I’m always struck whenever I see the works of Betty Goodwin. They have a distortion that reminds me of Francis Bacon, and there is sometimes a threat implied with them, the way Bacon’s work does too. But Goodwin is her own artist, and if anything she has a greater range than Bacon does. This is not to strictly compare both artists, for they are both great in their own way. It is just meant to highlight how good I think she is.
If you want to see more of her work, you can go the National Gallery of Canada, here. The AGO also has some of her work and had a fine exhibit on her in 2019. You can read about it here.
Come January 2021, here’s to dumping John McNaughton and his terrible art into obscurity for all time. If you don’t know who he is (he’s the guy in the above photo), you can read more about him here. Better yet, don’t.
I am not sure it is better, but here’s an image of Trump made with sex toys.
I had some other things to say about Philip Guston until this article came out in the Times, saying:
Last week, a handful of museums decided to postpone a retrospective of the painter Philip Guston over concerns that Ku Klux Klan imagery in his work, intended to criticize racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry, would upset viewers or that the works would be “misinterpreted.”
I was disappointed, to say the least. Fortunately I am not alone. The article goes on to state:
On Wednesday, a letter drafted by the art critic Barry Schwabsky addressed to those museums — the National Gallery of Art in Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Tate Modern, London — and signed by nearly 100 artists, writers and curators, was published by the Brooklyn Rail, protesting the postponement. To date, more than 2,000 names have been added — young and old, Black, Asian, Persian, Arab, L.G.B.T.Q.
So I am collecting a list of sites and pages on Guston, because he is an artist people should get to know more about. Especially if they were to simply mindedly misinterpret his work and think he has anything but abhorrence for the KKK.
I am also doing this because I am a fan of his courage as much as I am of his work. He made a big break from abstract expressionism late in his career and suffered for it. I don’t know many artists who have done such a thing. I think he needs to be more well known.
I also find it surprising to think people were surprised by this big break with AbEx. The elements he reintroduced were there from the beginning. And the cartoonish nature of his work is parallel to the drawings he was doing of Nixon and others. He needed to break from AbEx and went with the tools he had.
If you want to learn more about Guston, here is some links I have found that are useful:
Here are two good pieces on Richter for fans like myself. First is a good look back at when he first started painting. Second is a write up of his recent work, seen below. It’s the second time Richter has done a stained glass work for a church, and it is both similar and yet different from it. (You can see that one, here.)
Reading both pieces, I am reminded of how long Richter has been working and how much great work he has produced and continues to produce. He has long been one of my favourite artists, and I am glad he is capable of still doing great things.
He says this work shown is going to be his last big work. Let’s see. I’ll be glad for anything he can make now and in the future.
If you want a visual feast, head over to this link to see the best street photographers of all time. Truly remarkable. I kept expecting they would miss someone, but it seems like a comprehensive essay on the best of the best. (Like Berenice Abbott, whose work is above.)
The US Postal Service has issued commemorative stamps for the great American artist, Ruth Asawa. If you don’t know much about her (I did not), then I highly recommend this piece.
She lead a storied life, and overcame great hardships on her way to becoming the artist and the person she was. That sounds trite, but it’s true.
One of my goals has been to learn more about women artists, artists who have often been overlooked but should never have been. That goal has lead me learn about artists such as Asawa. I recommend you do, too.
I’ve read a number of books and other pieces on DaDa and I always felt that she never gets enough recognition for the fine work she did. I’m happy to see she is getting it here. If you want to learn more about her and her work, follow the link.
Mary Pratt is a master of colour and light. You get a sense of that just from this photo of her, and if you have ever seen her paintings, then you already know that. I have been studying her painting recently, and in search of more information of her, came across this great piece in Canadian Art. She passed away in 2018, but her art will live on long after this decade or even century has passed.
If you aren’t already a fan, I recommend knowing more about her and her work. That linked article is a good starting point.
