gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: Art

“But Beautiful” – Hanya Yanagihara

0

As an art lover, the question of what beauty is often crosses my mind in the context of admiring art. I took a philosophy of art class in college, which allowed me to explore this question further. The primal question of whether or not beauty can even be defined in  is perplexing enough, let alone attempting to assess the level or quality of beauty. I found this Editor’s Letter by Hanya Yanagihara, the Editor-in-Chief for the The New York Times Style Magazine, very insightful. I thought her whole letter was thought-provoking, but especially the bit below.

But of all the ways in which art and design test our understanding of the world, one of the most important is how they make us question what exactly beauty is. Great art and design remind us of two things: first, that what is beautiful is not necessarily what is pleasant or pretty; and second, that the search for beauty, in all its forms, is elemental to the human condition. Every person in every culture, no matter how impoverished or restrictive, tries to ornament her life. This desire — to stimulate the senses, to remind ourselves of the wildness of the imagination — is not an indulgence or a luxury, but an instinct, one that defines us as human. What, after all, is the entire arc of history but a compendium of things — the pottery, cloaks, jewelry, houses, furniture, vessels and tapestries that humankind has always made (and will always make) to assert its presence in the world?

…to find and reveal and present beauty in all its forms, even if sometimes those forms don’t resemble what we understand as beauty at all. Beauty might be something ephemeral, made more potent for the brevity of its life…

I think Yanagihara perfectly captures that beauty is not simply an aesthetic characteristic we assign to things, but that it’s actually present in virtually all that the human race brings forth in the world. We have this drive to create something for ourselves or for others in an effort to exercise our creativity and imagination not only for a useful purpose, but also to simply satisfy our instinct to surround ourselves with what feels good.

 

Advertisements

Lisa Graziose Corrin, Director of the Block Museum of Art

0

Untitled-design

I really enjoyed this interview with Lisa Graziose Corrin by Chicago Gallery News, a premier source for art happenings in Chicago. I subscribe to their email list and I’m always eager to read their weekly interviews with museum directors and gallery owners. Lisa Graziose Corrin is currently the Director of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, but she was previously the Director of the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), which is a place dear to my heart, as I lived in Williamstown for one year and absolutely loved it.

The way she describes her connection to the Met in New York and how it’s like home to her is endearing, and her observation of Monet’s Women in the Garden reminds me why I love art as I do. When we look at art we are forced to examine what we’re looking at while keeping in mind that what we see at first glance is not necessarily the whole picture.

I remember going to the Met and seeing a small study of Monet’s Women in the Garden, which is now in the Musee d’Orsay, and seeing the shadow on the back of a train on a woman’s dress and the hundreds of shades of green and grey that composed this picture. I realized Monet was not painting women’s dresses at all, he was painting the effects of light. It was like a veil had been lifted from my eyes and everything I looked at around me after that changed. I saw how art could be a window onto other ways of perceiving and understanding the world. At that moment I thought “Wow I want to be looking through those windows for the rest of my life.”

This is the passage that particularly stood out to me. I just love her insight into the art world landscape, the future of leadership within the museum field, and the way she responds to work that inspires her.

The second Chicago Architecture Biennial

0

IMG_0398 (2)

The Architecture Biennial has graced Chicago twice now – the first time in 2015 and most recently this past Fall of 2017. It went down in January, and of course I waited until the last week to go see it. I wish I would have gone earlier so that I could have gone back to see my favorite things a few times. The theme for this most recent installation of the biennial was “Make New History” and it featured 141 architects, theorists, designers, etc. from 20 + countries. So it really is a global event, housed at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center in the heart of the loop. These are pictures of some of the displays that most caught my eye.

IMG_0374

This is a model of Yves Saint Laurent’s salon…isn’t it glamorous?? So full of art…

IMG_0433

I loved these white trees!

Interiors have always held a special place in my heart, so I liked this exhibit entitled “The Room of One’s Own”, which included several drawings of singular interior rooms.

I work at a kitchen & bath showroom, so I was pretty amused by this miniature pink bathroom.

IMG_0380

IMG_0406 (2)

This room was very cool with about 10 or so models of fictional skyscrapers. As you can see how they compared in size to a person, they were towering!

i

Looking forward to the next Architecture Bienniale in a couple years from now!

Space & identity

0

My way of expressing myself is to build my own universe, and in doing so, he added, I create my own self.

15tmag-gustav-slide-OFBX-blog427

I really enjoyed this article by Tom Delevan about Oliver Gustav‘s apartment in Copenhagen in the March edition of The New York Times Style Magazine. I was initially drawn to it for a couple of reasons – the gray color palette, which happens to be one of my favorites; and not necessarily for interior spaces, but more so for clothing. I seem to have an infinite supply of gray sweaters and I’m only in my 20s. Gray is not a drab grandma sweater! I was also drawn to the article for its location. I have had a fascination with Scandinavia for a while now, so my interest is definitely peaked whenever I come across something related to that cold, dark, dreary, but comfortable and cozy part of the world (or at least this is how I picture it).

