30 September 2009

Living the Pop Life

A new exhibition at the Tate Modern -- sure to please some and leave others scratching their heads.

Frida Fakery?

Are they or aren't they the work of Frida Kahlo?  There are plenty of people arguing both sides of the question on the eve of the publication of a new book.

Building Blocks

A short gallery tour of some notable architecture, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

29 September 2009

Destructive Force

Once an enfant terrible of the British art scene, Gustav Metzger's still going strong at eighty-three.

Silver Screen

The debate rages over one of cinema's most gifted directors.  Is it time for Roman Polanski to face the unpleasant music, or should the statute of limitation be declared null and void after so many years for such a celebrated artist?

The Photographer's Eye

From time to time I like to showcase talented friends whose work I admire.  Here is a very small sample of Duane Tollison's photographs.  

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

28 September 2009

Comic Genius

Call it a graphic novel or a comic book . . . Logicomix is not your daddy's Archie and Jughead.

Silver Screen

The past catches up with celebrated director Roman Polanski.

27 September 2009

Ars Gratia Artis

A look inside Washington's Gold Leaf Studios, a haven for capital-area artists.

New Art

Strange Fruit
September 2009

26 September 2009


June 2009

The First Time

There always comes the moment, that one instant in which the Earth shifts just the tiniest bit on its axis and the realization dawns that you will use the pencil or the brush or the chalk in your hand for more than doodling. 

Do you remember?  Tell us.

What's Hot

Best-selling graphic books.

Art and Commerce

Say, isn't that . . . ?

Yes, it is.  Some notable artists are popping up in the new J. Crew catalog.


Snapped Shot

A paean to the granddaddy of 'instant' photography.

Silver Screen

Famous scenes and how they ended up on screen.

25 September 2009

Walk Away, Rene

The brazen theft of Magritte's Olympia from a Brussels museum.

Silver Screen

Stanley Kubrick's sword-and-sandals classic Spartacus -- no slave to historical
accuracy -- but a hell of a flick, nonetheless.

The Naked Eye

An exhibit of the works of Swiss photographer Robert Frank, a chronicler of post-War American life.

24 September 2009

Good Eye

Michelle Yo, a college photography student with a keen gift for getting the right shot.

Rene Away

Breaking story:  Famous Magritte Olympia swiped.


Anish Kapoor's new show at the Royal Academy is a fine mess.

23 September 2009

Bamboozling Ourselves

What is it, exactly, that makes a work of art great?  Can the work of a skilled forger equal that of the original artist? 

Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris explores these questions in a blog series on legendary Vermeer forger Han Van Meegeren.


What Webs They Weave

The golden orb spiders of Madagascar spin pure magic.   See the results, part of a new exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in New York.

Silver Screen

He's baaaaaack.  Michael Moore's new film, Capitalism:  A Love Story opens in New York and Los Angeles.  Here's Manohla Dargis' review in the Times.

Silver Screen

The timeless siren of French cinema is about to turn seventy-five.  A remarkable career -- and life.

22 September 2009

Dutch Treat

It is one of Johannes Vermeer's most admired paintings, and in this interview with WNYC's Leonard Lopate, Walter Liedtke of the Metropolitan discusses The Milkmaid and the rest of the paintings that make up the latest exhibition of the Dutch master's works.

Silver Screen

Those with a taste for Western potboilers could do worse than Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar from 1954.  Sterling Hayden stars as the musically inclined former gunslinger who reunites with his old flame, Vienna, played with scenery-chewing gusto by Joan Crawford.  

Yes, the great diva, in all her ghastliness, as a gun-toting, tough-talking saloon owner in the Old West.  Could there be anything stranger?

The movie's long on overheated dialog -- plenty of bellowing from the likes of Ward Bond and Ernest Borgnine and Mercedes McCambridge who (Robert Osborne informs) detested Her Crawfordness.  And in their scenes together, it's pretty clear neither had much use for the other.

Campy good fun.

21 September 2009

A Broad Brush

How do you make your art?  Here's what several painters say about their own methods and techniques.

Russian Dressing

A major exhibition of the seminal works of Wassily Kandisky at the Guggenheim


Georgia On My Mind

Georgia O'Keeffe, the abstract painter in the days before the desert, at the Whitney.

20 September 2009

The Master's Works

Are you a fan of Paul Gauguin?  Then you'll want to take a look at the exhibition of his work mounted at London's Tate Modern.

18 September 2009

Silver Screen

He is one of the great living directors who's made some of the most interesting, thought-provoking films of the past thirty-plus years. 

Nic Cage . . . iguanas . . . dancing souls -- Werner Herzog discusses his latest film, Bad Lieutenant Port of Call:  New Orleans, with the New York Times.

Montezuma's Revenge

The great empire of the Aztecs is the focal point of a new exhibition at the British Museum this fall.

17 September 2009

New Art

Tools of the Trade
September 2009
Based on a photograph by Duane Tollison

Silver Screen

It had been years since I last saw it, but yesterday I watched a film gem -- It Happened One Night.   It's a near-perfect romantic comedy, my favorite among all of Frank Capra's movies.

