Your Weekly Mixx! DAF’s Weekly Mixx is a selection of contemporary art and/or art related videos chosen from artist and gallery submissions and from our own search for new and interesting works. This week, we feature the work of Claudio Fuente, Coista Magarakis, Pastel, Hector Frank, Jaqueline Rush Lee, Aida Muluneh, Monique Orsini, Stéphane Halleux, and a video featuring the three-dimensional art objects of Chie Hitotsuyama whose works use the material of old newspapers that stopped serving their role as an information medium. She breathes artistic life and value into those newspapers and repurposes them into new shapes. (via Vimeo)
Born on October 28th, 1909, in Dublin, Ireland, Francis Bacon was one of the most innovative, powerful and disturbing artists of the period following World War II. At a time when art was dominated by abstract styles, he painted the human figure and was one of the first artists to depict overtly homosexual themes.
Bacon had very little formal education, partly due to chronic asthma that he suffered with his entire life. Leaving home in 1926, Bacon traveled to London and Berlin, and then Paris where he lived for a year and a half, and where his interest in painting began.
In 1929, Bacon returned to London and became an interior decorator and furniture designer, and experimented with drawing and watercolour painting. His furniture was primarilyin style using mainly stainless steel and glass. Despite some success, Bacon found it difficult to make a living from his design or his paintings. Although one of his earliest oil paintings, Crucifixion was reproduced in Herbert Read’s book Art Now, by 1934 Bacon was discouraged and did little painting in the late 1930s. He supported himself instead with odd jobs including operating an illegal casino. Very few of Bacon’s early paintings survived as he destroyed many of his early works that he thought to be unsatisfactory.
During World War II, Bacon was unfit for military service and turned to painting full time in 1943. In 1944, he completed his first major canvas, a triptych entitled “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion.” In this and the works that followed, “Bacon combined horrific imagery with traditional religious or literary sources, depicting crucifixions, screaming popes, and tortured bodies as he transcribed the brutality and isolation of those pushed to the limits of endurance. In doing so, he expanded the figurative tradition of Western painting.” (Hishorn)
From 1948 on, Bacon preferred painting on the reverse (unprimed) side of his canvas which suited his technique. He found the surface more absorbent and liked the matt effect of paint sinking into the weave of the canvas. He discovered this method by chance after he had run out of materials and was compelled to use the back of an already painted canvas.
From the mid-1940s to the 1950s, Bacon’s work was influenced by Surrealism. The human figure remained Bacon’s principal subject, however in the 1950s he made several paintings of animals and a small series of African landscapes and animals. These were partly inspired by two visits to South Africa and Cairo from 1950–52. From 1953 on, Bacon began to develop a less distorted style that was more directly based on images of contemporary life and sometimes on specific friends or acquaintances. Most of the works from this period until 1957 were painted on dark inky blue backgrounds with contrasts of thick and thin paint, with the flesh colours delicately smeared and smudged onto a stained background.
Bacon’s work in the late 1950s and early 1960s was partly influenced by his decision to paint a series of variations of van Gogh’s picture “Painter on the Road to Tarascon”. Initially the paintings were very dark in tone, but in 1957 he created six versions that are filled with light and colour.
Bacon’s first solo exhibition outside England was held in 1953 at Durlacher Brothers, New York. In 1954, his work was featured in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and his first retrospective was held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, in 1955. Bacon was given a solo show at the São Paulo Bienal in 1959. In 1962, the Tate Gallery, London, organized a Bacon retrospective, a modified version of which traveled to Mannheim, Turin, Zurich, and Amsterdam.
In 1964, Bacon began a relationship with 39-year-old Eastender George Dyer, a petty criminal with a prison record. Dyer was said to be insecure, an alcoholic, appearance-obsessed and never really fitting in Francis’ circle. The relationship was stormy and in 1971, on the eve of Bacon’s major retrospective at the Paris Grand Palais, Dyer was found dead from an overdose of barbiturates. In 1974, Bacon met John Edwards with whom he formed a lasting friendship.
Other important exhibitions of his work were held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1963 and the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971; paintings from 1968 to 1974 were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1975.
Bacon spent considerable periods of time in Paris during the 1970s, and his biography on his life and work was first published in 1975. From 1977-89, solo exhibitions and retrospectives of Bacon’s work were held around the world including Madrid, Barcelona, Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya, and Washington D.C. In 1985, the Tate Gallery, London again held a major retrospective with 125 works and the director’s statement that the artist was the ‘greatest living painter’. In 1988, a retrospective of 22 works was held in the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. It was the first show by a major Western artist to be mounted in the Soviet Union.
