art · culture

Celebrating the Arts

One of the greatest joys of my life was visiting museums. Prior to 2019, I regularly worked in Washington, DC, which meant that I could easily go to a major museum during my lunch break or after work. I loved walking those corridors and taking in art from all around the world, as well as art that documented the history of America. Nothing was as soothing to me as spending time at the Smithsonian and checking out the latest exhibitions.

However, things changed drastically at the end of 2018. I was unable to walk more than a few feet without getting winded, I could only sleep for an hour or so at a time, and the unrelenting body aches that I experienced left me frustrated and frightened. As someone that was used to being far more active, I was terrified of these mysterious symptoms that took away my basic abilities to navigate the world like I’d previously done. As it turns out, I had fibromyalgia, and I immediately started a telework schedule that would allow me to rest as needed throughout the day. Unfortunately, my condition made traveling to DC absolute torture. So, I had to put my museum mini-trips on hold until my health improved.

I still haven’t gone back to visit the museums in DC, though I have spent some time at my local museum earlier this year (I was thrilled to finally be able to walk around a bit without experiencing excruciating pain). However, it’s National Arts and Humanities Month, and I just want to take a moment to share some of the amazing things happening at the Smithsonian in honor of this month-long celebration.

On October 23rd, the Smithsonian will be kicking off its own craft show. The show will occur virtually, and the theme is Celebrating American Artistry. The crafts featured in the show are created by carefully selected artisans that create work that reflects American aesthetics and sensibilities. What better way to celebrate art than to purchase some for yourself? Interested shoppers can securely purchase items through the Smithsonian platform, adding a layer of assurance for both shoppers and the craftspeople that are involved in the exchange. The event ends on October 31st.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Asian art museum within the Smithsonian, is the host of the DC Turkish Film Festival. The films that are featured in this festival are all available online for free, so anyone can enjoy from the comfort of their homes. The films will be available through the Sackler Gallery through October 31st.

The companion to the Sackler Gallery is the Freer Gallery. At the Freer Gallery, the Hokusai: Mad About Painting exhibition is a fascinating dive into the art of Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese artist that is arguably among the country’s most famous painters. The Freer Gallery has an impressive collection of Hokusai’s work, and anyone interested in learning more about this gifted artist would do well to check out this exhibition. But hurry: it will only be at the gallery until January 9, 2022.

The National Museum of African Art (located just one block from the Free and Sackler Galleries) is currently displaying Heroes: Principles of African Greatness, an exhibition that centers on how art is used to tell the stories of heroism and the traits of effective African leaders. This one is definitely worth checking out sooner rather than later, since the end date for this exhibition is still to be announced. Nothing is worse that postponing a visit and finding out that you mistimed your travel and lost the opportunity to do something that you wanted to do (trust me: it’s happened to me, and it was no fun!)

Finally, the Archive of American Art is hosting the exhibition, What is Feminist Art? This exhibition is a continuation of a discussion that was initiated back in 1976, and some of the same artists that participated in the 1970s also participated this time around. This exhibition promises to be an eye-opening discussion on feminism and how it has changed, or remained the same, over the past 45+ years. This exhibition closes on December 31st.

Would you check out any of these exhibitions? Or, do you have other plans to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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The Met Turns 151!

Happy Tuesday, friends! On this day, 151 years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was granted an Act of Incorporation. This means that today is the Met’s birthday!

Google Doodle commemorating the Met’s 151st birthday

Now, I’ve not been to the Met yet, and, seeing as how I probably won’t be going to New York this year, I can’t say for sure when I will visit. But this impressive museum is on my bucket list, and for good reason. The museum has over 2 million works in its permanent collection and is by far one of the most famous art museums in the United States. As a matter of fact, they have multiple works by my favorite Neoclassicist, Jean-Leon Gerome (you all remember that I wrote about how much I love Gerome’s work in this post and in this one).

