artists

Reflecting on the Legacy of Prince

Aliya S. King

It is the shock of his sudden death from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 57 that has made the first year without the Purple One tough to handle. He left behind a messy estate and no will, and there are no clear-cut recognizable heirs. In all, it’s been a year of confusion about what his legacy will be and who will maintain it. And yet it’s also been a year of grieving and acceptance. His music reappeared, as does the music of most superstars in the wake of their deaths. 

Lost and Found: The Life of Artist Edith Lake Wilkinson

Sandra Bertrand

Anderson and Tess busy themselves with painting the walls green at the Larkin Gallery for Edith’s first show in over 90 years and the reception is obviously a successful one.   Along with the exhibit preparations, Anderson finds out through a letter that one of the town’s history buffs shares, that before Edith’s incarceration, she was planning a trip to Paris. She had big plans for her future. Another rather humorous event is a visit Anderson pays to a local psychic who supposedly “channels” Edith, relating how the woman “loved to party and made a lethal rum punch.”

Picasso’s Sculpture Show at MOMA – The Artist’s Giant Playpen

Sandra Bertrand

Occupying the entire fourth floor galleries, the exhibit allows the spectator to experience many enthralling works in the round, returning to re-examine, question, and wonder at the prolific, unstoppable genius of the man.   A handy takeaway pamphlet with sketches and accompanying descriptions eliminates the need for wall notes.  This reinvention of gallery space to accommodate approximately 140 sculptures is the handiwork of curators Ann Temkin and Anne Umland, with the assistance of Virginie Perdrisot, Curator of Sculptures and Ceramics at the Musee National Picasso in Paris. 

Pathos and Minimalism: Doris Salcedo at the Guggenheim

Sabeena Khosla

Constructing memorials to those lost in conflict requires simultaneously painting with both a broad and fine-toothed brush (metaphorically speaking). The artist should not ignore nuanced suffering, yet the main goal is at the service of events that affect people en masse. While Doris Salcedo’s pieces, focusing on the Colombian Civil War, do not employ the typical tropes of memorials, they are still imbued with the sensitivity required of them due to her process and personal history, having lost family members to the conflict.

Meet Annika Connor, the Art World’s ‘Socialite Realist’

Kristin Sancken

A studio visit with Connor is an experience in itself. In lieu of a stuffy warehouse studio in Bushwick, the artist chose to work from her bright and cheery Dumbo loft. The walls are covered salon style with her whimsical portraits of ballet dancers, ruminating women, kissing couples, decadent interiors and stylized landscapes. Upon entering, you are greeted with a warm hug, cup of spiced coffee and invited to relax as you take in the sheer complexity of Connor’s diverse body of work. 

The Brash New World of Trenton Doyle Hancock

Sandra Bertrand

If you think paying a visit to your local museum exhibit is a relatively safe endeavor, then beware.  It’s likely you have not visited the The Studio Museum of Harlem’s current exhibit,  Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing.  Chronicling the evolution of his comical, often nightmarish universe, it’s a show that may alternately delight and repel but guaranteed, one you will not soon forget.   

‘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. 

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.  

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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