Various female artists mentioned in the ARTnews article:
As promised last week, here is my third installment of “Digging Daura,” another excerpt from a wonderfully illuminating letter Louise Blair Daura wrote from Paris to her family in Virginia.
One of the most interesting was that of Arp, one of the band of Dadists that centered around Picabia. When they started that movement in Zurich their amusement was to play jokes on the public, and shock people as much as possible. I don’t know whether I wrote to you ages ago that we had tea with Torres the day that the Arps came to visit him, and Arp related all of the pranks that they enjoyed so much on the subject of it. They published that they were going to give a conference on Dadaism in an important hall, with paid seats. The hall was filled, the hour arrived for the lecture, and out came four of the band, among them Picabia, seated themselves in four chairs on the stage, and four barbers came out and shaved each solemnly. Not a word was spoken until the operation was finishes, and then fresh and rosy, the four gave a serious lecture on Dadaism. We went to his exhibition, the first day called the Vernissage when the artist holds court for all his friends. The gallery was a brand new one, very modern, the interior decorator of which was Mme. Arp. The gallery was full of friends and critics. We took a catalogue and made the rounds after having spoken to Arp. His innovation in painting and exhibition was composed entirely of pieces of flat wood, sawed into abstract shapes, about an inch and a half thick, and glued onto a slab of wood, framed with flat wood of the same thickness as the shapes. The hole was painted in one or two tones of ordinary house paint. That was all very well, but he gave names to his pictures, such as “Paolo et Francesca” to two sort of formless chunks of wood that touch each other, and “Deux Hommes Tenant par la Bride une Tete de Cheval” (Two men holding a horse’s head by the bridle). In the midst of that select gathering came four or five young men, who took catalogues and went from one of the pictures to the other shrieking with loud laughter and hearty guffaws. Arp, who once delighted in such, trembled with rage, and said to Pierre: “I am going to put them out!” Pierre said he had a better idea, and dashed out to buy all day suckers to present to each of the young men. They went out with a sorry show of bravado.
(Louise Blair Daura, letter to her family, November 14, 1929, Pierre Daura Archive, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia)
Next week I’ll post another excerpt from Louise in which she describes a visit to Mondrian’s studio.
 Francis Picabia (French, 1879-1930), painter and poet, Cubist, then Dadaist, published the periodical 391 (1917-1921).
 Joachim Torres-García (Uruguayan, 1874-1949) painter and sculptor; and Jean (Hans) Arp (German-French, 1886-1966) and Sophie Tauber-Arp (Swiss, 1889-1943) Dada artists who joined Cercle et Carré in 1929/30.
In 2005, Hawass accepted a proposal from A.E.G., the sports-arena owner and events organizer, to take Tutankhamun back on the road, with an explicit ambition of making money. Andres Numhauser, the exhibitions executive, works for Arts and Exhibitions International, an A.E.G. subsidiary, and he told me that Hawass has "professionalized exhibitions," adding, "Egyptians don't appreciate what he's doing." A.E.G. agreed to pay Egypt for access to a few dozen of its thousands of Tutankhamun artifacts, and to involve the National Geographic Society, whose name would go on the poster. Any museum that took the show would be given a share of the ticket proceeds, but it would have to stomach the loss of almost all curatorial control. In San Francisco, for example, the de Young Museum was able to veto items in the exhibition's accompanying gift store, and it ruled out a tissue box whose papers exit through the nose in a Pharaoh's mask. Beyond that, the museum was the provider of floor space. John Norman, the C.E.O. of Arts and Exhibitions International, said, "We lay it out, we bring all the elements--the cases, the text panels, the lighting, everything is ours. Where they have input is in the label copy. Their curator might want to say the same thing that's on that label but in a different way, and we give them the opportunity to edit. And there might be a two-per-cent change."Just an interesting look at what's involved sometimes with a blockbuster show.
