I have been mesmerized by the artwork by Olga de Amaral for over 30 years. I first encountered this Columbian artist at Bella Artes Gallery in Santa Fe. I wandered in was instantly captivated by Olga’s work, which like El Anatsui, is a fusion of painting, sculpture and fiber.
Long before I met Naomi, I followed her work because she has an uncanny ability to meld the unforgiving hardness of metal with the lyrical softness of thread.
Naomi’s work using weathered sheet metal and crocheted wire thread are autobiographical in the sense that they reflect all of Naomi’s personal history.
One of the fun things about exploring new cities is seeing their art museums. We had one day in wonderful Milwaukee where we sampled their best coffee, the Domes at Mitchell Park, the Harley Davidson Museum and the architecturally amazing Milwaukee Art Museum.
Whenever I travel, I try to tuck in visits to galleries and museums that nourish me creatively. While we were visiting family this summer, we hopped across the US starting in California, then Missouri and finally in North Carolina. I caught a gem of a show in Kansas city while we were visiting my friend and colleague Catherine Armbrust.
For years, I have followed and enjoyed the fluid, voluptuous, abstract sculptures of Lynda Benglis. In the summer of 2016, I visited the new Museum of the Baroque/Museo Internacional del Barroco in Puebla, Mexico wanting to see the soaring design by the famous Japanese Architect Toyo Ito. Imagine my surprise as I walked into the contemporary wing and encountered a spectacular show by Lynda Benglis!
I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art just to see this exhibition, a collection of Japanese bamboo objects from the Abbey Collection. The show included a wide range of traditional basket forms as well as current work made by six artists designated Living National Treasures, who all evolved from bamboo lineages dating back to the nineteenth century.
Chakaia Booker is the ultimate recycler. Her monumental abstract sculptures using discarded tires embody the ‘making something from nothing’ ethic. Encountering her work is overwhelming. It’s huge. It smells. It’s hard to imagine the physicality required in building with this unforgiving material. Looking at it is exhausting.
It’s also thrilling.
Every artist dreams of being in a major collection and this exhibition at the Nasher Museum is an excellent example of how powerful collecting can be for the artists and for the public.
Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection focuses on abstract African-American artists from 1940s to the present.