Monday, November 12, 2018

Martha RosLer: Irrespective at The Jewish Museum: Review By Polly Guerin

Vacuuming Pop Art
Martha Rosler, the influential Brooklyn-based artist, believes that art should teach, provoke and motivate and she proves her point in the skillful use of diverse materials to address pressing matters of her time, including war, gender roles, gentrification, inequality, and labor.  
Considered one of the strongest and most resolute artistic voices of her generation Rosler advocates for social justice. From her early feminist photomontages of the 1960s and 1970s to her large scale installations, Rosler's vital work reflects an enduring and passionate vision. 
Image:Vacuuming Pop Art, or Woman with a Vacuum, selections from "Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows no Pain," c. 1966-72. Photomontages. Courtesy of the Artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.
       Rosler's art is a call to action," says Darsie Alexander chief curator at the The Jewish Museum where a survey exhibition showcases five decades of the artist's work in MARTHA ROSLER; IRRESPECTIVE, which recently opened and runs through March 3, 2019.
       Rosler repeatedly explores the subject of food--its production and preparation, its consumption, and its powerful meanings in our social, domestic, economic and political lives, particularly those of women. In works of the mid- 1970s  Rosler often adopted the voices of an overburdened housewife, food service workers, and domestic servants, articulating the frustration of women forced to adopt particular roles because of their gender or class. In the 1970s Rosler was part of the first generation to use the new consumer-      
 consumer-oriented video equipment for artistic ends. The exhibition includes samples of her video work across more than four decades. She performs in several of her video works, not only in Semiotics of the kitchen, but in others such as Born to be Sold. 
       Semiotics, Rosler's best-known early video, is a deceptively simple portrait of the artist as cook and the cook as artists in which assumptions about both roles are questioned. In the video she adopted the voices of an overburdened housewife, social worker, or hostess and was adept at articulating the frustration and sometimes even self-deception of women forced to adopt roles they didn't necessarily want or skills they felt obliged to acquire, such as being a fancy cook.
     
House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home 
War and domesticity are recurring subjects in Rosler's art and one that emerged in a series focusing on the Vietnam War. This groundbreaking work, House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home (c.1967-72) combines mass media images from the first televised war with luxurious domestic interiors found in home decorating magazines of the era. 

         Domestic life serves for Rosler as a kind of microcosm of the world at large, a miniature stage on which gender roles and expectations are defined and tested: where labor is differently apportioned and differently valued; and where issues of economic access, equality and disparity play out. When the United States launched wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003, she resumed the series, once more juxtaposing images of war with serene pictures of lavish homes, lush gardens, and fashion models. Simultaneously critiquing the wars and the superficiality of the contemporary American dream
        Ta Ta Darlings!!! Rosler's art resonates back in time and worth the trip. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. Click on the links, left hand column, to the Blog that interest you. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

HILMA af KLINT: Paintings for the Future at The Guggenheim: Review By Polly Guerin

The long under-recognized innovator of the bold and colorful abstract paintings of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) fill the ramps of the Guggenheim's rotunda. Conjuring up images of striking originality, the exhibition,
HILMA af KLINT: Paintings for the Future, offers an unprecedented opportunity to view Klint's groundbreaking achievements through her first major solo exhibition in the United States. On view through April 23, 2079.
        Af Klint was an innovator, a woman ahead of her rime. When Klint began creating her radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, extravagant expressions of modernism several years before Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and others began to embrace modernism in the way that Klint achieved.
        Image: Group IV, The Ten Largest , No 7, Adulthood, 1907 Tempura on paper, Mounted on canvas 124 x 92 1/2 inches. Stiftelsen Hilma af Klint's Verk, Photo: Albin Dahlstrom/Moderna Museet.
      Yet, her obscurity in all fairness lies in her own decision.  Convinced that the world was not ready for her paintings, she stipulated that they not be shown for 20 years after her death.  
     The exhibition features more than 170 of af Klint's artworks and focuses on the artist's break-through years 1906-20. It is during this period that she began to produce nonobjective and stunningly imaginative paintings, creating a singular body of work that invites a reevaluation of modernism and its development. Spiritual sparks helped to also inspire her radical and visionary art.     
Hilma Af Klint
You need only to look at a photo of Hilma to see how extraordinary a woman she was for her time. Imagine a woman in long skirts and high collar of the early 20th century standing in front of a painting she created. It is a massive piece---about 10 feet by 8 feet wide---and it is not a landscape, a portrait, a still life, nor a scene. Dominating the composition is a bold yellow form, reminiscent of a plant or sea creature. It is just one of af Klint's vast oeuvre of her radically abstract paintings that she has made in the few short years between 1906-1920.

