history in shaping and supporting racism, stereotyping and social injustice.


Radiance, by Teri Yarbrow and Max Almy with  Josephine Leong
Immersive virtual reality mandalas


We thought it best to leave the third site, Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, for another day; three museums in a row seemed like an overkill and, besides, tickets not only give access to all three sites, but they also remain valid for a week.

Jepson Center, Savannah GA

April 3rd, 2018

Savannah || Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences

The Telfair Academy, the Jepson Center and the Owens-Thomas House are three distinctly different buildings in close distance with each other, united under the umbrella of Telfair Museums. Each one houses an art collection that corresponds to the period it was built.

Let us start today with a visit to the Telfair Academy. Designed by William Jay in neoclassical Regency style, completed in 1819 as a residence for Alexander Telfair, it houses 19th- and 20th-century American and European art. Athanadoros, Hagesandros and Polydoros of Rhodes
Laocoön and His Sons, early first century A.D.
(cast madxe before 1893)

The original version of this sculpture can be found in the collection of the Vatican Museums, Rome.


Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Brooklyn Bridge in Winter, 1904
Oil on canvas


Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)
The Garden Umbrella, by 1910
Oil on canvas


Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)
The Hammock, by 1915
Oil on canvas


Henri Caro-Delvaille (1875-1928)
La toilette d’Herminie, 1906
Oil on canvas


Józef Brandt (1841-1915)
Ein Gefecht (A Battle), 1888
Oil on canvas


Julian Story (1857-1919)
The Black Prince at Crécy, 1888 (detail)
Oil on canvas


Walter MacEwen (1860-1943)
The Lacemakers, c. 1885-1900
Oil on canvas


Carl Ludwig Brandt (1831-1905)
Mary Telfair, 1896

Carl Brandt was the first director of the Telfair, serving in that capacity from 1883 until his demise in 1905. His portrait of local philanthropist Mary Telfair (1791-1875), whose bequest of her home to the public as an ”academy of arts and sciences” allowed the creation of the Telfair Museum of Art, was commissioned by the museum’s trustees.


Raoul du Gardier (1871-1952)
Calme blanc, 1905-8
Oil on canvas


Gari Melchers (1860-1932)
Madonna of the Fields, c. 1895
Gouache on canvas


Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA

April 3rd, 2018

Being: Tarsila & Henri & Joanna & Sofia

Getting acquainted with the work of Tarsila do Amaral, whose art is as stunning as the artist herself; capturing the minimal geometry of New York’s temple of modern art; feeling the urge to stop by ”The Piano Lesson”, one of Matisse’s most interesting compositions (a few more times and I might even begin to like it); leaping from modern art to ”New Photography” and its 2018 edition examining how photography can capture ”what it means to be human”. liaTarsila do Amaral, Estudo (Academia no. 2), 1923, oil on canvas


Tarsila do Amaral, A  Gare, 1925, oil on canvas


Tarsila do Amaral, O touro, 1928, oil on canvas


Tarsila do Amaral, O sono, c. 1928, oil on canvas


Tarsila do Amaral, Urutu, 1928, oil on canvas


Tarsila do Amaral, Operários, 1933, oil on canvas


Henri Matisse, The Piano Lesson, 1916, oil on canvas


Joanna Piotrowska, XXIII Frowst, 2013-2014, silver gelatin hand print


Sofia Borges. Theatre, or Cave, 2014. UV-printed wallpaper, printed 2018


Sofia Borges, Yellow Chalk, 2017,  pigmented inkjet print


MoMA, March 25th, 2018

David Hockney

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.

Art:

1/ & 2/
My Parents, 1977
Oil on canvas

3/
Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, 1968
Acrylic on canvas

4/
The Cha-Cha That Was Danced in the Early Hours of 24th March, 1961
Oil on canvas

5/
Self-portrait, 1983
Charcoal on paper

David Hockney @The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February 17th, 2018