A notification from Kasmin Gallery alerted me to an exhibit that I was very excited to see: Lee Krasner: Collage Paintings 1938-1981
Lee Krasner is better known by some as the famed abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock‘s wife.
The exhibition was a tightly curated ensemble of works from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and private collections.
I admit I was initially interested in seeing Krasner’s works as
1. I’ve read about more than experienced her,
2. I was intrigued by her relationship with Jackson Pollock as an artist and as a partner in life
3. I was interested in exploring how her works have influenced the style of Jackson Pollock and vice versa.
She is also known for her large canvas and Neo-cubist works, and while the exhibition primarily displays Lee Krasner’s collage paintings, I was able to see one or two paintings that reflected her other “periods” of style:
Things to note if you have have the chance to visit Kasmin before it closes
A couple things caught the attention of my friend Georgia and I:
- The way some had glass/plexi-glass on top and others didn’t. We wondered whether it had something to do with who owned the work that is being displayed; from what I’ve learned so far through self-teaching and asking peers in the art business, owners’ and collectors’ preferences sometimes have a lot of sway in regards to curatorial decisions.
Curious, I went up to the gallery assistant and asked him whether this work belonged to someone else and did not belong to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation
Verdict: It was in fact from the private collection of another!
- Her changing artistic styles from monochrome to stark color contrasts.
- Her heavy handed use of various materials; her interesting use of something that looks a lot like blue tape.
- That she seemed to prefer more jagged, angular shapes vs Pollock’s round style of paint application. We did see some marks reminiscent of Pollock’s trademark shapes and textures in a couple of Lee Krasner’s paintings on display.
Josef Albers is a German artist I am a great fan of, him along with his German-American partner and fellow artist, Anni Albers. Both were students and teachers at the Bauhaus, with Josef specializing in abstract painting and Anni in textiles.
I can only dream of the kind of youth they had, studying under Johannes Itten (Swiss abstractionist painter, color theorist and part of the Weimar Bauhaus), brushing shoulders with Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky– becoming masters of crafts.
Most of the painted layers for the square paintings were layered on from center to outwards. There were some where Albers changed up his layering process for, which was very interesting– occasionally he’ll make the smallest center square as the final (top) layer.
If anyone could help me get Josef Albers’ Midnight and Noon book (it’s sold out), I would be extremely grateful.
Very interesting in person:
There’s a small part of me that always wonders if I pursued the creative route.. what would life have been like?
What would life be like with a partner who is equally or more in love with art? What it’d be like for us to chase visions and beauty
As I illustrated these, my mind took me back to a bible verse in Matthew Chapter 4, when Jesus spoke to the men who would become his apostles, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
I also illustrated an avatar of my sister with the thought that it would be nice if there was more open-sourcing of avatars and characters of multiple ethnicities (e.g. Pablo Stanley’s Humaaans project, but even more diversified). It would long term serve the greater good– in company efficiency and racial equity.
Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented at MoMa. On view through April 10, 2021
Things I loved about this exhibit:
It was interesting to see the works of artists who promoted more utopian, democratic schools of thinking and then went onto become fascists.
I loved seeing the works of Swiss graphic designer Max Bill, which I love, in person.
Loved studying the reigning types and typography of these artists in regions of Germany, Poland, Latvia, etc. in the period between WWI and WWII.
The exhibition showcased the works of many influencers of or from the Bauhaus school– for that alone, this exhibition is worth seeing!
I loved the story behind this artwork so much. The photographed man was involved in the design of some project involving pool, but was not permitted to utilize-enter the pool because he was Jewish. His friend creates this collage piece with him in pool. The work is an impressive act of protest– and one that signals the dignity of the subject:
Another collage I liked, this one the size of a palm:
I appreciate how much the exhibit focused on showing the final versions and the maquettes of magazine pages and spreads.
As someone is largely self-taught-teaching-herself art, these maquettes and the finished magazines offer a fascinating view into process.
I loved the design of these postcards:
Of lesser importance, but one that provided an opportunity for me to learn more about architecture (I’ve recently developed an interest in learning more about architecture as an acquaintance of mine is one).
At the end of February, I put to image some verses I’ve leaned on during periods of uncertainty, worry, and when I needed to remind myself what I believed in. Tools used were my handy MX Ergo mouse and Adobe Illustrator.
I call these kinds of my illustrations Adult Bedtime Stories, as they are (picture books) children’s books made for adults like me.
