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Willie Hearst's Descendants Send a Rare & Important Imperial Gilt Bronze Ritual Bell for Auction! *
PHILIPPINE GOLD: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms
The Creation of the Mughal Gardens at Agra
REVISIONS - Zen for Film
KONGO: Power & Majesty
IN & OUT OF THE STUDIO: Photographic Portraits from West Africa
THE AFTERMATH OF CONFLICT: Jo Ractliffe's Photographs of Angola & South Africa
GRAND ILLUSIONS: Staged Photography from the Met Collection
SARGENT: Portraits of Artists & Friends
ALICE: 150 Years of Wonderland
LOOT: Mad About Jewelry
ARCHIBALD MOTLEY: Jazz Age Modernist

At Christie's Auction House:

It's Asia Week Again! Buddhas Galore!

Oddly enough, although Christie's customarily E–Mails Auction Results, no Outrageously Over the Top Multi Million Dollar Totals have arrived in ArtsArchive's In Box…

There is a lot of Chinese Money out there, just looking for Exported Antiquities to Buy Back!

Speaking of China, The Met Museum's China: Through the Looking Glass counted some 815,992 Visitors during its Costume Institute's Annual Fashion Gala Show.

Met Spokesmen noted that it is thus "the Fifth Most Visited Exhibition" in the Met's Recorded History.

Can you Top That, Christie's Curators?


At Bonhams Auction House:


It's Asia Week Again! Buddhas Galore!

As with Christie's, none of Bonhams customary E–Mailed Auction Results have arrived in ArtsArchive's In Box.

But they are sure to have been Outrageously Over the Top Multi Million Dollar Bids…


At Sotheby's Auction House:


It's Asia Week Again! Buddhas Galore!


    Willie Hearst's Descendants Send a Rare & Important Imperial Gilt Bronze Ritual Bell for Auction!

    Before the Bidding Battle began, Sotheby's had suggested Opening Offers of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.

    When the Gavel finally fell, the Bell had Rung Up a Grand Total of ????????

    No Totals provided…


    At Philips' Auction House:

    It's Asia Week Again! Buddhas Galore!

    No Totals…


    At The Asia Society:


    PHILIPPINE GOLD: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms

    [Closing 3 January 2016]

    Long, long before the Spanish Galleons of King Philip sailed into the Philippine Islands - which are named for this Gold Hungry Tyrant - there were Native Goldsmiths crafting remarkable Ritual & Ornamental Golden Jewelry, even way back in the Tenth Century.

    Fortunately for Contemporary Archeologists & Modern Museum Visitors, the Cache of Priceless Golden Treasures now on view at the Asia Society was not discovered until 1981 in Mindanao.

    Actually, only about 120 of these often intricately detailed Chains, Necklaces, Bracelets, & other Adornments are now on display.

    These were created in the Forgotten Kingdom of Butuan, which faded away in the Thirteenth Century.

    Usually, Photography is forbidden in the Asia Society Galleries on Park Avenue, but, in the Age of the Selfie, that seems to be changing.

    Mere Words cannot adequately describe these Golden Wonders, so why not Google the Asia Society & see for yourself?

    But this Unusual Exhibition is not only about the Distant Past:

    There are Contemporary Filipino Art Videos, Filipino Food, Filipino Music, Filipino Ambiance, & Filipino Friendship on offer.

    There is even a Parallel Show: FILIPINO DESIGN NOW: Filipino Heritage Through the Eyes of Celebrated Designers.

    Lexicographers may be interested to Note that, although King Philip's Colonial Place Name requires a Double P, Modern Filipinos are more careful about Excessive Keystrokes.

    I've not yet been able to visit the Philippine Islands - which I do intend to do soon - but my Main Memory of this formerly American Territory is of the Bataan Death March in World War II, in which an Uncle died…

    The Japanese had Occupied & General Douglas MacArthur had to flee.



    The Creation of the Mughal Gardens at Agra

    World Monuments Fund Anand Family Lecture

    [One Night Only]

    Anyone who has ever traveled in Rajhastan soon becomes aware of the former Majesty & Power of the Mughal Emperors in India.

    Indeed, their Boundless Riches gave rise to the Western Word of Mogul, as in Hollywood Mogul.

    In Agra - Site of the World Famous Taj Mahal - they built a Capital City that was to resemble an Earthly Paradise.

    To achieve that Special Effect, they caused to be created Stunning Architecture & a Series of Fragrant Gardens along the Yamuna River.

