Page 1

68

SEPTEMBER 2010


Return to Earth: CeRAMIC SCulPTuRe OF Fontana Melotti Miró noguchi AND Picasso 1943 –1963

“Fall Art Pick” - The Dallas Morning News

through january 19 Official Automotive Sponsor

nashersculpturecenter.org Dallas Arts District Isamu Noguchi, The Policeman, 1950. Seto stoneware 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 x 5 1/8 in. (34 x 22.2 x 13 cm). The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. Photo: © The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. © 2013 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Official Airline Sponsor


OUR STAFF

BARBARA PFLAUMER EDITOR IN CHIEF

CHRISTINA DAVIDSON CREATIVE DIRECTOR

PATRICIA MCCLAIN COPY EDITOR

MARGARET BROWN

FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER

BEN MINTON

CIRCULATION MANAGER

JANE MILLER

ACCOUNTING MANAGER

For advertising inquiries, call 214.704.4182 or email Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com For editorial inquiries, email Barbara@shelfmediagroup.com

Photograph: Robert Wilhite, Briefcase Nuke, 2010, lacquer on hardwood and leather handle. Photo courtesy the artist. All rights reserved. robertwilhitestudio.com.

1


KENTON NELSON New Paintings Opening December 3, 2013

KENTON NELSON New Paintings SpardaWelt, Stuttgart, Germany, December 2013

"Deliverance" o/c 91 x 122 cm © Kenton Nelson 2013

"Deliverance" o/c 91 x 122 cm © Kenton Nelson 2013

SpardaWelt Baden-Württemberg

Am Hauptbahnhof 3 70173 Stuttgart, Germany

GALERIE MICHAEL HAAS P +49 (0) 30 88 92 91 0 contact@galeriemichaelhaas.de www.galeriemichaelhaas.de

Kenton Nelson posters and books available on Amazon


TABLE OF CONTENTS 6

DEBORAH FINE Interview with the award-winning Philadelphia artist

10 ARTISTS DRINKING BEER A conversation with Robert Wilhite and Larry Bell 16 PUBLIC ART: SAN DIEGO Art critic Robert Pincus on new installations 22 AMERICAN MODERNS From Hopper to O’Keeffe, at MoMA 24 DAVID HOCKNEY: A BIGGER EXHIBITION A retrospective at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 30

YOUTH AND BEAUTY: ART OF THE AMERICAN TWENTIES A recent catalogue wins the inaugural The Alice award

4 42 44 46 48 52 54 56 57

A word from the editor The lost Matisse interview On exhibit: Art and Appetite Excerpt: Balthus–Cats and Girls On exhibit: Paul Klee–Making Visible Interview: Wayne Thiebaud My first time: Louis Ozawa Changchien Perspective Contributors

34 GALLERY: MILES DAVIS A new book surveys the jazz great’s paintings and drawings

Artwork: Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork, copyright © Miles Davis Properties, LLC.

3


NeW From

the Getty Chatting with Henri Matisse The Lost 1941 Interview Edited by Serge Guilbaut Translated by Chris Miller Matisse talks about his art, his life, and his legendary career in this engaging and informative interview published here for the first time. Getty Research Institute Cloth $45.00

The Letters of Paul Cézanne Edited and translated by Alex Danchev Alex Danchev’s crystalline translation of Cézanne’s letters includes more than twenty that were previously unpublished and reproduces the beguiling sketches and caricatures with which Cézanne occasionally illustrated his words. J. Paul Getty Museum Cloth $39.95

The Greek Vase Art of the Storyteller John H. Oakley This richly illustrated volume presents ancient Greek vases not merely as beautiful vessels to hold water and wine, but also as instruments of storytelling and bearers of meaning. J. Paul Getty Museum Cloth $29.95

Stained Glass Radiant Art Virginia Chieffo Raguin Beautifully illustrated with reproductions from the remarkable collection at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Stained Glass addresses the making of stained glass windows, their iconography and architectural contexts, their patrons and collectors, and the challenges of restoration and display. J. Paul Getty Museum Paper $20.00

The Window in Photographs Karen Hellman This elegantly conceived volume considers the motif of the window as an enduring photographic symbol. J. Paul Getty Museum Cloth $24.95

Architecture in Photographs Gordon Baldwin Architecture is second only to portraiture as the most favored subject for the camera. From Greek temples to Gothic cathedrals to modern-day skyscrapers, this lavishly illustrated book presents a panoply of different architectural structures and styles. J. Paul Getty Museum Cloth $24.95

Getty Publications A wo r ld o f a r t, r e s e a r c h , c o n s e r v a tio n , a n d p h i l a n t h rop y

www.getty.edu/publications 800 223 3431 © 2014 J. Paul Getty Trust


A WORD FROM THE EDITOR

W

elcome to Foreground! I am delighted to share the first issue of Foreground with you. We describe ourselves as a digital art magazine with a goal of reaching out to the culturally curious. Perhaps a further explanation is called for—and so let me say that the mission of Foreground is to look at, discuss, examine, and consider the fine arts in an inclusive manner. You will find in this issue, and the issues to come, an accessibility to our approach. Too often art publications speak an exclusive language, “art speak” if you will, that leaves the general reader shaking his or her head. Foreground will offer thoughtful and intelligent articles that we believe will illuminate topics of interest to our audience without leaving them wondering the meaning of “pre-articulate sense data” or the like. I hope you enjoy the pages ahead and that you will communicate with us to let us know what you think and how we can improve and to offer suggestions of additions we might make to Foreground. Yours, Barbara Pflaumer Editor in Chief barbara@shelfmediagroup.com

ON THE COVER Self-Portrait with Rita by Thomas Hart Benton, 1922, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jack H. Mooney, copyright T.H Benton and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Reprinted with permission from Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, Rizzoli, www.rizzoliusa.com. All rights reserved.

5


INTERVIEW

DEBORAH FINE An award-winning Philadelphia artist bursts onto the scene after a 30-year absence Deborah Fine’s non-objective work, typified by the use of cool colors and gestural movement, is reminiscent of the work of the great Cy Twombly. She paints with acrylics and pastels, working from small, intimate-sized pieces to grandly scaled paintings. Her work will be highlighted in two exhibitions this fall.

see Deborah Fine Solo Show The Rosenfeld Gallery September 2013 Small Works Show The Rosenfeld Gallery Philadelphia December 2013 Foreground: Let’s talk about your biography—how did you get to where you are today? Deborah Fine: I started painting in high school because I had a choice between that and trigonometry: Painting seemed 6

P R E M I E R E I S S U E 2013

a much better choice. I just fell in love with it and kept on going. I then decided to go to college for art and enrolled at Carnegie which was called Carnegie Tech at the time and is now Carnegie Mellon. My style from high school until I gradu-


ated from college was always very tight and realistic. I was very good at exactly recreating someone’s face or a still life, and it didn’t occur to me that there was another way to work. After I retired from the furniture business, which I had gotten into to raise and support my family, and decided to go back into art, I accidentally took a class in abstract art. It was posted as a pastel class and I thought, Oh pastels is a good place to start: I don’t have to go out and buy a lot of paint, I’ve got pastels in the house, and it’s not that all that messy. On the first day of class I discovered it was abstract art, and I thought, Oh my God, I don’t know how to do abstract art! But I fell in love with it like I fell in love in high school. It just fit and it’s been my direction since then.

