Historicism in Paint

16 p

Currently on display at the Taft Museum of Art is Heroism in Paint: A Master Series by Jacob Lawrence, featuring the world-renowned painter’s first venture in creating a series of historical paintings — The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture series, which launched his successful 60-plus-year artistic career and made him into a de facto historian.

Lawrence was profoundly influenced by artists of the Harlem Renaissance, whom he often came into contact with but were a decade or so older — so he had plenty of role models to look to as a young artist.

The painter was not only exceptional for being a successful black artist in his day, but he was also a recipient of prolonged arts boostership: Lawrence began classes at the Harlem Artists Guild as a teenager, was a recipient of numerous fellowships and grants and was enrolled as an easel painter in the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. As a result of this mentorship and early arts education, he painted the cycle of 41 colorful, tempera-on-paper paintings about the first successful slave revolt

Art galleries go where money is

12 p

In a bid to turn more bonus-rich bankers into art collectors, 12 British galleries will set up booths for three days next month in Canary Wharf, the London financial district whose towers are home to such firms as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc.

The “Art & the City” fair will display everything from sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore to pictures by Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissarro, Andy Warhol and U.K. artist Damien Hirst, who last month sold a medicine cabinet at a London auction for more than $1.8 million. There also will be Cartier and Rolex watches, Georg Jensen silverware and gilded Himalayan statues.

“A lot of the more important collectors in the past 10 years have worked in finance,” said Harry Blain, who runs Haunch of Venison, London’s biggest contemporary art dealer, according to Art Newspaper. “Many are well advised, but they lack the time to buy art so we thought we’d come to them.”

“It’s an interesting marketing ploy,” said John Studzinski, a collector who is co-head of corporate and investment banking at HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank. “It’s like the art

Brandeis decision to close art museum sparks outcry

1 p

Brandeis University students have called for a sit-in today to protest the school’s decision to close a museum and sell 6,000 art pieces.

The protest will begin at 1 p.m. on the campus in Waltham, Mass., said Rebecca Ulm, a sophomore and art history major. “It’s a terrible shock and tragedy,” she said. “They made a decision without consulting the student body and the faculty.”

Brandeis, anticipating a budget deficit of more than $10 million over five years, said Monday that it would close the 48-year-old Rose Art Museum and sell the holdings, including works by Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning. The decision by the trustees has drawn objections from the separate museum board, attracted legal scrutiny from the state’s attorney general and now is stirring students to publicly object.

The university should explore other options before closing the museum and selling the art, said Jonathan Lee, chairman of the museum’s board of overseers. The board learned of the university’s decision Monday, he said.

Brandeis, by selling the art, would jeopardize its ability to raise donations, Lee said. He also said the

ArtsWave Launches New Cincy Arts Guide Calendar

There are a lot of ways to stay on top of what’s happening in the arts in Greater Cincinnati — like reading arts and culture coverage in CityBeat every week. But finding a comprehensive calendar that covers the full array of the arts has been an elusive dream. Not so much now, thanks to ArtsWave, the organization behind the annual community-wide drive to raise more than $12 million in support of arts across the region.

Go to cincyartsguide.com and you’ll find a new, eminently searchable, user-friendly site that lets you apply filters such as date or art form to locate performances, exhibitions and events. You can look at specific categories such as music, theater, dance, museums, visual art, culture, heritage and festivals — and numerous subcategories.

So what prompted this great leap forward? ArtsWave has been doing some heavy-duty strategic planning that has shifted its perspective from hardcore fundraising for arts organizations to more of a focus on what arts consumers desire. With this new mindset, ArtsWave seeks to make its pursuit of support both more relevant and more immediate.

Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave’s president and CEO, says, “We’ve long recognized that Cincinnati’s arts organizations each

Cincinnati Art Museum Springs into Fall

Usually, when one says a work of art is “alive,” it’s a figure of speech — the expression typically acknowledges a natural connection between artist and observer. But next weekend, the Cincinnati Art Museum will be giving a new meaning to the phrase “living art.”

More than 60 florists will be contributing to Art In Bloom, a four-day biennial CAM event. They will be crafting floral arrangements that reflect and pay tribute to great works of art from the museum’s collection, displaying them as an accompaniment to the original pieces. The flowers will interpret the mood, color scheme or overall feeling of each painting. And three of the selected floral artists will be creating their interpretations in front of a live audience at the museum.

“It is a demonstration, essentially,” says Robin Wood of local Robin Wood Flowers, commenting on her upcoming participation in the “Garden Party” luncheon portion of Art In Bloom on Thursday. Wood will be creating an arrangement in the Fountain Room as she discusses her process with her observers. The dining event will give the gallery a live energy that is difficult to duplicate when the arrangements have already been established and

Raphael Mona Lisa

The Cincinnati Art Museum’s new show, Sublime Beauty, marks the very first time Raphael’s “Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn” has visited the United States, itself a reason for celebration (it was loaned by the Galleria Borghese in Rome, which acquired the painting in 1682). Like many masterpiece portraits, the painting occupies both a realm of intense clarity and ambiguity, the former made possible by Raphael’s courageous use of color and sumptuous detail, the latter owed to historical and scholarly discrepancies.

I’ll admit that I was not entirely prepared to view and review an exhibition that consists of only a single painting, as is the case with Sublime Beauty. Of course, the act of showing only a single work automatically lends an air of authority and importance, but it also allows more room for scrutiny — for the viewer to interrogate the piece with his or her imagination.

The painting is equipped with a catalog of vagueness. There is the fact that until the 1930s the painting’s true author was unknown. And the fact that there are disagreements surrounding whom exactly the portrait depicts. Perhaps most fascinatingly, it was discovered in the early 20th century

Todd Pavlisko Collects Punk Loving Pals for Gimmie

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie is curator Todd Pavlisko’s homecoming potluck for misfits, with contributions from six artists and 10 local collectors attracted to contemporary works outside the mainstream. Two shows in one, Gimmie draws its title and Punk inspiration from the Black Flag song of the same name, featuring the lyrics, “I need some more / Don’t know what for.”

Touring the collectors’ exhibit in the Weston Art Gallery’s lower level is like visiting a holiday dinner set up in the basement for angst-ridden adolescents and eccentric aunts and uncles. Both are minimalist spaces where provocative and thoughtful discourse takes place, unexpected pairings work and you discover that ideas you originally thought were weird are actually cool.

Collector George Kurz admits to that kind of revelation himself. One piece he contributed to Gimmie is a hanging sculpture of plastic bottles from New York artist Tony Feher. “I remember seeing his work for the first time probably 10 years ago in a New York gallery, and I was totally confused,” Kurz says in an email interview. “I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that something so slight could actually be art. It was only after seeing his

Art of Food Brings the Farm to the Gallery

The “Mona Lisa” made of bread. A marshmallow dress toasted onsite. A gallery of glass toast. Since its debut a decade ago, The Art of Food exhibition at The Carnegie has continuously topped itself, evolving beyond visual art to wearable art and performance. But artist Pam Kravetz, who has organized an army of creatives for the opening since 2013, says this is the first year all the artists and chefs have aligned. The 10th-anniversary theme is Farm to Gallery, a twist on farm-to-table.

“There was art on the wall, and the chefs did something,” Kravetz says of past events. “Or we had the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and the chefs did their thing. Now we’ve gone to their turf. Everyone is embracing and celebrating the heritage of Kentucky, the flavors of bourbon, the historic farmland.” The anniversary logo features a crisscrossed paintbrush, pitchfork and table fork.

“Farm to Gallery is definitely something we can get behind because so much of what we do at Bouquet is farm to table,” says chef Stephen Williams of his Covington restaurant and wine bar. This is his sixth Art of Food.

