art · life curation

A Day at NGA

A couple of weeks ago, I had a free afternoon and I was feeling artsy (to be honest, I can’t think of a time when I’m NOT feeling artsy). So I took a stroll to National Gallery of Art (NGA) to check out the exhibits. It’s been nearly two years since my last visit, so I was overdue.

Tomorrow’s post will be “heavier”, as far as subject matter goes, so today, I’m taking it light and easy. Here are a few photos from my last visit to NGA. This post features a few of the sculptures that I saw at the museum. Enjoy!

Nymph and Satyr by Edward McCartan (1920)

This satyr is nothing but trouble! Look at how he’s looking at the nymph.

Play coy, little nymph! Maybe that naughty satyr will leave you alone.

Justice by Barthelemy Prieur (1610)

It’s hard to believe this lovely lady is over 400 years old! It was completed the year before Prieur’s death.

I had to do some research on this one: I’d never heard of “zephyr” before.

A Garden Allegory: The Dew and Zephyr Cultivating Flowers by Benoit Massou, Anselme Flamen and Nicolas Rebille (1683/1732)

This beautiful woman depict dew, the gentle moisture found on vegetation in the morning hours.

The charming little cherub next to Dew is Zephyr, the soft gentle breeze that can be felt on a pleasant spring day

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A Day at Freeman’s Auction, Part 2

After enjoying a fun first day at Freedman’s Auction, I was eager to return the next day for the actual auction.

I arrived just after bidding started and I went to Client Services to retrieve my paddle. The young woman that assisted me the day before recognized me and grabbed my paddle and a form for me to sign before I started bidding. Once the form was signed, I returned to the main room where the auction was being held.

Ooh, what fun I had! It was amazing to see how high some of the prices would go! I couldn’t help but think about how this collection – carefully assembled, with pieces loved and well worn – would soon be parceled out and sent to new homes, to become beloved pieces in different collections. There were so many people eager to make these lots part of their own personal collections; it’s just a testimony to the lasting good taste of Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton (the original owner of the pieces).

And my beautiful platinum bow brooch? I didn’t get it. I’m not disappointed: I’m sure that the right piece will come along at the right time. I’m also sure that someone will absolutely LOVE it when they get it and see that beauty in person (a bidder on the phone was the lucky winner). It’s a treasure that I’m positive will be going to a good home where it will be loved and cherished.

My time as Freeman’s was so much fun! I’m already planning to attend again, but next time, my budget will be much bigger, and I will have a winning bid!

That’s all for my experience with Freeman’s Auction. I hope you all enjoyed, and have a Happy Wednesday! Talk to you all tomorrow!

art · culture

Current Issues and Hot Topics in Art

Obligatory art photo: Mary Ellison Embroidering by Mary Cassatt (1877), at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

This will be a super-quick post: I’m going to be busy this weekend, with spending time at the embassies and enjoying Mother’s Day with my loved ones. I’m going to compile a few of my favorite posts about current issues and hot topics in the arts that you can peruse at your leisure. Enjoy your weekend!

DC’s Plan to Promote Arts and Culture: What It’s About, and How Local Artists Feel About It

All About Fort Street Studio’s Latest Collection

The Newly Re-Named Massey Klein Gallery (Ryan Massey is an alum of Old Dominion University, my alma mater. Go Monarchs!)

ArtLeadHer’s Latest Exhibition, Senses and Perception

I hope you all take some time to read up on some of the latest happenings in the art world, as well as visit a museum or support some other cultural institution this weekend. Have a great Saturday!

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My Earliest Art Memories

Happy Humpday! It’s the middle of the week, and I figure we could all use some light and breezy conversation. So I’m sharing my story – as best I can remember it – of my earliest art memories.

So, once upon a time, information wasn’t abundant and instantly at our fingertips. Way back before the Internet, there was the Encyclopedia. These massive tomes covered a ton of topics and every household that could afford them had a set. We had three sets, because as the information became outdated (these were print materials, after all), we had to occasionally replace them. One set that we had – the largest version – had spectacular photos. In this collection, I first became introduced to the fine arts.

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Ah, memories

Now, I was surrounded by art all of the time. My mom had a creative streak and my brother and I both sketched. But it wasn’t until I saw a painting in the encyclopedia that I knew that there was something very special about art. It impressed me so much that I remembered the name of the artist and the painting, more than 20 years after I first laid eyes on it.

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Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres took up nearly a whole page of the encyclopedia volume that I was perusing as a child. The countess appears to be looking directly at you, sizing you up but not in a disapproving way. She seems to be peering at you to figure out if she can share a confidence or two with you, or if she should refrain from chatting too much. She seemed so real, though I knew she was a painting of someone that died long before anyone that I knew had even been born.

Her strikingly elegant and self-possessed expression stuck with me all of these years. I guess you could say that this was the first time that art impacted me in a conscious way (though it was my encounter with a Gerome painting that first stirred any sort of strong emotion in me). It’s funny: after all this time, I’m still wondering if the Comtesse approves of me. Art has a peculiar way of making you think for years after the first encounter. Great art is memorable in the way that most of us strive to be in our daily lives.

