Tuesday, August 07, 2007


A couple of days ago I told you about the curious statement by The Philly Inquirer's art critic Edward J. Sozanski, who in his recent review of "Kiefer, Polke, Richter" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art writes:

"One doesn't hear much about Kiefer these days, or Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, A.R. Penck, Georg Baselitz, Jorge Immendorf, or any of the other so-called neo-expressionists. While their moment dominated a good portion of the 1980s, an especially vigorous decade for new art, it's long past."
A good DC friend writes: "I don’t know what planet the Philly critic is on, but I was at the Venice Biennale and visited the Berlin Hamburger Bahnhof museum on the same trip in June, and Kiefer and Polke are still very much forces to be dealt with and creating powerful new works. A series of large indigo ground and silkscreen paintings by Polke at Venice, and a huge installation of Kiefer’s paintings and sculptures in Berlin (taking over the equivalent of the real estate in the main entry hall in our Union Station)."

Easy to do if you're already famous

Several of London's leading artists are setting up their own galleries. Damien Hirst has reportedly bought a series of railway arches in Vauxhall in which he wishes to open a gallery and restaurant, rumoured to be opening next year. Jake Chapman is also said to be negotiating a lease for his own permanent gallery site. Already up and running is Wolfgang Tillmans, who opened the exhibition space Between Bridges in east London last year. Tillmans says that the gallery, which focuses mostly on political art, "is for art that doesn't necessarily have a voice because the artists are either dead or of no commercial interest. I want to do things other galleries wouldn't be interested in doing."
Read the Guardian article here.

What Degas Saw

(Tks Rev!) The WaPo has apparently moved its Arts coverage to the Health section, but it is nonetheless a fascinating article on what Degas actually saw and how his vision may have affected his painting style.

Read it here.

And then there were two?

It has nothing to do with the visual arts, but much ado has been made of the fact that Bill Richardson is a "Hispanic" candidate for the Presidency. I'm still mulling his "Hispanicity," a label that most of you know I have some issues with...

I recently heard on some radio show that Mitt Romney's parents were born in Mexico, not from Mormon missionaries who were visiting Mexico as part of their Mormon mission, but born from Mexican-born Mormons who had been living in a Mormon colony called Colonia Juarez, which his great-grandfather had helped to create 122 years ago.

South Americans by the millions who are of Italian, Japanese, or German ancestry are still labeled "Hispanics" because they're born in a Spanish-speaking country. Thus we have Alberto Fujimori (former Peruvian President and son of Japanese immigrants) and Alfredo Stroessner (former Paraguayan strongman and son of German immigrants) as "Hispanics."

I know it's silly, but I didn't make the rules - I think the Nixon administration was the one which invented the term back in the 1970s. Before that we were Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc.

But, since Mitt's grandparents were Mexican, does that make him a Hispanic? If you say no, because theirs and Mitt's ancestry is "American," then that immediately disqualifies loads of people from this curious cultural misnomer?

Like Fidel Castro, whose parents were Galicians, and although Galicia is geographically located in Northern Spain, their people are not ethnic Spanish, but Galeg, with a different language, culture, etc. Galicia is one of the remaining Seven Celtic Nations.

Or maybe Shakira (Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll - born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is the only child of Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado, a Colombian of Catalan-Italian descent, and William Mebarak Chadid, an Arab-American of Lebanese-Catholic extraction).

Otherwise Mitt is a "Hispanic" and so is Senator John E. Sununu of New Hampshire. After all, his father, John H. Sununu (White House Chief of Staff for Bush The First and three-times NH Governor) was born in Havana, Cuba to Victoria Dada (a lady born in Central America) and John Saleh Sununu, a Boston-born businessman then living in Cuba.

I hate the labelling of people, and thus why I am wasting your time this Tuesday with this silly issue.

Only in America can a made-up cultural misnomer grow into a label which sometimes passes for cultural, and sometimes for ethnic, and sometimes for racial, depending on the ignorance or agenda of the user.

We wouldn't call a full-blooded Apache person an "Anglo-American," but we call the full-blooded Mayan person doing your landscaping or cleaning your house, a "Hispanic."

Fun with Lenny and silly labels.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: September 5, 2007

Albertus Magnus College invites artists to submit postcard size artworks that explore the impact of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights on the lives of people living in the United States today. Postcards can engage topics such as: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and the right to bear arms.

The exhibition will be in Rosary Hall, on the campus of Albertus Magnus College, with an opening reception on September 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm. Format: postcard, 4 x 6" maximum, mailed with sufficient postage (works w/ insufficient postage not accepted). Return address required. All works thematically linked to topic will be displayed. (The College reserves the right not to display works which are patently obscene or degrading.) No entry fee, no jury, no insurance or returns. Exhibition dates: Sept 10-30, 2007. Send entries to:

ATTN: Dr. Sean P. O'Connell
Albertus Magnus College
700 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511


Deadline: August 13, 2007

National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence - Offers funding to foster and preserve excellence in the arts, as well as provide access to the arts and arts appreciation for children, youth, and intergenerational education projects. Applications may be submitted in the following categories: Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literature, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Multidisciplinary, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenters, Theater, and Visual Arts.

Funding range is from $5,000-$150,000. For more information, contact:

National Endowment for the Arts
Nancy Hanks Center
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20506-0001

Curatorial Fellowship

The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University has announced a search for The Ann Tanenbaum Curatorial Fellow (2007-08) in the area of modern and contemporary art.

This one-year full-time fellowship offers an outstanding opportunity to to gain professional curatorial experience with the Rose's internationally recognized collection, which includes iconic art works from early 20th century American masters to De Kooning and Warhol; Rauschenberg and Lichtenstein. The fellowship will offer curatorial training and support scholarly research in connection with the permanent collection to an exceptional graduate-level candidate.

The fellow will have a passion for modern and contemporary art, a proven desire for curatorial work and research, and have recently completed graduate work in art history, either a Masters or Doctorate, specializing in modern and/or contemporary art. The fellow will be exposed to all aspects of curatorial work, gain experience in education and research, publications and cataloguing, acquisitions and conservation. He or she will also participate in a major project of publishing a comprehensive catalogue of The Rose's permanent collection. With a start date of October 2007, the fellowship will carry a stipend of $25,000.

Applications must be filed by Sept. 1. Application requirements: letter of interest describing the applicant's interest in the fellowship, museum work, and reasons for applying; resume; two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional settings; and two writing samples. Please send applications to:

Curatorial Fellow Search
The Rose Art Museum
Brandeis University
MS 069
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453-2728

Or Email: rosemail@courier.brandeis.edu