Paul Ben-Itzak’s new 40-page Memoir, including art by Ansel Adams, Robert L. Berry, Lou Chapman, James Daugherty, Gustave Caillebotte, Jacob Lawrence, Sylvie Lesgourgues, David Levinthal, Roy Lichtenstein, Sam Peckinpah, Charles M. Russell, Saul Steinberg, and Frank Lloyd Wright from both current exhibitions and the AV Archives, is now available. To receive your own copy as a PDF or Word document, including 35 illustrations, please send $19.95 to the AV by designating your PayPal payment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write us at that address to learn about payment by check. Your purchase includes a complimentary one-year subscription to the Arts Voyager and Dance Insider ($29.95 value). Above: Saul Steinberg, “Train,” From the exhibition Along the Lines: Selected Drawings by Saul Steinberg, on view through October 29 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967), “Night Shadows, 1921.” Etching. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 1983.66.
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012, 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak
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FORT WORTH, Texas — Once upon a time a newspaper man named Amon Carter followed the recommendation of his friend Will Rogers, the great American humorist, philosopher, and actor, and spent about $5,000 on a couple of canvasses by the “cowboy artist” Charles M. Russell. He built his Russell (and Frederic Remington) collection until, by the time of his death, he was able to bequeath it to found the museum which for the past 51 years has born his name and which, by his decree, is always free, because Carter wanted children to have the advantages he didn’t. The museum did not rest on its rawhide laurels, but grew up to be the greatest museum of American art in the world, in both its curatorial savvy and collecting prescience. It chose Stuart Davis as the one artist it was important to represent in all phases of his career, which, following the trajectory of art in the 20th century, took him from the stark literalism of the “ashcan” school to the wildest reaches of abstraction, never losing sight of reality. And, unlike so many museums which follow collecting trends, the Amon Carter anticipated at least one. Starting in the 1960s, it built a photography collection which dwarfs even that of the Museum of Modern Art.
It’s been a while since we’ve caught up with the Amon Carter, so busy has the auction season been. So we’re taking advantage of a breather in art sales to continue your — and our — ongoing arts education, always with a view to making us all better informed art investors, to offer this update in images of current and upcoming exhibitions at my favorite museum. Herewith you’ll find images of work from the current exhibition “To see as artists see: American Art from the Phillips Collection,” on view through January 6; “Marie Cosindas: Instant Color,” running March 5 through May 26, 2013; “Big Pictures,” on view March 5 – April 21; “Romaire Bearden: A Black Odyssey,” May 18 – August 11; and “Larry Sultan’s Homeland,” closing January 13.
David Levinthal (b. 1949), “[Cowboy],” 1988. From the Five Trails West series. Dye diffusion transfer print. ©1988 David Levinthal. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas P1988.9. From the upcoming exhibition “Big Pictures.”
Jacob Lawrence (1917 – 2000), “The Migration Series, Panel no. 3: From every southern town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north,” 1940 – 41. Casein tempera on hardboard. ©2011 the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Acquired 1942, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. . From the exhibition “To see as artists see: American Art from the Phillips Collection.”
William Henry Jackson (1843 – 1942), “Excursion Train. Lewiston Branch. N.Y.C. RR, 1890.” Albumen print.
John Sloan (1871 – 1951), “Six O’Clock, Winter, 1912.” Oil on canvas. ©2011 Delaware Art Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Acquired 1922, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. . From the exhibition “To see as artists see: American Art from the Phillips Collection.”
Left: Walt Kuhn (1877-1949), “Plumes, 1931.” Oil on canvas. Acquired 1932, the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.. From the exhibition “To see as artists see: American Art from the Phillips Collection,” on view through January 6. Right: Marie Cosindas (b. 1925), “Andy Warhol, 1966.” Dye diffusion transfer print. ©Marie Cosindas. Courtesy the artist. From the exhibition “Marie Cosindas: Instant Color,” on view March 5 – May 26, 2013. Both events at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.
Stuart Davis (1892-1964), “Blue Café,” 1928. Oil on canvas. ©Estate of Stuart Davis / licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Acquired 1930, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Part of the exhibition “To see as artists see: American Art from the Phillips Collection.”
Larry Sultan (1946-2009), “Meander, Corte Madera, 2006.” Digital dye coupler print. Collection of Andrew Pilara. From the exhibitioin “Larry Sultan’s Homeland: American story,” on view through January 13. (It may not look like much, but I was born here!)
Christophe Martinez, Untitled #1, 2017. 146 x 115 cm unframed and without margins. Pigment print on paper. Oeuvre unique. Copyright Christophe Martinez.
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NOTE DE PRESENTATION (English Translation Follows)
Textures et lumières: Sans affection particulière, ni volonté documentaire, les photographies produites sont issues de technologies hybrides…. Pour Christophe Martinez, la chambre photographique produit plutôt qu’elle n’enregistre. Penser, essayer, opérer, transformer, sous la seule réserve d’une recherche d’équilibre où n’interviennent que des phénomènes travaillés. C’est ainsi qu’une somme d’actions et d’expérimentations aboutissent à un d’accompagnement des techniques et des matériaux photographiques. Une forme de capillarité lumineuse par les lois fondamentales de l’optique, de la nature de la lumière, de la photochimie ainsi que des pratiques numériques. Ces différents protocoles échangent leurs répliques dans une danse à la fois élémentaire et sensible.
