Every year about this time, I assign a sketchbook assignment called March Madness, which is a drawing of people playing basketball. Not the hoop or a ball, or an aerial view of a basketball court.
But that is pretty much what I get. So frustrating. Basketball isn’t a successful theme for art.
As per this art exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, I can only surmise that the curator thought – give the city what it loves, and for Syracuse, that is basketball. Art as secondary to the sport. Basketball players posing as contemporary artists.
Shoelaces as art. Basketballs as art. Sneakers as art. Trading cards as art.
And a room of basketball hoops and balls to actually play the game.
I wish I could be positive and open minded about this. Like in the vortex happy. But I was all – this is dumb.
Hoop Dreams: Basketball and Contemporary Art continues through May 21, 2023. Not sure if it is open today because of the blizzard, but you can make your own judgment during regular museum hours listed below.
Jim Ridlon has donated these amazing prints to the Everson Museum of Art. They are located in the museum gift shoppe – for sale – and they are priced between $30 and $50. They are embossed. I’m not sure if this is true but the young man at the sales desk said he’d created them when he was a student and since he is not known for etchings or prints he decided to price them low.
I mean, they are a steal, really. They are created on a thick archival paper, probably Arches, not sure. You’d have to get them framed, but wow!
I’ve been reminiscing about Dawn Dolls. They were manufactured for only three years in the early ’70s by Topper. Dawn, Angie, Gary, and company. they were only six-and-a-half inches tall, so they were incompatible with Barbies because they were so small. But they were so pretty with silky long hair and “real” eyelashes, and of course, with very awesome 1970s fashions. I loved them and I love them still.
I’ve been stalking them on the Internet – Ebay, Etsy and Mercari mainly. I don’t really want to buy them, do I? I want to be the Dawn doll. Haven’t I always? So funny that my hair resembles hers now. All I need is an Alice & Olivia dress and I am good to go.
What struck me as I viewed Sharif Bey’s art exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art is that he too seems to be enamored with doll collections albeit his are quite large scale especially the necklaces!
This show is housed in two of the four upstairs galleries and spans the artist’s thirty-year career. I mean, he’s only forty-eight, which indicates that some of the pieces in this collection of works were created when he was only eighteen. It is a lot of work – from functional ceramics to these large figurative pieces and finally the accessory wall. It is incredibly impressive for sure.
These necklaces in particular are really something. In the accompanying pamphlet prepared for a Junteenth visitation, it is revealed that he used toilet paper over glaze in the kiln to manifest the charred pattern on the “beadwork”. It is genius.
The scale speaks volumes about who this man is as an artist and as a human. It is a combo of continued visual exploration and ethnic pride coupled with a desire to both learn and teach.
Bey is a professor at Syracuse University in the Art Education department. The brochure professes to take children on a journey to discover themselves as he serves to explore ideas to carry him on his own path.
The exhibition is titled “Facets”. It works so well here because the Everson has always been first and foremost a ceramics museum. Knowing that these massive pieces are also fragile lends itself well to that idea that we are all fragile beings in a way, always seeking that strength of character in our true identities while harboring thoughts of doubt, worry and stupid fears that can easily break our spirits.
I wonder if that thought crossed his mind? No matter what doll one identifies with – big or small, black or white, etc., etc., we are all that creative spirit looking for a way to connect and feel that blessed feeling of validation as we develop our crafts/psyches in order to continue the ascent through life.
The Everson Museum of Art is located at 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information or find them at www.everson.org.
Sharif Bey: Facets continues through August 14, 2022.
The Andy Warhol Museum is located at 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Jessica Beck, the museum’s Milton Fine curator of art, has organized an amazing exhibition pairing Warhol and Marisol Escobar (1930-2016). The show is titled Marisol and Warhol Take New York.
It is a trip down memory lane, a story of two artists navigating the Pop Art world of NYC circa the 1960s. Marisol’s sculptures are an exquisite marriage between geometric wood blocks and proficient rendering skill. These three-dimensional portraits depict social values and popular culture tomes with whimsy and bold panache. I just love her work.
My friend Joyce and her family took a trip there last weekend. On Saturday, October 23, 2021, Jessica Beck will lead a tour of the show, complete with art making and sketching activities from noon to 4:00 pm.
The exhibition continues through February 14, 2022. In April, it will travel to the Perez Art Museum, Miami FL. Contact the museum for more info – (412) 237-8300.
