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Jim Long

In Conversation

The Plunder of Iraq: John Malcolm Russell with Jim Long

While the Bush administration declares the war against Iraq over, a war against Iraq’s cultural heritage is well underway. Mainstream news organizations are sending the public an unmistakable message: that Western museums and perhaps other, smaller educational and “cultural” institutions can expect to soon share in a glut of antiquities from the Near East.

In Search of Uriel: Barnett Newman

Newman was pushed out. He painted fewer and fewer paintings, until, in 1955, he made just one painting, and none at all in the next two years. His friend Pollock had died in 1956. In 1957, he had a near-fatal heart attack. He would later describe the period as his “blackest years,” and during that time the single painting he made was “Uriel.”

Reflections on the Last Sunspot Drawing at Mount Wilson Observatory

I first saw the announcement September 14, 2004: “Staff reductions due to a funding shortfall necessitates the cessation of the daily sunspot drawings.” The announcement came from Mt. Wilson Observatory, which, since its founding in December 1904 by George Ellery Hale, was dedicated to solar observation and was to celebrate its centennial on December 4, 2004.

Boccioni’s Materia
A Futurist Masterpiece and the Avant-garde in Milan and Paris
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Futurism is what often comes to mind when people try to imagine modern painting: a demolition derby of figures and forms, planes and colors, text strips and musical notations, smokestacks, cut-up buildings, speeding trains, and automobiles.

Salvador Dalí’s "Dream of Venus"

Here I’m designing a Surrealist pavilion for the World’s Fair with genuine explosive giraffes. —1939 letter from Dalí to Luis Bunuel. The giraffes were not to explode, nor would Dalí be allowed to replace the head of Botticelli’s "Venus" with the head of a fish. Dalí’s main sponsor, a manufacturer of, among other items, rubber mermaid tails, complained that too much Surrealism outside the pink cement grotto would keep the paying public from coming up with the two-bits to get in on the action inside: models cavorting in a glass swimming pool wearing only the aforementioned rubber product,

Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism

I must create a system or be enslav’d by another man’s. —William Blake Kazimir Malevich’s achievement remains enigmatic even ninety years after he drew four lines on a two and a half foot square canvas and filled in the resulting area with black paint. That work, along with thirty-seven other paintings and many additional drawings now hangs at the Guggenheim Museum.

Jo Baer: The Minimalist Years, 1965–1975

In 1977, in England at the Oxford Museum of Art, Ruth van Herpen kissed one of Jo Baer’s paintings, to "cheer it up" as she later explained. I didn’t know about that when I went to see the exhibition of Baer’s minimalist paintings at the DIA Foundation on West 22nd Street. It does help to explain why I was accompanied by a vaguely angelic young person throughout my visit to the show, and why I was offered a pencil to replace the ball-point pen I was taking notes with.

Paul Mogensen and Stephen Rosenthal, Jump: Selected Paintings

Paul Mogensen and Stephen Rosenthal share the new BLT space on the Bowery. The works on view were selected from earlier exhibitions, inviting re-evaluation in light of changing issues and a new architectural setting. I

The Filipino Roots of Minimalism

This exhibition presented works from 1964-1967 by two pioneering reductive painters, Leo Valledor and Mario Yrisarry. Valledor (1936-1989) was born in San Francisco, and grew up in the gritty Fillmore district, while Yrissary was born in Manila in 1933; both were Filipino.

Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman

A lot has happened since the "first" man, I was thinking while touring the Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) exhibition of drawings now at the Metropolitan Museum. Verisimilitude, achieved by hand and eye, is much in evidence here,

In Conversation

High Plains Curators-IN CONVERSATION: Brendt Berger with Jim Long

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the Museum of Friends (MOF), located in the former coal mining town of 4,000 in Walsenburg, Colorado.

Robert Rauschenberg

“Standard lines; no traps, no snares.” The phrase is not from a military manual, it’s from an interview with a drummer, but it suggests the elusive language Robert Rauschenberg often employs as titles for his work.

Ray Parker

It took awhile for international art to catch on in America. But if you were born in the 1920s and found yourself getting an M.F.A. in the mid-1940s, when world culture was suddenly introduced to America after the Second World War, the farm had lost its charm.

George Ortman

If you weight a piece of string and submerge it in a glass of water saturated with dissolved sugar, over a period of hours you’ll see crystals, “rock candy,” start to form on the string. In the late 1940s, American artists adopted, at least metaphorically, a similar approach to making art.

George Bellows

In July, 1907, Ed Keefe brought his roommate George Bellows (b. 1882, Columbus, Ohio) into Tom Sharkey’s notorious fight club, across the street from the apartment they shared at the intersection of Columbus Ave and Broadway.

Willem de Kooning: Gagosian, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, and Richard Gray

When New York was New Amsterdam in 1626, the Dutch West India Trading Company owned our little village colony that extended from South Ferry as far North as the stockade that later came to be called Wall Street.

Richard Pousette-Dart

In 1951 Life magazine published a now well-known photograph of “The Irascibles,” 15 of the 18 painters who had signed a letter accusing the Met of rigging the jury for a national exhibition of American art. The guy on the far left of the picture (trying unsuccessfully to look as irascible as possible), one of the youngest artists in the group, is Richard Pousette-Dart.

Jasper Johns
The Flag Drawings

A fortunate exhibition of Jasper Johns flag drawings at Craig F. Starr Gallery presents mostly early drawings, from 1955 and 1956, in a variety of mediums—graphite wash, pencil, ink, collage, watercolor, and some re-worked lithographs—reflecting the artist’s versatility in creating variations on a theme.

Irving Sandler, “Abstract Expressionism and the American Experience: A Reevaluation”

The story of how Irving Sandler wrote the 1970 standard text on post-WWII painting, The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism, is generally well known. The tale of an ideal viewer so moved by a chance encounter with a work of art that his life is reconfigured and involved with the world of artists.

When We Lived on Dreams

In a gallery at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1952, a young student of American history in the graduate program at Columbia University had an encounter with a painting that changed the direction of his life. As he describes the event, Irving Sandler tells us in his memoir that he suddenly "got" what painting is about looking at Franz Kline’s 1950 painting "Chief." More accurately, perhaps, Franz Kline’s painting got him: "It was the first work of art I really saw, …Or, put another way, ‘Chief’ began my life-in-art, the life that has really counted for me."


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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