Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 16 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.
Although we are not traveling as we once did, and surely will again, the internet allows me to bring you excellence from around the world that you can view from the safety of your home.
A retrospective exhibition of the sculptures of Huma Bhabha marks the first time a major show of her pieces has been presented in Europe. Bhabha's materials include cork, clay, styrofoam, along with found materials like plastic, rubber tires and chicken wire. Her wide range of influences comes from German Expressioniasm, horror films, Egyptian statues and African art. Covering the last 20 years of her work, the exhibit focuses on colonialism, war, dislocations and memories. Accompanying the show is a catalogue further emphasizing her focus on the figure.
Willem de Kooning has long been a favorite of mine, so I was delighted to see Christie's presentation of his "Woman (green)". The auction house describes the piece as a "riot of colours, smears, and whiplash strokes", part of the artist's series of Woman paintings. The curators note the lack of boundaries between figure and ground, and mention that deKooning resisted applying labels to his work. He particularly objected to notions of "style": that idea, he said, is "an apology for one's anxiety".
The International Gay Rodeo Association is the organizing group that promotes the safe exhibition of LGBTQ art in the United States and Canada. "This Ain't my First Rodeo" features photographs of this event taken over a 4-year span. It is accompanied by a book to be published in October, called "National Anthem: America's Queer Rodeo".
The Japanese have a special way with tea and the tea ceremony that should help brighten your time dwelling at home. Thanks to Dr. Yumi Ando, we can now learn about the history of this ritual which provides not only nourishment but meditation and principles of harmonious living like calm and restraint. Dr. Ando reveals the history of this lovely rite, and the essence of its being: "learning to be in the moment".
Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi speciallizes in the art of miniature painting, reflecting the style of Mughal courts in the 16th to 19th centuries. If you click on "view all works", you will see 2 pages with a wider selection of his pieces.
William Mackrell brings us mysterious views of the human body, cloaked in symbolism and enticing in what is suggested rather than explicit. He is currently completing an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London. His suggestive eroticism compels the viewer to bring memories and personal experiences into the works, so that it is almost impossible to look at them passively. These pieces demand intervention.
The British Museum brings us extensive coverage of the Tantra tradition, a movement that originated in medieval India. Tantra has been associated with revolutionary thinking as expressed in the power of "divine feminine energy". Pieces from India, Nepal, Japan, Tibet and the U.K. are featured, and include sculpture, paintings, prints and ritual objects. Fascinating discussions are offered, ranging from Tantric sex, ways of looking at the world, songs of mysticism, and goddesses. The events are free, but you will have to sign up on Zoom to attend.
I have always been fascinated by the art and culture of the Etruscans. Frequently overlooked, the Etruscans were a dominant force in ancient Italy. Their art is currently being featured at the Museo Centrale Montemartini in Rome, allowing us to see terracotta frescos and sculpture. One of my favorite pieces is a reproduction of a slim scuptural figure that I keep in my studio, reminding me of the elongated bodies of sculptor Alberto Ciacometti.
Charles Garabedian manages to combine the surreal, the savage, and the aesthetic in ways that challenge our understanding of classical mythology and yet relate to our lives today. These images were done in the last 30 years of his life, which ended in 2016. He was willing to question the notions of what is good and what is bad and treat them as equally compelling. Garabedian came to art relatively late in his life. He was born into a family that fled from the genocide in Armenia, eventually getting an MFA from UCLA.
In a rather bold experiment, Rotterdam's Boijmans Museum has put its entire collection on display in a huge new warehouse, a concept called open storage, or sometimes radical transparency. The exterior of the building is clad in mirrors, reflecting the city skyline and clouds in the surround. The Museum holds about 150,000 objects in its collection and they all will be on display beginning this month. The architecture features five separate climate zones, a super high-grade airconditioning system to minimize dust, and sealed cabinets for light-sensitive pieces.
Eva Katakova works with large-scale immersive installations that symbolize problems in society at large and individual torments in particular. Her provocative titles, like "Stomach of the World" and "Anatomical Orchestra" attest to her distinctive way of approaching social issues. Her gut-punching mixed media installations will intrude into your private reflections and leave no room for escape. This is a talented artist to keep an eye on.
The Magazine of Contemporarty Art is featuring 14 of Whitaker's digital paintings on glass, mirror, and plexiglas. Here is an online gallery that doesn't require you to visit a gallery or museum and presents a striking overview of works from 2010 to today. (Note: scroll down to see all of the images).
c. Corinne Whitaker 2020