Monday, November 30, 2009

Women Reclaim the Art World

2008, according to ArtNews, was a notable year for women in the art world. For the first time ever, the Centre Pompidou, the highest grossing, most looked at modern art museum in Paris, turned over its permanent galleries entirely to women artists. Connie Butler, now chief curator of drawings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, points out that MoMA is buying more and more work by women. “I think it is on the institutional agenda in a way that it wasn't a few years ago. Things have changed. Obama is president," she said. Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s chief curator, also reports drastic changes at her museum: "When I started here 20 years ago, the discourse about gender issues was not even present in the museum. Now our contemporary collections are just filled with women artists. We buy what we think is the best work, and it is very often by women." Alongside these notable institutions, the Whitney Museum of American Art has also mounted quite a few retrospectives of women artists in recent years. Art critic Jerry Saltz, writer for New York magazine, created quite a stir on Facebook last May: he counted the pieces by women in MoMA's painting and sculpture galleries and proceeded to accuse the museum of practicing "a form of gender-based apartheid. Of the 383 works currently installed on the 4th and 5th floors of the permanent collection, only 19 are by women; that's 4%. There are 135 different artists installed on these floors; only nine of them are women; that's 6%. MoMA is telling a story of modernism that only it believes." Informal studies like these, done especially by social media outlets, have raised awareness of gender imbalances in the art world. “According to the Brainstormers, there are at least half a dozen New York galleries that are now close to 50-50, including Galerie Lelong, D'Amelio Terras, 303, and PPOW. Lombard-Freid's September show, ‘The Girl Effect,’ featured work by seven international women artists” says ARTnews.

Various female artists mentioned in the ARTnews article:

Louise Bourgeois

Atsuko Tanaka

Artists mentioned in the ARTnews article whom we also exhibit at the GMOA:

Georgia O'Keeffe

Alice Neel

Pottery and Jewelry Sale

Tuesday, December 1, and Wednesday, December 2, the Ceramics Student Organization is hosting a Pre-Holiday Pottery Sale in the first-floor foyer of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. This two-day sale is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days and features small sculptures, flowerpots, jewelry, housewares and more with prices ranging from $8 to $100. For more information contact tsaupe at

Also, Tuesday, December 1, through Thursday, December 3, Phi Beata Heata, the jewelry and metals student organization, is sponsoring a student jewelry sale. The sale will be located with the Pre-Holiday Pottery Sale in the first-floor foyer of the Lamar Dodd School of Art on the 1st and 2nd, and the second floor of the Student Learning Center on the 3rd, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days.


This week, STAGES, a global art exhibition created by Lance Armstrong and Nike to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer will launch in Miami.

The exhibition will run in Miami from Thursday, December 3, through Sunday, December 6, at Art Basel Miami and will feature artists such as Cai Guo-Qiang, Rosson Crow, Jules de Balincourt, Dzine, Shepard Fairey, Futura, Andreas Gursky, KAWS, Geoff McFetridge, Yoshitomo Nara, Catherine Opie, Os Gemeos, Erik Parker, José Parlá, Raymond Pettibon, Lari Pittman, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Kenny Scharf, Eric White, Christopher Wool, Dustin Yellin and Aaron Young.

STAGES, which has already had successful runs in Paris and New York, brings together some of the most renowned figures in the art world to produce work inspired by Armstrong and his fight against cancer. All work displayed at the event is available for purchase with proceeds directly benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Winter 2010 Newsletter

As ever, you people with digital skills get to see the GMOA newsletter first. Print copies should go out in the mail early next week, but if you prefer to click through and enjoy it on your screen, please feel free. This issue contains event photos, calendar, another spread of construction updates (in case you haven't been following them on the blog), information on volunteering at Family Days and much more.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Digging Daura pt. 3: Louise Blair Daura on Jean (Hans) Arp and Dada pranks

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.

[1] Francis Picabia (French, 1879-1930), painter and poet, Cubist, then Dadaist, published the periodical 391 (1917-1921).

