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Harold Rosenberg and Willem de Kooning

National Portrait Gallery
This small drawing gives us clues to Elaine’s process in thinking through a portrait. On the left is a drawing of Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) with his body turned slightly to the side. Later she used this sheet to create a compositional study and precise drawing for her large painted portrait of the writer and critic Harold Rosenberg (1906–1978), also included in this exhibition. This drawing clearly delineates the studio window behind Rosenberg’s stretched-out figure, as well as the door in the right background, and captures the precise way in which he holds a cigarette in his left hand and a can in his right. These details remain in the larger painting, but they are surrounded by gestural strokes and dripping areas of pure color.

Este pequeño dibujo nos ofrece indicios sobre la manera en que Elaine razonaba sus retratos. A la izquierda aparece Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) con el cuerpo ligeramente girado hacia un lado. Ella usó luego esta página para crear un estudio compositivo y un dibujo más preciso que sirvieron de base a su pintura en gran formato del escritor y crítico Harold Rosenberg (1906–1978), incluida también en esta exposición. Este dibujo delinea con claridad la ventana del estudio detrás de la figura recostada de Rosenberg, así como la puerta del fondo a la derecha; también capta la manera específica en que Rosenberg sostiene su cigarrillo en la mano izquierda y una lata en la derecha. Estos detalles se conservan en la pintura, pero rodeados de pinceladas gestuales y áreas de salpicaduras de color puro.

Head (Mural Study, U.S. Department of Justice)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Head of Orozco

Catalog of American Portraits

Herman Perlman Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

House of Tears: Fighting Women [painting] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Helm, MacKinley, "Man of Fire: J. C. Orozco," NY: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1953.

Reed, Alma, "Jose Clemente Orozco," NY: Hacker Art Books, 1985.

Reed, Alma M., "The Mexican Muralists," NY: Crown Publishers, 1960.

Color study print (8x10).

Orig. negative: 5x7, Safety, CT.

copy 1 negative: 4x5, Safety, BW.

Knop, Mr.

House of Tears: Fighting Women [painting] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Reed, Alma, "Jose Clemente Orozco," NY: Hacker Art Books, 1985, pg. 234.

Reed, Alma, "Orozco: Jose Clemente Orozco," Dresden: VEB Verlag der Kunst, 1979, no. 1.

Reed, Alma M., "The Mexican Muralists," NY: Crown Publishers, 1960, pg. 44.

Helm, MacKinley, "Man of Fire: J. C. Orozco," NY: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1953, no. 123.

Black-and-white study print (8x10).

Orig. negative: 8x10, Safety, BW.

Gallery of Modern Art.

Howard Chandler Christy

National Portrait Gallery

Howard Chandler Christy

National Portrait Gallery

Howard Chandler Christy

National Portrait Gallery

Howard Chandler Christy

National Portrait Gallery

Howard Chandler Christy Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Hugo Gellert and an unidentified man

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : b&w ; 10 x 13 cm.

Illustrator and muralist Hugo Gellert (on left). The two men are standing in what appears to be an exhibit of Gellert's works.

Installation view of the Muralist and the modern architect exhibit at the Kootz Gallery

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : b&w ; 9 x 11 cm

Date based on date of exhibit.

Installation view of the Muralist and the modern architect exhibit at the Kootz Gallery

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : b&w ; 9 x 11 cm Identification on verso (handwritten): Motherwell mural fragment & models of Architects' Collaborative school in Attleboro, Mass.; Kootz.
Date based on date of exhibit.

Installation view of the Muralist and the modern architect exhibit at the Kootz Gallery

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : b&w ; 9 x 11 cm

Date based on date of exhibit.

Instead of Tagging Real-Life Surfaces, Graffiti Artists Can Use a New Simulator

Smithsonian Magazine

Is graffiti a legitimate art form? Street artists like Blu think so—he was so enraged by a gallery that tried to put his work in a museum instead of on the streets that he removed his work from Bologna in a fit of pique. But many cities beg to differ, and places like New York have waged long wars against the taggers within. Now, writes CityLab’s John Metcalfe, a new graffiti simulator offers another option for street artists who don’t want to risk arrest or attack while honing their craft.

It’s called Kingspray Graffiti Simulator, and Metcalfe writes that it’s coming to the Steam digital distribution platform on June 13. Kingspray gives street artists a variety of urban locations to use as canvases and offers a virtual experience complete with dripping spray paint in a multitude of colors. 

As Tech Times’ Anu Passary notes, the game lets players choose everything from the time of day to weather conditions. Designed for the Vive virtual reality headset, the game adds another layer of realism to faux graffiti writers as they make their marks on an imaginary city.

They can even play streaming radio while painting to keep up their artistic spirits. After all, in this virtual reality world there’s no chance of being jailed for making art like the pair of international fugitive taggers who recently made waves when they hit Australia with plans to make the streets their canvas. 

Despite ongoing attempts by cities to curb graffiti—like the Los Angeles City Council’s recent plan to offer a $2,000 reward to anyone with tips on taggers—street art is slowly breaking free of its illegal cachet. There’s Banksy, of course, whose murals have become an art world phenomenon. And new documentaries expose the history of everything from “wall writers” in Philly to women who know their way around a can of spray paint. It remains to be seen, however, whether graffiti simulators like Kingspray will lessen physical street art or just help would-be muralists plan their next bombing raid.

Jack Beal Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery
When Jack Beal won a commission to paint murals for the U.S. Department of Labor in 1974, he built a new studio whose skylights appear in the background of this lithograph. Beal, one of the few realist artists of his era to paint from life rather than from photographs, thoughtfully reinterpreted what he saw in the mirror. Here, he shaped the fall of the light so that his visor’s shadow would cut his face diagonally in half and leave his eyes intriguingly obscured. Beal chose to show himself in a long-sleeved plaid shirt whose grid of lines let him model the fabric’s surface while compositionally balancing the diagonals of the skylights. As in all his realist art, he marshaled every element in the image to communicate his own ideas. Beal asks us to imagine that the realm inside the image is, as he once put it, “a world that is as real as this world.”

Cuando Jack Beal obtuvo el encargo de pintar murales para el Departamento del Trabajo de Estados Unidos en 1974, se construyó un taller nuevo cuyos tragaluces son el fondo de esta lito- grafía. Siendo uno de los pocos artistas realistas de su época que pintaban del natural y no a partir de fotos, Beal se miraba al espejo para retratarse y reinterpretaba meditadamente lo que veía. Aquí colocó la caída de la luz de modo que la sombra de su visera corta su cara en diagonal y le oscurece los ojos de manera enigmática. Beal se representa con una camisa escocesa de mangas largas, cuyo estampado en cuadrícula le permite modelar la superficie de la tela a la vez que contrapesa en la composición las líneas diagonales de los tragaluces. Como en todas su obras, ha manejado cada elemento de la imagen para comunicar sus ideas particulares y nos pide imaginar que el ámbito de la imagen es, como decía, “un mundo tan real como este mundo”.

Jackson Pollock: Modernism's Shooting Star

Smithsonian Magazine

"When Jackson Pollock died in a car crash in August 1956," writes author Phyllis Tuchman, "the 44-year-old artist hadn't made a painting in over a year. During the previous two and a half years, Pollock had executed only four significant pictures, but he seemed ready to get back to work.... In a few months, he was to become the first artist of his generation the then-emergent Abstract Expressionists to be honored with a mid-career survey of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York." The show, which opened in December 1956, became a memorial to the most important abstractionist in American art history.

Some 40 years later, Pollock is the subject of another major exhibition at MOMA. The retrospective, which will be on view from November 1 through February 2, 1999, features more than 150 paintings and works on paper executed during a career of approximately 25 years.

Born in Cody, Wyoming, in 1912, Pollock was raised mainly in California and from there made his way to New York City, where he studied with artist Thomas Hart Benton. The paintings he produced during the early years variously reflect the influence of Benton, Albert Pinkham Ryder and the Mexican muralists. They also reveal hints of American Indian symbology, Jungian archetypes and the work of Picasso and other European modernists.

