Art at Peabody Essex Museum: Hasten to Hassam! Last day

American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isle of Shoals at the Peabody Essex Museum closes today. It’s one of the best exhibitions I saw this year. Go  — there’s still time today. You will come nearly as close as any observer can to feeling the rapturous meeting of an artist’s take with the shimmering world.

Hassam’s paintings don’t reproduce well in books, or photography. They need to be addressed– sized up, walked towards. Inhaled.

20161007_130922

20161007_130700

20161007_130642

20160719_135036-1

This approach is beneficial even if you study just one. But my, what luxury seeing so many in one place at one time.  Again and again, the show brought forth connections and insight.”Funny, I hadn’t seen that before,” I found myself thinking. Artists Howard Hodgkin and Lucian Freud came to mind.

20161007_13074520161007_130751

20161007_130835

The exhibition features more than 40 Hassam oil paintings and watercolors of the eastern seaboard dating from the late 1880s to 1912–an Isle of Shoals painting reunion, with secrets revealed. The Peabody Essex Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art co-organized and partnered with marine scientists at Shoals Marine Laboratory, Cornell University, and the University of New Hampshire. Their new research examined all the sites on the island, and Hassam’s painting process. I liked the research, the pacing of the installation, and the thoughtful viewshed. Besides the two museums, loans came from near and mostly far such as: private collections from coast to coast (which I’d never see);  the Portland Museum of Art; Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis; Yale (Sinclair Lewis gifted that one to Yale!); Wichita Art Museum; Toledo Museum of Art; Smith; Smithsonian; and the National Gallery of Art. Basically all painting is abstraction: I relished the chance to study so many in one spot.

I was not a fan of the piped in sound, nor all the wall paint choices as my senses were already acutely challenged by observation. My disdain for the canned ambient sound was so distracting, I had to leave. On my second visit, the scent of coconut wafted out the entrance. My goodness, have they piped in fake scent like a boutique hotel or experiential attraction, too? They hadn’t. It was my overreaction in the wake of another visitor’s adornment, a lingering fragrance, perhaps sunscreen on a summer day.

Tucked away within the Hassam exhibit was a good photo installation of Alexandra de Steiguer’s work as the Isles winter keeper– for 19 years! For anyone who wondered more about life as a keeper after reading The Light Between Oceans, de Steiguer wrote about her real experiences here, http://connected.pem.org/alone-on-an-island/. It’s beautiful!

20160719_135400

More photos of the Hassam installation at the Peabody Essex Museum Continue reading “Art at Peabody Essex Museum: Hasten to Hassam! Last day”

Gloucester in the house at North Carolina Museum

A rare Edward Hopper drawing of East Main Street, Gloucester, is part of a comprehensive exhibit, “Marks of Genius”, masterpieces from the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) through June 19th. These wonders of process traveled to the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan before Raleigh. The next stop will be the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Hopper is featured at every venue, and so is Gloucester. 

If it were your museum, where would you hang the Hopper?  The NCMA installed the drawings in their largest special exhibition space by subject rather than chronologically, the design choice of other venues. How do I know? Exhibitions Assistant, Margaret Gaines, was kind enough to share details and photographs of the museum and its beautiful Meymandi Exhibition Gallery in the East Building so that we could all armchair art gawk. (I smiled when I read that East Main Street is in the East building of this East coast museum.) “Gloucester” is written on the museum label along with my research and color photograph.

“American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isle of Shoals” is up at the same time.  Childe Hassam has Gloucester and Massachusetts ties, but I didn’t ask to see pictures of that exhibit. Though “Marks of Genius”  won’t be coming any closer to Massachusetts than North Carolina, the Hassam show is coming to the Peabody Essex Museum on July 16th. The North Carolina Museum of Art partnered with PEM. I wouldn’t miss it.

NC Museum of Art raleigh estab 1924

DI25547-09DI25547-08my photoHopper detail2

 

Here’s another photograph pulled back to compare the house with the Hopper sketch and choices.

IMG_5960

 

Exh entrances

North Carolina Mus of ArtNCMA_Pond-001

Motif Monday: Memorial Day, Gordon Parks, Poppies

 

Five reds five  whites five blues
Donald Sultan Five Reds, Five Whites, Five Blues, 2008 color silkscreen with enamel, flocking and tar like texture

Respectfully thinking about art that helps us celebrate, remember, remind and reflect every family who has suffered a loss in service.

 

8d30299v.jpg
Gordon Parks, Library of Congress, 1943 photograph, Gloucester policemen, Memorial Day Ceremonies

8d30283v

8d30292v

8d30295v

John McCrae, 18721918

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place, and in the sky,

The larks, still bravely singing, fly,

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the dead; short days ago

We lived, felt  dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

in Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe!

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high!

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields. 

Veteran of the Boer War and WWI, a teacher, and doctor, Canadian John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields in the spring of 1915 while still at the bloody battlefront in Ypres, Belgium, in an area known as Flanders. The Germans had already used deadly gas. Dr. McCrae had been tending to hundreds of wounded daily. He described the nightmare slaughter: “behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed.” By this time he had already devoted his life to art and healing. He couldn’t save his friends. How could anyone?  Twenty years prior, he sketched poppies during his medical residency in Maryland. He published poems and stories by the time he was 16.  I’m not surprised he noticed the brilliant fragile petals and horror. He wrote for those who couldn’t speak and those who had to see. Meningitis and pneumonia killed him January 1918 after several months battling asthma and bronchitis. His poem and the emblematic poppy continue to inspire and comfort.

