The Modern Art Notes Podcast

Episode No. 281 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast considers federal arts and humanities funding with Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation executive vice president for programs and research Mariët Westermann.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities make up eight one-thousandths of one percent of the federal budget. Still, in the name of austerity, the Trump White House has targeted the endowments, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for elimination in its first budget. The endowments each received $148 million in appropriations in the federal government's most recent fiscal year, while the IMLS received $230 million and CPB $445 million. Meanwhile, the Trump budget asks for a 10 percent increase in defense spending, a single-year bump of $54 billion -- or 365 times the NEA or NEH's total annual appropriation.

No American art or arts critic has written more about the role of federal arts and humanities funding and especially the national endowments over more years than Christopher Knight. He has been the art critic of the Los Angeles Times since 1989. He is a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association in 1997. 

On the second segment, Mellon foundation VP Mariët Westermann discusses federal arts and humanities funding from a funder's perspective. Prior to joining Mellon in 2010, was the provost and chief academic officer of New York University Abu Dhabi; director of NYU's Institute of Fine Arts; associate director of research at the Clark Art Institute, and an associate professor at Rutgers University. As a historian of Netherlandish art, Westermann has written books on Jan Steen, Rembrandt, Vermeer and more.

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Episode No. 280 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curators Simon Kelly and Gail Stavitsky.

Along with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco's Esther Bell, Kelly is the co-curator of "Degas, Impressionism & the Paris Millinery Trade." The exhibition melds the social history of modernizing 19th-century Paris with the ways in which painters, especially Edgar Degas, captured one the city's boomingest industries, the manufacturing and selling of hats, an industry that was a gateway into the city, employment and the bourgeoisie for tens of thousands of French women. The exhibition is at the Saint Louis Art Museum through May 7, when it will travel to San Francisco's Legion of Honor. The exhibition's superb catalogue was published by the two museums and DelMonico Prestel.

On the second segment, Gail Stavitsky discusses "Matisse and American Art," her new exhibition on the impact Matisse's work has had on American artists. The show, which features 65 paintings, sculptures, prints and archival objects is on view at New Jersey's Montclair Art Museum through June 18. Stavitsky curated the show with assistance from John Cauman and Lisa Mintz Messinger. The exhibition catalogue was published by the museum.

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Category:art -- posted at: 10:45am EDT

Episode No. 279 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Dara Birnbaum and curator Julie J. Thomson.

Dara Birnbaum is included in "Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media," at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The exhibition examines how artists have used newspapers, magazines and televised news programs to consider media, news and the messages included therein. The exhibition was curated by Arpad Kovacs and will be on view through April 30.

Birnbaum is among the pioneers of video art. Her work often includes pointedly feminist critiques of mass media, including of entertainment and journalism. Retrospectives of her work include "The Dark Matter of Media Light" at SMAK, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent, Belgium, and at the Serralves Foundation in Porto, Portugal, and "Dara Birnbaum Retrospective exhibition" at the Kunsthalle Wien in Austria and at the Norrtalje Konsthall in Sweden.

On the second segment, Julie J. Thomson discusses "Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College." The exhibition surveys photography made at Black Mountain College, including landscapes, documentary work (including of performance), experiments with the medium and more. The exhibition is at the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in Asheville, North Carolina through May 20. 

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Episode No. 278 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Kay Rosen and curator Anne-Lise Desmas.

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum opens "Kay Rosen: H Is for House," this weekend. It is Rosen's first solo museum exhibition in the northeast in almost 20 years. It is curated by the Aldrich's Richard Klein. The exhibition will be on view through September 4.

Rosen's text-based works, presented as wall-drawings, paintings and works on paper, use language, words, humor and two-dimensional forms to explore ideas, histories and contemporary life. Rosen's work is in the collection . Her museum exhibitions and installations have included projects at the Aspen (Colo.) Art Museum, the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara, The Drawing Center, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Otis College of Art and Design, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the MCA Chicago and more.

On the second segment, J. Paul Getty Museum curator Anne-Lise Desmas discusses "Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment." The exhibition examines the sculpture and drawings of Edme Bouchardon, who worked as the Royal Artist during the eighteenth-century reign of Louis XV. The exhibition, which Desmas co-curated with Edouard Kopp, is on view through April 2.

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On March 12, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles opens "Kerry James Marshall: Mastry," the artist's first retrospective. Marshall is one of the most significant chronicler's of the American experience, especially the African-American experience. For 35 years he has worked to add black people and black culture to a Western art historical canon that is mostly built of white faces and stories. The exhibition was curated by Dieter Roelstraete, Helen Molesworth and Ian Alteveer. The exhibition catalogue was published by Skira Rizzoli.

