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Showing posts from October, 2014

Indianapolis Art Museum, Part 2

Unlike most of the rest of humanity, I'm not that keen on Marc Chagall's work. But a nice little coincidence occurred after I saw this painting in the IAM:


A few hours after we left the museum, we arrived in Zionsville to have dinner. I saw a small independent bookshop on the quaint old high street, and popped in to make a small purchase, as I almost always do in such situations in order to support real bookshops. The first book that I pulled off the shelf was a 1968 edition of A Coney Island of the Mind: Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I opened it up to see if it was worth buying, and the first poem I saw was this:

Don't let that horse
                 eat that violin
    cried Chagall's mother
                         But he
                 kept right on 
                                     painting

It goes on in similar fashion. Not a great poem by any means, but as we say in England: What are the chances of that happening, eh?

So of course I bought the book, and recon…

Indianapolis Art Museum, Part 1

I've heard about how great the Indianapolis Art Museum is, but I had to wait until October 2014 to find out for myself in person. I spent a few hours there, which is generally enough when looking at a lot of art, though I could easily have gone back a couple of times again to see all the galleries I missed.

I started in the Post-Impressionist section, where they have some outstanding examples from the Pont Aven school, including a room of prints by an American member of the group, Roderic O'Connor:


This painting by Emile Bernard, Breton Women with Seaweed, is extremely advanced for 1892 -- look at how abstract the shapes are:

One wall with three paintings is reason enough to visit the museum: a Cezanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh side by side, showing the common interest in landscape, use of colour, and broken brushstrokes:




The Van Gogh was particularly well-lit, from above, so you could see how thickly the paint was applied:


Next post: Early 1900s and Cubism

Visit to an artist's studio: Lynn Basa

Last Friday I spent a few hours in the studio of Lynn Basa. Her studio is a storefront space in a building that once housed an eastern European-immigrant sausage maker -- an apt history for a contemporary artist.
Our conversation ranged widely: current studio work, artist's block, the problem of changing your direction when your recent direction is in quite high demand, what represents good public art, the demands of an MFA program, how Andy Warhol influences the current generations of young success-hungry internet-obsessed artists. 
Lynn has a successful career as a public artist, with ongoing commissions in Baltimore and Chicago. She wrote a book a few years ago called The Artist's Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions, which I think was how her name first came to my attention. Facebook, of course, provided the final bridge. Her studio work currently involves making these gorgeous images from combinations of spontaneous, gestural accumulations of materials an…