Monday, December 17, 2018

KEVIN BEASLEY: A View of a Landscape: Review By Polly Guerin

Kevin Beasley
"Artists are a unique breed. They search the inner circle of their soul to inspire creativity. They work alone, their ideas grow out of the depths of their imagination. They are innovators, risk takers who create works defined by their personal history. Like solo fliers, they have the courage to take flight  with new ideas and on the path of creativity they never stop until the work is done. They work around the clock to create something rare and unexpected, yes--something never done before. (Quote from Dynamics of color by Polly Guerin)l
      For his most ambitious exhibition to date, Kevin Beasley confronts the legacy of the American South in a powerful new installation that explores the intersection of history labor, land, and race.  Reclaiming a 1915 electric motor that once powered a cotton gin on an Alabama farm during the middle of the twentieth century,  Beasley creates a multipart installation in which he distills the visual and auditory experiences of the machine. KEVIN BEASLEY: A VIEW OF LANDSCAPE opened recently in the Whitney museum's eighth floor Hurst Family Galleries                                                                        
Rebuilding of the Cotton Gin Motor

and runs through March 10, 2019. 
       THE ARTIST SPEAKS; "For me, this exhibition embodies a continued reconciliation that can extend to the broader public. Are we reflecting on this history collectively," said Beasley "And are we taking the necessary steps to generate a fresh approach and change to systemic issues that persist today?"
      Through the use of microphones soundproofing, and audio hardware the installation detaches the physical motor from he sounds it produces, enabling visitors to have distinct sensorial experiences. There, the motors sounds, heard through an arrangement of speakers set at different amplifications, form a sonic landscape. A series of performances by Beasley and other artists whom he has invited to perform will take place in the galleries throughout the run of the exhibition.  Currently scheduled, Saturday January 12, Kevin Beasley with Taja Cheek, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalist. Saturday, Jan. 26, Eli Keszler, artist, composer, and percussionist.  For other performance times and ticketing, visit Beasley.
Left: The Reunion Right: Campus 
"SLAB" SCULPTURES: The exhibition also includes new large-scale "slab" sculptures made with a range of materials central to Beasley's practice such as polyurethane resin, housedresses, electric appliances, and raw cotton from the artist's native Virginia, where his family has owned land for generations.  The sculptures suggest a narrative in three parts, beginning with image Left:The Reunion, 2018, Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia cotton, Virginia soil, Virginia twigs, Virginia pine cones and needles, housedresses, kaftans, T-Shirts, du-rags, HID light bulb, guinea fowl feathers, cotton bale strap, aluminum, and steels. Right: Campus, Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia cotton, housedresses, kaftan's,T-Shirts, du-rags, select pages from the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Charles Joseph Minard Civil War-era cotton trade map, painted clown masks, Yale University School of Art graduation collar, graduation cap, graduation gowns, Yale University sweater, Campus duffle bag, aluminum and steel. Both from the Collection of the Artist, courtesy of Casey Kaplan, New York.

        Ta Ta /Darlings:  This solo flier makes a bold historically fused statement. Through the use of these materials, the works account for the lived histories shared by he artist, the continued journey of the machine, and the greater context of the American landscape. Fan mail always welcome at  Visit Polly's other Blogs at and click in the left-hand column to access the Blog that resonates with your interest. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