Christophe Martinez est né en 1978. Il vit et travaille à Paris. Pour l’artiste se sont les conditions de la photographie et les dispositions de la matière photographique s’imposent en premier. C’est dans ce cadre qu’il va développer des variantes de recherche et d’approfondissement autour des questions qu’il se pose.
Christophe Martinez, Untitled #2, 2014 115 x 146 cm unframed and without margins. Pigment print on paper. Oeuvre unique. Copyright Christophe Martinez.
(For the complete portfolio of 22 images, visit our sister site the Maison de Traduction.)
Textures and light: Without any particular pre-meditated inclination, nor any specific documentary intent, the photographs produced result from hybrid technologies…. For Christophe Martinez, the darkroom produces rather than simply records. Reflect, attempt, operate, transform, with the sole condition being the search for an equilibrium where only methodically developed phenomena intervene. Thus a sum of actions and experiments leads to a marriage of techniques and photographic matter. A form of luminous capillarity arrived at by applying fundamental laws of optics, nature, and light, and with the use of both photo-chemical and digital processes. These different protocols dialogue in a dance at the same time elemental and sensitive.
Christophe Martinez was born in 1978. He lives and works in Paris. For the artist, it is above all photographic conditions and the disposition of photographic material that prime. It is in this framework that he has developed the variants of his research and the depth surrounding the questions that he poses.
(For the complete portfolio of 22 images, visit our sister site the Maison de Traduction .)
Curated by Paul Ben-Itzak.
Text by Christophe Martinez, translated by Paul Ben-Itzak.
Pour tout renseignment / For information contact :
Français: Christophe Martinez, firstname.lastname@example.org
English or Français: Paul Ben-Itzak, email@example.com
From the exhibition From the Collection: 1960–1969, on view through March 12 at the Museum of Modern Art: Gordon Parks (American, 1912–2006). “Harlem Rally, Harlem, New York,” 1963. Gelatin silver print, 9 3/16 x 13 3/8″ (23.3 x 34 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Photography Fund. © 2016 Gordon Parks Foundation.
Stephen De Staebler’s “Winged Woman Walking X,” 1995, Bronze, AP/UC, 112 x 20 x 49 inches. Photo by Scott McCue.
By and copyright 2011, 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak
(First published on May 26, 2011.)
I guard an image from the mid-1960s of Stephen De Staebler in a weathered, paint-splattered grey sweatshirt, sleeves bunched up around the elbows, jeans, white sneakers, glasses slightly ajar — a souvenir accompanied by the silty scent of wet clay and dry ceramic dust, Steve’s studio nestled among the tall dense cypress trees in the Berkeley Hills cluttered with works in progress and slabs of sandy, moist, and drying clay arrayed haphazardly on tables. If early encounters with art are critical in determining lifelong interest — I was a kid and used to roughhouse with Steve’s son, Jordan — this one, coupled with public school art classes from another master, Ruth Asawa , did it for me, seeing sculpture first in process and not as dead matter in a stuffy museum. (And in those days, San Francisco’s De Young museum seemed more devoted to dusty relics than the vibrant California School flourishing outside its granite doors.) Over the next 50 years, De Staebler’s work would make it into leading museums and galleries around the world and, most crucially for its integration into the popular imagination, public spaces including the Embarcadero and Concord Bay Area Rapid Transit stations, where his soulful sculptures became part of the landscape even as they elevated it. Compared to painting, my preferred medium as an observer, sculpture often seems to me to be flat and immobile, less vivid and isolated, conversely trapped in time even as in principle it occupies more space and in matter weighs more than a painted canvas. But De Staebler’s work, in ceramic as well as bronze, does not just occupy three dimensions but has a vivacity which seems to animate it.
Kenneth Baker, the influential long-time art critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote in his obituary of Stephen, who died May 13 at the age of 78 from cancer, “Mr. De Staebler, like his mentor Peter Voulkos (1924-2002), helped to reposition ceramic materials and techniques from the critical abjection of ‘mere craft’ to media of major ambition in contemporary sculpture.” The key word here is ‘ambition.’ Without taking anything away from those who simply excel in a particular form, those with the ambition to expand it leave a self-perpetuating legacy beyond their own work, an inheritance for those who succeed them, and that extends its impact on the public beyond their own oeuvre. You can see representations of more of De Staebler’s work on his studio’s website, and the work itself in a major retrospective at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, January 14 – April 22. In addition to his artistic creations, Stephen De Staebler is survived by his second wife Danae Lynn Mattes (his first, Jordan’s mother Donna Merced Curley, passed away in 1996), their daughter, Arianne Seraphine, and his sons, Jordan Lucas and David Conrad De Staebler. A memorial will be held sometime in late July at Berkeley’s Holy Parish, whose interior was designed by De Staebler.
Having caught his all-inclusive 2002 show at the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris and reflected that, as with many artists (more recently, Wilfredo Lam and Le Courbusier, both revealed in over-abundance at the Pompidou Center), the oeuvre of Francis Picabia isn’t necessarily well-served by being shown in its entirety (the later works often resemble garish studies based on magazine photographs… as many were), I wasn’t particularly excited about Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction, the monographic Picabia show running through March 19 at the Museum of Modern Art. That was before I saw the above, created in that seminal year of 1911, just one of the 200 works including 125 paintings featured — and definitely not included in the Paris exhibition. Francis Picabia (1879-1953), “Adam et Ève” (Adam and Eve). 1911. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 × 31 7/8″ (100 × 81 cm). Private collection. © 2016 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. — Paul Ben-Itzak