During the 1980s, Bacon’s simplified his pictorial language. His palette ranged between paintings with vibrant red/orange backgrounds and those with greys, creams and pale blues.
Francis Bacon died of a heart attack on April 28, 1992 while vacationing in Spain. He bequeathed his entire estate to John Edwards who in turn, donated the contents of Bacon’s studio to the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin. The studio contents were moved and the studio reconstructed in the gallery.
Roy Lichtenstein was one of the most influential and innovative artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He is primarily identified with Pop Art, a movement he helped originate, and his first fully achieved paintings were based on imagery lifted from comic strips and advertisements and rendered in a style mimicking the crude printing processes of newspaper reproduction. These paintings reinvigorated the American art scene and altered the history of modern art. Lichtenstein’s success was matched by his focus and energy, and after his initial triumph in the early 1960s, he went on to create an oeuvre of more than 5,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, murals and other objects celebrated for their wit and invention. (from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation) For in-depth information about Lichtenstein’s life and works, visit the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation website.
The nine-minute video below, Roy Lichtenstein: Diagram of an Artist, from the TATE brings together archival footage of Lichtenstein. at home and at work in his studio, as well as interviews with his wife Dorothy and friend Frederic Tuten, to create an intimate portrait of the artist.
Image credit: Roy Lichtenstein, Left: In the Car – 1963 | Middle: Woman with Flowered Hat, 1963 | Right: Nurse, 1964 All images © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain, Pablo Picasso (Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso) was a painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, decorative artist, and writer. “His revolutionary artistic accomplishments, including the co-founding of Cubism, brought him universal renown making him one of the best-known figures in 20th century art.”
The son of an academic painter, José Ruiz Blasco, Picasso began to draw at an early age. In 1895, the family moved to Barcelona where Picasso studied at La Lonja Academy of Fine Arts. Picasso’s first exhibition took place in Barcelona in 1900, and that fall he traveled to Paris for the first of several stays during the early years of the century. Picasso settled in Paris in April 1904, and his circle of friends included Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Gertrude and Leo Stein, as well as two dealers, Ambroise Vollard and Berthe Weill.
Picasso’s work is generally categorized into commonly accepted periods:
Blue Period (1901-1904) – Picasso worked in a predominantly blue palette and his imagery focused on outcasts, beggars and invalided prostitutes. He also produced his first sculptures: a modeled figure, Seated Woman, and two bronze facial masks
Rose Period (1905-1907) – Picasso’s work was dominated by pink and flesh tints and by delicate drawing. These works were less monochromatic than those of the Blue Period. Harlequins, circus performers and clowns appear frequently in his work in this period.
Primitivism (1906-1908) – Picasso’s works made reference to forms of archaic art and made expressive use of distortion with subdued greys and earth colours and rhythmical repetitions and contrasts. Picasso made his first carved sculptures. The resistance of wood produced simplified forms similar to his paintings.
Analytic Cubism (1909-1912) – Picasso produced works where objects were deconstructed into their components. His images were increasingly transparent and difficult to interpret and characterized by a growing discontinuity of figurative fragments. From 1909, Georges Braque and Picasso worked closely together to develop Cubism. By 1911, their styles were extremely similar and during this time, it was virtually impossible to distinguish one from the other.
Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919) – In 1912, Picasso and Braque began to incorporate elements of collage into their paintings and to experiment with the papier collé (pasted paper) technique. “Both collage and papier collé offered a new method not only of suggesting space but also of replacing conventional forms of representation with fragments of images that function as signs. During two further phases of his development of papier collé in 1913, Picasso discovered that shapes could acquire other meanings or identities simply by their arrangement, without requiring a resemblance to naturalistic appearances. A single shape might wittily and equally convincingly stand for the side of a guitar or a human head.”
Classicism and Surrealism – From 1916-1922, Picasso collaborated on ballet and theatrical productions. He designed five complete ballet productions while still maintaining his career as a painter. During the 1920s, and with the continuing influence of Cubism, Picasso created a personal form of neo-classicism where his work showed a renewed interest in drawing and figural representation. From 1925 and into the 1930s, Picasso was involved to a certain degree with the Surrealists, and from the fall of 1931 he was especially interested in making sculpture. In 1932, with large exhibitions at the Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, and the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the publication of the first volume of Christian Zervos’s catalogue raisonné, Picasso’s fame increased greatly.
