The Easel

20th November 2018

Chairpersons: The World of Charles and Ray Eames

It is suggested that every American has, at some time, sat in an Eames chair. Charles and Ray Eames focused on looks and utility in a way that reflected, and brought into the mainstream, the ideas of the Bauhaus. Not that they saw themselves in such grand terms “We don’t do ‘art’ – we solve problems” declared Charles Eames. A discussion of some of their main designs is here.

Jack Whitten

Jack Whitten was best known for his abstract paintings. Unbeknownst to most, he also put time into sculpture. He was in pursuit of a big idea, to connect ancient African, Mediterranean and African American aesthetics. Contrary to our inclination to recognize the culture of each ethnic group, Whitten was reaching for a global aesthetic, “a story of black classicism”

What Vivian Meier saw in colour

Meier’s day job was as a nanny but her passion, discovered only after her death, was street photography. Control of her archive is under dispute but the quality of her work is very clear – “images of sublime spontaneity, wit, and compositional savvy “. The one subject she seemed to conspicuously avoid was herself. “I am sort of a spy” she said. More images are here.

Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy at the Met Breuer

This review is a hoot, liberally sprinkled with paragraphs of ‘conspiracy think’. Some artists back conspiracies that prove well founded while others fall under the spell of “fever dreams”. “Do artists receive the benefit of the doubt because, deep down, we still cling to a Romantic belief that the artist is the conduit for higher truths?” An interview with the curators is here.

13th November 2018

There has been no greater artist since Andy Warhol than Andy Warhol

An imminent Warhol retrospective in New York will unleash a torrent of reviews. To kick things off this appreciation helps pinpoint the salience of Warhol’s art. “He changed what art is … and where it resides within culture. He fused … popular culture … with fine art, forever repositioning both. A profound and relevant artist”. (Note: Schwartzman is a senior executive at Sotheby’s)

Tintoretto’s drawings bring new surprises and scholarship to his 500th birthday celebrations

Titian bestrode the Venetian art world and did not appreciate the young Tintoretto’s lack of deference. Unbothered, Tintoretto developed his own style – “in-your-face energy”, full of muscular bodies – in contrast to Titian’s “mood and movement”. And he focused on the day to day lives of the poor. An admirer of Titian, for sure; an acolyte – never. More images are here.