The COASTAL STAR
From prosaic to political, artists’ letters form metatext at Norton exhibit By Myles Ludwig ArtsPaper Art Writer
Handwritten letters are like fossils of an earlier age, docubones from a world B.M. (before Microsoft), and Pen to Paper at the Norton is an exhibition of more than 30 letters from well-known artists dating from the late 18th century to the early 1980s. They are addressed to each other, friends, family, dealers and critics. Few people actually write letters by hand anymore. Email is passé, texting is a driving hazard and we are largely reduced to a kind of electronic hieroglyphics called emojis. We have Snapchat and Instagram as modern versions of Etcha-Sketch, and Elon Musk is rumored to be developing a mind meld. What’s next? iLetter in disappearing ink? The Norton exhibit, drawn from the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian, suggests that one might deduce the style of the artists’ work from a deep dive into graphology. Indeed, some of the letters on display do include idiosyncratic flourishes, such as Eero Saarinen’s careful, near-blueprint-quality architectural drawing; Philip Guston’s sketches; Hanne Darboven’s multicolored squiggles; Howard Finster’s punctuating faces peering out from the sentences, and Louis Lozowick’s black bat. However, I’m a bit skeptical of reading too much into them. But the letters do provide some interesting insights.
News briefs ‘Sound of Music’ tour will feature local student choirs WEST PALM BEACH — The national tour of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music will serve as the backdrop of a mini-choral festival featuring Palm Beach County student choirs this month at the Kravis Center. Eight choirs will sing before performances of the classic 1959 musical, which will run May 9 to 14. The Choral Music Festival celebrates the history of the Salzburg Festival, an Austrian music festival that dates to 1920, and which in 1936 featured the Von Trapp Family Singers, whose story is told in the musical. “We wanted to call attention to the art form in a deliberate way to connect with the themes and content of our Kravis On Broadway production of The Sound of Music,” said Kravis Center Education Director Tracy Butler. The students, representing the Kravis Center Young Singers Afterschool
The Norton exhibit includes missives from John Singer Sargent, above, and Mary Cassatt, below. Photos provided
It is intriguing to read Alexander Calder’s thoughts about his kinetic “abstract sculptures” that we now know as mobiles — one of which, his 1947 Grasshopper, is on display in the Norton’s Melvin and Barbara Nessel Gallery. Angry Arthur Dove asks Duncan Phillips not to cut his picture in half. Marcel Duchamp makes virtual Connection, CCA Fine Arts, Plumosa School of the Arts K-2 Chorus, Egret Lake Elementary School Chorus, Loxahatchee Groves Elementary School Chorus, the Kravis Center’s Broadway Reach program, Lake Worth High School Trojan Pride Chorus and Children’s Musical Theater, will perform before five evening shows and three matinees on the grand staircase of the Dreyfoos Hall lobby.
Cultural Council names new board members LAKE WORTH — Six new members have joined the board of directors for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, with global finance expert Nathan Slack appointed as chairman. William Parmelee will serve as vice chairman and Jean Sharf will serve as secretary. Other board members include attorney Phil DiComo, wealthmanagement expert Gail Horvath, marketing manager Michele Jacobs, bank officer Daryn Kirchfeld, economic development expert Caroline Villanueva and interior designer Gil Walsh.
“readymades.” Jokey Claes Oldenberg drums up detailed explanations of some of his work. Poetic painter Maxfield Parrish “wishes people wouldn’t ask for blue” because he’s sick of it, and Mary Cassatt’s note to the director of the Carnegie Institute’s Homer SaintGaudens “shows the artists’ concern with historical dialogue surrounding the progress of women artists,” according to exhibit curatorial assistant J. Rachel Gustafson. Cassatt also quotes Degas’ paradoxically pointed remark that “no woman has a right to draw like that” after he viewed her 1891 Young Woman Painting, which she made for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition to “show the present generation that we worked & learnt our profession, & which isn’t a bad thing.” Cassatt is taking “refuge from the gloom of Paris.” Moody photographer Bernice Abbot is in Berlin, feeling “quite folle,” optimistic and jaunty after a period of despair in Paris. Rollicking Jackson Pollack is making his pictures in the potato fields of the Springs outside chic Easthampton. Joseph Cornell, shadowboxmaker extraordinaire, dreams of Delacroix, Willem de Kooning senses his own mortality and Grandma Moses “picked a dandelion yesterday.” I am surprised at how few discuss more than the daily struggles of an artist — like how to make a living and pay the rent. But then, Artists R Us, so to speak.
“We are pleased that these accomplished business leaders have chosen to share their time and expertise with the Cultural Council,” said Cultural Council President Rena Blades.
Dancer wins competition, advances to final at FAU BOCA RATON — Sophie Miklosovic, 17, of Pompano Beach, who's a ballet student at The Art of Classical Ballet, won first place in a classical ballet competition sponsored by the National Society of Arts and Letters, Florida East Coast Chapter. The En Pointe competition took place March 11 at The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton. Miklosovic won $2,000 for first place. She will vie with contestants from around the country for a $12,000 grand prize in the NSAL national competition, set for June 2 at the University Theatre at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Taking second place and third place, respectively, in the local competition were Harid campus residents and ballet students Tabe Hidetora, 16, and Bela Erlandson, 17.
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