What makes the whole thing work so well?  A script with razor-sharp dialog and the wonderful acting of Gable and Claudette Colbert.  She's never been more appealing, and he's at his raffish best.  If you've gone this long in your life and never seen it, or, if you're like me and it's been a long time between looks, watch it.  You won't be sorry.


You Know . . . I Know . . . Eno

Yes, Brian Eno is a polymath.  He's a pioneer of ambient music, a frequent collaborator with artists the likes of David Bowie and U2.  And he's also an artist of some accomplishment, with a new show in southern California.

Hot Wheels

If the design has to be for McLaren's newest sports car, why not make the outside as exciting as what's under the hood?

16 September 2009

Art Goes Underground

Shouldn't subway stations be a perfect venue for art? 

Here's the emphatic answer from New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Eye of the Storm

There are storm chasers and there are storm chasers.  And then there's Jim Reed, who makes exciting art of the sturm und drang.

15 September 2009

Eye of the Beholder

Long-time journalism pal Greg Stec earns his daily bread with the Associated Press.  Away from the news desk, he's a wonderful photographer.  Today, I'll feature just four pictures from his extensive portfolio. 
You can find much more of Greg's work here.

14 September 2009

Pictures At An Exhibition

New and interesting photographic work on display  in London.

13 September 2009

Art and the Mouse

Young artists are finding innovative ways to use the computer in creating new work.

Middle-Aged Art

How did drawing evolve in the Middle Ages?  That question was explored over the summer in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Here, Melanie Holcomb discusses it on WNYC Radio's Leonard Lopate Show.

12 September 2009

Silver Screen

The old movies aren't always the best, but frequently they beat hell out of most of what Hollywood has to offer today.  Consider the Warner Bros. classic, Deceptionfrom 1946 starring the powerhouse trio of Bette Davis, Claude Rains and Paul Heinreid.  He is a virtuoso cellist, Rains is an imperious composer of world-class stature and she is the love interest of both.

Now, apart from the dramatic intensity these three bring to the picture, what struck me was Heinreid's masterful faux-playing.  It is unfailing that actors called upon to play instruments do so amateurishly, with halting, spastic movements -- if they even bother to move at all.

Not Heinreid.  

He bows and fingers  like Yo-Yo Ma, perspiration glistening on his forehead, deep in concentration.   Really quite astounding.  And it's critical, since the role requires him to be shown playing lengthy passages.

Since writing the above, I came across a this IMDB thread.  Somehow, I hope it's not true.

New Art

Just completed:

The Birth of Cool
September 2009

11 September 2009

Friday Blues

Are you a confirmed Monetista?  Then the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is the place to starting Sunday.

Fourth Plinth

What's up in London with Antony Gormley's One and Other art project?  Photos from the fourth plinth.

10 September 2009

What Lies Beneath

A little spit and polish was all that was needed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to confirm that this painting was indeed created by the hand of Velazquez.

World View

Amazing work by some of the world's premier outdoor photographers.

A Space Odyssey

Simply astonishing photographs from the recently repaired Hubble Space Telescope.

09 September 2009

New Drawing

Mannish Boy
August 2009

08 September 2009

Into the Wild

Remarkable photos of the discoveries made by an expedition that went deep into the jungle of Papua New Guinea.

07 September 2009

Silver Screen

Room at the Top.  A first-rate movie made fifty years ago in England.  Have you seen it?  I hadn't until today.  

It's a biting drama of desire and the thirst to succeed, no matter the emotional cost.  At the heart of the film are exceptional performances by Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret.  

It's the kind of movie Hollywood is incapable of making today -- an adult picture, driven by character and rich dialogue.

Don't miss it.

A Portrait a Day

From today's New York Times,  recording the life of one man a day and a painting at a time.

The Call of the Wild

Wildlife photography takes a special breed of artist to do well.  Here are a few of the best examples you'll find.

05 September 2009

Homeric Landscape

If you appreciate the work of Winslow Homer, you will find this New York Times piece on his Maine home most interesting.

New Art

Just completed:  Pablito

04 September 2009

Art Feud

Damien Hirst is not amused.  This is from today's Independent.

03 September 2009

Silver Screen

The Haunting is hailed as one of the great thrillers in cinema history, and it was shown earlier this week on TMC.

It is stylishly directed by Robert Wise in the manner of Orson Welles, but on this re-viewing I found myself growing weary long before the credits rolled.  This was caused in large part by Julie Harris' incredibly annoying performance. 

In fact, I'm hard-pressed to name a film in which she isn't incredibly annoying.

Up a Tree

While out researching a piece, my CBS Radio colleague Vicki Barker (of our London bureau) encountered some of Britain's ancient trees.  She took some remarkable photos.

Here's one of them:

02 September 2009

Picture This

My CBS World News Roundup producer, Paul Farry, has just returned from a family vacation to several national parks.  Paul's a terrific photographer.  Here's one of his best from this trip:

01 September 2009

Abundance of Talent

From time to time I'll showcase the work of creative people I know and admire. 

I'll begin with Jim Davis, a wonderful musician and, as you can see, a first-rate graphic designer.  These posters represent some of his work for bands he's played with.