The four upstairs galleries at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) are filled with treasures, some of which I have seen many times over the decades – but not like this. Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO, has a way of pairing paintings and ceramics with a keen eye that makes everything come alive and feel fresh again.
It is this new perspective that breathes love into the exhibition, A Legacy of Firsts: The Everson Collects. It showcases the museums over one hundred year history, presenting the cohesion via an American thread. The exhibition honors the museum’s legacy and in turn reveres the decisions made by previous curators and directors. I love this credence to respect. It feels welcoming. It feels like family. It feels like home. As she says in her message in the winter 2020 Everson Bulletin, [the museum is] “For artists. For community. For everyone.”
This is an historical trek that begins at the top of the spiral staircase with pieces purchased around 1911 when the museum was known as the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts – impressionistic landscapes, portraits and still-lifes displayed in ornate golden frames coupled with the ceramic pieces of the day. Adelaide Alsop Robineau was a local potter who corresponded with and met the museum’s director at that time, Fernando Carter, as she frequented the facility back then – her intricately carved vessels were the first pieces purchased for what became a premier ceramics collection.
There are over 11,000 items in the Everson’s collection! As the show progresses into the second chamber, you are jolted by bold colors. This room is filled with large-scale abstractions and colorful pottery to mix and match. Lee Krasner’s painting is displayed above her husband’s, an early Jackson Pollack. I love the similarity in their styles.
There is a display of transmedia here as well, but the videos don’t translate well in a photograph.
The next gallery is familiar in that the museum purchased pieces from exhibitions from their recent past. This (below) is a piece by Vanessa German.
The fourth gallery space is heaviest on the ceramic collection. It is such a bold move to see these pieces sans glass or other protective shielding, but that is what makes them so compelling. Textural items created to be touched that one must not touch within reach – when I visited the museum as a child, all the ceramics were under glass in the do not touch space, as though they came to the museum to die, lol. Now they are sooooo alive!
This show is visual candy. I love the angles of the presentations, the way pieces connect, that flow, rhythm and the sheer beauty of the artwork. It’s a wonderful journey through yesteryear and beyond. <3
A Legacy of Firsts: The Everson Collects continues through March 22, 2020.
The Everson Museum of Art is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Hours of operation: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday noon – 5 PM, Thursdays noon – 8 PM and Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM. There is a sliding scale admission fee (free for members). Visit their web-site for the deets. www.everson.org
The Art Galleries at Syracuse University are designed to facilitate education. In other words, it’s a teaching museum. Professors require students to go to there – to critique the art/learn how to judge a work of art. Students journal about experiences for classes, attend the receptions and lectures, and even work there (which has to be the greatest work-study gig).
Last year, former Director Domenic Iocono mentioned it was the reason artists like Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Kiki Smith wanted to collaborate by sharing their work with our community, enhancing the walls of the spaces with their respective visions.
In this season’s first exhibition, Not a Metric Matters, the university galleries led by new Director and Chief Curator Vanja Malloy, Ph.D. hosts its own – the School of Visual & Performing Arts faculty. It is an opportunity to showcase their talent, yes, and also turn the tables on the critiquing process allowing the professors to show students how it’s really done.
Margie Hughto has been affiliated with the university for many, many years. When I spoke to her last month, she said teaching is still fun and so, she will continue to share her expertise with students for many years to come.
Her ceramic and found object work is exquisite. It is perfection in editing – selecting just the right found object pieces to coordinate with the ceramic pieces. The work alludes to the recent discarded and forgotten in terms of technology.
The thought provoking concepts aside, Hughto’s artwork screams of her strength of character. She finds beauty in every angle, in each piece fused as one. They are signatures of her style while continuing to surprise and delight us, continuing a growth trajectory as an artist and that in itself is the lesson.
Holly Greenberg has isolated grief in this productive series of drawings. These pieces resonated with me – as you know my father recently passed away and his belongings are still in the closets, his car in the driveway at Mom’s house. Using these ordinary objects as memento gives them a lovingly somber power and isolating them in their compositions drives the message home.
It is curious how objects can retain the emotion of the spirit and Greenberg’s proficiency in rendering provides the elevation of their status.
Ann Clarke‘s fiber artwork is marvelously original. Texture is my thing and seeing monumental work on the walls creates a bold statement about time. The fabrics are traditional, but the techniques are fresh and alive. The hooked rug eye is really incredible in-person. I love the idea of taking a method we all used in the past and formulating this new pattern, which seems to denote to me that someone is watching over me, loving me.
Clarke’s statement does imply that she is the watchful eye for her ailing mother and that is a beautiful thing. That the old becomes new again, and time is cyclical.