[2] 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.

GMOA in the News

The press release through UGA News Service about Dale Couch's appointment as curator of decorative arts is starting to get picked up. We see on Twitter that both ArtForum and the Red and Black have it up, and we're sure more will follow. This post will be updated as necessary.

Staff Infection Closing Reception

Tim Brown, our Friends membership director, was kind enough to snap some photos during the closing reception for our "Staff Infection" exhibition, including many of the artists posing with their work. If you missed it (and it was a rather small reception), you missed fun, cookies and more.

Traveling Exhibitions

The November 16 issue of the New Yorker has a long article by Ian Parker (not accessible in full online) about Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and head of the country's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), which oversees all Egypt's historic sites and artifacts. Hawass has been extremely influential over the past decade (at minimum) in controlling the direction of Egyptian archaeology and has worked extensively with the National Geographic Society and with television networks to produce many specials. The part that caught our eye, as museum folks, was a paragraph about the Tutankhamun exhibition (recently in Atlanta) that he put together with Arts and Exhibitions International:
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.

Art Around Athens

Sure, this coming weekend is Black Friday, and you could go join the doorbusters before dawn to get yourself a 50-inch flatscreen TV at an unbelievable price, and we wouldn't blame you, but it's also what we like to think of as the kickoff of pottery sale season in northeast Georgia. This Friday through Sunday (November 25-27) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Chappelle Gallery will host its 8th Holiday Open House and Sale (at Historic Haygood House). Enjoy an extended weekend of art, demonstrations, BBQ and holiday festivities in Watkinsville! Call 706.769.5922 for more information.

The very same days and hours, Happy Valley Pottery is having its 39th Holiday Open House and Sale (also in Watkinsville). Tour the open studios and enjoy various craft demonstrations. Call 706.769.5922 for more information.

We'll have lots more links to pottery sales and open houses next month, when they really kick into high gear, as well as to all sorts of arts and crafts sales where you can pick up wonderful, individualized gifts for your friends and family.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Art in the News

We don't know if you remember to read Art Daily on the weekends, but if you don't, you may have missed the interesting juxtaposition of two news stories, one about Pope Benedict's meeting with contemporary artists, at which he encouraged them not to forsake spirituality in their work, and the other about oft-controversial artist Tracey Emin, who just received this year's ACE Award for Art in a Religious Context. Art and Christianity Enquiry for her work "For You," a pink neon sign that resembles handwriting and reads "I felt you and I knew you loved me." Emin created the sculpture for Liverpool Cathedral. It just makes you wonder how the pope and Emin would get along...

Updates from Ronnie

Here's the construction update from the week ending November 20, 2009.

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Continued the vapor barrier roofing at the Gallery.
• Loaded the roof with isolation board and Carlisle roofing membrane.
• Continued Spray Fireproofing under 2nd floor slab.
• Continued framing for the Hardie Board soffit panels.
• Completed exterior sheathing at the exterior gallery walls.
• Started the exterior wall vapor barrier.
• Poured the East exterior SOG.
• Completed the structural steel tie-in at the connector!!!
• Continued to install the sculpture garden storm drainage.
• Started CMU masonry for 1st floor mechanical rooms.

Existing Building Renovations
• Installed the temporary exterior walls for the East Alternate Entry.

Storage Bar
• Continued to formed and poured concrete footings.
• Continued to form and pour concrete retaining walls.

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Major milestone delivery of the Air Handling Units.
• Start the insulation board and roof membrane.
• Start the limestone exterior skin.
• Start MEP overhead in gallery.

Existing Building Renovations
• Complete the temporary exterior walls for the East Alternate Entry
• Start the demolition of the existing entryway.

Storage Bar
• Finish storage bar concrete footing/foundations.
• Continue forming and pouring concrete retaining walls.

Gallery 1st-floor masonry at mechanical rooms

Exterior gallery vapor barrier

Completion of structural steel at the connector

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Art Around Athens

Since we posted our list of art events coming up in the area this weekend, we've found a few more, all taking place this Sunday (Nov. 22).