The centerpieces of the MOMA show, however, are Pollock's seminal "drip" or "poured" paintings large "portable murals" that he made by dripping Duco and other house paints onto wall-size canvas spread across the studio floor. With these "astonishingly eloquent" paintings, writes Tuchman, "Pollock did something few other American artists have ever achieved: he showed how an abstractionist could make beautiful, profound, enigmatic, graceful canvases endowed with poetry and meaning."

James Amos Porter Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery
Born Baltimore, Maryland

An influential artist and art historian, James A. Porter founded the field of African American art history. He chaired Howard University’s Art Department and directed the university’s art gallery from 1953 until his death in 1970. Porter championed unrecognized African American artists through organized exhibitions and published work. His influential Modern Negro Art (1943) placed African American art in the context of the history of modernism for the first time. Porter studied in France, Cuba, and Haiti and traveled in West Africa, Egypt, and Brazil. These trips abroad influenced his work, which was included during his lifetime in exhibitions at major institutions, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Nacido en Baltimore, Maryland

El influyente pintor e historiador del arte James A. Porter fundó el campo de la historia del arte afroamericano. Dirigió el Departamento de Arte de la Universidad Howard, y la galería de exposiciones de dicha institución, desde 1953 hasta su muerte en 1970. A través de sus publicaciones y las exposiciones que organizaba, Porter también promovió a numerosos artistas afroamericanos ignorados. Su prestigioso libro Modern Negro Art (1943) ubicó por primera vez al arte afroamericano en el contexto de la historia del modernismo. Porter estudió en Francia, Cuba y Haití, y viajó por el oeste de África, Egipto y Brasil. Estos periplos por el extranjero influenciaron su obra pictórica, la cual en vida del artista fue expuesta en importantes instituciones como Corcoran Gallery of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts y Museum of Modern Art.

Jar

National Museum of the American Indian

Jean Charlot

National Portrait Gallery

Jean Charlot (with Zohmah Charlot)

National Portrait Gallery

Jean Charlot (with Zohmah Charlot)

National Portrait Gallery
Jean Charlot’s career as an artist, writer, and professor spanned several decades and multiple countries. He studied art in Paris before the outbreak of World War I, and in 1921, after the war had ended, he moved to Mexico, the birthplace of his maternal grandfather. While there, he absorbed local art traditions and worked alongside Diego Rivera and other members of the Mexican avant-garde. Charlot moved in circles with other visiting artists, too, including the American photographer Edward Weston who lived in Mexico between 1923 and 1926.

Weston took this photograph of Charlot and Zohmah Day, in 1933, when the couple was visiting him in Carmel, California. By then, Charlot had settled in New York City, where he helped foster the burgeoning American muralist tradition, through his art and through his research and criticism. Charlot taught at a number of American institutions before becoming a professor of art at the University of Hawaii in 1949.

La carrera de Jean Charlot como artista, escritor y profesor abarcó varias décadas y múltiples países. Estudió arte en París antes de que estallara la Primera Guerra Mundial, y en 1921, después de la guerra, se trasladó a México, país natal de su abuelo materno. Allí absorbió las tradiciones del arte local y trabajó junto a Diego Rivera y otros miembros de la vanguardia mexicana. Frecuentaba también a otros artistas visitantes, como el fotógrafo estadounidense Edward Weston, quien vivió en México entre 1923 y 1926.

Weston tomó esta fotografía de Charlot y Zohmah Day en 1933, cuando la pareja lo visitó en Carmel, California. Para entonces Charlot se había radicado en la ciudad de Nueva York, donde ayudó a promover la floreciente tradición muralista del país, tanto con su obra artística como con sus investigaciones y trabajo de crítica. Charlot impartió clases en varias instituciones estadounidenses antes de aceptar un puesto como profesor de arte en la Universidad de Hawái en 1949.
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