Last weekend, Cece Hinton, curator of education, and I went to Young Harris for the Georgia Art Education Association fall conference. I always enjoy going to this conference because it is a wonderful opportunity to meet art educators from around the state. This year, I had the opportunity to present at three sessions. The first one was called “Making Connections: Educational Materials and Programs at Museums” in which I talked about the resources GMOA has to offer teachers, listened to what teachers would like to see from us and asked other museums to share their programs and materials. For the second session, I co-presented “Exploring Divergent Thinking: Synthesis in Clay” with NaJuana Lee. NaJuana and I are students in the doctoral program in art education in the Lamar Dodd School of Art together, and we presented a lesson on creating something new out of existing parts using clay. As an award winner last year, I also was invited to talk about GMOA and my position at the museum at a session called “Create.”Thanks, Carissa. We appreciate all the work our wonderful department of education does. GMOA wouldn't be GMOA without their incredible outreach and commitment to reaching everyone through art.
During this conference, I attended some informative sessions on museum education, including one on interdisciplinary collaborations by Shannon Morris, curator at the Georgia College and State University Museum, and another on how teachers can use cultural resources with their classes. There was also an interesting session by Cindy Bowden, director of the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, on the World Crafts Council. This conference gave me the opportunity to learn more about the successes and challenges educators are experiencing in Georgia and to make sure everyone knows about the Georgia Museum of Art and all of our resources for teachers. I am already looking forward to next year’s conference!
The Reichstag stands up in an open, strangely metaphysical area, The building has experienced its own continuous changes and perturbations: built in 1894, burned in 1933, almost destroyed in 1945, it was restored in the sixties, but the Reichstag always remained the symbol of Democracy. Throughout the history of art, the use of fabric has been a fascination for artists. From the most ancient times to the present, fabric, forming folds, pleats and draperies, is a significant part of paintings, frescoes, reliefs and sculptures made of wood, stone and bronze. The use of fabric on the Reichstag follows the classical tradition. Fabric, like clothing or skin, is fragile, it translates the unique quality of impermanence. For a period of two weeks, the richness of the silvery fabric, shaped by the blue ropes, created a sumptuous flow of vertical folds highlighting the features and proportions of the imposing structure, revealing the essence of the Reichstag.
At 7’1” with a weight of 320 pounds and a shoe size of 22, Shaquille O’Neal is an all-star basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as a curator.
Yep, you read it right. Shaq is a curator.
O’Neal is overseeing “Size DOES Matter,” an exhibition that begins in February at New York’s Flag Art Foundation. As O’Neal is such a big guy, it’s the perfect show for him to organize as the theme is size and scale. The exhibition will include 39 artists and 52 works of art with five special commissions. For the exhibition, O’Neal chose pieces to which he could relate. The image below pictures Ron Mueck’s sculpture “Untitled (Big Man),” which will be on loan from Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum.
The Flag Art Foundation regularly has guest curators, but this is the first time they’ve had one who is not from the art world. When asked whether organizing an exhibition was at all like playing basketball, O’Neal responded, “As a curator, I have a responsibility to the artists, who are my teammates. We all have to make each other look good—no different than what I do on the court.”
Check out this article for more information.
I’m long overdue for my second installment of this blog series. I’ve spent less time actively working in the Pierre Daura Archive the last few months than I would like. However, I’ve recently had cause to start “digging” through things again and have a small cache of treasures that I’ll be posting in increments over the next few months. I’ll be sharing more visually engaging items in future posts—I realize that an old letter isn’t the most attractive thing to look at—but one of the really great things about this archive is the insight it provides into the daily lives of artists in Paris in the 1920s and ‘30s. As I produce good translations of Pierre’s own writings, I will post them, but for starters, I thought I’d share some excerpts from his wife Louise’s letters, which she wrote in English to her family in Virginia, and are full of revealing anecdotes:
Saturday, September 6th, I ended my letter saying we were expecting the Doesburgs for tea. We waited all afternoon, and finally had tea by ourselves, and at 8:00 I started preparing dinner. Just as we were sitting down to the meal, the bell rang, and there were the Doesburgs, with Torres and Manolita. It seems the Doesburgs had been “detained.” Pierre and I having eaten up nearly all the cakes, we had to scurry around and make cinnamon toast for them, which they found delicious, an unknown commodity in France. They were impressed with Pierre’s latest paintings, which are abstract, and insisted that he expose them in Holland. They are the ones responsible for the three expositions at Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam. They stayed until ten-thirty, the Torres remaining a little while after. And at last we were able to have supper. Mme. Doesburg is Catholic, her mother very rich. M. Doesburg is protestant, so they were simply married by the civil laws of France, as we were. Now the mother of Mme. Doesburg refuses to recognize that her daughter is married, and refuses to see her because of her immorality in living with a man not her husband in the sight of God.
