Friday, July 30, 2010

Living Walls Conference

Go ahead and mark your calendar for the Living Walls Conference, set to take place August 13-15 in Atlanta. Focused entirely on street artists, it also incorporates an exhibition of their work, drawing from artists all over the globe. On August 13, there's a lecture series, which will be held at Georgia Tech. Saturday, August 14, there will be an exhibition and Pecha Kucha-style presentations held at Eyedrum gallery. The exhibition of poster art, wall painting and wheat-paste will be open through the end of September. Check out the website!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Anatomical Studies Hidden in Sistine Ceiling

Two researchers from Johns Hopkins University believe they may have finally solved a mysterious abnormality in a depiction of God on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. Their study now reports that the master painter and skilled anatomist may have hidden an image of the human brainstem and spinal cord in the oddly lumpy underside of God’s neck.

For years, art historians have debated the meaning of this anatomical peculiarity in the portion of the painting known as “Separation of Light From Darkness.” A simple misunderstanding of anatomy did not seem like a possible explanation in a work by Michelangelo, who began dissecting cadavers as a teenager.

“Michelangelo definitely knew how to depict necks—he knew anatomy so well,” says Rafael Tamargo, M.D., a professor in the department of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “That’s why it was such a mystery why this particular neck looked so odd.”

Tamargo enlisted the help of his colleague Ian Suk, B.Sc., B.M.C., a medical illustrator and associate professor in the department of neurosurgery. Together they determined that the irregular shape on the underside of the neck bore a striking resemblance to a view of the underside of the human brainstem.

“It's an unusual view of the brainstem, from the bottom up. Most people wouldn't recognize it unless they had extensively studied neuroanatomy,” says Suk. Given Michelangelo’s extensive study of the human body, this explanation makes more sense than an anatomical blunder.

This proposition may also explain another interesting aspect of this image. The robe clothing the figure of God is split down the middle by an interesting tubular shape. Though God wears this same robe in several different sections of the painting, the tubular shape is only present in this particular depiction, leading Tamargo and Suk to believe that the placement and curvature of the tubular shape suggest a spinal cord. If their conjectures are correct, the hidden image may be a complete representation of the brainstem connected to the spinal cord, as seen from underneath.

Tamargo and Suk’s study is not the first to suggest the presence of anatomical studies hidden in the paintings on the Sistine ceiling. Frank Lee Meshberger, an obstetrician based in Indiana, published a paper in 1990 proposing that the shroud surrounding God in the famous image of the Creation of Adam is an anatomically correct depiction of the human brain.

“It looks like the central nervous system may have been too good a motif to use only once,” Tamargo says.

For the original article, please click here.

Expanding the Canon

Smithsonian Magazine's website has a good, if brief, article about an exhibition at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York, of paintings by woman artists in the Hudson River school. The exhibition will open at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut in December. Check out the slideshow of works.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Update to Full House Blog Post

O.C. Carlisle, one of GMOA's docents, has work featured in "Botanical Symphony," an exhibition that goes with Full House 2010 at the Lyndon House Arts Center. The reception takes place tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m.

Read our other post about Full House 2010 for more information.

Church-Waddel-Brumby House Workshop

On August 10 and 11, the Church-Waddel-Brumby House (CWB) Restoration Committee will host a faux wood-graining workshop. Visiting artist Derick Tickle will conduct the workshop and teach participants how to grain paint mahogany, walnut and pine heart.

Part 1 of the workshop will take place on August 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. The first hour will be held at the CWB House Museum and will include a box dinner from Marti’s at Midday as well as a tour of Tickle’s grain-painting project. Participants will then move to the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation (ACHF) Firehall for hands-on instruction. The second part of the workshop will be on August 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the ACHF Firehall.

Call the Athens Welcome Center at 706.353.1820 for reservations and more information. Space is limited to 12 participants. The workshop is sponsored in part by ACHF, and the CWB grain-painting project is sponsored by the Junior Board of the Watson-Brown Foundation.

