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Showing posts from March, 2017

Tucson Museum of Art: Part 2

The second print I noticed during my recent visit to the Tucson Museum of Art was this 1992 etching by artist Luis Alfonso Jimenez (1940-2006). He was born in El Paso, Texas, and lived in New Mexico, and his work is in the Smithsonian Collection of American Art. I liked this print because, although he was mainly a sculptor, this print has the classic skeleton character that one sees in a lot of Mexican printmaking, particularly woodcuts and linocuts.

Very weird fact about his demise: he was moving a piece of sculpture out of his studio so that it could be installed at Denver Airport. The large piece fell on him, pinning his leg, and he died from traumatic injuries the same day. Talk about dying for one's art...

Art in the Desert

I was in the Tucson Museum of Art last week, a compact building with an inner ramp that goes all the way from below ground to two storeys above street level. It's similar in that respect to the Guggenheim museum in New York. The last time I visited, in 2005, I remember seeing lots of paintings of cowboys, and then a Mark Rothko, which was a jarring juxtaposition. This time, there was an engrossing exhibition of art featuring the face and the body, from a private collection. On display were many great prints, all the way from Goya in the early 1800s to 1960s artist James Rosenquist.
The first one that caught my eye was this beautiful, haunting woodcut by printmaker Leonard Baskin, one of my favourites.

Dead-Eye Daumier

During my last visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, I came across these old favourites of mine: a cabinet full of little bronze sculptures by Daumier:



There are about thirty of them, each one a caricature of a French politician or public figure from the 1830s. Daumier fashioned them in clay in about 1835, but they weren't cast in bronze until nearly a century later.

What I love about them is not just that they are wickedly exaggerated, but that each one is so intensely individualised, so that even though we don't know who any of these people are, we have no doubt that they are accurate exaggerations of real people, with their twisted faces, daft hairstyles, ogreishly ugly faces, and mean expressions.


They may be satirical, like cartoons in three dimensions, but they are still so very skilful and so very beautiful.

The Mind's I at the Ed Paschke Center

Last week, I took part in a drawing project at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Chicago. The center in itself is worth a visit, too, by the way: not just to see Paschke's wacky yet beguiling art, but because the repurposing of the building (in a nondescript area bordered by fast food joints and a nearby freeway) was done so well.

The Mind's I is a collaborative project initiated by Chicago-based Anne Harris. To quote from the press release:

Self-perception and self-expression are central concerns of The Mind’s I, which marries mimesis, or representation, with diegesis, or thoughts and actions. The presence of each artist allows their individual portraits to stand on their own, but when taken together, The Mind’s I presents a moving composite about looking as much as it is about being seen. Each participant is asked to draw on 12" x 12" sheets of paper, using any materials they like, but steering away from photos or computers as sources and working instead with the basic …