“To celebrate the art of food day-to-day, it’s

Collective Retrospective

Weston Art Gallery, in the heart of downtown, a block away from the Contemporary Arts Center, has for 20 years provided the most prominent consistent venue for the work of area artists, if not the most welcoming space. 20 x 20 x 20, now on display at the gallery, celebrates the milestone by presenting 20 works by 20 individual artists or artistic collaborators whose work appeared there in solo exhibitions over the years.

Director Dennis Harrington, who has been with the Weston from the beginning, says the attention-attracting street-level gallery space always presents a challenge.

“It’s both a blessing and a curse, but for artists willing to take on the unusual space, it provides maximum exposure,” he says. Windowed walls on the Walnut Street and Seventh Street sides of the ground floor allow easy visual access for passersby.

The street level space is like a lobby, a pass-through place with both a stairway going up to the Aronoff Center and a stairway going down to galleries below. Further complicating things are entrances on the west and north sides. I have written about shows here throughout its 20 years and am always interested to see how

Modern Living Fin ds Fun Amid Function

At The Carnegie’s Modern Living: Objects and Context, curators Matt Distel and BLDG present two types of environments for considering artists’ household-inspired sculptures and design firms’ tables, lamps and more. The exhibition explores where the definitions of design and art merge and diverge. Can something functional also have aesthetic value? Should an object intended as sculpture be put into everyday use?

On opening night Dec. 4, it wasn’t long before visitors gravitated from thoughtfully viewing pieces in a museum-like setting on the first floor to lounging in an upper gallery that’s been reimagined as a patio in Los Angeles. Similar objects fill both rooms, but the furnishings take on new purpose upstairs, where teams of design firms and artists created three living spaces for their objects. In the “backyard,” a simulated bedroom and a dining room, the show’s vibe changes from looking to living.

Distel, The Carnegie’s exhibitions director, said Modern Living was inspired by the new restaurants and businesses in Northern Kentucky, downtown and Over-the-Rhine. “I felt I’d been seeing a lot of stuff by designers that looked like art, and art that looked like furniture,” he said.

Distel contacted Covington design firm BLDG

Bisbee mines its past and artful present

Give any Arizona guidebook a glance, and a few dozen locales will be described as “a former copper mining town.” That’s also true for Bisbee, nestled near the Mexican border in the state’s southeast corner. But the similarities stop there. Bisbee boasts some of the best art galleries in the state, side by side with newly sprouted brewpubs and Zagat-rated restaurants offering Southwestern-influenced vegetarian food as well as gourmet pizza and pasta. Amid it all, Main Street’s antique shops and galleries are surrounded with examples of Victorian architecture. The Copper Queen Mine that had supported Bisbee for nearly a century closed in the mid-1970s after the ore played out. The town withered but refused to die. Instead, starving artists and aging hippies purchased the then-inexpensive homes and land, transforming the hardscrabble mining town into an artist colony. Today the town is popular with art lovers and those seeking relief from the brutal Phoenix and Tucson heat in Bisbee’s higher elevations. Excluding airfare from LAX, a two-night trip for a couple is about $400, including a meal at Café Roka, about $90 with drinks and dessert.

Art Galleries Stamina and Cash

If you think owning an art gallery means holding elegant Champagne receptions for sophisticated clients and fascinating artists every day, think again.

Owning a fine art gallery is like running any other small business: It’s risky, expensive and challenging.

“Too many people go into this business because they think it’s going to be fun,” said Karl Borenstein, who owns a 7-year-old Santa Monica art gallery bearing his name.

Borenstein and other gallery owners–or gallerists, as they call themselves–say the formula for success is complex: It requires an “eye” for good art, formal art education or an apprenticeship in a respected gallery or art museum, plenty of money and a heavy dollop of financial savvy.