Foreground: How do you even know now that the balance is right? Fine: It gets to the point after you have completed a piece that you have nothing else you want to do to it. All of a sudden there is nothing else you want to change. Everything is exactly where it should be and you can’t think of anything to touch, or change, or fix. When there is even the littlest thing to change to a piece then the entire piece could change; once you change something in the bottom right hand corner then the top left hand corner has to change and then the center, and it just keeps going and going until everything is as it should be.

Foreground: So there’s a balance that you achieve when you get to that point? Fine: There is a balance. Balance is Foreground: Did you find making ab- very important and I have struggled to stract art liberating? find it in my paintings, but I have also Fine: When I was doing representa- been studying Ikebana, Japanese flower tional work I found it was easy, strangely arranging, and I’ve learned through that enough. Some people have a hard time about the balance and that has had an painting portraits or figures, which was impact on my work. not my experience since you know exactly where the eyes go, and the mouth— Foreground: Talk about your use of color. you know what to paint because you’re Fine: Color, value, and intensity allow me looking at it. When making an abstract to create the depth that will move the piece, you can go anywhere and so while viewer’s eye around the same way that it’s liberating, it can also be frightening line and shape move the eye around. and hard to know when everything is in The cooler colors work as a complement place. I didn’t know how to look at any to the warmer colors and make planes abstract painting and say, Everything is move forward and back. To a certain in place. It took me years to get to that degree the colors I use are instinctual. point. It’s part of who I am, I think, because I 7


8

P R E M I E R E I S S U E 2013


seem to always be going with the same color palette. Foreground: Are there colors you won’t use? Fine: I wouldn’t say there are colors I won’t use. I would say there are colors I can’t use a lot of. I start out with really bright paintings. I will often undertone my paintings with really bright colors like red, yellow, or black, and yet those colors seem to disappear by the time the painting is complete. I think they are too impactful for me. I compare it to seeing a woman wearing a fabulous dress and its striped or polka dot and she looks great, and yet I know I could never wear it. I would put it on and feel awkward, and that’s how I am about painting. It’s something that just works and it’s personal. Foreground: Which artists have inspired you? Fine: A lot of them—different ones at different stages. DeKooning was a big inspiration—what I took from that has become part of what my work; then all of a sudden Diebenkorn became my focus and after that Gorky. So all of these little pieces became part of my language, and now Twombly is important to me. All have helped me to create my own little language. I paint from them and then it gets redistributed and rethought out and becomes my language. Foreground: Is pastel still your preferred medium? Fine: No, most of the time I’m painting now. Foreground: Oils exclusively? Fine: No, acrylics with charcoal and graph-

ite and pastels because there is something about a line that excites me and a line does not translate the same way with a brush as it does with a pencil or a piece of charcoal. So I’ll paint with an acrylic and I’ll draw over it with charcoal paste and graphite and all of it gets incorporated. Foreground: Is your style is still evolving? Fine: Yes. I think because I started my career so late—actually I didn’t restart it until 2007—and because I’m 66 now, I’m in a hurry and my work is changing faster than it would if I had continued painting at the age of 22. I think it would have been a slower progress but I would probably be in the same place I am now. Foreground: Are there art critics you read that you think either get it or don’t get it? Fine: I don’t read art critics. Foreground: Never? Fine: Not at all. Foreground: Because you feel there’s nothing they can tell you or because you don’t want to be influenced, or both? Fine: I think both. I think if the artist could put into words what they are painting, they wouldn’t be painting— they would be writing. And vice versa. I don’t think that critics really get what the artist is doing; I think only the artist can understand it. People will enjoy art whether critics say a good thing or a bad thing; they get it emotionally, individually, personally. Foreground: What do want your legacy to be? Fine: I would like everyone to go to MoMA and take a look at my retrospective. 9


ARTISTS

DRINKING BEER

Foreground editor Barbara Pflaumer recently joined noted artists Robert Wilhite and Larry Bell for brews and a conversation about the art world. Learn more about the artists and see their works at robertwilhitestudio.com and larrybell.com.

ROBERT WILHITE & LARRY BELL AT LARRY’S, HOTEL ERWIN, VENICE, CALIFORNIA

Barbara Pflaumer: Bob, I’m interested to hear what you think of the art world today. Robert Wilhite: I read about a lot of things that seem to be happening, and yet I’m running in place in my own studio. I read about Paul McCarthy making a giant, heavy-duty balloon dog kind of like Koons and it all sounds interesting and I appreciate it but somehow that doesn’t involve me. I just got back from New York, where I saw the Ken Price sculpture retrospective at the Met, and there was also a drawings show at The Drawing Center, and I’m still completely knocked out by it—by what I saw, the expertise. 10

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

A long time ago I went to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, and there was a room with lithographs that Picasso had done, and he had with one line drawn this guy, and the next piece of paper, the same figure with the head turned, all with one line and it was just dead on—the guy could do it, he could lay it down. And like something that I saw in those drawings, Kenny had absorbed all these different art styles of drawing and cartoons. It was like Jimi Hendricks—the style became all his own. I was just so knocked out. You know you talk about the art world, the art scene or whatever, and it’s all one thing or


ROBERT WILHITE

FATMAN Bomb by Robert Wilhite, 2009, lacquer on hardwood, Barry Whistler Gallery installation view, photo by Allison Smith, courtesy Robert Wilhite. Bowed Instrument by Robert Wilhite, 1980, musical sculpture, paint on hardwood and plywood, photo courtesy Robert Wilhite.

11


I saw the Ken Price sculpture retrospective at the Met, and there was also a drawings show at The Drawing Center, and I’m still completely knocked out by it—by what I saw, the expertise. —

Duncan’s Primaries, Kenneth Price (United States, California, Los Angeles, active New Mexico, Taos and California, Venice, 1935-2012). United States, 1980. Sculpture, glazed ceramic, 5 5/8 x 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches (14.2 x 21.5 x 21.5 cm). Modern and Contemporary Art Council Fund (M.80.68). Courtesy the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, California. 12

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

another, but it comes back to the art and the work having a certain presence. Kenny’s work really exemplifies, I think, the art of whatever it is we’re here for. Of course, we also want to pay the bills and have other people, aside from our mothers, like what we do, but there’s this thing about the work, it always comes back to the work. When you look at it, the artwork, you ask yourself questions: Where is the art here? Is it here?, and those simple questions should answer themselves. When I saw the Kenny’s work at the Met, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and in Dallas—I went to all of them—I was reminded about that relationship of the artist to the work. It should be infectious, should leap off the page, and that can be is elusive as to how you understand it. Barbara Pflaumer: And what about you, Larry? What do you think about what’s going on in the art world today, does it interest you, does it engage you in any way? Larry Bell: Yeah. The art world today to me represents more diversity of merchandising than it does a celebration of artistic discovery. The studio activities for the artist, for me at least, tend to be an act of constantly trying to reinvent oneself. For me to follow the work, your work is your teacher, whereas merchandising is the teacher of the market. There are perhaps a handful of really great art dealers but there are 10,000 merchants. So half a dozen of them create the standard, establish a precedent for a market and set the tone. In a sense the thousands ride the coattails of the six, and so the industry is more merchandising than it is about art. Early on most of the dealers I was familiar with were more like artists themselves and they saw their galleries as their studio. Their selection process of what to exhibit in their gallery was akin to the learning process that the artists employed in their studio. Not to mention there


LARRY BELL

Larry Bell, First and Last Dutch Cube, 2011. Glass panels coated with inconel, collection of Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon. Interior: 40” gray glass cube coated with inconel, collection of Stedelijk Amsterdam. Photo by David Huguenin. Larry Bell, 15” cube (glass), 15 x 15 x 15 inches, coated w/ chrome/silicon monoxide, 1965-655, photo by Alan Schaffer.

