Archive for the ‘Art News’ Category

Bruce Nauman

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

American contemporary artist Bruce Nauman was selected to represent the United States in the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 by the US Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs on January 25, 2008.  Performance, neon, drawing, sculpture, photography, and video are the basis for his art.  Nauman previously won the Golden Lion back in 1999 in Venice’s Film Festival.

Check him out if you get a chance!

Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman

The Rape of Europa: Review and Call to Arms

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

While Uncle Lumpy loves to share the current workings of the artworld here and abroad, I also feel it is important that we acknowledge some of the great losses the world has suffered.  As a modern bunch, we are all familiar with many of the great works of art through museums, and to a lesser extent, books and photographs.  What we often fail to realize is that we only see a paltry amount of the works of the past; many (tens of thousands) of works have vanished or been destroyed.  Time and human strife are always guilty of such a crime, but one period in history has been substantial in its contribution to our current impoverishment. In September of this year, a documentary was released entitled The Rape of Europa, from which we learn of the incalculable damage done to the world’s art treasures. World War II may have been Hitler’s attempt to rule the world, but the destruction and oppression of its people were only part of his plans.

As the interviews of the documentary slowly unfold, a pattern emerges; much of Hitler’s invasions were based not on the presence of beliefs contrary to his own or even ethnic prejudice, but on the particular works of art contained in the cities and countries chosen for attack.  In early November, an article in the New York Times presented a significant discovery : Hitler’s notebook.  This notebook contained the works most coveted by the Fuhrer, and reads almost as a “to do list” of military targets, based on the value of their artistic treasures, which Hitler wanted to place in his future capital city to support his claims of superiority. Hitler’s greed is only one aspect that has contributed to the current state of things, since massive bombings and subsequent looting played a significant role as well.  Luckily for us, the French people predicted Hitler’s goals and were able to protect the Louvre, but many, many others were not so fortunate.  We are extremely fortunate to still have access to DaVinci’s “Lady with an Ermine,” a work that was recovered after its theft.  But massive numbers of paintings, sculptures, murals, drawings, and relics have vanished, including Raphael’s “Portrait of a Young Man” (pictured below).  Even those works that have been recovered are often a point of contention; many works have been transplanted from their original home and retained by countries who believe the works the be a very small recompense for all of their suffering during the war.  One art historian interviewed believes that this cannot be resolved as long as there are people living who still remember the war, and so many must continue to wait to restore bits and pieces of their histories.

I don’t say all of this to depress you, readers, but rather to encourage you to appreciate what we have, and also to call to arms those who may be interested in joining the ongoing search and restoration of these lost masterpieces.  Anyone who loves art should watch The Rape of Europa to really understand what we have lost and what we still have to gain.  It will also be encouraging to learn of the efforts taken even during the war to protect and retrieve; during the many later battles, the military recruited individuals to accompany the soldiers to help protect valuable works.  You think you love art, try taking a bullet for it! Anyway friends, I encourage you to watch The Rape of Europa and really understand the value of art in the world, and its power to alter history.

(The documentary is based on a book of the same name by Lynn H. Nicholas)

20 Works of Art To See Before You Die

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

There is an overwhelming amount of art out there for people to see, many might find it hard to determine where to go and which ones to give priority.  Now while this may seem like a very subjective topic and one which seems impossible for a person to figure out, one man is attempting to do just that.  Jonathan Jones, an art critic from The Guardian, has created a list of 20 works, which he feels everyone should see before they die.  Eventually he wants to, with the help and input of The Guardian’s readers, create a list of 50.  So listed below are the 20 which can also be found at  Agree? Disagree? Feel something is missing? Don’t hesitate to add your opinion!  Feeling adventurous after reading this list? Pack your bags, your passport, and some money…there’s a lot of travelin’ to do!