“By 1936 the Spanish Civil War had profoundly affected Picasso, the expression of which culminated in his 1937 painting Guernica. After the invasion of France by the Germans in 1940, Picasso continued to live in his Paris studio. Although monitored by the German authorities, he was still able to work and even to cast some sculpture in bronze.”
In 1944, Picasso became associated with the Communist Party. From August 1947 he made ceramics at the Madoura potteries in Vallauris, partly motivated by political concerns. He also produced a considerable number of bronze sculptures in the early 1950s, including some of his best-known works in the medium.
“Picasso’s final works were a mixture of styles, his means of expression in constant flux until the end of his life. Devoting his full energies to his work, Picasso became more daring, his works more colorful and expressive, and from 1968 through 1971 he produced a torrent of paintings and hundreds of copperplate etchings. At the time these works were dismissed by most as pornographic fantasies of an impotent old man or the slapdash works of an artist who was past his prime. Only later, after Picasso’s death, when the rest of the art world had moved on from abstract expressionism, did the critical community come to see that Picasso had already discovered neo-expressionism and was, as so often before, ahead of his time.”
Pablo Picasso died on April 8, 1973 at the age of 91. He was extremely prolific throughout his career. He produced approximately 50,000 artworks including 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, 12,000 drawings, thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs.
For a more in-depth biography of Picasso, see the source links below and be sure to visit the On-line Picasso Project – a non-profit project that catalogues an amazingly large number of Picasso’s works and a timeline of the artist’s life. The website contains over 16,000 catalogued artworks, over 6,000 notes, and thousands of commentaries, biographical entries, and archived news articles. (note, a login is now required to access this site)
Lawren Stewart Harris (1885–1970), one of Canada’s most important and influential painters, was also the driving force behind the famous Group of Seven, and the founding member and first president of the Canadian Group of Painters. Through his life and work, he inspired three generations of artists to paint unbridled by convention, and along with his contemporaries, changed the art of a nation.
A Child of Privilege
Lawren Harris was born on October 23, 1885 in Brantford, Ontario, into a well-to-do and well-connected family. “The unusual name Lawren was the consequence of parental compromise: his mother wanted to call him Lawrence; his father preferred Lorne.” His grandfather had founded a farm machinery business which merged in 1891 with a rival company and become the giant manufacturer Massey-Harris Co. Ltd. His father, Thomas Morgan, worked as the secretary of the business and his mother Annie was a minister’s daughter. The family was Baptist and Lawren’s childhood was spent in an affluent and religious household.
When Lawren was just nine, his father died of kidney failure and the family moved to Toronto. Lawren attended St. Andrew’s College, a private boy’s school, Central Technical School and the University of Toronto. From his early years he had a penchant for art and during his teenage years, and on, he painted incessantly, searching for his own style and meaning in art. In 1904, he travelled to Berlin, Germany to further his art studies. Over the next four years he took advantage of his liberty to pursue whatever attracted him and he took up the violin, sketched on the banks of the Spree, and went hiking in the Alps.
A Wealthy Young Man and Ardent Artist
In 1908, Harris returned to Canada, a young man confronted and grappling with profound juxtapositions. He belonged to the wealthy establishment and yet railed against convention. He was raised as a Christian but had been introduced to theosophy in Germany. He saw his country as new and modern, and yet the art of the time was a traditional European-style. He was an artist dedicated to his craft, yet he did not have to struggle to survive as did many of his contemporaries. He was a rich man capable of collecting the best art on offer, but he strove to be an artist who could, through art, change the way his countrymen saw and depicted Canada.
For the next two few years, as always unrestricted by financial concerns, he sketched in the Laurentians, in Haliburton and in Lac-Memphrémagog, Québec, as well as drawing and painting that which he knew well, the houses in Toronto. His Ward paintings became known for their hopeful and colourful depiction of the downtown homes that were in fact quite gray and rundown, many without running water or sewage systems. The area was a stark contrast to Lawren’s own life of luxury. While “working” as an artist, he mingled as a social equal with bankers, industrialists and doctors, and met his future wife. Beatrice “Trixie” Phillips was a young socialite, the daughter of a millionaire, and the pair wed in 1910 and had three children—Lawren Jr., Margaret and Howard.