At the Brick House Studio in Crawford is a closing reception from 1 to 5 p.m. for the fall exhibitions, including work by Brian Reader (above) and Doug Makemson. Directions can be found by clicking here.

Hawthorne House, on Milledge Avenue in Athens, is hosting a trio of events the same day, beginning at 1 p.m., with a holiday open house (the rest of Five Points is participating, too!) and food drive benefiting the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Then, from 4 to 7 p.m., enjoy food and drink by Peter Dale of The National and check out the redesigned showroom by Lisa Fiscus, which features fine art by Jim Fiscus, Ann Smith, Renee Shoemaker, Eric Simmons and Jessie Merriam, as well as the pop-up gallery for Field Trip, by sisters Rinne Allen and Lucy Allen Gillis. Chef Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten will be signing copies of Coco, the new cookbook from Phaidon, in which he's featured, and you'll be able to see design boards for Empire State South, his new restaurant in Atlanta, from Lisa and Susan Hable.

SLSA Atlanta

Carrisa’s report on the GAEA conference below reminded me that I should blog about the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) conference I attended the weekend before last. This was the first year I didn’t present a paper, but as it was held in Atlanta this year and is probably my favorite professional conference, it was one I just couldn’t miss. SLSAers are a fun bunch, and the topics tend to be wide ranging. This year was no exception. To give you a sense of the pop-culture scholarship end of it, two of the talks I missed were "Postcolonialism without the Guilt in Joss Whedon's Firefly" and "The Turning Legacy of Decoding and its Relevance to ThunderCats." The sessions I attended this year were almost all about Duchamp in one way or another, dealing either with his art, his sources, those for whom he was a major source, and/or his artistic milieu.

James McManus (California State University, Chico) chaired a session entitled “Beyond Likeness: Propositional Statements—Displacing/Replacing the Recognized Capacity of Portraits to Represent” and presented a paper on “Dr. O’Doherty’s ‘HeArt Machine’: A Portrait of Marcel Duchamp.” Brian O’Doherty is an ex-MD-turned-artist who, in 1966, created portraits—some moving, some still—from electrocardiogram readings he took from Duchamp. Other presenters included James Housefield (UC Davis), “Starry Messenger: Marcel Duchamp and Popular Astronomy ca. 1920;” M.E. Warlick (U. of Denver), “Magritte and Alchemy: Elemental Transformations;” Anne Collins Goodyear (National Portrait Gallery), “Duchamp’s Perspective;” Hannah Wong (UT at Austin), “Portrait of a Lady: Humor and Francis Picabia’s Mechanomorphic object Portrait, Jeune fille américane;” and Kate Dempsey (UT at Austin), “Seeing Double: Ray Johnson and Marcel Duchamp.” James McManus and Anne Collins Goodyear also held a wonderful panel discussion on Jean Crotti’s Portrait sur mésure de Marcel Duchamp. McManus and Goodyear recently coauthored a book, Inventing Marcel Duchamp: the Dynamics of Portraiture (MIT Press, 2009), which I highly recommend.

“Artmaking as an Imaginary Solution: Alfred Jarry as an Intellectual Source for Twentieth Century Art,” chaired by my former UT classmate Peter Mowris, and featuring papers by Fae Brauer (U. of East London) and Michael Taylor (Philadelphia Museum of Art) was another very Duchampian session. Taylor’s Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés exhibition—closing Nov. 29—has been met with deservedly rave reviews. In case you’re not familiar with Jarry (French, 1873-1907), he coined the term “pataphysics,” and is best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896), which was a key source for Surrealist poets and artists, and for Duchamp’s “playful physics.” The best description of pataphysics I’ve heard is that pataphysics is to metaphysics as metaphysics is to physics, which suggests to me “mind over mind,” or as the title of the panel puts it, presents “imaginary solutions” to real problems.

