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GLENN LONEY'S MUSEUM NOTES
OCTOBER, 2015 RAMBLES ROUND RAMBLES ROUND THE MAJOR AUCTION HOUSES
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
To navigate to items in this table of contents, click on (*)
Amost $23 Million Achieved in London Sale of Selections from the LAC! *
THOUGHTS & DOGMA: Creating Conflict *
Amazing Riches in Sotheby's Decorative Arts Week for Fall 2015: *
A Balthazar of Chateau Margaux 2009 Sells at Sotheby's for $98,000! *
ANDREA DEL SARTO: The Renaissance Workshop in Action *
ANCIENT EGYPT TRANSFORMED: The Middle Kingdom *
CELEBRATING THE ARTS OF JAPAN: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection *
FASHION & VIRTUE: Textile Patterns & The Print Revolution, 1520-1620 *
MARTIN PURYEAR: Multiple Dimensions *
WENDELL CASTLE REMASTERED *
JAPANESE KOGEI / Future Forward *
At MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art: WALID RAAD *
JOAQUIN TORRES GARCIA: The Arcadian Modern *
JIM SHAW: "The End Is Here " *
WYNNE GREENWOOD: "Kelly " *
BARBARA ROSSI: "Poor Traits " *
BERLIN METROPOLIS: 1918-1933 *
At Christie's Auction House:
The LAC is The Lambert Art Collection & the Selections were presented as A Visual Odyssey.
As with the Sara Story Designed Auctions at Sotheby's, Christie's is now making its Sales Pitch in a more Museum Like Manner, complete with a Display at Ely House!
The Actual Auction lasted Seven Hours, with Christopher Wool's Untitled selling for nearly Five Million Dollars.
That is a Lot of Money for a Painting that has No Real Name…
Nonetheless, Wool's Untitled was recently shown to Critical Acclaim at the Guggenheim Museum.
How can Curators of the Future make any Meaningful Exhibition Presentations when so many Modern Works - by a Wide Variety of Artists - are All Titled Untitled?
This Record Breaking Auction was in association with de Pury - known in Manhattan as Phillips de Pury.
Simon de Pury has not only been at Phillips, but he has longtime Auction Experience at Sotheby's.
Now, Simon & Dr. Michaela de Pury have created a new On Line Auction Operation.
Soon - unless you really love to look at Famous Paintings & Heroic Sculptures in Actual Galleries - you may be able to follow Auctions Worldwide on your Smart Watch!
At Bonhams Auction House:
World War II War Relics - Including M4 Enigma Enciphering Machine - Auctioned on 21 October!
Initially, German U Boats were using M3 Enigma Machines to conceal Secret Messages.
But they were Compromised: Alan Turing figured out how to Break the Code.
M3s had Three Rotors. M4s understandably had Four Rotors.
Both M3s & M4s are now extremely rare, owing to the Allied Sinkings of 70% of Nazi U Boats by the End of the Second World War.
A Total of 50 Enigma Enciphering Machines are now on display in museums around the world.
Thus, when an M4 comes on the Auction Market, bidding is Fierce!
At Sotheby's Auction House:
But Specially Selected & Artfully Deployed by Inteior Designer Sara Story of Sara Story Design
From 10 17 October, Sotheby's staged Four Auctions, featuring 1] Silver, Vertu, & Russian Works of Art, some of which looked like Fugitives from the Imperial Workshops of Fabergé; 2] Property from a Distinguished Private Asian Collection; 3] Nineteenth Century Furniture & Decorative Arts, & 4] Collections: European Decorative Arts.
Usually - whether at Sotheby's, Christie's, or Bonhams - in the days before the Auctions of Furnishings & Decorative Arts, Entire Galley Floors are crammed with Acres of Objects, with No Particular Focus in the displays.
Sara Story, however, has an Eye!
Not only does she know how to group Disparate Chairs, Carpets, Four Posters, Tables, Lamps, Tapestries, Pictures, & Throw Rugs into Comfortable Rooms, she also knows how to Make Them Meaningful by using Handsome Wallpapers from Braunschwig & Fils.