13


14

were considerably fewer artists around, so both in the gallery and studio systems could support the market. Now there are many more artists around, coming from the universities and the art schools, who think that they can make a living from selling their work. And while everybody has a right to make a living from their work, making a living and making art are two completely different acts and the problem is that it has been confused. A lot of artists have been dedicated to enhancing the marketplace because it is in their own interests to do so, but I have not operated in that manner. I think that making a living from my work is my responsibility. If I associate with an art dealer who sells my work and puts it into important collections, gets commissions, etc., then I am responsible for my success, while the dealer is responsible for his own success. I had an experience with an extremely good gallery early on in my career, but then I realized that the direction and the marketing support changes. I thought it would always be the same. You get some action once and you’ll always get some action but there are always new kids on the block and you get pushed back. I realized I really couldn’t count on anybody—that if my dealers didn’t sell my work I was still responsible for the work, and if the dealer couldn’t sell my work he was responsible for dealing with an artist whose work he could not sell.

are a few brilliant people who recognize and sell good work, but ultimately the gallery system is about making money.

Pflaumer: So what does one do in that situation? Bell: You take the marketing more seriously; you try to court an audience to see what your current investigations are. I have an open door over at my studio—anybody can come in any time. It has always been that way and that’s the way I do it. Wilhite: I agree with Larry about the whole art scene being about marketing and the gallery scene is related to what they can sell. There

Pflaumer: When was this, the ‘60s? Bell: ’61 or ’62—I was 21 and these three guys showed up and knocked on my door, and in those days nobody knocked on my front door except building inspectors. I went to my peephole to see who was out there and there were three guys with ties on, so I was sure they were city inspectors. I wouldn’t let ‘em in but for 20 minutes they knocked; they knew I was in there and knocked gently every few minutes. So I went to the door and opened it and you know the in-

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

Pflaumer: Was it important for you to have relationships with curators early in your careers, did that help you? Did it make any difference? Wilhite: It helps when you have a few people championing you. Bell: Curators is an interesting question because yes it tended to be that, for me, the curators that were more like artists themselves were the ones I was always interested in and they tended to be more interested in me Pflaumer: Because they understood the sensibility? Bell: Yes, we had the same kind of humor, we could say things to each other in our respective language and they would understand from the gut. So I would say keeping a good relationship with curators has been responsible for a lot of action I have had. Pflaumer: Whose work do you admire? Bell: Quite a few people for all different reasons…. Wilhite: Duchamp came to Larry’s studio one time. Bell: I didn’t know who he was at first—he came with Richard Hamilton and Sean Copley.


stant our eyes met Copley said [museum director] Walter Hopps sent us. So I just let them in. Pflaumer: And they didn’t identify themselves? Bell: They did but I was very deaf, I was born deaf. But finally I realized who they were and I got totally creeped out, and they realized something had changed and they left. Pflaumer: What was Duchamp like? Bell: A very nice man. A couple years later when I did a show in New York, my first show in New York, he invited me to his house for tea and his wife, Teeny, took me into his study. There was a Brancusi Blonde Nigress and de Chirico paintings and Magritte paintings. She brought in a tray with cookies and milk and closed the doors. Duchamp and I were just sitting there and I don’t remember most of the conversation but I do remember asking what he was doing and he said he was getting ready for a show. I asked if it was new work and he said no. When did you do this and he said when I was four or five. He was at that moment as old as I am now, 73, and I was 24—I didn’t know whether to believe him. I loved being with him but it wasn’t exactly a running dialogue. Pflaumer: It’s like the Étant Donnés, Duchamp’s last work— what’s it all about? Wilhite: The Étant Donnés is his contemplation. You initiated this conversation by asking what do we feel about the art scene, and in a way I kind of see that piece as a culmination piece that we as artists determine what it is. That is one of the things Larry drove home to me: our responsibility to say what art is and to show it to the public and be in control of it all. Duchamp was on the money and he took control of every aspect, every reference, every metaphor. Larry talks about how he was responsible for himself and we are responsible for ourselves and the image that our art has with our audience. Duchamp drove it home with that piece.

Duchamp was on the money and he took control of every aspect, every reference, every metaphor. —

Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau, 2° le gaz d’éclairage... (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas... ). Artist/Maker: Marcel Duchamp, American (born France), 1887-1968. 1946-66. Mixed media assemblage: (exterior) wooden door, iron nails, bricks, and stucco; (interior) bricks, velvet, wood, parchment over an armature of lead, steel, brass, synthetic putties and adhesives, aluminum sheet, welded steel-wire screen, and wood; Peg-Board, hair, oil paint, plastic, steel binder clips, plastic clothespins, twigs, leaves, glass, plywood, brass piano hinge, nails, screws, cotton, collotype prints, acrylic varnish, chalk, graphite, paper, cardboard, tape, pen ink, electric light fixtures, gas lamp (Bec Auer type), foam rubber, cork, electric motor, cookie tin, and linoleum. 95 x 70 x 49 inches (242.6 x 177.8 x 124.5 cm). Gift of the Cassandra Foundation, 1969. Object Number: 1969-41-1. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. 15


PUBLIC ART

Noted art critic Robert L. Pincus weighs in on new installations from J. Seward Johnson, Roman de Salvo, and Robert Irwin

SAN DIEGO W

hat do the fans of J. Seward Johnson see? It’s hard to fathom. Take a look at Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic picture V-J Day at Times Square (1945). Then consider Johnson’s 25-foot-tall sculpture of the sailor and nurse in that photograph, Unconditional Surrender, which occupied a prime spot along San Diego’s downtown waterfront for five years and will return permanently this year. Eisenstaedt’s image captures a deliriously happy moment in American history, distilling the end of a World War into a lone picture in the medium that freezes time best. Johnson’s monumental gewgaw Unconditional Surrender drains the magic from the image. But that’s not the way the commissioners for the Port of San Diego saw it. They thought it was important enough to violate the terms of their own public art plan and overrule the recommendation of their public art committee and give the behemoth object a permanent place along the downtown waterfront. For as long as I have been writing about public art in San Diego, reaching back to the mid-1980s, it has seemed like a city with two minds. One of those minds, or mindsets, embraces a pandering piece like Unconditional Surrender. The lazy standard

16

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


ALFRED EISENSTAEDT

J. SEWARD JOHNSON Inset: V-J Day at Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time & Life PIctures/Getty Images. Unconditional Surrender by J. Seward Johnson, photo by Jim Redfield courtesy the USS Midway Museum.

17


ROMAN DE SALVO

typified by this kind of work: Make it big and it will impress, even when the art isn’t in any way original. Johnson’s sculpture doesn’t even make any pretense to fresh vision: It just lifts a beloved picture and makes it gargantuan. But there is another San Diego which offers a different and frankly better type of public art. There is the recently dedicated sculptural project by Roman de Salvo, The Riparium, which went through the normal selection process described in the Port’s Public Art Master Plan — requiring a recommendation from its public art advisory committee and approval by the commissioners. De Salvo’s title refers to the natural course of water along a shore or riverbank, and the apt site of De Salvo’s sculpture is the new Ruocco park, named for the pioneering local modernist artist Lloyd Ruocco, who left money to the San Diego Foundation for worthy civic efforts. De Salvo, one of San Diego’s best artists in the public arena as well as in his smaller studio works, has developed a method of composition using joined and planned branches of trees that create a fluid, elegant network of lines; in The Riparium, they are suspended like a trellis from cable, appearing to hover between pillars, and they guide the eye toward the harbor.