“Occultism and Science in 20th-Century Art” was another outstanding session. Linda Henderson (UT at Austin) presented “’Four-Dimensional Vistas’: Claude Bragdon’s Synthesis of Theosophy, Ether Physics, and the Fourth Dimension in the 1910s;” Ashley Schmiedekamp Busby (UT at Austin) gave a paper dealing with the tarot as a visual and conceptual source for Surrealists; and Dante scholar, Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) presented “The Architecture of the Afterlife: Paul Laffoley’s The Divine Comedy Triptych.” I’m a big fan of Laffoley—a story for another post—and Saiber’s talk was inspiring. I hope to bring her to speak at GMOA sometime.

Isabel Wunshe presented a paper on the Russian artist and composer Mikhail Matiushin and the properties of crystal growth, which drew me into a remarkable session where fellow speakers Drew Ayers (GA State), Maria Aline Ferreira (U. of Aveiro, Portugal), and Christina Nguyen Hung (Clemson) presented papers on works of art created by using cutting edge science and technology, such as DNA models and lab-grown neurons. The neuron art is particularly awesome. You can see some of Hung's work here.

GAEA: A Report

Carissa DiCindio, associate curator of education, was kind enough to write us a couple of paragraphs about her experience last weekend at the Georgia Art Educators Association fall conference:
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.”

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!
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.

Art Around Athens

Friday (November 20), Visionary Art Gallery will be hosting the free opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. for the exhibition “All Ye Who Wander,” which features the work of UGA’s own printmaking graduate David Savio. For more information contact 706.363.0393 or visit and

The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center is also hosting a free reception Friday for the exhibition “From the Forest to the Shore,” which features wood, metal, and mixed media art by Michael Murrell focusing on ecological issues, endangered species and man’s relationship with nature. The reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. Visit for more information.

Saturday, November 21, the Boutier Winery in Danielsville is hosting the 7th Annual Home & Garden Auction Benefit for Madison County Habitat for Humanity. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for a silent auction, smooth jazz by the Athens A-Train Band, drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a preview of the art for sale. The live auction starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Contact 706.783.4191, madisoncountyhabitat at or visit for more information.

Also Saturday, The Point Art Gallery (in Union Point) is hosting a free opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. for an exhibition featuring art by Henry Barns. Contact 706.486.6808 or visit for more information.  

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Death of Jeanne-Claude on Wednesday

Jeanne-Claude, one of the artists behind “The Gates,” died at the age of 74 on Wednesday night due to a brain aneurysm. Jeanne-Claude and her husband, Christo, are best known for wrapping famous structures. Her most notable work, or at least, her most recognizable project to Americans, has to be “The Gates” in Central Park. The show served as a site-specific, public art project that consisted of a series of orange-red gates throughout the park. Atop the gates rested nylon sheets of the same color, hanging midway down the length of each gate. The gates were inspired by and resembled Japanese Torii gates in Kyoto. There were reactions passionately for and against the structures—some thought the gates blocked out the existing natural layout of the park, while others thought it added a refreshing touch of color to an already bleak winter landscape. What, to me, was most interesting about this exhibition was the couple’s blatant refusal to accept any donations (i.e. they raised money without help from big organizations and wealthy donors). Instead, Christo and Jeanne-Claude sold collages and drawings from the 1960s and, with the money raised, were able to put together the entire show without having to solicit help from the city of New York. With this money, they were able to hire 600 paid employees, as well as sell T-shirts and other exhibition paraphernalia. Other projects include the more political and outspoken “Rideau de Fer” (Iron Curtain), a structure constructed in the early 1960s in Paris as a sculptural, silent statement against the Berlin Wall, and their numerous wrapping projects. Their Web site goes into specifics about one of their most important of the latter:
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.

The endeavors they chose were always grandiose and sometimes impossible, especially because of the daunting physical size of their projects but also because of the monetary mountain they had to overcome by refusing donations. Jeanne-Claude’s artistic presence will be sorely missed.

