The Modern Art Notes Podcast

The American painter John Marin is typically regarded as one of the two or three greatest American modernists. Since Cezanne, no painter has made watercolors that are as vibrant as Marin's, and you'd be hard-pressed to find any artist who made the medium as central to his experiments as Marin did. Marin didn't just paint watercolors, he collaged them, scuffed them, drew on them and pushed watercolor as far as he could.

Then, when Marin was 63 years old, he seems to have had a minor crisis related to his potential legacy. He wondered if his watercolors would be enough to secure his place in history. In 1933 he bought a house in Cape Split, Maine -- and started painting in oil.

An exhibition on view now at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth explores the work Marin made between 1933 and the end of his life twenty years later, demonstrating how he tackled oil paint even as he continued in watercolor. The show was co-organized for the Portland Museum of Art and by the Addison Gallery of American Art by one of the top scholars of American modernism and this week's podcast guest,Debra Bricker Balken. Before curating"John Marin: Modernism at Midcentury,"Balken organized exhibitions of Arthur Doveand of Dove and Georgia O'Keeffe. [Image: John Marin, Hurricane, 1944. Collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. A detail from this painting is in this week's MANPodcast.combanner.]

In our conversation Balken and I discuss:

  • Why John Marin bought his house in Cape Split and how it impacted his work;
  • Why he started painting in oil;
  • How much attention he paid to the rise of abstract expressionism -- and how much the abstract expressionists paid to him;
  • Whether Marin painted ambidextrously (!);
  • Marin's now-rare painted frames; and
  • Whether Marin had a significant impact on Jackson Pollock.

In this week's draft segment, Ed Schad and I look at artists whose work is featured in exhibitions and scholarship launched as part of the Getty-funded Pacific Standard Time initiative and who we think deserve in-depth, sustained attention from curators, critics and collectors. Schad is an assistant curator at The Broad Art Foundation and a critic who publishes in ArtSlant magazine, in LA Weekly and on I Call It ORANGES.

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThree.mp3
Category:art -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

Charline von Heyl's first museum survey is on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia and will travel to the ICA Boston. Next year the Tate Liverpool will launch the first European survey of von Heyl's work. Last year von Heyl completed a major commission for the Worcester Art museum's Wall at WAM program. Inspired by the museum's 1963 Ellsworth Kelly (see below), the mural remains on view.

Because our conversation included a discussion the Worcester mural, the program's second segment is an outtake from last week's conversation with Baltimore Museum of Art curator Kristen Hileman about museums and large-scale commissions. We discuss why they usually go to men.

For images of the artworks von Heyl and I discuss and some images from the ICA Philadelphia exhibition, please see Modern Art Notes or

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeTwo.mp3
Category:art -- posted at: 10:15am EDT

This week's Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Chris Burden and Baltimore Museum of Art curator Kristen Hileman. 

A star of the Getty-funded Pacific Standard Time series of exhibitions and related scholarship — only John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha are included in more PST shows — Burden is one of our most important artists. His Urban Light (2008) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is arguably America’s most popular public artwork. Later this fall, LACMA will open a second major Burden installation: Metropolis II (which is on a 10-year loan to the institution from a private collector). In 2008 Burden installed What My Dad Gave Me, a six-story sculptural installation commissioned by the Public Art Fund, at Rockefeller Center in 2008. He has been the subject of several retrospective exhibitions, including in 1988 at the Newport Harbor Art Museum, and at the MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna in 1996.

Among the highlights of our conversation:

  • Burden explains how Metropolis II was made;
  • He explains how his 'moon satellite' is becoming more possible;
  • He addresses whether or not he would re-perform his iconic early 1970s performances;
  • We learn what kinds of fantastic and unexpected objects are lying around his southern California studio and property; and
  • What role risk plays in his art now.

In the program's second segment, Hileman and I discuss our favorite long-term installations at American art museums. Next year, the BMA will unveil a major new Sarah Oppenheimer installation.

Special thanks to this weeks' advertisers: The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeOne.mp3
Category:art -- posted at: 1:48am EDT