The Catalogues for these Varied Sales weigh a Metaphoric Ton, but ArtsArchive is happy to have them for its Own Collection!
The Heaviest of the Catalogues is for the Floor Filling Treasures from the Collection of Mary Sayles Booker Braga.
Mary Sayles Booker Braga had apparently Unlimited Resources.
Even Corridors leading to the Storage Areas at Sotheby's are filled with Rare Tapestries.
Think Gobelin, Aubusson…
Nonetheless, Mary Sayles Booker Braga never met a Tschotske she didn't like.
Among the Major Pieces are some Bits of Real Kitsch, including Mini Paintings of Cute Dogs.
There it lay, in the Lobby of Sotheby's, in a Huge Wooden Case: the Outsize Bottle of Chateau Margaux 2009.
Whoever paid nearly One Hundred Thousand Dollars for this Balthazar is surely not going to drink it?
But Corinne Mentzelopoulos, Owner of Chateau Margaux - in Sssociation with Sotheby's - was also offering Smaller Bottles of Chateau Margaux.
All were Sold, for a Total of $2.8 Million!
Over Half of the Lots that were sold were bid On Line: Empty Seats in the Auction Rooms!
Asian Bidders snapped up some 41% of the Chateau Margaux on offer.
At The Frick Collection:
[Closing 10 January 2016]
Andrea Del Sarto's Resounding Success as a Major Renaissance Painter?
Chalk It Up To His Virtuoso Use of Colored Chalks - Red & Black!
Acclaimed Florentine Artists such as Michelangelo & Leonardo Da Vinci didn't paint all those Portraits, Altar Pieces, Frescoes, & Large Scale Canvases all by themselves.
They Had Help: Aspiring Artist Students - working & learning in their Studios - filled in the Blanks in their Initial Outline Drawings.
Andrea Del Sarto - whose Professional Name derives from his Sartorial Tailor Father - is known for some Major Portraits & Religiously Inspired Groups, such as the Medici Holy Family & The Madonna of the Steps.
But he didn't just sit down at his Easel, Multiple Brushes in hand & begin painting in Bold, Broad Strokes.
The Smallest Details of a Hand, a Finger, a Tonsure, a Sly Smile, or even an Implement were deftly Sketched & even Re Sketched until Del Sarto had exactly the Image he had originally envisioned.
In the Oval Room of the Frick, Major Works are now on view, but, in the Two Downstairs Galleries, multiple Mini Studies in Red Chalk are evidences of the Fanatic Attention De Sarto paid to the Human Skeleton & the Muscles that Make It Move.
Only about 180 Del Sarto Drawings survive: most of them are now in the Frick Galleries.
At the Press Preview, Arts Journalists were led through the Galleries - sketch by sketch - by Associate Curator Aimee Ng, whose Explanations & Insights were especially valuable in understanding how Del
Sarto worked on Major Projects.
When you go to the Frick, you can have almost the Same Experience - Minus the Q&A - if you spend some time watching Aimee Ng in the Del Sarto Video in the Frick Auditorium.
Why are there so few Surviving Sketches?
As Del Sarto's Drawings were used by Apprentices & Interns to Create the Canvases, they often got Worn Out, Lost, Misplaced, or Purloined by Students.
Unfortunately, Del Sardo died of the Black Plague when he was only 44: Another reason so few drawings & sketches have survived.
Having recently spent Three Weeks in Florence, seeing Del Sarto so soon again was a Welcome Reminder of the Genius of Renaissance Firenze…
At MMA - The Metropolitan Museum of Art:
[Closing 24 January 2016]
Acres & Acres of Pharaonic Kings & Queens fill Multiple Galleries of the Met Museum, with many of the Statues & Objects drawn from the Met's own Middle Kingdom Collections.
Before Advent of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, the Fertile Lands along the Nile were divided into Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt.
As the Reunifying Pharaoh & Founder of the Middle Kingdom Dynasties, Nebhepetre Mentuhotep instituted a flowering of Artistic, Cultural, & Religious Developments that were inspired by Traditions & Beliefs from the Old Kingdom.
