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Showing posts from June, 2013

Why I'm Not Writing About Thomas Cole and Visiting His Studio (Yet)

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I've been meaning to write a new post about my visit two weeks back to what is in many ways "the birthplace of American landscape painting," Thomas Cole's home and studio in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Here I am above sitting on Cole's front porch drawing the view of the Catskills that appear in Cole's painting below. 

I'm just finishing up the last few paintings for the upcoming Aug. 13 - Sept. 2 show Inside Edward Hopper's World: Paintings by Philip Koch at Isalos Fine Art in Stonington, Maine. In a few days I promise to turn this post into a full-fledged blog about Cole and his role in American painting, and his very real influence on me. Please check back early next week.

A Museum with a Really Long Name and a Great Collection- Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute

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Two weeks ago when I was in central and western New York State I drove east to Utica to visit a museum that had a big impact on me way back in 1967 when I was very early on in my art student days, the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. It was the first time I'd really noticed American landscape painting and I credit MWPAI for planting a big seed in me that would sprout only a few years later. 
Mary Murray, the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, was kind enough to take a break from hanging their new Andy Warhol print show and spend time with me talking about the museum and her time working there. She was engaging and obviously loves the museum.
As I said the museum is hosting a big Warhol exhibition this summer (through Sept. 8). Warhol is an interesting figure. His celebrity rose to such a point that he was given walk on parts in Hollywood comedies, something unheard of for a visual artist.  
A real problem museums and galleries face in presenting contemporary art is much o…

The Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, New York

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Last week I traveled to Ithaca, NY to visit Cornell University's Johnson Museum of Art. Housed in a unique towering I.M. Pei designed building, the Museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The Museum's Director, Stephanie Wiles, who I knew as the Director at my alma mater Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum, took up the reins a year and a half ago at the Johnson. She very graciously had offered to give me a personally guided tour of her new Museum so I jumped at the chance.
Ithaca is on Cayuga Lake, the largest of New York's Finger Lakes and loomed large in my imagination. Years ago when I was living on my parents' money I used to race small sailboats all over the Finger Lakes. (The height of my youthful athletic achievement was winning the Central New York Penguin Class sailing championship one year at the Ithaca Yacht Club. Yes I will sign autographs if asked). 
I've been a committed landscape painter since 1971. My visual art has long draw…

It Came from the Vault...Memorial Art Gallery

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Have you ever wondered what an art museum has stashed away in their storage room? If you hurry you can still catch a show designed to give you some answers.

Through June 9, 2013 there's a hoot of an exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY. Playfully titled It Came From the Vault by the show's curator Marie Via, the museum's Director of Exhibitions, the show sheds light on why some of the works it holds in storage are rarely exhibited. It's a big, boisterous show of several hundred pieces. If you can't find something you really like you're just not trying. Here's a link to the Memorial Art Gallery's page about the exhibition.

Sometimes the work that languishes in storage just doesn't fit the themes that the museum's curators develop for their shows. Other times the work is awaiting cleaning or restoration. Or the pieces are a bit odd and the curators don't quite know what to make of them. There are a few truly odd pieces here to…