EPIC ABSTRACTION at The Met Fifth Ave: Review by Polly Guerin

Jackson Pollock 
If you have ever been bewildered by the message the abstract painters were projecting on canvas you need to no further for creative clarification than The Metropolitan Museum of Art, opening Monday, December 17th with EPIC ABSTRACTION: Pollock to Herrera.  
      The exhibition begins with the 1940s and extends into the 21st century and explores large-scale abstract painting, sculpture, and assemblage through more than 50 works from The Met collection and includes a selection of loans, promised gifts and new acquisitions. Iconic works from The Met collection, such as Jackson Pollock's classic "drip" painting and Louise Nevelson's monumental Mrs. N's Palace highlight works by international artists, such as, Japanese painter Kazuo Shiraga and the Hungarian artist IIona Keseru.
Image: Jackson Pollock (American 1912-1956) Enamel on Canvas 1950, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection. Gift of Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman, in honor of her grandchildren, Ellen Steinberg, Coven and Dr. Peter Steinberg 2006. Artists Rights Society (ARS) 2018 New York.
      In the 1940s Pollock developed the "drip" technique for which he became renowned and his work grew to monumental sizes; he eventually discarded the easel to paint on and around unstretched canvases splayed on the studio floor. The drips, splatters, and whips of paint record his bodily experience in the process of painting, but they also evince a high degree of control and intentional effects. Abstract Expressionism was promoted as exemplary of American democracy and freedom during the early years of the Cold War, and Pollock's art began exerting an international influence in this context. He reinvented the medium of painting as experimental, a kind of performance. Well over fifty years after their creation these works retain their audacious dynamism and sense of daring.
      THE ARTISTS REACT: In the wake of unprecedented destruction and loss of life during World War II, many painters and sculptors working in the 1940s grew to believe that traditional easel painting and figurative no longer adequately conveyed the human condition. In this context numerous artists, including Barnett Newman, Pollock and others associated with the so called New York School, were convinced that abstract styles---often on large scale---most meaningfully evoked contemporary states of being. Many of the artists represented in Epic Abstraction worked in large in large formats not only to explore aesthetic elements of line, color, shape and texture but also to activate scale's potential to evoke expansive---'epic' ideas and subjects, including time, history, nature, the body, and existential concerns of the self.        
Carmen Herrera
      "The Met's great holdings of
 post-war art include some of the most celebrated examples of Abstract Expressionism. This exhibit is an important reinterpretation of a core area of the Museum's collection as it expands beyond the familiar to include fresh and perhaps surprising perspectives of artist's who have adopted, adapted, and even critiqued the precedents established by the well know New York School," said Max Hollein, Director of the Museum. "These monumental works also offer a powerful---even mesmerizing---experience." Image: Carmen Herrera, Cuban born 1915, EQUILBRIO 2012 Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60." The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Promised gift of Estrellita and David Brodsky. (c) Carmen Herrera.                                   
Louise Nevelson
The exhibition also includes a range of major works composed of found objects and repurposed materials, including the installations centerpiece Louise Nevelson's Mrs. N's Palace, Chakala Booker's Raw Attraction and Thornton Dials elegiac Shadows in the Field, which evokes the history of American slavery. The exhibition also features a gallery of works by the next generation of artists, including Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Marigold, Alejandro Puente and Anne Truitt, who worked in the hard edge, minimalist styles that came to define modern art in the 1960s and l970s. Image: Mrs. N's Palace (1964-71) Painted wood. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift of the artist 1985. (c) 2018 Estate of Louise Nevelson/Artist Rights Society (ARS) New York.

CONCERT PROGRAM: In conjunction with the exhibition, a concert in the MetLiveArts Sight and Sound series, "Abstraction in Music and Art" will feature Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now performing works by the radical modernist Anton Webern and experimental composer Morton Feldman, who mirrored the Abstract Expressionist painters and took his inspiration from their work. Performance on May 19, 2019, at 2 p.m. in The Met Fifth Avenue Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, will be preceded by a discussion accompanied by musical excerpts performed alongside on-screen artworks.  Tickets start at $30. Bring Kids for $1 are also available. Info: (
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! Come in out of the cold and visit Epic Abstraction's iconic artists. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the
link in the left hand column to the Blog that resonates with your interest.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Sarah Josepha Hale: Mother of Thanksgiving: By Polly Guerin

