Author Archives: Jeanie Craig

About Jeanie Craig

Senior Accredited Fine Art Appraiser and Art Collection Manager

Stuart Davis: In Full Swing at the de Young, San Francisco


The Mellow Pad, 1945-1951, by Stuart Davis. Oil on Canvas. de Young Museum, San Francisco.

Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, includes over 75 works created from the 1920s through 1964, the year of the artist’s death. Davis was born in 1892 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his mother was a sculptor and his father was a graphic artist and the art editor of the Philadelphia Press. Inspired by the artistic environment at home, he began formal art training at age 16 with Ashcan School leader Robert Henri in New York (1909-1912). Davis began working as a magazine illustrator, but turned to painting after experiencing the groundbreaking Armory Show of 1913.


Owh! in San Pao, 1951 by Stuart Davis. Oil on canvas.

The exhibition introduced him to European modernist styles, which greatly influenced his subsequent work.  Around the same time, he became a passionate aficionado of jazz, which he found to be the musical counterpart to modernist abstract art. With bold colors and simple forms, he incorporated the techniques of Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism and other avant-garde movements in his work, along with the syncopated, improvisational rhythms of jazz.  His inventive, energetic style bridged the Cubist innovations of Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger and Henri Matisse and the Pop Art of the 1960s with its embrace of mass media and commercial advertising.


Blips and Ifs, 1963-64 by Stuart Davis. Oil on canvas.

Art writer Charles Desmarais described the influence and importance of Stuart Davis in his recent article for the San Francisco Chronicle: “Between the Cubists of the early 20th Century and the Pop artists of the 1960s, there was Stuart Davis… It would not be fair to reduce the proudly independent Davis to a mere link between two of the most important movements of modern art. He was also…an art theorist, a proselytizer for the acceptance of abstraction and a social activist. He synthesized — naturalized — ideas born on foreign soil and made them proudly American.”

The exhibition covers 43 years of the artist’s work, from his early paintings of tobacco packages in the 1920s to the WPA murals of the 1930s and the distinctive work of his last two decades.  A hardcover, 288-page catalog of the Stuart Davis:  In Full Swing is available at the Museum.  Wonderful audio recordings describing the background of selected paintings in the show, including The Mellow Pad and Blips and Ifs, can be found online at the National Gallery of Art website.

The exhibition was co-organized by Harry Cooper, Curator and Head of Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC and Barbara Haskell, curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.


Stuart Davis seated in front of Summer Landscape, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Photographer unknown.

Stuart Davis:  In Full Swing is on view at the de Young Museum, San Francisco from April 1 through August 6, 2017.  The de Young is open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 am – 5:15 pm. Call for information, 415-750-3600.







Kerry James Marshall at the Met-Breuer, NYC


Souvenir I, 1997, by Kerry James Marshall. Acrylic and glitter on canvas banner. Met-Breuer, New York.


Untitled, 2009, by Kerry James Marshall. Acrylic on PVC panel. Met-Breuer, New York.

Mastry, a major survey of the work of Kerry James Marshall at the Met-Breuer in New York, includes 80 pieces that span the artist’s 35-year career. Marshall’s richly detailed, large-scale narrative paintings feature black figures in historical tableaus, landscapes, genre painting and portraiture.  His work counters stereotypical representations of black people in society and comments on the history of black identity both in the United States and in Western art. The exhibition is powerful and especially relevant in our times of deepening racial divisions.


Slow Dance, 1992-3, by Kerry James Marshall. Acrylic and collage on canvas. Met-Breuer, New York.

Marshall was born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama before the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and he was a witness to the Watts rebellion in 1965.  In his PBS Art21 special, Marshall said, “You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and grow up in South Central [Los Angeles] near the Black Panthers headquarters, and not feel like you’ve got some kind of social responsibility. You can’t move to Watts in 1963 and not speak about it. That determined a lot of where my work was going to go…”  Marshall is a 1978 graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design and currently lives and works in Chicago.