The illustrations that follow span scripture from Matthew Chapter 6, from verses 25 to 33 in English and French.
I hope they are useful and bring comfort to anyone who stumbles on them:
Here is a link to the original illustrations:
Magi© Bullet , by AA Johnson, first installed at the height of the AIDS crisis in 1992.My friend and I stood under the ceiling of semi-deflated pills for some time, wondering how we’d be able to get a balloon down so I could take one home with me. If I weren’t flying out to South Korea the next day, I would have gone back to the museum in the morning to see if there was one ready for me to pick up.
See it at the MoMA.
My Favorite Wife is a romantic comedy that ends happily ever after, per many of the films featuring Cary Grant, centered on an indecisive husband and an independent wife. If I was a young woman in the 40s this movie would have been the inspiration.
Multiple scenes and dialogues bring me back to The Parent Trap, my most favorite childhood movie; it turns out My Favorite Wife heavily influenced The Parent Trap, namely the elevator scene when Dennis Quaid (Nick) catches his ex-wife inside the elevator with his fiancée— an exact nod to a scene from this 1940 film’s.
I was delighted.
Pieces I particularly enjoyed this month at the MoMA:
I’ve recently discovered that embroidering is a very meditative activity for me.
I’ve been working on this for a couple church services.
I believe the doodling also helps me to focus on sermons a little more too.
For my birthday this year, my older sister asked me what I wanted to do with her to celebrate. She wanted to take me out to dinner, but I asked her if we could just grab dinner to eat casually and quickly; I told her I just wanted to paint with her and make art, and so we did :). She managed to persuade me to agree to making this a painting session of making one of Joan Miro’s famed paintings, The Birth of the World.
This is hers. I made mine off of my favorite colorway which are the 3 primary colors, and I added a boa constrictor digesting the elephant which is another “favorite” of mine from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince.
That was a great evening for me.
I really appreciated having a moment to rest, being in a relatively quiet environment, and being able to do something mindlessly, unambitiously, and completely for my pleasure–my pleasure alone.
Just another packaging proto using a lot of makeshift materials:
If you want to be excellent – a.k.a. not kill the plant, you ought to drill some holes:
And so many Bonne Maman Jam Jars:
Earlier this week, I went to see Belgian Brooklyn-based painter and sculptor Harold Ancart’s exhibit at the @davidzwirner gallery.
The gallery was exhibiting Ancart’s series of tree paintings he made during the pandemic.
The painting with a green tree and pink skies made me feel like I was looking at a tree in a Japanese animé.
This red and blue painted piece reminded me of René Magritte’s hand. My photo doesn’t capture the blue color well, but Ancart paints the sky in the Surrealist master’s trademark blue.
It was very interesting to see throughout his paintings how he would sometimes choose to layer on the sky atop the tree instead of keeping the sky behind it– adding to the surrealist element of the naturescape.
and sometimes one would find a painting with a trunk that is not even part of the tree.
My favorite work by Max Bill: 1932 poster for Zurich design manufacturer and retailer Wohnbedarf
While the materials used did not pass muster, I was very content and happy with my first attempt at making a tote bag with little to no direction. I am also happy and proud of the fact that I engaged sustained effort (pretty much guaranteed need with hand-stitching) and focus into this (Even a couple years ago, I was not keep my attention on one art project. I had (still have, but less) a hard time focusing, and would always flit about to the next thing before finishing my project because I would get bored after 2 hours). This finished product is a reflection of my progress over the years in improving my ability to focus on one thing at a time.
I did enlist the help of an unused bag; what I did was deconstruct it by its panels, and study that. That must have influenced the success story above.
Learnings from Experience
I understand now why all sewers use thimbles. Sewing with a metal needle for hours on end feels like playing the guitar for hours without any calluses having formed on my fingers. It leads to a unique, unpleasant burn.
I understand fully now why totes are made often with lighter, more thin material, and things that are more structured are made with more durable fabric. It has a lot to do with desired aesthetic.
What I’d Like to Do Better
I would like to start with materials (fabric, straps, colors) that are ideal.
I would like to improve the evenness of my stitching while also getting better on time.
I was inspired to read this poem by Emily Dickinson after finishing a piece of the world by Christina Baker Kline:
“This is my letter to the World that never wrote to me”
“This is My Letter to the World”, goes like this:
This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,–
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!
Kline’s a piece of the world revolves around the life of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s most renowned masterpiece, Christina’s World (you can find it at the Museum of Modern Art, 5th fl). Margaret Steiger, a fellow peer and art lover, also my supervisor at MoMA!, recommended me this book as she knew how much I loved Christina’s World.