Cleopatra & the Ptolemaics were still a Long Way Off…
There are 230 Middle Kingdom Masterworks in the current exhibition, strategically sited & ingeniously illuminated.
There are Monumental Pharaonic Sculptures, but also Life Sized & Mini Pharaohs.
What seems now amazing is how Human, how Lifelike - rather than Stylized & Generic - many of the Statues are.
Some even have a Modern Simplicity that recalls Mexican Sculptures…
But, for all the Antique Grandeur on display, it's also interesting to study Small Scale Clay Models of Egyptian Craftsmen & River Pilots at work.
Look down into one of these Ancient Clay Boxes to see how they Slaughtered a Cow in the Middle Kingdom.
As for Boat Travel along the Nile River, One Boat seems so Overloaded with Dignitaries & Sailors, that it is surely Soon to Sink…
But this Impressive Exhibition is not soley focused on Rulers & the Ruled, shown in Stone Sculptures & Baked Clay.
The elaborate & striking Jewelry of the Ruled are amazing: Gold, Gems, Colored Enamels, Bracelets, Ear Rings, Chains!
There are even Multiple Copies of the Met's Trade Mark Blue Hippo, William.
In fact, the Met Museum's Middle Kingdom Gift Shop is a Major Marketing Mall.
[Closing 31 July 2016]
Mary Griggs Burke, it is said, fell in love with Japanese Art when she was young.
Fortunately, even though born & raised in Minnesota, she had Money enough to assemble one of the Finest Collections of Screens, Ceramics, Lacquer, Paintings, Sculpture, & Kimonos outside of Japan.
Last Spring, some 300 Masterpieces from the Burke Collection were donated to the Met Museum, where an Astonishing Sampling is now on view.
In fact, the Collection is so Large & Important that its Varied Treasures will be seen in Rotation!
This is not a case of "Seen One Shoji Screen, you've Seen Them All. "
One Long Wall Case is filled with the Radiant Golden Screen depicting the Uji Bridge in Kyoto.
On the Opposite Wall is spread out All Six Panels of Women Casting Fans from a Bridge.
It is a Curious Sensation to see so many Colorful Fans floating away on the Rippling Waters…
Women! What are you doing? Those Fans cost Lots of Yen!
The Burke Gift to the Met Museum is the only Western Collection to have also been shown in Japan, where all these Rarities originated.
Indeed, this Gift is regarded as one of the Most Comprehensive Collections in any Major Museum in the West.
As always, George Nakashima's Tree Slice Table is in the Atrium…
[Closing 10 January 2016]
Long, long before there were Chanel & Prada - competing for Originality in Designer Patterns - there were Pattern Books from which Textile Printers & Lace Makers could borrow Detailed Designs, some of Incredible Complexity.
Pattern Book first appeared in the Renaissance, encouraged by Gutenberg's Printing Press Innovations.
Six Milanese Engravings supposedly sparked this Print Revolution, abstracted from Interlaced Roundels, based on Designs by Leonardo Da Vinci & later copied by Nuremberg's Albrecht Dürer.
The Profusion of Pattern Books in the Lehman Wing of the Met Museum is as Overwhelming as the Intricate Details of the Designs themselves Challenge the Imagination.
Some of these Pattern Designs seem even more Intricately Interwoven than the finest Medieval Lace, but they also were printed on fabric, which could be fashioned into Gowns, Robes, Drapes, & Wall Coverings.
To relieve the Possible Tedium of studying so many Very Small Patterns on so many Tiny Print Books, there are also Renaissance Portraits showing Great Ladies in Court Gowns.
This might be Much More than you really wanted to know about Renaissance Designs & the Textiles & the Lace Collars that were decorated with them, but there are some Modern Coutures & Folk Costumes that show similar Designs still in Vogue.
At The MLM - The Morgan Library & Museum:
[Closing 10 January 2016]
The Iconic Image of Martin Puryear's Morgan Moment is a Black Object that seems to have Black Handle curling up out of it.
Nonetheless, it's not easy to get a Handle on Puryear's increasingly Abstracted Images & Sculptures.
It is clear, however, that once he has Found a Form that he likes, he will use & reuse it over & over, refining, changing, transmuting.