For in-depth articles on the artist’s influences and motivation, read Holland Carter’s article for the New York Times entitled Kerry James Marshall’s Paintings Show What It Means to be Black in America and Wyatt Mason’s feature for the New York Times Magazine, Kerry James Marshall is Shifting the Color of Art History.

Kerry James Marshall. Photo: Oliver Chanarin & Adam Broomberg, New York Times Magazine.

Kerry James Marshall. Photo: Oliver Chanarin & Adam Broomberg, New York Times Magazine.

For a look at all of Marshall’s pieces in the exhibition, here are the Met’s exhibition thumbnails.  The exhibition also includes 40 works from the Met’s collection curated by Mashall that display the global and historical influences on his art.

Kerry James Marshall: MASTRY is on view at The Met Breuer, New York City, October 25, 2016–January 29, 2017, and then travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 12–July 2, 2017.



Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Friendship, by Agnes Martin. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Friendship, 1963, by Agnes Martin. Gold leaf and gesso on canvas. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

The Agnes Martin exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York is a comprehensive survey of the artist’s career from the 1950s through the early 2000s.  Previously shown at The Tate, London and LACMA, the exhibition includes an extraordinary collection of paintings, works on paper and ephemera.


Untitled, 1965,by Agnes Martin
Watercolor, ink and gouache on paper.

For more than forty years, Agnes Martin (1912–2004) created subtle, evocative striped and grid-patterned paintings influenced by Asian belief systems including Taoism and Zen Buddhism. She was one of the few female artists who gained recognition in the male-dominated artworld of the 1950s and ’60s, and she lived and worked in New York. She moved to New Mexico in 1967 in search of solitude and silence, and continued to make her extraordinary paintings there for over three decades until her death in 2004.

Martin’s spare style was informed by her strong belief in the emotionally transformative power of art, and she said that appreciating her work fully requires quiet contemplation.  “Anyone who can sit on a stone in a field awhile can see my paintings,” Martin wrote.

Falling Blue (detail), 1963, by Agnes Martin. Oil and graphite on linen

Falling Blue (detail), 1963, by Agnes Martin. Oil and graphite on linen

The utter beauty and ineffable sense of calm created by her work envelops the viewer who takes the time to sit and look. For me, the exhibition was a serene oasis and much needed respite from the political turmoil in the country today.  “I would like (my pictures) to represent beauty, innocence and happiness,” Martin said. “I would like them all to represent that. Exaltation.”  She succeeded.

Agnes Martin, c. 1953 Photograph by Mildred Tolbert

Agnes Martin, c. 1953
Photograph by Mildred Tolbert

For more on Martin’s life and process, read Holland Carter’s excellent review in the New York Times:  The Joy of Reading Between Agnes Martin’s Lines.

guggenheimThe Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is located at 1071 Fifth Avenue (between 88th and 89th Streets), New York and is open from 10 to 5 daily. The Agnes Martin exhibition will be on view through January 11, 2017.

“Collected” at Pier 24 Photography

"Collections" - view of the Nion McEvoy gallery

“Collected” exhibition at Pier 24 Photography – view of the Nion McEvoy gallery


Richard Avedon, Bob Dylan, 132nd Street & FDR Drive, Harlem

Collected, the eighth exhibition at Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco, highlights a selection of photographs from the Pilara Foundation and nine other Bay Area collections:  The Bluff Collection, Susie Tompkins Buell, Winn Ellis and David Mahoney, Carla Emil, Randi and Bob Fisher, Dan Holland and Patrick Printy, Mike and Kaitlyn Krieger, Nion McEvoy, and Chara Schreyer. The collectors were invited to choose the work they wanted to show and each has a separate gallery space.

Pier 24 Photography

Joel Sternfeld, Aisle 2, Row 3, Seat 5, Texas Theatre, 231 West Jefferson Boulevard, Dallas, Texas, November 1993

Each gallery expresses the unique perspectives of the individual collectors and includes a wide variety of well-known and not-so-well known photographs and photographers.  The Bluff Collection has a survey of work by Robert Frank. Nion McEvoy’s gallery, entitled ‘Beauty and the Beat,’ includes 100 photographs mostly related to music, from album covers to rock portraits.  The Fishers decided to show only William Eggleston, and the Kriegers display experimental contemporary works. Susie Tompkins Buell’s gallery has an outstanding grouping of sensitive and deeply personal work by four women photographers:  Consuelo Kanaga, Alma Lavenson, Dorothea Lange and Tina Modotti.