A Thanksgiving Legend: Sarah Josepha Hale By Polly Guerin

As we celebrate Thanksgiving 2018 there are so many more reasons to be thankful. However, none is more interesting than the reminder, "Let us not forget," it was Sarah Josepha Hale, a petite crusader in crinoline, the pioneering Victorian who inspired President Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. 
      Sarah Josepha Hale’s relentless handwritten letter campaign spanned a period of almost three decades in which she urged that Thanksgiving be declared a holiday. With tireless zeal she penned thousands of editorials and wrote handwritten letters to prominent, citizens, governors and went right to the White House, addressing the issue to United States President. She never gave up letter writing her campaign, which had its inspiration at that time for the unification of the country
       As the dark days of the Civil War divided the country into two armed camps Mrs. Hale’s editorials became more vigilant. Who would listen to a lone woman with her persistent plea for "just one day of peace amidst the blood and strife"? Eventually she came to see the nationalization of Thanksgiving not only as a day for counting our blessings, but as a logical bond of union, one more means of drawing the sympathies of the country together. 
Year after year without typewriter or the convenience of a computer Sarah Josepha Hale continued to pour out hundreds handwritten letters, which were sent to influential people urging them to join in establishing the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
     With the country gripped in the North and South divide, Mrs. Hale’s concept of unity finally caught the attention of one man in the White House. Prompted by a letter she had written to Secretary of State William Seward in 1863 President Lincoln recognized the urgency for unification and promptly issued a proclamation appointing the last Thursday in November as a day of national Thanksgiving in America.
                                                                                     HALE, THE LADY EDITOR 
      Sarah Josepha Hale succeeded at a time when there were few opportunities for women to escape the drudgery of domesticity. In addition, like other women of her era, she had been denied a formal education but found refuge in her father’s library, self-educating herself. 
      After her husband died, leaving her penniless, she wrote and published a novel, Northwood, which captured the attention of a Boston publishing firm. She was offered editorship of one of their periodicals in 1836 and at the age of 40, with five children to support, she left her home town of Newport, New Hampshire and moved to Boston to assume the post of Lady Editor. Running one of the most powerful magazines in the country did not escape critics, but she always explained that she was forced to hold down a job to feed her children.
       Sarah Josepha Hale, as Lady Editor of Godey's Ladies Journal, was the arbiter of parlor etiquette, fashion, manners and intellect. As a journalist, lobbyist, career woman and crusader in crinoline she spoke her mind and succeeded where others had failed. A petite woman, she dressed in the crinoline style of the Victorian era. However, even in this cumbersome attire and the pressing restrains of society, she championed numerous women’s issues bringing about a number of important improvements in the lives of women in the Victorian era. She was the first to advocate women as teachers in public schools. She demanded for housekeeping the dignity of a profession and put the term “domestic science” into the language. Sarah Josepha Hale was to prove to be unique exception of her times.
        In addition, she helped to establish Vassar College, the first college for women. Hale was highly civic minded and among her credits she promoted the movement to preserve Mount Vernon as a National memorial and raised the money that finished the Bunker Hill Monument. How she found the time, I will never know, but this prolific lady was also the author of some two dozen books and hundreds of poems, including the best known children’s rhyme in the English language, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
       Sarah Josepha Hale stepped from the shelter of an early nineteenth century marriage untrained, unschooled and stepped forward to become the nation’s most celebrated Lady Editor. For her patriotic part in nationalizing Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! As we look forward to Thanksgiving may you have many more reasons to celebrate a rich harvest of plenty and many more Blessings.Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs on on fashion, visionary men, women determined to succeed and poetry.

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  Visit Polly's Blogs at 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

       PUBLIC OROGRAMS: Program additions, information, schedules and ticket info are available at  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 Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the links in the left-hand column to fashion, women determined to succeed and visionary men.


Monday, October 15, 2018


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 
      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 Visit Polly's Blogs at 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 Visit Polly's other Blogs at

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; 
        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 Visit Polly's Blogs at 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: 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
     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 Visit Polly's Blogs at 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: 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  Check out the links to Polly's other Blogs at Just click in the left hand column to the Blog that resonates with your interest.