18

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

Photos: Courtesy the Port of San Diego.


ROMAN DE SALVO 19


ROBERT IRWIN 20

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


ROBERT IRWIN The Port of San Diego is responsible for this project too, suggesting that the divided nature of San Diego is mirrored in its Port’s own actions. And if San Diego’s better mind regarding public art needed an exclamation point, it is a twofold project by Robert Irwin, a San Diegan who is arguably one of the greatest living artists. Irwin’s project is integrated into the new federal courthouse lobby, where the viewer will be able to observe a virtually transparent column from the early 1970s called Acrylic Prism. Measuring 32 feet in height and changing color continuously with the light of the day, it is invisible at one turn and unpredictably prismatic at another. Irwin is even better known for one of his other public works, the Getty Center’s Public Central Garden in Los Angeles. He has continued his use of flora and fauna as media and will do so again in San Diego, with a ramp of zigzagging hedges titled Hedge Wedge. All three projects will be situated in close proximity to one another and can be observed in a short walk. Of course, there will never be agreement about what is best and worst in public art, though to me the categories are as clear as the acrylic in Irwin’s column.

21


EXHIBIT From Hopper to O’Keeffe Museum of Modern Art, New York moma.org

aoderns merican m Through January 26, 2014

22

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

Images courtesy The Museum of Modern Art. All rights reserved.


T

he Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) isn’t generally thought of as the epicenter of realist American paintings. Rather it has built its considerable international reputation on edgier, Eurocentric art. However, MoMA is mounting an exhibition focusing primarily on its own holding of many great works of American art. Titled American Modern: From Hopper to O’Keeffe, this lush exhibition of 150 objects from the first half of the 20th century looks at the work of more than 50 pillars of American art. Among those represented in the show are the aforementioned Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Stuart Davis, Charles Burchfield, John Marin, Alfred Stieglitz, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, Walker Evans, and Andrew Wyeth. These artists’ works are shown in a variety of media, including oil painting, photography, sculpture, drawings, watercolors, and lithography. The fully illustrated catalogue highlights an intriguing similarity found in many of the works of these artists: the absence of people. Edward Hopper has often been cited for making pictures devoid of people or populating his paintings with individuals detached from their surroundings, but Arthur Dove, Charles Sheeler, Walker Evans, Georgia O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis, Paul Outerbridge, Edward Weston, and many others present the viewer with stark images completely free of humans. One wonders whether this is a characteristic of American art from the early 20th century. By the same token there are works in the exhibition such as the delightful sculpture by Elie Nadelman, Woman at the Piano, in particular, that are joyous and lively, as well as drawings by George Bellows of boxing matches or Paul Cadmus’s raucous scene from Greenwich Village which virtually evokes a food fight. The catalogue also features a fascinating essay on “The Problem of Our American Collection: MoMA Collects at Home” by Esther Adler, which frankly tells the history of collecting American art at MoMA. It’s a surprisingly honest account of how this august institution initially considered its native art second class and how it ultimately came to recognize its worth and importance to the collection.

23


EXHIBIT

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Through January 20, 2014

DAVID HOCKNEY A BIGGER EXHIBITION

B

ritish artist David Hockney, one of the major forces in the art world over the past 60 years, is being honored with a major retrospective at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco this fall. Hockney’s paintings throughout his career have been easily identifiable by their brilliant colors, connection to nature, and ability to capture the essence of a moment. From Yosemite to Yorkshire, from a massacre to a portrait of his parents, Hockney finds the intimacy of the image and makes it speak to the viewer. His connection to his subject is so profound that the onlooker is helpless and cannot look away. The exhibition showcases a series of photo-collages, drawings, self-portraits, portraits of friends, and landscapes from

Woldgate, Los Angeles, and Yosemite and also includes a series of 25 charcoal drawings titled The Arrival of Spring 2013. These astonishing works which Hockney completed just this past May demonstrate the artist’s capacity for creating a sense of color in the total absence of color, and as he himself says, capturing “the bleakness of the winter and its exciting transformation to the summer.” Clearly one of the most prolific artists of his time, Hockney is also renowned for his scholarly interest in the history of how art has been made since the 15th century. His controversial 2001 book, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Techniques of the Old Masters, opined that artists—beginning in approximately 1400 until the Cubists in the mid-19th century—used an optical

www.famsf.com 24

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


device, probably a version of the camera obscura, to create their works. Hockney thought this led to a “paralyzing one-eyed perspective” that only Cubism freed the art world from. All of this matters because of the work Hockney himself creates. He has always been captivated by new methodologies and over the past 10 years has embraced both the iPhone and iPad— throwing off the “tyranny of perspective” through these devices. In addition he has innovated digital movies utilizing up to 18 separate digital cameras mounted on a grid, recording action simultaneously to create eighteen perspectives of the same

scene—a form of living Cubism, utterly unique, utterly Hockney. The largest exhibition ever presented by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the installation will feature more than 250 Hockney works in 18,000 square feet of space and will range in media from paintings, charcoal drawings on paper, photocollages, pencil drawings, and watercolors to new media works produced on iPhones and iPads and digital movies. Organized chronologically, the retrospective will offer the viewer a tour of the master’s prodigious output as well as reveal his evolving process and interest in ways of making art.

25


HONORS

T

he Brooklyn Museum is being honored with the inaugural The Alice award from Furthermore, the grants in publishing program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, for Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, edited by Teresa A. Carbone and published by Skira Rizzoli Publishing. Citing the book’s “fresh approach to and keen analysis of the subject, and general excellence,” the $25,000 award was created by Furthermore president Joan K. Davidson in honor of her mother, noted arts patron and philanthropist Alice M. Kaplan. We spoke to Davidson a few days prior to the award’s presentation on October 29 about art, books, and her mother’s legacy. (And you can learn more about Youth and Beauty in the subsequent interview with Carbone.)

The Alice

A new award goes to the Brooklyn Museum Foreground: In what ways does Youth and Beauty represent what The Alice award is seeking to recognize? Joan K. Davidson: Youth and Beauty says it all: it has an IDEA, which is the main thing —a fresh way of thinking about many of the familiar American artists of the 20th century, and some unknown ones too. It has beautifully reproduced pictures that help make the 26

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

book’s argument and are thought provoking, and it is very well written and edited. The Alice award applauds the whole book; book as object and work of art. Foreground: Your mother, Alice M. Kaplan, for whom the award is named, loved and collected illustrated books. Do you recall any of her particular favorites?


JKD: My mother could never resist leafing through and then buying beautiful books wherever she found them, in whatever language. Of course in her time they didn’t cost the price of a small car as they now do! She had books on sculpture and painting from all periods and all cultures and nations; books on antiquities, and gardens, and textiles, the decorative arts, silver and furniture and so on, and the lives of artists. As I remember, she wasn’t that interested in the latest art world darlings. No dernier cri, no hip scene for her... Foreground: Which part or parts of your mother’s legacy do you think would have been most important to her?