One of Lawren’s favourite places was the newly formed Arts and Letters Club, essentially an elite boys’ club for Toronto society. Many of Toronto arts establishments were conceived at the club and it was a magnet for writers and artists. One of those artists was Jim MacDonald, who launched an exhibit of oil sketches of the Canadian North which attracted Harris’s interest. He and MacDonald became fast friends and shared their mutual interest in the American transcendentalists (MacDonald had named his son Thoreau). MacDonald introduced Harris to his illustrator colleagues—Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael, Frank Johnston, Fred Varley and Tom Thomson—names now associated with the Group of Seven. They also included A. Y. Jackson, a Montreal-native and fellow artist, who they met at the club. In January 1913, Harris and MacDonald took a train to the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox) in Buffalo, to see an exhibition of contemporary Scandinavian art. That one exhibition would inspire them to create a new art for Canada, and influence their work for years to come.
The group met regularly and synthesized around the idea of a new art movement in and for Canada. In their midst was the man who had the means to support this bold and rebellious venture. The first step was providing a place for them to work and to live if necessary. In 1913, Harris hired the architect Eden Smith to build the Studio Building for Canadian Art. The building cost $60,000, and Harris along with his crony James MacCallum, a Toronto ophthalmologist and art collector, foot the bill.
“The work they (the group) produced was visceral, vivid and controversial.” They became known in the press as the Algonquin School (because of their paintings of the north). Critics were extraordinarily harsh at first saying that they lacked skill and that their paintings were like “a gargle or glob of porridge” and dubbed “The Hot Mush School.” by art critic H. F. Gadsby.
The First Great War
The First World War paused the work of the group. Some became war artists and others saw active duty overseas. Harris’s heart condition kept him in Canada at Camp Borden in Barrie where he taught musketry.
Already deeply saddened by the unexpected death of Tom Thomson in 1917, the death of Harris’s only sibling, Howard, a decorated veteran, in France at just 31 years old, impacted Harris profoundly. On May 1, 1918, Harris was discharged from the Army, suffering from depression, chronic sleeplessness and confusion. He found a way out through the spiritualism that he had first discovered in Germany. He joined the Toronto Theosophical Society, quit drinking and smoking, and gave lectures on theosophy and art.
A Driving Force for Canadian Art
Within a month of his discharge from the army, Harris with renewed inspiration, organized the first of the “kitted-out boxcar” trips to Algoma, Ontario. Though born a privileged city boy, he loved and felt at home in the wilds of Canada. This love of the untouched landscapes reignited his passion for a new art for Canada. He fiercely believed that art could shape Canada’s identity. And to that end, he bankrolled the first official Group of Seven exhibition in 1920 at the Art Gallery of Toronto.
The last Algoma trip was in 1921, when Harris and A.Y. Jackson travelled to Lake Superior’s North Shore. Harris’s large spiritual paintings of a barren landscape, burned years earlier, became his trademark. “By the early 1920s, Harris had developed into a magnificent landscape painter… he reduced the shapes of mountains, shoreline, trees, lakes and clouds, always parallel to the picture plane, to their essentials for an austere, monumental effect.” And he was not alone in the philosophy and direction of his art. Kandinsky and American Transcendentalist writers such as Emerson and Whitman were inspiring artists internationally. “Harris’s landscapes now grew increasingly non-representational. By the late ’20s, he’d turned away from the style that made him famous and advocated on behalf of abstract art.”
In 1926, Harris joined the newly formed Société Anonyme, an organization founded by Katherine Dreier, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp to promote avant-garde art. In their show, The International Exhibition of Modern Art, Harris’s work hung alongside that of Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe, and his was the only Canadian work included in the exhibition.
In 1930, in a letter to Emily Carr, a fellow painter, he wrote, “The true artist is outside of social recognition…. Society lives by rule, creed, what is and what isn’t done. The artist lives from within not without.” That same year Harris travelled and produced his famous paintings of the Arctic.
A Personal Scandal and Exodus
In 1934, after 24 years of marriage, Harris left Trixie to marry Bess Housser, a painter who had worked and exhibited with the group, and the wife of a school chum. The decision resulted in Harris never again residing in the place of his youth and great influence. To avoid the fallout of the scandal, the couple left Canada and moved to New Hampshire. Harris joined Dartmouth College as artist-in-residence.
