Salt Lake City || South Visitors’ Center

@Temple_Square

A replica of Thorvaldsen’s Christus, commissioned by LDS Church ”to help visitors understand that Latter-day Saints are Christians”. A towering marble figure of 3.4-metres (11-foot) replica displayed in front of a star-studded mural. It certainly is convincing.

PS: The original Christus is displayed in Denmark’s Church of Our Lady, in Copenhagen.

Temple Square, Salt Lake City, UT

June 6th, 2018

Busted

Head Sculptures, Starman, 1984
Designer and maker, Dick Smith
Actor, Jeff Bridges

In an early sequence of Starman, an alien assumes a human form by growing from infancy to adulthood overnight. Designer Dick Smith fabricated more than one hundred full-size heads, each one conveying a minute step in the transition. The sculptures were photographed sequentially, occupying only a single frame of film. The result was a fluid, five-second transformation enlivened with eye blinks and a slight head turn. Today, an effect like this one would be created digitally.

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

May 13th, 2018

Dude, did I hear you say Art…?

A woman smoking a cigar (an absolute no-no in her time), a ”dude” throwing disapproving looks at her under his bowler hat, an innocent girl stoically enduring the scene, Joshua carrying a ram’s horn, all set to ”sound the trumpets of Jericho”, a faceless denture literally showing its teeth; they all seem to enjoy themselves, totally oblivious to a pair of cats silently judging one and all… 

A gallery of art that loves life – and the feeling is mutual…! Chalkware Cats, 1850-1900
Possibly made in Pennsylvania


Trust in God, ca. 1836
By Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850)
Marble


Dentist’s Trade Sign, ca. 1890
Tulip poplar and paint
Made in New England

In an era when the most common remedy for a toothache was extraction, this dentist’s trade sign promoted dentures as an aesthetically pleasing alternative to a mouth with missing teeth.


Girl of the Period, 1870-85
Possible by the workshop of Samuel Robb (1851-1928)
White pine and paint
Made in New York, New York

This sculpture is an example of what trade figure carvers called the ”Girl of the Period”. Sculptures such as this advertised tobacconist, milliner and dressmaker shops. Although it was taboo for women to smoke cigarettes in the 1880s, a sculpture of a stylish young woman holding a cigarette placed outside a tobacconist shop may have enticed male customers. It may have also appealed to progressive women.


Dude, 1885-1900
White pine and paint
Made in New York, New York

Carvers of trade figures often created caricatures of an urban type known as a ”Dude”. Stylish dudes of the late 1800s sported sizable moustaches and fashionable clothes. This dude is unique in comparison to others, because he appears careworn and lacks a broad smile. He may depict a portion of the American population that was now struggling despite previous success. As such, this quality makes this particular dude both an advertisement and a commentary on contemporary urban life.


Joshua at Jericho, 1950
By Willard Hirsch (1905-1982)
Red Oak


The Gibbes Museum of Art, Permanent Collection

Charleston, SC

April 11th, 2018

Charleston || The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

@ the College of Charleston School of the Arts. The beating heart of a young, vibrant art scene. Hope Morgan
Smoke Show
Charcoal on paper


Ruth Marten, New York
The Mimic, 2013
archival digital print

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.


Long-Bin Chen (b. 1964)
Zen Garden, 2013
donated books and plaster


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

Heartbreak America

”…no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do. Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening”.

“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalises racist sentiments; leaders who demonise those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”

“It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.”

Former US President Barack Obama

August 5th, 2018 following the mass shootings in
El Paso, Texas on August 3rd 2019 & Dayton, Ohio on August 4th 2019.

 

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