A Colorful Past: Decorative Arts of Georgia,” GMOA’s most recent Green Symposium publication, features an essay by former curator of decorative arts Ashley Callahan and current curator of decorative arts Dale Couch on wood graining, which was often used to make less expensive materials seem more fashionable. Click here to purchase the publication from the museum shop.

An Evening with Art Rosenbaum

On Thursday August 12, the Rialto Room in Hotel Indigo-Athens will host “The Art Show: An evening with Art Rosenbaum and friends.” Rosenbaum, a native of New York and previously a professor at UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, is an acclaimed painter, muralist, illustrator, collector and performer of traditional American folk music. He was the first Wheatley Professor in Fine Arts at Lamar Dodd, and received the Governor of Georgia's Award in the Humanities in 2003. He also won a Grammy for Best Historical Album in 2008.

The evening will last from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The itinerary follows:

6:00-8:00 p.m. Reception for new work by Art Rosenbaum and Margo Newmark Rosenbaum, Mercury Art Works at Hotel Indigo

8:00-10:00 p.m. Performance by Art Rosenbaum with special guests: The Georgia Crackers, Phil Tanner’s Skillet Lickers and The Around the Globe Sea Chantey Singers

Concert tickets are available for $25. To buy in advance, click here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"The Queen's Year"

AP / Matt Dunham

The Queen's Year,” an exhibition as part of the annual Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, showcases examples of Queen Elizabeth II’s ceremonial dress from various events throughout the year. The exhibition began today and is on view until October 1.

In addition to ceremonial dress, the exhibition “recreates the spectacle and variety of the royal calendar” by presenting historic ceremonial objects and gifts that the queen has received. Exhibition highlights include 10 of her Ascot hats (above) and an evening gown that she wore to the Royal Film Performance of “West Side Story” in 1962. Two pieces are on public display for the first time: the queen’s Robe of State and the ‘Vladimir’ tiara.

Click here to read more about the queen’s duties and what her calendar includes and here for more pictures of items in the exhibition.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thomas Eakins: "The Gross Clinic" Restored

Thomas Eakins is indisputably one of America’s greatest 19th century painters. Deemed a master in psychological realism with a noted signature appreciation for darkness, he is best known for his commitment to detail and his honest and most often frank portrayal of his subjects. While his technique earned him the respect of fellow painters and critics during his lifetime, he failed to amass a large following, as many clients felt his paintings were not flattering and made them appear older.

Eakins valued technical precision and aimed to explore the truth of what he saw with little concern for sentiment or propriety. He encouraged this methodology in his students as seen when in a drawing class at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which included female students, he removed a loincloth from a male model in an attempt to illustrate a point of anatomy. Very soon after, he was dismissed from his position as director at the academy.

In line with this expressed appreciation for what is real, he depicted a surgeon with a blood-spattered hand in his painting The Gross Clinic (1875). The surgeon was Dr. Samuel D. Gross, the nation’s most famous surgeon at that time. The painting featured an operation conducted in a surgical theater amidst a symphony of darkness. When it was first exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition, the jury rejected it as unsightly. Later, it was sold to a medical school for an insulting sum of $200.

This same painting has garnered much attention recently as the Philadelphia Art Museum launched an ambitious restoration effort to reverse extensive changes made to lighten the painting sometime between 1917 and 1925 under the direction of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, its former owner. These changes included suffusing the painting with a false red light that consequently destroyed the balance of light and dark. In the edited painting, the figures standing in the corridor behind Dr. Samuel D. Gross appear to emerge from an orange inferno aflame. Many of the medical students in the darkened galleries above are bright and reddish, as if illuminated by individual flashlights.

Guided primarily by a photograph taken of the painting by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1917 before changes were made, the conservation effort sought to restore the carefully calibrated dim tones for which this painting was best known.