      Af KLINT studied painting at Stockholm's Royal Academy of Fine Arts, graduating with honors in 1887.  During her formative years as an established painter she she also became deeply engaged with spiritualism, Rosicrucianism and Theosophy. Af Klint developed her new approach to art making together with her spiritual practice, outside of Stockholm's male-dominated art world. She had begun to regularly hold seances with four other women by1896. During a meeting in 1906, one of the spirits that group often channeled asked af Klint to create a cycle of paintings. As legend recounts; af Klint immediately accepted. She worked on the project between 1906 and 1915, completing 193 paintings and works on paper collectively called, The Paintings for the Temple. Stylistically they are strikingly diverse, utilizing biomorphic and geometric forms, expansive and intimate scales with innovative composition and color.     

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue representing af Klint's painting series  and presents the fullest picture of her life. The volume also delves into her unrealized plans for a spiral-shaped temple in which to display her art. The hardcover edition is available for $65 at guggenheimstore.org.

       PUBLIC OROGRAMS: Program additions, information, schedules and ticket info are available at guggenheim.org/calendar.  MUSIC for the TEMPLE, A Tribute to Hilma af Klint by John Zorn takes place Thursday and Friday November 28 and 30 at 7 pm.  Following the performance audience members are invited to attend a private, after hours viewing ot the exhibition. For ticket price and information about gallery tours contact the guggenheim calendar website.
       Image: Group X, No 1 Altarpiece, 1915 (Altarbilder). Oil and metal leaf on canvas . 235.5 x 179.5 cm. The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Albin Dahlstrom, the Moderna Museet, Stokholm.
       Ta Ta Darlings!!!  These monumental images created by Hilma af Klint draw us inward and outward to an imaginary world of modernism. Let's salute Hilma, a woman ahead of time.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click on the links in the left-hand column to fashion, women determined to succeed and visionary men.

     

Monday, October 15, 2018

TINTORETTO'S LASTING IMPACT ON VENETIAN ART: Review By Polly Guerin

Seated Nude ca. 1549
The breathtaking mural panorama of the magnificent Palazzo Ducale and Scuola Grande of San Marco sets the stage for what lies ahead at the entrance to the Morgan Library and Museum's current exhibit, DRAWING in TINTORETTO'S VENICE on view through January 8, 2019. 
      Organized to mark the 500th anniversary of Jacopo Tintoretto's birth (1518/19-1594), this exhibition focuses on the artist's drawing practice and lasting impact on Venetian art. The dramatic canvases of their muscular expressive bodies reveal Tintoretto's famous quickness (prestezza) capturing both the spirit and characteristics of the sitter. Image: Tintoretto's seated male nude, ca. 1549. Black and white chalk on blue paper. Musee du Louvre, Paris, inv. 5385 (c) RMN-Grand Palais/Art
Resource NY. 
      Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice is the first exhibition since 1956 to present the drawing practice of this major artist. It also offers a new perspective on Tintoretto's evolution as a draftsman, his individuality as an artist, and his influence on a generation of painters in northern Italy. 
     