  1. Jan van Eyck, The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, c.1435, Musée du Louvre, Paris
  2. Caravaggio, The Burial of St. Lucy (1608), Museo di Palazzo Bellomo, Syracuse, Sicily
  3. Rembrandt, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer (1654), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  4. San Rock Art, South African National Museum, Cape Town
  5. Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire from Les Lauves (1904 – 6), Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
  6. Michelangelo, Moses (installed 1545), Church of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome
  7. Leonardo da Vinci, The Adoration of the Magi, (c. 1481), Uffizi Gallery, Florence
  8. Mark Rothko, The Rothko Chapel (paintings 1965-66; chapel opened 1971), Houston, Texas
  9. Vermeer, View of Delft (c.1660-61), Mauritshuis, The Hague
  10. Matthias Grünewald, The Isenheim Altarpiece (c.1509-15), Musée Unterlinden, Colmar, France
  11. Hans Holbein, The Dead Christ, (1521-2), Kunstmuseum, Basel
  12. Velázquez, Las Meninas (1656), Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
  13. Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun (1333-1323BC), Egyptian Museum, Cairo
  14. Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950, Museum of Modern Art, New York
  15. Masaccio, The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise (c.1427), Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence.
  16. Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937), Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid
  17. Titian, Danaë (c. 1544-6), Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples
  18. Raphael, The School of Athens (1510-11), Stanza della Signatura, Vatican Palace, Rome
  19. Parthenon Sculptures (“Elgin Marbles”), c. 444 BC, British Museum, London
  20. Henri Matisse, The Dance (1910), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Exhibition of Colossal Size

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Hold on to your hats and prepare to become part of American history: the largest painting exhibition in the United States will be shown at the Museum of Modern Art (commonly known as the MoMA) in New York City.  Starting December 14, 2008 and running until February 16, 2009 artist Marlene Dumas will be showing a total of about seventy paintings and thirty five drawings (that’s right, approximately 105 pieces from a single artist in a single show!).  The show, entitled Measuring Your Own Grave, although not strictly chronological, includes works from her earlier years and displays her tendency to work in series.  Although the figure is a main part of her work, themes such as race, sexuality,  and a combination of social identity with personal experience and art-historical antecedents.  Dumas is claimed as being an acclaimed painter, with extreme technical ability who produces thought-provoking work (some examples are shown below).  Take a trip up to the Big Apple and see for yourself, do you agree?

The Passion

The Passion

Jule-die Vrou

Jule-die Vrou

Intimate Relations

Intimate Relations

The Blindfolded Man

The Blindfolded Man

Check out these Gallery Sites

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Looking for something to do off campus? Interested in looking at art? Check out these Galleries close by in Richmond.

Anderson Gallery
Virginia Commonwealth University, 907 1/2 West Franklin Street, Richmond VA 23284
Free and Open to the Public
Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm 
Saturday and Sunday 1pm – 5pm 

The Anderson Gallery currently has an exhibit titled The Divas and Iron Chefs of Encaustic, running through December 7th 2008, featuring eight artist’s encaustic paintings. These works combine a contemporary approach to encausic with techniques from other mediums such as printmaking and installation which make for a wonderful result.

Water, Land and Sky by Jeffrey S. Hirst

Water, Land and Sky by Jeffrey S. Hirst

 for more information go to:

Page Bond Gallery
1625 West Main Street, Richmond VA 23220 Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5

The Page Bond Gallery has an exhibit of Surface Paintings by Cindy Neuschwander and Robin Braun running through November 1st 2008. Neuschwander’s paintings deal with the build up of surfaces and overlays which, in the end result, is telling of the process of creating the work. Braun depicts our relationship with nature with great detail and precision and a sense of enormity.

for images and more information go to:

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
200 N. Boulevard, Richmond VA 23220  Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm

This Museum has the following exhibitions currently open, among many others:

Feb 28, 2007 – Jan 1, 2009
Paul de Lamerie, Paul Storr, and Robert
Noble Silver: The Jerome and Rita Gans Collection of English Silver

Jul 1, 2008 – Feb 1, 2009
Paolo de’ Matteis
Annunciation and Adoration

Jul 18 – Nov 9, 2008
Edgar Degas
DEGAS: A Masterpiece in Focus

Oct 8, 2008 – Jan 11, 2009
George Caleb Bingham
The Making of The County Election

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

While our Art History department here at Mary Wash is excellent, it is unfortunately still quite western-centric regarding the material which is taught.  While this is beginning to change, there is also thankfully another outlet nearby which enables us to broaden our awareness of the non-western art world.  Just down the road in Charlottesville, Va is “one of the finest private collections of Australian Aboriginal art in the world.”  This collection, located at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art museum, is the result of the coming together of two collections, that of John W. Kluge and the late Edward L. Ruhe.  Kluge began his collection after seeing a collection of Aboriginal art at a show in New York while Ruhe started collecting in Australia where he was studying as a Fulbright Scholar.  After Ruhe’s death Kluge purchased his collection and added it to his own thus creating the Kluge-Ruhe museum.  The Kluge-Ruhe is now a part of the University of Virginia and features a number of exhibits, speakers, and educational programs for children.  Overall for those of us who aren’t able to jet off to Australia to get their Aboriginal art fix, the Kluge-Ruhe museum is an excellent resource which we should be taken advantage of.