There are some Seventy Puryear Works on display, spanning his Undergrad Years to the Present.
Martin Puryear was in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, where he created some Powerful Drawings, before he retreated into more Abstracted Forms: His Camels look entirely Camel like.
Now, however, one of his Iconic Forms looks like a Hospital Urine Bottle, but it is titled: Face Down.
The Second Floor Gallery at the Morgan is dominated by an Immense Wooden Outlined variation of this Urine Bottle Form.
Puryear's Drawings are usually Studies for the Sculptures he will later fabricate on Larger Scale.
At MAD - The Museum of Art & Design:
[Closing 10 January 2016]
When Wendell Castle was first Making a Name for himself as a Star of the American Studio Craft Movement, he was one of the Darlings of Craft Horizons, for which I was a Roving Reporter.
I had just done a Feature on Castle's Wood Working Colleague, Sam Maloof, so I was asked to write the Maloof Wall Texts for the Opening Exhibition of the new Renwick Gallery, on Pennsylvania Avenue, almost opposite the White House.
Sam Maloof shared the Triple Billing with George Nakashima & Wendell Castle.
Although I knew George - whose Studio near New Hope was near my Parson Cousin in Doylestown - I never got to know Wendell Castle, whose Innovative Use of Wood was already an Astonishment.
Sam's Handsome Furniture always had a Practical Purpose, but Castle's Early Works tended toward the Sculptural.
Now, at MAD, you can see Wendell Castle's Wood Sculpture in a variety of Unfamiliar Forms.
Oddly enough, some of the most Odd Forms also conceal Spaces for Blankets or Clothing!
Castle doesn't build his Castles in the Air, but on the Floor, where he began the Innovative Technique of Stack Lamnation.
Flat Slabs of Wood are glued together, building up a Rough Form, which is then Shaped into Castle's Vision.
Now, however, Castle uses Digital Technologies to Aid his Artwork;
Castle still Carves, Rasps, & Finishes, but he also employs 3D Scanning, 3D Modeling, & Computer Controlled Milling.
Although the Strange Forms - some of which seem to Sprout from the MAD Flooring - appear almost immovably Heavy, they are, in fact, rather Light, being Hollowed Out!
Outside, facing Columbus Circle, there are two Castle Benches, but they are of Bronze & don't really look like Most Benches.
Wendell Castle was on view on Video, but he was also on hand in the Gallery.
I now know I should have gone over to him to say Hello, but I was in a Hurry to make what I thought was a Seven O'Clock Curtain.
It would have been Good to recall that Evening at the Renwick…
My Reward - aside from Honoring Sam - was an Invitation to the Gala Opening.
Sam warned me that I needed to Rent a Tux, for Everyone Who Was Anyone - among Celebrity Washingtonians - would be On Hand.
My Guest, I was told, should also be Formally Attired: A Paris Gown would not be Out of Place…
In the Event, I invited my UC/Berkeley Chum, Lt. Commander Nonna Cheatham.
Both Charming & Dynamic, Nonna had been designated US Navy Representative on Capitol Hill.
Actually, she was the Navy's Chief Lobbyist & very effective in that Role.
Thanks to Nonna, I even got to ride that Underground Railway & eat Potato Soup in the Senatorial Commissary.
Instead of a Gown by Dior or Balenciaga, Nonna thought it would be more appropriate - especially when Governmental Luminaries would be attending - to wear her US Navy Formal Dress Uniform.
When we Made Our Entrance - at the Top of the Stairs that led down into the Heart of the Renwick - Nonna created a Sensation.
She wore her pert Naval Cap, with a handsome Navy Blue & Gold Uniform Jacket.
But below her Slender Waist, widely flared an Amazing White Skirt, Sweeping the Stairs, as we smilingly descended.
Altogether, Quite an Evening, especially for Our Dear Sam - whose Furniture Designs dazzled many.
[Closing 7 February 2016]
During the Meiji Restoration in Japan, Artistic Expression was rather formally fixed, honoring Ancient Traditions & Images.