    The Taj is still there, luring Thousands of Tourists every year, but most of these Magical Gardens are Long Gone.

    Only Two have survived, now only Outlines of what they Once Were.

    The World Monuments Fund is currently collaborating with Indian Experts on the Restoration of those Ruined Gardens.

    William Dalrymple - a Edinburgundian Scot who has lived in India since 1989 - took WMF New Yorkers on a Virtual Tour at the Asia Society.

    Nanda & Vijay Anand are sponsoring a Lecture Series to draw attention to the WMF's Indian Projects, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Fund.

    On one Photo Safari in North Western India, I was photographing the Ancient Walls of Jaisalmer Fort, only to come upon a WMF Team involved in their Restoration.

    But I also found WMF at work in Agra, in Angkor, in Easter Island, & in Myanmar, not to overlook Lisbon & Vienna.

    William Dalrymple has contributed to Rizzoli's WMF Anniversary Volume: World Monuments: 50 Irreplaceable Places To Discover, Explore, & Champion.


    At The Brooklyn Museum of Art:

    IMPRESSIONISM & THE CARIBBEAN: Francisco Oller & His Transatlantic World.

    [Closing 3 January 2016]

    Astounding Artworks from Paris & Puerto Rico!

    From Puerto Rico - not then known for its Art Schools or Art Collections - Francisco Oller sailed off to Spain for further training, moving on to Paris, where he soon became Friends & Fellow Painters with Paul Cezanne, Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, & Pierre Auguste Renoir.

    What Oller learned from them & others of the Barbizon School of French Impressionists informed his later Portraits, Landscapes, & Genre Scenes.

    Literally & Figuratively, Impressions of Puerto Rico!

    These are Amazing Sketches & Colorful Canvases: Worth a Trip to Puerto Rico but the Brooklyn Museum has brought some of Oller's Most Arresting Images to Eastern Parkway.

    Among the 84 Artworks now on view are also real French Impressionist Masters, such as Pissarro, Sisley, Monet, & Cezanne.

    As well as Caribbean Inspired Scenes by American Artists Winslow Homer & Frederic William Church.

    Camille Pissarro's Caribbean Visions were not, however, inspired by Oller's Caribbean Canvases, for Pissarro was born in the Danish West Indies!

    When over on Eastern Parkway, do not miss the new Psychedelic Pinball Machine Madness Show on the Fifth Floor!

    It was just poised to open, so there was No Press Kit on offer.


    At The Bard Graduate Center Gallery:


    REVISIONS - Zen for Film

    [Closing 10 January 2016]

    What's the Sound of One Hand Clapping?

    What's the Use of Watching Nam Jun Paik's Fluxfilm no. 1, if there is No Cinematic Image on the Clear 16mm Film Loop endlessly running in the Vintage Projector?

    Well, for Starters, you can stand between the Projector & the Flickering Projection Screen & use your Hands to make Rabbit Ears!

    This Film Loop & its Eiki Projector is on loan to Bard from MoMA.

    Actually - as well as Virtually - there is more to this Historic Installation than Meets the Eye.

    There is a Three Fold Brochure to Explain It All.

    Among other Thought Provoking Questions, it asks: How do Decay, Technological Obsolescence, & the Blending of Old & New Media affect what an Artwork is & what it may Become?

    Nam Jun Paik's Clear Film Loop isn't getting Any Younger, so any Scratches or Sprung Sprockets are going to Take Their Toll.

    Fortunately for those who need Real Meaning, there is also a Digitally Interactive Site which includes Art Works by Arcangel, Baldessari, Beuys, Cage, Cunningham, Duchamp, JODI, Yves Klein, Malevich, Rauschenberg, Man Ray, Hiroshi Sugimoto, & Andy Warhol, of course.



    [Closing 17 January 2016]

    In 18th & 19th Century Sweden, the Long Winter Nights were Endless.

    If you were a Poor Farmer, you couldn't go out & Hoe Some Corn.

    But - if you had a Pen Knife - you might go out & find a Piece of Wood.

    This you could then Carve into a Simple Toy.

    If you had no Paint Kit, you could just leave the Wooden Toy alone, letting its Form speak to Children, without the Colorful Decorations that later became the Norm.

    When I first went to Malmö, Lund, Kalmar, Uppsala, Göteborg, & Stockholm, everywhere I found Many Feathered Birds, each Wooden Blade interlocked with its Neighbors & All Unpainted.

    I was told these were Sloyd Carvings, but the Swedish Term is Slöjd

    Stocky & Simplistic Steeds - gaily painted - were Ubiquitous.