Christina suffered from a life long illness (initially thought as having polio, modern day neurologists believe she actually suffered from Charcot-Marie Tooth (CMT) disease, which causes progressive loss of muscle tissue and touch sensation) that started to render the nerves in her arms and legs pretty much kaput as she entered adulthood.
In this novel, the character Christina (will now move forward referring to novel’s character as ‘Christina’ and the real Christina as ‘Christina Olson’), coming into her teenage years, and with a body severely limited in movement from the effects of a mysterious illness’ onset at toddler-hood, begins to develop a curiosity and ferocity of mind, and this coincides with her discovery and subsequent exploration of Emily Dickinson’s words at school.
“I agree. Rest is stupid. I am tired of this narrow bed, the slice of window above it. I want to be outside, running through the grass, climbing up and down the stairs. When I fall asleep, I am careering down the hill, my arms outstretched and my strong legs pumping, grasses whipping against my calves, steady on toward the sea, closing my eyes and tilting my chin toward the sun, moving with ease, without pain, without falling. I wake in my bed to find the sheet damp with sweat.”
“MRS. CROWLEY TOLD me once—the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me—that I’m one of the brightest students she’s ever taught. Long before the others, I have finished my reading and arithmetic. She’s always giving me extra work to do and books to read. I appreciate the compliment, but maybe if I could run and play like the other kids, I would be as impatient and distracted as they are. The truth is, when I’m immersed in a book I’m less aware of the pain in my unpredictable arms and legs.”
“I’m so tired of this mutinous body that doesn’t move the way it should. Or the low thrumming ache that’s never entirely absent. Of having to concentrate on my steps so I don’t fall, of my ever-present scabs and bruises. I’m tired of pretending that I’m the same as everyone else. But to admit what it’s really like to live in this skin would mean giving up, and I’m not ready to do that.”
“’Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.” Maybe so, I think. Maybe my memories of sweeter times are vivid enough, and present enough, to overcome the disappointments that followed. And to sustain me through the rest.'”
“My chin drips blood, my wrists throb, I am facedown in the wet, soiled dress it took me weeks to sew. The skirt is bunched up round my hips, my bloomers and misshapen legs exposed. Lifting myself slowly on my elbows, I survey my torn bodice. All at once I am so tired of this—of the constant threat of humiliation and pain, the fear of exposure, of trying to act like I’m normal when I’m not—that I burst into tears. No, I am not all right, I want to say. I am fouled, degraded, ashamed. A burden and an embarrassment.”
On Christina’s first experience with love:
“It feels as if my life is moving forward at two separate speeds, one at the usual pace, with its predictable rhythms and familiar inhabitants, and the other rushing ahead, a blur off color and sound and sensation.”
Reflecting on Christina’s World
I have felt a deep connection with Christina’s World, ever since I first encountered Christina’s World as a university student.
The work is an incredible sight and experience; numerous people from all over the world will tell you so as well: painted is a young, youthful girl, in stark contrast against the muted landscape of a field and barn/farmhouse. Your eyes settle intensely on the seemingly feeble, yet remarkably dignified, stoic, and bold girl in pink dress.
I was very sick when I was 13 and in my teenage years. The utter prison I felt like I was in, of not being able to wield my body at will, not being able to do things other kids do nor be carefree was a formative experience in my youth.
Thinking about my future was scary.
The picture my mind drew of my life was monstrous; It was only filled with more ifs, doubts and and despondence from wondering whether I’d ever be able to live the life I wish I had instead of living through it with a body I abhorred.
The memories do not go away easily //
Having to stay a couple nights in the St. Judes hospital deprived of sleep and watching Shakespeare in Love and The Man in the Iron Mask with my mother who bravely tried to stay awake with me and laid on a cot bed by me.
Stubbornly demanding and begging I get my license like all my other high school friends and be allowed to drive with my parents in car, and my father finally relenting, only to find myself losing control of the wheel, with my foot off the pedal and my hands fallen to their sides [and off the wheel] one day driving my family.
Crossing the road, beginning to feel time slow, seeing my dad not far behind me running to catch me before I blacked out.
I was engaged with this painting before I had learned of its background story and the life of Christina Olson.
Looking at her was as if I were seeing myself. Or seeing what I’d have liked to see in myself back then: a portrait of strength, boldness, and ferocity– dignified living.