That’s it for now. I hope you all enjoyed this post, and I hope that this Wednesday is fun and energizing for you all. Take care!

 

art · life curation

What’s Inspiring Me This Month

Happy Sunday friends! I was just reflecting on what I’ve been enjoying so far this month. As you all know, I’m participating in the Joy Challenge, so I’ve relished any opportunity to enjoy myself.

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I am constantly inspired by the things going on around me, and ht epeople that I interact with daily. However, there are a few things that have been especially inspiring to me this month, and I want to share those things with you all. They are as follows:

Mashonda Tifrere’s Instagram:

Perfect, poised and beautiful

Mashonda is a stunningly beautiful recording artist that is now a curator and art champion. Her organization, ArtLeadHer, focuses on supporting female artists, curators and collectors, giving them a platform and visibility in the male-dominated art environment. Mashonda recently curated a show in honor of International Women’s Day, and I’m positive that we will continue to see more incredible things from her in the near future.

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Jeannette Maw’s “What’s On Your Wall?” podcast episode:

You already know I’m a Jeannette fan, as I’ve written about her before on this blog. However, I found myself going back to this podcast several times since it was released in February. Listening to it impressed upon me the importance of visually surrounding yourself with that which inspires you. Make sure that what adores your walls brings you delight: whatever you observe, you create. As a side note, I think it’s important to mention that I posted affirmations along my wall in my old job, a while before I got my current dream position. I suspect that those visual reminders were powerful in helping me to create my current situation. I actually could stand to restart this practice: there are some more things I’m longing to create, and using my wall décor to help me get what I want is easy and fun.

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National Gallery of Art’s (NGA) Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) recordings:

I attended my first FAPE event in 2015, and I enjoyed it tremendously. This year, I couldn’t get to the museum, but I watched the event via live stream on NGA’s website. I have since listened to several of the archived FAOE discussions on NGA’s website. If you’d like to stay abreast of the cross-cultural discussions surrounding art, diplomacy and culture, this series is a must.

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Institute for Contemporary Arts Opening Next Week!

I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it! (Pointer Sisters reference, for those that are unfamiliar) I’ve been waiting for this since I first heard about it last year. And now we’re less than 10 days away from the grand event!

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Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is opening the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) in Richmond, VA. The ICA will feature different contemporary arts exhibits and act as an “experimental” space for art discussions and initiatives. This is one of the most exciting institutions to come to Richmond in quite some time, and I’ll be there on Saturday, April 21, 2018, when the ICA hosts its grand opening festivities!

That’s all for today. Have a great Friday, and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow!

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Smithsonian Highlights – April

Hey friends! As you all know, it’s hard for me to stay out of the Smithsonian’s museums, because 1) I work right by several of them and 2) I’m addicted to art exhibits. I figured I would create a list of some of the Smithsonian’s highlights for the month of April. If you’re planning a trip to DC, or you are already in the area, here’s some of the must see/must do activities hosted by the Smithsonian Institute. 

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DIANE ARBUS: A BOX OF TEN PHOTOGRAPHS exhibit opens on April 6 at Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). Arbus is credited as being the artist that elevated photography into a “serious” art discipline. Her photos bridged reality and artistry, and SAAM has a exhibit for us to enjoy for the remainder of 2018.

Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image : I talked about this exhibit in this post. It will be leaving National Portrait Gallery (NPG) on April 15, 2018. You won’t want to miss this stunning and stirring photos of Dietrich. For those that don’t know, NPG is housed in the same building as SAAM, so from April 6 to April 15, you can check out A Box of Ten Photographs then swing by Dressed for the Image without missing a beat.

GALLERY EXPERIENCE: SLOW ART DAY April 14, 2018, 10:30 AM5:00 PM at the Hirshhorn Museum (and at pretty much every museum nationwide) If you can, stop by any art museum on April 14th to participate in Slow Art Day where, instead of rushing through the exhibits trying to absorb a little of everything, you can take your time and enjoy the art for the perspective-broadening experience that it is.

If this quick summary of the Smithsonian’s juiciest exhibits has been helpful, then I’ll be sure to make it a regular feature. Hope you enjoy!
art · luxury

Art Collectors Conundrum: Unpredictability

In the Art Collectors Conundrum series, we continue to explore some of the topics of interest for inexperienced art collectors/appreciators or aspiring art world professionals. Instead of simply noting the issue at hand, we ponder some ways to mitigate some of the invisible barriers of the art world.

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(all photos by James Van Der Zee)

One of the biggest stumbling blocks on the road to art connoisseurship is unpredictability within the art market. Many would-be collectors are unnerved at the thought of investing significant amounts of money into art, only for that art to potentially never appreciate in value.

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Here’s the problem with that logic: it assumes that art is purely an investment, when, in fact, art, is a tangible item that can be enjoyed now while also possibly growing in monetary value in the future. Let’s face it: we choose to invest in different things all of the time. We invest in our homes, our cars, our personal appearance, our careers, and our families. Many of these things are depreciable assets (cars will lose value, we won’t look 22 forever). However, art is one of the few investments that can be potentially monetized at a future date, though you can enjoy it right now, while you own it.