JKD: She wanted to see all her things as a whole—the balance between old and (relatively) new, among wood and metal and stone and cloth and canvas; and the relationships of colors … as though works of art were an intimate part of her being. She had the love, and also, I think, the necessary critical, welltrained eye and curator’s sensibility. Foreground: You have long continued your family’s legacy of philanthropy, notably as president of The J.M. Kaplan Fund, chair of the New York State Council on the Arts, and currently as president of Furthermore, which encourages the publication of “significant visual books.” Why did you create this award specifically in honor of your mother? 27


JKD: I was surprised—and proud—to discover that in its short life, Furthermore had supported some one thousand publications, mostly with modest grants, for a total of $5 million. It seemed worth marking that milestone, and how better to mark it than through a person who loved to read, to look at images, and to pile up books on all her shelves and tables? And to mark the occasion with something tangible to encourage all the folks in the arts and in publishing who work so hard to produce good books to keep on doing so! Hence the $25,000 award, and what I hope will be some welcome attention to go with it.

JKD: Books matter, now and forever, as far as I, and Furthermore, are concerned. Other things matter too: music and theater and dance, films and, yes, screens... There is room for it all. We all adore the newest young artists of course, but that hasn’t sapped our devotion to Old Master drawings (I speak for myself)! In a healthy society the old and new are happy side by side, and all forms of reading and seeing (and thinking) are valuable. Only read. But it does seem that books that depend on the accuracy and depth and richness of their illustrations are better with paper and print. Those are the books that last, and become substantial, fond presences on our doForeground: In the age of e-books, why do mestic scene and in our imagination—rather you think the publishing of high-quality print than flashing by on a screen, with no heft at books remains important? all, and perhaps soon to be forgotten. 28

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


29


CATALOG

New perspectives on the era that begat Gatsby. 30

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

Photo: Joy Wong


It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art …

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Echoes of the Jazz Age”

Youth and Beauty Art of the American Twenties Edited by Teresa A. Carbone Brooklyn Museum www.brooklynmuseum.org

ith relatively little training, one can begin to recognize works of American art created during the decade of the twenties. They are objects in which opposites appear to meet and recombine: formal perfection with blunt immediacy, visual clarity with an erasure of detail. In the realism that typified American art of the twenties, the liberated, modern body resonates with classical ideals, and the teeming, modern city is rendered empty and silent. Altering the realties with which they were confronted, American visual artists of the twenties achieved necessary, convincing lies. The modern world was cleansed, ordered, and distilled—effectively held at bay. ...Above all, the period’s “new feelers for new realties” evince a profound regard for direct engagement, a faith in the potentiality of youth – both individual and cultural—and a belief in the sustaining value of beauty. —Teresa A. Carbone, from Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, Brooklyn Museum 2011, www.brooklynmuseum.org. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

W

Foreground: You write that “portraits from the twenties are...characterized by a sometimes uneasy alliance between youthful beauty and penetrating focus.” Cases in point: the book’s cover image, Luigi Lucioni’s 1928 painting of Paul Cadmus, and Nickolas Muray’s c. 1925 photograph of Gloria Swanson. What cultural dynamics of the twenties put this alliance into play? Teresa A. Carbone: The close-up became the portrait of choice in the twenties. It was impacted by self-fashioning, which was part Hollywoodand part advertising-generated. People were, for the first time, pushed to perfect themselves, and the idea that women could remake themselves in the image of the Hollywood star was born. And photographers had the technology to create very clear, close portraits. Vying with that was the impact of Freud, who was enormously popular. 31


32

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


Every ditzy flapper knew something about Freud, and that the unconscious was inaccessible. So in portraits, there was a weird collision of immediacy and impenetrability. Foreground: Women got the right to vote in 1920, and the following decade was known as the era of the New Woman. In that light, do you think that images such as Muray’s portrait of Gloria Swanson or Stieglitz’s photographs of Georgia O’Keeffe could be considered somewhat collaborative? Carbone: In the case of both Gloria Swanson and Georgia O’Keeffe, unquestionably. Stieglitz started photographing O’Keeffe in early 1917 or ’18, often depicting her in the nude, and in virtually all of the early images, there is a very clear sense that she is exploring herself and her role and in her self-representation as much as he is. But by ’23 or ’24, she stops being photographed undressed. In the Stieglitz photograph I have of her in the exhibit, from 1924, she is definitely determining the portrait. She is framed against the sky, forceful, very much in control.

A 19-episode podcast on the exhibit is free on iTunes. Click HERE to listen.

Foreground: What did you glean about the twenties—people or culture—that you hadn’t realized before researching this exhibit and book? Carbone: I didn’t realize the artists were so determined to demonstrate their apartness from popular culture. I expected car culture, flapper culture—all of which is virtually invisible in the fine art of the time. Artists disdained commerciality as antithetical to a kind of authenticity they wanted. They saw individuality threatened by technology, urbanization, consumer culture, and advertising. Photo: (opposite page) Gloria Swanson, c. 1925, Nickolas Muray, American, gelatin silver print 12 3/4 x 9 3/8 in. (32.4 x 23.8 cm), George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York, Gift of Mrs. Nickolas Muray. © Estate of Nickolas Muray. (This page) Queensborough Bridge, 1927, Elsie Driggs, American, oil on canvas, 40 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. (102.2 x 76.8 cm), Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey, Museum Purchase, Lang Acquisition Fund. © Merriman Gatch

33


GALLERY

Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork Text by Scott Gutterman Foreword by Quincy Jones

Insight Editions www.insighteditions.com

Reproduced from Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork (InsightEditions: www.insighteditions.com). Copyright ©  Miles Davis Properties, LLC. 34

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


In the last decade of his life, trumpet great Miles Davis took up painting and drawing with the same interest in experimentation that had led him from bebop to avant-garde jazz. A new book collects his works, rarely seen by the public, revealing his fascination with color and form. Here, we excerpt the foreword by Quincy Jones.

M

iles played the way he was as a human being, and he painted and drew that same way. He knew that painting was something that he had to do. He felt things deeply, whether it be anger or amusement. He had to express his feelings. He was an original, and when he felt like doing something, he did it. His creative self wouldn’t let him turn his back on any sort of inspiration. Miles was authentic, nothing slick. He played styles. His art was the same. He didn’t want to think like everyone. He knew jazz had an attitude just like his art did. He loved attitude just like he loved lines and color. When he drew faces and shapes, he drew heads in all different directions. It was always an experiment, a chance to break boundaries. Miles was a true artist, an original. He took the challenge of drawing and painting straight on. —Quincy Jones From Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork, Insight Editions 2013, www.insighteditions.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. 35


36

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


It is doubtless the work of an abundant imagination, one that transformed the world of sound and time and made inroads into the world of shape and color. —Scott Gutterman

37


38

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


39


40

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


He would find out about different artists and get into their work for a while. One of the first was Wassily Kandinsky .‌ Then there was Jean-Michel Basquiat. —Erin Davis 41


BOOKSHELF

Chatting With Henri Matisse: The 1941 Lost Interview Getty Publications, $45.00, www.getty.edu/publications