Philip Gudthaykudthay "Wagilag Sisters"


Look Out Damien Hirsts of the Art World…

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

The recent major auction for Fall 2008 at Sotheby’s illustrated a clear point on the 8th of October: the art world is no longer safe from the economic woes of the larger world. An unprecedented collection of work, including the Skulls Series by Andy Warhol went up for bid to a much thinned-out, much less willing to buy audience than in recent months. They sold for a little less than half of the highest expected price. Though the financiers who grew rich from the economic bubble have been tangibly absent from major art auction houses in recent months, sales were better than expected due to the presence of middle eastern and Russian buyers who have been relatively insulated from the global financial crisis. Now however, it is clear that with sales and prices dropping for major work, a recession is also likely in the world of art.  They call us “starving artists”, well, with the upcoming downturn we may end up resembling Warhol’s Skulls more quickly than anyone expected.

The Torpedo Factory

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

There are many wonderful galleries within a reasonable driving distance from Mary Washington, but if you want a real chance to see how artists work and be able to talk to an artist whose work you love, why not venture out to a group of artist studios?

Artcase at the Torpedo Factory

"Art"case at the Torpedo Factory

The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, originaly an actual torpedo factory during the war, was converted to a collection of 82 Artist studios and 6 galleries spread out across three floors. It is open from 10-6 daily, although individual studio and gallery hours may vary and the admission is free! You can get to the art center from the metro, car or even water taxi. The Torpedo Factory Art Center also offers a variety of art classes for adults and children alike in many different mediums.

Outside view of the Torpedo Factory

Outside view of the Torpedo Factory

Presently the Torpedo Factory has the exhibit “A Comminuty Digs Its Past: The Lee Street Sight” at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum on the third floor of the Factory.

There are many talented artist who work in a variety of mediums, but a personal favorite of mine is Robert Rosselle in studio 311 who creates ceramic vase-like structures through which an observer must look to view the wonderful fantasy lands he creates.

 for more information, or to just browse, go to:

Will there ever be another Factory?: The Fate of the U.S.

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Andy Warhol’s Factory is gone. Period.  It’s been gone for quite awhile now.  So the title of this post may seem like such a shallow question to be asking while our country faces such dire circumstances. But then again, is it?  As Adrienne Arsenault recently reported on the world’s reaction to the Wall Street bailout, “Are we witnessing the end of an empire?”

While the Factory was “both site and symbol of the alternative culture’s disdain for the bourgeois ethic” and served as a place for alternative ideas (sound familiar?), it certainly did not turn up its nose at making money off art. Perhaps that was its downfall?  That, and the influx of corruption within the “family.” We all know what happened to poor Edie and Candy Darling.  Hell, for that matter Andy didn’t fair so well either.

Okay, so follow me here, take a look at what has happened to Warhol’s work from 1978 to 2007. I remember 1978…before Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, probably even before you!  I remember 1978 before cell phones, the internet, and the Ipod.  You could truly be “out of touch” and it didn’t mean drugs or a mental disorder.  No more folks.  No more Andy Warhol and no more Factory.  The end of that empire has long since passed.  What can we learn from going back and taking another look at the Factory?  I happen to think quite a bit.  Something to think about.  Ciao.

VCU Graduate Wins 2008 “Genius” Grant!

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Tara Donovan, native of New York City and recipient of an M.F.A. from VCU, was recently awarded the MacArthur “genius” grant.  This award provides $500,000 over five years for the work of people demonstrating “exceptional creativity and promise,” and was awarded to 25 people this year, eight of which work in the arts.  Other recipients include a violinist, a music critic, a neurobiologist, an experimental plant evolution geneticist and a medical historian, just to name a few.

Donovan, a sculptor and installation artist, is known for her work with everyday, disposable objects like drinking straws, styrofoam cups and masking tape.  Her massive structures transcend their utilitarian origins to become abstracted images that allude to landscape, clouds, and even cellular structures.  According to Donovan, her work is not intended to simulate nature specifically, but rather to mimick the way things grow.

For more information concerning the MacArthur grant and its recipients, visit (Any quotes above came from the MacArthur site.)

made from styrofoam cups and hot glue

made from styrofoam cups and hot glue

stacked drinking straws

stacked drinking straws

paper plates

paper plates