Monday, December 28, 2009

The World Needs to Keep its Eyes on Iran

Against the Light - سهراب - Sohrab
Against the Light - سهراب - Sohrab
29"x69" oil on screen 2009 (detail)

"Also arrested were the mother and brother of Sohrab Aarabi, a young Iranian man slain during protests in June."
- Los Angeles Times - 28 December 2009
Leading Iranian dissidents arrested, body of Mousavi's nephew missing

"This is a very important moment in Iranian history, and it is probably time to start asking whether Iran's uprising could become a Berlin Wall moment. It's not just an issue of the sporadic protests once or twice a month... It's also one of the most vibrant and imaginative civil disobedience campaigns anywhere in the world."
- Robin Wright, author of "Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East," from a conversation with CNN.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Week Casino Owner Stephen Wynn Paid $33.2 Million for a Rembrandt

photo courtesy Christie’s
Portrait of a Man, Half-Length, With His Arms Akimbo
421⁄4" x 341⁄4" oil on canvas 1658

Carol Vogel in the New York Times reports that the mystery buyer of Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man, Half-Length, With His Arms Akimbo at Christie's last week was casino mogul Stephen Wynn. The $33.2 million is a record for a Rembrandt at auction. The painting has an interesting recent provenance and after its donation by George Huntington Hartford II hung in the President's office at Columbia University in New York for ten years from 1958 to 1968.

My hope is that Stephen Wynn will put the painting on public display in the near future. After closing his private gallery at the Wynn hotel, Las Vegas lost an intimate collection of important paintings. I enjoyed the Wynn collection immensely and as a non-gambler I was intrigued with the mix of great art within the glowing and at times tawdry Vegas of American pop culture.

photo courtesy Reuters

On a related note, currently at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is an interesting exhibit: Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference which runs from December 8, 2009–February 28, 2010. Rembrandt's mark-making is extraordinary and the collection of his drawings from around the globe is not to be missed. My detailed thoughts will be posted next week.

Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago
Seated Female Nude
pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash; corrected with white gouache about 1660
The Art Institute of Chicago, the Clarence Buckingham Collection

More at:
Rembrandt Drawings at the Getty
Wynn Pays Record Price for Rembrandt Portrait

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Painting, Food and Film

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience"
-MFK Fisher

This week three of my greatest enjoyments come together in a rich mix: painting, food and film.

Opening this week in New York State is a brand new restaurant headed by Executive Chef Chris Brandt, and Sushi Chef Satoshi Yamaguchi. My painting Silk was commissioned for the space. Also this week, the film La Cucina, in which a number of my paintings are featured, is being shown on Showtime. The Blu Ray is on pre sale at Amazon and the Dvd is available at Turner Classic Movies. The film stars Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Joaquim de Almeida (24), Leisha Hailey (The L Word), Rachel Hunter (Supermodel), Clare Carey (Crash), Oz Perkins (Star Trek), Michael Cornacchia (Hannah Montana), Kala Savage (8 Simple Rules), Cinematography by Alan Caudillo (Day Without a Mexican), and Ian Ball (Gomez) scores the film.

Gregg Chadwick
7'x5' oil on linen 2009
Executive Chef Chris Brandt, and Sushi Chef Satoshi Yamaguchi open Next Door Bar & Grill in Pittsford (near Rochester), New York on December 11, 2009. My painting Silk graces the walls.

“We set out to create a restaurant that would be very approachable, comfortable, easy to love, and would inspire guests to relax and have fun,” says Stency Wegman, the restaurant’s interior designer. “It’s the kind of restaurant where you’ll fit right in whether you’re in a pair of jeans or a business suit.”

Executive Chef Chris Brandt agrees: “I like to describe it as a fun place with great food. We will serve amazing food in a relaxed way that puts everyone at ease.”

Reservations at:
Next Door Bar & Grill, Pittsford, New York

Still From La Cucina
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and Joaquim de Almeida (24) discuss life over a bottle of wine. My painting, for the opera Saint of Bleecker Street, hangs on the rear wall.

Ghost of New Orleans
Gregg Chadwick
Ghost of New Orleans
48"x36" oil on linen 2006
featured in the film La Cucina

Below is the link for the trailer:
La Cucina on Anthem Pictures
La Cucina on Facebook

I send my holiday thoughts out to all of my collaborators in these projects: Alan Caudillo, Allison Wilke, Zed Starkovich, Stency Wegman, chef Chris Brandt, chef Satoshi Yamaguchi, and to my Market Street neighbors chef and sommelier Nicole Christensen, Danny Massingale and chef Stephen Gibbs who have taught me so much about food and life. Hope all of you have great meals with friends and family as we move into the New Year.