Here is an interview with Jeanne-Claude and Christo

Frustrated Jeanne-Claude and Christo try to clear up misconceptions about their public personas and their works. The set-up is pretty relaxed, but the language is really stern—I felt like I was getting scolded and couldn’t keep a straight face… Click here for a giggle! And… it is interesting.

"Size DOES Matter"

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.

Digging Daura pt. 2: Van Doesburg and cinnamon toast, Xceron and banana ice-cream, Marcel-Lenoir and a murdered mistress, and late night metro rides

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.

[1] Theo van Doesburg (Dutch, 1883-1931), De Stijl painter and designer.

[2] Joachín Torres-Garcia (Uruguayan, 1874-1949), painter and sculptor, cofounder of Cercle et Carré in Paris and founder of Constructive Universalism in Latin America.

[3] 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.

[4] Joseph Csaky (French, 1888-1971), abstract painter.

[5] Jules Marcel-Lenoir (French, 1872-1931), Symbolist painter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gehry's New Jewelry Line

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:

The Studio Group's 28th Annual Show and Sale

The Studio Group’s 28th Annual Show and Sale begins tomorrow (Thursday, November 19) and will be held at the Chase Street Warehouses, located just off Tracy Street. The show and sale features fused glass, painting, woodturning, metalwork, fiber arts, jewelry and more from 13 award-winning local artists. Refreshments are offered and door prizes are given out daily, so come out and support your local artists. The show and sale will be open November 19 and 20 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., November 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and November 22 from noon to 4 pm.

Closing Reception

So, "Staff Infection," the small, informal exhibition of works created by GMOA staff members, will come to a close soon, with a closing reception this Friday (November 20) at noon. If you haven't stopped by the Visual Arts Building on Jackson Street yet, where our temporary offices are for the next who knows how long exactly and where the exhibition is up in the entrance hallway, please do so. There will be refreshments provided by the staff, potluck-style, during the reception, and we probably can't eat all of them ourselves. So if you'd like some free food and drink and wouldn't mind checking out some art in the process, come say hi on Friday afternoon. Next up in the space, works by Judith McWillie's aqueous media class.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Interest in pricey, antique Oriental rugs is on the rise. Jan David Winitz, founder and president of Claremont Rug Company, a gallery in Oakland, Calif. said that there is an unprecedented amount of interest in the best and most expensive antique rugs right now.

An event currently being hosted by the gallery, “Artistic Visions of the Refined to the Elemental,” features more than 150 antique rugs collected over nearly a century by four generations of a New York-based family.

Winitz reported that 25% of the buyers of the rugs in the gallery’s current exhibition and sale are first-time buyers. The rugs in the collection range in value from $18,000 to $400,000 each.

Wintiz said that the reaction to the collection stemmed from the recent sale of a small Safavid rug from the 16th or 17th century for $4.34 million. While prices reflect that interest in antique rugs has been on the rise, the art collecting community noted the sale of the Safavid rug and global response was immediate. Following the sale, Winitz quickly received inquiries from international art connoisseurs and collectors.

Over the past few years, clients who have previously purchased rugs to furnish their homes have been upgrading to rarer pieces to add to their art collections. Clients have generally purchased 15 to 40 rugs with which to decorate their homes.

Winitz believes that the high demand for these rugs is related to the recent interest in rare tangible assets, such as Old Master paintings, coins and jewelry.

In 2009, Claremont was selected by the Robb Report as one of the top three art and antique galleries in the United States. Claremont’s “Artistic Visions” exhibition was featured in the New York Times and on and can be viewed online.

GMOA's New Decorative Arts Curator: Dale Couch

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.

MOMA's New Strategy

In a recent article, New York Times writer Ted Loos focuses on innovative museum projects, ingenious and revolutionary in their aim to attract more audiences but preserve older, loyal ones. In particular, Loos delves into the decisions of Ann Tempkin, chief curator of painting at the Museum of Modern Art, essentially to rearrange the sacred assembly and display of part of the modern, high modern and contemporary galleries at MOMA. For one, she got rid of frames: “frames domesticated the paintings in a way that obscured how radical they were.”