I stood staring at her for a very long time.
And I’d come back to it again, and again, and again. As if I was drinking from a well.
Fast forward to 2020, having finished this book, which was a light and lovely spin-off and depiction of Christina Olson’s life, I find myself glad to be seeing Christina again, anew.
“The House of the Seven Gables. ‘So much of mankind’s varied experience had passed there that the very timbers were oozy, as with the moisture of a heart.’”
Andrew Wyeth & Christina Olson:
“‘ I wanted to show the contrast with your skin. To highlight you sitting there.’
Now that we’re having this conversation, I realize that I am a little angry. ‘I look like I’m in a coffin with a lid half shut.’
He laughs a little, as he can’t believe I might be upset.
I stare at him evenly.
Running his hand through his hair, he says, ‘I was trying too show your…’ He hesitates. ‘Dignity. Solemnity.’
‘Well, I guess that’s the problem. I don’t think of myself as solemn. I didn’t think you did, either.’
‘I don’t. Not really. It’s just a moment. And it’s not really ‘you.’ Or ‘me.’ Despite what you think.’ His voice trails off. Seeing me struggle with the heavy oven door, he comes over and opens its for me, then slides the baking tray of biscuits in. ‘I think it’s about the house. The mood of it.’ He shuts the oven door. ‘Do you know what I mean?’
‘You make its seem so…’ I cast about for the right word. ‘I don’t know Lonely.’
He sighs. ‘Isn’t it, sometimes?’
For a moment there’s silence between us.
I reach for a dishrag and wipe my floury hands.
‘So how do you think of yourself?’ he asks.
‘You said you don’t think of yourself as solemn. So how do you think of yourself?’
It’s a good question. How do I think of myself?
The answer surprises us both.
‘I think of myself as a girl,’ I say.”
“EVERY WEEK OR ten days a thick letter in a white envelope with a two-cent stamp arrives in the mail. He writes from the library, from the dining hall, from the narrow wooden desk in his dormitory room, by the light of a gas lamp after his rugby-playing, gin-guzzling roommate has gone to sleep. Each envelope, a package of words to feed my word-hungry soul, provides a portal into a world where students linger in wood-paneled classrooms to talk to professors, where entire days can be spent in a library, where what you write and how you write it are all you need to worry about. I imagine myself in his place: strolling across campus, peering up at thick-paned, glowing windows at dusk, going to expensive dinners with friends in Harvard Square, where the waiters wear tuxedos and look down their noses at the unkempt students, and the students don’t care.”
Bookmarks and cards to encourage friends during coronavirus days
Inspired illustration from listening to the song Highlands (Song of Ascent) by Hillsong United one morning meditation before work, and I then proceeded to take the illustrated characters from a children’s book I love called Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss to help depict the scene I imagine the song is singing about: to sing when the mountain’s in our way, and to sing when we’re on top of the mountain 🙂
Recycled unused accessories: deconstructed all the materials, organized them in colors, and then began to make things out of them. Here’s a ring, my favorite kind of accessory.
Part of a love letter I made for my younger sister waiting it out in Cambridge.
Don’t know what’s going on here, looks like some kind of pulmonary situation bearing fruit (a la the tree that reaps) – air to my lungs?
Made a bracelet for the first time.
I think it came out nicely 🙂
Creating things for me is so therapeutic and meditative.
- neutral colored thread
- a stone for the centerpiece
- decorative ribbon
I decided to make my own book marks.
- post-card thick paper
- watercolor paint,
- a scissor to cut into rounded rectangles
I was catching up with Christine over ZOOM because we haven’t seen each other since the Corona Virus started hitting New York City very hard and was eating a lot of clementines.
I started making a little square mound of it while we were talking (I always find I need to do something with my hands to stay focused :D)
When my sister came over to the table to see what I’m up to, she laughed at the little mess I made and joked about it being art.
I laughed too, and then thought, “why not?”
And so I whipped up this draft for the day
My cute orange peels :). Thanks for feeding me today.
March 29, 2020
At one point did it enter our heads that we can no longer play with arts and crafts… create.. that art making is an activity best left for kids? Getting back our creativity as adults… waking up dry bones…. a hope I have for the city of New York.
“Make use of the empty space, child”
Always leaving inspired by the rich histories of typography
Very emotive figurative works by Noah Davis:
“I found my drive to diversify permanent collections. They are the beating heart of the art world. If you can change the collection, you can change the public story of art.” – Helen Molesworth
I really attempted to make the most of my short days here and I ambitiously set out to the Rijksmuseum to see as much art as I could. I believe I really did get through almost all the art excluding the Middle East room, as exhausting and unbelievable as that sounds!
