Archives for category: art review


The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has just opened a new exhibition celebrating the nude male form. The exhibit, titled Masculin/Masculin runs through January 2, 2014, and showcases male nudity in art from 1800 to the present day. As the curators of the exhibition note, “there is a shameful double standard when it comes to nudity in art; the female nude is omnipresent, yet the male nude has fallen out of favor in the last 200 years.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the first ever art exhibition dedicated to the glories of the male nude at Vienna’s Leopold Museum (Nackte Männer). It was immensely successful, and as you know, success breeds imitation. Masculin/Masculin includes works, by David, Moreau, Munch, Mapplethrope, Cadmus, and LaChapelle. BTW: The Musée d’Orsay’s sexy Promo video has models recreating famous works of art from the exhibit. Oh La La.

Dieter Schonlau
 Malaysia 2010
Green Gecko
Jodi Cobb
Tahiti 1997
Two sides of paradise: The
natural beauty of Tahiti and the lasting
effects of French colonialism.

The National Geographic Society is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and as part of that celebration, the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Berlin is exhibiting 55 iconic images from the magazine’s colorful past.






Under the motto, “Inspiring people to care about the planet,” the exhibition illustrates the Society’s dedication and commitment to science, history, archaeology, astronomy, and sustainability. Many of these breathtaking pictures seem unreal. For example, Franz Lanting’s African sunset is like a Vincent van Gogh painting.

The exhibition is on view until August 14, 2013. Admission is free, but a passport is required for entry.

Hugo van Lawick
Tanzania 1964
NGS was an early supporter of
Jane Goodall’s research into
primate behavior. What

defines “human” anyway? 
Jim Richardson
The Isle of Skye 2010
Wow! 



Carsten Peter
South Dakota USA 2003
Tornado Hunter

It’s like the Wizard of Oz
Franz Lanting
Namibia 2012
This unbelievable photograph

was shot at Namib-Naukluft
National Park at sunset.
There is no color enhancement.
This is the real thing. 


William Albert Allard
Texas USA 1982
Lonesome Cowboy

Dieter Schonlau
 Malaysia 2010
Green Gecko
Jodi Cobb
Tahiti 1997
Two sides of paradise: The
natural beauty of Tahiti and the lasting
effects of French colonialism.

The National Geographic Society is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and as part of that celebration, the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Berlin is exhibiting 55 iconic images from the magazine’s colorful past.






Under the motto, “Inspiring people to care about the planet,” the exhibition illustrates the Society’s dedication and commitment to science, history, archaeology, astronomy, and sustainability. Many of these breathtaking pictures seem unreal. For example, Franz Lanting’s African sunset is like a Vincent van Gogh painting.

The exhibition is on view until August 14, 2013. Admission is free, but a passport is required for entry.

Hugo van Lawick
Tanzania 1964
NGS was an early supporter of
Jane Goodall’s research into
primate behavior. What

defines “human” anyway? 
Jim Richardson
The Isle of Skye 2010
Wow! 



Carsten Peter
South Dakota USA 2003
Tornado Hunter

It’s like the Wizard of Oz
Franz Lanting
Namibia 2012
This unbelievable photograph

was shot at Namib-Naukluft
National Park at sunset.
There is no color enhancement.
This is the real thing. 


William Albert Allard
Texas USA 1982
Lonesome Cowboy
Mur Végétal
Height 18m [59″]; Width 15m [49″];
 area 270 sq.m [2903 sq. ft.];
water 16,200 liters [4227 gallons]

Berlin has it all, including a tropical rain forest right in the middle of the city. Dussmann, Berlin’s largest bookstore, not only has an excellent selection of books, CD’s, and DVD’s, but it also houses Le Mur Végétal (Vertical Garden), a collection of tropical plants, which grow, not on soil, but on an elaborate drip irrigation system enabling plants to grow on walls.

This living artwork is the creation of French botanist and horticultural artist Patrick Blanc. Blanc, using a hydroponic system invented by Stanley Hart White, a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, has created a spectacular facade symbolizing the world’s need for ecological and social sustainability. Blanc has a number of other gardens around the world, including artworks in Singapore, San Francisco, and Paris. Le Mur Végétal is free to the public, and is an awesome example of 21th century Landscape Architecture.   

Sphinx of Queen of Hatshepsut
(Egypt 18th Dynasty (1475 BC)
Greets Visitors to Mur Végétal









Mur Végétal
Height 18m [59″]; Width 15m [49″];
 area 270 sq.m [2903 sq. ft.];
water 16,200 liters [4227 gallons]

Berlin has it all, including a tropical rain forest right in the middle of the city. Dussmann, Berlin’s largest bookstore, not only has an excellent selection of books, CD’s, and DVD’s, but it also houses Le Mur Végétal (Vertical Garden), a collection of tropical plants, which grow, not on soil, but on an elaborate drip irrigation system enabling plants to grow on walls.

This living artwork is the creation of French botanist and horticultural artist Patrick Blanc. Blanc, using a hydroponic system invented by Stanley Hart White, a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, has created a spectacular facade symbolizing the world’s need for ecological and social sustainability. Blanc has a number of other gardens around the world, including artworks in Singapore, San Francisco, and Paris. Le Mur Végétal is free to the public, and is an awesome example of 21th century Landscape Architecture.   

Sphinx of Queen of Hatshepsut
(Egypt 18th Dynasty (1475 BC)
Greets Visitors to Mur Végétal









Cafe und Bar Fuchsbau
(The Fox Building Cafe and Bar)
Sebastian Dittman
Germany
Der Pirat und der Apotheker
(The Pirate and the Pharmacist)
Henning Wagner
Germany

Now through June 23, 2013, the 100 Best Posters (100 Beste Plakate) of 2013 from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are on view at the Kulturforum in Berlin. Admission is free. Here are a few noteworthy examples:

My favorite poster was an advertisement for Fuchsbau, a cafe and bar in Kreuzberg. The poster’s childlike portrayal of various animals enjoying a night on the town conveys merriment and fun. It appeals to our sentimental notions of childhood. 



