May 13, 1990
"Lewd, immoral, obscene . . . the lowest expression of pure filth." The above statement was made not made about a Robert Mapplethorpe or Andres Serrano exhibition in 1990 but rather in 1939 concerning Thomas Hart Benton's painting "Susanna and the Elders." (The current Los Angeles County Museum show of Benton works was reviewed by William Wilson April 29.) It has been interesting to re-read quotes from Benton and Mapplethorpe, very different artists from very different eras. It would appear both were concerned with (and condemned for)
January 22, 1988 |
L.A. artist Olga Seem takes strides toward those interpretive renditions of nature that hover somewhere between realism and abstraction, translating observation into an eccentric reality full of mystery and life force. Thomas Hart Benton was a master at this; more recently, the goofy floating interiors of Elizabeth Murray hit the same target from another angle. Seem's current show is more compact and sure than the loose and almost chaotic work of the past.
April 29, 1990
The decade ended, the world seemed to crumble like a chimney falling in slow motion. The wreckage revealed grimy scraps of gilt-edged securities, broken bottles of bathtub gin, the fender of a yellow Stutz Bearcat--detritus of good times gone. Bony derelicts would soon rummage in the rubble to a harmonica tune asking, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
June 3, 1990 |
Don't breathe a word to the people of Cincinnati--you might find yourself under indictment if you do--but sex and sexuality have been central to art for at least 10,000 years, give or take a few. So let's talk about art and sex for a moment, and especially about art and the kind of sex that dares not speak its name.
September 20, 2009 |
The documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has a story he clearly loves to tell. He was walking in New York City a few years ago -- on a date -- when he heard a man he'd just passed yell violently back at him: "What about Mingus?!" Preceding the name of the protean jazz bassist was a pungent (and unprintable) expletive. Burns turned to his date and reassured her. "It's just about 'Jazz,' " he said, referring to his 10-part history shown on PBS in 2001, which drew big audiences and critics' complaints that he overlooked key figures.
January 19, 1993
John D. Paulus Jr., 83, an architect who worked on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb. Paulus joined the Raytheon Co. in Concord, Mass., in 1942 and wound up overseeing a group of engineers, drafters and designers working on an electrical guidance system. He also worked on the conceptual design for what was to be the first radar tracking system. He had lived in the Jefferson City, Mo., area since 1946 and worked for Missouri state government until 1974.