42

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


I

n 1941, while recovering from major surgery, Henri Matisse, arguably the foremost painter of the 20th century, agreed to a series of interviews with Swiss art critic Pierre Courthion. Matisse, a known stickler (should we say control freak?), made the process of getting to the “bavardages” (French for chit chats) intensely complex, and his need to control foretold the project’s ultimate outcome: Sadly, it never came to fruition. Matisse had a change of heart, feeling that the casualness of the format wasn’t right. He thought he had been taken advantage of while unwell and at the last minute withdrew his approval, even though he had approved an image for the cover and the book had already been typeset. Nonetheless, the art world is indebted to Serge Guilbaut, who stumbled upon the unpublished interviews while doing scholarly work at the Getty Research Institute a couple of years ago—70 years after they were conducted. In Chatting With Henri Matisse: The 1941 Lost Interview, the nine conversations between Courthion and Matisse are compelling reading for their insight into not merely this giant’s work but also the world in which he created some of the great masterpieces of art. Matisse’s

reflections on his collectors (Albert C. Barnes and the challenges of making La Danse), contemporaries (“If I didn’t do what I do, I should like to paint like Picasso,” and Rodin “makes shortsighted sculpture, every detail stands out but you can’t see the forest for the trees”), and rivals are matched with reminiscences of Gertrude and Michael Stein’s apartment on the rue de Fleurus, designing costumes for Diaghilev’s ballets, and his own love of collecting—all fascinating, almost voyeuristic, views into the man behind the art. We learn of Matisse’s early frustrating days in the Salon studio of Gustave Moreau, the bohemian life of the avant-garde artist in the mid-19th century, and the intrigue with art dealers, some of whom continue to be as well known today as the artists whose works they made famous (Ambroise Vollard and Max Jacob). Chatting With Henri Matisse features both the original French transcripts along with Matisse’s doodles as well as an introduction by Matisse’s grandson Claude Duthuit and essays from Yve-Alain Bois and Laurence Bertrand Dorleac. Richly illustrated with more than 30 plates and various versions of the back and forth between the interviewer and interviewee, the book gives the reader a sense of the artist as well as the man.

43


EXHIBIT

Art Institute of Chicago Through January 27, 2014

ART AND APPETITE AMERICAN PAINTING, CULTURE, AND CUISINE

T

he Art Institute of Chicago presents the exhibition Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine, an examination of how artists have looked at society through the depiction of food. A loan show comprised of over 75 works of art including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, Art and Appetite will consider food culture historically, seriously, and with humor, not to mention a fair number of recipes. The survey covers more than 200 years and includes works by such famed artists as Raphealle Peale, Thomas Cole, John

44

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

Singleton Copley, Severin Roesen, William Michael Harnett, William Glackens, Stuart Davis, Wayne Thiebaud, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue chronicle the evolving role of food in American society. With the emergence of prosperity and growing means of transportation, refrigeration, and population growth, the depiction of food in art initially is reverential and symbolic and ultimately takes on a more cynical, jaundiced portrayal. For example, Raphaelle Peale, arguably the


finest still life painter of the late 18th to early 19th century, brings an exquisite dignity to his painting Still Life Wine, Cake, and Nuts. Previously such a treatment would have been reserved for the portrait of a high-ranking official or society matron. Here his volumetric treatments of the cut pieces of cake as they fall away, the reflection of the glass of wine, are depictions of great skill bestowing importance to a seemingly mundane subject matter. Throughout the catalogue the chapter essays end with recipes including “Succotash a la Tecumseh” to “Venison Pie,” all of which seem to be eminently makable if not enticing. There are truly interesting discussions of how food affected decision making at the highest levels of government, for example that Thomas Jefferson’s knowledge that three-eighths of the food that entered the southern and western territories came through New Orleans was a major consideration in his purchase of Louisiana. The exhibition also includes an early political skewering, almost literally, of President

Andrew Jackson in the lithograph The Political Barbeque: Going Whole Hog, with Blind Justice roasting Jackson on a spit accompanied by a caption ”Jackson is purified by the furnace of public opinion,” and so it goes. Harnett, too, uses his trompe l’oeil paintings to discretely make political hay commenting on social and economic changes of the late nineteenth century—half the fun of this work is decoding the messages hidden in them. Societal changes are documented in Art and Appetite from the phenomena of restaurant dining seen in William Glackens’ seminal work At Mouquin’s—truly one of the great paintings in American art—to the drinking of alcohol, even in the age of Prohibition, with Gerald Murphy’s Cocktail. By the time the 1950s arrive, the art world and the advertising world have co-mingled, and the works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein have truly begun to have the greatest impact. From Jello to soup to beer, art is everywhere and everything—the fast food nation has been born.

45


EXHIBIT The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Through January 12, 2014

BALTHUS: CATS AND GIRLS I

n 1937 Thérèse Blanchard (1925-1950) posed [for Balthus] with her elder brother, Hubert, for the large painting The Blanchard Children, which Picasso acquired in 1941. The artist’s forbiddingly austere and somber studio certainly did not invite playfulness. Hubert stares into space with his face turned away, his chin resting on his hand, while Thérèse crouches awkwardly over a book on the floor. The severe mise en scène forms a stark contrast to the sitters’ tender youth. Children in paintings are often surrounded by toys or other bric-a-brac...but Balthus banished such playful objects from his pictures. Another painting of 1937 featuring Thérèse is Thérèse with Cat, in which the huge striped cat lying on the floor, half in shadow, echoes the inscrutable expression on her face. Thérèse sits in a posture that girls often assume when they feel unobserved, with her raised leg offering a peek at her white underpants. The impression is brusque, seductive, and defiant. The watchful cat is probably a stand-in for the artist himself. Lithe, unpredictable, and only seemingly domesticated, cats embody many incongruous qualities: they are

affectionate and aloof, playful and predatory, sensuous and stealthy. When cats are featured in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraits of children, their meaning has been thought to evoke either “potential evil” or “latent female sexuality”—or possibly both. In Victorian genre pictures, cats, resembling furry toys, usually nestle on the laps of their girl sitters. Like the elusive Cheshire Cat in John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, however, Balthus’s big tomcat would never deign to sit on Thérèse’s lap; instead, it keeps its distance on the floor. In Thérèse Dreaming of 1938, the girl’s pose is very similar to that in Thérèse with Cat, but her closed eyes heighten the sensual mood. With a pale ginger cat now lapping milk from a saucer, Balthus added a tongue-incheek erotic metaphor. The current of eroticism makes these works, depending on the viewer’s perception, either powerful or predatory. From Balthus: Cats and Girls, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2013. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

metmuseum.org 46

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (french, 1908-2001), Thérèse Dreaming, 1938. Oil on canvas, 59 x 51 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998. © Balthus.


