art

‘How We See’: Photographer Laurie Simmons’ Mainstream Embrace

Sabeena Khosla

Simmons made a name for herself in the ‘70s and ‘80s by constructing dollhouse rooms and photographing them. They were a subversive reflection on the Marxist notion of the fetishizing commodity and were done through a feminist lens. She was not interested so much with creating a narrative in her photographs, though her subject matter may have reflected otherwise. Rather, she refers to the early works as “doll still life work” and they became as such after she stared at the created spaces until they became void of meaning and abstract to her. 

Richard Gabriele and the Rise of Reverse Impressionism

Kristin Sancken

Philadelphia-based painter Richard Gabriele has emerged in the New York City art scene as a symbolic figurehead, reminding us that Romance does exist, even in our generation. Art has always been a part of Gabriele's life. He began drawing at an early age and kept sketchbooks throughout childhood and high school, traveling extensively to gain the experiences and stylistic influences depicted later in his paintings. By the time Gabriele realized his dream of becoming an artist in college, his techniques were nearly perfected.

Exploring the Art of Bahar Behbahani

Bahar Behbahani

Through her lyrical videos Behbahani stages a contemporary cultural critique by layering and juxtaposing allusions to past and present sociopolitical circumstances with a language that she draws from her experience as a painter. Her work has been featured in the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia; Sharjah Biennial 10, UAE; Queens Museum, New York; The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan; MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art, Italy; Mimara Museum, Croatia; The Tribeca Film Festival, New York; as well as the Asia Art Biennial, Bangladesh, among others.

Intriguing Exhibit of Self-Portraits Featured at the National Academy Museum

Sandra Bertrand

But the primary focus of the show is a far-reaching exploration of how such personal portraiture has been transformed over the decades.  It comprises not only choice works from Academy members, but entries from places as far-flung as Palestine, Lebanon, Iran and China.  Perhaps the biggest and most welcome surprise is the extent of entries from women—62 such artists represented from 30 different countries in all.  

Cultural Appropriation: Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

Angelo Franco

Cultural appropriation is a dicey subject, not least because there are no given parameters of what can be considered appropriation. This while some hold that it is impossible to “steal” forms of a culture in itself, and that the imitation of it is a human phenomenon that should, in fact, be celebrated.  The term has also become a point of origin for other, wider discussions, including those of race relations and even sexuality.  

Marc Riboud Captures the Mysteries of Asia in Photo Series

Sabeena Khosla

While it sounds typical – Western male artist enters “exotic” land to bring stories back home – one must remember that at the time of Riboud’s creations, the metropolitan West, in the fallout of the World Wars, was just starting to gain a real appreciation for what Asia had to offer. Yet Riboud deters from juxtaposing the differences in cultures as a way to highlight both sides’ strengths. 

New Exhibit Features Life of Helena Rubinstein – Every Woman’s Empress of Beauty

Sandra Bertrand

From her small town beginnings in the Jewish Poland of 1872, Helena Rubinstein grew a cosmetics empire that spanned four continents.  By her death in 1965 at 92, this self-made magnate of beauty had not only amassed a world-class collection of Western, African and Oceanic art, but transformed how millions of women thought about themselves.  The Jewish Museum’s gorgeously-mounted exhibit, Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power, is aptly titled.  

Why Art Should Never Censor Itself

Andrew Lam

Government officials and world institutions are even worse when it comes to self-censorship. On Feb 5, 2003, before then Secretary of State Colin Powell in his infamous WMD speech at the United Nations in New York, U.N. officials rushed to cover up the giant tapestry version of Pablo Picasso's anti-war mural "Guernica." Powell held up a little vial and told the world that, had that vial really contained WMD, it could kill tens of thousands. He managed to convince the already paranoid public that US invasion Iraq is a must. 

New Film Celebrates the Life of Altina, the Woman Behind the Harlequin Glasses

Sandra Bertrand

Altina, a film by Peter Sanders, is a documentary valentine to his artist grandmother.  It may not solve the riddle about the woman behind the cat’s eye frames she invented, but it’s a lively enough pastiche of the turbulent 20th century she inhabited.  Through newsreels, archival home videos and close-up glimpses from some of the people whose lives she touched, we can enjoy the journey.  

El Greco in New York: The Met’s 400th Anniversary Celebration

Sandra Bertrand

The Met’s own collection of El Greco’s religious paintings, portraits, and the incomparable rare landscape of the artist’s, The View of Toledo, is the finest outside of the Prado’s in Madrid.  Added to this, the generous loans of six other works from the Hispanic Society of America make this a special treat for the viewer. (Concurrently, three El Greco pictures which cannot be removed, are on view at The Frick Collection.) The comprehensive display can be seen in one room and if at first, it may not seem expansive enough for the jaded gallery-hopper, it is truly an embarrassment of riches.  

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