Art a special section Memories of Clement Greenberg by Pat Lipsky A library by the book by James Panero Tudors at the Met by Marco Grassi Collecting misery by Anthony Daniels David Smith: a sculptor in full by Eric Gibson The Spanish Sargent by Karen Wilkin Pergolesi: a very sharp & mechanical man by Benjamin Riley
Art in America – The history of the Southwest is long and vexed. Many think of America as developing from east to west, from the original 13 colonies to settlements made in the name of Manifest Destiny. But the West in all its richness was there, of course, long before it was “discovered” by venturers from elsewhere. The region has been home to a palimpsest of cultures, but the gruesome theft of land from Indigenous people remains a defining trauma. The southernmost parts of the Southwest at one time belonged to Mexico; today that area is embroiled in battles over immigration, and scarred by a former president’s xenophobic desire to build a wall. Plagued by drought, the entire Southwest tolls the ominous bell of climate change.
GOD’S-EYE VIEWS by Jackson Arn
Aerial photography captures the Southwest’s natural splendor, explosive urban development, and military secrets.
It is now forty years since Melina Mercouri, the Greek Minister for Culture from 1981 to 1989, famous also as a film star and singer, addressed UNESCO’s World Conference on Cultural Policies to draw international attention to the campaign with which she would be identified until her death in 1994, the repatriation to Athens of the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum. ‘We are not asking for the return of a painting or a statue’, she said: ‘We are asking for the return of a portion of a unique monument, the privileged symbol of a whole culture’.
The Painters of Pompeii
As images, ancient Roman wall paintings command attention for their bold compositions, vibrant and saturated colours, convincing naturalism and the fantastical mythologies they depict. As objects they also captivate for the dramatic circumstances surrounding their near- destruction, the miracle (or rarity) of their survival and the alchemical nature of lime plaster and pigment.
“If you’re a painter, you need a canvas. If you’re a sculptor, you need marble or plaster. And if you build a house, you need a piece of land.” Welcome to the wonderful world of Not Vital. The Swiss multi-faceted artist shows us his sculpture park, foundation, and castle in this video.
We meet Not Vital in his studio in Sent, the town in Switzerland where he grew up and one of the places where he still lives. Building places to live have been with him since childhood: “My first work was more related to trying to build a house or a habitat. The first one was when I was only three years old in 1951. There was so much snow that my brother and I built a tunnel,” he says and continues: “I think that it was the first time I realised that I like to build my own habitat.
Even though it was much more comfortable to live in the house, I spent the day in the tunnel. I remember the light, the smell of the snow. I just felt great.” Through the years, Vital has led a nomadic life, seeking and building homes in various cities around the globe: Paris, New York, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro. He has bought an island made of Marble in Patagonia, called NotOna.
In Niger, he has built a house whose only purpose is to watch the sunset. He calls these hybrids of sculpture and architecture ‘Scarch’: “It opened up a whole new world for me, which became very important. I’m calling that ‘Scarch’ because it’s a kind of sculpture and architecture. Because I’m not an architect, I didn’t want to be an architect or study architecture because I would probably have gone in a different direction.” Buying pieces of land worldwide is essential for his artistic practice.
He explains: “If you’re a painter, you need a canvas. If you’re a sculptor, you need marble or plaster. And if you build a house, you need a piece of land. That’s kind of all related.” ‘Scarch’ is not the only thing Vital makes. He also creates sculptures in silver, makes humorous wordplays with antlers and paints portraits: “I want to show the way I see. I don’t want to change anything.”
The portraits he started painting in 2008. Often they depict the people surrounding him. Other times, it is significant artists such as a young Rembrandt and Nina Simone. “When I paint, I think about a lot of Rothko. The colours. How to put two colours together. But of course, this is figurative,” Vital reflects and continues: “Actually, they have everything in it. They have eyes and noses.
And that’s great by painting that whatever you put in the canvas stays in the canvas. Even though you paint it over, it’s still there.” Not Vital does not differ between the many different artforms he works with: “Art is one. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 15th century or if it’s now. It’s all related.” Not Vital (b. 1948) is a Swiss artist who works in diverse media across installations, paintings, drawings and sculptures, typically integrating architecture. Vital divides his time between the U.S., Niger, Italy, China and Switzerland, and his art is centred on personal impressions and experiences from around the world. This somewhat anthropological approach is also reflected in how his career is structured into sections, e.g. glass blowers in Murano or paper artists in Bhutan. Vital’s work has been featured in the 49th Venice Biennale in Italy (2001), and he has held significant exhibitions at prominent venues such as the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Germany (2005), The Arts Club of Chicago in the U.S. (2006), Ullens Center For Contemporary Art in Beijing, China (2011), the Museo d’arte di Mendrisio in Switzerland (2014-15) and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London (2021).
Six large sculptures of fractured human faces form the underwater museum that British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has created off the coast of Cannes, France. The Underwater Museum of Cannes is a permanent installation beside the island of Sainte-Marguerite that is intended to “draw more people underwater” to engage with marine life. It is designed by deCaires Taylor to be highly accessible by either snorkelling or diving, positioned two and three metres below sea level. The goal is that visitors will “foster a sense of care” for marine life and better appreciate its value, while oceans environments are continually threatened by human activity.
In this week’s episode of “Cocktails with a Curator,” Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon takes a closer look at Malvina Cornell Hoffman’s marble bust of Henry Clay Frick, the museum’s founder, and considers the complicated legacy of the Pennsylvania-born industrialist. This month marks several important milestones for the Frick, including the eighty-fifth anniversary of the opening of a museum for, in Frick’s words, “all persons whomsoever.” This oft-overlooked bust was commissioned by his daughter, Helen Clay Frick, and for many years welcomed guests in the Entrance Hall at 1 East 70th Street. This week’s complementary cocktail is the Old Fashioned, a nod to Frick’s first job as an accountant for the family whiskey distillery.
In this week’s episode of “Cocktails with a Curator,” join Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon in sipping on a refreshing Daiquiri as he unravels the mystery behind one of the Frick’s exquisite bronze sculptures, “Shield Bearer” by Bertoldo di Giovanni. Together with Xavier, decode details of the work that may point to the identity of the figure portrayed.
The enduring appeal of Rodin, the modernity of his work, has to do with the way in which he makes visible an aesthetic of process – how, in other words, he takes traditional sculpture apart and puts it back together again in new and daring ways. Strategies of multiplication, scalability, fragmentation and recombinatory modes of assembly and display constitute some of the hallmarks of Rodin’s artistic practice.
Works by Rodin on view at the Cantor are often utilized by students and scholars from a range of disciplines, including medicine. In this moment, with outbreak of disease across the globe, what can Rodin’s works teach us about the relationship between art and nature?
It’s interesting that Rodin attracts so much attention from medical experts, especially here at Stanford, who have used his hands for diagnostic purposes. It’s true that Rodin was intensely interested in exploring pathologies of the body, especially now-discredited understandings of female hysteria. But there is also the irony that Rodin became furious after a critic accused him of making his first life-size figure through life casting, rather than modeling it himself. It should go without saying, but Rodin’s hands are not hands – not real ones, anyway – and their expressive forms don’t align neatly with the anatomical reality of hands in flesh and blood or even their more naturalistic counterparts. But the very fact that they elicit such responses demonstrates the power of art to provoke challenging questions that drive innovative paths of research that cut across disciplines, particularly in a university setting.