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So many of us love art, see fashion as art, post some of our favorite art pieces on our welcome pages, that I decided to create a forum to discuss art, to highlight great museum exhibits, to post museum and gallery exhibitions that are of interest, etc. Additionally, there are several incredible photographers in our midst that continually share their inspirational shots. I welcome all of you to post your favorite pieces, comments, upcoming exhibitions in your respective cities and whatever else may come to mind. Perhaps you have read a great biography on Picasso for example or can recommend some of your favorite museums for those who are traveling to your city!

HELLO QUEENMARGOT

Posted By GOTCHA on Apr 26, 2008 at 8:43PM

*HELLO QUEENMARGOT*
You are a pathetic woman. All of your lies and all that you have done to injure others, is finally beginning to catch up to you. Your mask is falling, and you are realizing that there are many times now that you can't control your thoughts or your emotions. Many people are laughing behind your back. They are calling you the very same disgusting names that you have called others that you felt were not giving you the constant attention that you so desperately need. You have very serious mental problems, and you try to escape your insane thoughts, but you are unable to do so, because the massive amount of random thoughts that you harbor does not even allow you to sleep. You've made the mistake of sharing your evil actions with others that you thought would never betray you. You were wrong! You have been betrayed, and soon everyone will know about all that which you have single handedly orchestrated for the benefit of only yourself. You have only the emotional maturity of a fairly bright 6 year old. Your emotions are limited. you have no conscience, and it is very difficult for you to even understand boundaries, let alone abide by them. You do understand fear. Now is the time to fear that all are about to view and will anxiously await the moment that you will have pay for the havoc that you have caused in so many innocent lives. I bet that you thought that you were covering all of your bases when you devised plans to hurt others. You should have given that a great deal more thought. the world is full of pathological liars like yourself. they all believe all of their lies, and they all believe that they are too smart to ever get caught. In time, most of them are not only caught, but also forced to pay for the damage that they have done with all of those lies. You understand shame. You are about to crawl away alone carrying that shame along with you, because the very people that you have encouraged to plead your case, will be the same people that will see you for the vile creature that you really are. It's a funny thing about a liar, somehow along the way, they tend to forget which lies they told to which people. Most importantly though, the liar always thinks that his secrets are always safe. Not this time my dear. Enjoy your evening!

Tagged with: liar

Galleria Doria Pamphilj - Rome, Italy

Posted By Carole Gentry on Apr 3, 2008 at 5:14PM

Slowly, but surely, I am trying to write about different artists and bring attention to some of the galleries and museums that are not as well known, especially as many of our sugar friends are planning trips to various locales throughout the world.

I welcome all of you to post your favorite artsy haunts and or paintings/photographs/sculptures/installations that have meaning for you as well.

Everywhere you look in Italy, you will come upon a famous painting, church, fountain, sculpture, etc., the country is lush with beauty in all forms whether it be art, food, culture, fashion, music and life itself.

One discovery of note of is the Galleria Doria Pamphilj. While this privately-owned museums houses many 17th century masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Jan Bruegel, Velazaquez, and important Renaissance pieces by Titian, Raphael, Lotto, Correggio, and Parmigianino, it is not crowded and is one of the nicest spaces to spend an afternoon. The light streams in from all directions as you can see from this picture of the Gallery of Mirrors.
Gallery of Mirrors, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome, ItalyGallery of Mirrors, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome, Italy

This history of the Pamphilj family is quite interesting and today heirs of this family continue to reside in this villa which is located directly off the busy Via del Corso. Walking by, one would never guess at the quiet solitude to be found in the villa, nor dream of how beautiful the interiors and art is inside. After viewing the art, you can head downstairs to Bar Doria and have lunch, an espresso and a tasty dessert to re-energize yourself as you continue exploring the magnificence of Rome.

An added bonus for those choosing to visit the galleria on a Saturday, is the concerts that harmonize the history and art via music begin at noon! Visiting hours are Friday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I promise, you will not be sorry that you took time to spend an afternoon in this beautiful galleria!

Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, Annibale CarracciLandscape with the Flight into Egypt, Annibale Carracci

Repentant Magdalen, Caravaggio aka Michelangelo MerisiRepentant Magdalen, Caravaggio aka Michelangelo Merisi

Annunciation, Filippo LippiAnnunciation, Filippo Lippi

Venus, Mars and Cupid by Paris BordonVenus, Mars and Cupid by Paris Bordon

Titian's "Salome with the Head of John the Baptist"Titian's "Salome with the Head of John the Baptist"

Putti Fighting by Guido ReniPutti Fighting by Guido Reni
Caravaggio's "Rest during the Flight into Egypt"Caravaggio's "Rest during the Flight into Egypt"

Chapel and AnteChapelChapel and AnteChapel

Artesmisia Gentileschi (17th century Italian artist)

Posted By Carole Gentry on Apr 2, 2008 at 5:54PM

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652/1653), is a painter, and the daughter of well-known Roman artist, Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639), and was one of the first women artists to achieve recognition in the male-dominated world of post-Renaissance art. In an era when female artists were limited to portrait painting and imitative poses, she was the first woman to paint major historical and religious scenarios.

Born in Rome in 1593, she received her early training from her father. Her father's influence can be seen in her work and she mastered her sense of rich colors after spending time in Florence walking by all the fabric dyers and one really can see how she captured rich color, but also mastered the movement of fabrics on the body. After art academies rejected her, she continued study under a friend of her father, Agostino Tassi.

In 1612, her father brought suit against Tassi for raping Artemisia. There followed a highly publicised seven-month trial. This event makes up the central theme of a controversial French film, Artemisia (1998), directed by Agnes Merlet.

The trauma of the rape and trial impacted on Artemisia's painting. Her graphic depictions were cathartic and symbolic attempts to deal with the physical and psychic pain.

The heroines of her art, especially Judith, are powerful women exacting revenge on such male evildoers as the Assyrian general Holofernes. Her style was heavily influenced by dramatic realism and marked chiaroscuro (contrasting light and dark) of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573 - 1610).

After her death, she drifted into obscurity, her works often attributed to her father or other artists. Art historian and expert on Artemisia, Mary D. Garrard notes that Artemisia "has suffered a scholarly neglect that is unthinkable for an artist of her calibre." Renewed and overdue interest in Artemisia in recent years has recognized her as a talented seventeenth-century painter and one of the world's greatest female artists.

The first book devoted to her, Artemisia Gentileschi - The Image of The Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art. by Mary D. Garrard, was issued in 1989; her first exhibition was held in Florence in 1991. A TV documentary, a play and, more recently, a film have advanced her notoriety . Recently, the historical fiction novel, "The Passion of Artemisia," by Susan Vreeland brought attention to Artemisia's work to art-lovers throughout the world. Vreeland's book, "The Passion of Artemisia" is a fun read and inspired me to seek out Gentileschi's paintings in Italy and New York.

Her works can be found at the Spada Gallery in Rome, Italy. In Florence her works are in the Pitti Palace, the Uffizi, and Casa Buonarroti. Of course, there are other museums that display her work such as the Met in NYC, Prado in Madrid, London, the Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, etc. Her father's work can be seen in the Louvre and other world-famous museums as well.

Self-portrait (1630s, Royal Collection, London, England)Self-portrait (1630s, Royal Collection, London, England)

Judith and her Maidservant (1613-14), Palazzo Pitti, Florence, ItalyJudith and her Maidservant (1613-14), Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy

Susanna and the Elders, Schoborn Collection, PommersfeldenSusanna and the Elders, Schoborn Collection, Pommersfelden

Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614-20) Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, ItalyJudith Slaying Holofernes (1614-20) Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

Corisca and the Satyr (1630-35), Private CollectionCorisca and the Satyr (1630-35), Private Collection

Esther before Ahasuerus (1628-35), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USEsther before Ahasuerus (1628-35), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, US

Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, Italy

Posted By Carole Gentry on Apr 1, 2008 at 11:34AM

One of my favorites places in Rome is the church of San Luigi dei Francesi (St. Louis of the French), which is situated near Piazza Navona, Piazza Sant'Eustachio, and the Pantheon. A coffee lover's note, Cafe Sant'Eustachio has been serving the best coffee, espresso, cappuccino in Rome for over 60 years; this cafe is not to be missed!!!!

