A Week in Images (Quarantine Learning Report)

Here are a few highlights from the past week of learning and discovery.

Last Monday evening I attended a Zoom lecture with Maira Kalman. While I already knew her paintings and illustrations are charming, it was hearing Kalman talk about her work and life that made me want to be her new best friend. She is sharp and talented. If you don’t know about Kalman, read this New York Times article.

Kalman’s illustration of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein in their salon at 27 rue de Fleurus with their art collection.

Kalman spoke about some of her influences. One was Charlotte Salomon. I had not heard the name, so I immediately looked her up. Read this entire article. It is fascinating, heartbreaking and tragic.

1940 self portrait of Salomon (1917-1943)

I think the highlight of the week for me was hearing Kerry James Marshall discuss his work in a conversation with the New Museum’s artistic director Massimiliano Gioni. I have long been a fan of Marshall’s work, and absolutely adore him as a person now too.

Kerry James Marshall, Souvenir II, 1997
Acrylic, collage, and glitter on unstretched canvas banner
108” x 120 in
Addison Gallery of American Art
Kerry James Marshall, Memento #5, 2003
Acrylic and glitter on paper adhered to unstretched canvas banner
9’ x 9 feet
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

I finally sat and watched the recorded three hour workshop through John Natsoulas Gallery with John Toki. Wow, wow, wow. It was so cool to see how he creates his large ceramic pieces. I particularly liked the detail he went into on the installation process of his outdoor commission work. It is quite an engineering feat, which includes making sure the pieces are earthquake proof in California.

John Toki

This past week was NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts), which I have been to in person a few times in recent years. This year was virtual, which wasn’t quite the same as being there in person, but they did a great job and I have a lot of recorded lectures from the event to watch in the upcoming weeks. I did wake up quite early two days (the drawback of PST) to watch process demonstrations by Mariko Paterson and Justin Rothshank. I’m fortunate to call Mariko a friend. She’s an absolute marvel in every way. Justin Rothshank was just as nice as I had hoped he’d be. I truly enjoyed both of their demonstrations.

The past year I’ve been attending every virtual lecture that the Whitney Museum of American Art has been offering. Below are several images from a few of the talks from the past week. While I knew and have always liked the Robert Henri painting of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, I did not know the artists, or their work, of three paintings I liked that were discussed.

Robert Henri, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1916
Oil on canvas
49 15/16′ x 72 in
Whitney Museum of American Art
Max Weber, Chinese Restaurant, 1915
Oil, charcoal, and collaged paper on linen
40′ x 48 1/8 in
Whitney Museum of American Art
Elsie Driggs, Pittsburgh, 1927
Oil on canvas
34 1/4″ x 40 1/4 in
Whitney Museum of American Art

Sadly Ching Ho Cheng had a short life. I really like his psychedelic series.

And then there were quite a few podcasts and live instagram interviews that I listened to this past week. Anne Acheson and Marlow Moss are two more artists I had not heard of until now.

Anne Acheson

I include Anne Acheson (1882-1962) as not only was she was a sculptor, but she is actually the person to thank for discovering plaster casts. Who knew? My kids should definitely be thanking her!

If you read the Charlotte Salomon article I recommended above, you will have seen that her father Albert Salomon, a surgeon and professor, made the first identification of breast cancer from X-rays, and is cited as the founding father of mammography. The art world is full of amazing information.

Below is a piece by Marlow Moss that MoMA currently has on view.

Marlow Moss, White with Rope, 1940
Museum of Modern Art

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