* Link to a great photo of Chef Caruso at Next Door Bar & Grill by photographer Grant Taylor
Daniel Caruso at Next Door Bar & Grill

Gregg Chadwick and Chef Thomas Keller

Holiday Fun at SFMOMA

Leo Ballate, the Head of Information Systems and Services at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art goes on vacation for a week and finds upon his return...

Full story at:
SFMOMA's blog Open Space

Springsteen Endorses Gay Marriage: Gay Rights are Civil Rights

photo by Richard Perry / New York Times

Pictured in the New York Times is my courageous family member Hannah Johnson tearing up as she applauds a New Jersey Senate committee vote on a bill to legalize gay marriage. The bill cleared the committee, 7-6, and will be voted on by the full New Jersey Senate on Thursday. Last night on his website Bruce Springsteen lent his voice in support of marriage equality:

Like many of you who live in New Jersey, I've been following the progress of the marriage-equality legislation currently being considered in Trenton. I've long believed in and have always spoken out for the rights of same sex couples and fully agree with Governor Corzine when he writes that, "The marriage-equality issue should be recognized for what it truly is -- a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law." I couldn't agree more with that statement and urge those who support equal treatment for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now.

The New York Times reports that "Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, cast the issue as the next front in the battle for racial equality and women’s rights:
'Gay rights are civil rights,' Mr. Bond said, invoking during his testimony the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the women’s suffrage movement and the abolition of slavery."

This morning, The Philadelphia Inquirer declares in an editorial that "The New Jersey Senate should approve a bill to authorize gay marriage, and advance the cause of equality for so many of the state's citizens."

Over a hundred years ago a painter from Philadelphia, Thomas Eakins, ventured over to the Jersey side to paint a portrait of a supporter of civil rights for all - Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman would be proud to know how far his state has come.

Thomas Eakins
Portrait of Walt Whitman
oil on canvas 1887
"The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters is simplicity. Nothing is better than simplicity... nothing can make up for excess or for the lack of definiteness. To carry on the heave of impulse and pierce intellectual depths and give all subjects their articulations are powers neither common nor very uncommon. But to speak in literature with the perfect rectitude and insouciance of the movements of animals and the unimpeachableness of the sentiment of trees in the woods and grass by the roadside is the flawless triumph of art."
-Walt Whitman form the introduction to Leaves of Grass

More at:
Springsteen's Statement
Bruce Springsteen Speaks Out for Gay Marriage: The Boss lets New Jersey's new governor know who's really in charge....
Springsteen Endorses Gay Marriage

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Andrew Wyeth's Painting "Above the Narrows" Sells for $6,914,500

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)
Above the Narrows
48" x 32¼" tempera on panel 1960

Andrew Wyeth's Painting "Above the Narrows" sold for $6,914,500 at Christie's.
Wyeth's painting is an evocative portrait of his son that captures the mysterious journey from boy to man.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What Does Loss Look Like? (World AIDS Day 2009)

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
-Maya Angelou

Twenty years ago on December 1, 1989 the first Day Without Art was held to spark dialogue and create a day of action concerning the AIDS crisis. At least 800 museums and galleries across the United States closed their doors, shrouded artworks or removed them from view as symbols of mourning and loss. The goal was to show that AIDS can touch everyone. And it worked.

Today on December 1, 2009 museums are again engaged in remembrance for those lost to AIDS and are actively marking the gains that have been made so far. In 1997 the day became known as A Day With(out) Art to reflect the force art can bring to the cause.

Today, A Day With(out) Art has grown into a international collaborative project in which nearly 8,000 museums, galleries, art centers, libraries, high schools and colleges mark the day.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has removed from view sixteen artworks to mark World AIDS Day. The artists range from Duccio to Dali. And the subjects range from the young man Eutyches to Andrew Jackson. I have posted a few fragments of the hidden Metropolitan Museum of Art artworks as well as the Getty Museum's draped Maillol sculpture and, in memory of my friend Thom who died of AIDS, an evocative corner from a Buddha monotype I created.

More at:
World AIDS Day
MTV Staying Alive

Courtesy the Getty Museum

Thanks to Bill Roedy for reminding me of Maya Angelou's powerful poem:
Bill Roedy:Despite Huge Successes In HIV Prevention And Treatment, We Must Not Rest On Our Laurels

*Images courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Getty Museum, Los Angeles and the LOOK Gallery, Los Angeles