In the spring of 1938 they moved again, this time to Sante Fe, New Mexico where Harris was part of the founding of the Transcendental Painting Group in 1939. In 1940, they returned to Canada, but four provinces away, to Vancouver, British Columbia. Harris visited Toronto in 1948 for a retrospective of his work at the Art Gallery of Toronto, the first ever for a living Canadian artist. Over the next three decades, his work in Vancouver continued to explore abstraction inspired by nature.
Lawren Harris died on January 29, 1970. His body is buried in a small cemetery alongside Bess, who died a few months earlier, and some of the other Group of Seven members, on the grounds of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.
A National Legacy
In 1948 and 1963 Harris was the subject of two retrospectives. After his death, the Art Gallery of Ontario produced the exhibition Urban Scenes and Wilderness Landscapes, 1906–1930 in 1978 and in 1982–83, a national travelling exhibition of his drawings. In 2000, the first solo exhibition in the U.S. was at the Americans Society Art Gallery in New York. In 2015, a touring exhibition of Harris’ work, curated by American actor, comedian and writer Steve Martin, opened at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California. Much of Lawren Harris’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Harris’s own work and the work done by the Group of Seven, supported and encouraged by Harris, is now considered to be the iconic art of Canada, just as Harris had envisioned. The group’s work is highly sought after by collectors and by the turn of the 20th century was already demanding millions at auction. The love affair with the Group seems to be ongoing. Harris’s 1930 painting “Mountain and Glacier” sold at auction for $4.6 million in 2015.
The film below, Where the Universe Sings, is an intimate portrait of the artist’s life and the expansive landscapes that inspired him. (White Pine Pictures in association with TVO)
The images and videos in this post are for educational use only and may not be reproduced without the owner or copyright holder’s consent.
Born on October 22, 1925, Robert Rauschenberg was an American painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer and performance artist. While never fully part of any movement, he acted as an important bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and can be credited as one of the major influences in the return to favour of representational art in the USA. (via Tate)
In the video below, artist Harry Dodge, USC Professor of Art History, Megan R. Luke and MOCA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth discuss Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines produced in the mid-1950s to early 1960s. Combine is a term Rauschenberg invented to describe a series of works that combine aspects of painting and sculpture. Virtually eliminating all distinctions between these artistic categories, the Combines either hang on the wall or are freestanding. With the Combine series, Rauschenberg endowed new significance to ordinary objects by placing them in the context of art.
Your Weekly Mixx! DAF’s Weekly Mixx is a selection of contemporary art and/or art related videos chosen from artist and gallery submissions and from our own search for new and interesting works. This week, we feature the work of Steven Powers, Malcom T. Liepke, James Ettelson, Remy Soubanere, Sebas Velasco, Travis Collinson, Saba Ghole and Shilo Shiv Suleman, Hopare, and a short video by Will Farrell featuring Edourd Martinet’s whose “art will make you reimagine the insect world. The Frenchman’s sculptures are distinctly creepy, true to nature, and full of life. His medium is piles of bent metals and cast-off bits and pieces with shapes that appeal to him: bike parts, kitchen spatulas, trumpet parts, umbrella ribs—anything can be of use.” (via YouTube)
What do you see? is a children’s book that brings to life the surreal art of Wangechi Mutu (featured). Written by Kyla Ryman, each page of this unusual seek-and-find book reveals a small part of Mutu’s artwork Le Noble Savage (2006), allowing readers to explore each part of the collage work closely. On the final page, the entire piece is revealed, opening up even more room for discussion and exploration.
What do you see? may challenge some expectations of what a children’s book should be. While young creative minds can engage with the art book in a simple way—looking at colours, and the fun game of spotting images within the pages—the book may also serve as an opportunity to engage in early conversations about race, gender, and body image, topics that figure prominently in Mutu’s artwork.
About Wangechi Mutu: Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Mutu scrutinizes globalization by combining found materials, magazine cutouts, sculpture, and painted imagery. Sampling such diverse sources as African traditions, international politics, the fashion industry, pornography, and science fiction, her work explores gender, race, war, colonialism, global consumption, and the exoticization of the black female body. Mutu is best known for spectacular and provocative collages depicting female figures—part human, animal, plant, and machine—in fantastical landscapes that are simultaneously unnerving and alluring, defying easy categorization and identification. Bringing her interconnected ecosystems to life through sculptural installations and videos, Mutu encourages audiences to consider these mythical worlds as places for cultural, psychological, and socio-political exploration and transformation. Her work is represented in museum collections around the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the MoMA in New York City, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. (via Brooklyn Museum)
About Kyla Ryman: During her work within homeschool collectives as a reading specialist, Kyla saw a need for creative and compelling reading content for children. In 2012, she founded Home Grown Books to develop resources that empowered parents and inspired little readers. Kyla is a mother of two boys and an advocate of organic learning for children. She embraces thinking, playing, and creating as the building blocks for learning. Kyla has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and a Reading Specialty from Bank Street College. She taught for 12 years in the public school system, tutored, and worked with a homeschool collective.
