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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.

Quote of the Day

"I happened to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock and that's a mouthful.. I was a woman, Jewish, a widow, a damn good painter, thank you, and a little too independent.” - Lee Krasner


Kenneth Noland: The Hard Edge

Kenneth Noland - Graded Exposure - 1967 - Acrylic on canvas - 225.4 x 581.7 cm. (88.7 x 229 in.) - Private Collection (click photo for larger image)American artist Kenneth Noland (1924-2010) was part of the Color Field group of artists that practiced hard-edge abstraction—an approach that combines the crisp geometric abstraction with saturated color and bold, singular forms. Noland was interested in removing all texture, gesture, and emotional content from his paintings.

Inspired by the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Noland used the technique she had developed of staining the canvas with thinned paints, and he positioned his colors in concentric rings and parallels, shaped and proportioned in relation to the shape of the canvas. Consequently, the viewer would look at the canvas as a complete object, rather than looking into it for further depth or meaning.

In the late 1960s, Noland began to produce his Striped paintings. The work featured here measures nearly 19 feet wide. Noland painted his stripes progressively thinner towards the top, as if the image were receding into the distance. The rainbow-like effect of coloring also suggests a horizon that extends beyond the canvas. This visual effect, however, should not be confused with any particular subject matter or context.

Noland’s work embodies influences from Piet Mondrian, Josef Albers, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman—all of whom helped to pave the way for Minimalism and other future movements. (You can also read more about these artists right here on What About Art?)


Elaine de Kooning: A Fusion of Ideas

Elaine de Kooning - Self-Portrait #3 - 1946 - Oil on masonite - 75.6 x 57.5cm (29 3/4 x 22 5/8”) - National Portrait Gallery - Washington, D.C. (click photo for larger image)Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989) was a prolific artist, art critic, portraitist, and teacher during the height of the Abstract Expressionists era and well beyond. Much of her art fused abstraction with mythology, primitive imagery, and realism. Her work continues to receive increasing critical attention as she was, without question, also one of the most important artists, writers, and teachers to have worked in the 20th century. She was particularly noted for her witty, perceptive analyses of a wide range of art.

While Elaine did use gestural brushstrokes in most of her work, much in the tradition of the "action" painters, her work was figurative and representational, to some degree, and thus rarely as purely abstract as some of her closest contemporaries.

In the mid 1940s, Elaine and her husband, Willem de Kooning, were poorer than ever, and both were experiencing great difficulty in selling any work. In an effort to make money, Elaine painted the realist self-portrait featured here, and sold it to her sister for a sum of $20. She described it, at the time, as "good money." The pseudo-abstract touches in this otherwise classical portrait are very much in the style of artist Fairfield Porter, who was a close friend of the de Koonings, and whose portrait Elaine also painted.


Did You Know?

Caravaggio did things his own way, which was a little more unorthodox (and violent) than most. He lived by his own complicated and severe honor code, in which missteps were met with oddly specific physical punishments. For example, a Roman waiter questioning the painter's meal got a plate smashed in his mouth. Caravaggio also night-stalked a young painter who had insulted him behind his back and attacked him with a sword. And…there’s more…much more.


Edmonia Lewis: A Muti-faceted Heritage

Edmonia Lewis - Old Arrow Maker - modeled 1866, carved 1872 - Marble - 21 1/2 x 13 5/8 x 13 3/8 in. (54.5 x 34.5 x 34.0 cm.) - Smithsonian American Art Museum - Washington, D.C.Artist Artist Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) was an American sculptor whose Neoclassical works exploring religious and classical themes won contemporary praise and received renewed interest in the late 20th century. Born free in New York, she was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. After studying at Oberlin College she became a sculptor, working in Boston and Rome despite the social challenges posed by her race and gender. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha inspired Lewis to carve the Old Arrow Maker. Her evocative subjects often reflect her dual heritage; her father was African American and her mother Chippewa (Ojibwe). The cessation of hostilities between the Ojibwe and Dakota (after years of inter-tribal war that the poem and sculpture represent) might well refer to Lewis's hopes for reconciliation between the North and South after the Civil War. In the story, Hiawatha later marries Minnehaha with the wish that ". . . old feuds might be forgotten/ And old wounds be healed forever.”