A few poppy images follow. I was thinking about their poetic illumination before and after WW1 and layers of meaning and beauty.

John McCrae sketch book 1896, Maryland
John McCrea sketchbook, ca.1896, Maryland

Continue reading “Motif Monday: Memorial Day, Gordon Parks, Poppies”

This is what Gloucester looks like at the WHITE HOUSE and CITY HALL: it’s all local!

Cat Ryan submits-

There’s a magnificent permanent art collection displayed throughout Gloucester’s City Hall, its public buildings and many outdoor locations. In an effort to promote, encourage and share current local art and artists with the public, Mayor Romeo Theken showcases a wide variety of media on temporary loan throughout the Mayor’s office. I took some photos back in February. She requested that buoys painted by our local youth at Art Haven be featured in Kyrouz Auditorium, along with the ‘Downtown Quilt’, the 13th panel from the Gloucester Neighborhood Quilt Project. These quilts are made by residents creating art with Juni Van Dyke, the Art Program Director Gloucester Council on Aging at Rose Baker Senior Center. (Twelve panels were prominently displayed for the 2014 Inauguration for former Mayor, Honorable Carolyn Kirk.)

 

Donna Ardizzoni, business owner, GMG contributor https://ardizzoniphotography.wordpress.com/about-2/

 

Ana Connoli, photograph, Gloucester from Port. Hill

 

Phil Cusumano, painting, http://www.philcusumanoart.com/

 

Tina Greel, statue, https://www.facebook.com/tina.greel

 

Jennifer Johnson, photograph

 

Ken Knowles, painting, http://www.kenknowlesfineart.com/ken_final/home.html

 

Marty Luster, photograph, GMG contributor

 

Bridget Matthews, photograph

 

Sam Nigro, painted oar, http://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/local_news/talk-of-the-times-gloucester-man-grows-a-squash-for/article_76b0f29b-1e05-527f-b676-889ee7768aa9.html

 

Shelly Nugent, photograph

 

Eileen Patten Oliver, painting, http://eileenpattenoliver.com/ and here https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/14-works-by-eileen-patten-oliver-at-island-art-and-hobby/

 

Premier Imprints, tea tray, http://www.premier-imprints.com/

 

Louise Welch, photograph City Hall

 

The local art on display had me thinking about the collection at the ‘People’s House’ for our Nation: what’s the best art inside the White House? No matter what is your artistic preference, Gloucester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts could top the charts as the City and state with the best and most art ties featured at the White House. Let’s break down a selection of that Massachusetts list currently on display at the White House room-by-room, shall we?

 

In the Oval Office:

Not one, but two Edward Hopper paintings, lent by the Whitney Museum of American Art, are installed one over the other, Cobb’s Barns, South Truro and Burly Cobb’s House, South Truro.  There are more than 100 Edward Hopper works inspired by Gloucester, MA. The Childe Hassam’s painting, Avenue in the Rain, and Norman Rockwell’s painting, Statue of Liberty, remain on view.

 

In the Blue Room:

Fitz Hugh Lane’s Boston Harbor gifted by Lew Wasserman

 

In the East Room:

Gilbert Stuart’s Washington, John Singer Sargent’s Roosevelt

 

In the Green Room:

Sargent’s Mosquito Net, John Marin’s Circus, George Peter Alexander Healy’s painting of Adams and Polk and Louisa Adams by Stuart

 

In the Red room:

Martin Johnson Heade’s Sunrise, Bricher’s Castle Rock Nahant, more portraits by Stuart and Healy

 

In the State Dining room:

Healy’s portrait of Lincoln

 

In the Ground floor corridor:

Healy’s Millard Fillmore portrait, Thomas Ball Daniel Webster sculpture, a craftsman chair attributed to Samuel MacIntire, and Charles Hopkinson’s portrait of Calvin Coolidge

 

In the private quarters:

William Glackens Pavilion at Gloucester, and two Maurice Prendergast’s paintings, Boston Harbor and Revere Beach

 

More examples in the collection and in storage such as: Augustus Saint-Gaudens bronze bust of Lincoln, John Henry Twachtman’s oil painting, Captain Bickford’s Float; Henry Hobart Nichols painting, Gloucester Dock; and Worthington Whittredge oil painting, Thatcher’s Island off Rockport, MA.

 

Several artists are represented by more than one piece. How does the White House collection work? It is unusual for the White House to accept art by living artists. There are more than 450 works of art in the permanent collection. New art enters the collection after its vetted and is restricted to works created at least 25 years prior to the date of acquisition. For the public rooms, the Office of the Curator works with the White House advisory committee, the First Lady serves as the Honorary Chair, and the White House Historical Association. The private rooms are the domain of the First Family. Works of art from collectors, museums, and galleries can be requested for temporary loans and are returned at the end of the President’s final term. The Obamas have selected contemporary art, including abstract art, from the permanent collection, and borrowed work for their private quarters. Besides the Hopper paintings and John Alston’s Martin Luther King sculpture, they’ve selected art by *Anni Albers, *Josef Albers, Edgar Degas, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, *Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Ruscha, and *Alma Thomas. * indicates works that have been donated to the permanent collection. The Obama Administration upgraded the website so that anyone unable to visit in person can have open access. I encourage visits to the website https://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house/art. I love the diverse rooms and all the interconnected doors such as the splendid Green Room installation with the Marin and the Jacob Lawrence activating the threshold.

 

My gratitude to Chris Pantano, Office of the Mayor, Gloucester, MA,  and the Office of the First Lady and the White House Office of the Curator for various courtesies shown to me while I prepared this entry.