What do you see? is part of Home Grown Books Mini Museum Series, bringing contemporary art to creative kids.
DAF is pleased to offer the chance to win one (1) free copy of What do you see? to DAF readers, courtesy of Home Grown Books. To enter, click on the link below. The winner will be contacted for shipping information. One entry per person only. Contest entry deadline is November 5, 2016. Winner will be drawn randomly and announced on November 15, 2016. Good luck everyone!
Disclosure: No payment was made to Daily Art Fixx for featuring this book. A copy of the book was provided to the editors for review.
Born on October 16, 1890, in New York City, Paul Strand was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century.
Strand studied with documentary photographer Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York. By 1909, he had set up his own commercial studio and also did work on the side in a pictorialist style that was exhibited at the New York Camera Club. In the early 1920s, Strand’s work experimented with formal abstraction and also reflected his interest in social reform. He was one of the founders of the Photo League, an association of photographers who advocated using their art to promote social and political causes.
“Strand visited New Mexico in 1926 and, beginning in 1930, returned for three consecutive summers, making portraits of artist friends and acquaintances. It was there, amidst a community of visual artists and writers, that Strand began to develop his belief in the humanistic value of portraiture.”
Strand traveled to Mexico again in 1934 where he photographed the landscape, architecture, folk art, and people and produced a film about fishermen for the Mexican government. He returned to New York late in 1934 and devoted his time to theater and filmmaking cooperatives.
In 1943, Strand resumed his still photography, focusing on the people and surroundings of New England. In June 1949, he left the United States to present Native Land at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in Czechoslovakia. This marked the beginning of Strand’s long absence from the United States due to McCarthyism. “Although he was never officially a member of the Communist Party, many of Strand’s collaborators were either Party members or were prominent socialist writers and activists. Many of his friends were also Communists or were suspected of being so. Strand was also closely involved with Frontier Films, one of more than twenty organizations that were branded as ‘subversive’ and ‘un-American’ by the U.S. Attorney General.”
“The remaining 27 years of Strand’s life were spent in Orgeval, France. In the early 1950s, he spent six weeks in the northern Italian agrarian community of Luzzara and later travelled to the Outer Hebrides, islands off the northwest coast of Scotland. He also travelled and photographed in North and West Africa in the 1960s.”
Paul Strand died on March 31, 1976 at his home in France.
About the short film above: In 1920 Paul Strand and artist Charles Sheeler collaborated on Manhatta, a short silent film that presents a day in the life of lower Manhattan. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s book Leaves of Grass, the film includes multiple segments that express the character of New York. The sequences display a similar approach to the still photography of both artists. Attracted by the cityscape and its visual design, Strand and Sheeler favored extreme camera angles to capture New York’s dynamic qualities. Although influenced by Romanticism in its view of the urban environment, Manhatta is considered the first American avant-garde film.
Born on October 14, 1894, most people know E.E. Cummings, the writer. As a poet, Edward Estlin Cummings was very popular throughout the 20th century and received tremendous critical acclaim. Less well-known is Cummings’ accomplishment as a visual artist. Cummings considered himself as much a painter as a poet and he devoted a tremendous amount of time to his art. He also produced thousands of pages of notes concerning his own opinions about painting, colour theory, the human form, the “intelligence” of painting, and his thoughts about the Masters.
Cummings painted primarily in oils on canvas, canvas board, particle board, cardboard, and sometimes burlap. His painting is generally divided into two phases. Between 1915 and 1928, he produced large-scale abstractions which were widely acclaimed. He also produced very popular drawings and caricatures that were published in The Dial journal. Between 1928 and 1962, Cummings created primarily representational works including still lifes, landscapes, nudes, and portraits.
Cummings spent the last ten years of his life traveling, attending speaking engagements, and at his summer home, Joy Farm, in Silver Lake, New Hampshire. He died on September 3, 1962, at the age of 67 in North Conway, New Hampshire of a stroke.
For a more in depth look at the art of E. E. Cummings, visit EE Cummings Art.com.