The period between April 1932 and March 1933, when artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo sojourned in Detroit, was a desperate time for the city.
When Brazilian artist Sōnia Menna Barreto was a teenager in São Paulo, her mother used to stay up all night long playing cards with her friends. That memory sunk into Barreto’s consciousness, surfacing in a surreal series of trompe l’oeil paintings the artist has been creating over the last few years.
T.S. Eliot’s claim that April is the cruelest month feels particularly true during tax season. Assuming you’re an artist in the United States who makes at least $10,000 a year, you may be scrambling to file your return before tomorrow’s deadline.
Last year I wrote an article called “What You Might Be Missing at MoMA,” which discussed the paintings exiled to the corridors of the Museum of Modern Art’s fourth and fifth floors.
Masterpieces sometimes pop up in the strangest places. Antiques Road Show, that public television stalwart showing unwitting collectors having their finds appraised, has uncovered plenty of surprises, but this is one of the biggest. A Road Show participant from Corpus Christi, Texas, brought Boston-based antiques expert Colleene Fesko a 1904 easel painting by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
BERKELEY, California — I just moved to Berkeley, California after living in Brooklyn for two years and the second arts institution I visited was SFMoMA (the first was the Luggage Store gallery but I didn’t have my camera with me). The museum is not unpleasant but has an odd construction with a consistent zebra-stripe patterning throughout — it reminded me of the Orvieto Cathedral in Umbria, Italy.
On December 19th of last year, Patti Smith and Michael Stipe gave a “walk-in performance” in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art to celebrate the centennial of Jean Genet — poet, playwright, novelist, radical leftist, hustler and thief.
It was also the final day of the uprising in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, which started three days earlier when Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, set himself on fire and burned to death to protest the confiscation of his merchandize by the police. The timing of the performance and the Tunisia riots were, of course, purely a coincidence.
On December 19th of this year, alone with her guitar, Patti Smith returned to the same place — now occupied by an enormous obelisk holding aloft Sanja Iveković’s golden, hugely pregnant “Lady Rosa of Luxembourg” — to mark Genet’s 101st birthday.
This week’s Required Reading has links to the garb needed to paint in the arctic, Jasper Johns and orgies, an interview with artist Sharon Hayes, a handwritten transcript by Diego Rivera, artist Cao Fei on the unsung factory workers of the Pearl River Delta and Japanese shut-ins.