21 September 2011

Hamilton, Muniz, Wiley, Adams

Roberto wrote a few days ago about the fall 2011 exhibitions that he was looking forward to. Normally, I'm OK with being in Alfred and not seeing every exhibition in New York City. But Friday's Times had three articles on exciting things coming up in NYC. One isn't just coming up: the Grange, Alexander Hamilton's house in West Harlem, is open again in its new old location. I visited it a few times in its old squeezed location on Convent Avenue and once after it had been moved and was being worked on.
But now it's open in all its glory and the Times writer, Edward Rothstein, indicates it's a site to behold. So I'll do that next time in the city.

The show of works by Vik Muniz at Sikkema Jenkins & Company was one of the highlighted shows in the
"Art in Review" column of Friday's Times. This body of work is collages of famous works made from scraps of glossy magazines and the one they chose to illustrate was based on the "Floor Scrapers" of Gustave Caillebotte. A yummy painting that I most recently saw in Vienna in a show of works from the Orsay in Paris. Recent Facebook feed indicated that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has just bought a Caillebotte of a guy toweling off after his bath. Looks yummy too.

The third ARTicle that especially caught my fancy was the "Inside Art" item by Carol Vogel on purchase of a Kehinde Wiley painting by the Jewish Museum. His work has caught my eye for many years. The Met had a large Wiley on the wall at the bottom of the mezzanine stairs for a while. The Jewish Museum's new painting is "Alios Itzhak" (2011) and it "depicts a handsome Ethiopian-Israeli man in a T-shirt and blue jeans, one hand on his hip, staring with attitude straight at the viewer."

We do have art and art talk in Alfred. This morning's Studio Visit with Lauren Frances Adams was interesting. She's now based in St Louis but grew up on a pig farm in North Carolina. Russian constructivist collage and textile arts play out in her work. She did a series of "Domestic Disturbances" that mix toile decorative pattern with war images, rather like Alighiero e Boetti war rugs, not stylistically. She has also done some work based on portraits of Queen Elizabeth I such as the miniatures by Nicholas Hilliard. Adams talked about how copying the work for hers based on the original brought details such as a horseshoe crab to her special attention. It reminded me how transcription gives you the same concentration on a written text.

When I was moving stuff around a couple weeks ago, I came across my great-grandfather's diary of his trip to Europe in the summer of 1902. It was probably that trip that my grandmother remembered during my last visit to her in the nursing home. She was one hundred years old, she couldn't remember me, but when I held up a postcard from a recent trip to Italy, she mentioned her father describing his time in Italy. The Rialto Bridge will do that to you: unforgettable.

The pictures above: my photo of the Hamilton house, taken June 2010; Vik Muniz "Floor Scrapers" from Sikkema Jenkins gallery website; Kehinde Wiley "Alios Itzhak" from the Times article.


bklynbiblio said...

Thanks for the plug, Sherman! I didn't know about the Hamilton house, so thanks, I will have to check it out. As for Caillebotte...love his men! I may post about the MFA Boston purchase myself very soon. CultureGrrl was NOT happy about the purchase, because they're selling other works to pay for it.

Sherman Clarke said...

Yes, I read a boston.com article about the dissatisfaction with the sales to pay for the Caillebotte. It's sad, perhaps particularly for the donor, but I imagine some works that were sold were in storage and there's a chance they'll be seen elsewhere. As you probably know, the National Academy of Design was in limbo for a few years after deaccessioning two paintings. CulturGrrl reprinted a letter from the academy director to AAMD, speaking of museums in financial crisis: http://www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl/2008/12/national_academys_counterattac.html