Inside Palazzo Ducale
Who was Tintoretto? Born to the son of a fabric dyer (tintore in Italian) from whose profession the young artist derived his nickname, the artist rose to prominence in the 1840s. By the time of his death in May 1594, he was the pre-eminent artist in Venice, responsible for the vast pictorial cycles in the Palazzo Ducale and the Scuola Grade di San Rccco as well as paintings found through-out 
the churches and palaces of Venice.  Even during his lifetime, he was considered an impetuous genius, an artist who worked hastily without careful design or studied consideration.  However, he was an innovator and over the course of his career he forged his own distinctive style of drawing and his own way of producing a prolific oeuvre. As Tintoretto's fame grew, his expanding workload required more assistants, and his drawing practice evolved. In training those assistants, he influenced a generation of artists.
      The Evolution of His Drawing Practices:  A decisive moment in Tintoretto's careers was the unveiling in 1548 of his Miracle of the Slave. the work of a monumental drama, and richness unseen in his paintings to that point. The confraternity of San Rocco then commissioned Tintoretto to take up the decoration of their church. Tintoretto also painted two vast painting for the church of the Madonna dell'Orto, the last Judgment and Making of the Golden Calf.    

These highlighted Tintoretto's abilities and soon led to the commissions at the Palazzo Ducale and the Scuola Grade di San Marco, a project that would take nearly 20 years and occupy him on and off for the rest of his career. Although there are no extant drawing directly related to the Miracle of the Slave, the exhibition includes studies connected with each of these other projects.
         PUBLIC PROGRAMS and gallery talks, adult workshops and concerts are scheduled. Visit the museum's website for further details www.themorgan.org. 
      Gallery Talks, Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice, are led by John Marciari, Charles W. Englehard Curator and Department head, Drawings and Prints. Tours are free with museum admission, no tickets or reservations required. Mark your calendar for the following dates: October 26, 6 pm and Friday, November 16 at 1 pm.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! It's plain to see that Tintoretto's famous quickness (prestezza) was a break with tradition and yet, produced works of great beauty.  Please send fan mail welcome and comments to pollytalknyc.gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left hand column links to the Blogs that resonate with your interest.
      
    

Sunday, October 7, 2018

HARRY POTTER: A History of Magic: Review by Polly Guerin

The Wizarding World will have one of its busiest years ever in the United States, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway and the film Fantastic Beasts and Crimes of Grindelwald opening in cinemas.                Nonetheless, the most spectacular show of all is the British Library's exhibition HARRY POTTER: A History of Magic which opened recently at the New York Historical Society. It showcases an extravagant exploration of the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories with an vast selection of historical objects that are on view to the public for the first time. The exhibition features centuries old treasures including rare books, manuscripts and magical objects as well as original griffins to the origins of the sorcerer's stone from the collections of the British Library, the New York Historical Society an other museums. 
      Aficionados of the Potter books can explore the subjects studied at Hogwarts and see J.R. Rowling's hand written first draft of the Philosopher's Stone and Deathly Hollow. From descriptions of dragons and griffins to the origins of the sorcerer'stone, visitors can explore the subjects stuided at Hogwarts and see the original work of Harry Potter illustrators Jim Kay, Mary GrandPre, Kazu Kibuishi and Brian Selznick.
      Image: Study of the phoenix by Jim Kay. On loan from Bloomsbury Publishing. Background image; detail from a Medieval Bestiary (England, 13th century) Phoenix illustration by Jim Kay (c) Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
       This exhibition marks 20 years since the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and the worldwide phenomenon that is the Harry Potter stories.  In writing the books, J.K. Rowling drew on rich traditions of folklore, mythology from across the globe.
      In this expansive exhibit you can explore some of the subjects learned by Harry an his friends at Hogwarts School of Magic and Wizardry, through magical and historical collections from the British Library and New York Historical Society, together with original manuscripts penned by J.K. Rowling.     
Harry Potter: A History of Magic delves into a magical world with centuries-old treasures, including rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects. The breath and scoop of the exhibition
is accompanied by a special audio tour featuring the voice of actress Natalie Dormer, available to ticket holders as a free audible download providing in-depth contents on the subjects on view. 
     Image: Jacob Meydenbach's Horus Sanitatis (Latin for "The Garden of Health") 1491, the first printed encyclopedia of natural history featuring sections devoted to plants, animals, birds, fish, and stornes. The hand-colored woodcut illustration shows a Potions class. (c0 British Library Board. 
      Harry Potter: A History of Magic is organised around the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry including; POTIONS and ALCHEMY showcasing the bezoar stone that reputedly provided a powerful antidote to poison, the tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, the medieval Parisian rumored to be an alchemist who inspired a character in Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone. Then too, visitors are invited to create a potion in a hands-on installation and this seems to particularly delight the youngsters.
     Herbology, also on the curriculum at Hogwarts features herbals (directories of plants and their powers), such as Giovanni Cadamosto's 15th century manuscript showing the harvesting o a mandrake plant with a root that resembles the human form. CHARMS includes the first record of the incantation "abracadabra,' dating from the 13th century and much more. A 1690 celestial globe by famed cartogrpaher Vincenzo Coronelli highlights ASTRONOMY.     
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES includes a 13th century bestiary manuscript depicting a phoenix rising from the ashes and John James Audubon's watercolor of snowy owls. Image: John James Audubon Snowy Owl (Bubo Scandiacus) New York Historical Society by public subscriptions from Mrs. John J. Audubon.
     First year students at Hogwarts were allowed  to bring an owl, a cat, or a goat to school---all animals with historic magical significance. Here you can see a pair of Snowy Owls, the same breed as Harry's owl, Hedwig.
     THE NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY is presenting a wide variety of exhibition related events for grown-up Harry Potter fans throughout the run of the exhibition through
January 27 2019, including trivia nights, art workshops, creative writing classes, social meet-ups, open mics, book clubs, and engaging courses that explore the Hogwart's curriculum. Programs include a special evening with actor Jim Dale, for his narration of all seven Harry Potter U.S. audiobooks. Family activities feature history of Magic Family days with hands-on activities and crafts, a Harry Potter family book club, historical Halloween celebration, and trivia for families.  Additional programming information is available at harrypotter.nyhistory,org. TICKETS: TIMED ENTRY TICKETS for the exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic can be booked in advance. Visit the New York Historical Society's website
     Ta Ta darlings!! It's wonderful to know that magic can still enthrall us with its mesmerizing
stories. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, October 1, 2018