Other teaching artists in this show –
Yasser Aggour, Cooper Battersby, Emily Vey Duke, Don Carr, Deborah Dohne, Heath Hanlin, Seyeon Lee, Sarah McCoubrey, Su Hyun Nam, Vasilios Papajoannu, James Ransome, Tom Sherman and Chris Wildrick
Their work takes dimension as paintings, drawings, photo-collage, video and installation – and all have something important to say within the context of their visualizations.
There are more exhibits in the space, all curated by different people. DJ Hellerman is the curator of this show. He is the Art and Program Curator at the Everson Museum of Art and collaborates with SU’s Department of Transmedia. I met him while stumbling into a critique of university students’ final exhibitions at Apostrophe’s.
David Prince curated the display of former VPA faculty members. As you know, I am an SU grad (B.F.A. ’85, M.S. ’93). These professors are my people. I absolutely loved Rodger Mack. He was so devoted to building the sculpture department and his bronze sculptures are THE BEST!
Seeing his hands portrayed by Jerome Witkin brought a tear to my eye. There is so much love here, people. Going to Syracuse University was a dream come true for me – I feel incredibly blessed to have been the first person in my family to ever go to a university – and to see the professors being honored is such a gift. They deserve every accolade.
They were and are true working artists, not just people showing up to collect a paycheck.
There’s lots more to see of these exhibits and the vast permanent collections. It will all be on display until November 24, 2019. There will be an art reception on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 5 – 7 pm. And Holly Greenberg will be giving a presentation in the adjacent Shemin Auditorium on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm.
Syracuse University Art Galleries is located in the Shaffer Art Building on Syracuse University campus. Free parking is available on Sundays and on Thursday evenings in the Q lot – or at least it was when I was there yesterday. Call (315) 443-4097 for more information including hours of operation. <3
When I met Jason Alexander, I did that goofy Cinderella’s step-sister thing and asked him how he liked our Syracuse, New York weather.
He replied, “It sucks!” This was after a performance of the play he’d directed at Syracuse Stage. My friend and I looked at each other in an are-you-kidding-me glance because we both love it here, both love to hike whether in rain, snow, sleet or hail. And our weather had been particularly great in June.
So funny – and that is why I don’t have a selfie with the Seinfeld alum.
Today’s weather is sheer perfection – a magnificent sunny and breezy day to explore the offerings at City Market. Sponsored by the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202), the market is housed on the museum grounds around the fountains.
It takes place on the second Sunday of the month from 10 am – 4 pm. There are two dates left before the season ends – Sunday, September 8, 2019 and Sunday, October 13, 2019.
There is a lot to peruse – jewelry, trinkets, clothing, food, furniture and flea market-y miscellaneousness. And art, of course.
Tyler Cagwin created Nostalgia Chocolate. He manufactures the product here in Syracuse with international cocoa beans. The flavors are rich and satisfying! Gourmet chocolate with health benefits! (That’s a win-win).
I loved these ceramic pins and magnets created by Beckie Bortel of Beckie’s Pottery. They have a substantial feel to them and they look like ginger snap cookies. Great patina!
Terry Lynn Cameron is selling originals and prints of her colorful paintings. The prints are done on canvas, which is very cool. I am really impressed with how she markets her product! Some of the art has been adhered to sketchbooks and daily planners. Love!
Lori Lizzio‘s work can be found as originals, prints and notecards. They are ink and wash pieces of animals and figures.
Syracuse does have beautiful weather, Jason Alexander, and beautiful people – and art. It is satisfying and fun. Really fun. It doesn’t suck. <3
Eugene and Clare Thaw began collecting Native American art in 1987 when they lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They donated the collection to the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York where it currently resides in the downstairs gallery across from the Herb Ritts exhibition.
The life of Eugene V. Thaw is eloquently reviewed in an obituary written by Holland Carter for the New York Times, which I have included in this post. It documents a man’s life-long passion for the arts. His dedication to collecting, amassing more like, and also preserving and selling art is a gift to the world.
In this case, American Indian clothing, jewelry, pottery, and both decorative and functional objects depict the powerfully dignified beauty of a culture/civilization. Although the collection began in the Southwest, the Thaws expanded it to include every region of the US. The pieces are exquisitely displayed via region.
I am especially drawn to the costume, the leather hides, the intricate beadwork and the colors. Just fabulous!
Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Thaw, for your life’s work and vision – preserving American history through the beauty of its art. <3
He was born on Oct. 27, 1927, in Washington Heights in Manhattan. His father was a heating contractor, his mother a schoolteacher. They named him for the socialist leader Eugene Victor Debs, who had died the previous year.
As a young teenager, Mr. Thaw took drawing classes at the Art Students League on West 57th Street in Manhattan. But he did not pursue the hands-on practice of art.
“I can’t create the objects I crave to look at,” he later said, “so I collect them.”
After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx at 15, he entered St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., and began making day trips to art museums in nearby Washington.
Returning to New York in 1947, he took graduate classes in art history at Columbia University with Millard Meiss and Meyer Schapiro. He also followed the city’s contemporary-art scene, getting an early immersion in Pollock’s work at the Betty Parsons Gallery.
His closest institutional tie was to what is now the Morgan Libraryand Museum, which in the 1950s was one of the few New York museums to have a curator of drawings. In 1975, after the museum had expanded its acquisition parameters to include 19th-century work, the Thaws decided that the Morgan would be the recipient, in incremental allotments, of their ever-growing holdings. The Morgan exhibition “Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings From the Thaw Collection,” which opened in September and closes on Sunday, marked the completion of the gift, encompassing more than 400 sheets.
Among them were works by modern and contemporary artists in whom Mr. Thaw took particular interest. In the 1950s, on summer vacations in East Hampton, N.Y., Clare Thaw had struck up a friendship with the painter Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock’s widow. With Ms. Krasner’s cooperation, Mr. Thaw began preparing the multivolume Pollock catalogue raisonné, an annotated listing of all the artist’s known works, in the 1970s, hiring the art historian Francis V. O’Connor as co-author.
Discover the most outstanding items from the Thaw Collection American Indian Art. Objects of transcendent beauty that span the continent—from the Arctic to the Southwest, and from the Eastern Woodlands to the Pacific West–encompassing close to 2,000 years of artistic tradition and innovation in North America.
Herbert Ritts was a California boy. Growing up, he lived in Steve McQueen’s neighborhood in Brentwood, which, according to many biographies I have read recently, was an instrumental synergy that launched his comfort level with celebrity.
The quotes from his high profile portrait subjects include statements about how using daylight was his strength and that they felt at ease in front of his lens:
“Herb made me look how I wish I looked when I woke up in the morning.” – Cindy Crawford
“In his sweet disarming way he suggested that we work together again and I agreed to it. And that was the beginning of an incredibly long and fruitful working relationship, but it was also the beginning of a great friendship.” – Madonna
“Working with Herb was more like just hanging out with a friend. We’d joke, chatter and gossip and at the end of the day he would have captured the whole thing in the lens. He was a great guy.” – David Bowie
Herb Ritts – The Rock Portraits is on display at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York (5798 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY 13326). The photographs are on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio until September 2, 2019.
The show is a mirror of my youth. So many images that I have seen on album covers, in music videos, in fashion magazines – Herb Ritts is like an old friend. It is as if you know him. Knew him. You can envision him working because it is evident that it was not work. It was more like a relationship, the way he presented people at ease in the present moment, not thinking about what they must do later in the week or later that day, but being in the now. You can see this in the eye contact, in the way the light shines on their faces and in the crispness of the images.
Ritts captures the essence of his subjects. What I see in the photographs is the “authentic self”, the real person behind the fame. The Bob Dylan pictures are gritty, as though the man cannot hide a lifetime of struggling with inner demons. The Bruce Springsteen images reflect a certain shyness beneath the success. And the Madonna images are, to me, the most iconic, spanning the ’80s and ’90s and showing us a vulnerable, little Italian girl who grows in confidence and artistic resonance with every click. We get to witness that evolution, that living history, and that is a beautiful thing. <3
It is this contrast between the legend and the human spirit that gives credence to Ritts as artist rather than commercial photographer for hire, and is the reason why these photographs and videos belong in a museum. They are evidence of the art of living, the art of performing, the art of communicating a visual language of persona, and the art of documenting artistic merit as an art. It is all about authenticity.
The photographs are accessorized with costumes and musical instruments, also on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is Madonna’s. I could totally rock this – OMG, I know it would fit me. Unfortunately, it was on a mannequin and encased in lucite or else it would have been my #ootd.
I took these pictures yesterday, took a day trip to Cooperstown, which I highly recommend! You must go to there! The drive was spectacular – from Syracuse, New York, it is an hour by New York State Thruway then an additional forty minutes down Route 28. Cooperstown is truly a magical place. Home to so many attractions – the Glimmerglass Opera House, the Baseball Hall Of Fame, the legendary Cardiff Giant (on view at the Farmer’s Museum).