He and others estimate that it costs $300,000 to $500,000 to open a fine art gallery from scratch in Southern California or any other major U.S. city. Of course, some galleries open on a shoestring and succeed.

In fact, about 200 galleries operate around Los Angeles, according to Carolyn Campbell, spokeswoman for the 4th International Art Fair, which runs through Monday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“The rule of thumb in the art world is that if

Art Galleries Plan a Joint Opening

Nine art galleries in West Hollywood will host a joint opening from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. New exhibitions include painter D.J. Hall’s “Golden Moments” at the Koplin Gallery; “urban/sub/urban: Selected Artists Portray the Human Environment” at Louis Stern Fine Arts; and “Richard Meier: Prints, Drawings, Collages and Study Models From the Getty Center” at the Remba Gallery. Parking is available at the Pacific Design Center and the EPI lot on Melrose Avenue.

New York City serves up new food art galleries tores and more for visitors

What’s new in New York City for visitors? Plenty, judging from a round-up of recently opened and upcoming arts venues, restaurants, cutting-edge architecture, plays, stores and more that appears in the latest Los Angeles Times Magazine.

“For art, culture, food and shopping, there’s still no place like Gotham,” writes Mayer Rus, who edited the compendium of 79 new and new-ish places in the metropolis that are worth a stop.

Art-lovers can ride the “elevator cum project room that moves between floors” at the towering Sperone Westwater gallery in the Bowery; gaze at a nearly 20-foot sculpure by Irish artist Eva Rothschild that, starting in spring, will be a gateway to Central Park; and marvel (until March 14) at MoMA’s hit show “Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen,” which touches on design, art, politics and social customs.

Shoppers can browse three floors of Lanvin in an Upper East Side townhouse, where the French label has opened its first New York shop; check out Left Bank Books (formerly Bookleaves) at its new location in Greenwich Village; and brighten their day at Cire Trudon on Bond Street, where the venerable French candle company has opened its first

Southland art galleries hope event is a big draw

Local art galleries are hoping sales will get a needed boost when a major regional art project, “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” opens Oct. 1, potentially drawing customers from around the world.

The multi-location project is a collaboration among dozens of galleries and more than 60 Southern California art museums and other cultural institutions. “Pacific Standard Time” will officially run for six months, and some private galleries will be getting a head start by opening their related shows in September.

“It should very much help the art market,” said Robert Berman, who opened his namesake gallery in Santa Monica in 1979 and is about to expand into a third exhibition space at the Bergamot Station Arts Center. “Business is, as far as sales, at this point it’s very difficult, it’s very hard.”

“Pacific Standard Time” covers a period when local galleries played a key role in showcasing contemporary works in Southern California. It was before the existence of major local institutions that specialize in the genre, including the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art.

“It really was the galleries that in so many cases really supported the artists and were the places where

New York Chelsea art galleries soaked by Sandy

Thursday is the customary night for art openings in Chelsea, the Manhattan neighborhood that’s home to the city’s biggest concentration of galleries.

But this Thursday, the black-clad scenesters were replaced by men in white hazmat suits and surgical masks, and the only buzz came from generators.

Chelsea is one of the many neighborhoods ravaged by super storm Sandy when it made landfall Monday night. Although the human tragedy here pales next to the horrors in Staten Island, where at least 19 people have died, the storm delivered a serious blow to New York’s contemporary art world, damaging dozens of gallery buildings and many artworks they were designed to protect.

Two days after the floodwater from the Hudson River had receded, the usually chic neighborhood remained in disarray, with drywall, plywood and wet sandbags piled up next to 6-inch deep puddles. As indicated by the flood lines evident on building exteriors, nearly every ground-floor gallery in the district suffered some damage.

In the hierarchies of the Manhattan art world, having a ground-floor gallery south of 25th Street is considered a sign of success, prime real estate that serious collectors could enter en route to blue-chip

Temecula art gallery owner arrested on cyberstalking charges

The owner of a Riverside County art gallery was arrested Wednesday for allegedly attempting to extort an art publisher and its employees by creating disparaging websites and sending threatening messages demanding money to take them down, federal prosecutors said.