Now, Young Artists of Kogei - which means something like "Artisan Crafts " - are looking toward the Future, even seeking to Globalize their Individual Visions.
Twelve Distinct Talents are now represented at MAD, with some of the Ceramics simply Stunning.
But there are some Skulls that have an Odd Kind of Baroque Laciness to them.
Words cannot easily describe the Multiplexity & Variety of the Artistic Visions.
Do visit the MAD Website to study some of these Kogei Futures!
[Closing 10 January 2016]
Out of Lebanon: Videos, Photos, 3 D Constructs, Paintings, Walk Throughs, You Name It…
In the Vast Atrium of MoMA - where once Marina Abramovic sat silently for hours on end - now Lebanon's Walid Raad holds regular Walk Throughs.
Unfortunately, the Walk Through I should have taken for the Press Preview was Overbooked, so I will never know what Walid Raad has to say when he leads Museum Goers around the Constructions he has set up in that Space.
Some Clue may be found in the Title for the Walk Throughs: Scratching on Things I Could Disavow.
Initially, the Archives of his Native Lebanon fascinated Walid Raad, but the Horrors of War in Lebanon & in the Wider Arab Word began to invade his Psyche.
There are Two Long Term Walid Raad Projects on view at MoMA, one of which is called The Atlas Group, dealing with Historic & Contemporary Events in Lebanon, transmuted into Imaginary Stories.
You could say that Walid Raad is All Over the Place…
Lebanon was once called "The Paris of the Middle East. "
That's Long Gone.
When I was last in Beirut, they were shooting at our Plane as we tried to Land.
Something about Druzes vs. Arabs, but I never got to see the Great Temple of Baalbek…
[Closing 15 February 2016]
What A Festival of Art Nouveau & Art Deco!
Also: Pictographic Constructivism, Synthetic Abstraction, & Constructive Universalism…
Judging from the Wall Evidence, Joaquin Torres Garcia - born in Montevideo, Uruguay - never met a Scrap of Wood he didn't like.
Talk about Art made of Found Materials!
Organizers of this Fascinating MoMA Exhibition suggest that Torres Garcia Defies Description.
Moving from Uruguay to Barcelona, Torres Garcia showed Talent in Portraiture that suggests Strong Exposure to the French Impressionists.
Small Wonder that he moved on to Paris, where he could meet the Modernist Masters.
But Manhattan was not Neglected: Some of the MoMA Canvases are Vintage Views.
Nonetheless, Torres Garcia finally settled on a Trade Mark Style & a Basic Iconic Imagery.
So there may be Too Many Galleries devoted to a kind of Constructive Universalism Sameness…
Sharing MoMA's Sixth Floor is a Major Salute to Latin American Art & Artists.
Unfortunately, there was No Press Preview, so I don't have any Explanatory Print Outs…
[Closing ?? ??? 2016]
On the Main Floor of MoMA are several intriguing Period Movie Posters from Film Maker Martin Scorsese's Personal Collection.
But Downstairs - in the Lobbies of the Titus Theatres - are some Large Format Treasures, many of them European, notably the 1951 Tales of Hofmann, Michael Powell's The Red Shoes, & Max Ophuls' The Earrings of Madame de…
At The New Museum:
[Closing 10 January 2016]
Apparently, Jim Shaw has never thrown anything away…
The Three Floors & Multiple Galleries of the New Museum are stuffed & crammed with Bad Paintings, Record Jackets, Comic Books, Religious Magazines, & What Have You.
When you go to see Shaw's somewhat Apocalyptic Visions, do begin on Floor Four, where, on entering, you will be confronted with an amazing Circus Sideshow of Huge Cut Out Constructions, featuring Famous Iconic Images here redeployed in service of "…building Connections between His Own Psyche & America's larger Political, Social, & Spiritual Histories. "
Richard Nixon's Nose is collaged with Ancient, Medieval, & Modern Imagery, among other Astonishments.
The Floor Below is bursting with the Rival Claims of various Religions & Cults, including, for some Odd Reason, the Masons.
Great Hanging Banners will warn you of Religious Imperatives & Highways to Hell.
Fundamentalist Flag Wavings of Many Varieties are on view, along with Cases filled with Religious & Superstitious Magazines & Journals.