The restored painting will be on view through January 9th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the exhibition “An Eakins Masterpiece Restored: Seeing The Gross Clinic Anew.”

For more information please visit The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Also, Eakins’ study Portrait of John McLure Hamilton will be on view as part of the Georgia Museum of Art’s permanent collection gallery when it reopens in January 2011. His study will also be featured in GMOA’s catalogue of the collection: One Hundred American Paintings.

Call for Artists

The Duluth Fine Arts League (DFAL) has issued a call for artists for “Living Honorarium,” a public art project conceived by Shirley Fanning Lasseter, former mayor of Duluth, Ga. This project will honor the members and living veterans of its firefighter and police forces.

“So many people are honored when a life is lost, but few while alive . . . . I want people to know we appreciate them now and forever—not just when their jobs are done and life is gone,” said former mayor Lasseter.

Professional artists in the Southeast working in any media are eligible to enter. The winner will receive $50,000. Entries will be installed on an octagonal piece of land in Historic Duluth.

Construction Updates from Holder

Here are the construction updates from the week of July 23.

Current week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery/Connector
  • Starting intumescent paint
  • Complete handrails on connector stairs
  • Installing skylight shades
Existing Building Renovations
  • Final clean
  • Continue completion list
Storage Bar
  • Complete final clean
  • Begin completion list
Site/Sculpture Garden
  • Completed all miscellaneous handrails
  • Completing planting of plants
  • Water feature adjustments
Next week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery/Connector
  • Finish rails
  • Begin signage
Existing Building Renovations
  • Final cleaning
Storage Bar
  • Seal concrete floor
Site/Sculpture Garden
  • Continue punchlist

Print study room with millwork

Terrazzo tile floor installed in connector

Hanging glass in lobby installed

Friday, July 23, 2010


We've written on this blog many times and linked to many an article about deaccessioning, a museum issue with which our director, Bill Eiland, is very involved on professional committees. So it was interesting to see this column on Spiked that argues against the practice of deaccessioning to provide operating support (or, indeed, anything but new accessions) from a perspective of experience with it. Tiffany Jenkins points out that there is nothing forbidding such practices in the United Kingdom, which means it seems to happen more frequently, despite outcry. Here's the money quote, which puts her argument succinctly and well:
There is good reason for this caution: to protect the institution from the vagaries of fashion, politics and financial pressures. Museums are not businesses and it is not their job to sell off their treasures to mend the roof or pay the electricity bill. Their purpose is to conserve, research and exhibit objects and art for future generations. They should think of their collections as important artefacts and art from past human civilisations, not as objects with a price tag.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Full House 2010

The Lyndon House Arts Center (LHAC) will host a reception on Thursday, July 29, for its Full House exhibition. Full House 2010 will showcase visual arts of various media and styles. The historic Ware-Lyndon House will also be open for viewing.

The artists of Full House 2010 are all part of the Athens-Clarke County community, with ages ranging from 13 to 80. The diverse group of artists includes business owners, UGA faculty and staff, scientists and professional artists. All are members of the 15 arts organizations affiliated with LHAC.

Since its opening 35 years ago, LHAC “has been proud to play host to thousands of artists and patrons who make up the much acclaimed vibrant arts scene here in Athens.”

The reception will take place on July 29 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Construction Updates from Holder

Here are the construction updates for the week of July 16.

Current week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery/Connector
  • Starting paint of structure steel
  • Complete handrails on connector stairs
  • Installing millwork
Existing Building Renovations
  • Final clean
  • Continue completion list
Storage Bar
  • Complete final clean
  • Begin completion list
Site/Sculpture Garden
  • Completed all miscellaneous handrails
  • Completing planting of plants
Next week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery/Connector
  • Finish rails
  • Begin punchlist
Existing Building Renovations
  • Final cleaning
Storage Bar
  • Seal concrete floor
Site/Sculpture Garden
  • Complete lattice fence
  • Continue landscaping south gallery

South elevation landscaping

Brick pavers installed at east entry

Parking control equipment installed

Trip to Texas

Todd Rivers, head preparator, just got back from a trip to Texas with director Bill Eiland to work on an exhibition, and they hit up a ton of museums while there. Todd had this to say about what they say, and his slideshow of photographs follows:

On Wednesday, we visited with Charles Jones of LaNana Creek Press and viewed books that have been produced and books in progress. Overall, it is a nice collection, and it was nice as well to see the progression throughout the body of publications produced thus far.

