Forgive the Estelle lyrics, that’s just how excited I am to be back in the UK! After a brief hiatus from blogging (but not instagram, clearly), I will be back in force as I spend the next month in London.
Being back in London, I remember well why I started blogging in the first place, way back in 2010/2011, as I documented my then-17-year-old eye-opening experience of moving to a foreign metropolis after (barely) escaping a high school that boasted “Drive Your Tractor to School Day.” There is no place like London, and there is no place that feels more like home to me.
But why am I back in London you ask? I have several research grants to support work on my undergraduate art history thesis! I will be exploring the relationship between 19th century depictions of mermaids and their relationship to Darwinian theories of evolution. Therefore, as I start blogging again, I will be chronicling my many research appointments at places like the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Tate Britain, and my first love, the V&A.
Brace for the weird mermaid paintings, my friends.
"Portrait of Nan" by Grant Wood, 1931
Recently mentioned on NPR, this painting is housed at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin. I get to walk past it and its odd peach/baby chick motifs everyday, and hearing a bit of background about the baby chick having a fainting spell was endlessly amusing.
Listen to the story on NPR
May 15–August 27, 2014
Open daily 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery
1st Floor, Donald W. Reynolds Center
8th and F Streets, NW
Today at Tate, a major retrospective for Pop artist Richard Hamilton will open to the London public.
As I cannot be in London at the moment, I will celebrate by remembering the Hamilton prints I worked with in the first few months of my museum career. I was an assistant in the Prints and Drawings department at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, hired to help with the mad rush to get the museum’s multi-million dollar expansion ready by October 2011. By the time the art was on the freshly painted walls and the doors were opening for the first time, Hamilton had passed away, at age 89.
[pictured above: Hamilton’s 1963 Adonis in Y Fronts on loan to the Chazen Museum from the Leslie and Joanna Garfield Collection, NYC]
This was my first introduction to art valuations increasing after the death of an artist. Not long after the loss of Hamilton was mourned, I began to hear talk of the new worth of his art. Early lessons in the art market for a fledgling museum employee.
During the expansion celebrations, I grew particularly fond of Hamilton’s screen print, Adonis in Y Fronts. This is a print you have to see in person to truly appreciate: Adonis’ clothing is printed with a striking metallic ink that forms a subtle by powerful contrast to the Ben-Day dotted style of the figure’s musculature.
I was sad to take this print off of the wall and send it home to its collectors in New York, but hopefully it will be amongst the many works in Hamilton’s retrospective at Tate. Go look for it when you get the chance; the exhibition runs from February 13 to May 26.
"[A] streaker — this one dressed in a crown, trench coat and what appeared to be a jockstrap — jumped out onto the runway and scampered, waved and kneeled in front of one model who remained expressionless (and directly in front of an equally unfazed Anna Wintour) before he was finally dragged off the stage by one of the security guards"