Monday, April 12, 2010

Flowers & Nudes, Ceramics & Sex, & Too Much Whitney?


ARTS ALMANAC-

April 12, 1883: Imogen Cunningham, American portrait & plant photographer, was born. Cunningham "is renowned as one of the greatest American women photographers. In 1901, having sent away $15 for her first camera, she commenced what would become the longest photographic career in the history of the medium. Cunningham soon turned her attention to both the nude as well as native plant forms in her back garden. The results were staggering; an amazing body of work comprised of bold, contemporary forms. These works are characterized by a visual precision that is not scientific, but which presents the lines and textures of her subjects articulated by natural light and their own gestures. Her refreshing, yet formal and sensitive floral images from the 1920’s ultimately became her most acclaimed images.

Cunningham also had an intuitive command of portraiture but her real artistic legacy was secured though her inclusion in the "F64" show in San Francisco in 1932. With a small group of photographers which included Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, she pioneered the renewal of photography on the West Coast. Awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, Cunningham’s work continues to be exhibited and collected around the world."


IN THE NEWS-

- Rift in Family as Whitney Plans a Second Home : "When the cosmetics heir Leonard A. Lauder gave $131 million to the Whitney Museum of American Art two years ago, it was the biggest donation in the institution’s history, and it came with one important stipulation: The Whitney could not sell its popular but cramped home on Madison Avenue in the foreseeable future. Now an expansion plan that involves building a second museum downtown has opened a rift on the museum’s 45-member board, which includes some of the wealthiest art patrons in New York." Read the full story


MORE ARTS ALMANAC-

April 12, 1705: William Cookworthy, English porcelain pioneer, was born. Cookworthy was the son of a poor Quaker weaver who walked 200 miles to apprentice to a druggist and eventually became a successful apothecary. In the 1740s Cookworthy came across Jesuit missionary Pere Entrecolles' account of porcelain manufacturing in China. He experimented with imported china clay from Virginia, before searching for, and locating, a source of good porcelain clay in Cornwall (which supplies good quality clay to this day). In 1766 he opened a small porcelain factory in Plymouth and in 1768 he patented his porcelain-making process. He eventually took his cousin, Richard Champion into partnership and founded the famous pottery at Bristol (which Champion, after Cookworthy's retirement, would run into the ground through financial mismanagement -but that's another story).


IN OUR STORE-

"Sex Pots. Eroticism in Ceramics"

By Paul Mathieu.
Published by the Rutgers University Press in 2003.

A sweeping survey heavily oriented, as might be expected, to 20th century work, but there were racy potters throughout history. The sections of erotic pottery from ancient South and Central America and ancient Greece and Rome are no surprise; the eye-opening chapter written by Catherine Hess devoted to erotic Renaissance maiolica may startle a few people.

$50.00