In the two years Tempkin has been in her position, she has been trying to break with the past, especially with the permanent collection. She also started exhibiting artists who didn’t make it in the official art schools—less Bauhaus, more Ordinary Art School. Some of the galleries now have more works by female artists than before. Pepe Karmel, chair of the department of art history at New York University, was first shocked by this rearranging and tweaking but finally came to terms with Tempkin’s ordering and even admitted that he was impressed with her inventiveness. He likes that visitors can come back and see something different, but still visit their favorite pieces. Some of the galleries remained untouched. Room 2 on floor 5 is the only place in the world where one can see the development of Cubism all together, so that room will stay intact. All she is doing, Tempkin says, is rearranging furniture and striving for a rhythm of change. Hard times have fallen upon museums, but those that try innovative display systems might have a better chance of thriving.

Updates from Ronnie

Here's the update from Ronnie for the week ending November 13, 2009.

Current week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery / Connector
• Continued Spray Fireproofing under 2nd floor slab.
• Continued framing for the Hardie Board soffit panels.
• Installed sheathing at the exterior gallery walls.
• Started the roof sheathing and vapor barrier.
• Installed below-grade damproofing for SOG exterior concrete.
• Completed shoring at the connector steel beams.
• Started to install the sculpture garden storm drainage.
• Installed the exterior wall vapor barrier mock-up.

Existing Building Renovations
• Planned for temporary walls at the East Alternate Entry.

Storage Bar
• Continued to formed and poured concrete footings.
• Started to form and pour concrete retaining walls.

Next week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery / Connector
• Continue the sheathing of the exterior gallery walls.
• Continue to install roof sheathing and vapor barrier.
• Continue to spray fireproofing at the gallery parking area.
• 1st major deliveries of limestone for the exterior skin.

Existing Building Renovations
• Start temporary walls for the East Alternate entry.

Storage Bar
• Finish storage bar concrete footing/foundations.
• Continue forming and pouring concrete retaining walls.

Started roof sheathing and vapor barrier

Gallery sheathing at exterior skin

Gallery exterior concrete sidewalks

Annual UGA MFA Auction

Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18, The Globe (at the corner of Lumpkin and E. Clayton Sts. in downtown Athens) is hosting the Annual UGA MFA Auction of donated art by students, faculty and alumni of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. All proceeds will benefit this year’s MFA Graduate Exhibition. The auction is free to attend and begins at 7:30 p.m. Call 706.353.4721 for more information. 

GMOA in the News

The newspaper of Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, Texas, has a brief article about the talk that our director, Bill Eiland, will give on that university's campus this Thursday, November 19, at 4:45 p.m. Eiland has given a few other versions of this lecture, which focuses on the prints in the traveling exhibition "The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection," most recently at Learning in Retirement in Athens, Ga. If you're anywhere close to the area, we'd definitely encourage you to go. It's a wide-ranging, important and interesting talk.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Porch

The Hotel Indigo's music venue, the Rialto Room, will be the venue for a new Athens-based talk show, The Porch, hosted by our own Paige Carmichael (ex-Friends president) as well as by radio host Liz Dalton, singer-songwriter Marty Winkler and executive director for the Junior League of Athens and the Taylor Grady House Jennifer Wootton. The first taping will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, November 17), with doors opening at 12:30 p.m. It's free, but RSVP is required for entry, so call 706.286.1700 if you're interested, and they'll let you know if they still have space.

Here's a longer description of the show from the promo email:
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 station’s 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 show’s 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 region’s 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 show’s 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.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Georgia Theatre Quilt

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.

The Georgia Theatre, in an ongoing effort to raise funds to rebuild, is hoping to have its doors open again by New Year’s Eve 2011. The Theatre has partnered with The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and has also established a fund to accept tax-deductible donations

Rendering of the future theatre interior