    The richly stocked Toy Show now at Bard runs the Historical Gamut from Farmer Carvings to Factory Fabricated Games & Trains.

    There are Handmade Sleds & Sleighs, Sharply Pointed Skis, as well as Machine Stamped Cars & Trucks.

    You don't have to be a Kid - or a Swede - to be delighted & enlightened by Swedish Wooden Toys!


    At MMA - The Metropolitan Museum of Art:


    KONGO: Power & Majesty

    [Closing 3 January 2016]

    Power Figures with Big Butts & Lots of Spikes!

    How many Standing Figures with Big Bottoms & Stark Staring Eyes are Enough?

    There is a Plenitude of these Mystical Magical Carvings now on view, but there is also a wide range of Intricately Designed & Woven Textiles.

    Not to Overlook elegantly carved Ivories & powerful Iron & Bronze Staffs.

    While many Museum Shows dealing with African Primitives have focused on 19th Century Artworks, Kongo goes back to the 15th Century, with some 134 Objects & Fabrics drawn from some 50 Institutions & Collections.

    Because Kongo Cults & Clans revered the Female Principle, Matriarchy looms large in the Lauder Galleries.


    IN & OUT OF THE STUDIO: Photographic Portraits from West Africa

    [Closing 3 January 2016]

    From Mali to Gabon, From Senegal to Cameroon: Stay Still & Smile…

    With no less than Three African Exhibitions on view, the Met Museum seems determined to Enlighten its Visitors about what used to be called "The Dark Continent."

    Light & Shadow play over these Photographic Surfaces: Unusual Images made by both Amateur & Professional Lensmen.

    Some 80 Photographs are on display, covering a Hundred Years, from 1870 to 1970.

    These range from Ordinary Postcards through Snapshots to Posed Portraits.

    Photographing Africa & Africans was not a European Monopoly, so it is especially interesting to discover how some saw themselves.

    Images range from the Matter of Fact to the Fantasies of Samuel Fosso.


    THE AFTERMATH OF CONFLICT: Jo Ractliffe's Photographs of Angola & South Africa

    [Closing 3 January 2016]

    Sites of Conflict & Contention: No Formal Portraits, No Self Satisfied Selfies…

    Themes of Dispossession, History, Memory, & Erasure are featured in the often Depressing Images of South African Photographer Jo Ractliffe.

    Focusing on the "Border War" & the Aftermath of the Angolan Civil War, Jo Ractliffe shows Empty Landscapes, some of which conceal Unmarked Graves or Silent Minefields.

    She also takes a Hard Look at Luanda, Angola's Capital.

    The Portuguese were once Colonial Masters here, so some Architectural Landmarks survive, but Luanda is largely a Land of Shanty Towns.

    Jo Ractliffe has documented a Topography of Terror…


    GRAND ILLUSIONS: Staged Photography from the Met Collection

    [Closing 18 January 2016]

    The Camera Does Not Lie: But Photo Images Can Be Manipulated & Manufactured!

    The Imaginary is depicted as The Real in this Snall Scale Survey of the First 170 Years of Photographic Inventiveness.

    How about the Countess of Castiglione fleeing a Conflagration at a Formal Ball?

    Then there's Lewis Carroll's Tableau Vivant of Saint George & the Dragon!

    But this Image - like many in the show - is Tiny…

    Rather Unsettling is Rene Magritte's 1928 Staged Snapshot of La Mort des fantômes, or The Death of Ghosts.

    Several of these photos seem to be Movie Stills, with Smiling Actors being Someone Else.

    While some of the Photos are obviously Staged & Stagey, approaching the Digital Age of Photo shopping presents New Challenges.

    How do you know what's Faked & what's For Real?


    SARGENT: Portraits of Artists & Friends

    [Closing 4 October 2015]

    The Famous & Much Admired American Painter, John Singer Sargent, had the Good Fortune to be born in Florence, Italy, instead of in someplace like Cleveland.

    Sargent also had the Good Fortune to have both Musical & Painterly Talent.

    An Elegant & Courtly Gentleman, Sargent also had a Great Gift for Friendship.

    Famous Authors such as Henry James & Robert Louis Stevenson were among his Cherished Intimates.

    As were Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, & Gabriel Fauré…

    Sargent was at home in Paris, in London, & in Manhattan.

    He seems to have painted Everyone of Importance or Celebrity in his Two Century Spanning Career.

    New Yorkers who go to The Players on Gramercy Square will instantly recognize Sargent's Portraits of Actors Joe Jefferson & Edwin Booth, founder of The Players.