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Episode No. 276 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features historian and author Jane Kamensky and curator Anne Ellegood.

Kamensky is the author of "A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley." The book is a new biography that places one of early America's best and most important artists within the context of the political and revolutionary events of his time -- and details how Copley and his family were actors in them. Amazon offers it for $20 in hardcover and at $16 for Kindle.

Kamensky is a professor of history at Harvard University and the director of the Schlesinger Library. She is a historian of early America and the Atlantic world.

On the second segment, Hammer Museum curator Anne Ellegood discusses her new exhibition "Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World." Ellegood's retrospective is the first major Durham show in the United States in over 20 years. 

Durham came to prominence as an artist in New York City in the 1980s. His work has consistently addressed questions of identity, colonialism and the inseparability of identity from politics in the United States. The exhibition is on view at the Hammer through May 7, when it will travel to the Walker, the Whitney and to the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The show's thorough catalogue was published by DelMonico Prestel.

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Medardo Rosso

Episode No. 275 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curators Sharon Hecker and Tamara Schenkenberg and was taped live at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis.

Hecker and Schenkenberg are the co-curators of "Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form," which is at the Pulitzer through May 13. The exhibition is the first broad survey of Rosso's work in an American museum in over fifty years. (In 2014-15 the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York presented this Rosso installation.) It features nearly 100 works, including sculptures, drawings and photographs. The exhibition's catalogue is available for free from the Pulitzer for a $7 PayPal-administered shipping charge.

Rosso is an Italian artist who spent much of his career in France. His sculptures of heads and figures in wax, plaster, and bronze are key pivots between an era of monumental bronze sculpture, realist and impressionist sculpture and ultimately modern art.

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Episode No. 274 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artists Sarah Oppenheimer and Richard Misrach.

This weekend the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University in Columbus debuts "Sarah Oppenheimer: S-337473," an exhibition of a newly commissioned work developed  for the Wexner's Peter Eisenman-designed building. Oppenheimer created her new work as a two-year-long Wexner Center Artist Residency Award recipient, during which she collaborated with OSU's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to develop a patent-pending pivot mechanism that allows this new work to rotate at a 45-degree angle. The exhibition opens on Saturday, February 4 and will be on view through April 16. As soon as images of the new work are available, probably on or around February 7, we'll add them to this post.

Sarah Oppenheimer is an artist who creates installations that engage with both architecture and space. She's previously made work for the Perez Art Museum Miami (on view through April 30), the Kunsthaus Basel, the Rice University Art Gallery, the Queens Museum, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. A project she is developing for Mass MoCA will debut in 2019. Oppenheimer has also created a permanent installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Multiple views of all her installations are on her website.

On the second segment, the re-airing of a 2016 segment with Richard Misrach on his "Border Cantos," a book and exhibition on which he has collaborated with Mexican composer and performer Guillermo Galindo. Since 2004, and especially since 2009, Misrach has been making pictures along the 2,000-mile-long United States border with Mexico, the latest investigation of American deserts that make up what Misrach calls his Desert Cantos series. As Misrach traveled the borderlands, he accumulated discarded objects such as water bottles, backpacks, clothing and shotgun shells and turned them over to Galindo, who made that material into instruments and who then performed on them. The book, "Border Cantos," is out from Aperture; Amazon offers it $45, a forty percent discount.

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Category:art -- posted at: 11:49am EDT

Tony Oursler, American Art during WWI

The Museum of Modern Art is showing Tony Oursler's Imponderable (2015-16), a 90-minute film shown in an immersive, so-called "5-D" environment, as well as archival material related to the film from Oursler's own collection. The film mines Ourlser's interest in experiments in technological advancement that didn't quite work out and occult phenomena to offer a kind of alternative history of modernism. The film is richly informed by Oursler's own life history. His grandfather was Charles Fulton Oursler, a journalist and author who teamed up with Harry Houdini to campaign against fraudulent mediumship. The exhibition was curated by MoMA's Stuart Comer and Erica Papernik-Shimizu. Imponderable is at MoMA through April 16.

Oursler is a multimedia and installation artist whose work often examines and uses new technologies to explore topics such as facial recognition, paranormal phenomena and the relationship between multiple personality disorder and mass media.

On the second segment, historian and curator Anne Classen Knutson discusses "World War I and American Art," which is at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts through April 9. The exhibition looks at how American artists responded to and engaged with the war, both in Europe and in the United States. Knutson co-curated the show with Robert Cozzolino and David Lubin. 

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Artist Stanley Whitney.

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