Monday, May 31, 2010

Louise Bourgeois Has Died at 98

Louise Bourgeois photographed in 1990 behind her marble sculpture Eye to Eye (1970)
Photo Raimon Ramis
© Adagp, Paris 2008

"I have been to Hell and back and let me tell you it was wonderful."
- Louise Bourgeois

The artist Louise Bourgeois has died at 98 on Monday at the Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. It seemed that she would live forever. Her career has been historic.
Holland Cotter has just written in the New York Times that "her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints had a galvanizing effect on younger artists, particularly women."

I have been inspired by Louise Bourgeois' work for quite some time, having encountered her sculptures for the first time when I was a High School student taking classes at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC. Her life ends but the mystery embodied in her artwork lives on.

A recent bio provides the details:

"Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 to a family of tapestry restorers. In 1938, Bourgeois married American art historian Robert Goldwater and moved to New York City, where she currently lives and works. In a career extending over seven decades, Bourgeois has explored her memories and fears in a complex body of work ranging from poetic drawings to room size installations. She has stated that she gives her emotions and fears a physical form. In 1982, Bourgeois was the first woman artist to receive a Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. She represented America at the Venice Biennale in 1993, and was given the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1997. In 2007, the Tate Modern in London, in collaboration with Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, organized a Retrospective of her work that travelled to the Guggenheim, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Hirshhorn in the United States."

More details to follow...

Louise Bourgeois, Artist and Sculptor, Is Dead
E' morta a 99 anni la grande Louis Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois edition to benefit Freedom to Marry

"Everyone should have the right to marry. To make a commitment to love someone forever is a beautiful thing."
- Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois
I do, 2010
Archival dyes on cloth with embroidery
16 × 12 inches; 40.6 × 30.4 cm
Edition of 300 with 35 APs
Gift of the Artist; Courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper - Artist, Actor, Collector - Dies at 74

Andy Warhol
Portrait of Dennis Hopper
silkscreen on canvas 1971

“The American art world often likes to put artists into boxes. You’re an artist, not a filmmaker. You’re a photographer, not a painter. But Dennis shows you can blur those boundaries, which is very current and exciting.”
-Jeffrey Deitch

Dennis Hopper has died at 74 just weeks before an exhibit of his work will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Over the years Hopper has created paintings and photographs along with his films. His photographs are noteworthy because of his unique access to his portrait subjects such as Andy Warhol and because of his romantic, brooding aesthetic.

Dennis Hopper
Double Standard
silver gelatin print 1961

Jori Finkel in the Los Angeles Times noted that " most big museum exhibitions take years to organize, but new director Jeffrey Deitch had the idea for this show just a couple of months ago when visiting Julian Schnabel, a longtime friend of Hopper."

“We’re rushing this exhibition because Dennis Hopper is ailing,” Deitch says, “and I wanted him to be able to participate in the selection of works. He saw the space with us last week.”

Dennis Hopper's exhibit Double Standard opens at MOCA on July 11, 2010:
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Dennis Hopper Discusses His Art Collection

A poignant piece on Dennis Hopper by Richard Stayton in the Los Angeles Times:
An uneasy ride with Dennis Hopper
A wonderful interview with Hopper from the November 2008 issue of Venice Magazine:
Dennis Hopper: The Hollywood Interview

Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild plays over the opening scene of Dennis Hopper's film Easy Rider

Dennis Hopper and Portrait of Dennis Hopper by Julian Schnabel

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jung's Red Book at UCLA's Hammer Museum until June 6, 2010

by Gregg Chadwick

"L.A. is a city where people come to find themselves and explore new ways of thinking and being. They have a longing for an understanding of soul, and find themselves drawn to Jung."
-Nancy Furlotti, (co-president of the Philemon Foundation which financed the the translation of The Red Book)

At the Hammer Museum until June 6th is the exhibition The Red Book of C. G. Jung: Creation of a New Cosmology. On display for the first time on the west coast is psychologist Carl Jung’s (1875-1961) Red Book. Many scholars consider Jung's Red Book the most influential unpublished work in psychology. The Hammer Museum explains that "Jung also considered the Red Book to be his most important work, or as Jung described it, the "prima materia for a lifetime’s work."

Jung's massive illuminated volume has spent most of its existence in a Swiss safe deposit box. Only a select group has ever been allowed to view Jung's Red Book. Thanks to the Rubin Museum in New York, the Foundation of the Works of C. G. Jung, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, and the Jung family private archive, we now have the chance to view the Red Book.

The Hammer's show is intimately presented. Jung's Red Book is displayed open in a glass case in the middle of the exhibition space. Facsimile edition's of the Red Book printed by W.W. Norton & Company line one wall while Jung's thoughts, sketches and paintings encircle the room.

Jung sought to find a visual form for his dreams and fantasies and ended up using a mandala like structure in his graphic work. Similar in appearance to Tibetan Buddhist artworks, Jung's drawings and paintings evoke a world outside the flow of physical time. Instead we are given a fascinating glimpse into Jung's psyche. This once in a lifetime opportunity is not to be missed. And the lecture series (see below for an example) is noteworthy as well.


More at:
Jung's Red Book at the Hammer Museum until June 6, 2010
Susan Emerling in the Los Angeles Times on Jung's Red Book

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST: The End & JMW Turner

JMW Turner
91 x 124 cm. oil on canvas 1828-29, finished 1837
Tate Gallery, London
© Tate
"I saw that the sun was a lump of white standing out like the boss of a shield."
-Sir John Gilbert (after watching Turner paint on Varnishing Day)

Last night the final episode of Lost was broadcast on ABC. After a six year run the series ends almost as it began with a close up of Jack's face. Six years ago, Jack opened an eye to the strange new world of the island. Last night his eye closed to the mystery.

Satisfyingly, the mystery remains for us. The intersection of quantum physics and myth that seemed to engender the island remains tantalizingly out of reach. Jack's father may have walked offscreen into a heavenly light in the slide sideways/ slide metaphysical finale but on the island the tangible wreckage of a plane remains in the final shot before the credits roll.

At the start of this season, Chad W Post on the WSJ's Speakeasy wrote,"So if Lost wraps up with a definitive conclusion, with a series of resolutions and answers to all the mysteries, I’ll be disappointed. Great works of art don’t work that way. Great works of art are open to interpretation. If I already know the solution, why revisit the puzzle?"

Yesterday, in Paris the exhibition Turner and the Masters closed as well. I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Palais a few weeks ago and reveled in the light in Turner's works. In JMW Turner's paintings, light and shade are not abstract concepts nor a means to an end. Light and Shadow for Turner were in a sense palpable beings or characters.

As this season's episodes of Lost built to a conclusion, the dichotomy of light and shadow gained screen time. At times this duality was schematically rendered as black and white or as a glowing cavern and a shifting being of smoke. In a mythic sense were Jacob and the Man in Black merely personifications of day and night? Or was there a darker battle between Good and Evil that threatened all existence?

JMW Turner
Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego in the Burning Fiery Furnace
918 x 708 mm oil on mahogany exh 1832
Tate Gallery, London
© Tate

Turner would have had fun with the themes and imagery in Lost. I can only imagine how much richer and powerful Turner's depiction of the glowing cavern would have been. In the hands of a master like Turner a simple medium of pigment and oil can create a world that far surpasses the technological feats of digital graphics.

Turner learned much from the artists who preceded him. From Claude Lorrain, Aelbert Cuyp, Rembrandt and others Turner learned "to blend ... in all the golden colour of ambient vapour." It is the mystery within this blending of light and shadow that draws us back into Turner's paintings over and over again.

Chad W. Post hoped that "the final moments of Lost echo the ambiguously abrupt ending of The Crying of Lot 49, which leaves the reader tantalizingly close to resolution but forces them to go back through the book time and again, revisiting key brilliant passages in hopes of figuring it all out. I want my Lost incomplete. I want it to leave me with a desire to keep re-watching and debating. I want it to remain the great work of art it has become over the past five seasons."

Some Other Thoughts on the Lost Finale:

Chad W. Post writes "In terms of the overall narrative arc, I thought this was pretty brilliant and satisfying. The show has always been more about the characters than the mysteries. And the more time that passes (hello 1:30am!), the happier I am with how Lost resolved itself."

Tyler Cowen writes on Marginal Revolution,"Overall I thought it was the best final episode of a series I have seen, with close competition from The Sopranos."

James Poniewozik at TIME Magazine writes: "Lost, was not perfect, because nothing is. I still believe that Jacob and the Man in Black were never characterized as richly as other characters, like Ben, which rendered Locke in the end too much of a generic baddie. And the final images--with the heavenly light shining though the doorway of the chapel, as Christian walked into it a la Close Encounters--were a bit overly touched by an angel. But the finale, as good TV finales do, captured what the show's essence. Lost is a story about community, connections and interdependence. You live together, it told us, or you die alone. And when you live together--when you share of yourself and make meaning with others--you never die alone, even when you die bleeding out on the floor of a bamboo forest."

Sir John Gilbert wrote after watching Turner paint on Varnishing Day:

"He had been the Royal Academy all the morning, and seemed likely, judging by the state of the picture, to remain for the rest of the day. He was absorbed in his work, did not look about him, but kept on scumbling a lot of white into his picture -nearly all over it. The subject was a Claude-like composition, a bay or harbour-classic buildings on the banks of either side and in the centre the sun. The picture was a mass of red and. yellow in all varieties. Every object was in this fiery state. He had a large palette, nothing on it but a huge lump of flake white; he had two or three biggish hog tools to work with, and with these he was driving the white into all the hollows, and every part of the surface. . . . The picture gradually became wonderfully effective, just the effect of brilliant sunshine absorbing everything and throwing a misty haze over every object. Standing sideway of the canvas, I saw that the sun was a lump of white standing out like the boss of a shield."

