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:
Yesterday I encouraged you to take up a hobby. If you haven’t decided on one yet, I recommend drawing. You may be terrified or at least put off by the idea of taking up drawing. It’s ok. Many people feel that way. To help you, here’s some good links to get you thinking at least of taking up drawing.
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.
I have been trying to get better at drawing lately, but I have been floundering. Much of what I have been drawing is poor by my standards. Poor and not getting better. To try and get better, I was trying different media and different tools (coloured pencils, watercolour, etc.). All these different things didn’t help. I was stuck.
Then I came across this video and had an a-ha moment. It’s really good. I recommend you take a few minutes and watch it.
In a nutshell, the idea is to focus. Focus on drawing one thing. Don’t do what I was doing, which was a little bit of everything. A little bit of everything didn’t add up to anything.
What I found was that by focusing, I didn’t have to think of what to do, I just did it. In his case he drew emus. In my case I drew robots. Just dozens of robots. I would start by drawing a shape and then adding to the shape. Or I’d start with a theme (a book robot) and use that to draw. The drawing didn’t have to be good, though I tried to make it good. Regardless of good or bad, what I discovered was that I was learning more about drawing from each picture. Before, I would think: what shall I do to practice drawing and get better? Now I don’t think, I just draw, and I am naturally getting better.
I think this can be true of any skill. Take running for example. You might fear starting because you don’t know anything about how to run well. Fine, just pick a short distance and run it. Do that over and over. Each time you do, you will learn something. Maybe you are running too fast. Or too slow. Or too long. Or too much. Take notes each time and look to improve. If you get stuck, do some research and try to apply it. The next thing you know you will be much better at it then you were only a short time ago.
Anyway, watch the video and then think about how you can apply it to your own life. You will improve. Keep with it.
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.
Art schools are renowned as being inspiring places where art lovers can imbibe the history and practice of their favorite creative disciplines among like minded strivers. They’re also known for being very expensive (and not necessarily remunerative). Happily, we can offer an alternative avenue to learning. Here, …find a syllabus that will give you the tools you need to navigate today’s art world—taught by some of the greatest artists and thinkers in the world.
If that appeals to you, get a copy of that syllabus and get studying.
Among other things, there’s some offbeat examples of how to do gallery walls. Sure, you can do strict grid patterns for your gallery wall, but why not try something different, like that wall shown above?
Also, if you are interested in getting great affordable art, check out the works for sale at Art Interiors. They have gallery wall ideas, too.
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: