Works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Marc Chagall are now available on Amazon.com along with Cheerios, printers, refrigerators and cat toys. The site launched its fine art gallery today. The original and limited edition artwork for purchase directly from galleries and dealers. Prices currently range from $200 to $45,000. What will it mean? We’ll have to watch and see. While many are by now accustomed to buying art online, it remains a different animal, and the seller has often been as important as the work. Many questions remain… will art buyers gravitate to Amazon, or will the site reach mostly new audiences? Will there be recorded sales records created by Amazon? Stay tuned.
Albany, Texas is about as far away from Tokyo as you can get, but Kana Harada has brought her cherry blossoms to the Old Jail Art Center. For a fleeting period of spring time, the 19th century jail is infused with meditative zen.
Kana moved from Tokyo with her husband, an expatriate from Texas Instruments, to Dallas a decade ago. Starting from 2008, she began to explore three dimensional works with found objects and foam sheet-based installation.
Those foam sheets are nothing unusual. They can be bought at crafts stores like Michael’s. Leather light and soft, the pliant sheets enable the artist to cut, bend or glue shapes into an ensemble of nature wonders. The foam sheets are often dyed or painted, with limited range of pastel colors. One could almost smell that modern Japanese aesthetics — clean, light, animated, while, at the same time, possibly glean the traditional Japanese style underneath – two dimensional imageries with flattened shapes. In particular, the flowers, when observed in close proximity, look rather cartoonish. Their strict geometry speaks of a synthetic nature delineated through cut patterns. Georgia O’Keefe would have disagreed with the lack of subtle transitions in hues and values; but Murakami could see in them the essential liveliness of manga and anime.
What saves the installation from being merely crafts is the oriental succinctness that Kana instills into the works. She exudes fluidity in orchestrating found objects with crafted ones into an organic presentation. Such presentations, like traditional oriental art, carry the efficiency in abstracting the nature into morsels of ordinary elements. As the result, the nature, instead of telling, invites contemplation.
When I walked upstairs and bounced into the blossomed twigs, it triggered the same kind of excitement as seeing solitary flowers of winter jasmine in an early spring excursion (from my childhood in China). Twigs and stem are bare, as are the cases in the installation. Light came through the fenced window and shone on rough-hewed walls. The delicate flowers, like a Calder’s mobile, swung slowly, with a mesmerizing rhythm. Time seemed to have suspended for that momentary quietude.
Whether it is in Japan or Texas, not long do blossoms last – Cherry flowers peak only for a week while Texas’ spring will be gone before one notices it. Thus, in an eerie setting where time would have been irrelevant to the original occupants, the installation could not be more pertinent in expressing the ephemeral nature of life.
Kana Harada’s Anything You Want exhibition will be shown at the Old Jail Art Center in Albany TX until May 19, 2013.
A controversial exhibition of modern American art, assembled to show the world America’s artistic coming of age, was instead deemed un-American by members of the U.S. Congress and President Harry S. Truman. Reassembled by the Jule Collins Smith Museum at Auburn University, the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma as Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy, the exhibit draws from the permanent collections of 10 museums, private collectors and other public institutions. “We are afforded an incredible opportunity to collaborate with other U.S. museums and organizations to reunite this powerful exhibition of American works,” said Ghislain d’Humières, the Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. “Visitors will recognize works from the Fred Jones’ State Department Collection, as well as many other significant paintings from other collections that have made this important exhibition possible.” Represented are works by artists from Romare Bearden to Ben Shahn, Stuart Davis, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Loren MacIver, Jacob Lawrence, Marsden Hartley and Arthur Dove. Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art served as the premiere venue for the traveling exhibition Sept. 8, 2012, through Jan. 5, 2013. After its display at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art through June 9, the exhibition will travel to the Indiana University Art Museum, in Bloomington, Ind. Sept. 13–Dec. 15, 2013, and the Georgia Museum of Art, in Athens, Ga. Jan. 25–April 30, 2014.