That evening we visited with a private collector to see works of art from the Taller de Gráfica Popular. These were great works and contain very powerful and allegorical subject matter. This collector also has a phenomenal collection of hand-crafted rare books, including works by Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press, Michael Kuch and the Double Elephant Press, and many more fine presses and artists.

On Thursday we traveled to Fort Worth to visit some museums and see some art. We visited the Amon Carter Museum, which was designed by Philip Johnson, and viewed a wonderful collection of works by artists including William Harnett, William Hogarth, Stuart Davis, and Thomas Moran. We also viewed the exhibition “Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s.” Next was the Kimble Art Museum, designed by Louis Kahn, which houses a collection of European masterworks by Jacques-Louis David, Diego Velázquez, El Greco, and Michelangelo. The Museum of Modern Art of Fort Worth, designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, is an exquisite collection of modern art and has on view works by Richard Serra, Anselm Kiefer, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, Martin Puryear, Felix Gonzales Torres, Donald Judd, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

On Friday we went into downtown Dallas to visit more museums. We visited the Dallas Museum of Art and viewed works by René Magritte, Alberto Giacometti, El Lissitzky, Odilon Redon, Franz von Stuck, Claude Monet, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, Charles Sheeler, Charles Demuth, Fredric Church, William Harnett, and Dale Chihuly. We also saw the exhibitions “José Guadalupe Posada: The Birth of Mexican Modernism” and “Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea.” Next was the Nasher, designed by Renzo Piano, which houses a great sculpture collection including works by Serra, Pablo Picasso, Gianlorenzo Bernini, and Giacometti and had an exhibition of Rachel Whiteread drawings. After lunch at the Nasher we headed to the Crow Collection, and saw a nice little collection of Asian art including crystal balls, jade statues, and wooden pagodas and pergolas. We also viewed the exhibitions “New Vision: Ballpoint Drawings by Il Lee” and “Modern Twist: Bamboo Works from the Clark Center and the Art of Motoko Maio.”

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pittsburgh area trip

This past week, Bill Eiland, director at the Georgia Museum of Art, and I traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On Tuesday evening, after arriving in Pittsburgh, we immediately headed downtown to the Andy Warhol Museum. At the Warhol, we had a quick conversation with director Tom Sokolowski, viewed the exhibition Twisted Pair: Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, and enjoyed the unique store.

On Wednesday, we spent the entire day in a private collection which included great American tonalist and impressionist landscapes, WPA-era prints, and more.

On Thursday, Bill and I packed in an insane amount of museum viewing: (1) the Frick Art & Historical Center, with a personal tour from the director, Bill Bodine, and his director of curatorial affairs, Sarah Hall, and looking at the special exhibition Small But Sublime: Intimate 19th-Century American Landscapes; (2) a drive from Pittsburgh to Youngstown, Ohio, and a wonderful personal tour and late lunch with The Butler Institute of American Art's director, Lou Zona; and (3) the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, including the excellent art collection, minerals and rocks, dinosaurs, and everything else.

Yesterday, Bill and I sojourned out to Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and visited with (and enjoyed lunch with) Judith Hansen O'Toole, director, and Barbara Jones, chief curator, at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

A whole litany of future projects and potential projects for the Georgia Museum of Art will emerge from this great trip.

Pictures follow:

Also posted at
Classic Ground.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Art of Blogging

Curator’s Corner has been up and running since June 1, 2006, and today marks our 1000th post!