POSING MODERNITY at Wallach Art Gallery: Review By Polly Guerin

Edouard Manet's Olympia
Not every student of art history could become the inspiration for an art exhibition, but one such student, Denise Murrell's Thesis indeed  inspired the Wallach Art Gallery's upcoming exhibition,  POSING MODERNITY at Columbia University. This groundbreaking investigative show focuses on a seemingly neglected subject; "How Black people have been pictured across art history."
        It all came about when inquisitive Columbia University student, Denise Murrell viewed Edouard Manet's Olympia, his brazenly un-idealized take on the odalisque theme. In his rendering a black maidservant is bringing a bouquet of flowers to a naked prostitute who stares directly out at the viewer. What struck Ms. Murrell most about the art instructors discourse was the absence of any reference to the black maidservant. She said, "His neglect to ignore her, to say nothing about her, to not knowledge her presence rendered her invisible." 
      This experience motivated Murrell to find out more about the black figure as portrayed in art. So she embarked on a journey that began was a seminar paper, expanded into her PhD thesis and on OCTOBER 24, POSING MODERNITY, will open as an exhibition at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University, which will be expanded at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris next year.     

Posing Modernity is an eye-opening investigation into the legacy of that influential work of art, specifically the evolving representation of the black female figure. Image: Henri Matisse, Dame a la robe blanche (Woman in White) 1946, oil on canvas. Des Moines Art Cener, ACC.No. 1959-40. Courtesy: The Matisse Foundation (c) 1917. Succession H Matisse//Artists Rights Society. The exhibition explores the little-known interactions between avant-garde artists in the 19th century Paris and the city's post-abolition community of free black people.
        Archival photographs, correspondence, and films shed light on artists' relationships with their models, students, entertainers, and others. 
        HARLEM IN THE 1930s: Includes paintings, drawings and prints executed by Henri Matisse before and after his visits to Harlem in the 1930s, portraiture of the Harlem Renaissance; and the influence of these earlier depictions on artists of the post-war period and beyond. Bazille, Nadar, Carpeaux, Bearden, and Ringgold are just a few of he names featured. 
Edouard Manet's Baudelaire's Mistress Jeanne Duval
Image: Edouard Manet's Baudelaire's Mistress (Portrait of Jeanne Duval) from 1862 is part of the "Posing Modernity" exhibition, Photo: Csanad Szeszlay(c) The Museum of Fine Art Budapest/Scala/Art Resource NY.
Wallach Art Gallery; wallach.columbia.edu. 
        Ta Ta Darlings!!!  I hope this review invites your interest to see how one student's challenge brought about Posing Modernity to give black women in paintings their due recognition.
      Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the right-hand column for the subject that resonates with your interest on fashion, visionary men, determined women and poetry.

      

Monday, September 24, 2018

New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) Lectures at SCAN: Review by Polly Guerin

Scandinavia House New York City
Never a dull moment in New York City!!!The fall season kicks off with a plethora of Lectures launched by a great number of organizations that offer New Yorkers an opportunity to mini educate on a wide landscape of subjects. 
      THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN, for one, launches a new season of lectures and symposia in which outstanding landscape architects and designers present their signature works and insights from a local and global aspect.
        If you cannot travel to the New York Botanical Garden. where other lectures take place at Ross Hall,  the NYBG is coming to New York City to engage the interest of people like you. The 20th ANNUAL LANDSCAPE DESIGN PORTFOLIOS LECTURE SERIES, Time, Place and Story: Design at the Crossroads will be held on Three Mondays: October 1, October 15 and November 5, 2018 at Scandinavia House right in the heart of the Murray Hill district at 58 Park Avenue (at 38th Street New York, NY.  There is an individual lecture charge and the three lecture series charge. Contact: www.nybg.org for pricing details.
     The 20th year of this series features three innovative leaders in the field of contemporary landscape design. From the advocacy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation to the timeless design of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the collective work of this year's speakers demonstrates a steadfast dedication to ensuring that the public has access to beautiful landscapes that heal the land, tell powerful stories, and celebrate history, culture, and ecology.
     
Charles Birnbaum's Madrid, Rio Park Space
October 1: Charles Birnbaum, Founder and CEO, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLP) will speak on CHANGE and CONTINUITY. As urban space continues at a relentless pace, Charles Birnbaum believes it is crucial for landscape architects to weave a site's history into new designs, but not in ways that are nostalgic of staid.  In addition to numerous citations for landscape design, Mr. Birnbaum is currently a Visiting Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation.  Image Credit:  Charles Birnbaum's Madrid Rio Park Space Photo (c) La Citta Vita, Park Space, Madrid, RIO.

     October 15 Beka Sturges, Principal, Reed Hilderbrand, topic GIVING VOICE TO THE LAND. "We gave the landscape voice and turned the museum toward the land."  This is how Beka Sturges describes her firm's award-winning expansion of The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, for which she served as landscape architect and manager. Other work includes landscapes at Yale and Brown Universities, Boscobel House and Gardens, Storm King Art Center.
     
The Mill Eastern Connecticut 
The sensitive integration of architecture, ecology, and history can also be seen at The Mill, a residential project that draws inspiration from Eastern Connecticut's rolling terrain and agrarian traditions and unifies upland meadows with the stream and raceway of a former industrial mill. Caption

Credit: Beka Sturges, The Mill, East Haddam, Connecticut. Courtesy NYBG. 
     November 5: Thomas Woltz, Owner, Principal, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. His topic AT THE INTERFACE OF ECOLOGY and CULTURE For 20 years, Thomas Woltz has been on the cutting edge of ecological restoration.. He has called his landscapes "living paintings" that regenerate the land and honor local traditions with arresting beauty. Woltz has forged a body of work that integrates the beauty and function of built form and craftsmanship with an understanding of complex biological systems and restoration ecology that has yielded hundreds of acres of reconstructed wetlands, reforested land, native meadows and flourishing wildlife habitat.     
Eden by Victoria Johnson
       Then, too, on Thursday October 18, 6-8 pm at Christies, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, the NYBG stages the Andrew Carnegie Distinguished Lecture 2018, AMERICAN EDEN: David 
Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic. 
      When Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr fought their famous duel i 1804, they chose the same attending physician, their mutual friend David Hosack. Historian VICTORIA JOHNSON Ph.D, Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College, will discuss her acclaimed new book, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of Eden in the Early Republic. For ticket info www.nybg.org.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Just in case you can venture out of the City remember that The New York Botanical Garden is also hosting several more lectures at Ross Hall. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column on the Blog link that resonates with your interest.

