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Posts Tagged ‘gallery’

Photo: Getty Popperfoto
L.S. Lowry, (pictured in 1957), the artist from Manchester, is the subject of a major new show at the Tate Britain gallery.

Some years ago when my husband was in England on business, he acquired a print of workers coming and going outside a factory. The original was by L.S. Lowry, whose paintings of industrial Britain turn out to be very popular in the UK.

Popularity, however, is not a ticket to being shown at the Tate Britain. Belatedly, Lowry will receive a retrospective in 2014.

Oliver Wainwright at the Daily Mail writes, “Clouds of smoke belch from forests of chimneys, while armies of spidery figures scuttle to and fro between narrow terrace houses and imposing factory gates.

“Crowds of fans shiver on the edge of a football field, a fist-fight breaks out, and barefoot children tease a stray cat on the street corner.

“These are the scenes depicted in the haunting paintings of L.S. Lowry who, more than any other artist, managed to capture the strange, bleak beauty of daily life in northern industrial towns.

“His dream-like images captured the popular imagination, adorning chocolate boxes and biscuit tins, tea towels and jigsaws.

“Yet they are scarcely to be found on the walls of our major national galleries. The Tate owns 23 of his works, but has only ever exhibited one on its walls in the past 20 years — and then only briefly. …

“Why has it taken so long?

” ‘He’s a victim of his own fan base,’ said Chris Stephens, Tate Britain’s Head of Displays. ‘What makes Lowry so popular is the same thing which stops him being the subject of serious critical attention. What attracts so many is a sort of sentimentality about him.’

“This is a strangely inverted piece of art world logic,” Wainwright comments, “where the popularity of an artist is seen as an obstacle to showing their work.”

If you’re an artist, be careful to stay off “chocolate boxes and biscuit tins, tea towels and jigsaws” — or wait to be discovered by art experts of a future generation.

More here and here.

 © The estate of L.S. Lowry
L.S. Lowry, Coming out of School, 1927

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I continue to be a fan of street art and the way it allows informal artists to express themselves while also letting passersby enjoy both homespun and professional achievements as they go about their errands.

In Rhode Island, there’s a painted rock. Everyone paints it, and no painting lasts for long. In the summer, paintings wishing someone happy birthday may last only a few hours, as mine did one Birthday Week when Suzanne turned 16 and John turned 21. (They didn’t wake up in time to see it.)

There has also been some amazing work by experts on that rock, too, but it gets respect for only a couple days. It’s essential to capture it with a camera.

Yesterday I passed along an idea to a gallery owner that she liked. How about painting the painted rock to look like a rock!? Crazy, huh? She may do it, too. She has a painting of rocks in the current show that she could replicate. She knows she’d have to take a photograph, though, or the rock might be painted over before anyone sees it.

Meanwhile, here’s a nice story about street art in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

Amy O’Leary writes at the NY Times, “Growing up, Joseph Ficalora would sit on the roof of his family’s steel fabrication business. In Bushwick, Brooklyn, in the 1980s, it was one of the few safe places outdoors. The view was grim. The streets were dirty. Graffiti was endless. …

“Most people want to hold onto their past as it was, but Mr. Ficalora has found greater comfort in obliterating it, bathing the neighborhood in paint.

“Today the rooftop of [his] family business, GCM Steel, offers an eye-popping panorama of street art. More than 50 multicolored murals have transformed a swath of nearby buildings into a vast outdoor gallery called the Bushwick Collective, anchored at the intersection of Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue.” More.

Photo: Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
Gaia, well-known among street artists, paints — legally — on a building in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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We went downtown to have lunch at the Whitney Museum with friends and to take in the Real/Surreal exhibit.

Favorite artists like Charles Sheeler, Mardsen Hartley, and Grant Wood were featured. I liked the eerie emptiness of Edward Hopper’s “Seventh Avenue” and the anxious denizens of George Tooker’s subway world.

Sounds unnerving, but in surfacing the alienation, I think the artists make one feel the possibility of getting a grip on it.

Afterward, we walked up Madison, stopping at a gallery in the Carlyle Hotel that was showing Magritte works, some for sale.

I have always liked Magritte, with his bowler-hatted men blocked by giant green apples and his nighttime streets overarched by daytime skies. And I especially like him because once in a workshop, I directed a Tom Stoppard one-act play inspired by him, After Magritte. It was the best fun!

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I like to think I know something about the nonwork interests of my colleagues, interests that may be — in spite of their workday professionalism — at least as much a part of who they are as their jobs. There’s the woman employed as a customer service rep who gets her kicks out of Tough Mudder competitions (extreme sports in mud). Or the editor who bakes bread every day. Or the economist who composes choral music and creates arrangements for flute choir.

Everyone has at least one other life.

But I guess if you’re not physically in the same office, if don’t have lunch together or chat in the ladies room or on the subway, you never find out about people’s other lives.

That’s why I was utterly floored this week when a hard-driving, business-oriented colleague in the Washington office sent around an e-mail saying she would be away from her desk for a month at an artist retreat in Korea. Huh?

Says I, “Oh! Are you an artist?”

Says she: “Yes” and sends me her website.

Oh, my gosh. This is who she really is: a sculptor and installation artist with a record of shows and a gorgeous portfolio. How does she even find time to be hard-driving and business-oriented in the day job?

It makes me wonder what else I’m missing, whose real life is right in front of me and I’m not noticing.

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The first art opening of the season at Jessie Edwards Studio is great not only for the art but for catching up with friends after the long winter.

I greeted David and asked why he hadn’t been at the 350th anniversary festivities, given that his family goes back so far on the island. He said he had been putting in lobster pots that day. He has put in 30 this year. Last Saturday he pulled 11 lobsters, which he doesn’t think is much for 30 pots. His extended family eats them all.

Another friend is writing a biography of his parents, which he intends to self-publish. He hopes the cost doesn’t keep him from getting the words that he wants on his tombstone: “I broke even.”

Given the crowds at openings and all the catching up, you have to be pretty determined to see the art. I nudged my way through temporary gaps and checked out everything.

Kathleen Noonan Lang was showing her island monotypes. See them here. I especially liked her “Sailor’s Delight,” with its rosy evening sky reminiscent of the weather rhyme “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.”

When my cousin Sally had a show of her monotypes in Connecticut, I asked her to describe her approach. She wrote:

“To make a monotype, you basically create an image on a sheet of plexiglass and run it through a press. There are dozens of techniques but my tools of choice are primarily paper towels and Q-tips; very sophisticated. I roll on a layer of ink on the plate and then push it around with the paper towels and Q-tips, run it through a press and then work on the plate again and print another layer. Often I’ll develop several prints at one time, working on the ghost impression left over on the plate, rolling on a transparent base to raise the viscosity of the remaining ink (as my father would have said), and print it again. That’s the short version. Most of my monotypes have 3-4 layers. It is a very exciting process and there is always an element of surprise as when the paper is pulled from the plate.”

I like that sort of surprise.  It’s kind of like writing a blog post and being surprised by where your train of thought leads you. In playwriting class we are encouraged to surprise ourselves that way.

I wanted to include some clay art from Suzanne here, but she says she hasn’t been taking pottery long enough to have anything to display. Her brother said, “How about the shell she painted for my birthday?”

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