Julian Schnabel Does Van Gogh

Julian Schnabel’s latest film At Eternity’s Gate chronicles the last two years of the life of Vincent Van Gogh, a time when the artist lived in the south of France, was most prolific and most depressed. Van Gogh is played by Willem Dafoe, who was nominated for Best Actor in a drama at this years’ Golden Globe Awards. The role has also gotten Dafoe an Oscar nomination. He’s had three previous Oscar nominations, but this is his first in the lead actor category.

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Chiho Aoshima Lithographs at VFA

The magic of Chiho Aoshima’s work lies in her ability to create dreamscapes that appeal to a universal sensibility. Born in Tokyo in 1974, Aoshima graduated from Hosei University with a degree in economics and found that she had a desire to create art, rather than work in finance.

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Sol LeWitt: Cube Without a Corner and Cube Without a Cube at VFA

Sol LeWitt helped to establish the Minimalist and Conceptual Art movements of the postwar era. His works appear to be simple, geometric designs, but they are carefully crafted, well-thought out and, often so complex, that they required written instructions for assistants to follow, in order to execute them properly. There was also a droll humor in LeWitt’s work, like Cube Without a Corner and Cube Without a Cube, a sculpture created in 2005, available at VFA.

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Julian Opie: Inspired by Boredom

When Julian Opie was asked to do a show in Melbourne, Australia, he got in touch with a local photographer and asked him to set up cameras in various locations around the city to photograph passers-by. The photographer sent Opie hundreds of photos, which became the basis for Opie’s Walking in Melbourne series, available at VFA.

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Max Bill: Standing the Test of Time

The orbit of human vision has widened and art has annexed fresh territories that were formerly denied to it. – Max Bill Max Bill was one of the most accomplished and multitalented artists of the twentieth century. Bill worked as an architect, painter, graphic and industrial artist, sculptor, designer, teacher and politician. He was able to combine fine art, science and design to create art, buildings, furniture, fonts and sculpture. Bill was born in Switzerland in 1908. After apprenticing with […]

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Andy Warhol For the Holidays

Andy Warhol partied a lot, especially during Christmas, a holiday that he loved to celebrate. In 1956, sixty-two years ago, Andy Warhol designed his first Christmas cards for Tiffany & Co. They were so successful that Tiffany asked him to design more. Warhol made Christmas cards for Tiffany until 1962…the year he exhibited his first Campbell’s Soup Cans.

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Roy Lichtenstein’s Continued Legacy

Last summer, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation announced that it was going to shut down and give the remainder of its assets to museums. About 400 works were donated to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and thousands of documents were given to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. The documents are being digitized to make them accessible to the public.

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Donald Sultan Prints and Sculpture at VFA

Texture has always been an important part of Donald Sultan’s work. Tar, rubber and linoleum give his works texture and depth. Sultan became familiar with industrial materials when, as a boy, he hung out at his father’s tire shop in Asheville, North Carolina. When Sultan moved to New York in 1975, after receiving his MFA from the University of Chicago, he supported himself by doing construction during the day and painting at night.

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Ellsworth Kelly at Christie’s

It took the New York art world a while to understand and embrace the simple and elegant style that  Ellsworth Kelly had cultivated during his six years in Paris in the 1950s.

Even when Kelly was a child, he saw the world in terms of its basic elements. He liked to tell the story of running around the neighborhood with his friends one Halloween night, when he saw forms through a window that he found intriguing. He left his friends to take a closer look at the abstract configuration. “I saw a red, shape, a blue shape, and a black shape,” he said, “I had to find out what it was.” He looked in the window and saw only furniture, curtains and the ordinary things that make up a room. As he slowly backed away, the shapes he had seen began to form again. He said that experience was, “very close to seeing my first abstraction.”

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Tom Wesselman: In Perspective

A recent show of Tom Wesselmann’s work, at the Musee National de Monaco, looked at Wesselmann’s use of the female form. Wesselmann’s series of nudes, done as abstracts in the era of post-abstract expressionism and during the Pop era, was a radical innovation in the early 1960s, when he began his Great American Nude series. He reduced the female figure to its bare essentials…lips, breasts and pubic area…which was a departure from the post-Victorian images of the female form.

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Robert Motherwell: Bought and Found

Robert Motherwell’s At Five in the Afternoon set an auction record for the artist in May. The ten-foot long painting sold for $12.7 million at Phillips Auction House. Five in the Afternoon is just one in a series of Motherwell’s Elegy paintings and prints that the artist worked on, and refined, over many years.

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Vik Muniz: Reaction to Brazil Museum Fire

Vik Muniz: Reaction to Brazil Museum Fire

On the night of September 2, a fire spread through the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, destroying 90 per cent of its collection…about 20 million items. Brazilian artist, Vik Muniz, reacted to the fire as many other Brazilians did, with great sorrow. Muniz posted an Instagram message, which read, “Five years ago I temporarily lost my memory after a motorcycle accident and it struck me deeply.

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Ellsworth Kelly: Keeping it Simple

Ellsworth Kelly and his husband, photographer Jack Shear, began collecting Shaker furniture in 1970. Like his paintings, prints and sculptures, Kelly realized that the Shaker furniture was, “simple and well-structured and in the same categories that I like to make paintings.” The couple furnished their home in Columbia County, New York with Shaker furniture and objects. When Kelly died in 2015, the furniture was donated to the Shaker Museum in Mount Lebanon, New York.

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Jeff Koons and the Kardashians

This is, technically, not news about Jeff Koons, but a story that is too wacky to pass up. It happened on a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Kris Jenner and her daughter, Khloe Kardashian, were sitting in Kris’ office when Khloe asked her mother about a balloon dog bookend that was on the shelf.

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