    Not to Overlook The Players' Portrait of Dame Ellen Terry.

    No, No No! This Exalted Vision of Dame Ellen is on loan from the Tate Modern in London.

    Actually, The Players' Terry Portrait is rendered in Stained Glass!

    Amazingly enough, many of these Sargent Canvases were Not Commissioned: He wanted to capture his Noble, Handsome, Talented, & Famous Friends in his Inimitable Style.

    Multiple Galleries are closely hung with Major Portraits as well as Small Scale Images & Deft Sketches.

    Sargent has also offered the Met Museum a Major Marketing Opportunity: Stunning Catalogues, Colorful Postcards, & Scarves Galore - even with Mirrors so you can see how you look in your Sargent Scarf!


    At The Metropolitan Pavilion:



    [Only 9 - 13 September 2015]

    At first, I thought I'd got the Wrong Address & stumbled into the Annual Outsider Art Fair.

    But NO!

    These Talented & Innovative Painters, Designers, Sculptors, & Welders are not Well Intentioned Primitives or Amateurs.

    If I had any Spare Room or Wall Space, I'd have affordably purchased several of the Artworks on offer.

    How about ArtDog London?

    Or Artichoke NY?

    Not to Overlook EYE BUY ART

    For The Record: The Metropolitan Pavilion is located at 125 West 18th Street, NY 10011.


    At The MLM - The Morgan Library & Museum:


    ERNEST HEMINGWAY: Between Two Wars

    [Closing 31 January 2016]

    Talk about Never Throwing Away Anything!

    Macho Man Ernest Hemingway - always so careful of His Image - didn't destroy a lot of False Starts that many a Lesser Novelist would have torn up in Despair.

    So it is Uniquely Revelatory to see not only Early Efforts to create Best Seller Fiction, but also Hemingway's Frank & Honest Correspondence with Editors, Fellow Authors, & Publishers.

    Memories of the so called "Lost Generation" in Paris are Pictorially Evoked, as well as in Written Epistles & Notes from the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Beech, & Gertrude Stein…

    Here's World War I Ambulance Driver Ernie on Crutches!

    If you are - or ever have been - a Big Fan of The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, & For Whom the Bell Tolls, then this Exhibition - On Loan from the JFK Library in Washington, DC - is Not To Be Missed.


    ALICE: 150 Years of Wonderland

    [Closing 11 October 2015]

    Neverland is going to be Very Big on Broadway very soon: We never tire of Peter Pan!

    But most of us also Love Alice in Wonderland, so it is Wonderland Time down at the Morgan on Madison.

    On View, there are not only Large Scale Cut Outs of Sir John Tenniel's Original Drawings of Alice Underground, but also the Original Manuscript, on Special Loan from the British Museum.

    Originally, Lewis Carroll jotted down Alice's Amazing Adventures with the White Rabbit, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, & the Mad Hatter as a Special Treat for young Alice Liddell.

    Actually, Lewis Carroll was an Assumed Name, as Carroll was really an Oxford Don, Charles Lutwidge Dodson, who had become infatuated with Photography, as well as with Pre Teen Alice…

    A wide range of Letters, Notes, & Documents associated with the Eventual Commercial Publication of Alice in Wonderland help to Illuminate the many Sketches & Drawings of Sir John Tenniel.

    Peter Pan & Sir James Barrie should be so Lucky!

    Maybe the Morgan will eventually give us not only Peter & Wendy, but also Captain Hook & the Little Lost Boys?


    At MCNY - The Museum of the City of New York:


    AFFORDABLE NEW YORK: A Housing Legacy

    [Closing 16 February 2016]

    Mayor Bill DeBlasio isn't the First Manhattan Magistrate to be concerned about finding or creating Affordable Housing.

    This strikingly designed Exhibition not only provides some Outstanding Models of both Elegant & merely Serviceable Housing Tracts, but also Photos, Graphics, & Incisive Texts to document Projects & Progress over the Decades.

    Here is Mayor Robert F. Wagner; there is Robert Moses, the Maker of Freeways & Slum Destructions.

    There's Ed Koch! Here's John Lindsay!

    No Abe Beam at all, & Very Little of America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani…

    Thomas Mellins, Curator & Architectural Historian, gave the Press a very Informative Walk Through.

    There are also Interactive Screens so you can have a Virtual Tour.

    Although the Horrors of the Tenements were already a Major Social Problem 150 Years Ago, it was Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia who, in 1934, instituted the First Pubic Housing in the City, as well as in the Nation!


