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Worth Watching
  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

“What About Art?” Takes a Vacation!

Our team will be taking some much needed time off. We’ll be back on July 1st. Enjoy the rest of June.


Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst, Designer - Dot Boot - 2002 - Manufacturer: Manolo Blahnik (British, born Spain, 1942) - a,b) cotton, leather - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (click photo for larger image)Damien Hirst (born 1965) is a British artist, entrepreneur, and art collector. He is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists (or YBAs), who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s. 

Working as an assemblagist, painter, and conceptual artist, Hirst’s deliberately provocative work addresses vanity and beauty, death and rebirth, and medicine, technology, and mortality. Considered an enfant terrible of the 1990s art world, Hirst presented dead animals in formaldehyde as art. Like the French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp, Hirst employed ready-made objects to shocking effect, and in the process he questioned the very nature of art. He has also made "spin paintings," created on a spinning circular surface, and "spot paintings", which are rows of randomly colored circles created by his assistants.

In 1995 Hirst won Tate Britain’s Turner Prize, Great Britain’s premier award for contemporary art. In September 2008, he took an unprecedented move for a living artist, by selling a complete show, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, at Sotheby’s by auction and bypassing his long-standing galleries. The auction exceeded all predictions, raising £111 million ($198 million), breaking the record for a one-artist auction as well as Hirst's own record. In several instances since 1999, Hirst's works have been challenged and contested as plagiarized, both in written articles by journalists and artists, and, in one instance, through legal proceedings which led to an out-of-court settlement.

No matter what, you can always count on Hirst to be controversial.


Quote of the Day

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” - Henry Moore 


Marsden Hartley: An American Expressionist

Marsden Hartley - Mount Katahdin, Autumn No. 1 - 1939-40 - Oil on canvas - Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (click photo for larger image)Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) was one of a circle of American modernist painters that included Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Arthur Dove and Charles Demuth.  

Hartley had his first solo exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery in New York. Extensive travels acquainted him with a variety of modern movements. He was first moved by Cézanne, and the Cubism of Picasso and Braque, then later by his contact with the German Expressionists. All of what Hartley absorbed contributed to a distinctive, personal style, seen best in his bold paintings of the harsh landscape of Maine. 

Maine held some very painful childhood memories for the artist, and yet it became his primary and most profound resource later in life. In his last ten years, Hartley alternated between New York City and Maine. When he was sixty-two years old, he made a pilgrimage to Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in the state. This painting commemorates that accomplishment and captures a view of the mountain beloved by decades of American writers and painters. This work “embraces the modernist potential of the famous mountain while capturing a vivid sense of Hartley’s intimate relationship to his native countryside.”

Hartley was also a poet and essayist, and his writings continue to move people.

I’ll be offering an art history class on Marsden Hartley next Fall at LMCCE. Keep your eyes open for that one.


The Sketchbook

Pablo Picasso - Detail from a page in Carnet de la Californie (Koln: M. Dumont Schauberg, ca. 1959), a facsimile of a Pablo Picasso sketchbook in the Guggenheim Library Special Collections. Photo: Kristopher McKay (click photo for larger image)In her article entitled Picasso’s Bright, Enticing SketchbookNew York writer Claire Lui notes that “some of the most delightful books in the Guggenheim Library’s Special Collections are those that are, in some way, the production of an artist. These publications—often labors of love printed in small runs—give us a new viewpoint on a well-known and beloved artist’s process, materials, and surroundings.”

Carnet de la Californie is a facsimile of a sketchbook produced by Picasso while living in Cannes, La Californie. A copy in the Guggenheim Library ( ) is one of a limited edition originally prepared for the German market by publisher M. DuMont Schauberg.

Artists’ sketchbooks and notebooks are essentially visual diaries that give us incredible insights into the souls of their creators. Leonardo da Vinci, Eugene Delacroix, JMW Turner, Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Paul Cézanne (all featured on What About Art?) and many other artists have produced “diaries” that give us an intimate perspective on their lives and personalities. They are jewels to researchers and a delight to art aficionados.

Many sketchbooks and notebooks are available in museum libraries across the globe, and you can also purchase them from retailers such as Amazon (which you can connect with from here). As we approach the summer season—take some time to explore some of these works. You’ll be able to “see” the artists truly let themselves go, and will find an enormous amount of joy and inspiration in what you see. They also make great gifts for your friends and family members who love art!