Primarily powered by public relations and publications interns, past and present, this blog has offered museum patrons and visitors an online report of the goings on of the art world, both at home and internationally. Curator’s Corner is meant to be informative, concise and current, and as interns we try to live up to these expectations with every blog post.

The blogging process begins with visits to such sites as the New York Times, the High Museum, the Huffington Post and We turn blog-worthy topics, from events and exhibitions to breaking arts news, into published snapshots. Curator’s Corner also features regular GMOA updates and also our Phase II expansion.

We would like to take this time to introduce ourselves, the current PR and publications interns. We are all students at the University of Georgia and thoroughly enjoy interning at GMOA during this exciting time in the museum’s history. It’s time to meet the bloggers!

My name is Yamanucci Molin and I am an intern in the publications department. I am a senior majoring in English with areas of emphasis in multicultural literature and creative writing and minors in Spanish and philosophy. I joined the GMOA intern staff a month ago, bringing with me two years of writing, editing and managing experience as the managing editor of InfUSion Magazine. Curator’s Corner has provided me with a platform to write about topics in art that pique my interest while reaching out to the GMOA audience. After graduating, I hope to put the skills I've acquired into practice and pursue a career in publishing. Thanks for reading!

My name is Jennifer Mayer, and I’ve been a public relations intern at GMOA since September 2009. I am a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in Spanish. My PR internship at GMOA has been an incredible experience, as I get to combine my love of the arts with my interest in PR practice. I was honored to receive the GMOA Student of the Year award this past spring. This internship has been extremely rewarding and I know that my experience at GMOA will help me excel in the PR field after I graduate.

My name is Molly Hoffmeister and I just began my internship with GMOA’s public relations department in June. I am a double major in public relations and studio art, with an emphasis in drawing and painting. As a fifth year, I recently graduated with my degree in public relations and an Environmental Ethics certificate, and I am returning this fall to continue working on my art major and a minor in art history-- and of course to continue my internship with GMOA. As I hope to one day make a career out of promoting an art museum, I couldn’t ask for a more perfect internship and I have sincerely enjoyed researching articles and writing for Curator’s Corner.

My name is Margaret George and I will graduate this December with a BFA in printmaking. I began my internship with the publications department in May and am enjoying every minute of it. I combine the knowledge I gained from art history classes with an appreciation for contemporary art to write blogs about events in the art world. I enjoy the process of creating things, which stems from my background in art, and blogging is a practical and fun application of my skills. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career in either publications or new media at a museum or gallery. This internship has been, and will continue to be, one of the most rewarding and enlightening experiences I’ve had. I will be able to confidently look for a job at a museum or gallery based on the things I have learned through this internship.

As interns we are also responsible for maintaining all outlets of social media, so be sure to check out GMOA on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Second Life.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for following Curator’s Corner. We appreciate your time and we hope that you have enjoyed reading our blogs as much as we have enjoyed writing them!

ATHICA gallery talk tonight

Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (ATHICA) will host "Uncertainly Walk n' Talk: An Informal Discussion with Curators and Artists" this evening from 7-8 p.m., featuring, among others, Katherine McQueen, curator of the "ATHICA Emerges IV" show currently on view (incidentally, Katherine is also my wife). You can read more about the exhibition and tonight's program here.

Countdown: The next post will be our 1000th. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Digging Daura: letters from Émile Bernard

This installment of the “Digging Daura” blog series comes from Joanna Reising, an art history major and summer intern in the Daura Center. I’ve asked her to discuss two letters from Émile Bernard to Pierre Daura in the Daura archive. (Lynn Boland)