Monday, September 10, 2018

COMPETING WITH GIANTS: Book Review By Polly Guerin

The dynamic Phuong Uyen Tran, a spokeswoman who not only represents her family's business, Tan Hiep Phat (THP) as its world ambassador, she represents the new Vietnamese woman making her mark with an innate focus on modern Vietnam. 
       Phuong recently arrived in New York City and invited friends, family and press to an extravagant book launch party for COMPETING WITH GIANTS at her publisher, Forbes Books Center on lower Fifth Avenue. I was there, and to my delight her mother and father (the founders of THP) happened to sit on a sofa at the presentation right next to me, and through an interpreter I had the most delightful opportunity to learn more about the company.
      Phuong's debut monograph, COMPETING WITH GIANTS, is a riveting story of how her family launched a business against a devastating backdrop of war, crippling trade sanctions and record hyperinflation. "It is never easy to compete with giants," says Phuong, "let alone face them down. For families that lived through the early post American years in Vietnam, it was one crisis after another.  Yet our family not only survived and thrived, it built one of the largest businesses in Southeast Asia from scratch."
     Proficient in English and never at a loss for words, Phuong recalls how her father, Tran Qui
Thanh, started out with nothing but two rice bowls and four chopsticks. Eventually the company grew so large with market share that Coca Cola wanted to buy it for more than $2 billion. 
Guest and right Phuong Uyen Tran
  FATHER KNOWS BEST Her father, Tran Qui Thanh, founder, chairman and CEO of the beverage 
company, Tan Hiep Phat (THP) turned down the offer from Coca Cola and with good reason. 
      A visionary businessman Thanh's THP company was ahead of its time and with close ties to local culture it was on the wavelength of people's preference for healthy drinks. The company now supplies beverages, including herbal and green teas, sports and energy drinks, soya milk and purified waters across Vietnam plus 16 countries, including China and Australia.
     Today, THP is Vietnam's largest family-owned manufacturer in the "fast moving consumer goods category, employing more than 5,000 staff members nationwide."  Phuong's family legacy is a story that proves that David can indeed compete with (and even outperform) Goliath.
WHAT PHUONG LEARNED FROM HER FATHER ALWAYS APPLIES IN ANY FAMILY BUSINESS is revealed in detail in the book. Herewith is an abbreviated  summary of three of the five values:
CreateAuthentic Products  Authentic local products are heard to beat because they can beat the big guys in product, price, promotion and place.
Govern Growth The best companies prepare for the inevitable ups and downs of business by by growing slowly and methodically.
Motivate Employees As companies get bigger, they must focus on how employees work with each other, as well as senior management and customers. 
      COMPETING WITH GIANTS is a consuming book of interest narrated by the author who watched her parents overcome numerous obstacles to achieve success.  The book shows that small companies , which take advantage of their local knowledge and marry it to the best of international standards, can hold their own and even outflank giant global corporations. Phuong says, "Whether you start with rice bowls or owning the entire rice factory, scaling a business requires discipline and good old fashioned family values."    
Tran Qui Thanh and author/daughter Phuong Uyen Tran 
PHUONG UYEN TRAN CEO of the THP Group is a powerful woman representing modern Vietnam with an entreprenural spirit filled with the fire of multi-faceted optimism . She is responsible for the company's marketing, public relations, and CSR programs nationally and across Vietnam's 63 provinces. She also leads THP's international marketing programs across 16 countries where 
HTP's products are distributed including Canada and China.  (
       Her book,COMPETING WITH GIANTS was realized wtih Jackie Horne and John Kador. Forward by Brian Tracy.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! As reviewer John Murphy, Founder of Interbrand said, "A seriously valuable contribution. If you aspire to build a major international brand on foundations rooted in an emerging economy, this is the book for you."  Fan mail welcome at
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Monday, August 27, 2018

PINK: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color:: Review By Polly Guerin

Stirring up a rich palette the passion for pink provokes exceptionally strong feelings of both attraction and repulsion.  Yet, it is increasingly being regarded as cool and androgynous, powerful and political.  Although pink is popularly associated with little girls, ballerinas, and all things feminine. the stereotype of pink-for-girls and blue-for-boys only really gained traction in the United States in the mid-20th century. It is interesting to note, however, that in ancient heraldic parlance pink (not blue) was designated for boys, because it was determined that the red undertone in pink represented courage and masculinity.

The Museum at FIT presents PINK: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color September 7 to January 5, 2019.  Organized by the museum's director and chief curator, Valerie Steele, PINK features approximately 80 ensembles from the 18th century to the present, with examples by designers and brands such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Alessandro Michele of Gucci, Jeremy Scott of Moschino, and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. Image left: Comme des Garsons ensemble, "18th Century Punk" collection fall-winter 2016, Japan, Museum purchase.
    PINK corrects popular misconceptions, encourages viewers to question cliches and received opinion, and demonstrates that "It is society that 'makes' color, define it, gives it meaning," said
the great color historian Michel Pastoureau.
      Topics will include the significance of pink clothing in Western and non-Western cultures, including India, Africa, Mexico, and Japan, the use of pink in eighteenth century portraiture, associations of pink with politics, gender and sexuality, and the use of pink in cinema. 
        For instance, THE 1950s are notorious as the era of the "feminine mystique" when gender stereotyping was reinforced throughout society and the pink-for-girls, blue-for-boys gender coding took off  Naturally there are many 1950s feminine pink dresses for girls and women, but Brooks Brothers took a leap into the pink phase and sold pink shirts for men.  THE 1960s continued to witness the popularity of many "pretty in pink" dresses, such as a 1960 cocktail dress by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior.
Then, the THE 1970s saw a decline in pink fashion, although fluorescent pink emerged as a stunner. by THE 1980s, pink was back in fashion, although often, as with a 1980 hot pink "power suit" by Claude Montana, it also served to acknowledged women's growing authority.      

