Will Pittsfield museum be the pits? Last ditch attempts to keep the art in MA

Will Pittsfield’s Berskshire Museum earn a derisive eponymous nickname?
The Berkshire Museum wants to sell its core collection, 40 works including two Norman Rockwells, a lovely John LaFarge Magnolia, a Vuillard, Calder’s first public commissions, and other high lights* for an expansion and redirection. The deaccession has been denounced in art news headlines for the past year, and defended by its museum board. Various alternatives have been batted about including merging with Williams College or moving the art to other MA institutions. Two of the works to be sold were given by the artist, Norman Rockwell. Three sons of the artist are suing to keep the art at the museum. The barbershop depicted in Rockwell’s April 29, 1950 Saturday Evening Post cover was located in East Arlington, Vermont. The Rockwells moved from VT to Stockbridge in 1953. If it’s sold and leaves MA completely, I hope it ends up in a museum near East Arlington, VT.
The auction sale dates are closing in. Crowdfunding for legal costs ramped up, but only recently. Visit the trending gofundme campaign Save the Art Save the Museum https://www.gofundme.com/savetheartsavethemuseum
The Rose Art Museum and Detroit art sales were thwarted. However, full court PR campaigns weren’t launched for an auction sale, which is now the case with the Berkshire Museum upcoming sales at Sotheby’s.
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PITTSFIELD — Three sons of artist Norman Rockwell went to court Friday to stop the auction of 40 works owned by the Berkshire Museum, including two donated by their father. Their action represents the clearest challenge to date of the museum’s plan, announced in July, to sell art to improve its balance sheet and to renovate its South Street facility. – By Larry Parnass

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In addition to the Berkshire Museum pieces, the upcoming Sotheby’s sale on the 13th includes artists with connections to Gloucester such as Anna Hyatt Huntington, Paul Manship and Milton Avery:

Continue reading “Will Pittsfield museum be the pits? Last ditch attempts to keep the art in MA”

Amazing Gloucester High School trip to Spain and Portugal

Over the April 2017 school vacation, Gloucester High School students and chaperones traveled to Spain and Portugal. Report from the trip:

Mr. Celestino Basile, World Language Coordinator at the High School, led the group through visits to Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Costa del Sol, & Granada, as well as many other fascinating spots in Spain before heading to Lisbon, Portugal. Basile has brought many groups of GHS students to Europe over the years. While in Seville, on Easter Sunday, some of the Spanish exchange students who had visited Gloucester in September 2016 (staying for 3 weeks with GHS students and their families, and attending GHS with their hosting student) were able to meet up with and visit the Gloucester group. What an amazing opportunity for these kids, thanks to Mr. Basile! Highlights included a flamenco evening, an evening cruise, visiting the beach at Costa del Sol, and re-connecting with the exchange students who had visited Gloucester.

In Gloucester,MA, one must experience Fisherman at the Wheel,  the iconic bronze memorial by Leonard Craske installed in 1925. While in Madrid one must visit Oso y El Madrono– the bear and strawberry tree– the 1967 monument to the symbol of Madrid by artist Antonio Navarro Santafé.  Bears are common symbols worldwide but a bear leaning on a strawberry tree and eating the fruit heralds solely Madrid. Before that sculpture commission, Santafé modeled Madrid’s Bear of Berlin as well as sculpture gifts for dignitaries based on Madrid’s memorable coat of arms. Madrid’s bear was modeled on a local one* captured in the Picos de Europa mountains and sent to the zoo in El Retiro. “The bear, more than Difficult, it is ungrateful, because it is animal in a heavy way, and the sculptor has to guess its anatomy through its imposing fur coat. Anyway, like everything done by God, and for Nature, it is beautiful.” 

