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  • 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.
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    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.

Entries in Post-Modernism (69)


Alma Thomas: A Concentration on Beauty and Happiness

Alma Thomas - Atmospheric Effects I - 1970 - Acrylics and Pencil on Paper - 22 1/8 x 30 3/8 in. - Smithsonian American Art Museum - Washington D.C. (click photo for larger image)African-American Abstract Expressionist Alma Thomas (c. 1891-1976) was the first graduate of Howard University’s art department (in 1924). Though she’d always had dreams of becoming an architect—after college she began a 35-year career teaching in a Washington, D.C. junior high school. With the income she supported herself and her art.

Although Thomas earlier works were representational and realistic, she eventually developed her signature style in her 70s—large, abstract paintings filled with dense, irregular patterns of bright colors.

Thomas became an important role model for women, for African Americans, and for older artists. She was the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and she exhibited her paintings at the White House three times.

“Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man's inhumanity to man.” - Alma Thomas


Peggy Guggenheim: A Major Force in the Art World

Peggy Guggenheim and Jackson Pollock in front of Mural (1943), CA. 1946, (Courtesy of (click photo for larger image)Socialite Peggy Guggenheim (1897-1979) was born into the wealthy Guggenheim family of New York City. The niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who founded New York’s Guggenheim Museum, she rose to prominence as an important collector of art. In 1912, when she turned 21, Peggy inherited $2.5 million (valued at $35.3 million today) and moved to Paris, where she befriended Man Ray, Constantin Brancusi, and Marcel Duchamp.

In 1938, she established a modern art gallery in London and began seriously collecting art, focusing on Surrealist and abstract art. Through Duchamp, she created many connections in the art world and exhibited works by important modernists like Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Jean Arp, and Max Ernst. After one year, she decided to shut the gallery and focus her efforts on creating a museum.

Peggy settled in Venice in 1949 and established the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to showcase her impressive collection of modern art. Today, it is still one of the biggest attractions in Venice and highlights Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism by both European and American artists.

In the summer of 1943, she commissioned a young and relatively unknown Jackson Pollock to paint a mural for her Manhattan townhouse. The work he produce (Mural) turned out to be his first large painting, and the largest work he would ever create.

Learn more about Peggy Guggenheim at Jill Kiefer’s presentation, TOMORROW—March 9th, at the Bethany Arts Community (at 4:00 PM). Admission is FREE! Search for more info about the artists mentioned here on What About Art?


Pino Pascali: Arte Povera

Pino Pascali - Bridge - 1968 - Steel wool and wire - 39 3/8" x 26' 3" x 35 7/16" (800 x 100 x 90 cm) - MoMA, New York (click photo for larger image)Arte Povera (Italian for "Impoverished Art" or "Poor Art”) was is label for a small group of artists in Italy who were experimenting with nontraditional and politically charged art, in the 1960s and 1970s.

These artists created and explored modes of expression such as ephemeral art, performance art, installation art and assemblage, using what have been referred to as “poor” non-art materials. These techniques have since become extremely common tools in contemporary art; in fact this is one of the reasons that such a small and short-lived movement continues to have such relevance today.

One of the clearest influences on the group was the work of Dada artist Marcel Duchamp (discussed elsewhere on What About Art?). His "Readymade" sculptures, especially his infamous "Fountain" urinal, have the same kind of subversive power that Arte Povera artists aimed to achieve.

Pino Pascali (1935-1968) was part of the Arte Povera movement. He used everyday, natural, and unorthodox materials in his work, including cans, steel wool, hay, and dirt. His "fake sculptures" appear to be solid structures but are actually shaped canvases whose forms suggest animals, plants, and landscapes. 

The work featured here, Bridge, has the appearance of a primitive rope bridge. But it is constructed of steel wool, a modern industrial product. This is the most ambitious of the works in Pascali's last series, entitled Reconstructions of Nature. "I do not believe you make shows in galleries," Pascali said, "you make the gallery, you create the space."

Pascali is also known for his Weapons series, re-creations of guns and cannons assembled from found materials and painted army green. His inspired works were an important contribution to postwar art within his short lifetime.


Allan Rohan Crite: Artist-Reporter

Allan Rohan Crite, Sunlight and Shadow, 1941, oil on board, 25 1/4 x 39 in. (64.2 x 99.1 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (click photo for larger image)Born in North Plainfield, New Jersey, Allan Rohan Crite (1910-2007) moved with his family to the Boston area, at an early age. During the course of his long life, Crite enjoyed an extensive career as a painter, draftsman, printmaker, author, librarian, and publisher.

Although he’s often labeled a Harlem Renaissance artist, Crite’s lifelong objective was to depict the life of African-Americans living in Boston as ordinary citizens of the middle class, rather than the stereotypical jazz musicians or sharecroppers featured in many other Harlem Renaissance works. Through his art, Crite intended to tell the story of African Americans as part of the fabric of American mainstream society and its reality. By using a more representational style, rather than an ultra-modern approach, Crite felt that he could more adequately "report" what he saw. He described himself as an “artist-reporter” noting that, “I've only done one piece of work in my whole life and I am still at it. I wanted to paint people of color as normal humans. I tell the story of man through the black figure.

Crite’s full body of work can be categorized into three basic themes: Negro spirituals; religious themes that emphasize non-European aspects of the Bible; and, general African American experiences. Crite also contributed to the African American art scene in Boston by creating the Artist’s Collective, a forum for emerging African American artists.

In the work featured here, three generations of neighbors gather in Madison Park, located in Boston's South End, to spend a pleasant afternoon beneath the shady trees.


Janet Fish: Life Itself—Captured in Casual Glances

Janet Fish - Raspberries and Goldfish - 1981 - Oil on linen with acrylic gesso ground - 72 x 64 in. (182.9 x 162.6 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY (click photo for larger image)American artist Janet Fish (born 1938) is discussed elsewhere on What About Art? She is known for large still life compositions of common objects with bright colors--lime green, pink, yellow, etc. Fish works from a loft in the SoHo section of New York City and takes pride in the fact that she paints "forbidden subjects," which refers to her realistic paintings. Her work, expressive of her highly independent spirit, is a reaction against the pure abstraction that has been prevalent for so many years in the American art world, especially in New York.

As the work featured here demonstrates, “[h]er subjects really are color, light, visual movement and space, and the content of her work is perhaps life itself, seen in isolated moments of unusual juxtapositions and casual glances. It is the work of a true painter, who sees potential paintings many times throughout the average day.