In addition to the clothing and accessories on display, there is a fascinating diorama of pink toys and dress-up clothes for girls, dating from the 1950s to present including dolls, "princess" costumes, My Little Pony and other highly gendered commodities. Image Right: Celine dress, spring 2017, France.
Gift of Celine.
    A FASHION SYMPOSIUM, October 19 will be held in the Marvin Feldman Center, second floor Admission to the symposium is FREE. To register go to or call the number 212-217-4585. In addition, Special Programs include THE HISTORY OF PINK, Thursday, September 16th, at noon when author Valerie Steele, will discuss the exhibition and book, THE HISTORY OF a PUNK, PRETTY, POWERFUL COLOR. A book signing will follow the presentation.  
        Reservations are required for all events, as space is limited. To register go to Seats are first come, first served with RSVP.  Family activities EXPLORING PINK will be held Friday, November 9, 4 pm and Friday November 16, 4 pm.
    TA TA DARLINGS!!! Just naming PINK has had its run of amusing colorful names including Lilly Pulitzer pink, Flamingo Pink, Watermelon pink, Persian Rose, Schiaparelli Pink. Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at It may also interest you to order my latest book THE DYNAMICS OF COLOR, sold on Amazon. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Brooks Brothers 200th Anniversary: Review By Polly Guerin

Two centuries of remarkable staying power marks BROOKS BROTHERS, 200 YEARS OF AMERICAN STYLE, in a special exhibition tracing the iconic retailer's accomplishments, cultural significance and global influence.            Acclaimed as the oldest men's clothing store in the United States, Brooks Brothers flagship store was opened in 1915 at 345 Madison Avenue at 44th Street, where it remains today. 
        The retrospective exhibition, however, is held at Grand Central Terminal - Vanderbilt Hall, where a sampling of of men's and women's fashion, artifacts and ephemera trace---Brooks Brothers inventions and innovations---such as the ready-made suit and other ready-to-wear tailored clothing in the 19th century. Some visitors will wax nostalgic over the original Polo (r) Button-down oxford, the reverse-stripe rep tie, the polo coat and sporting apparel later adapted as "de rigueur" daily wear.    
Brooks Brothers Exhibit at Vanderbilt Hall
"Our anniversary marks a significant and important milestone not only for Brooks Brothers but also for the retail industry," said Claudio del Vecchio, chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers. "This is a moment to celebrate 200 years steeped in both tradition and innovation."

200 HUNDRED YEARS: Since opening its doors in downtown in Old New York, Brooks Brothers has held a steady pace of growth from a small family haberdasher to a global brand that has shaped and defined American style.
      On April 7, 1818, at the age of 45, Henry Sands Brooks opened a store on the northeast corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in lower Manhattan. An astute businessman, he proclaimed that his guiding principle was, "To make and deal in merchandise of the finest quality, to sell at a fair profit, and to deal with people who seek and appreciate such merchandise."
        In 1833, his four sons, Elisha Daniel, Edward, and John, inherited the family business and in 1850 renamed the company, "Brooks Brothers.  Throughout the years, maintaining its reputation as a pinnacle of quality and taste, Brooks Brothers has been associated with New York's historical events. For instance, in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln wore a custom-made Brooks Brothers coat to his second inauguration. He was also wearing it when he was assassinated a month later.  In addition to outfitting Abraham Lincoln, Brooks Brothers outfitted 40 of the 45 American Presidents in the late 19th century and tailored many distinctive uniforms for elite regiments of    
Archival Exhibit Abraham Lincoln
the New York National Guard. 
        The haberdasher's legendary association
with political figures, celebrities, corporate moguls, and their devoted followers, men of style, runs deep into their archival history. In 1957 Brooks Brothers introduced Argyle socks to America and in 1961 they designed the #2 suit--a favorite of longtime customer
President John F. Kennedy. 
       Entering the global market in 2008 Brooks Brothers was one of the first international brands to expand in Japan.
THE GOLDEN FLEECE SYMBOL: The Golden Fleece symbol was adopted as the company's trademark in 1850 and has signified heritage, quality and legendary service ever since. The logo, a sheep suspended from a ribbon, has served as a symbol of fine wool since the fifteen century, when Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy---an area renowned for its woolen fabric---founded the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1430. Reflecting its association to the symbol of fine woolens, the Knights of the Golden Fleece were among the best dressed and most colorful in all of chivalric Europe. When the four Books brothers painted this lamb over their door, they used the icon to symbolize the European tradition on which the company based its early identity. As standard bearers of tradition the Golden Fleece signifies that behind Brooks Brothers' doors, customers find quality, heritage and excellence.
       Ta Ta Darlings!!! It's nice to know that Brooks Brothers is a as modern as modern gets and even has a women's fashion division. Fan mail welcome, email Visit
Polly's other Blogs at and click in the left hand column to the Blog that
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Monday, August 6, 2018

