In recent years, both within and outside Japan, interest in the post-World War II Gutai art movement has increased considerably, with major museum exhibitions appearing at such venues as the Museo Cantonale d’Arte in Lugano, Switzerland, the National Art Center in Tokyo, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Against the backdrop of belated examples of race-related “progress,” it is illuminating to flip through the pages of American cultural history and discover that almost a century ago, a black, classically trained modern artist, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., was using paint on canvas to address such nuanced subjects as the dignity of mixed-race persons and the skin-tone-based sensitivities that prevailed among his own people.
Starting in the late 1960s, in the New York art world and internationally, Holly Solomon was for many a genuine star and maybe even, in Andy Warhol’s lexicon, a “superstar.”
As the American critic Jed Perl points out in his new book, Magicians & Charlatans: Essays on Art and Culture (Eakins Press Foundation, 2013), a collection of essays about subjects in the fields of Renaissance, modern and contemporary art, today the forces of “art as money” have vanquished those of “art as tradition.”
Against a backdrop of artistic, technological, political and social developments, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore is presenting Human, Soul & Machine: The Coming Singularity! Timely and full of surprises, it is an exhibition that exudes a sense of urgency unlike that of many other museum shows of, say, the past decade in the US.
Today, Ono is no longer, as Lennon quipped in the late 1960s, “the world’s most famous unknown artist”; at the time, he added: “everybody knows her name, but nobody knows what she does.”
For Stephanie Brody-Lederman, a New York-based painter, the ungraspable nature of memory and the fugitive, ever-mutable character of its content have long been both the subject and the raw material of her art.
“Being born in Scotland carries with it certain responsibilities.”
That observation, made by Derek Taylor, the Liverpool-born newspaperman who became the Beatles’ press officer, was irreverently included on the back cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s record album The Plastic One Band/Live Peace in Toronto 1969.