Sunday we invited the Barbiers and Xceron to dinner. The meal was a big success, in spite of the fact that Pierre, who wanted to buy the chops himself, to be sure of getting good ones, didn’t go down to get them until 1:00, when all the stores were closed. So we had to sacrifice our elegant ham. Pierre had invited Csaky, the sculptor who lives just across the street in buildings exactly like ours, to come up for ice-cream, and he arrived at the right moment. The banana ice-cream was so good that I had a hard time urging people to take third helpings, as I could have polished it all off singlehanded. As we were having coffee in the studio, Torres came up, and we discussed art and artists, principally the latter. . . One incredible story was of Lenoir, the great painter of religious scenes, and frescoes in cathedrals. One day a merchant was coming to see him, to consider giving him a contract. In honor of that occasion, his mistress tried to make him wash his feet. He refused. She insisted, and finally, enraged, he shot her.
Friday evening, when we went down to see the Torres, Torres told us with joy that he had found the definitive formula for his paintings. Really, the last painting that he had done was the culmination of his latest manner, a triumph. It was in striking contrast to the photos that Mme. Torres showed me of their home, which they sold to go to New York. Torres had designed it himself. It was like a Greek temple, the pediment frescoed with monumental figures. Inside all the walls were frescoed, the figures classic but stamped with his own personality. When they sold the house, the brutes who bought it thought the figures immoral, because there were one or two nudes, and papered over every wall.
Monday we had planned not to go to the Doesburgs, but when two “low companions” of Pierre’s breezed in for supper, we at once decided that we had promised faithfully to be there at nine thirty… As soon as we had finished supper, we expressed our regrets that we were expected at the Doesburgs, and we all left together.
The Doesburgs have a picturesque old studio at the other end of Paris… Doesburg does paintings entirely abstract and very good. His wife, a musician, also does abstract paintings, a little influenced by her husband. Once Doesburg exposed a large painting “The Card Players,” remarkably studied and abstract. The other artists in the salon were so outraged, that they all got together, sneaked in hammers, and tried to massacre it.
We stayed so late that we had to run to catch the last metro, arriving home at 1:30. The idea in Paris is that if anyone goes home before the last metro, it is because they are bored and don’t like the company. I almost fall asleep everywhere I go, and paw the air to leave at the respectable hour of 11:00.
(Louis Blair Daura, letter to her family, Sept. 17, 1929, Pierre Daura Archive, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia)
Next week, I’ll post some more excerpts from Louise’s letters describing an encounter with Dadaist Hans Arp, and another written after a visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio.
 Theo van Doesburg (Dutch, 1883-1931), De Stijl painter and designer.
 Joachín Torres-Garcia (Uruguayan, 1874-1949), painter and sculptor, cofounder of Cercle et Carré in Paris and founder of Constructive Universalism in Latin America.
 Jean Xceron (Greek/American, 1890-1967), abstract painter. Barbier may be the illustrator George Barbier (French, 1882-1932), or more likely, either the painter André Barbier (French, 1883-1970) or the painter Fernand Jean Barbier (French, 20th c., exact dates unknown), but I’m still working on that. If you’re interested, write a comment saying so and I’ll let you know what I find out.
 Joseph Csaky (French, 1888-1971), abstract painter.
 Jules Marcel-Lenoir (French, 1872-1931), Symbolist painter.
Frank Gehry is designing mini-sculptures in the form of… jewelry! Can’t buy a Frank Gehry-designed house? Fret no more! For only $12,500, you can get an 18k gold Gehry-designed bracelet and get your haute-design fix. The cuff bracelet in question is inspired by a building he designed for one of his clients in Paris and, in fact, most of his jewelry items will be ideas absorbed from his own architecture projects as well as other artists’ creations (e.g., Wassily Kandinsky and other Abstract Expressionists). But if $12,000 is still over your price range, several of his sterling pieces are around $100. How does this 80-year-old juggle it all? He’s also working on designing the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi and on a collaboration of sorts with major tennis player Maria Sharapova—an arrangement between Tiffany’s and the model/tennis player where she wears Tiffany jewelry during four tournaments. Sharapova is working with Gehry to design a pair of earrings that would potentially sit perfectly on her ear during the action of a tennis game. According to Art News, it was all his idea to take up jewelry design and Tiffany’s was a willing sponsor. “All this luxury raises the question: Does Gehry make a lot of money from the venture? ‘It's not about that,’ the architect said. ‘It all goes into a trust to do some good someday.”
