Take Me to the Museum
My Nana is a tenacious, trailblazing woman and fearless dreamer. She has always been a bird of a different feather and taught me to relentlessly chase my dreams and shamelessly march to the beat of my own drum. She has continuously been a source of inspiration and admiration for me ever since I was a little girl. She turned 90yrs old this year in April. These photos are from a recent road trip we went on together last summer.
“Studio- End of Day” by John Koch (1909-1978)
We saw this painting at the end of a hallway, hiding in its own little nook. The textures and colors were so rich in person.
This a self portrait of the Koch, depicted sitting on the left. The woman on the right, dressing herself has recently been identified as Rosetta Brooks an actress and model. I also loved that the Koch and my Nana are wearing the same color top and have the same color hair 💙
Museum Label Text: Notice the way light moves and defines the space in this painting. John Koch illuminates the canvas through a laborious process of stacking multiple layers of paint, creating extremely fine detail. Koch’s dog looks out the window at left, and a warm glow beckons from an open doorway on the far right, alluding to a place beyond the canvas. Living in an art world dominated by Abstract Expressionism, Koch embraced realism as his preferred style.
“Black Unity” by Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012)
The exhibit featured 13 works made by eight different artists over the course of the last five decades in an array of different media including photography, sculpture, painting and tapestry.
According to the website dedicated to her life (elizabethcatlett.org) Elizabeth Catlett is one of the most important American artists of the past century and is honored as a foremother by subsequent generations. In the United States and in Mexico, where she resided for over sixty years.
"While she would not have hesitated to remind us that art alone cannot change the world, Elizabeth Catlett firmly believed that art can raise consciousness of injustice, expose abuses of power, and illuminate possibilities for social transformation. Throughout her life, she clearly articulated her commitment to justice for all oppressed peoples through eloquent and impassioned visual statements that resonate, as she said, 'for liberation and for life.' "
“Summer (After Arcimboldo) Maquette” by Philip Haas (b. 1954)
I was so taken with these maquettes! Philip Hass made four models representing the four seasons- Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. The maquettes were on display altogether inside of the museum. Their enormous full size counterparts were on display outside in different locations on the museum grounds.
“Spring (After Arcimboldo) Maquette” by Philip Haas (b. 1954)
Philip Haas’s maquettes were inspired by Giuseppe Acrimboldo’s Italian Renaissance paintings of the four seasons from 1563. Together, all four sculptures reflect the cycles of nature and the progression from youth to old age.
“Autumn (After Arcimboldo) Maquette” by Philip Haas (b. 1954)
Each sculpture uses vegetation-flowers, ivy, moss, vegetables, fruits, bark, branches, leaves etc associated with the specific time of the year it is embodying. The various components are compiled to compose human portraits, each distinct- emoting different expressions and representing different ages in life.
“Jessica Penn in Black with White Plumes,” by Robert Henri ( 1865-1929)
This oil painting is enormous and so striking! I don’t know what exactly Henri might of put in his black paint but it shimmers and glitters under the gallery lights and gives Jessica Penn’s black dress the most luxurious appearance and rich textures that pop right off the canvas. .
The artist, Robert Henri was an interesting guy with a complicated family and personal life. He was influential American Modernist painter best known for his innovative approach to figural realism and attempts to create a distinctly American style of art. This painting, “Jessica Penn in Black with White Plumes” is probably one of his most recognized images.
“Big Red Lens” by Federick Eversley (b.1941)
The Big Red Lens is a massive 40in by 40in vivid red polymer cast disk on view in the “1940’s to Now” Gallery at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. .
“Frederick John Eversley is a Los Angeles-based sculptor, one of a group of artists associated with the 1960's “L.A. Light & Space“ movement. Working out of a studio in Venice Beach, his sleek creations in poured acrylic polymers, stainless steel and bronze frequently take the form of disks, parabolas, helices and lenses,” according to his biography on his website. .
“Energy has been a source of inspiration and speculation for poets, mystics and philosophers through the ages,” Eversley wrote. And, energy is certainly a source of inspiration for Eversley as well.
"The Lantern Bearers" by Maxfield Parrish (1870 - 1966)
This painting was on the front cover of the brochure map for the museum. But, any replication of this painting is absolutely nothing like what we saw in person. This piece has incredible depth and texture. It glows. It feels like the lanterns are actually glowing and it's much larger than I realized it would be.
Museum Label Text: Equal parts visionary artist and shrewd businessman, Parrish often created paintings for reproduction. He recognized that he could reach a broader audience through reproduction than through original paintings alone. The Lantern Bearers appeared on the cover of Collier’s Magazine in 1910. .
This lively nocturne combines all the elements of the artist’s most successful works: fantastical characters, luminous color, and a sense of mystery. A tightly clustered group of clowns pose on a stage-like setting of wide stone steps, hanging glowing yellow lanterns against a silhouetted tree and a “Parrish Blue” sky. In the background hover four more golden orbs, leaving the viewer to wonder which, if any, is the moon.
"Man on a Bench" by Duane Hanson (1925-1996)
I have never seen a sculpture in person that looks this real. Out of the corner of my eye I swear I caught him breathing. I loved my Nana sitting next to this sculpture. It was towards the end of our day and I felt like the two of them made quite the pair, haha 😉
“People will ask if he is real,” shared Gallery Attendant Stacy. “They’ll ask, ‘Is he an actor? Is he going to jump out at us?’”
Musuem Label Text: Cast from a live model, Man on a Bench reflects Duane Hanson’s sculptural response to Photorealism, a painting style that mimics the precision of photography. After Hanson’s exposure in the 1960s to Pop Art, with its emphasis on the everyday, he created replicas of average Americans performing mundane tasks.
Often depicting moments of boredom, accentuated by static poses, Hanson’s figures portrayed what he called “the empty-headedness, the fatigue, the aging, the frustration” of struggling middle-class Americans. Although he turned what might seem a critical eye upon American lifestyles, Hanson’s work expresses deep compassion for the individuals he portrays.
“Winter (After Arcimboldo)” by Philip Haas (b. 1954)
This was one of the very first sculptures I saw walking through the museum doors! My Nana and I arrived as the museum was opening. The morning was overcast and drizzly, saturating the back wall where Old Man Winter stood. He looked like father time himself to me- wise, strong, weathered and stern. Every detail was so thought out and he was adorned with so much love and character- it made for a truly fantastical piece that just took my breath away the first time I saw it.
“Unraveling” by Ursula Von Rydingsvard (b.1942)
“Ursula Von Rydingsvard was born Urszula Karoliszyn in 1942 in Germany, the fifth of seven children. Following the German invasion of Poland, the family was moved from one German refugee camp to another between 1945 and 1950. When she was nine, the family immigrated to America.
It was as a child in the camps that Von Rydingsvard began to develop her fascination for wood: the rough walls of the wooden buildings they lived in, the wooden bowls and spoons they used, and the hand-carved wooden balls and other wooden objects she played with. Her work often evokes functional household objects: bowls, shovels or spoons..” but on an absolutely monumental scale!
Unraveling was inspired by a flood that took place at Von Rydingsvard’s home in Brooklyn, New York. “My entire yard turned into a river,” she said in an interview in December, 2010.. It carried …whatever was in the yard…down with it. It took whatever it wanted to take….[Unravelling] expresses an interest in the flow of energy from something that might have, at one time, felt very substantial to a kind of dissolution..”