15tmag-gustav-slide-QXK4-superJumbo

Gustav is a creative based in Copenhagen and New York who works with art and interiors, and his apartment in Copenhagen reflects his passion for both. Reading about the historic structure (built in 1734!) was fascinating because of its eccentricities since it’s so old. The minimalist design and subdued color scheme is evident in the pictures, but what struck me more were Gustav’s thoughts about his space – that in creating the space around him he concurrently creates himself. I can completely identify with this, since I too find great parallels between my space and myself. I also admire his love of collecting because I also like to collect (but on a much smaller scale of course) and I have boxes of things in the attic that I’ve gotten over the years that I’m just waiting to find the right spot for.

I have a love affair with things…I just want a beautiful life.

While this may sound superficial and materialistic, I do think there is something to be said for having a certain eye and taste for things when it’s connected to a deeper cultural or intellectual interest, which it is for me and I’m sure for Gustav as well.

Delevan, the author of the article, is a very talented interior designer in his own right, which is beautifully exemplified on his website. Just so clean and effortless…take a look!

 

“In Search of the Eclectic”

1

sally_schwartz-225

I came across this article through Chicago Gallery News because I like to keep up with what’s going on in the art scene in Chicago, and while this piece is more about a private collection than a gallery open to the public, Sally Schwartz‘s collecting, or ahem, hoarding habit, reminds me a little bit of myself. Schwartz runs the Randolph St Market Festival, which is a monthly flea market that features hundreds of local Chicago vendors and artisans. So constantly being around all these treasures is right up her alley.

I’ve also gone antiquing with my parents over the years and have developed an interest in collecting unique, interesting items as I see them, rather than waiting to buy things when I need them. This has resulted in several boxes of random things that I’m storing in my parents’ attic, probably much to their dismay. But I blame them for instilling this love for antiquing in me!

M Lindsay Photography

I enjoyed how the article illustrates Schwartz and her husband bringing their collections together, even though they are so different – hers comprised of older vintage pieces and his of newer modern pieces. I can also identify with the fact that while their children are intrigued by their collections, they claim they’ll get rid of everything one day. I sometimes get frustrated by the sheer volume of things my parents collect and dream about the burden that would be lifted if I got rid of everything; but, on the other hand, there are so many stories tied to the pieces and sentimental value connected to them, that I may end up holding on them 🙂 Just as Schwartz is holding on to her collection in case the kids change their minds. How about these photos of their collection…dreamy!

Cultural divides

0

c8eec13db33d7a83deeddffec7714628

Over the past several months I’ve been conducting oral history interviews with Latino/a artists for one of my jobs. Some interesting and surprising conflicts have arisen that I definitely wasn’t expecting, and am even a bit bothered by. I consider myself a very open-minded person when it comes a variety of things like race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc., but what I’ve learned recently is that sometimes people can view this open-mindedness and willingness to engage with those who are different from us as a negative thing, and even a hostile thing.

To put things more concretely, I was speaking with a young Latina artist in Pilsen, the Latino neighborhood in Chicago, and she was bothered, insulted almost, by the fact that I wanted to explore the neighborhood, meet the locals, and try to have an authentic experience there. She proceeded to tell me that there was no way I could possibly have an authentic experience because I as was not Latina, I did not speak Spanish, and I did not grow up in the neighborhood. She said that the “authentic” experience I was seeking was clouded by any preconceived notions of what I thought her culture was about. She was frustrated that white people were visiting her neighborhood to see it for themselves and then trying to build it up because it was still affordable to do so. She opposed the gentrification process that was and still is happening in Pilsen, particularly in regards to the artist community. The artist community that Pilsen is now known for does not typically include the artists who have been living in Pilsen for decades. She felt as though these artists who have recently been moving into Pilsen are trying to replace the artists who were already there, and then pretending like they own the place. I can completely sympathize with the frustration with this kind of gentrification, but I do not think that someone who wants to explore a neighborhood and a culture with genuine interest should be lumped into the same category.

I countered all of this by arguing that not everyone who visits the neighborhood wants to replace what’s already there or try to change it. Some people are genuinely curious about other cultures, and not only curious but truly eager to learn more, engage with, and try to experience things with the locals. She was still insulted and offended by this proposition, insisting that there’s no way an outsider could have a genuine experience, precisely because he/she was an outsider.

pilsen_vibrant_murals

I left this encounter feeling so frustrated because I felt like she was prejudice against me, while I was not at all prejudice towards her. I was left feeling like there’s no way that two people who are fundamentally different from one another ethnically, which is out of their control, can come together and learn from one another. It was as if she encouraged segregation between cultures and as if she didn’t want to share her culture with anyone, nor learn about another’s culture. This was very frustrating to me because while I am a white American female, I was born in Europe and grew up there for the first eight years of my life. My mom has taught ESL (English as a Second Language) to people from all over the world for many years, and I myself am now teaching ESL as well. I also volunteer at a non-profit that helps Spanish speakers with a variety of things, where I help with their citizenship classes. I have friends from diverse cultures, and in fact I prefer to surround myself with people who are different from me because I feel that there is so much to learn from them. I definitely have a genuine interest in exposing myself to different cultures and experiencing things as they do the best that I can. So I too was insulted by her for not understanding this genuine interest of mine in wanting to explore her neighborhood and do as the locals do.