Anton Refregier (U.S., b. Russia, 1905-1979)
End of the Conference, 1945
Oil on canvas, 32 x 15 ½ in.
Purchase, U.S. State Department Collection, 1948
Diamonds.net reports U.S. Antique Shows has completed the purchase of the Miami National Antiques Show & Sale from Dolphin Promotions. U.S. Antiques Shows produces antique jewelry and watch shows in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas and Miami. This year the show was held one week prior to the company’s own Original Miami Beach Antique Show. The company says many dealers exhibit at both shows.
Director of Business Development Andrea Canady told reporters that producing both shows will allow us to develop more distinct and comprehensive selling opportunities for dealers, while broadening the reach for each of these two well-established events.
A thief has likely hit a plexiglass case and made off with valuable objects a second time, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. According to an article posted today, police believe the person who stole a gold box with ornamentation depicting early California scenes this week is likely the same one who made off with some gold nuggets in November. City officials say the box is worth some $800,000 and have posted a $12,000 reward. The stolen box measures 7 by 9 inches and weighs about 3 pounds. It’s been in the museum’s collections since the 1960s.
Photo: Oakland Museum of California, 2011. Photo by Greg Habiby.
A rare writing desk and examples of early Texas pottery are included in a recent donation of early Texas decorative art items to the Bayou Bend Collection in Houston. That’s according to the Houston Chronicle, Maine Antiques Digest and other sources. The gifts were donated by Houston-born sixth generation Texan William J. Hill.
Created by Austin cabinetmaker Adolph Kempen, the Houston Chronicle called the circa-1975 desk the most significant portion of the donation. It is one of only few such desks documented by Kempen, who migrated to that city from Germany via Galveston a few years before crafting the desk. It appeared on Antiques Roadshow on July 2, 2012 where it was appraised at as much as $12,000.
Bayou Bend Curator Michael K. Brown told reporters the pottery gift dramatically expands the museum’s early Texas pottery collection.
The desk is featured about six minutes into the program. Click to watch.
Thomas Hart Benton’s best-known work has been donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. America Today was Benton’s first major mural commission and the most ambitious he ever executed in New York City. It shows a sweeping panorama of American life, celebrating the promise of modern industry and technology and the accomplishments of working people in the boom years of the 1920s and has been donated to the museum by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.
Benton created the ten-panel mural cycle in 1930–31 as a commission for the third-floor boardroom of the New School for Social Research in New York City. Although Benton received no fee for the commission, America Today established him as his era’s leading American muralist. Its success provided the impetus for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) mural programs of the Great Depression.
America Today was acquired by AXA Equitable (then Equitable Life) in 1984, after efforts on the part of then-Mayor Edward I. Koch and others to keep it intact and in New York City. Two years later, after extensive cleaning and restoration, America Today was unveiled to critical acclaim in AXA Equitable’s new headquarters at 787 Seventh Avenue. When the company moved its corporate headquarters again in 1996, to 1290 Avenue of the Americas, America Today was put on display in the lobby. There it remained until January 2012, when the company was asked to remove it to make way for a renovation.
If it all works out, the Dallas Museum of Art could soon have more members than any art museum in the U.S. According to the Dallas Morning News, the museum will begin offering free admission and free memberships in January. The move was announced at a press conference this morning by director Maxwell Anderson. It will be the first museum in the country to offer the combination. Admission is currently $10. The museum hopes the changes will broaden the demographic base of attendees and increase memberships from a current 21,000 to a half million or more.
In the future you may be prevented from reselling goods made outside the U.S. once you purchase them. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Supreme Court will soon hear a case that could have a severe impact on the antiques industry. Currently copyright law allows you to resell copyrighted items without getting permission from the copyright holder. That could change if the Supreme Court upholds lower court rulings in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. If that happens, consumers would need permission from copyright holders to resell items made outside U.S. borders. Everything from antiques to iphones could be impacted. The Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments later this month.