London experienced a mind-blowing display of climate change, environmentally friendly and green messages in Trafalgar Square this November 16. The artist in charge of this project, Angela Palmer, transported exposed tree stumps and buttress roots from a commercially logged tropical forest in the Suhama Forest in western Ghana. After the exhibition in Trafalgar Square, the ghost trees will migrate to Thorvaldsens Plads in Copenhagen while the UN Climate Change Conference takes place December 7-18. These stately remnants serve as a desperate outcry against the perfunctory eradication of rainforests in Ghana (and the rest of the world). In the last 50 years, 90 percent of Ghana’s rainforests have disappeared due to human involvement. Now, the remaining forests are subject to strict regulations, allowing regeneration and sustainable timber industry for the locals. According to Art Daily, Palmer explained, “This is not yet another message about climate change ‘doom and gloom’, it carries a message of hope and optimism for the future.” As you can imagine, this enterprise had to have cost a branch and a root, and fortunately, Palmer did not have to finance it all herself. Deutsche Bank helped carry the heavy load. It’s pretty exciting to know that big businesses are helping diffuse this green message.
The Financial Times has quite a lengthy article written by the artist documenting the artistic process and her thoughts on the project:
Visit the artist’s Web sites:
For more than a year, the museum has been sans decorative arts curator. Largely due to budget cuts, the museum lacked the resources to hire a curator until recently, when it could once again fill the position due to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The NEA uses the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector by providing salary support for positions deemed critical to an organization’s artistic mission. We are happy to welcome decorative arts curator Dale Couch to our staff! Couch will work half time for the next two years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a graduate degree in art history from the University of South Carolina. He is also a graduate of the Archives Institute at Emory University and the Institute for Southern Material Culture at the University of North Carolina and Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Couch completed additional graduate course work at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Previously, he was a senior reference archivist at the Georgia Archives, where he researched and consulted for exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Historical Society and many other regional institutions.
Couch comes to GMOA with energy and plans, ready to invigorate the decorative arts department once more. Before his arrival, the curatorial work associated with the position was dispersed throughout the office, adding extra work to the pre-existing sizable load on the desks of the rest of the staff: the publication of papers from the Fourth Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts was compiled, edited and (will soon be) published, decorative arts-centered talks and exhibitions were being organized, the fifth edition of the symposium (to be held in January 2010) was being put together and administrative hurdles still had to be jumped. Now, however, with the workload stress assuaged and the artistic direction manned, the museum finally relaxes and awaits, with anticipation, the outcome of the new projects being devised in the decorative arts department.
To our amusement, as if by serendipity or cosmic irony, our new curator’s name fits his position perfectly. His work here will no doubt be of great interest, judging by his prolific résumé and interesting past. Most important, Couch is a decorative arts curator with an exceptionally diverse scholarly, academic and personal background. He employs cultural history as a tool with which to frame research questions and determine where settlers in Georgia originated. In essence, he magnifies the socio-anthropological aspects of artistic history, pairing migration patterns, colonial records, folk art and folk tales with aesthetics to reach a better understanding of furniture.
The decorative arts are not quite like the visual arts, he says. They streamline aestheticism in favor of functionality. Decorative arts, he continues, express an aesthetic dimension that utilitarian objects acquire as a testament of an art we are living. Couch’s rich understanding of the decorative arts is not strictly academic; his knowledge of the South extends to his memories of growing up in a traditional southern setting. His interest in furniture kindled when—in South Carolina, where his family has lived since the 1600s—he would visit early houses. His fascination with the historical, anthropological and artistic aspects of the southern colonial furniture he saw firsthand led to his academic interest in it. He defends his particular interest in southeastern furniture as opposed to other American styles because of its rich and complex history. Not to say that the South’s tradition is richer than the rest of the country, but “after 1607 the South forged complex creolized societies for its scale—[The South’s] political and social history can be brutal, but its cultural history is very rich,” says Couch. He says that decorative arts is a perfect interdisciplinary field, which still has strong ties to the arts.