BRANCUSI, The Originalist at MoMA: Review By Polly Gueri

Mille Pogany, Version 1 1913 
Constantin Brancusi's risk taking and inventive approach to form changed the course of the art that followed. As such he is often regarded as the most important sculptor of the 20th century.  
       "Simplicity is not the end of art. We usually arrive at simplicity as we approach the true sense of things."   Constantin Brancusi quote           
        The Museum of Modern Art's exhibition celebrates MoMA's extraordinary holdings---eleven sculptures by Brancusi are shown together for the first time alongside drawings, films and photographs. A selection of never-before-seen archival materials shed light on his relationship with friends, sitters, and patrons On view through November, 2018
      Looking back at the first showing of Constantin Brancusi's work in the 1913 Armory Show, one writer reflected that sculptures on view were "disturbing, so disturbing that they completely altered the attitude of a great many New Yorkers towards a whole branch of art." 
       Indeed Brancusi's beguilingly simple forms looked like nothing else, then or since. This sculpture is a portrait of Margit Pogany, a Hungarian artist who sat for Brancusi several times, while she was in Paris studying painting. Shortly after her return to Hungary, Brancusi carved a marble Mille Pogany from memory, then cast four versions, including this one in bronze. The work was a significant departure from conventional portraiture. Large almond-shaped eyes overwhelm the oval face, and a black patina represents the hair. As with other motifs, this was a subject Brancusi would return to and rework in the years to come.
Bird in Space,  1928
His visionary sculptures often exemplify ideal and archetypal representations of their subject matter. Bearing icon titles such as Fish, Princess X and Bird in Space, his sculptures are deceptively single, with their reduced forms aiming to reveal hidden truths. Unlike Auguste Rodin, for whom Brancusi briefly assisted early in his career, Brancusi worked directly with his materials pioneering the technique of direct carving, rather than working in plaster or clay models. 

       Explaining that "The artist should know how to dig out the being that is within matter." Brancusi sought to create sculptures that conveyed the true essences of his subjects be they animals, people, or objects by concentrating on highly simplified forms free from ornamentation. While many regarded his work as abstract, the artist disagreed; he insisted on representational nature of his works, asserting that they disclosed a fundamental, often concealed, reality.
     Brancusi once said, "Do not look for obscure formulas or mystery in my work. It is pure joy that I offer you. Look at my sculptures until you see them. Those closest to God have seen them"
       Brancusi's work was largely fueled by myths, folklore, and "primitive" cultures.These traditional old-world sources of inspiration formed a unique contrast to the often sleek appearance of his works, resulting in a distinctive blend of modernity and timelessness. 
      Rather than modeling in clay like his peers, Brancusi carved his work directly from wood or stone or cast it in bronze. Simultaneously, he rejected realism, preferring that his sculptures evoke rather than resemble the subjects named in their titles.    
Brancusi Installation at MoMA
CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI (1926-1957) was born in rural Romania and moved to Paris in 1904 where he established his studio and quickly immersed himself in avant-garde art circles. In his adopted city, he embraced an experimental modern spirit, including an interest in modern machines and popular culture. With his friend, Man Ray, he made films that captured his life in the studio--working with his materials and muses, activating his artworks through movement and recombination, and revealing his sources of inspiration such as animals at play, light in nature, and dance. Yet, until his death her proudly presented himself as an outsider, cultivating his image as a peasant, with a long beard, work shirt, and sandals.

      Ta Ta Darlings!!!  The contradiction of Brancusi's appearance also informed his art making which was dependent on ancient techniques as much as modern technologies. Fan mail is always
welcome  Visit Polly's other Blogs on