February 12, 2010 |
Pop quiz: Name the 19th-century European painter who was only recognized as a genius long after he checked himself into an insane asylum, sliced off his own ear and committed suicide when he was 37. Too easy? Try this one: Which artist from the same period read Shakespeare and Zola, wrote fluently in three languages and found inspiration in Japanese woodblock prints? The answer to both questions is Vincent van Gogh, the creator of some of the most important, loved and, these days, expensive canvases in Western art. But decades of mythmaking have reduced the artist himself to a few broad brush strokes for many people, a romanticized vision of a tortured soul who produced works of dynamic beauty between -- or during -- bouts of madness that ultimately led to his tragic self-mutilation and destruction.
October 15, 2009 |
In Spain, a heightened style of Realist painting and sculpture has been around for centuries. Had it turned up first in our digital age, we probably would have appended the prefix "hyper." Hyper-realism would convey the almost fanatical underpinnings to miracle-driven visions of much Spanish religious art, from the grim era of the Inquisition to the jokey Modern diversions of Salvador DalÃ. It would also incorporate more mundane (but nonetheless obsessive) efforts of 17th century Baroque art, such as the acute portrait miniatures of dignitaries and family popular among the aristocracy, long before the camera erased any such need.
August 26, 2009 |
It started with a single sculpture -- a rifle-toting, horse-riding bronze of Buffalo Bill Cody by New York artist-heiress Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Now, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art -- located in Cody's namesake community just east of Yellowstone National Park -- is marking its first half-century with a sweeping reinstallation. The Whitney name stands as a reminder that it was made possible with Eastern largess, the same behind New York's Whitney Museum of American Art. "We used to kid about how to build a western museum with eastern money, but it was basically true," said former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, chairman of the gallery's parent institution, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
July 17, 2005 |
As school field trips go, it wasn't exactly a romp in the park. "What's this man missing?" a museum guide asked the students, pausing before a painting of a beggar amputee. "His leg!" several adolescent voices shouted at once.
July 1, 2005 |
For his mid-career survey exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Tim Hawkinson has suspended wires and electrical cords high overhead throughout the capacious ground-floor galleries of the Anderson Building. The wiring is there to provide power for the machinery and computers that operate his often kinetic art. Think of it as a homemade power grid -- a replica in miniature of something vast on which we all rely but about which we pay little attention until it's not there.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 2004 |
Rudolf G. Wunderlich, a leading expert on Western Americana who owned galleries in New York and Chicago, has died. He was 83. Wunderlich died of complications from Alzheimer's disease at a nursing home in Fountain Valley on Wednesday, according to his wife, Susan. He retired for health reasons and moved to Southern California in 1998. Wunderlich appraised art for some of the leading museums in the country, including the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Okla.