Some good links on the art of the 1980s, of which Basquiat and Haring played a big part, here and here.
Most of the time the links I post are mostly because I want other people to know about them. Links that talk about my youth are mainly for me. 🙂 But fans of either painter or art of that time should click through.
Painting above by Haring in tribute to Basquiat. May they both RIP.
It seems every year the website Artsy puts together a list of artists who were recently influential. The lists are always interesting, mixing artists you likely heard of (e.g., Jeff Koons) and others you may hear more of. It’s a great way to find out what artists are making a difference right now.
I had not heard of Mrinalini Mukherjee before. (Not that I even pretend to know everything about the current art world.) But I am glad to have discovered her for myself. Go here and learn more for yourself: The Most Influential Artists of 2019 – Artsy
(Image about is of Mukherjee and a featured work of hers.)
I’ve always loved and admired JFK’s Official White House Portrait. I found it intriguing, too. After reading the “Story of Aaron Shikler’s Posthumous Painting of John F. Kennedy”, I found it even more so. Fans of the work or JFK will want to read that piece.
Anselm Kiefer had a big show in England this year, and that lead me down a rabbit hole reading pieces in the Guardian on him. Never boring in his art work or his interviewers, anyone interested in knowing more about this great German artist can learn more here:
Step One: You Are a Total Amateur
Lesson 1: Don’t Be Embarrassed
Lesson 2: “Tell your own story and you will be interesting.” — Louise Bourgeois
Lesson 3: Feel Free to Imitate
Lesson 4: Art Is Not About Understanding. Or Mastery. (It is about doing and experience)
Lesson 5: Work, Work, Work
Step Two: How to Actually Begin
Lesson 6: Start With a Pencil
Lesson 7: Develop Forms of Practice
Lesson 8: Now, Redefine Skill
Lesson 9: “Embed thought in material.” — Roberta Smith
Lesson 10: Find Your Own Voice (then exaggerate it)
Lesson 11: Listen to the Crazy Voices in Your Head
Lesson 12: Know What You Hate
Lesson 13: Scavenge
Step Three: Learn How to Think Like an Artist
Lesson 14: Compare Cats and Dogs
Lesson 15: Understand That Art Is Not Just for Looking At
Lesson 16: Learn the Difference Between Subject Matter and Content
Lesson 17: See As Much As You Can
Lesson 18: All Art Is Identity Art!
Lesson 19: All Art Was Once Contemporary Art
Step Four: Enter the Art World
Lesson 20: Accept That You Will Likely Be Poor
Lesson 21: Define Success
Lesson 22: It Takes Only a Few People to Make a Career
Lesson 23: Learn to Write
Step Five: Survive the Art World
Lesson 24: Artists Must Be Vampires
Lesson 25: Learn to Deal With Rejection
Lesson 26: Make an Enemy of Envy
Lesson 27: Having a Family Is Fine
Step Six: Attain Galactic Brain
Lesson 28: What You Don’t Like Is As Important As What You Do Like
Lesson 29: Art Is a Form of Knowing Yourself
Lesson 30: “Artists do not own the meaning of their work.” — Roberta Smith
Lesson 31: All Art Is Subjective
Lesson 32: You Must Prize Vulnerability
Lesson 33: Be Delusional
But read the piece: the comments he provides are what gets to the heart of it.
I used to have great disdain for Koons, but the more I think about his work, the better appreciation I have for it. There is a ceiling to that appreciation: the emptiness of it imposes that. But Koons and his work gets me to think about art and the art world and the meaning of art and culture, and for that his work appeals to me.
However you think about him, those pieces are worth reading.
Key quote from the Austin Kleon piece is this, from Laurie Anderson:
The world may end. You’re right. But that’s not a reason to be scared. None of us know what will happen. Don’t spend time worrying about it. Make the most beautiful thing you can. Try to do that every day. That’s it. You know? What are you working for, posterity? We don’t know if there is any posterity.