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An Ode To Summer's End Ramble

As summer comes to a close my focus is awash in all the rain we've had in the Baltimore area. So here begins my ramble.

As mentioned in many blogs, Newsgrist most recently, Leon Golub died. Back in '91, I curated a show entitled News As Muse (at School 33 Art Center). The theme was the influence of the newspaper on an artist's process. I asked several artists, Red Grooms, Sue Coe, Kay Rosen, and others; everyone accepted, including Mr. Golub, a perfect fit. I got to visit his studio and talk about a suitable painting; he even had the original newspaper clipping which was his influence, to be shown with the canvas. Much of our time was spent talking about the art world and a little advice, too. Very nice man and a great artist.

Another loss, Julia Child: she was a one-of-a-kind lady. I first realized I could also cook by watching her show. A matter-of-fact, no-nonsense, no-pretense approach to her work, kind of like my goal in painting.

After weeks of blog chatter, the story of the Clyfford Still collection going to Denver just made it to the New York Times this past Thursday. Read it while it's news! Online.

Spent several days in New York this week. For the most part, the only painting I saw was being applied to the gallery walls in preparation for the September shows. There were more galleries open than I had expected. Robert Miller Gallery had a mid-sized Lee Krasner for a mere $700,000; that's a nice number to sell a painting for, and JG Contemporary is showing drawings by Oscar Bluemner. Just snooping through the window at Pace Wildenstein and I'm already excited about the coming Alex Katz show. He keeps getting better, the fine wine of paint.

My wife Sandy and I finally made it to the Jewish Museum to see the Modigliani exhibit. He's always been a favorite, but seeing so many portraits in a row they all tend to look simillar, with not much individuallity. There were some beauties in this group, though, a selection of drawings and watercolors and of course his nudes. A few of the portraits I thought exceptional are unfortuately not on the Web site.

David Hess, Bird's Nest, American Visionary Art Museum, BaltimoreWith time limitations we made a quick tour of the Andrew Goldsworthy installations in the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum. We also made a pass through the Childe Hassam exhibition. With a few exceptions it's an easy-on-the-eyes show to cruise. I've got to admit a sentimental spot for his flag paintings. The red and white stripes make a strong design, a real anchor. A room full of these made a great attraction for many of the visitors. This will be a draw for Republican sightseers.

If you should get to Baltimore, my favorite place is the American Visionary Art Museum. Now showing, through September 5, is Golden Blessings of Old Age. Next door, under construction, is the James Rouse Center for Visionary Thought. This will be a great addition to the museum, adding exhibition space for permanent installations and an auditorium. Slowly taking shape on the north side of the building is a balcony in the form of a big bronze beautiful bird's nest (a few other images), which will also have its own eggs. The creator is the just-turned-40-year-old sculptor David Hess. Hess also made the fantastic three-story bronze bannister in the original building and many of the fixtures in the museum's restaurant. So come on down to Bawlmer: there are special hotel/restaurant discounts for subversives.

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