So what does he plan to bring to the museum? Well, in his two-year appointment, Couch wants to focus on activities that will make a permanent contribution to Georgia decorative arts research and scholarship. We’re glad he’s taking time off archiving to spend more time researching and organizing with us!
I asked Couch what his favorite pieces in the collection are, and he picked two pieces donated by an esteemed patron, Beverly Bremer. The first is a faded painted blue desk chair most likely from Elbert County, Ga. The maker is unknown, but this doesn’t mean we can’t talk about its stylistic and historical implications. The chair retains its original blue-green painted surface and exhibits several features characteristic of southern chairs, such as the flat scrolled arm surmounting the arm support. Also typical are turned stretchers, acorn finials and peaked slats with chamfered top edges. Below the yellow pine writing surface is a suspended drawer made of ash; the slats, writing arm support and posts are birch, while the stretchers are ash. This chair probably belonged to a monetarily comfortable family, as the desk implies literacy. Couch loves this piece because the worn paint adds another level of interest to the chair’s history: you can see that people have sat in it and that it has served many generations. The beautiful worn blue paint personalizes the object and gives it character. The chair once belonged to Frank Horton, founder of the museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., and was acquired by Bremer, who generously donated this piece to the museum.
His second favorite GMOA decorative arts piece is a silver teapot dating from ca. 1819–1840. This piece is of particular interest not only because of its impeccable craftsmanship and distinct design, but also because it was conceived by Frederic Marquand, a well-known silversmith in the South. Marquand was born in Fairfield, Conn., but did business in both Savannah and New York. Between the two cities, Marquand’s workshop churned out numerous pieces—mostly jewelry and other decorative household items in sterling. Marquand is one of the most discussed individuals associated with silver in 19th-century Georgia. Although he spent a lot of time making silver in New York as well, he had a great many affinities with the South, and Georgia in particular. A review of Marquand’s will, according to the New York Times, suggests he maintained an affection for the South many decades after leaving Savannah. Couch's interest in the teapot stems from the idea that the object is fully transformed into sculpture by the figural addition of the fox. Essentially, this piece exemplifies the reasons for his particular admiration of the decorative arts: graduating art into daily life through the merging of ornamentation and use.
Initially showcasing front porches of Madison, Georgia, The Porch is a weekly half-hour talk show videotaped before a live audience. The pilot will be broadcast several times in November and December on the University of Georgia's commercial TV station, WNEG, before the series goes into production in January and becomes a weekly staple of the stationâs schedule.
Starring Athens locals Paige Carmichael, Liz Dalton, Marty Winkler and Jennifer Wootton, the format of The Porch will be familiar to anyone who has watched The View or Live with Regis & Kelly. The showâs interests, concerns and guests will exclusively reflect Northeast Georgia in a way that no TV talk show, national or out of Atlanta, ever has. Like the southern institution from which it takes its title, The Porch will be a place for seriously casual conversation about anything and everything of interest to its regional constituency, from fashion to flu shots, from politics to party-planning. The series will also showcase the regionâs diverse wealth of music, arts and crafts.
Each installment of The Porch will feature interviews with one or more guests. Athens-based caterer, historic preservationist and raconteur Lee Epting will be the pilot showâs primary guest. But half the fun of the show will be the four co-hosts just talking among themselves off the cuff.
The Porch is a production of TerraVision in association with The Rialto Club, Hotel Indigo and WNEG-TV, which is owned by the University of Georgia and operated by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
On June 19, 2009, fire destroyed Athens’ beloved Georgia Theatre, the historic and popular music venue at which many famous bands and artists have performed—including the B-52s, John Mayer and R.E.M. The Georgia Theatre opened as a music venue in 1978, and 30 years later, the fire caused much sadness in the Athens area and beyond.
Photograph of the Georgia Theatre, 1953
The Georgia Theatre is now working on a new project to raise money. Not only does Athens have a well-known music scene, but it also has a great art scene. Local artist Jennifer Schildknecht “hopes to unite the music and art communities in order to generate more love and support” for the Georgia Theatre. She has called upon artists, musicians, businesses and anyone else to participate in creating an art quilt. The quilt will be a “non-traditional wall-hanging.” The goal is for two quilts to be made—one quilt will be auctioned off to raise money for rebuilding and the other will be given to the Georgia Theatre as a gift. If you’re interested in participating, all quilt blocks must be turned in by November 30. Click here for more information about guidelines and submission.