Asheville Art Museum “Beyond the Lens: Photorealist Perspectives on Looking, Seeing, and Painting”
Through February 5, 2024.
Above, left: Don Jacot, Monkey Business, 2014, oil on canvas, 16×12 ¼”. Collection of Louis K. and Susan Pear Meisel. ©Don JacotMore
MARK ROTHKO: PAINTINGS ON PAPER by Adam Greenhalgh (Yale University Press, 200 pages). This is a catalogue for an exhibition that is currently at The National Gallery of Art, Washington (through March 31, 2024) and will then move into The National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design, Oslo (May 16 through September 22, 2024).
Left: Cover illustration for Mark Rothko exhibition catalogue
Greehalgh’s book is a revelatory exploration of Mark Rothko’s paintings on paper that transforms our understanding of a preeminent twentieth-century artist.
Following the world-wide chaos, devastation, and human suffering of the Great Depression and World War II, artists started to paint in a challengingly abstract way. Abstract Expressionism was among the movements that explored this new form of visual articulation, which were united in wanting to tear down or deconstruct figurative imagery. The idea was to come up with something pictorially unique; art itself became the object — it was not intended to be a representation of something or someplace, but of color and emotion.
Painter Mark Rothko (1903–1970) is now acclaimed for his often towering abstract paintings on canvas. His luminous artworks convey experiences of joy, despair, ecstasy, and tragedy. These paintings also undoubtedly reflected Rothko’s personal demons, particularly his frequent bouts of self-destructive depression. He is best known as an artist who specialized in immersive canvases; few are aware that Rothko completed more than 1,000 paintings on paper over the course of his career. And that he did not consider these pieces to be preliminary studies, but finished paintings.
Right: Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1959. ©KATE ROTHKO PRIZEL AND CHRISTOPHER ROTHKO/COLLECTION OF KATE ROTHKO PRIZEL
In this beautifully illustrated volume, National Gallery of Art curator and art historian Adam Greenhalgh argues that these ‘ephemeral’ works played an important role in Rothko’s aesthetic development and explains how they contributed to his reputation and acceptance. The result is a fresh appreciation of an under-recognized facet of the artist’s creativity. Ranging from his early figurative subjects and surrealist sketches to his better known soft-edged, feathered rectangular colored clouds floating on rectangle fields (the latter often realized at monumental scale), these pictures revise and reshape what we have thought was Rothko’s artistic mission.
Bringing together nearly one hundred rarely displayed examples, Mark Rothko: Paintings on Paper accompanies the first major exhibition in forty years dedicated to Rothko’s works on paper. The book and the show offer a splendid opportunity to look, with new eyes, at this artist’s shimmering, radiant, and distinctively personal, painterly statements.
article courtesy of Art.org
IN THE MID-1960S, when America’s streets were filled with anti-war protesters, Civil Rights marchers, and demands for Black Power, Alma Thomas had just retired from teaching and was launching her career as a full-time painter. Ignoring pressure from Black activists, she refused to be type-cast as a race artist, and instead painted canvases of vibrant colors that expressed her exuberant spirit. What a presence she must’ve been in the classroom!More
OK, SO THEY WEREN’T EXACTLY DANCING in the aisles at the New World Stages Theatre the night that I attended The Rock & Roll Man. Forget that I said that. What the audience was doing to show their love for everything that was flashing before their eyes during the musical’s fast-paced two act wonder-filled 2 hours and 20 minutes was hooting, hollering, whistling, laughing, clapping, snapping their fingers, gyrating in their seats and most surprising of all shedding nostalgic tears of joy, all of this while basking in the glorious glow of Rock & Roll.
One would think that the target audience for this musical, which features the life and times of American Alan Freed (1923-1965), the American who promoted large mixed-race acts which helped spread the importance of rock and roll music throughout North America and beyond, would be the grey-headed seniors like myself.More
D.C.’s Public Library, “Back to the Future”shows da Vinci’s Notebooks; Museum of American History with Buckminster Fuller’s Dome
SPECULATING ABOUT THE FUTURE is an endlessly fascinating pursuit. In his 1895 novel THE TIME MACHINE, H.G. Wells set his story at the dawn of an apocalyptic new age of modernity. Fritz Lang’s 1927 movie METROPOLIS portrayed a futuristic city where a highly-cultured utopia merrily squatted on top of a bleak underworld of workers. On a much lighter note, Robert Zemeckis’s 1985 sci-fi comedy film BACK TO THE FUTURE inserted a teenager in a time-traveling DeLorean car and sent him back 30 years to 1955 to make sure his future parents would fall in love (to thereby produce him!), and then return him to his 1985 present. In August, an Olivier-award winning musical based on BACK TO THE FUTURE will open at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre.More
GUADALUPE MARAVILLA’S EXHIBITION Mariposa Relámpago at Boston’s ICA Watershed is a dazzling arrangement of imaginative work. The exhibit centers on his personal journey of migration when he came to the United States as an 8-year-old fleeing the civil war in El Salvador. Several years earlier his parents escaped to the United States when in 1984, Guadalupe Maravilla was notified that a network of coyotes would guide him through El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to Tijuana, Mexico to eventually reunite with his family in the USA. The arduous, physical journey took more than two months. Maravilla and other children were part of the first wave of undocumented youth to come to the US as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War. Although he emigrated when he was only eight, he didn’t become a US citizen until he was twenty-six.More
LITTLE DID ANDREW LLOYD WEBER KNOW when he saddled his most recent musical with the ill-chosen name Bad Cinderella that he was handing theater critics here in New York a cudgel with which to beat his latest Broadway production to a pulp. And beat it they did, savagely so, to the point of forcing it to close at the Imperial Theatre on June 4, 2023 after only 33 previews, 85 regular performances, with a loss rumored to be in the neighborhood of $19 million dollars. I might add, more or less, this same play, a retooled feminist version of the Cinderella fairytale then named solely Cinderella, opened at Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s West End to mostly warm reviews after several pandemic-related stops and starts on June 25, 2021.More
“COLLECTING” IS PART OF our DNA. From earliest times, we have collected food, clothing, and shelter to survive. But once those basics are met, we look around and find something new and glitzy to make our hearts beat faster. Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) was a preeminent 20th century collector. She grew up in wealth and turned that into a megafortune as CEO of General Foods, notably embracing the new idea of “frozen foods” in the 1920s. With her fortune secured, she next decided to build a life that would make her happy.More
ALFRED UHRY’S MUSICAL PARADE, co-conceived by Hal Prince with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, is now playing to sell-out crowds and rave reviews, and back on Broadway after 25 years (for a limited run through Sunday, August 6) at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City. A long time in coming, Parade took its first Broadway bow at Lincoln Center Theater in 1998 under the direction of Harold Prince where it won a Tony Award for best score and book. It ran for 39 previews and 84 regular performances.
In a major reworking in September of 2007, Parade, directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford at the Donmar Warehouse in London, opened to positive reviews. As one critic noted, “the Donmar production establishes Parade as an ambitious, musically daring piece that deserves praise attempting to intertwine the political and the personal.”More
THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in Washington, DC, has opened “1898: U.S. IMPERIAL VISIONS AND REVISIONS.” The museum describes this as the first major Smithsonian exhibition to examine the U.S. intervention in Cuba, and the nation’s expansion into Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. As such, it marks the 125th anniversary of the U.S. acquiring overseas territories and its emergence as a world power.More