Apply now to the new BFA degree program at the Southwest School of Art. 300 Augusta • San Antonio, TX 78205 • www.swschool.org/bfa admission@swschool.org • 210.224.1848


EXHIBIT Tate Modern, London Through March 9, 2014

THE EY EXHIBITION

PAUL KLEE: MAKING VISIBLE

I

t is surprising how much there still remains to discover about Paul Klee’s work simply by looking. He is certainly one of the most famous of the great generation of twentieth-century European artists, a friend and colleague of Wassily Kandinsky, Johannes Itten, László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus. He began to exhibit a little over a hundred years ago, first in his childhood city of Bern and then in his adopted cultural home of Munich. For a long time he was not very successful, relying more on his violin than his brush. Eventually he was recognised as an artist of ‘pure phantasy’ (as Herbert Read wrote in 1933), admired by colleagues at the Bauhaus for his inventiveness and by the surrealists in Paris for his untrammelled automatism. While this understanding remains true to a degree, there was also another aspect of Klee’s artistic persona: an acutely self-conscious and self-critical temperament. Klee was inventive in many ways. He excelled as a draughtsman but became a colourist of extreme delicacy, his tiny watercolours eventually giving way to larger oil paintings. Though personally diffident, he performed

as a violinist and he taught art students for more than a decade. His art responded to nature but he made some of the most remarkable abstract paintings of the period. Unconcerned with style or a consistent personal practice, he produced strikingly different works in the same moment simply because they were appropriate to the inspiration or grew out of the demands of the material itself. At the heart of his career lay a sustained involvement with the Bauhaus, the hothouse for the creative revolution of the twentieth century that was finally stifled by political repression. In 1924 he explained his attitude to abstraction with an almost utopian vision: ‘I do not wish to represent the man as he is, but only as he might be.” One of the reasons that Klee’s work continues to fascinate and provoke is because of this belief in the transformative power of the creative and its multiple possibilities. —Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern From Paul Klee: Making Visible, Tate Publishing 2013, www.tate.org/uk/publishing. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

tate.org 48

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


Š Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

New Limited Editions from Aperture Visit Aperture in person or at aperture.org/prints The Non-Conformists Limited-Edition Box Set includes an 8 x 10 in. gelatin-silver print of Anniversary tea, Boulderclough Methodist Chapel, 1975 (above), signed and numbered in an edition of 100, in slipcase with The Non-Conformists by Martin Parr (Aperture, 2013). For inquiries, e-mail prints@aperture.org

Aperture Foundation 547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001 212.505.5555 aperture.org


Winner: Bywater Prize for Fiction Finalist: Shelf Unbound Writing Competition

“...The superb craftsmanship of a master storyteller at work.”

—Out in Print

“Art on Fire is alive with passion, humor, and real truth.”

—Lambda Literary Review

Art on Fire by Hilary Sloin

Y

oung, wild, and subversive artist Francesca deSilva lived hard and died young in a tragic fire that also destroyed most of her art. Growing up in the shadow of her brilliant sister Isabella, Francesca was always second best. Overlooked by her parents, she turned to her grandmother, whose adoration shriveled to rejection when Francesca was caught in bed with the chess genius Lisa Sinsong on her eighteenth birthday. Art on Fire is the pseudo-biography of Francesca’s short but colorful life, interspersed with essays on her paintings by critics, academics, and psychologists. These razorsharp satires on art, lesbian life, and the academic world puncture pretentiousness with every paragraph.

www.bywaterbooks.com/shop/art-on-fire


G A L L E RY

David Kroll

Martha Rea Baker

29 x 29 inches, oil on linen, 2013

36 x 36 inches, oil and cold wax on canvas, 2013

davidkroll.com

Karan Ruhlen Gallery, karanrhulen.com

Egret and Bowl

Mesa V

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Promote your art or gallery in Foreground in this Special Advertising Section. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $250/quarter page as seen here. Donna Provo Leuck

Just a Walk in the Park Kitchen Robot vintage doll stroller, vintage metals and utensils

etsy.com/shop/leuckit

Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182


INTERVIEW

WAYNE THIEBAUD “In a career of almost unparalleled longevity and qualitative consistency, he has gained a much-admired seniority among American realist painters. Known for his sensuous brushwork, strong saturated colors, and manipulated spatial design, he has produced an unmistakably singular body of images in an equally personal style of execution,” writes John Wilmerding in Wayne Thiebaud, a large-format book surveying the artist’s work from the 1960s up to his recent Hot Dog Stand, which he completed last year.

Wayne Thiebaud by John Wilmderding Acquavella Galleries www.acquavellagalleries.com Rizolli International Publications www.rizzoliusa.com

Foreground talked to the 92-year-old painter about painting, subject matter, and hotdogs.

Foreground: Hotdogs have been a subject you’re returned to over the years. You painted a row of them in 1961’s 5 Hotdogs and you’ve got one on a sign in last year’s Hot Dog Stand, which was on the cover of the New Yorker. What’s the appeal of this subject for you and what does it mean to you? Wayne Thiebaud: Essentially it is a subject matter that offers a chance for paint52

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

ing in a different way, which generally has been the probe of my painting research. I am continually looking for things that have meant something to me. I worked in those kinds of stands when growing up as a young boy and I draw and paint them from memory. It is a sentimental journey in some ways and represents a wider reference to American culture and experience in the way people work, eat, dress and the


places they like to go and are in the habit of going to as part of their daily lives.

paintings magic, the magic of caricature. Bonnard caricatures everything in his paintings, his space is almost nutty—he Foreground: Does photography have a gives his space uniqueness and personal role in your process? style. These artists have developed a Thiebaud: No. I do all my work by new vision species—also Van Gogh and memory and drawings. De Kooning—other worlds they have created that are parallel and unique. Foreground: Does irony or whimsy play a role in your work? Foreground: You are perhaps best known Thiebaud: I am less interested in that for your paintings of desserts—colorful and more in the positive challenges that rows of cakes, or ice cream cones, or lollirepresent traditions of paintings and the pops. Does that subject still interest you? notion of caricature. As an old teacher, Thiebaud: I still paint that subject matthe concept of caricature is central to ter—I approach each painting with a the notion of style. People don’t invest slightly different problem with the light the time of knowing what role carica- and the space of the works and I like to ture plays in the character of space, take it on again. A painting from 1950 color and light—but it is important to and what you do with it today fascinates examine those things which are central me—I encourage my students to do to the act of painting and essential to the same as Cezanne proved there is no use in the character of light. How one such thing as a finished painting, there can use many kinds of light in a single are only completed works. painting—the glint of light, the focus and out of focus use of light —that’s Foreground: Do you have a sweet tooth? what Vermeer did and what gives his Thiebaud: Yes. 53


The conceit of My First Time is the interviewee’s first museum experience and what it meant to them, whether it was the museum itself or a particular work of art that moved them. Our first conversation is with actor Louis Changchien.

Louis Ozawa Changchien—most

recently seen this year on episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hawaii Five-0—is best known for his portrayal of Hanzo in the feature film Predators, starring opposite Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburne. Changchien also starred as the ultimate assassin, Larx-3, in The Bourne Legacy. He earned his MFA in acting from Brown University and is an ensemble member of Partial Comfort Productions and The Actors Center Workshop.

54

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013

Foreground: Do you remember your first visit to an art museum? Changchien: I believe my first trip to an art museum was to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Growing up in Manhattan, on 87th and York Avenue, I visited the museum dozens of times from a very young age. As a result, many of my formative memories have been conflated into a montage of images. I will say the sheer magnitude of the institution—the history contained within this massive architecture—pops up in my memory more than any single piece of artwork. For instance, I believe the Egyptian wing may have been brand new when I was in elementary school. What an amazing experience as a kid to be transported into ancient Egypt, yet I felt fully aware of how modern the airy glass atrium was. I remember wanting to swim in the waters of the black penny-filled moat surrounding the actual ruin. How neat it was to see Ancient Roman graffiti carved into the even older Egyptian ruins. How cool to be running through the halls of Ancient Egypt, through the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, all the way to Ancient China.  

And this is going to sound crass, but what an ass—I think that may have peaked my interest in derrières. I must have passed it a million times without knowing what it was called, until my girlfriend from high school pointed out on a date at the Met that that was her favorite painting. See, at Stuyvesant, where I went to high school, we did weird shit like go to museums on dates—I guess it was a cheap place to go. I never thought about a museum this way, but what a torturous place to go for horny teens, staring at all these nude figures. It’s like foreplay. Except half the time, it was impossible to get any action after! Rodin: I just wanted to rub my face on the sculptures. I still do. I bet they’d be so cool and smooth to the touch.    Caravaggio: I was so struck by the drama and his use of light—it inspired me to want to take photos like that. Of course, the Egyptian tombs: Particularly when I was very young, that’s all I cared about—the Egyptians and the hieroglyphics—it was so wonderfully mysterious.

