The Modern Art Notes Podcast

Episode No. 341 features artist Inka Essenhigh and curator Kenneth Myers.

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach is showing "Inka Essenhigh: A Fine Line," a mid-career survey of the New York-based Essenhigh's work. The exhibition was curated by Heather Hakimzadeh and remains on view through August 19. The exhibition's catalogue, an impressive 216-page monograph that also features work not in the show, was published by the museum. It's available from Virginia MOCA for $45.

Concurrently, The Drawing Center in New York is showing Essenhigh's Manhattanhenge, a site-specific commission for the museum's stairwell. It's on view through August 4, 2019.

On the second segment, Detroit Institute of Arts curator Kenneth Myers discusses his exhibition "Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage." The exhibition considers the paintings Frederic Edwin Church made in the late 1860s and 1870s of his trip to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It opens at the Wadsworth Atheneum on June 2; the conversation on this week's program was recorded in December, 2017. The exhibition's excellent catalogue was published by the DIA. Amazon offers it for $41.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:19pm EDT

Episode No. 340 features author and historian Daniel E. Sutherland and artist Otobong Nkanga.

With Georgia Toutziari, Daniel Sutherland is the co-author of "Whistler's Mother: Portrait of an Extraordinary Life." The book, a biography of Anna Whistler, explains both the austere woman represented in James Abbott McNeill Whistler's famed 1871 painting Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1, better known as Whistler's Mother, and Anna Whistler's involvement in her son's career. Anna Whistler lived a remarkable life that started in the slaveholding South, continued in the rapidly industrializing northeast via her marriage to one of the most prominent railroad engineers of the time, and which took her and her family to St. Petersburg, Russia, Europe and London, where she became her son's unofficial art-world manager and agent. "Whistler's Mother" was published by Yale University Press. Amazon offers it for $13. (!)

Sutherland was previously a guest on The MAN Podcast in 2014 to discuss "Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake," his terrific biography of the artist. Yale University Press has just released it in paperback. Amazon sells it for $15.

On the second segment, Otobong Nkanga discusses her work on the occasion of "Otobong Nkanga: To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The exhibition, a survey of her work which continues through September 2, was curated by Omar Kholeif. Nkanga, who was born in Nigeria and who lives and works in Antwerp, makes paintings, drawings, tapestry, installation and gives performances that explore the history and impact of colonialism, especially in Africa. Much of her work addresses the way such histories have impacted the land, and the viewer's likely connections with that past. She has performed at or her work has been exhibited at the Tate Modern, the Stedelijk Museum Arnhem, the Moderna Museet and the Centre Pompidou, and Documenta 14. The exhibition catalogue was published by Delmonico Prestel. Amazon offers it for $25.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:52pm EDT

Episode No. 339 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist John Akomfrah.

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is presenting John Akomfrah's three-channel video installation Precarity (2017-18), a work that it commissioned for its collection and that debuted at the Ogden Museum as part of the recent Prospect 4 triennial in New Orleans. (Nasher chief curator Trevor Schoonmaker was the curator of Prospect 4.)

Precarity loosely tells the story of coronet player Buddy "King" Bolden, the most popular musician in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New Orleans and a man known for improvisation and volume. In 1907, under circumstances that remain unclear, he was permanently committed to the State Insane Asylum in Jackson with schizophrenia. There are no known surviving recordings of Bolden's work, but historian Ted Gioia credits Bolden and his band with being the originator of what we now call jazz. The film is as much an exploration of New Orleans and southern Louisiana, its history and how its history impacts the present as it is a consideration of Bolden. Precarity is on view at the Nasher through September 2.

Akomfrah, a British artist of Ghanaian descent, is one of the founders of the Black Audio Film Collective, which was active between 1982 and 1998. The collective used film and media to examine issues of Black British identity through film and media. Since then Akomfrah and his producing partners Lina Gopaul and David Lawson co-founded Smoking Dogs Films. Akomfrah's work has been shown at the Tate Britain, the ICA London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

On the second segment, we'll hear host Tyler Green's March conversation with Akomfrah, taped when the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented the U.S. debut of John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea in “Sublime Seas: John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner.” The exhibition, which pairs a film installation Akomfrah made for the Venice Biennale in 2015 with Turner’s The Deluge, is at SFMOMA through September 16. It was curated by Rudolf Frieling.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:17pm EDT

Episode No. 338 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Terry Winters and art historian Stefanie Heckmann.

The Drawing Center in New York is showing "Terry Winters: Facts and Fictions," a nearly four-decade survey of Winters's drawing practice. The exhibition includes both wall-hung large-scale drawings and smaller works presented in vitrines. It was curated by Claire Gilman. The Drawing Center sells the catalogue for $20. It may be read online for free. Next month, New York's Matthew Marks Gallery will present an exhibition of Winters's recent paintings.

Terry Winters's work has been the subject of many major exhibitions, including most recently a 2016-17 prints survey at the MFA Boston, a 2015 prints survey at the Louisiana in Denmark. Winters has also been the subject of exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York, the Whitechapel in London and the Kunsthalle Basel.

Winters was previously a guest on the program in 2012.

On the second segment, Stefanie Heckmann discusses "Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s" at New York's Neue Galerie. The exhibition was curated by Olaf Peters; Heckmann wrote for the catalogue and is the head of the fine arts collection at the Berlinische Galerie Museum fur Moderne Kunst. The exhibition, which includes around 150 paintings and works on paper, looks at how artists in Germany and Austria responded to a decade marked by social disintegration, political chaos, and that effectively ended with the beginning of World War II. The exhibition's excellent catalogue is available from Amazon for $37. The show is on view through May 28.

A Harvard Art Museums exhibition on the succeeding decade was featured on the program in February.

See for images of art discussed on the program. 

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT

Episode No. 337 features artists Kamrooz Aram and Matthew Angelo Harrison.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is showing "FOCUS: Kamrooz Aram," an installation of Aram's recent sculpture, collage and painting. The exhibition continues Aram's investigation into the complex and non-linear relationship between non-Western art and (Western) modernism, particularly as various artistic traditions push toward abstraction. Curated by Andrea Karnes, the exhibition is on view through June 17.

Kamrooz Aram has had solo exhibitions at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Belgium, at LA><ART in Los Angeles and at MASS MoCA. He's been included in group shows such as MoMA PS1's "Greater New York," and at Busan and Prague biennials.

On the second segment, Matthew Angelo Harrison discusses his recent work. It's included in "Songs for Sabotage," the New Museum triennial, and in a solo exhibition at Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco. The NuMu triennial was curated by and is on view through May 27. The Silverman Gallery show is up through April 21. He'll also be included in the forthcoming "I Was Raised on the Internet," a group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

See images of art discussed on the program. 

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:16pm EDT

Episode No. 336 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curator and author Colta Ives and artist Anne Appleby.

Ives, a curator emerita at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the author of "Public Parks, Private Gardens: From Paris to Provence," and the co-curator (with Susan Alyson Stein) of the Met's exhibition of the same title. The show looks at how developments in landscape design, horticulture and the opening up of royal property combined to focus (mostly) 19thC French artists on parks and gardens. It's on view through July 29. Amazon offers the exhibition's excellent catalogue for $38.

On the second segment, artist Anne Appleby discusses new work she's showing in "We Sit Together the Mountain and Me" at the Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibition, which is on view through June 3, was curated by Rock Hushka. Appleby's work is held by the Portland Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum, SFMOMA, and more.

See images of art discussed on the program.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:01pm EDT

Episode No. 335 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artists Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, and Aïda Muluneh.

The Baltimore Museum of Art is exhibiting "Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley: We Are Ghosts" through August 19. The exhibition features two new works by Mary Reid Kelley and her collaborator Patrick Kelley: This is Offal (2016) and In the Body of the Sturgeon (2017), as well as sets and costumes from the films and related lightboxes. The exhibition debuted at the Tate Liverpool before arriving in Baltimore, where it was curated by Kristen Hileman. Baltimore and the Tate produced a small catalogue for the show. As of posting time it's not available from the BMA's store. 

This is Offal debuted as a live performance at the Tate Modern on November 19, 2015. (The video from that performance is available below.) It was inspired by Thomas Hood’s 1844 poem "The Bridge of Sighs," in which a forensic pathologist (Patrick Kelley), is frustrated by the suicide of a young woman (Mary Reid Kelley) whose body is pulled from the Thames River.

In the Body of the Sturgeon tells the story of a fictional American submarine near the end of World War II and its learning of the American dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima via a broadcast from President Harry S Truman.

On the second segment Aïda Muluneh discusses her work, which is included in "Being: New Photography 2018" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition, which was curated by Lucy Gallun, is on view through August 19. Muluneh is an Ethiopian photographer whose work is in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth.

See images of art discussed on this week's show. 

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 4:11pm EDT

Episode No. 334 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast is a holiday weekend presentation of previously recorded interviews with curators Frederick Ilchman and Scott Shields.

Ilchman, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is the co-curator of “Casanova: The Seduction of Europe,” a broad look at the over-the-top luxury of European art and decorative arts in the pre-French Revolution decades. It debuted at the Kimbell Art Museum last year, and is on view at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco through May 28. The show is built around the famed Giacomo Casanova, a courtier, lothario and schemester whose memoir provides one of the best insights to an era in which those at the top of society milked their countries for wealth and prestige, leaving little for others. The exhibition was co-curated by Ilchman, the National Gallery of Art’s C.D. Dickerson (who started work on the show while he was at the Kimbell), and the Clark Art Institute's Esther Bell (who worked on the show while she was at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco). The catalogue is absolutely terrific, a great read, a decadent look, and Amazon will sell it to you for $34.

Next, Crocker Art Museum curator Scott A. Shields discusses “Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942-1955,” which the Crocker co-organized with the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. The exhibition looks at work, especially work on paper, that Diebenkorn made before turning to figuration while living and working in Berkeley, Calif. It reveals Diebenkorn working through artists with whom his work is not typically associated, such as John Marin and Arshile Gorky. The exhibition is accompanied by an excellent, well-illustrated catalogue that mines Diebenkorn’s archive to find a surprising range of influences. Amazon sells it for $44. From Sacramento, the show will trael to the Owsley Museum at Ball State University, the Portland (Ore.) Art Museum, the Weisman Museum at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and to the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md. Images of art discussed on the program are here.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

Episode No. 333 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curators Emma Acker and Nathaniel Silver.

Acker is the curator of "Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art," the first broad survey of precisionism in nearly 20 years. The exhibition opens at the de Young Museum in San Francisco this weekend, and remains on view through August 12. "Cult of the Machine" includes over 100 works, including paintings, photographs, works on paper and sculpture, and charts the emergence of the style and its roughly three-decade-long history. The exhibition's terrific catalogue, which features scores of illustrations of supplemental artworks, was published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in association with Yale University Press. Amazon offers it for $52. The exhibition will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art in September.

On the second segment, Nathaniel Silver returns to the program to discuss his new exhibition "Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth,"  which is at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston through May 20. The exhibition joins Angelico's Assumption and Dormition of the Virgin, acquired by Gardner in 1899 and the first Angelico acquired by an American, with its three companions from the Museo di San Marco in Florence. Conceived by Angelico (and his funder) as a set of reliquaries for the Florentine church of Santa Maria Novella, they tell the story of the Virgin Mary's life. The outstanding catalogue, complete with one of the most beautiful book covers you'll ever see, was published by the ISGM and Paul Holberton Publishing and is available from Amazon for $41.

For images of art discussed on the program, see 

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredThirtyThree.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 3:19pm EDT

Episode No. 332 features artists Fazal Sheikh and John Akomfrah.

The Portland (Ore.) Art Museum is exhibiting "Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013," a 25-year survey of Fazal Sheikh's work. The exhibition focuses on Sheikh's portraiture, work that spotlights the individual humanity often forgotten or obscured by war and other ethnic, religious or misogynistic violence. It also includes Sheikh's landscapes, which often suggest the violence or migration that the land in his pictures sustained. The exhibition, which is on view through May 20, was organized by Eric Paddock and the Denver Art Museum. Julia Dolan oversaw the Portland installation.

Sheikh, who was born in New York to an American mother and Kenyan father, spent many childhood summers there. Upon earning a Fulbright scholarship after studying under Emmet Gowin at Princeton, Sheikh returned to Africa and found himself photographing people displaced from Somalia, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Rwanada who were living in refugee camps. Over the ensuing decades he continued to look at places where massive waves of migration, often caused by violence, impacted people and places. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation 'genius' award. Museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art have presented solo exhibitions of his work.

Sheikh's website includes a broad presentation of his work and free digital versions of all of his books. Among the series or projects he and host Tyler Green discuss on this week's program are:

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is presenting the U.S. debut of John Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea in "Sublime Seas: John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner." The exhibition, which pairs a film installation Akomfrah made for the Venice Biennale in 2015 with Turner's The Deluge, will be on view at SFMOMA through September 16. It was curated by Rudolf Frieling.

In two weeks the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University will exhibit Akomfrah's Precarity, which debuted at Prospect.4. (The version of Precarity at the Nasher will differ slightly from the version shown in New Orleans.) The exhibition will remain on view through August 26. Later this spring, Akomfrah will return to The MAN Podcast to discuss Precarity.

Akomfrah has had many solo exhibitions and dedicated screenings around the world, including at the Tate Britain and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredThirtyTwo.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT