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Art Finds

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Arizona Week—The Impressive Musical Instrument Museum

When Lisa mentioned to me that there was a museum devoted to music in the northern outskirts of Phoenix, I initially scoffed at the idea, having already been to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Jimi Hendrix Experience in Seattle. Thankfully, she persuaded me to visit the Musical Instrument Museum since it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. Unfortunately, we didn’t have nearly enough time to view the entire collection in this large building (give yourself at least 2 hours, preferably 3 hours). We went upstairs first to see the exhibitions devoted to music around the world. In the European galleries, display cases are arranged by country. Simply walk up to the Belarus video and your headset will automatically play the indigenous folk music of that country. In fact, the headset was amazing, immediately picking up the music in front of you without having to input numbers. In the United States/Canada gallery, I loved seeing the old clips of Coltrane and Miles in the jazz section, Natalie MacMaster work her fiddle in the Cape Breton display, and Lalo Guerrero singing about his native Barrio Viejo in Tucson, which we had just visited the day prior. Downstairs in the Artist Gallery, you’ll find the piano John Lennon used to write “Imagine,” Stevie Ray Vaughn’s signature guitar which he jams on in a video clip, and wardrobes worn by Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Taylor Swift. Nearby is the Experience Gallery, where you can pound the drums, try the xylophone, and other bizarre metal instruments that seemed better suited for Tibetan monks. A whole lot of fun that’s highly recommended when you’re next in Phoenix. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/24/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, January 02, 2017

Top 5 Dream Days in 2016, Savoring the Art Scene in Cape Town

Frankly, every day we spent in Cape Town in September was a dream, from strolling the magnificent gardens of Kirstenbosch to sampling the wines of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek to biking the Cape of Good Hope. But it’s hard to top the first day in Cape Town, waking up to a gluttonous feast at the classic Mount Nelson Hotel and then being escorted to the top art studios in town by local bead merchant, Stephen Long. The Gallery Shop, on bustling Church Street (48), is a gem of a small store selling colorfully beaded jewelry, sculpture, wall hangings, pillowcases, and more. Owner Lorin Strieman used to run the gift shop at the National Gallery and she has a great eye for contemporary South African craft. It’s hard not to purchase all the whimsical beaded animals at Monkeybiz. It was wonderful to walk upstairs and see the artists sitting together and laughing while creating art. Just as alluring was the work at Streetwires, where sculpture of all sizes is created by wire and bead. Bags in hand from all the goods we purchased, we visited the colorful houses and mosques found in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood still home to a large Cape Malay population. That evening, we were back in the center of town for First Thursday Art Walk, a great opportunity to see all the art galleries on Church Street with a glass of Stellenbosch pinotage in hand. That’s what I call a Dream Day! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/02/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, December 12, 2016

Stocking Stuffer No. 1: Jim Jermanok’s “Beyond the Craft”

Having sat next to my brother at a number of his workshops, including stops at Harvard and the Seattle Film Festival, I know firsthand how incredibly inspirational his talks can be. Jim’s already worn so many hats in the entertainment world—talent agent to stars like Alan Arkin and Helen Hayes, screenwriter, director, theater director, documentarian, award-winning producer—and known so much talent that have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and others that have failed miserably. In fact, he’s distinctly qualified to understand and analyze why some people can make a good living pursuing their creative ambitions and others stuff those dreams away in a dimly lit office far from their film, art, or journalism schools. Take it from a guy who’s worked as a full-time travel writer and screenwriter for the past two decades, Spielberg is not going to call on line one and you’ll be marketing far more than you’ll be writing. 

Finally Jim has organized all of his thoughts and anecdotes into one book, Beyond The Craft, published this past September. Not only will you learn how to network effectively, creating a detailed marketing plan of follow-up phone calls, but you’ll understand the necessity of knowing everything about the business side, most importantly who are the players who can hire you or show your wares. Jim also delves into the psychological aspects of dealing with rejection and the importance of surrounding yourself with incredibly supportive friends. He’s literally been all over the world delivering his seminar on How to Live a Creative Life. In fact, Jim just returned from Amman and Tel Aviv teaching filmmakers and writers on how to best make their voices and visions shine. Beyond the Craft should be mandatory reading at every film and art school across the nation, a pragmatic step-by-step guide to making your dreams a reality. If you don’t believe me, take it from the guy in the picture with Jim, Martin Landau, who knows a thing or two about success. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/12/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Seeing the Art of Cape Town

On our first full day in Cape Town, Lisa and I took the sage advice of a South African art collector and hired Stephen Long as our guide for the day. Stephen is well known in the Cape Town arts community (and to the shaman of the Eastern Cape) as one of the most renowned bead dealers in the region. Many of the beads you find in the beadwork of South African art is actually imported from Venice, the Czech Republic, and now China. Our first stop was the South African National Gallery, where we viewed activist art created during the oppressive apartheid regime. One of the most disturbing pieces is the three life-sized figures with horns and no mouths called The Butcher Boys, created in plaster by Jane Alexander.

Then it was time see some of the impressive local crafts found in the city. The Gallery Shop, on bustling Church Street (48), is a gem of a small store selling colorfully beaded jewelry, sculpture, wall hangings, pillowcases, and more. Owner Lorin Strieman used to run the gift shop at the Natioanl Gallery and she has a great eye for contemporary South African craft. It’s hard not to purchase all the whimsical beaded animals at Monkeybiz. The pieces were created by impoverished, HIV-positive women who were trained as artists to make a living. It was wonderful to walk upstairs and see all these women sitting together and laughing while creating art. Just as alluring is the work at Streetwires, where sculpture of all sizes is created by wire and bead. Like Monkeybiz, you can walk upstairs to see the large group of artists at work. Bags in hand from all the goods we purchased, we visited the colorful houses and mosques found in the nearby Bo-Kaap neighborhood still home to a large Cape Malay population. All of our purchases are now back at our house, cherished from our memorable day with Stephen. We’re happy to pass along his contact information to anyone who’s interested in hiring him for the day. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/27/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 08, 2016

Lawren Harris Finally Goes Solo

When the actor Steve Martin first viewed a painting by Lawren Harris, he mistook it for a work by Rockwell Kent. 

         
“I thought it was the best Rockwell Kent I’ve ever seen,” says Martin, punctuated by his legendary laugh. “It was breathtaking.”
 
That was over 20 years ago and soon Martin was in the home of longtime Harris collector, Ken Thomson, purchasing several of his canvases. When Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, saw these paintings at Martin’s house during dinner one evening, she came up with a “wild and crazy” idea. Showcase the mid-career paintings of Lawren Harris and allow America’s version of a modern-day Renaissance Man, Steve Martin, the opportunity to curate the show. The result is “The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris,” on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston though June 12 after a successful run at the Hammer Museum. The exhibition will next travel to Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario in July and afterwards return the majority of these works back to the their respective Canadian institutions in time for the country’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2017.
 
To read my review of the Lawren Harris show at the MFA, please see the latest issue of Everett Potter’s Travel Report.  
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/08/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Don’t Miss the Women Modernists Show at Norton Museum of Art

On our last day in Florida, we made the wise move to drive the convertible to the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach. As luck would have it, a new exhibition had just opened, “Women Modernists in New York,” showcasing the works of four friends from the 1920s and 30s, Marguerite Zorach, Helen Torr, Florine Stettheimer, and the best known of the quartet, Georgia O’Keeffe. I’ve never been a big fan of Zorach’s work, a little too primitive and naïve for me. But the exhibition became intriguing in the next gallery focusing on the works of Helen Torr. Torr was Arthur Dove’s wife, and while the art world was reaping accolades on her adoring husband, they were ridiculing the work of Torr (and, for that matter, most work by women artists at the time). Her charcoals of still lifes are wonderful, but most striking were Torr’s two self-portraits where you can see in those sorrowful eyes the world beating down on her. The next room was a delight, a sampling of works by Florence Stettheimer. On one wall she painted herself and her two sisters wearing garb straight out of a Charleston dance, reclining as if they were sitting on chaise lounge chairs. It’s no wonder one of her works recently sold at auction for $4.5 million. Her joie de vivre and sheer ebullience radiates throughout the room. Thankfully her sister dismissed her request to destroy all her works of art upon her death. 
 
O’Keeffe, of course, is the star of the show. One glance at her vibrant palette in “Red Maple at Lake George” (1926) and I was immediately transported back to my boyhood stomping grounds. But the Norton Museum scored a real coup by getting the National Gallery of Art to part with their series of six Jack-in-the-Pulpit canvases, where O’Keeffe reduces the hyper-sensualized flower down to its abstract parts. I could have stared at this wall for hours, but had to catch a flight back to Boston. If you’re in South Florida at any point until May 15th, do yourself a favor and see this show. If you want to read a manuscript of the story I originally wrote for Art & Antiques Magazine on O’Keeffe’s years in Lake George with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, please email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/25/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Miami’s Wynwood Walls Continues to Mesmerize

Last time I visited that street art museum they coined Wynwood Walls in Miami, I had lunch at the newly opened restaurant, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. I remember walking inside and being blown away by the massive mural Shepard Fairey painted behind the restaurant’s bar. Just as exciting was the wonderfully whimsical and colorful work by Brazilian identical twins, Os Gêmeos, best known in Boston as the pair who created the beloved 70-by-70 feet mural of a boy in pajamas that overlooked Dewey Square for more than a year. On that first visit, I met the daughter of Tony Goldman, the real estate developer who wanted to do something special for the start of Art Basel in 2009. Goldman wanted to bring the crowd into the emerging neighborhood of Wynwood, nestled between the Design District and downtown. Much of the industry here once centered around shoe manufacturing. When that went into decline in the 1980s and ’90s, those buildings became derelict. That’s when Goldman stepped in and started to buy some of the properties, envisioning a lively arts scene. 

 
Tony Goldman has since died but his vision of a street arts scene in Wynwood has both survived and thrived as I was privy to last week when I introduced my wife and daughter to the neighborhood. When I first came here 5 years ago, there was a slow trickle of avid art lovers. Now it’s a must-see stop on any tour of Miami, as crowds pour in to see the ever changing walls of street art. The beauty of graffiti is that no work is permanent so the roster of artists is always evolving. Thankfully, the works of Os Gêmeos and Shepard Fairey remain. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/23/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, February 01, 2016

Hieronymus Bosch Turns 500

Seven years ago, the director of a small museum in the Netherlands set out on an impossible quest: he wanted to borrow every surviving work in the world by the wildest imagination in the history of art, Hieronymus Bosch, to celebrate his 500th anniversary in the city of his birth. In an exhibition opening in February (February 13-May 8), Charles de Mooij will unveil his haul at his Noordbrabants museum in Den Bosch, officially known as 's-Hertogenbosch. He has secured 20 of the 25 surviving panels, including several reunited triptychs, and 19 of the 25 drawings, a collection he believes will never be assembled again. Many of the paintings could only travel because money from the Getty Foundation paid for state-of-the-art conservation work to clean the surfaces of the oak panels. This small Dutch city is planning to go bonkers with Bosch fever. There will be moving projections of Bosch paintings in the marketplace, and 3D recreations of angels, demons, damned souls, mermaids riding on flying fish, drunken priests, lascivious women, and monsters with the legs of a giant chicken and the body of an egg. Sounds like one exhibition that should not be missed. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/01/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, January 11, 2016

Stella Retrospective At the Whitney

I finally made it to the new Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan over Christmas break. The new building is located on Gansevoort Street, just off 14th street on the western edge of the island. The day was unseasonably warm when we went, so we took full advantage of the outdoor balconies to stare at the view of the Hudson River down to the Statue of Liberty. From the outside, the Whitney looks small. Once you walk in, however, and peer at the oversized works of sculptor and artist Frank Stella do you understand the immense length of the new building. Very few art museums could put on a retrospective of Stella because one sculpture can take over an entire room. The Whitney does an impressive job of showcasing his works. See the show before it leaves on February 7th and then take a walk on the nearby High Line, the popular 1.5-mile linear park, built from the dilapidated ruins of an elevated railway. It has completely reenergized this once overlooked part of the city. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/11/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Roots on the Rails Finally Heads East

Vermont might be gearing up for the fall foliage crowds, but the real party starts on Saturday, November 7th. That’s when Roots on the Rails, known for its train rides out West that feature live music performances, is staging its first Vermont trip. The round-trip train ride, which is four-hours each way, will climb over the Green Mountains, past covered bridges, villages, farms and gorges while guests listen to folk and indie rock artists perform 45-minute sets. The line-up includes Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Syd Straw, Winterpills, and the Meadow Brothers. The rest of the weekend package includes performances and receptions off the train at locations in Bellows Falls and Saxtons River, with lodging at the Saxtons River Inn. Packages for the weekend run from $429 to $889 per person and space is limited to 60 patrons.

 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/28/15 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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