“My bear, which is the Bear of Madrid, in the fabulous wheel of the Puerta del Sol!” Antonio Navarro Santafé

The Gloucester High School students were there! And the Prado, and…

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Antonio Navarro Santafe, Parque de Berlin Oso de Berlin, Madrid

 

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Spanish language teacher and chaperone, Heidi Wakeman, sent two photos and summarized the trip for Good Morning Gloucester:

“37 students, 6 chaperones, 2 countries and 1 Spanish tour guide = ONE AMAZING TRIP! The GHS trip to Spain and Portugal was an exciting, educational and exhausting excursion!  We landed on Wednesday, April 12 and started sightseeing right away (El Prado museum, to see Las Meninas, el Greco, among other masterpieces).  There were cathedrals, churches, plazas and palaces.  A highlight was the reunion with Spanish students that lived here in Gloucester last fall. Students spoke and listened to a lot of Spanish, then Portuguese as we finished in Lisbon.  As a middle school Spanish teacher at O’Maley, I was so grateful for the experience: my first time chaperoning an overseas trip, and my first time to Spain! The kids will never forget this trip, and neither will I!”- Heidi Wakeman

Sevilla, Spain from Heidi

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Chaperones, Toledo Spain, from Heidi

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*Local inspiration:

Anna Hyatt Huntington modeled Joan of Arc at her Annisquam home Seven Acres in part from poses of her niece, Clara, and Frank, a ‘magnificent Percheron’  from the Gloucester fire department. The Gloucester cast is a monument to the WW1 heroes of Gloucester. Leonard Craske’s Gloucester Fisherman at the Wheel is a debated composite.

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oral history transcript 1969 A Hyatt Mayor Adores his Aunt Anna Hyatt Huntington (read by Marie Demick)

Art from Kristen Visbal Fearless Girl and Arturo Di Modica Wall Street Bull to Morgan Faulds Pike, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Judith Sargent Murray, Rusty + Ingrid, and Willow Rest

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Photo by Federica Valabrega. Temporary public art bronze sculptures: Kristen Visbal Fearless Girl installed for International Women’s Day March 8, 2017 faces off  Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull installed December 15, 1989. Fearless Girl was commissioned by State Street Global Advisory Stuart Weissman and part of McCann’s creative campaign

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Robert D. McFadden coverage in the New York Times about the Wall Street Bull by Arturo Di Modica the day after it was stealthily installed (and removed then reinstalled, evermore)

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Morgan Faulds Pike, Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial, Gloucester MA

 

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The Fisherman’s Memorial screen print by Rusty + Ingrid Creative Company on the cover and featured in North Shore Magazine’s April 2017 issue– which also includes articles on Cape Ann’s iconic sculptors, plus Manchester by the Sea and filming on Cape Ann

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October 2013 Willow Rest, 1 Holly Street, Gloucester, MA, window filled with Rusty and Ingrid Kinnunen screenprints –the first time I saw their work. I love how so many stores and restaurants feature creative arts. This one is a great case study and success story for creative exposure.

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Sargent House Museum, 49 Middle Street, Gloucester, MA. Judith Sargent Stevens Murray (1751-1820)

 

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Judith Sargent Murray story moment trail marker, Main Street, Gloucester, MA
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Anna Hyatt Huntington Joan of Arc Gloucester MA

wikipedia art feminismLook for Wikipedia-edit-a-thons (especially this week surrounding International Womens Day)  encouraging everyone to add content and push women to be contributors. No previous Wikipedia experience is necessary –training help at the events or editing Instructional videos at your convenience

street art Gloucester: 21st Century Orphans by Danny Diamond graffiti writer and mural artist

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There’s a monumental outdoor mural behind Prince Insurance at 3 Washington Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts, that changes every year. It’s sited on private property.

Thanks to the Greeke family who own Prince Insurance and let him have at it, artist and writer Danny Diamond has expressed his ideas and showcased his can command on this same outside wall annually since 2011.

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My favorite sight line is from Middle Street heading to the Captain Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3 and the Joan of Arc sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington. It’s in a tight spot, and so is the kid with the green, green eyes staring back from the latest mural.

Diamond is using his talents to bring awareness to homelessness and the economy. Here’s an excerpt from his statement about 21st Century Orphans: “The windfall of green-backs that flies from my letters gives way to dingy news-print and beggars’ placards–this orphaned child’s currency. It’s rarely discussed, in our scenic little fishing town, that the homeless population has increased in Massachusetts by 40% since 2007, even as the national average was in decline. This in part due to the fact that the cost of living here in Mass is among the highest in the country; the cost of housing continues to increase now that the market has come back, and there is no relief in sight… Fifteen percent (over half a million) of our children here in the Bay state live in poverty; of the over seventeen-thousand homeless people here, thirty-eight percent are children.” – Danny Diamond, 2016

A Gloucester native, Diamond is busy with commercial art and commissions on both coasts.  I had a chance to ask him more about his art and writing after I did a post about the sea monster fence he painted. He brushed off the street artist description: “I consider myself a graffiti-writer and sometimes a mural-artist, but not a “street-artist” (semantic distinction).”  I asked him about Gloucester connections and if he went to the high school. Did any teachers influence him? He wrote back swiftly:

I studied art under Jackie Underwood, who was “Jackie Kapp” at the time, as well as theatre and set-design with Krista Cowan and Kim Trigilio. I went on to earn a cum laude BA in English Lit and Creative Writing at UMass Boston, class of ’06… I spent a lot of time at Artspace on Center St. as a kid, and so Gloucester’s sub-cultural grandmaster Shep Abbott had a big effect on me by bringing punk rock and mural art into downtown. I was mentored in the world of graffiti art by the late Jed Richardson of Manhattan who was a major figure in the NYC subway-train art movement of the 1980’s; he moved to Gloucester in 2001 or so and remained here until his passing in September of ’09… ” 

Diamond created a tribute chalk mural to his mentor at Minglewood Tavern. I worked in New York and saw first hand the 1980 era kings (and not so kings) of subway and club graffiti. I didn’t know Jed Richardson’s work and wondered if Diamond had an image to share for this post.

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artist Jed Richardson c.2008 (photo from artist Danny Diamond)

I also thought about the owners who turned over their wall for Diamond’s art. I learned that the building is owned by Peter Greeke who founded Prince Insurance. Aha! A creative family that understood and allows Danny Diamond the use of a large wall to practice and express his art. The Prince Insurance company is on Washington Street between Middle and Main and directly across from the Legion. It is a second generation family business that has specialized  in personal insurance for more than 35 years. It’s now co-owned by sisters, Melissa Moseley and Wendy Prendergast. A third sister, fashion designer Jennifer Greeke, operates Harpy Fashion out of the back office. The Prince Insurance storefront stands out with such original picture window displays.These windows are an entire family affair. Melissa doesn’t remember a time before the windows. Their mother creates them; Jen has made clothing, sculpted papier-mâché  creatures and mermaids. “Of course because of the community we  live in, over time artistic customers and friends joined in…like Richard Harding and the built boat. They’re just a lot of fun.”   Prince Insurance has a beautiful new website.

I hoped Danny Diamond had a record of his devoted wall mural project, which he obliterates and repaints every year. He did. Photographs below are from Diamond or his website, www.skribblefish.com.  His Instagram is @pyse117.  I added one showing a work in progress he is  completing for a new restaurant opening in Salem in February and other local commissions.

Continue reading “street art Gloucester: 21st Century Orphans by Danny Diamond graffiti writer and mural artist”

Happy New Year! Onward

Dusting of snow along the back of Anna Hyatt Huntington’s superb Joan of Arc WWI memorial, such a multifaceted muse and Gloucester landmark.

Whatever brings you there– artist, subject, sculpture, setting, history –its surplus of qualities alone and together reward gaze and inquiry. I took several photographs early December 30th, careful compositions against a gift of blues and vault of morning sky. For this one, I roughly edited out the telephone wires for my thoughts. Shake off 2016 and frame up a fresh start for the year ahead!

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(See Joan of Arc HarborWalk story moment for more information.)