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Tag: Painting

Van Gogh’s Favorite Painting

The Van Gogh museum is currently restoring one of the planets favorite paintings; Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom” (sometimes called “The Bedroom at Arles”). What is noteworthy about this is the blog that the museum has dedicated to showing the process from beginning to end.

The site has been there from the beginning, from posts about the trolley that moved the painting, to the condition of the stretcher. Complete with photos of the condition of the tacks that hold the painting to the stretcher – as well as the back of the painting and stretcher. It also highlights a previous version of restoring the painting and how those corrections are fairing.

I’m impressed by the very nature of using the blog as a tool for allowing an audience that is interested in seeing the work being done – but really has no reason to be allowed to see it done, see it up close. It’s not really transparency but it is a great record and fantastic behind the scenes peek.

While not updated everyday, it is certainly worth a few minutes of your time. Follow this link for the English language version.

All Photos from the Van Gogh Museum’s blog.

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When necessity becomes an outcome

I’ve been aware of a particular Richard Diebenkorn painting for almost since I’ve been making art with any seriousness. That painting is a pair of scissors that was painted – I’ve been lead to believe with leftover paint on a palette. Part of a studio process that really involved clean up and a desire not to waste anything.

On top of that it’s a great painting. The painting shown in this blog post is not the one Bernard Martin (at VCU in 1982) would show me – at least not in my mind, the one above is from 1959 and about the same size (10.5 x 13) but it fits the bill about what I want to open up into discussion today.

The idea I’m currently interested in is the time in-between making art objects.

I’m thinking of pieces of art that are like interstitial graphics for TV shows. They are a transitional idea that is not fully formed but is interesting in it’s own right. (On TV think of the stills that are shown before the commercials on the Letterman Show) Another way of looking at this idea of in-between time images is to compare them to Robert Wilson and David Byrne’s Knee Plays. The Knee Plays were a series of twelve brief interludes intended to connect the larger scenes of The Civil Wars: A Tree Is Best Measured When It Is Down and provide time for set changes.

In my studio practice it has become a way to extend paint and to create a couple of images a year that are at one time unplanned and not overly thought through. I use these images to plan future ideas and to use the studio as a more experimental place.

I don’t think of these as sketchbook paintings or even sketch book work – is more than that – but also at the same time maybe it’s a little bit less as well. I like the way that this idea doesn’t really fit into anyplace really while at the same time fitting practically everywhere.

I’m my mind this would be a perfect idea for a show that would last about a week or just an evening.

Two things to note:

I believe that this story that Bernard Martin told my painting class is true, and I have not been able to find a story that confirms it.

The above painting is: Richard Diebenkorn, Scissors, 1959. Oil on canvas. 10 1/2 x 13 inches. Collection of Richard Grant and Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant.

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Rothko’s Black Paintings at the NGA

I’ve spoken briefly about the darker Rothko paintings before – and of the belief that many people hold that it is really the brightest of the Rothko’s paintings that reflect his ongoing bouts with depression while the darker moodier works are usually created in his happier times. Between you and me, I’m a little tired of worrying about Rothko’s mental health, especially as we continue to have amazing painting to view and ponder other questions.

The “Black Paintings” were Never sold or exhibited during his lifetime, these little-known works were painted after his 1961 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Many artists will speak of a let down or general malaise after a large show in which they have been engaged at a high level over a long period of time – this could very well have been the case for MR.

During this time Rothko was starting to think serially and had begun to find individual paintings as inadequate and episodic. This approach for him would lead to great success for what would later be known as the Rothko chapel, he produced fourteen large paintings and four alternates, many of them (really, almost all of them) direct successors to the black paintings of 1964.

This is the first exhibition to focus on the black paintings.


In Artforum no less…

Sarah K. Rich made my day yesterday when I sat down to read a bit of the recent Artforum. Unfortunately it sometimes takes someone’s death to trigger a critical response about recent trends and ideas that seem to be on the way towards canonization. In her obituary for Kenneth Noland, Ms. Rich starts with an assumption that she finds (happily) to be false about the preciousness of an art object once Mr. Noland has finished, as well as the energetic physical engagement towards his finished art object.

Let me cut to the chase here; The part of this article that impresses me – and gives me hope for future critics and curators is this:

“Now that we are several decades down the hill of popular culture, and we’ve all gotten a better idea of how frenzied and mind-numbing kitsch can be, the formalist advocacy of work that might give the viewing subject a place for the exercise of sustained and quiet attention doesn’t seem like a bad idea.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Douglas Witmer at Blank Space

Douglas Witmer, whose work I’ve spoken of a few times on his blog, has a show opening tonight at Blank Space (511 25th Street) in Chelsea. I spent a few moments at the install with Douglas and the team at the gallery and before I wore out my welcome I snapped a few pictures of paintings still wrapped in plastic.

Even with that, it looks to be a good show. I’ll be there tonight, hope I see you.

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