One of the reasons this small church is a favorite pilgrimage spot amongst art lovers, is that the Cerasi Chapel is adorned with three stunningly dramatic works by Caravaggio (1571-1610), who was the Baroque master of the heightened approach to light and dark. For Caravaggio one could only experience light through darkness, and life through death.

At the time, Caravaggio's painting were controversial because the clergy felt that the artist's dramatically realistic approach was scandalously disrespectful. Yet, Caravaggio painted what he knew best, life on the streets and often used prostitute's as models and painted scenes of Jesus surrounded with peasants rather than celestial angels and royal subjects.

This is a tiny and quiet, yet beautiful church. In the early morning as light streams through the stained glass, you will experience the beauty of Caravaggio's magnificent brush.

Begun in 1518 for the future Clement VII, the church was completed at the end of the same century by Domenico Fontana on the design by Giacomo Della Porta. The building, national church of the French, rises at the back of Piazza Navona, next to the Senate House.

The ample facade in travertine stone is decorated with figures of French Saints and of Charlemagne. The interior with three naves was arranged during the course of the 18th century. Besides the famous St. Matthew's chapel, the church houses Domenichino's masterpiece; the fresco of St. Cecilia in the second chapel ontheright (1616-17).

In the Contarelli chapel, there are the Stories of St. Matthew. From 1565, the chapel belonged to the French ecclesiastic, Mathieu Cointrel, who dedicated it to his patron saint with the intention of starting the decorations; the work, however, began only after his death, on the commission of the executor of his will, Virgilio Crescenzi. In 1591, Cavalier d'Arpino was given the commission of frescoing the chapel, but eight years later still lacked the two side paintings which were entrusted to Caravaggio. The painter completed them between July 1599 and July 1600. On the left is the Vocation of St. Matthew and on the right is the Martyrdom of St. Matthew.

The realism of the portrayal emphasises the harshness of the killing of the saint. The artist interprets with originality, the trend of the style of the Counter-reform, which insisted on the celebration of martyred saints. After having renounced the Sculptors' group of Jacob Cobaert {in the church of theTrinita dei PellegriniL the clergyman of San Luigi entrusted Caravaggio with the first version of the altar-piece with St. Matthew and the Angel, of doubtful date, wavering between 1593 and 1602. The work, quickly rejected because of the reduced size and for reasons of decorum, was acquired by the Marquis, Vincenzo Giustiniani (destroyed in Berlin during the last conflict) and substituted by the one which can now be seen on the altar, with the saint turned towards the angel and leaning with his legs on the stool precariously balanced on the steps.

You will not regret stopping in at this beautiful church, the quiet and solitude will offer respite from the crowds of Rome and you will be enthralled with the mastery of Caravaggio also known as Michaelanglo Merisi (September 29, 1571 - 18 July 1610).

Famous and extremely influential while he lived, Caravaggio was almost entirely forgotten in the centuries after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Yet despite this his influence on the new Baroque style which eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism, was profound. Andre Berne-Joffroy, Paul Valéry’s secretary, said of him: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."

Visiting hours and location Address: Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
Open: Fri.-Wed. 7-12:30 and 3:30-7

The Calling of St. Matthew (1599-1600)The Calling of St. Matthew (1599-1600)

The Martyrdom of St. Matthew (1599-1600)The Martyrdom of St. Matthew (1599-1600)

St. Matthew and the Angel (1603)St. Matthew and the Angel (1603)

Interior of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, ItalyInterior of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, Italy
The artist, CaravaggioThe artist, Caravaggio

Tagged with: Caravaggio, Churches, italy, rome, art, Travel

Jean Nouvel (French Architect) wins Pritzker Prize for Architecture

Posted By Carole Gentry on Mar 31, 2008 at 10:15AM

Jean Nouvel, the bold French architect known for such wildly diverse projects as the muscular Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the exotically louvered Arab World Institute in Paris, has received architecture’s top honor, the Pritzker Prize.

Mr. Nouvel, 62, is the second French citizen to take the prize, awarded annually to a living architect by a jury chosen by the Hyatt Foundation. (Christian de Portzamparc of France won in 1994.) His selection is to be announced Monday.

“For over 30 years Jean Nouvel has pushed architecture’s discourse and praxis to new limits,” the Pritzker jury said in its citation. “His inquisitive and agile mind propels him to take risks in each of his projects, which, regardless of varying degrees of success, have greatly expanded the vocabulary of contemporary architecture.”

In extending that vocabulary Mr. Nouvel has defied easy categorization. His buildings have no immediately identifiable signature, like the curves of Frank Gehry or the light-filled atriums of Renzo Piano. But each is strikingly distinctive, be it the Agbar Tower in Barcelona (2005), a candy-colored, bullet-shaped office tower, or his KKL cultural and congress center in Lucerne, Switzerland (2000), with a slim copper roof cantilevered delicately over Lake Lucerne.

“Every time I try to find what I call the missing piece of the puzzle, the right building in the right place,” Mr. Nouvel said this month over tea at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo.

Yet he does not design buildings simply to echo their surroundings. “Generally, when you say context, people think you want to copy the buildings around, but often context is contrast,” he said.

“The wind, the color of the sky, the trees around — the building is not done only to be the most beautiful,” he said. “It’s done to give advantage to the surroundings. It’s a dialogue.”

The prize, which includes a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion, is to be presented to Mr. Nouvel on June 2 in a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington.

Among Mr. Nouvel’s New York buildings are 40 Mercer, a 15-story red-and-blue, glass, wood and steel luxury residential building completed last year in SoHo, and a soaring 75-story hotel-and-museum tower with crystalline peaks that is to be built next to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown. Writing in The New York Times in November, Nicolai Ouroussoff said the Midtown tower “promises to be the most exhilarating addition to the skyline in a generation.”

Born in Fumel in southwestern France in 1945, Mr. Nouvel originally wanted to be an artist. But his parents, both teachers, wanted a more stable life for him, he said, so they compromised on architecture.

“I realized it was possible to create visual compositions” that, he said, “you can put directly in the street, in the city, in public spaces.”

At 20 Mr. Nouvel won first prize in a national competition to attend the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. By the time he was 25 he had opened his own architecture firm with François Seigneur; a series of other partnerships followed.

Mr. Nouvel cemented his reputation in 1987 with completion of the Arab World Institute, one of the “grand projects” commissioned during the presidency of François Mitterrand. A showcase for art from Arab countries, it blends high technology with traditional Arab motifs. Its south-facing glass facade, for example, has automated lenses that control light to the interior while also evoking traditional Arab latticework. For his boxy, industrial Guthrie Theater, which has a cantilevered bridge overlooking the Mississippi River, Mr. Nouvel experimented widely with color. The theater is clad in midnight-blue metal; a small terrace is bright yellow; orange LED images rise along the complex’s two towers.

In its citation, the Pritzker jury said the Guthrie, completed in 2006, “both merges and contrasts with its surroundings.” It added, “It is responsive to the city and the nearby Mississippi River, and yet, it is also an expression of theatricality and the magical world of performance.”

The bulk of Mr. Nouvel’s commissions work has been in Europe however. Among the most prominent is his Quai Branly Museum in Paris (2006), an eccentric jumble of elements including a glass block atop two columns, some brightly colorful boxes, rust-colored louvers and a vertical carpet of plants. “Defiant, mysterious and wildly eccentric, it is not an easy building to love,” Mr. Ouroussoff wrote in The Times.

A year later he described Mr. Nouvel’s Paris Philharmonie concert hall, a series of large overlapping metal plates on the edge of La Villette Park in northeastern Paris, as “an unsettling if exhilarating trip into the unknown.”

