Saturday, December 31, 2016

New York-Paris No. 2

Stuart Davis, New York-Paris No. 2, 1931, oil on canvas at the National Gallery of Art in D.C.

Are there two cities in the world more closely associated with New Year's Eve than New York and Paris? That's why I thought this painting by Davis would be particularly appropriate to share today. Got anything exciting planned to celebrate the new year? I confess, I usually like to turn in early so I can start the new year fresh and rested. But I'm pretty sure I'll get one more bike ride in during 2016 and maybe catch a concert or two on TV before turning in. Whatever you do this evening, please be safe and I'll see you again here online next year. :-)

Friday, December 30, 2016

New York Mural

Stuart Davis, New York Mural, 1932, oil on canvas

After touring the Hirshhorn Museum, I headed across the Mall to the National Gallery of Art to visit the Stuart Davis exhibit.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Yayoí Kusama, Pumpkin, 2016, fiber-reinforced plastic

"Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Pumpkin’ is a tribute to her most beloved motif, at once endearing and grotesque, and almost pulsing with energy," said Hirshhorn associate curator Mika Yoshitake. “Seeming to grow from the beds of the Hirshhorn plaza gardens, this crowd-pleasing work adds a vibrant focal point to the museum’s world-class display of international sculpture.”

Visitors are invited to pose with the iconic sculpture, and post their photos using #InfiniteKusama for a chance to be among the first 10 VIP visitors to see “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” opening weekend. ~ Smithsonian

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Woman in E

Ragnar Kjartansson's Woman in E

"Unlike the G-scale, which is commonly used in love songs, E-minor conveys a melancholy, reflective feel. In Kjartansson's [Hirshhorn exhibit], this pensive chord reverberates throughout the museum building, growing stronger as it bounces off the architecture. Woman in E revolves around a single, central figure: a woman dressed in a gold gown, standing on a rotating pedestal. The central figure plays the electric guitar without accompaniment, alone with the instrument and an amp. The atmosphere around her glitters as the notes rebound off the walls and ceiling, creating a deep, guttural tremolo.

"The piece is also a nod to classic, representational sculpture. The protagonist powerfully embodies multiple tropes of femininity at once—she is a goddess, conqueror, and siren—but eludes a single narrative. The result is a portrait of vulnerability and prowess, of objectification and self-possession. ~

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


This is just one of a collection of Luhring Augustine sketchbooks from the period 2004-2016 now on exhibit at the Hirshhorn. Sharing them with the public, I think, is a brilliant idea. So much can be learned from seeing art in process.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Holy Mountain III

Horace Pippin, Holy Mountain III, 1945, oil on canvas

I'm back to my series of photographs from the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

St. Sebaldus Church in Nuremberg, Germany

Merry Christmas everyone! Here's one of my seasonal favorites:

The time draws near the birth of Christ.
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.
. . . .

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rimes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand; 
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

It is the day when he was born.

~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

A little far afield for this blog, but this is a sculpture I photographed during a visit to Germany's Erfurt Cathedral in 2014. Just seemed fitting for this Christmas Eve. I hope you have or will have had a wonderful evening.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Fernand Leger

Fernand Leger, Nude on a Red Background, 1927, oil on canvas

"Joseph Fernand Henri Léger (French: February 4, 1881 – August 17, 1955) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style. His boldly simplified treatment of modern subject matter has caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of pop art."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Clyfford Still

Clyfford Still, 1962-D, 1962, oil on canvas

"Clyfford Still (November 30, 1904 – June 23, 1980) was an American painter, and one of the leading figures in the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II. Still has been credited with laying the groundwork for the movement, as his shift from representational to abstract painting occurred between 1938 and 1942, earlier than his colleagues like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, who continued to paint in figurative-surrealist styles well into the 1940s." ~ Wikipedia

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

World Time Clock

Having visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum two weekends ago, I went back to D.C. this past weekend to visit the Hirshhorn Museum where Bettina Pousttchi's World Time Clock is showing. 