And the Fenimore Art Museum is on the lake. It is just incredibly gorgeous there – it was my first time and I felt like Cinderella arriving at the castle for the ball. Just spectacular!
They are open today 10 am – 5 pm. Call (607) 547-1400 for more information about this wonderful place. <3
Known for his elegant and minimalist work, and his mastery of photographing in natural light, photographer Herb Ritts (1952–2002) had a gift for turning stars into icons. Here, in the first curated collection of his photos of some of music’s most celebrated artists, visitors will see how he captured the likes of David Bowie, Tina Turner, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Prince, Cher, Madonna and many more—the world’s biggest music stars—and in the process, helped define their iconic status for generations of fans. See many of his best-known portraits alongside stage costumes and guitars from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
As a native of Los Angeles, Herb Ritts was uniquely attuned to the natural light of the California sun, and preferred to shoot outdoors. He took work seriously and was renowned for posing his subjects in classic, sculptural styles, with little or no pros. He also had a unique, understated way of making his subjects feel comfortable in front of his camera. They trusted him and it’s often that trust and human bond that you see reflected in his portraits. When he died of complications from AIDS at the age of 50, Ritts left behind an extraordinary body of work, that when we see as a whole, demonstrates his undeniable impact on contemporary culture.
The exhibition is sponsored in part by The Clark Foundation, Fenimore Asset Management, and NYCM Insurance.
Panel Discussion – Fenimore Rocks! Herb Ritts and the Image of Rock Music
Saturday, July 13 • 2:00–4:00 pm Join us as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame president, Greg Harris, moderates a lively talk and cocktail party focusing on Herb Ritts and the impact his photographs had on the image of rock music in the 80s and 90s. The event also features Laurie Kratochvil, former Director of Photography at Rolling Stone magazine, John Covach, Professor of Music Theory and Director of the Institute for Popular Music at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and Rory Ritts, Herb Ritts’ younger brother. After, join them for cocktails and a buffet on the terrace (cash bar, weather permitting).
The talk is free for museum members; otherwise, included with regular admission (Adults: $12, Seniors: $10.50). Seating in the auditorium is extremely limited and will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Overflow seating will be available with live viewing via a flat-screen monitor.
Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – I’m Not There
Saturday, July 27 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) Several actors portray legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. (2007, R) More info
Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – Burlesque
Saturday, August 10 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) A backstage musical film starring Cher and Christina Aguilera. (2010, PG-13) More info
Food For Thought – Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits (Lunch)
Wednesday, August 21 • 12:30 pm with Paul D’Ambrosio, President and CEO of Fenimore Art Museum, and Kevin Gray, Manager of Arts Education More info
Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – Madonna: Truth or Dare
Saturday, August 24 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) Documentary chronicling the life of Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour. (1991, R) Otsego County native John Draper, former Tour Manager of Madonna’s Blonde Ambition World Tour will be present for a live commentary on the film, giving a rare behind-the-scenes look of what it takes to manage a tour for one of music’s original megastars. More info
Live Music with Wurliday
Friday, August 30 • 7:00–9:00 pm (takes place across the street at The Farmers’ Museum) FREE ADMISSION! Hailing from Albany, NY, Wurliday brings together some of the most exciting, dynamic musicians in the live music scene for a lively injection of soul-funk goodness, direct to your ears. You’ll dance all night long! Free admission. More info
® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.
The five pieces that make up this whimsical installation by Abraham Ferraro of Albany, New York, are the reason children grow up to be artists. (What kid didn’t have a sticker collection in the ’80s – am I right, people?) Arrows wrapped in brightly colored postal tape direct viewers towards this behemoth labyrinth of recycled cardboard and stickers. You can’t take a bad picture – every angle is perfection. It is just so incredibly fun! There is this feeling of discovery, the idea of packages – think Willie Wonka meets Amazon Prime via the U.S. postal service.
Apparently, Ferraro mailed the boxes and arrow-shaped sculptures to the Schweinfurth then added more tape and arranged them to create the eye-popping playground-like display.
Tonight was the gallery’s First Friday event. In addition to viewing the artwork, browsing the gift shop and enjoying delicious snacks, there was a free re-purposed art project (creating a self-watering planter from a wine bottle) set up in the basement – led by my friend Davana Robedee, Program Coordinator.
The next First Friday will be August 2, 2019. Edgy Folk will perform.