I was laser focused.
Below are the pieces that really struck me one way or another for various reasons:
Hortense caught my eye for her beauty, but also because of her relation to Napolean. I read up on her husband recently (step son of Napolean, son of Napolean’s first wife, hence my familiarity with Beauharnais his name), and the house of Beauharnais caught my attention as I read the placard to see who this painting’s beautiful subject was. Apparently she did not like the environment of the Netherlands, so even as a ruler there, she spent most of her time in court in Paris. huh.
Sibylla caught my eye for her beauty, and for her having been recorded in classic antiquity as having given prophesy about Jesus coming. This is news to me. I am excited to read more on it.
This looks so mischievous, and it made me smile. And so it’s here. Being nostalgic for the things we used to do as kids is good. to a degree. hopefully we can all continue growing up with it kept instead of looking back to mourn what’s good that’s been lost.
A Rembrandt x Diego Valesquez special exhibition was up, and exhausted as I was by the end of my main museum roundabout, I could not miss this. It ended up being a little questionable. Not the works themselves, but the way they were curated, described, and the way the curators developed the narrative [dare I say it!] was poor, misleading, and unclear– like me during my high school days trying to write essays just to meet deadlines and pass with absolutely Zero intention of actually desiring to convey a point. That is really what it felt like.
The lamb (symbolizing Christ) was great though.
Other Rembrandt pieces were technically lovely, and I felt honored that I was able to see more of his pieces in person, but I’m not adding them here because they didn’t move me. Otherwise that would be an act of compulsion influenced by prestige, which is no bueno.
This a scene depicting Bethsheba and David (in the castle peeking out of the squared piece) desiring after her. It’s a Bible scene (basically for anyone who does not read the Bible or does not remember, David fell in love with B, but she was already married to a guy that was under his rule (as king) so he sent the dude off in “war” (to be killed really) (and there goes another Bible story of how humans as great as kings make terrible, terrible mistakes)
I loved this painting for its raw sensuality. It just jumped out at me and called me. Venus and her son is asking Adonis not to go. I love the way Adonis holds onto her lips tenderly like that, and that lovers’ gaze is real.
While this is definitely the more hedonistic counterpart to the former, I still find the scene very beautiful. Love, or love as it moves reveals itself in different forms and ways and meets different ends. While satyrs were mainly negatively characterized in tales of old, there is the wildness and freeness of them that I look to with positivity in part. I just love the play I saw. Even if it probably foreboded some very bad news bears between satyr and nymph (like when Pan chased after a nymph to the point she had to turn into reeds!).
While this painting was technically rendered incredibly beautiful, the substance of it disturbed me very much. It recalls a Bible story of a time people were punished for their mistakes and so all the men were kaputed, except Lot. These are his daughters, who feared not being able to bear children, and so they got their father drunk and seduced him to bear. It conjures in me many thoughts too (like how sometimes, we’re *so* for getting to the end, we forget about the means that we’ve taken to get to the end).
“The 14 year old boy is married with the 9 year old girl, and a kingdom is elevated.”
My thought ^ : basically opened a can of thoughts. So many ramifications to be unpacked
This just makes me happy 🙂 And it reminds me of me, inside.
This reminds me of a family I would have liked to have had. Nuclear.
Morning meeting & tour with The American Institute of Architects team.
It is good to see them doing good work.
I didn’t know this about @aianational , but it puts much of its efforts into working to offer design education to as many students they can from K-12 highschool to college. Many of us, including myself are privileged to have access to education around art and design every day. Some forget how special it is to have the freedom of choice to pursue any dream.
Tackling accessibility in all its forms is something I hope to work for and serve every day.
As I was heading back to my office, my thoughts went to a letter by President John Adams that says this:
“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
Wall murals on turquoise backdrop were installed as a result of a competition the AIA and the Housing Preservation and Collaboration collaborated on.
This photo is an example of the kind of worksheets they use to educate the kids.
I am glad to be working with them.
I was scrambling to make a deadline for ATEM, but I was creatively “stuck”. After grabbing a late night drink with Andrew at The Penrose and a burger with Joanne, we made this ad in the wee hours in 10 minutes.
This is what we came up with.
The font style is not “I love”
But I like the vibe.
God is very, berry good.
Friday, October 11, 2019_Notes of the last night.