However, my admiration of the Met includes a serious criticism. One thing that has made me raise an eyebrow at the Met is the decision in 2018 to start charging $25 for most out-of-state and foreign visitors. The original Act of Incorporation indicates that the Met should be free in perpetuity, but museum president Daniel Weiss decided to break tradition and start charging fees. At first glance, it seems like a shameless money grab (and in many ways, it is), but it’s a little more complicated than that. This decision to charge fees was allowed by the City of New York, in exchange for decreasing the Met’s funding from the city. These funds that are no longer going to the Met have been allocated to increasing “artistic diversity” and will support other facilities that give a platform to more diverse creatives.

However, ever so often, we get to see balanced restored in our world, and what seems like fairness reappears for a brief shining moment (if you know the reference, leave it in the comments!). Yes, the Met collected fees in 2018, 2019, and the early part of 2020. However, COVID-19 reduced the annual visitors from nearly 6.5 million per year to just over 1 million. The loss of revenue has left the museum in the awkward position of deciding whether to deaccession or sell of part of its collection, just to cover their expenses.

I can’t say that I’m not partially amused that greed came back to bite the Met, but my chuckles are tempered by two things. Firstly, this loss of revenue caused 20% of the Met’s staff to lose their jobs (this saddens me tremendously). Secondly, this is even more motivation to keep the admission fees, as the Met will need to build up its cash reserves and avoid becoming insolvent as best it can. Now, I’m sure that the Met will do just fine (I don’t foresee any long-term closures, especially now that there are safe visiting procedures in place). I’m just concerned that COVID-19 may have built a stronger case for admission fees than anything that the museum could have offered in a public statement.

So, today, I’m celebrating the Met, praying that they eliminate the admission fees, and keeping my fingers crossed that I may be able to purchase a Gerome sketch during some sort of auction of the Met’s works. A girl can dream, right?

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Think Like An Art World Expert: Episode 2 Review

In the second episode of Think Like an Art World Expert, host Glen Hardwick-Bruce interviews Anakena Paddon, Studio Manager for Kevin Francis Gray. Paddon explained her role in the studio as handling many of the operations and logistics details so that the artist is free to focus on creating works. I really loved this interview because Paddon distinguished her role from that of a personal assistant (a role often confused with studio management).

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Paddon describes her role as involving a great deal of coordination between Gray’s UK and Italian studios, as well as serving as a representative for the studios when interacting with other entities (such as galleries and interested collectors). She also worked tirelessly on creating the uniform social presence that Kevin Francis Gray studios now enjoys online.

A peek inside of the studio as Gray works

I love the many facets that Paddon outlines in her role, and I will listen to this one again and take good notes! Definitely check out the podcast, or, if you’re interested in learning more about the studio, check out Kevin Francis Gray either on the website or on Instagram.

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Think Like An Art World Expert: Episode 1 Review

In the inaugural episode of Think Like an Art World Expert, host Glen Hardwick-Bruce interviews Nico Epstein, partner and director of Artvisor. Artvisor brings the world of art advisory to the internet, blending the best that the web has to offer by way of location independent advisory services with traditional brick-and-mortar art offerings (such as occasional in-person viewings).

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On the podcast, Epstein describes his background in the Arts, as  well as his career path post-college. He didn’t hold back in describing the closed-off nature of the art world. He identified his own competitive advantage – specifically, several family members (including his mother) who had successful careers as art academics and commercial gallery management. What I’m really enjoying about this podcast is how the host made sure to ask specific questions about the career path and tips that the guest has to offer the listening audience. Hardwick-Bruce asked some pointed questions that would be a great starting point for anyone interested in entering the online art advisory field.

Photo from Epstein’s interview with Hardwick-Bruce

Epstein also didn’t disappoint when it came to giving tips about how to succeed as an art advisor.  I really appreciate it his transparency when describing his experiences as a gallerist and an advisor. This interview was a great length – right around 20 minutes – and stuck to the pertinent information regarding Epstein and his career path.

Great first episode, Christie’s Education! I’m so looking forward to the next one! You all can keep up with Nico Epstein by following his Instagram account, or by following Artvisor’s Instagram page.

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New Podcast for Art Lovers

Friends! I got an email a few days ago that made me stop in my tracks: as soon as I read it, I knew instantly that I had to share this information with you.

Many of you out there are art lovers just as I am. Because we share a mutual love of art, it stands to reason that some of you may be interested in art careers as I am, too. However, not all of us want to be artists in the traditional sense: we want careers that allow us to surround ourselves with our but not necessarily be the creators of the art.

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That’s why I was so excited to see that Christie’s Education was launching a new podcast series titled Think Like an Art World Expert. This series, which will be available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, and Acast,  promises to give a behind-the-scenes view of different art jobs. Along with this behind-the-scenes view, different art world experts will be describing their individual career paths, as well as unexpected things about their jobs.

The series officially starts on January 23rd, 2019, but there’s a small preview available on SoundCloud now that I’m linking here. This series will be a must for anyone interested in working in the art world. It would also be great information for anyone that creates and sells art: there’s nothing like knowing the individuals you may have to work with as you make your art of available a larger customer base.

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Because I am so excited about this series, I will be doing episode reviews for the next few weeks. You can look for those reviews to come out either on Monday or  Tuesday after an episode airs: I haven’t quite decided which day yet.

Will you all be checking it out? Let me know in the comments below. I’m so excited about this: I can’t wait to discuss this series with you all! Talk to you all tomorrow.

 

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Online Courses for Creating Art

Happy Thursday, beloveds! I am getting excited for the upcoming weekend – how about you? I hope your day is going well and I also hope that you have a lot to look forward to in the days ahead.

I know that I write a lot about the arts, because art is one of my passions. However, I tend to write from the perspective of the art appreciator/collector. As a result, I think that I may have neglected some of the aspiring artists that might be reading this blog and wanting more information about honing their craft.

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Well, that comes to an end today! This post is all about free online courses for aspiring artists. Yes, the art instruction that you may need to close the knowledge gap for certain techniques and skills can be found online, for free. This is especially useful if you are trying to keep educational costs low while you practice your art.

The first link I’m sharing is Artyfactory, where aspiring artists can learn techniques for working with different media (pencil, charcoal, acrylic and more) as well as how to create different types of art (portraits, still drawing, animals, etc.,). The website looks very minimal, but since the courses are free, I’m sure the owners of the site would appreciate visitors clicking on the ads and supporting in any way that you can.

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The next site, Art Prof, was first highlighted in this article on Artsy (one of my favorite sites!). I really like the format of Art Prof, and the courses are especially useful for artists that are trying to master more advanced techniques (like oil painting, working with balsa wood, stop motion animation, and more). Art Prof has a Patreon page so it’s easy to donate and keep this website free for all users.

I hope you all find these resources useful! Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

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Art As Taught by the Smithsonian

I came across a fabulous Smithsonian Institute program that some of my fellow art lovers may want to check out.

“You love art. Now become the expert you’ve always wanted to be. Register in Smithsonian Associates Certificate Program in World Art History

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Well, with that lead in, who wouldn’t want to learn more about this program? This certificate program has 10 courses (four core courses and six electives) offered by the Smithsonian and you can take them at your leisure. You can start at any time and choose the courses that interest you as time goes along.

Even if you aren’t interested in completing the program, the opportunity to get instruction from the premiere staff employed by the Smithsonian is too good to pass up. Also, the chance to connect with fellow art enthusiasts who have decided to take their interests to the next level by enrolling in courses.

However, if you do enroll in the program, you get access to a “private Facebook group where you can interact with fellow students and pose questions to lecturers”. You will also get exclusive invitations to events at the institution. I’m considering enrolling in 2019, if inspiration leads me to it.

