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Art Finds

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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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Don’t Miss Van Gogh Show at The Clark

The blockbuster show in New England this summer is not at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. No, you’ll have to travel to the northwestern corner of Massachusetts to Williamstown to find the Clark Art Institute. On view until September 13th is “Van Gogh and Nature,” fifty paintings and drawings by Van Gogh from over thirty museums and private collections. We stopped at the Clark yesterday, on the way back from dropping our son off at Cornell, and, wow, was it worth the slight detour. The works from the last 3 years of his life, in Arles, Saint-Rémy, and Auvers, are spectacularly vibrant. There are wonderful pairings of sketches and oils, like two depictions of olive trees hung side-by-side. I also liked how the curator used maps to show exactly where in France these towns are located and provided large photographs to see how they would look during Van Gogh’s time. 

Inspired by Van Gogh’s work, you can take you own walk through glorious nature. Stroll through the Clark’s meadows atop Stone Hill for a wonderful vista of Mount Greylock and the town of Williamstown below. Take a breather on the bench inside Thomas Schütte’s “Crystal,” an open-sided architectural piece newly planted on the grounds. You know it’s just been built because it smells like fresh wood. Then make your way down to the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, also on the Clark property to find another gem of an exhibition devoted to “Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother),” otherwise known as Whistler’s Mother. Two small galleries of Whistler’s prints and drawings accompany the famous work. One glance at any of these works to see the mast of a ship, portrait of a niece, or buildings so small you’ll need a magnifying glass to find, and you’ll quickly appreciate Whistler’s immense talent. The Whistler show will be on view until September 27th, so make the effort to get here soon. You’ll thank me! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/25/15 at 07:05 AM
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Friday, May 08, 2015

Walk in the Footsteps of Canada’s Group of Seven Artists

Enter Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario and you can’t help be mesmerized by Canada’s source of artistic pride, the Group of Seven. These renowned landscape painters first exhibited together in 1920 at this same museum. Peering at the impressive mountains, lakes, and sky, I’ve often thought to myself that I’d love be at these exact spots in person. Over the years, some of my favorite stories have been following in the footsteps of artists, like visiting Winslow Homer’s Prouts Neck, Maine, or the Lake George Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband Alfred Stieglitz cherished. Now I’m hoping to get the chance to visit the landscape that inspired several of these Canadian greats, specifically A. Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael use used northeastern Ontario as their backdrop. First stop is Sudbury, where I’ll see many more works by these artists at the Art Gallery of Sudbury, and my first scenic overlook, the A. Y. Jackson Lookout outside of town. The highlight is Killarney Provincial Park, where I’ll be hiking and paddling smack dab in the middle of a Carmichael canvas, ringed by the La Cloche Mountains. I’ll continue along the Georgian Bay coastal route, with a must-stop at Manitoulin Island before returning to Sudbury. 

Franklin Carmichael
Light and Shadow, 1937
Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Art From Maine’s Top Museums On Display at Portland Museum of Art

The rugged and raw beauty of Maine has been a lure to many of America’s foremost landscape artists. Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School, first visited Mount Desert Island in 1844. When he returned home to New York with a bounty of canvases, Cole’s affluent patrons were astounded by the mix of mountains and sea. Man versus the chaotic forces of nature, particularly fishermen struggling against powerful nor’easters, kept Winslow Homer busy on the boulder-strewn shores of Prouts Neck for more than two decades. In the 1920s, Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and other early American abstractionists from Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery joined John Marin to work at his summer cottage in Deer Isle. 

This summer, the Portland Museum of Art is taking full advantage of this bevy of work to present Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail that includes signature pieces from Maine’s most-renowned art museums. On view from May 21 through September 20, the show will bring the best art Maine has to offer together for the first time. All of these museums are part of the Maine Art Museum Trail. To celebrate the exhibition and the route, Summer Feet Cycling, who I biked with on my 50th birthday, will present a weeklong ride along the coast that visits all 8 museums on the Maine Art Trail. This includes stops at Homer’s former art studio in Prouts Neck, a visit to Andrew Wyeth’s Olson House in Port Clyde, and a requisite day on Monhegan Island, where Robert Henri, Edward Hopper, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent all painted the island’s cliffs, meadows, and quaint fishing communities. The dates are June 21-27 and September 6-12. Cost is $2595 per person, including lodging, bike rental, guides, van support, museum admission, and most meals.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/16/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Necessary Stop at the Corning Museum of Glass on a College Road Trip

On our drive last week from the campuses of Penn State to Syracuse, we stopped about an hour south of Ithaca in the small town of Corning, New York. Here you’ll find one of my favorite museums in western New York, the Corning Museum of Glass. Founded in 1851, Corning Glass Works was instrumental in helping Thomas Edison create the light bulb on a mass scale, designed the first television screens, invente the first assembly-line bottling plant, and now the company is thriving with the proliferation of fiber optics. You can learn about the inventors and innovation of glass at the museum. Corning also features an exceptional collection of glass art from Egyptian times to the present that will only get bigger with the new $64 million Contemporary Art and Design Wing set to make its debut on March 20th. The 26,000-square-foot art gallery will be the largest space anywhere dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in glass. It will also house one of the world’s largest facilities for glassblowing demonstrations and live glass design sessions, with 500 seats. Another highlight of the museum is the chance to create your own art, via glassblowing or sandblasting. My wife made a wind chime while my daughter created a glass pendant. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/25/15 at 07:50 AM
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photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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