The Easel

15th August 2017

Holding Up the Torch: Walter Hopps and the World of Art

Hobbs discovered art at fifteen, opened his first gallery at 21 and co-founded the legendary Ferus Gallery at 24. But being a dealer wasn’t him – “a salesman in every way other than financial”. He switched to curating and is now recognized as a major influence on American contemporary art. An excerpt from a recently released biography, where Hobbs discusses Frank Stella and Andy Warhol, is here.

Should museums be able to sell their art? This museum says its future depends on it

Having lost money for years, the Berkshire Museum has a choice – raise money by selling artworks or risk closure. Among the works to go are treasured paintings by Norman Rockwell. Some local media outlets are upset by the plan – a “profound spiritual loss to the community” according to one. Regional museum directors are reportedly more sympathetic, one commending the plan for its “clearheaded honesty”.

8th August 2017

Body talk: YBA Sarah Lucas meets modern master Auguste Rodin

Sarah Lucas’s ingenuity in using everyday objects has been compared to Picasso. Her work often exposes gender stereotypes in traditional art. A San Francisco gallery is exhibiting her alongside its Rodin collection. Says the curator “I wanted to introduce a contemporary female perspective that was equally profound [as Rodin] in how it challenges conventions of representation – especially in relation to the female body.”

Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection, The Met, New York

Bamboo’s great virtue is strength with flexibility. Its cultural significance in Japan is expressed in many ways, one of which is basketry. Since the 19th century basketry has evolved from decorative art to a fully developed art form. As one critic notes “In a show like this, baskets can start to look like one of the world’s most complete, resonant art mediums.” An interesting time lapse video is here and more images here.

Philippe de Montebello on How the Metropolitan Museum of Art Can Reclaim Its Glory

De Montebello mulls over ructions at his former institution and advocates that it – and perhaps other museums – follow a non-populist role for museums. As director “I concern myself with the very long term. It’s a fiction that everyone loves contemporary art …the contemporary art world is a very small world. Something is trending? Museums shouldn’t be trending! They should set trends.”