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The key to weathering the unpredictability of the art resale market? Only purchase art that you completely enjoy NOW. As a new collector, there’s no need to speculate about how much the art will be worth in the future if you’re enjoying the art right now, as it hangs on your wall or stands in your living space (in the case of sculptures).

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There’s no concern over how a piece will appreciate if you’re “appreciating” the piece right now, as it holds space in your collection. Focus on purchasing the art that moves you, the art that lights you up or makes you stop and think. Only buy the art that invokes feelings in you. Then, no matter what the art is worth today or tomorrow, you will have enjoyed it and you will have gotten immeasurable value from it right NOW.

(all photos courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts digital exhibit, The Black Photographer’s Annual, Volume 1)

 

art · life curation

Edmonia Lewis’s Work at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through another week – hurrah!

Earlier this week – before the Mid-Atlantic region got hit with another round of snow – I stopped by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). Visits to the museum are good for my soul, and, since most schools are still in session, I don’t have to navigate around a lot of tourists. I can usually get to the museum, tour to my heart’s content, and return to my desk in under an hour. Sometimes I really love working in DC!

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Anyways, I recently went to SAAM for a very specific reason. I had researched Edmonia Lewis’s existing artwork and confirmed that one of her most famous pieces, The Death of Cleopatra, was located at SAAM. After learning that it was currently on view, I knew that I had to go and see it for myself.

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Photo of Edmonia Lewis (as shown on SAAM’s website)

I talked about Lewis when I wrote about my current favorite app. In that same post, I referenced an Art History Babes podcast episode that discussed Lewis’s life. I saw a few of her works on Google Arts & Culture but viewing art in person is so much more enjoyable. The surprise for me was that several of Lewis’s pieces were on view, so I took lots of pictures during this visit.

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Here is The Death of Cleopatra. This depicts Cleopatra seated on her throne, life slowly slipping away after being bitten by a poisonous snake. She’s dignified even in death, wearing her crown and full regal attire.

 

She’s substantial and powerful, and has chosen to die on the throne that she worked so hard to preserve. It’s a moving piece and a fine example of Lewis’s marble sculpting prowess.

 

A close up of the throne detailing and Cleopatra’s lifeless hand.

Lewis also sculpted Moses, a replica of the statue of Moses rendered by Michaelangelo (the original is at St. Peter’s in Rome). The original is much larger than Lewis’s version, but the resemblance is uncanny. Lewis skillfully imitated the works of great masters.

 

I wish I could have gotten some better photos, but it’s in a case so the reflection off the glass makes it hard to capture the detailing.

This whimsical statue is Poor Cupid, depicting the god of love caught in a trap. Cupid’s “aww shucks” expression made me chuckle.

 

 

As always, I enjoyed my trip to SAAM. There are a few other pieces by Edmonia Lewis on display: I may do a follow-up post about those works. In any case, I hope you enjoyed this post! This weekend, see if you can spend a little time at your local museum. You’ll be glad that you did. Until tomorrow . . .

art · international

More Kenyan Artists to Check Out

As an aspiring art professional, I always have an eye out for unique art wherever I go. I am a sucker for the classics, but I get a thrill out of finding contemporary artists that appeal to my personal tastes.

While in Kenya, I visited the Nairobi National Museum but I couldn’t take pictures in the photo gallery, as those pieces were for sale. However, I found myself “oohing” and “aahing” too much to just look at the paintings and walk away. So I jotted down the names of the artists and decided to look them up when I got home. I’m glad that I did, because now I can share these talented creators with you all!

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A photo from The Next Gen Exhibition featuring Kenyan artists (photo from Artleeyo)

As it turns out, the many of the pieces featured in the Nairobi National Museum were done by local graffiti artists. The main three artists featured in the gallery – Kaymist4, Thufu B, and Msale – have formed a street art group named the Bomb Squad Crew. Their art is featured on the website BSQArt.com.

Work by Kaymist4

I had problems viewing the pages of the website, but I’m not sure if that is because the website has portion under construction or because I’m located outside of Kenya. In any case, you may have more success in navigating the website. I’m still researching the best way to purchase some of their pieces.

Work by Msale

 

Two more artists that were featured were Ssali Yusuf  (who is actually Ugandan, not Kenyan) and Remy Musindi.  Both artists skillfully use color, though Musindi’s color choices tend to be more subdued, while Yusuf’s are more saturated and crisp.

Piece by Remy Musindi

The trend I noticed in the artwork that I saw was vivid rendering of the female form. A focus on portraying the beautiful faces of African women is a common theme in Kenyan art. As an art lover that prefers portraiture over landscape and abstract paintings, I can appreciate the theme.

If you are interested in buying art online, I highly recommend that you use a reputable third party to handle the transaction, even if the purchase is relatively inexpensive. Galleries like ArtspaceSaatchi Art and UGallery specialize in connecting artists with collectors, and they can work out details like shipping and proper framing. You can find more more online galleries through this link.