Contributed by Sharon Butler / Here is a selection of art articles I’ve gathered from sites around the internet this week, including Painters on Painting, The New Yorker, NY Times, artnet, Hyperallergic, NPR, and Dance Theater of Harlem. At the end, look for a link to a Mother Jones article about Trump’s pathologies, and a story about Koch Industries, Ivanka Trump’s Commencement address, and funding at Wichita State University. The stories aren’t art-related but deserve a place in the Two Coats archive nonetheless. The virus is still out there, so if you’re protesting, wear masks and stay safe.
Peter Williams, senior professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Delaware, recently contributed a poignant post to Painters on Painting: “There is the crazy vast love for chronicling this life I’m living now, hardly easy, often painful as a Black man. Whiteness has obliterated a subject that is huge — the lives of black people — and washes over centuries of history, not merely the enslaved, but the underbelly of white culture — bereft of empathy at times, downright vicious at others. But, this time, I am not alone.” Read more.
What’s going to happen to all the galleries? According to Artnet: “Several blue-chip galleries, including Pace, dealer Max Levai of Marlborough, Van de Weghe Fine Art, Skarstedt Gallery, and auction house Sotheby’s are opening spaces in East Hampton this summer, hoping to capitalize on what may be the most high-end captive audience of billionaire collectors and connoisseurs gathered in one place in decades.” I hope art collectors don’t forget to visit the smaller galleries, too. Read more.
Peter Schjeldahl, who has been looking at the catalogue for “Edward Hopper: A Fresh Look at Landscape,” presented by the Beyeler Foundation in Switzerland, contributed a piece to The New Yorker about Edward Hopper and the nature of American solitude. “If his pictures sometimes seem awkwardly forced, that’s not a flaw; it’s a guarantee that he has pushed the communicative capacities of painting to their limits, then a little bit beyond. He leaves us alone with our own solitude, taking our breath away and not giving it back.” He leaves us looking at people who think they are alone, which strikes me as a way of painting self-portraits, to get people to consider what the life of an artist, working alone, is like. Also, Schjeldahl reveals that Hopper was politically conservative and voted against FDR. Read more.
As Congress considers new laws to limit the use of teargas, Hyperallergic reports that Warren Kanders, the former Whitney Museum vice chair, finally wants to sell off the teargas manufacturing division of his company. So predictable. Read more.
White House fence installation update: readers may recall that when protesters, outraged over George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, made Trump nervous, the administration ordered that expensive fences be erected around the entire White House. Peaceful protesters have been using the fencing as a platform for an engaging patchwork of signs, artwork, objects, and memorabilia that has caught the eye of curators from the Smithsonian Institution. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats demanded on Monday that the fences be taken down. I hope the curators are able to grab the artwork before a low-level worker is ordered by the administration to throw it all in a dumpster.
The Dance Theater of Harlem has started an online archive of past performances. Enjoy their Virtual Ballet Series here. Company performances will be streamed for the next six weeks on DTH’s YouTube channel and Facebook page each Saturday from 8pm until 11:59pm on Sunday. They kicked the series off on June 6 with Creole Giselle!
David Corn writes in Mother Jones that, despite the continued growth of infection among Americans, Trump has lost interest in the coronavirus. “He is a man driven by the need for enemies and by the pursuit of revenge. A virus doesn’t easily fit into his psychologically warped world view. He did endeavor to cast coronavirus as the ‘invisible enemy’ that he would smite. But that soundbite fell flat, and Trump didn’t have the attention span to develop a truly effective set of policies to neutralize this unseen foe.” Read more.
Today’s Stock Club For Artists news: “The S&P 500 fell nearly 6 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell by nearly 7 percent. Oil prices also cratered, reflecting the sudden unease that swept across financial markets.” I’m surprised it took so long for investors to realize how bad the economy is going to get. This is not good for the art community. Read more.
Academic news: Jane Mayer reports at The New Yorker News Desk that when Ivanka Trump’s smarmy commencement address was demoted after students and faculty circulated petitions opposing her headliner status, a “corporate booster” suggested that Koch Industries might withdraw its financial support from the university. “Charles Koch, whose fortune is estimated to be slightly more than fifty billion dollars, has reportedly given or pledged some fifteen million….Although Wichita State University is a public university, the Koch-funded center is a think tank devoted to promoting the billionaire’s personal political philosophy, which promotes private enterprise, and not government, as the panacea to virtually all societal problems. In recent years, exposing college students to his libertarian ideology has been a major focus of Koch’s philanthropy, and there are now similar Koch-funded programs at some three hundred American colleges and universities…” Read more.