Émile Bernard (1868-1941) was a French painter and writer who, with the help of the artist Louis Anquetin (1861-1932), devised a new manner of painting using black contours and flat planes of color.(1) The critic Edouard Dujardin named the new style Cloisonnism after seeing Anquetin’s work at the Salon des Indépendants in 1888. Dujardin chose the name of Cloisonnism because the dark outlines between the colors resembled the metal divisions in cloisonné enamel. The style shows the influence of Cézanne, Japanese woodcuts, images d’Épinal (prints on popular subjects shown in bright colors; these prints were made in the printing house Imagerie d’Épinal, which was founded by Jean-Charles Pellerin in the 19th century), enamels, and stained glass. Bernard’s style was a source for Paul Gauguin, and the two became fast friends, exhibiting together at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. The friendship was broken after 1891 when Gauguin was named the leader of the Symbolist movement and the inventor of the so-called Synthetist style. The Synthetist style, according to G.-Albert Aurier, “consists in containing all possible forms within the small number of forms which we are capable of conceiving: straight lines, the several angles, arcs of circles, and ellipses.”(2) Bernard felt that this honor of being named the inventor of Synthetism belonged to him. Bernard then spent time traveling abroad, first to Italy, then to Egypt, and then back to Italy to spend time in Venice. During this time abroad, Bernard moved away from the Cloisonnist manner to a more naturalistic way of representing forms. In 1904, he returned to France and began corresponding with Cézanne. Their exchange of letters gives a detailed account of Cézanne’s views on art and theory. In 1905, Bernard founded his own periodical, La Rénovation Esthétique, in which he redefined the Symbolist doctrines of his youth.

Pierre Daura met Émile Bernard in 1914, when Pierre came to Paris and began work in Émile’s studio. Pierre may have chosen Émile’s studio to work in because of his connection with Cézanne. Pierre was a devotee of Cézanne and was already working in a Cézannesque style. The first task Émile gave Pierre was to sort through and catalogue letters sent from Vincent van Gogh to Émile. During Pierre’s time in Émile’s studio, the two became close friends. Two letters sent from Émile to Pierre provide a small window into the relationship between the two.(3) Deciphering Émile’s messy handwriting was a task. Accents were missing, I’s were not dotted, T’s were not crossed, and some of the words were completely illegible. But after several hours of poring over the letters, with French-English dictionary and book of French verbs at hand, I was able to understand the main ideas. The first letter, undated but written around 1914, is a short message letting Pierre know that Émile stopped by to see him but no one was there. Émile says that he wants Pierre to come by his studio, and that he will send five francs for the cost of travel. The letter also mentions that Émile owes Pierre five hundred francs, but it is uncertain why. The five hundred francs could possibly be back payment that Émile owes Pierre (five hundred francs in 1914 France equals roughly 98 U.S. dollars today). On the back of the letter, Émile included two sketches of a nude woman. One sketch is done in graphite and is smaller and seems to be a preparatory study for the second sketch. The second sketch appears to be done in ink and ink wash and shows a light and airy representation of the female form. The sketch employs the dark contour lines that Émile was famous for, and suggests Émile’s emphasis on the generality of nature, which Émile mentions in his second letter to Pierre.

The second letter, undated but written in early 1919, is a response to an earlier letter written by Pierre. For Christmas 1918, Émile sent Pierre two of his books: Souvenirs sur Paul Cézanne et Lettres and L’Esthétique Fondamentale et Traditionnelle. At this time, Pierre was doing his compulsory Spanish military service on the Catalan island of Minorca. It is presumable that Pierre had had time to reflect upon the books and had written Émile to give his thoughts, because in this second letter, Émile thanks Pierre for reading his books. In the letter, Émile elaborates briefly upon the themes addressed in the books and advises Pierre to continue following his dreams and to continue in his art. By reading the letter, you get the sense that Émile views Pierre as his student, and he is encouraging his student to study and work hard in order to realize his dreams. Émile ends the letter with an endearing plea: he wants Pierre to come visit if he’s ever passing through Paris.

These letters show how Pierre Daura went from working in the studio of a prominent artist to becoming that artist’s friend, they provide insights into studio practice of the period, and they further elucidate the theories Émile presented in his publications.

