The Modern Art Notes Podcast

Episode No. 378 features historian Richard Fletcher and artist Sadie Barnette.

Yale University Press has just published "Cy Twombly: Fifty Days at Iliam," a monograph about Twombly's famed 1978 paintings series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The book features the paintings and related works, as well as a conversation with Annabelle D‘Huart and essays by Carlos Basualdo, Emily Greenwood, Olena Chervonik, and Nicola Del Roscio and this week's guest, Richard Fletcher. Amazon offers it for $32.

Over the course of the ten paintings of "Fifty Days at Iliam," Twombly addresses the Trojan War through Alexander Pope’s 18th-century translation of Homer’s Iliad. Fletcher is a professor at The Ohio State University. His previous work has examined how contemporary artists have engaged with classical antiquity.

On the second segment, Sadie Barnette discusses her Dear 1968… on the occasion of an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego last year. The installation was the result of Barnette’s research into her family history, specifically her father’s participation in the Black Panther Party and the FBI’s surveillance of him. For images, please see the show page for Episode No. 350. Barnette is an Oakland-based artist whose work often explores urbanity, architecture, resistance and survival. "Phone Home," an exhibition of Barnette's recent work, is on view at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco through April 14.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:46pm EDT

Episode No. 377 features art historians Maxwell Anderson and Kellie Jones.

This week's episode spotlights two different approaches to addressing gaps in our understanding of American art history.

First, Souls Grown Deep Foundation president Maxwell Anderson discusses his organization's project to document, preserve and promote the work of artists from the African-American South and to more fully include their cultural traditions within American art. In 2014 Souls Grown Deep began a program to transfer the majority of the works in its collection -- by artists such as Ronald Lockett, Thornton Dial, Mary T. Smith, Joe Minter and the quiltmakers of the Gee's Bend community in Alabama -- to American and international art museums. So far Souls Grown Deep's efforts have led to the acquisition of hundreds of works by museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and more. Many of those museums have organized exhibitions of those acquisitions. FAMSF's de Young Museum and the Met have included Souls Grown Deep-sourced works in a new, ongoing installations from their modern and contemporary collections.

Then, Kellie Jones, an art history professor at Columbia University, discusses the Getty Research Institute's new African American art history initiative. Jones is the senior consultant to the new program. It will acquire and make available artist archives, establish a dedicated curatorship in African American art history, make available annual research fellowships and conduct oral histories of key figures across the field. When the Getty announced the program it also announced it was acquiring the archive of Betye Saar, one of the most influential artists of the post-war period.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 7:19pm EDT

Episode No. 376 features artist Robert Pruitt and art historian Maggie Cao.

The California African American Museum is showing "Robert Pruitt: Devotion," a survey of Pruitt's large-scale drawing and sculpture that is installed with art that has informed Pruitt's work. The exhibition was curated by Mar Hollingsworth and will be on view through February 17.

Robert Pruitt's drawings, sculpture, animation and more brings together spiritual traditions, fictional narrative, technology and science fiction in a way that suggests new stories and new black identities. Pruitt has received solo shows at museums such as the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita. His work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the ICA Boston, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the Studio Museum and more.

On the second segment, art historian Maggie Cao discusses her book "The End of Landscape in Nineteenth-Century America." The book, which was published by University of California Press, offers some ideas about why Cao thinks landscape declined as a subject of American art near the end of the nineteenth century. Amazon offers it for $59.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 7:14pm EDT

Episode No. 375 features curators Denise Murrell and Keith Davis.

Murrell is the curator of "Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today" at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. It examines the changing modes of representation of the black figure in modern and contemporary art, as well as the models' influence on the artists with whom they worked. The exhibition is on view in New York City through February 10 before traveling to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. The outstanding catalogue for the exhibition was published by Yale University Press. Amazon offers it for $50.

Davis is the curator of "Structured Vision: The Photographs of Ralston Crawford" at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. The exhibition is a survey of Crawford's photographic practice, from his street photography to his pictures of dams and the Western landscape. It is on view through April 7. The excellent exhibition catalogue was published by Yale University Press. Amazon offers it for $47.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 11:27am EDT

Episode No. 374 features artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby and curator Laura Fry.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby's work is on view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in its latest "Focus" show, titled "Njideka Akunyili Crosby | Counterparts." MAMFW's "Focus" series is curated by Alison Hearst. "Crosby" originated at the Baltimore Museum of Art and curated by Kristen Hileman. The exhibition is on view in Fort Worth through January 13. Crosby has also designed a printed mural wrapped around the exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles's Arata Isozaki-designed building.

Crosby's paintings typically feature elements such as textiles, printed media and flora from her experiences growing up in Nigeria and, now, living in the United States. Her solo show credits include the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach and a Hammer "Projects" exhibition. In 2017 she was awarded a MacArthur 'genius' grant.

On the second segment, Gilcrease Museum curator Laura Fry discusses "Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West," which is at the Gilcrease in Tulsa, Oklahoma through February 10. The exhibition spotlights Bierstadt's depictions of native cultures of the Great Plains as well as his views that include American bison. The Gilcrease co-organized "Bierstadt" with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Peter H. Hassrick, the Buffalo Bill Center's director emeritus and senior scholar, curated it. The exhibition catalogue was published by University of Oklahoma Press. Amazon offers it for $35.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:24pm EDT