Mr. Nouvel has his plate full at the moment. He is designing a satellite of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, giving it a shallow domed roof that creates the aura of a just-landed U.F.O. He recently announced plans for a high-rise condominium in Los Angeles called SunCal tower, a narrow glass structure with rings of greenery on each floor. His concert hall for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation is a tall rectangular box with transparent screen walls.

Before dreaming up a design, Mr. Nouvel said, he does copious research on the project and its surroundings. “The story, the climate, the desires of the client, the rules, the culture of the place,” he said. “The references of the buildings around, what the people in the city love.”

“I need analysis,” he said, noting that every person “is a product of a civilization, of a culture.” He added: “Me, I was born in France after the Second World War. Probably the most important cultural movement was Structuralism. I cannot do a building if I can’t analyze.”

Although he becomes attached to his buildings, Mr. Nouvel said, he understands that like human beings, they grow and change over time and may even one day disappear. “Architecture is always a temporary modification of the space, of the city, of the landscape,” he said. “We think that it’s permanent. But we never know.”

Tagged with: Architecture, art

Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography

Posted By Carole Gentry on Mar 30, 2008 at 12:22PM

Last October when I was in Paris, I took time to visit the Jeu de Paume, which featured a major Edward Steichen (1879-1973) exhibition. The museum gathered 150 of his iconic portraits from Greta Garbo to Winston Churchill. Many of the photographs were taken in Steichen's capacity as chief photographer for "Vogue" and "Vanity Fair," in addition to photos that are a visual re-creation of "The Family of Man," his groundbreaking 1955 show at MoMA (NYC).

One of the foremost figures in the history of photography, Steichen's career began as one of the leading proponents of the 19th-century romantic movement known as "Pictorialism." His incredible eye for composition, lighting, mystery enabled his talent to lead the forefront of modernism.

Additionally, Steichen's varied interests in portraiture, the nude, flower photography, fashion, dance, theatre, still life, landscape and nature lead him to bridge the gap between creative photography and editorial, illustrational, and other applied usages of the medium.

n the early decades of the century Steichen, in collaboration with Alfred Steiglitz, helped found the Photo-Secession and its influential journal, Camera Work. He was largely responsible for introducing to the U.S. audience the work of such European modernists as Rodin, Matisse, and Picasso. Between the two world wars Steichen achieved the pinnacle of success in commercial photography as photographer-in-chief for the Condé Nast publications Vogue and Vanity Fair. During the two world wars he served with distinction as a military photographer and propagandist, organizing influential and highly innovative exhibitions in support of the war effort. Later he helped chart the course of post-war photography from his position as photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, during the course of which he produced the most widely-seen photography exhibition of all time, The Family of Man, along with its widely distributed catalogue.

Steichen’s career was filled with controversy. His early partner, Alfred Stieglitz, considered Steichen’s move into the world of fashion and advertising treasonous, while his old Pictorialist colleagues were outraged at his seeming abandonment of their noble aims. Some critics saw his work for the Condé Nast empire as obsessed with glamour. Many opposed his replacement of Beaumont Newhall as head of the Photography Department at MoMA. Others criticized The Family of Man as naively sentimental, and questioned his use of photographers’ work to further polemical aims.

The tension between 'art photography' and 'commercial photography' endures even today. Emblematic of that, Steichen remains a polarizing figure, which perhaps explains the lack of serious retrospective consideration until now. Younger people, however, are intrigued by his commitment to defending the commercial/utilitarian role of photography while championing with equal vigor its artistic potential. Hence this survey provides a most timely opportunity to reconsider Steichen’s various activities and their implications while focusing on the central but too-often overlooked component of his project – his five decades’ work as a photographer.

An early critic commented that Steichen's work "haunts me to this day as a strange and lovely dream." I would agree, his photographs feel otherworldly and mysterious, yet delicate and strong, and continue to engage the viewer.

Brooklyn BridgeBrooklyn Bridge
Fred Astaire in Top HatFred Astaire in Top Hat
Gloria SwansonGloria Swanson
Flatiron Building NYCFlatiron Building NYC
Greta GarboGreta GarboShellShell