-Joanna Reising, Daura Center intern

1) The following information comes from George Heard Hamilton’s Painting and Sculpture in Europe 1880-1940 and the Oxford Art Online article for Émile Bernard.

2) Herschel B. Chipp, Theories of Modern Art (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1968), 105.

3) Émile Bernard to Pierre Daura, letters ca. 1914 and 1919, Friends and Colleagues series, Pierre Daura Archive, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia.

Caravaggio's remains

Enzo Russo / AP

The presumed remains (above) of Italian baroque painter Caravaggio are on display in a clear case in Tuscany at the Forte Stella.

The bones were stored in a church after being exhumed from a grave in 1956. A team of microbiologists, art historians and anthropologists examined the bones for a year. Although Caravaggio had no children, the team compared the artist's bones with descendants of his family and carbon dated the remains.

Based on the team's evidence, Caravaggio presumably died in about 1610 in Port Ercole (on the Tuscan coast) at the age of 39, possibly from malaria, sunstroke or lead poisoning.

Caravaggio's famous works include "Bacchus," "David with the Head of Goliath," and "Supper at Emmaus."

Click here for a detailed article.

Haiti: Art and Remembrance

Following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that brought much of Haiti to shambles, several thousand died and approximately 3 million are still displaced. As efforts to remove the rubble, administer necessary medical aid and distribute basic necessities such as food and water continue, in terms of future historic preservation for a country so deeply rooted in unique cultural traditions, one question remains: What about the art?

Art plays a significant role in the culture and economy of Haiti, where the majority of people live in abject poverty, in part due to an 85% unemployment rate. With few functioning institutions and outlets for self-expression, when artists paint they paint their lives. Art serves as a primary source of cultural preservation depicting spiritual practices, the connections Haitians share with their environment and their history as a people who went from the first black country to gain independence in 1808 to increased suffering under dictatorships and failed governments. Haiti is now the poorest country in the Americas.

The Centre d’Art, which launched Haiti’s Art movement in the 1940s, is severely damaged. The Musee d’Art Nader, which housed over 12,000 works from Haiti’s largest private art collection, collapsed. Murals in the Trinity Cathedral, painted by some of Haiti’s best-known artists, have crumbled.

Gerald Alexis, leading Haitian art historian and curator, notes that because of the consistent political turmoil and instability, Haiti has always had difficulty preserving its art. However, he believes its preservation is of utmost importance because art “will tell future generations who they are and where they come from. It's our heritage. And although people think that in poor countries such concepts are unnecessary, they are indeed the only thing we have. Our cultural heritage is our pride."

Collectively, several countries have pledged millions of dollars in aid over the next few years. However, amidst so much despair and chaos, the restoration and rescue of damaged art remains the responsibility of individual artists and gallery owners. Ultimately, there is no telling how much art remains irreparable. Artist Levoy Exil, whose technique includes using beets and beans to create paint, reflects on this unfortunate reality and says, “It’s a great loss for all of us. But life continues and we will continue to create.”

Countdown to the 1000th blog post: 3 to go!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Construction Updates from Holder

Here are the Phase II construction updates from the week of July 9.

Current week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery / Connector

Mud tape and finish walls and ceiling

Complete grout of tile

Existing Building Renovations

Installed glass panels behind reception desk

Installed 1st floor lobby ceiling tiles

MEP trim out catering kitchen

Storage Bar

Completed HVAC duct work adjustments to raise light fixtures

Site / Sculpture Garden

Complete all misc. handrails

Completed final grading of site

Reinstalling pavers at east entry

Completing planting of plants

Next week - Activities/Issues:

New Gallery / Connector

Finish rails

Begin punchlist

Existing Building Renovations

Final cleaning

Storage Bar

Seal concrete floor

Site / Sculpture Garden

Complete lattice fence

Continue landscaping south gallery

Grouting of Tile in Main Lobby

Glass Inserts along Connector Stair Railings

Catering Kitchen Progress