Monday, September 17, 2018

THE RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE at The Jewish Museum: Review By Polly Guerin

Chagall Over The Town
"I found myself in Vitebsk when the great celebration of the October Revolution were over, but the city was still resplendent with Malevich's designs---circles, squares, dots and lines of different colors---and with Chagall's flying people. I have the impression of being in an enchanted city, but in those days everything was wonderful, and everything was possible, and at that moment the people of Vitebsk had become Suprematists." ---Sofia Dymshits-Tolstaia. 1921.
      This introductory quote opens the exhibition, CHAGALL, LISSITZKY, MALEVICH, The Russian Avant-Garde in Vitebsk, 1918-1922, at The Jewish Museum, through January 6, 2019.  It is the first major exhibition to explore a little known chapter in the history of modernity and the Russian avant-garde: Chagall's encounter with the leading figures of abstraction, EL (Lazar) Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich, at the time of the Russian Revolution. The exhibition focuses on the People's Art School, founded by Marc Chagall in his native city of Vitebsk (in present day Belarus).  He was soon joined by Lissitzky and Malevich along with other  teachers and students, many of them Jewish, including Lazar Khidekel and David Yakerson.     
El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with Red Wedge
The Jewish museum offers visitors a rare opportunity to visit the extraordinary years following the Russian October Revolution of 1917, during which Vitebsk, a small city with a significant Jewish population, became a incubator of avant-garde art.  Image: El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919-20. Image provided by the Library of Congress, Photographs Division.

     Through nearly 160 works and documents loaned by museums in Vitebsk and Minsk, and major American and European collections, the exhibition reveals how the three major figures sought, each in his distinctive fashion, to develop  a leftist art in tune with the new revolutionary emphasis on collectivism, education and innovation.  Chagall remained  faithful to a figurative and allegorical style, in contrast to Malevich, whose recent invention, Suprematism, offered a radical view of geometric abstraction. Lissitzky, a trained architect, applied the concepts of Suprematism to his innovative geometric compositions that he called, " a transfer station on the way from painting to architecture."
       
Kazmir Malevich, Mystic Suprematism
It is interesting to note that in this period of intense artistic and political ferment, history was made through art. Visionary creativity was nurtured in a city far from the cultural centers of Moscow and Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). The five years, THE RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE IN VITEBSK, 1918-1922, transformed Vitebsk into the laboratory of a new world.   Image: Kazimir Malevich, Mystic Suprematism (Red Cross on Black Circle) 1920-22. Stedelijk Museum Collection, Amsterdam. Ownership recognized by agreement with the estate of Kazimir Malevich, 2008. 

     CHAGALL'S 100th Anniversary: The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Chagall's appointment as Commissar of Arts for the Vitebsk region, a position the enabled him to carry out his idea of creating a revolutionary art school in his city, open to everyone, free of charge, and with no age restrictions. The People's Art School was he perfect embodiment of Bolshevik values, and was approved in August 1918.  A month later, Chagall was appointed Commissar of Arts.  El Lissitsky and Kazimir Malevich, leading exponents of the Russian avant-garde, were the two of the artists invited to teach at the school. Each of these major figures sought, in his own distinctive fashion, to develop a "Leftist Art" in tune with the revolutionary emphasis on collectivism, education and innovation.
      In ensuring years, Chagall's dream was to develop a revolutionary art independent of style or dogma, but this came to an end in the spring of 1920. He decided to leave Vitebsk in June and went to work for the Jewish theater in Moscow.  A number of designs he produced for the theater are also on view. 
      PUBLIC PROGRAMS:  In conjunction with the exhibition, the Jewish Museum presents a series of public and family programs featuring speakers such as Marc Chagall's granddaughter Bella Meyer December 6 and noted architect Daniel Libeskind on December 13, and a family day on October 21.  Visit: TheJewishMuseum.org or call 212.423.3200. Located 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!!  This breathtaking leap into modernism at revolutionary times is worthy of a trio uptown. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Check out the links to Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com. Just click in the left hand column to the Blog that resonates with your interest.