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Before the frustration and jadedness come, before galleries and museums and auction houses, before art history exams and relational aesthetics and identity politics, there is the simple joy of making art. Of mixing soupy colored paints and brushing them onto paper in whatever forms you like. I admit that it’s been a while, but I remember how much fun it was.
Yesterday morning at Vittoria, a local coffee shop, I noticed an exuberant row of children’s artwork lining the side brick wall. It was so much more enlivening than the usual coffee shop art, and when I stopped to read the description (“wall text”), I liked it even more: the paintings were done by second graders who’d been learning about Pop artist Jim Dine. For those who aren’t familiar, Dine has been making paintings and sculptures of hearts for decades. As he explains in this Artnet interview:
IS: And what’s the fascination with the hearts? How many hearts have you made? Millions?
JD: Millions … I have no idea but it’s mine and I use it as a template for all my emotions. It’s a landscape for everything. It’s like Indian classical music — based on something very simple but building to a complicated structure. Within that you can do anything in the world. And that’s how I feel about my hearts.
The second-graders, too, use the hearts as a “landscape for everything” — from scary skeletons and skulls to heartcake bunnies and rabbit carrots, to something out of Minecraft. It’s fun to see how one shape (and the feeling that goes with it) opens up to such a range of symbols and objects; there’s a conceptual sophistication that comes from the easy free association of being young. And I just love their wiry energy — a bit of rejuvenation for my art-world-weary eyes.
Tabitha Arnold’s rugs pay tribute to organizers who lay their bodies on the line in the workplace, in the public square, and in the depths of private prisons.
The intentionality of Booker’s abstraction gives me the impetus to discuss something about the current zeitgeist that’s been on my mind for a while.
The Morgan Library & Museum Presents Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South
This exhibition celebrates the Morgan’s recent acquisition of drawings by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young.
After years in the making, New Time opens at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
The museum details the process of moviemaking, from its inception in storytelling all the way to its marketing. But interwoven into these exhibits are ugly truths.
Part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Art Preserve also functions as a curated collection facility and is filled with immersive installations.
The former panels, removed in 2017, featured images dedicated to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.