Jason White, 43, who was taken into custody by FBI special agents, faces federal cyberstalking charges and is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said that after a business relationship with White’s Temecula art gallery ended, White would post derogatory information about the people and the business online. He allegedly would then demand money from them and harass them through text messages and emails. Prosecutors said when his demands weren’t met, he’d threaten violence.

In one instance, White allegedly targeted an art publisher who had previously employed him, sending messages to the publisher, the publisher’s son and a supervisor. In one message to his former supervisor, prosecutors said White told her he would make her pay with “fear, anguish and pain.” White also is accused of finding pictures of the supervisor’s son and sending one of the photos to the woman,

Brandeis decision to close art museum sparks outcry

Brandeis University students have called for a sit-in today to protest the school’s decision to close a museum and sell 6,000 art pieces.

The protest will begin at 1 p.m. on the campus in Waltham, Mass., said Rebecca Ulm, a sophomore and art history major. “It’s a terrible shock and tragedy,” she said. “They made a decision without consulting the student body and the faculty.”

Brandeis, anticipating a budget deficit of more than $10 million over five years, said Monday that it would close the 48-year-old Rose Art Museum and sell the holdings, including works by Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning. The decision by the trustees has drawn objections from the separate museum board, attracted legal scrutiny from the state’s attorney general and now is stirring students to publicly object.

The university should explore other options before closing the museum and selling the art, said Jonathan Lee, chairman of the museum’s board of overseers. The board learned of the university’s decision Monday, he said.

Brandeis, by selling the art, would jeopardize its ability to raise donations, Lee said. He also said the timing of the art sales didn’t make sense. Because of the

Transformers Dark of the Moon gets better reviews than Tom Hanks

There’s no question Michael Bay can crush giant robots. Now the “Transformers” director has flattened Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

Though reviews for Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” were scarcely glowing, they were nonetheless superior on average to the notices given Hanks and Roberts’ “Larry Crowne,” the romantic comedy that Hanks also directed and is opening this weekend against “Transformers.”

According to two of the three most prominent movie review aggregation sites — Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic — the third “Transformers” film received better marks than “Larry Crowne” by a slim but consistent margin.

Rotten Tomatoes assigned “Transformers” a score of 37% positive reviews compared with “Larry Crowne’s” 35%, while Metacritic favored the intergalactic robot story over the Hanks movie by a 42 to 41 margin. Movie Review Intelligence, the third big aggregation site, gave “Larry Crowne” the narrowest of victories, with the Hanks movie rating 47.1%, barely surpassing the 46.6% for “Transformers.”

Bernstein rarity ‘Tahiti’ due

What’s the trouble with Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti”? The one-act opera about a married couple going through an emotionally difficult patch has had a complicated history. It was first performed in 1952 but never

Chris Burden to create large-scale installation for Rose Art Museum

Chris Burden, the artist whose “Urban Light” outdoor installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has become a symbol of the city and who is the subject of a retrospective at the New Museum in New York, will be creating a large-scale work for the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.

The university said that the new commissioned work will be titled “Light of Reason,” and will feature antique Victorian lampposts and concrete benches that will form three branches in front of the museum’s entrance.

The work is expected to be completed some time in 2014, according to the university.

ART: Can you guess the high price?

The Los Angeles-based Burden has used old lampposts before, in his “Urban Light” installation at LACMA. The work, which debuted in 2008, features 202 restored cast iron lampposts arranged in a rectangular formation.

Burden also unveiled “Metropolis II” at LACMA in 2012. The kinetic sculpture features about 100,000 toy race cars circulating through a mini-city of interconnected highways.

“Extreme Measures,” Burden’s exhibition at the New Museum, is his first New York survey for the artist and his first major retrospective in more than 25