I also enjoyed Henning Wagner’s poster for the German translation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Der Pirat und der Apotheker (literally “the Pirate and the Pharmacist”). Its comic book style and lively color palette caught my eye even though I am unfamiliar with this particular Stevenson’s work. 

 Voll Banane (Full Banana)
Amnesty International, Berlin
Fons Hickmann, Raul Kokott, und Björn Wolk

Amnesty International’s Voll Banane is simple, yet straightforward in its message of protecting human rights. Finally, from the University of Art at Zürich comes a clever and whimsical series of posters advertising films about crime.   

Verbrechen Lohnt Sich: Der Kimininal Film
(Crime Worth It: the Criminal Film)
Züricher Hochschule der Künst/
Museum für Gestallung Zürick
Cafe und Bar Fuchsbau
(The Fox Building Cafe and Bar)
Sebastian Dittman
Germany
Der Pirat und der Apotheker
(The Pirate and the Pharmacist)
Henning Wagner
Germany

Now through June 23, 2013, the 100 Best Posters (100 Beste Plakate) of 2013 from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are on view at the Kulturforum in Berlin. Admission is free. Here are a few noteworthy examples:

My favorite poster was an advertisement for Fuchsbau, a cafe and bar in Kreuzberg. The poster’s childlike portrayal of various animals enjoying a night on the town conveys merriment and fun. It appeals to our sentimental notions of childhood. 



I also enjoyed Henning Wagner’s poster for the German translation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Der Pirat und der Apotheker (literally “the Pirate and the Pharmacist”). Its comic book style and lively color palette caught my eye even though I am unfamiliar with this particular Stevenson’s work. 

 Voll Banane (Full Banana)
Amnesty International, Berlin
Fons Hickmann, Raul Kokott, und Björn Wolk

Amnesty International’s Voll Banane is simple, yet straightforward in its message of protecting human rights. Finally, from the University of Art at Zürich comes a clever and whimsical series of posters advertising films about crime.   

Verbrechen Lohnt Sich: Der Kimininal Film
(Crime Worth It: the Criminal Film)
Züricher Hochschule der Künst/
Museum für Gestallung Zürick


John Currin’s controversial painting of Bea Arthur (Maude and The Golden Girls) recently sold for an astounding $1.9 million. The 1991 work continues to provoke the ire of feminists and critics. Perhaps, its depiction of a post-menopausal woman rubs people the wrong way. In any case, I like the painting. It certainly fits the Maude character. Maude was a sort of 1970s Joan of Arc of feminism. BTW: the work was derived from a photo of Arthur with her clothes on. 

Bea Arthur Naked
John Currin
1991


Simplon Pass: Reading 1911

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was one of America’s greatest portrait painters. He was a true master of oil painting and was able to capture the soul of the people he painted. Then, in his forties, Sargent abandoned oils to focus on his passion for watercolor. 

I finally had an opportunity to see some of this later work this week at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which is currently showing 93 of his watercolors in an exhibition called John Singer Sargent Watercolors (April 5-July 28, 2013). The paintings feature scenes of Venice, the Alps, country gardens, sailing vessels, and even a few portraits.

The works are enjoyable to look at and certainly demonstrate Sargent’s technical competency at watercolor, but to my mind, these works are too obvious and all surface. They make wonderful postcards, but they lack the psychological depth and intimacy found in his oil portraits. For example, in his masterpiece, Madame X (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Sargent evokes the seething eroticism that lies just beneath the surface. The emotion is repressed and controlled, yet very much part of the painting. Likewise, in the beautifully painted The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (Museum of Fine of Fine Arts Boston), Sargent’s unsettling atmosphere of the four young children suggests alienation and the sad loss of innocence.

Madame X
Oil on Canvas
1884
The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit
Oil on Canvas
1882
















Sargent’s watercolors are definitely worth seeing if only to contrast with his oil portraits; yet, I found the most fascinating part of the exhibition to be the videos that are paired with some of the paintings. Each video shows a contemporary artist demonstrating how Sargent might have painted a particular part of a painting. (They make it look so easy.) 


Simplon Pass: Reading 1911

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was one of America’s greatest portrait painters. He was a true master of oil painting and was able to capture the soul of the people he painted. Then, in his forties, Sargent abandoned oils to focus on his passion for watercolor. 

I finally had an opportunity to see some of this later work this week at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which is currently showing 93 of his watercolors in an exhibition called John Singer Sargent Watercolors (April 5-July 28, 2013). The paintings feature scenes of Venice, the Alps, country gardens, sailing vessels, and even a few portraits.

The works are enjoyable to look at and certainly demonstrate Sargent’s technical competency at watercolor, but to my mind, these works are too obvious and all surface. They make wonderful postcards, but they lack the psychological depth and intimacy found in his oil portraits. For example, in his masterpiece, Madame X (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Sargent evokes the seething eroticism that lies just beneath the surface. The emotion is repressed and controlled, yet very much part of the painting. Likewise, in the beautifully painted The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (Museum of Fine of Fine Arts Boston), Sargent’s unsettling atmosphere of the four young children suggests alienation and the sad loss of innocence.

Madame X
Oil on Canvas
1884
The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit
Oil on Canvas
1882
















Sargent’s watercolors are definitely worth seeing if only to contrast with his oil portraits; yet, I found the most fascinating part of the exhibition to be the videos that are paired with some of the paintings. Each video shows a contemporary artist demonstrating how Sargent might have painted a particular part of a painting. (They make it look so easy.)