Have any of you had a chance to take some art courses, either online or in person? I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below. Take care!

art · Uncategorized

The New Resources Page is Live!

Untitled design - Edited (2)I’ve been promising you all some changes over here. I haven’t had nearly as much free time as I’d expected during the past several weeks, but I finally can check off one of the things I’ve had on my list for a while.

I have a brand new art resources page available, and you can find the links to over 40 free online art courses! I always mention the courses that I find all over the internet, so I was excited to compile this list for you all. I’ll continue adding courses to the list as I come across additional sources.

There are a LOT more changes ahead, so stick around and I promise to come up with some good stuff for you all. Thanks again for the support! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Enjoy your Friday!

art · international

Review: The Horse in Ancient Greek Art Exhibit at Virginia Museum of Fine Art

This summer, I spent several days at different museums taking in the exhibits. While I wrote about most of the exhibits that I enjoyed, I had a couple of exhibits that I haven’t yet discussed here. I opted to wait on this one because I thought I’d have a chance to check it out again before I left. Alas, time got away from me and I didn’t return before the last day of the exhibit. However, I have a sufficient amount of photos, and I’m familiar enough with the subject matter to do a decent post. So, let’s discuss horses in Ancient Greece, shall we?

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Way back when I first started studying art, I took an art history course and I fell in love with Greek art. Something about the draped garments of the kore and caryatids seemed ethereal to me. I was officially in love when I first saw the Nike of Samothrace – Winged Victory – statue. Headless and armless, she still seemed so dynamic and magical and that was the kind of thing I regularly saw when I looked at Greek art. Power, motion, and magic, all bundled into singular pieces of art.

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Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace, The Louvre Paris

This exhibit, The Horse in Ancient Greek Art, was shown at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. The exhibit highlighted the horse’s significance in the social hierarchy and cultural landscape of Ancient Greece. Horses were valued possessions, and were a luxury not afforded to the average man. The cost of horse maintenance meant that only the wealthiest and most powerful people in Ancient Greece could afford to own and care for these beauties.

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The exhibit featured a lot of vases and urns, which were decorated with paintings of horses. Horses were featured prominently on coins and monumental plaques, as well. It was interesting to see how the depictions of horses changed over different historical and artistic periods.

Being a wine lover, I can appreciate any of the vessels used to hold the nectar of the gods. Naturally, I was entranced by the choes and oinochoes. The Greeks loved combining beautiful presentation with practicality just as much as we do today.

So I learned more about Greek art, the significance of horses, and the many kinds of vases in Ancient Greece. It was a great experience, and my only regret is that I didn’t visit it at least twice before it left. I seem to do this with almost every visiting exhibit – will I ever learn? Anyways, that’s all for today. I hope you all enjoy your Saturday. Talk to you tomorrow!

 

art · life curation

The Dark Side of the Art World

As an art fanatic and insatiable autodidact, I stay on the lookout for interesting resources for learning more about the art world. My current favorite e-learning website, Future Learn, has yet another great course related to art. This time, the course dives into the dark side of the art world. Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime “delve[s] into the seedy underbelly of the art world, looking at smuggling, theft, fakes, and fraud […]”.

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I don’t know about you, but this course sounds like it will be great for indulging my inner spy! So yes, I’ll be doing this course. Depending on how quickly I go through the materials, I may explore another Future Learn course before the end of summer. For now, though, I’m going to concentrate on this course.

Thinking about art crime, I remember watching a cute Audrey Hepburn movie years ago, about an art forger that was on the brink of getting caught. I can’t remember all of the details of the movie, but I may watch it again to refresh my memory. The movie is How to Steal a Million, and it’s starring Audrey Hepburn (as mentioned previously) and Peter O’Toole. From what I recall, it was a light and cute comedy, so you may want to check it out.

Anyhoo, that’s it for today. I’ve got some running around to do today but I’ll be back tomorrow. Ciao!