Much more at:

Turner and the Masters
Turner et Ses Peintres
Chad W. Post is the director of Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester and Three Percent, a website dedicated to promoting international literature.
:Chad W Post on the WSJ's Speakeasy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

American Stories at LACMA

by Gregg Chadwick

John Singer Sargent
(American, 1856–1925)
A Street in Venice
29 5/8 x 20 5/8 in. (75.1 x 52.4 cm) oil on canvas ca. 1880–82
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts
© Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

“American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915” is currently on view at LACMA and unfortunately closes today. The exhibition includes more than eighty paintings which range in date from the Revolutionary War era to just before World War I. The stories are myriad and the paintings are narrative heavy and engaging.The museum is open till 7 pm and if you haven't seen the exhibition already, rush on down today.

Barbara Weinberg curated the exhibition “American Stories" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The website that the Metropolitan Museum put together for the exhibit is rich in detail and I enjoyed the audio elements with Barbara Weinberg and guests. The podcast with painter Eric Fischl discusses John Singer Sargent's "An Interior in Venice" and "A Street in Venice". Eric Fischl admits right out that he has not studied the history of the works in depth and so allows himself the imaginative freedom to wander into the paintings and describe what he finds in the artworks themselves.

Sargent is a painter's painter so I am not surprised that Eric Fischl would provide fresh insights into Sargent's work.

Eric Fischl describes Sargent's technique:
"Sargent is someone who has such extraordinary bravura, the kind of slapdash quality of the paint combined with his acute observations. It’s incredibly reductive in that he can see so accurately the essentials for what describes an ornate, gold Venetian table or what it takes to capture the quality of the material of the dress or something like that. I mean, it’s so luscious, so direct, and so perfectly observed. At the same time, it’s so fast and facile. It’s pretty amazing."

John Singer Sargent's "A Street Scene in Venice" seems to depict a chance meeting between the viewer wandering through the maze of Venetian alleys and a man and woman engaged in conversation outside a wine shop. The woman seems to stop mid sentence to gaze at us as we arrive on the scene. Eric Fischl sees the man as caught up in a flirtation or rendezvous:

"The other thing that strikes me in this painting is the way he’s painted her dress, which looks like a bonfire. If this painting’s about sex, about desire, about lust, whatever, then, you know, she’s absolutely the object of that desire and she’s on fire. And fire is something that is also being consumed by the huge, vast emptiness of that blackness that it reaches up into .... I think it’s more like the feeling of you’re moving through your life and you come on this scene. You interrupt something. You have the chance to pass by it, but for that brief moment it stops you and you take it in and then you go past, you know, you go into the light."

Much more at:
American Stories Exhibition Website at the Metropolitan Museum, New York
American Stories at LACMA

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Song for Peace in Thailand

With a heavy heart I have watched the recent events in Thailand from afar. This song calls for peace and plays over video clips from the battle on the streets of Bangkok. A must view.

I hope for a lasting peace to follow.

Hat tip to Michael Yon

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Don't Stop Believin'" by Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Sting, Debby Harry, and Shirley Bassey.

Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" performed at Carnegie Hall for Sting and Trudie Styler's annual Rainforest Foundation benefit by Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Sting, Debby Harry, and Shirley Bassey.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Painter and Model

Painter and Model
Gregg Chadwick
Painter and Model
16"x20" oil on linen 2010

I recently returned from a trip to Paris, Amsterdam and Maastricht. Art, ideas and images from each of these cities hover in my mind. The works of Lucian Freud, on exhibit at the Pompidou Center in Paris until the 19th of July 2010, are in the forefront as I just completed a painting for the Julie Nester Gallery's Self Portrait Exhibition which opens on June 12, 2010.

More at:
Julie Nester Gallery
Lucian Freud at the Pompidou

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jasper Johns' $28.6 Million Flag

Jasper Johns
encaustic and printed paper collage on paper laid down on canvas
17½ x 26¾ in. (44.5 x 67.9 cm.)
Painted in 1960-1966

Christie's announced that Jasper Johns' painting of an American flag from the collection of writer Michael Crichton sold last night in New York for a record $28,642,500.

Jasper Johns
encaustic and printed paper collage on paper laid down on canvas
17½ x 26¾ in. (44.5 x 67.9 cm.)
Painted in 1960-1966

Jasper Johns
encaustic and printed paper collage on paper laid down on canvas
17½ x 26¾ in. (44.5 x 67.9 cm.)
Painted in 1960-1966

Complete Lot Details at:
Christie's Sale Information
Sale 2406
Works from the Collection of Michael Crichton
11 - 12 May 2010
New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gregg Chadwick, Jeff Dowd (The Dude), Julia Ransom and Phil Cousineau at Wordcatcher Release

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Writer Phil Cousineau, Photographer Eric Lawton and Musician John Densmore

Writer Phil Cousineau, Photographer Eric Lawton and Musician John Densmore
Phil Cousineau, Eric Lawton and Doors Drummer John Densmore at BookSoup in Hollywood on May 5, 2010

Phil Cousineau read from his new book WordCatcher at BookSoup in Hollywood last night. Tonight, May 6, 2010, Phil will stop by my studio at the Santa Monica Airport where we will be hosting a gathering to celebrate the publication of Wordcatcher and to feature other collaborative projects that Phil Cousineau and I have worked on. The evening will start at 7 pm.

More info at: Catching Words and Images With Phil Cousineau