Eye Level had a chance to catch up with performance artist (that's short for singer, composer, poet, filmmaker, inventor of unusual instruments, instrumentalist, and photographer) Laurie Anderson ahead of her scheduled talk on March 15 at 4:30 pm in the McEvoy Auditorium at SAAM/NPG (8th and F Streets NW). Anderson will be speaking about Andy Warhol's iconic image Little Electric Chair as part of the American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series.
In an election year I thought it might be good to take another look (or two) at photographer Nancy Burson's image The President (second version), in which the likenesses of five of our most recent heads of state merge into one, well....larger head.
Fermented Soil (1965) by Hans Hofmann contains such fresh joy and vigor it is hard to believe it was painted by a man in his mid-eighties. It swings like a jazz sextet. Hofmann was right in the swim of what was going on in painting at that moment, and Color Field painting would have been impossible without his contribution.
I always wanted to know more stories about artists in love, and now, the Archives of American Art has an exhibition in its Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery at the Reynolds Center titled A Thousand Kisses: Love Letters from the Archives of American Art. It's a relatively small exhibition, but one that is full of endearing and enduring charm.
Texas-born John Alexander, whose thirty-year retrospective fills the main galleries at SAAM, lived up to his introduction by chief curator Eleanor Harvey as an "incisive, witty, and irreverent" artist. The SRO crowd at Alexander's recent talk appreciated the artist's personal reflections on art as well as his professional advice and inside look at a thirty-year career in the American art world.
It was very late, the sky was as dark as the water. It was summer but there was a chill in the air. Hilda tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Look behind you, the Ryder moon." I turned and there it was, a beautiful yellow-white disk against a blue-black sky.
Washington... Lincoln... Kennedy... and now Colbert. Just in case a writers' strike and a presidential campaign in full swing weren't enough to keep him busy, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert was determined to have his portrait hang in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG).
I visited the tie quilt on no ordinary day in its own life or in the life of the Holen family. On that day in late December all ninety-two of the Holens, who planned their annual family reunion in D.C., to coincide with the exhibition of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century quilts, Going West! Quilts and Community. In 1935, their relative Ellen Holen of Nebraska decided to collect ties from the men in her family—her six sons and her husband—and make a quilt.
In the museum, I like to take some time away from looking at the art to look at people, especially people when they’re looking at art. Almost everybody today seems to have a cell phone camera with them as they wander the galleries, looking for something that catches the eye.
Frank O’Hara was a poet near and dear to my heart. Born in Baltimore in 1926, he died tragically forty years later in an accident on Fire Island. The death of a poet is never a pretty thing, and this one was especially ugly: he was run over by a jeep one evening on the dunes.
The other day I went searching for a painting on the third floor of the museum—nothing in particular, but something to quench my visual thirst, as it were. I walked into a room with a Helen Frankenthaler and a Morris Louis, and was immediately drawn to the three-dimensional piece that stood out from the other artwork in the room.
Interesting what happens when an artist speaks about his/her life and work: you get to see the other side of the canvas. As part of the Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art, James Rosenquist, an artist on the Pop scene since the 1960s, spoke to an standing-room only house at SAAM on 11.28.
I plan to make this post the first in a series on technique and medium. Paint. The stuff that gets under the artist’s fingernails, and can barely be scrubbed away. I love paint. I love color. I love walking up to a painting and trying to decipher its DNA.
One of the coolest things going on this afternoon is the area where you can make your own hats. You begin by working with a basic shape of a hat but whatever else you add is really up to your own imagination.
It's a little after noon on Sunday and the Kogod Courtyard is now open. The sun is shining through the beautiful new glass canopy, and it's the perfect day to spend some time listening to music or create a hands-on project with friends and/or members of your family.