"German-Iranian artist Bettina Pousttchi (b. Mainz, Germany, 1971) has often contemplated systems of time and space. Over the course of the last seven years, she traveled around the globe creating World Time Clock, a serial work that consists of twenty-four photographs taken in twenty-four different time zones, in cities as far-flung as Bangkok, Auckland, Mexico City, and Tashkent. At each location, the artist created a portrait of a public clock at the same local time: five minutes before two. Displayed together, these images suggest both a sense of suspended time and, in the artist’s words, 'imaginary synchronism.'

Installed for the first time as a complete set, Pousttchi’s images will take the viewer along a circular path that recalls the artist’s circumnavigation of the globe, or the motion of a clock’s hands around its face. The hollow cylinder form of the building itself furthermore acts as a natural timepiece, literally framing the sun’s passage across the sky. The progressive shift in sunlight and shadow through the gallery over the course of the day provides a fascinating counterpoint to the mechanized and politically regulated version of time suggested by World Time Clock." ~ Smithsonian

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Lamps illuminating one of the marble staircases in the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Monday, December 19, 2016

Snails Space

David Hockney
Born: Bradford, England 1937
oil on two canvases, acrylic on canvas-covered masonite, wood dowels

Nothing about my photograph does this piece justice. Snails Space is not a static display. It evolves. To fully appreciate it, click here

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Light Show

Never did identify who sculpted this piece or what it's called. The light behind it pulsated slowly, giving you different looks as the light changed.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Joan Mitchell, Marlin, 1960, oil on canvas

"Marlin is one of the 'very violent and angry paintings' that Mitchell created around 1960 after her move to France. The image may have reminded her of deep-sea fishing off the coast of Montauk, Long Island, or it might have come from her summers spent sailing the Mediterranean with friends. All of the energy of Mitchell's painting style whirls around a vortex of thick, vivid strokes, while thin spatters and stains fly out to the margins. This explosive power did not come from random attacks with the paintbrush. Mitchell flatly stated that 'the freedom in my work is quite controlled. I don't close my eyes and hope for the best.' The artist regarded painting as 'a way of feeling alive,' and she paradoxically evoked the death throes of a famously difficult game fish resisting the bloodied hook." ~ Smithsonian American Art Museum

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Figure Five

Robert Indiana, The Figure Five (detail), 1963, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Fire trucks really are an iconic part of our American towns and cities. Rarely does a week go by that I don't see at least one rushing to the scene of some accident or small fire. Indiana's painting is said to have been based on William Carlos Williams's poem "The Great Figure".

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
fire truck
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Prismatica II

I waited patiently for the perfect shot of a child interacting with the Prismatica display, all to no avail. The best I could come up with was this little fellow. But I think the expression on his face says a lot.

“Children see magic because they look for it.” ~ Christopher Moore

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Tired of the graphic arts? Still seeing stripes everywhere you go? How about a brief break, then, and a peek at Prismatica in Georgetown's Waterfront Park? I really do think the best photographs of this holiday light display are taken at night. But, hey! I like to sleep then. So I'll let those who are more nocturnally inclined show you the display all lit up after the rest of us were all safely tucked away in our beds.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Raspberry Icicle

Gene Davis, Raspberry Icicle (detail), 1967, acrylic on canvas

"It's hard to talk about color. To say 'yellow, maroon, violet, brown, khaki, white, sky blue, brown ...' does not really indicate what it's like to look at 'Raspberry Icicle,' for instance. You can speak of Davis' reaching for extremes, of his simultaneous yearning for the saucy and the innocent, of the debts he owed to others. But no matter how you wrestle with the evidence he gives, you cannot explain his colors. He could make them soft as mist (look at 'Monet's Window'). He could make them bright as trumpet blares, or give them the somber dignity of a duke's gray worsted suit (look at 'Voodoo'). He could work with 50 colors (in 'Moondog,' for example), or make do with only two. It is his colors that astound, that make you smile, or mourn." ~ Paul Richard, Washington Post

Monday, December 12, 2016


Gene Davis, Untitled (P-108), 1961, magna on canvas

"Born on August 22, 1920 in Washington, D.C., [Gene Davis] initially pursued a career as a sportswriter and turned to art in 1949. His early paintings were formally inclined towards musical abstraction, creating a sense of rhythm through visual alliteration inspired in part by the work of Paul Klee. After gaining popularity and critical attention during the 1960s, Davis began experimenting with scale and made public installations throughout the 1970s, including the 1972 Franklin's Footpath, monumental stripes painted on the street in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Simultaneously, he produced minuscule 'micro-paintings,' often no larger than half an inch in either direction. A lifelong Washington, D.C. resident, Davis died in his hometown on April 6, 1985, and his work is included among the collections of important institutions such as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Guggenheim Museum in New York." ~

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hot Beat

Gene Davis, Hot Beat, 1964, acrylic on canvas

See the studio where paintings conservation intern, Laura Raven, was helping to prepare Davis' "Hot Beat" for exhibition.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Wall Stripes

Gene Davis, Wall Stripes No. 3, 1962, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Center

There's also this interesting Washington Post article about Davis and how he worked.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Triple Jump

Gene Davis, Triple Jump, 1962, oil and magna on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Doing a little research, I learned that a conservator, Amber Kerr, performed some restorative work to prepare Davis' Triple Jump for exhibition. I hadn't even thought about how that kind of work might be needed on a piece like this until it dawned on me that, yeah, this work really is now more than 50-years old. Duh! To put it in even greater perspective, 1962 was the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two Part Blue

Well, as I said in an earlier post, my goal this past weekend was to visit the Gene Davis exhibit now showing in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I'll take you on a tour over the next few days as well as share a few other works I spotted on the same floor. Davis called the piece shown above "Two Part Blue" and it was created in 1920 with magna on canvas.

"Gene Davis was a major figure in 20th-century American painting whose contribution was invaluable in establishing Washington, D.C., as a center of contemporary art. Davis also played a significant national and international role in the color abstraction movement that first achieved prominence in the 1960s." ~ Jacquelyn D. Serwer

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


JC VeVE appeared here on stage with Esther Haynes at D.C.'s Holiday Market this past weekend. But like many area musicians, they perform frequently together as well as in combination with various other jazz and blues ensembles. I think someone's been working hard behind stage, though, because in addition to Esther and JC, the Market has an impressive line-up of musicians between now and the end of the month.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Esther Haynes

Overhear any conversation in the United States right now and it won't be long until you'll hear someone saying something about the election. Yeah, it's over, at least in some people's minds. But it's not over insofar as there are still recounts going on and, of course, until our famous (or infamous, depending upon your point-of-view) Electoral College meets.

Still, life goes on, and America thankfully isn't all, or even mostly, about politics. So I headed down to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to see the special Gene Davis exhibit. I'll have more to share about that shortly. But while waiting outside for the museum to open, I took in some of the Holiday Market going on right now, including the vintage jazz and blues music of Esther Haynes (above).

Monday, December 5, 2016

Profiles in Protest IX

This young lady's role was to teach the various demonstrators the chants and hand motions they would use for their march.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Profiles in Protest VIII

UPDATE: Interesting tidbit of information I found: "HispanTV is a Spanish language news channel operated by IRIB, Iran's state-owned public broadcasting corporation. It began broadcasting in December 2011." 

And this: "The primary goal of HispanTV is to provide a complete platform of multimedia services to the Spanish speaking peoples of Latin America, Latin-American citizens of Iranian origin, Hispanic and Latino Americans of the United States, Muslim minorities of the Hispanophone world, and Spanish-speaking foreign residents in Iran, offering an opportunity for cultural exchange through television and web broadcasts."