Although frustrating, this was interesting perspective to be confronted by, which made me think more about what I was trying to accomplish by surrounding myself or exposing myself to other cultures. Despite her pessimism and unwillingness to accept me into her neighborhood, I’m still all about mixing cultures because there is truly so much learn.

EXPO Chicago

0

Last weekend I went to The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art at Navy Pier in Chicago and saw an absolutely overwhelming amount of art. There were over 100 galleries represented from around the world, as well as some special exhibitions. What was probably the coolest thing for me, was seeing Pearl Lam Galleries, as I have a friend from graduate school who works at their Shanghai location. I didn’t know the gallery was going to be there, much less that the woman I spoke to actually knew my friend! So, of course, we took a selfie together and sent it to her. Another cool finding was to see some works by Maria Tomasula represented by one of the galleries there, who teaches Art at Notre Dame and who I’ve worked with at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture on an oral history of her life and work.

These are some of the artists represented at the EXPO that I was most taken by.

Paolo Ventura

774px-paul_strand_wall_street_new_york_city_1915

Paul StrandWall Street  

andrew_down

Andrew Moore – Cuba series

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Francesco Pergolesi

robert-parkeharrison-01

Robert and Shana Parkeharrison

0_111eb4_f19d76f4_xxxl

Ysabel Lemay

6a00e39826d2c788330133f15b52e0970b-800wijeanclaude

Robert Greene

Yayoi Kusama

00687d12943cfeb8f78c1d88d148c83c

Sally Mann

Anthony CaroArena Pieces 

ShawsMagnolia

Andrew Millner 

99d1e2a3a50c31f0cf0670358316b2b3

Herman de Vries

boomoon-install-2

Boomon Naksan

elizabeth-patterson-32elizabeth-patterson-85

Elizabeth Patterson

paper_roll2

Hendrik Kerstens

Rene Romero Schuler

tumblr_n3vmn6hkln1sodq0ro1_1280

Michael Eastman – Fidel’s Last Stairway

Liliana Wilson – Chilean artist based in Austin, TX

0

star-girl-400

I was recently introduced to this artist by my boss, who is an expert and possibly the most prolific collector of Latino art in the U.S. The artist’s name is Liliana Wilson, and originally from Chile, she now lives and works in Austin, Texas. I think her depiction of women and children is so sweet, and I’m already dreaming of decorating my future kids’ bedrooms with some of her works, especially these:

conjuring-a-home-400

al-norte-400

(If I have two girls…)

I highly recommend checking out her website and shop. Her pieces are very affordable! Having seen a couple of her paintings in person, I can tell you that they look even better than the pictures – the colors are vibrant and the faces appear even sweeter and more delicate.

Latino artists in the Midwest

0

Recently, for my job at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, I’ve been conducting interviews with Latino/a artists along with Art Historian Amelia Malagamba in an effort to compile oral histories and trace Latino art in the Midwest. Not only are their families’ migration stories very interesting, as well as what inspires them artistically, they produce beautiful work that I think is worth looking at. Here are just a few examples:

fd9af26e86998628df2dca72943c09f1

Ramiro Rodriguez – Elementos de Chavon

Rodriguez_Ramiro_2.jpg

Ramiro RodriguezGreat Blue

Heritor-web

Maria TomasulaHeritor 

guadalupe_rel

Maria TomasulaVirgin of Guadalupe 

Cantu_Marcos_web

Maclovio Cantú IVMarcos

73375_526564900720372_544809002_n

Maclovio Cantú IV

6.7.16_020_grande

Ricco DiamanteWinter Solstice 

6.7.16_002_grande

Ricco DiamanteAtargatis

alien_status_by_salvadormoya-d1ox3u5

Salvador MoyaAlien Status

feeding_hearts_by_salvadormoya-d1pt7y4

Salvador MoyaFeeding Hearts

unnamed

Elena Zarandona

unnamed-1

Elena Zarandona 

FullSizeRender_7

Federico Rodriguez

FullSizeRender_8

Federico Rodriguez

Yale Art Gallery

0

On my most recent trip out east, I went to the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven, CT and it was such a nice surprise. Museums affiliated with colleges and universities are usually on the smaller side, but the Yale Art Gallery is impressive not only in size, but certainly also in the scope of its collection. The museum addition by Louis Khan is very nice, especially juxtaposed next to his design of the Yale Center for British Art (also a nice building and extensive collection). Here are just a few of my favorites from the collection!

26191, 1982.92

Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Valence with Grey Cloud

ag-obj-45064-001-pub-med

Jacques Villon, Color Perspective (Horizontal) 

1950.521, 50157

Ando Hiroshige, Kanazawa in Moonlight (Buyo Kanazawa Hassho Yakei)

ag-obj-8862-001-pub-med

Odilon Redon, Nasturtiums