    At MAD - The Museum of Art & Design:


    LOOT: Mad About Jewelry

    [Six Days Only: 28 September - 3 October 2015]

    What an Amazement of Innovative Ornament!

    But this Loot isn't Stolen: it's For Sale & there's more under the Counter…

    Every Autumn, MAD invites Outstanding Artists from Around the World to show their Often Unusual Confections to Collectors, Savvy Women, the Press, & Interested Gawkers.

    It's unfortunate that these Genius Jewelers cannot stay longer on Columbus Circle, but you can check out their Mini Masterpieces online.

    Among my Favorites are Veronica Guiduzzi's Lacy Plastic Necklaces - like Circlets of Dried Flowers; Danielle Gori Montanelli's visually delicious Necklace of Halved Avocados, & Mary Samoli's Classic Greek Inspired Golden Bracelets.

    You cannot Go Wrong with Gold!

    All these Fantastic Fantasies were, of course, On Sale. Some will surely stay on in the MAD Museum's fascinating Shop.

    It is always Worth a Visit, but there's always More Upstairs, with Wendell Castle's Wood Workings on the way…


    At MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art:



    [Closing 7 February 2016]

    Some of the Ceramic Works now on view at MoMA also frequently come up for Auction at Christie's & Sotheby's.

    Pablo Picasso - although Trained as a Painter - became a Prolific Producer of Products made of Clay, Plaster, Paper, Cardboard, Wood, Metal, Glass, & Odd Fragments of Found Objects.

    Apparently, Picasso could even sell a Hardened Bag of Plaster, one of which is included in this Immense Show, which doesn't quite Fill all the Galleries allocated for this Celebration of Picassan Cubism & Beyond.

    Picasso's Discovery of Primitive Artworks as a Source of Inspiration is well documented here.

    As are his Experiments with Cubism, but the Point of this Exhibition is that these Sculptures are Carry Overs from his First Culture Shocks in Avant Garde Painting.

    In fact, much is made of the Fact that this is the First Major Picasso Sculpture Show to take place in the United States in Over Fifty Years!

    Actually, for some years now, any Casual Visitor to MoMA could study Picasso's Bronze Goat in the MoMA Sculpture Courtyard.

    It has temporarily been Moved Inside for Viewing.

    In addition to Cases filled with Small Scale Oddments, there are some very Large Scale Big Nosed Nudes scattered about.

    Oddly enough, at the Press Preview, there seemed to be More Photographers "Lensing" or "Selfing" the Sculptures than there were Works on the Floor.

    Nonetheless, Curators did include some Iconic Picassos, such as his Bronze Jester [Paris, 1905], Bronze Head of a Woman [Paris, Fall 1909], Ferrous Sheet Metal & Wire Guitar [Paris, 1914], & Painted Sheet Metal & Iron Wire Violin [Paris, 1915].

    It's perhaps Superficial so say that Pablo Picasso was the Andy Warhol of His Day…

    Nonetheless, he Ground Out more Multiple Collectibles from his various Ateliers & Studios & Villas & Castles than Andy could have ever Silk Screened down at the Factory.


    At WMAA - The Whitney Museum of American Art:


    ARCHIBALD MOTLEY: Jazz Age Modernist

[Closing 17 January 2016]

There is a certain Color Correspondence in the Colorful Artworks of Francisco Oller, now over at the Brooklyn Museum, & Archibald Motley, who - although based in Chicago - effectually became a Major Figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

Like Oller, Motley was inspired by his stay in Paris, but Mexico - rather than the Wide Caribbean - was also in Influence.

Motley's Vibrant Portraits & Jumping Jazz Scenes are almost Emblematic of the Jazz Age, at least as seen from the View above 110th Street.

But then, the Jazz Age was itself largely inspired by Harlem's Fabulous Performers & Funky Artists.

How about Motley's jazzy Blues, of 1929?

There are Forty Two Motleys on view at the Whitney, spanning Four Decades.

Some of the Motley Portraits are Stately & Serene, but there are also Colorful Scenes of Lively Life on the Streets, in the Clubs, & even around the Dinner Table.

Motley was well aware of the Deep Divisions between Classes, Genders, & Races, but he hoped in his own way to help Build Bridges.

Long before Black Lives Matter, Motley was already there: He knew that & he painted what he saw, as well as what he hoped for…

Don't Miss This Show! But also check out Oller over in Brooklyn!


Copyright © Glenn Loney 2015. No re publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, Curator's Choice." Reproduction rights please contact:

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