April 2011

Weddings Past

SOMEONE JUST GOT MARRIED across the pond. Who exactly? Prince Harry and Kate Moss? No, that’s not right. Andrew, maybe? No, that’s not it either. A quick Google and I’ve got: Prince William and Kate Middleton. There. That’s better. [My apologies for not paying closer attention before coming to the keyboard.] Royal weddings are a bit off my radar screen but I do love weddings. Especially the iconography of weddings that come to us across time and seas. This 4th century mosaic comes from Tunisia. Continue Reading
Et tu, Superman?

WHEN I BEGAN THIS BLOGGY THING, I never intended to drift into politics. Quite the opposite, really. My fantasy—and it was fantasy—was to transcend politics, leap over or slide under it. Good luck with that, Maureen. The art world itself is so sodden with politics that it becomes impossible to ignore the drift. Even comic books are driven to parade some political stance or other. // // Thanks to Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, we learn today that, now, even Superman considers himself a citizen of the world and is trading in his American identity. Continue Reading
Hedy O'Beil at Gallery 307

It is always interesting to view the work of art critics. Most often, the soul of their criticism—its preferences and loyalties—is encapsulated in their own art. Hedy O’Beil has been a guide to the art world for close to 40 years. She contributed to Arts magazine in its heyday, from 1976 to 1985 when it was under the editorship of Hilton Kramer and, later, Richard Martin. She has lectured, taught and written on art and artists in various venues in the quarter century since. Continue Reading
A Glad Easter

THE RESURRECTION, from Matthias Grünwald’s Isenheim altarpiece, is the single most striking image of the event on which Christianity is founded. It dramatizes the center of the Christian mystery—and, correspondingly, the mystery of man. Neil MacGregor—art historian, director of the British Museum, and man of faith—responds to drama of the painting in his Seeing Salvation. (Published by Yale University Press, the book accompanied his 2000 television series by the same name.)  Standing in front of the altar, he says this:
Grünwald shows us what, according to the Gospels, nobody saw.
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Charlotta Westergren: Rediscovering the Past

By Christopher S. Johnson AS IT HAS DONE WITH SO MUCH ELSE, contemporary art has largely jettisoned the Christian themes and imagery that defined the Western tradition for centuries.  (Those much publicized maestros of toilet media excepted, to be sure.) It came as a mild shock then, on the cusp of Holy Week, to stumble upon Victory, a painting by Charlotta Westergren, an artist previously unknown to me, to my regret. // Charlotta Westergren, "Victory" (2010) Immediate and obvious pictorial antecedents are the still lifes with game birds, the twisted broken bodies dripping blood, of Chardin and Meléndez. Continue Reading