As a former Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor, I was a bit surprised to find it included along with a lot of Pious Hogwash.
How about an Album Cover for a Jerry Falwell Special?
Of course, most of the Printed Exhortations to the Varieties of The Faithful are not Inclusive.
Instead, they variously warn of the Dangers that await you in This World & The Next, if you have chosen The Wrong Path To Salvation!
One Gallery is closely hung with Scores of really Awful Oil Paintings, by Various Hands.
Amazingly enough, this is the First Shaw Exhibit in New York, although for the Past Thirty Years "…Shaw has become one of the United States' Most Influential & Visionary Artists. "
How did MoMA miss out on showing Shaw long before the New Museum?
[Closing 10 January 2016]
Greenwood is living through a Six Months Residency at the New Museum.
On entering the Fifth Floor New Museum Resource Center, you will find a row of TV Monitors, all showing the Colorful Cavorting of Geenwood as Tracy & The Plastics.
This was an All Girl Band that toured the Nation from 1999 to 2006, when the Project came to an End.
The Gimmick was that Greenwood performed Live, backed up by Two TV Monitors, featuring Greenwood as Nikki & Cola.
Scattered around the Monitor Space & elsewhere are Masks that Greenwood has made of Found Materials.
These have been worn by her Friends & Others.
Some are very Amusing…
The "Kelly " Title of this show refers to the Actual Exhibition, Greenwood's Residency, & the ReMastering of the entire Tracy & The Plastics Archival Performances.
The Visitor Handout explains: "Wynn Greenwood explores Constructions of the Self, tracing how Subjectivities are formed in Public & Private Spaces & always in relation to Others… "
Also on view at New Museum Resource Center: Bad Girls & HOMO Video: Where Are We Now?
So the Entire Space seems Lesbian Inflected: Serious & Comedic compete.
[Closing 3 January 2016]
Barbara Rossi began as a "Chicago Imagist, " so these Poor Traits Portraits from the Late 1960s are something of an Amusing Reminder of a more Carefree Time in the Art History of the Midwest.
Rossi also made Reverse Paintings on Plexiglas way back in the Early 1970s.
The Free Brochure for Poor Traits opens up into a Large Scale Color Reproduction of a Major Rossi Work!
Curatorial Note: Rossi & her Windy City Colleagues were "in pursuit of vivid, Figurative Work, often coupled with humorous Gags or Puns. "
But why has it taken so long for these Unusual Images to find a Venue in Manhattan!
At The Neue Galerie:
[Closing 4 January 2016]
Every Inch of the Wall Space & the Display Cases is Filled/Crammed/Stuffed with Posters, Photos, Texts, Testimonies, Models, Drawings, & Paintings chronicling the Short Lived Weimar Republic, soon shoved Off Stage by the National Socialist Arbeiter Partei of Der Führer, Adolf Hitler.
After Germany's Crushing Defeat in 1918 - including Two Currency Collapses before the Nazis took power in 1933 - Berlin experienced a Roller Coaster of Avant Garde Art, Political Conflict, Hard & High Living Excesses, & Social Desperation that made the Jazz Age in America seem almost Tame in Comparison.
Fritz Lang's famed film, Metropolis, gives this Visually Strident Show its Title, as well as some Iconic Inspiration.
There are Period Film Clips, Movie Posters, Naughty Ladies, Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, Searing Portraits, & a Model of the Einstein Tower, near Potsdam.
The Exhibition Catalogue weighs a Metaphoric Ton, but it includes far more Documentation & Detail than the Walls & Cases can offer.
As Contemporary Europe is on the Verge of an Economic & Immigration Driven Catastrophe, this Disturbing Diorama of the 1920s might well be Instructive…
Oddly enough, although Neue Galerie Shows are always eminently Visual, there is a Strict Policy of No Photos.
Apparently, this is a Matter of Copyright, rather than of Flash Photography damaging Old Movie Posters.
There are Hitler Posters with Swastikas, which were long banned in Post War Germany.
But the Red Flag is also Poster Worthy in this Wide Ranging Survey.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.