Foreground: Are there any works of Foreground: Was there a specific work art today that mean a lot to you? of art that captured your imagination? Changchien: I have a drawing by the Changchien: Pygmalion and Galatea painter Lowell Boyers. He was our by Gérôme: Such a strange painting. neighbor in Chelsea and he made it


Large Frame-Up #1 by Alan Samalin, 2001. Acrylic on canvas, 27 x 27 inches. Courtesy Alan Samalin Gallery, www.alansamalin.com. TOP RIGHT Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, Vésoul 1824– 1904 Paris), ca. 1890. Oil on canvas. 35 x 27 inches. Gift of Gift of Louis C. Raegner, 1927. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. BOTTOM Green Whisper Release by Lowell Boyers, 2012. Courtesy the Artist, Lowell Boyers, Lowellboyers.com, 521 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001. TOP LEFT

as a wedding gift to my wife and me. Also, another painting by Yasunori Nakagomi. He had a show that recently closed in Los Angeles that I missed seeing. He makes these incredible abstract landscapes, for lack of a better word, that really moved me, and he also gave us a work on paper for our wedding.   

ry designer. My father, who used to be a wonderful photographer. Alan Samalin, my ex-girlfriend’s father—he’s a painter who’s been painting every day of his life since he was 19 and yet nobody knows his work. It’s heartbreaking—he’s the realest artist I know with more talent in one finger than 90 percent his collection of fine art. That’s kind of the jokers I saw at the Armory Foreground: Do you have a favor- of how I view art, that craftsmanship show this year (by the way,  talk ite museum? about a show full of bullshit). Alan and fine art go hand in hand.   Changchien: I visited the Barnes   Foreground: Which artist speaks and my high school sweetheart inFoundation last October when we to you most profoundly? troduced me to Hitchcock and I will had to evacuate New York during Changchien: Too many to count forever be grateful. Hurricane Sandy. Pretty cool collec- but I’ll start with the following: DeMy wife:  She’s inspiring to watch tion. Interesting how Dr. Barnes in- gas. W. Eugene Smith. Henri Cartier onstage. So pure and effortless. I apcorporated functional relics among Bresson. My mother, who’s a jewel- preciate that kind of artistry too.   55


... isn’t the whole point of things— beautiful things— that they connect you to some larger beauty? —Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

56

PREMIERE ISSUE 2013


CONTRIBUTORS FALL 2013 LARRY BELL’s work emerged in the mid-1960s and is often included in major exhibitions of Minimal art. His work is in public collections throughout the world, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo; Art Institute of Chicago; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He resides in Taos, NM. THERESA A. CARBONE is the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art
 and Managing Curator, Arts of the Americas, at the Brooklyn Museum. She served as co-curator of the major exhibition Eastman Johnson: Painting America, in 1999, and as co-author and volume editor of the accompanying exhibition catalogue, which was awarded the New York State Historical Association’s prestigious Henry Allen Moe Prize. She was project director for American Identities: A New Look, the critically acclaimed 2001 reinstallation of the Museum’s American art galleries. More recently she completed the project to which she had devoted much of her tenure—serving as principal author of the two-volume scholarly catalogue American Paintings in the Brooklyn Museum: Artists Born by 1876. This publication was awarded the College Art Association’s 2006 Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award, presented each year for an especially distinguished art museum publication, and the Association of Art Museum Curators 2006 Annual Publication Prize for the best museum collection catalogue. LOUIS OZAWA CHANGCHIEN – most recently seen this year on episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hawaii Five-0—is best known for his portrayal of Hanzo in the feature film Predators, starring opposite Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburne. Changchien also starred as the ultimate assassin, Larx-3, in The Bourne Legacy. He earned his MFA in acting from Brown University and is an ensemble member of Partial Comfort Productions and The Actors Center Workshop. JOAN K. DAVIDSON has worked for over 30 years as president and president emerita of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. A Manhattanbased family philanthropic fund founded by her father, the Kaplan Fund makes grants in such areas as the environment, historic preservation, migration, city life, and the arts. Davidson served as chair of the New York State Council of the Arts from 1974 to 1977, as well as State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation from 1993 to 1995. DEBORAH FINE majored in Fine Art at Carnegie Tech, a.k.a. Carnegie Mellon, in Pittsburgh and transferred to Philadelphia College of Art, now known as University of the Arts, in her last year, where she graduated with her BFA in 1969. Her work has been exhibited at Woodmere Art Museum, Main Line Art Center, Philadelphia

Sketch Club, The Muse Gallery, InLiquid, Martin Run Gallery, AxD Gallery, Philadelphia City Hall, Fleisher Art Memorial and The Rosenfeld Gallery. She is a member of the National Association of Women Artists. QUINCY JONES has won an Emmy Award for his score of the of the opening episode of the landmark TV miniseries, Roots, seven Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, 27 Grammy Awards, and N.A.R.A.S.’ prestigious Trustees’ Award and The Grammy Living Legend Award. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 Grammy nominations. In 2001, Jones was named a Kennedy Center Honoree, for his contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States of America. He was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master – the nation’s highest jazz honor, and was most recently bestowed the National Medal of Arts, the United States’ highest artistic honor. ROBERT PINCUS was the art critic for both the San Diego UnionTribune and the Los Angeles Times. His book, On A Scale That Competes With the World: The Art of Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, was the first book-length study on the work of a pivotal 20th century American sculptor and his late-in-life collaborations with his wife. Pincus also wrote chapters for Manuel Neri: Early Work 1953-1978 and But Is It Art?: The Spirit of Art as Activism and has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogs, including the landmark “L.A. Pop in the Sixties” publication of the Orange County Museum of Art. WAYNE THIEBAUD (American, b.1920), a painter best known for his still lifes and food displays, was born in Arizona, and made his career on the West Coast. Thiebaud is famous for his calm depictions of everyday objects. Thiebaud studied Commercial Art in school, and, after graduating college, was accepted as a professional cartoonist at Walt Disney Studios. His years as a cartoonist influenced his mature technique, a stylized realism depicting everyday objects and scenes. Although Thiebaud is often associated with the Pop Art movement, his work does not critique the iconic imagery of American society and consumer culture, but embraces it instead. Thiebaud also taught at the Sacramento Junior College and the University of California at Davis for many years. He currently lives and works in California. (source: artnet.com) ROBERT WILHITE was one of the first students to study under Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Ed Moses, and Tony DeLap when the University of California, Irvine opened in 1965. After these formative years he moved to New York City to work for Pace Gallery before returning to California to settle in Venice. He has been making art ever since. His work in the past has ranged from sculptures, paintings, and performances to the design of furniture and flatware. He has been using music to discuss art and art to contemplate the fundamentals of music: form, texture harmony and rhythm. Recently, Wilhite was included in various exhibitions and performances as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, organized by the Getty Center during the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012. 57

Foreground: Fine Art for the Culturally Curious -- Premiere Issue  

New Foreground magazine will look at, discuss, examine, and consider the fine arts in an inclusive manner. In this issue: Larry Bell, Robert...