Posted on 11 April 2013 | By Richard Friswell
ARTES Magazine was recently made aware of a possible threat to a national treasure. As part of its austerity measures, the United States Post Office is in the process of selling its Bronx General Post Office building, in New York City. While the exterior of the building has been identified as a national landmark, a series of murals painted by the Depression Era Social Realist painter, Ben Shahn, have not been so designated. This means that any future owner of the building would be under no obligation to protect and preserve them. ARTES magazine has written extensively on the importance of the Roosevelt New Deal initiatives to employ artists, photographers and writers to reflect on the American story, and Shahn’s mural series (1939), The Resources of America, qualifies as a classic example of that effort.
Please read the following letter by the artist’s son, Jonathan Shahn, Instructor of Sculpture, at The Arts Students League of New York and Laura Katzman, Associate Professor of Art History, at James Madison University, in which they outline the challenge and the call-to-action required by anyone who cares about our nation’s artistic and cultural heritage. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 4 March 2013 | By Geary Danihy
What We Do
“In criticism, I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.” ~Edgar Allan Poe
Left: Honore Daumier, The Promenade of the Influential Critic (1865)
Several people who have accompanied me to plays I was reviewing have asked me why I don’t take notes. To be honest, when I first started I did take notes – scribbles in the dark, more comprehensible jottings written during intermission – but I soon realized I never used them and, in fact, the taking of notes was skewing my experience of the play. Pad and pen in hand, I was not a true member of the audience, I was a “judge,” waiting for something to happen that would justify a notation.
artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 7 February 2013 | By Richard Friswell
A Brief Artistic History of Valentine’s Day to Impress Friends and Lovers
Passion for life is often spoken through the heart. This powerful organ beats an average of about 100,000 times in one day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. If you give a tennis ball a good, hard squeeze, you’re using about the same amount of force your heart uses to pump blood out to the body. Even at rest, the muscles of the heart work hard—twice as hard as the leg muscles of a person sprinting.artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 1 January 2013 | By Charles Giuliano
So why did a visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art seem so blah humbug?
The museum is counting down its last days on Madison Avenue before a move to the Meatmarket District, downtown near the popping High Line elevated walking trail.
Until then, the venerable institution appears to be running on curatorial vapors. There is a deadly combination of the recycled- Richard Artschwager! and Sinister Pop—and a signifier of the alleged bright future Wade Guyton: Os which I just don’t buy into.
Left: Richard Artschwager, Exclamation Point (Chartreuse), 2008, plastic bristles, wood, latex paint.
This is a second retrospective for the 88-year-old Artschwager at the Whitney. The first was in 1988. Arguably, the new current exhibition is one too many. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 12 December 2012 | By Edward Rubin
It wasn’t until I visited the Doge’s Palace in Venice and came face to face with Paradise, Tintoretto’s large painting that hangs majestically in the Ducal Hall, that I discovered that Tintoretto was still alive. Here he was, some 400 years later, looking down at me, looking up at him. I didn’t have to read the painting’s label, no doubt listing the artist’s name, title of the painting, and date of execution. I didn’t have time. I was pulled right past the words into the heart of the matter. Communication was instantaneous. I knew immediately that this seething mass of humanity, posing as saints and angels on canvas—all 23 by 72 feet of it—was transmogrified flesh…Tintoretto’s. There was no doubt in my mind that the artist, in his early 70’s when he plotted out and painted this masterwork, by some extremity of genius, had very cleverly crossed from one dimension to another and painted himself alive into the picture. Blood was coursing through its veins. Here was Tintoretto alive and breathing. He knew it, and I knew it. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 5 November 2012 | By Richard Friswell
On this, the eve of a national election, in a climate of divisiveness and impending change, together with our recent natural disaster affecting so many millions of Americans, now Veterans Day will fall in a few days. This is a cogent reminder for us of sacrifice, loss and sense of duty, as now less than 1% of our nation’s population volunteers to serve, in order to secure freedom for the rest of us. These few words included here—more reflections on what others have said, than cogent arguments—remind us of our responsibility to remember and honor those that have placed their lives on the line. Remember, too, that the line we all need to draw, in the face of such high stakes in a dangerous world, is the one that leads us to the voting booth. It is a privilege earned with the blood and sacrifice of so many and it is profane not to exercise that precious act of patriotism, when so many have given so much. -RF
*Banner: A small section of an installation for the more than 6600 who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the town square in my home town, Branford, CT. Average age: 22 years.artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 12 October 2012 | By Jennifer Walker
It was a year ago, I was giving my friend a tour of the Prado, when I found her – the same eyes and smile staring out from a black background. I’d never come across Prado’s Mona Lisa twin before, nor did I even know it existed, but hidden in a small room on the ground floor of Madrid’s Prado Museum I discovered this curiosity. After the novelty had worn off we moved on, and I assumed it was a standard copy of the painting, however there was something different and it stayed with me after my visit.
Now this painting is making the headlines in art news all over the world – the Mona Lisa’s twin sister separated at birth. But the copy in the Prado is no ordinary copy, as previously believed – it was not only created in Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop by one of his students, but had actually been painted in parallel with the original. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 12 May 2012 | By Richard Friswell
Posted on 18 March 2012 | By Wendy Steiner
On special occasions, the Publisher’s Blog relinquishes its space to a contributing writer who has been moved to put thoughts and emotions to paper. Art that speaks to important issues of the day is often controversial, and the debate that often ensues can hold a magnifying glass to values and tastes that sometimes divide us. Here, Wendy Steiner, a regular contributor to ARTES, shares her views on an acutely controversial cultural debate, recently brought into the public square during this, an election year.
Have you noticed that the term ‘culture wars’ has changed its meaning since the last time it was on everyone’s lips? In the 1990s, the phrase referred to controversies over Culture with a capital C: the arts and the academy. Museum directors were being hauled into court for obscenity, performance pieces lambasted, writers hunted down for blasphemy, universities torn by political-correctness scandals, and even amateur photographers jailed for shots of their toddlers in the altogether.artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 2 March 2012 | By Richard Friswell
While auction houses continue to report monumental prices for paintings by some of the great masters of 20th century art, this article—originally published in the LA Times on June 28, 2006— provides a fascinating and timeless glimpse into the behind-the-scenes machinations that drive the price of masterpieces in any era.
Portions excerpted from, Duveen: A Life in Art, by Meryle Secrest
When Gerald Reitlinger published his seminal study, The Economics of Taste, 40 years ago, the book—which charts the sales history of famous artists over a 200-year period — was all about the likes of Bellini, Vermeer and Raphael.
Thomas Gainsborough’s, Blue Boy was, after the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, and Reitlinger’s index does not even mention Gustav Klimt. artes fine arts magazine Read more