Robert Frank, Funeral, St. Helena, South Carolina

Robert Frank, Funeral, St. Helena, South Carolina

None of the photographs are accompanied by titles or attributions but printed guides are available at the reception desk and there are a few docents in the galleries. You can preview the exhibition via an online version of the catalog.

Andrew and Mary Pilara began collecting photography 13 years ago and have amassed over 4,000 photographs.  In 2010, they leased and renovated the Pier 24 warehouse space to house their permanent collection and to present photography exhibitions and related programs to the public. At 28,000 square feet, it is the largest space devoted solely to exhibiting photography in the world.


Collected will be on view until January 31, 2017.  Pier 24 Photography is located on The Embarcadero in San Francisco below the Bay Bridge and is open by appointment only.  Make an appointment online, or call 415-512-7424. Admission is free, and only 30 people are admitted per 2-hour interval.

Border Cantos at the San Jose Museum of Art


Richard Misrach’s “Wall, Near Los Indios Texas” (2015)


Guillermo Galindo’s Metal Piñata, with shotgun shell casings found on a Border Patrol shooting range.

Border Cantos, an exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art through July 31, 2016, is an artistic collaboration between landscape photographer Richard Misrach and experimental composer Guillermo Galindo which documents the human reality of the US-Mexico borderlands. Misrach has been photographing the 2,000-mile border between the US and Mexico since 2004, and his sweeping, panoramic photographs explore border issues by focusing on isolated personal possessions found abandoned in the border zone: shoes, broken jewelry,  a torn-up copy of the Spanish-language edition of Dr. Zhivago.  The images are large, more than 6 feet high, and visitors can imagine walking right into them.  For the music, Galindo uses discarded items to build unconventional instruments that are inspired by indigenous traditions from around the globe.

The exhibition brings a humanitarian perspective to the heated political debates that surround the subject of immigration today.  Whether or not Border Cantos spurs debate or leads to social and political action, it certainly meets SJMA’s Executive Director Susan Krane’s goal of creating “a shared space for civic engagement.”  (Robert Taylor, East Bay Times.) 


For videos and more information, visit the Border Cantos project website.

The San Jose Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm, and 11 am – 8 pm on the third Tuesday of the month.  110 south Market Street, San Jose, CA  408-271-6840

David Park/Contemporary Figuration at the Richmond Art Center

David Park, Man in a Rowboat, 1960 <br>Photo courtesy Hacket | Mill, San Francisco

David Park, Man in a Rowboat, 1960 Photo from the San Francisco Chronicle, courtesy Hacket | Mill, San Francisco

In celebration of its 80th anniversary, the Richmond Art Center is presenting two exhibitions that trace the development and evolution of the figurative movement in Bay Area art.  David Park: Personal Perspectives consists of 35 works on paper in various media executed from the 1920s through 1960, the last year of the artist’s life. The exhibition is drawn from Park’s estate and private collections, and some of the pieces are exhibited to the public for the first time.  Park was instrumental in the development of the Bay Area Figurative movement, now considered the area’s key contribution to 20th Century American art. The show was organized by the RAC’s Director of Exhibitions and Curator of Art, Jan Wurm, who noted in an interview with Oakland Magazine that the exhibition “will look historically at the absolute individual vision that he had—his commitment to the figure and humanism—and how that inspired and changed a whole direction of Bay Area art from Bay Area Figuration into the next generation of painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance, right up through to the present.”

A companion exhibition, The Human Spirit:  Contemporary Figuration as an Expression of Humanism, explores Park’s legacy of presenting the human figure as vehicle in paintings, sculpture, photography, video and performance by over 20 contemporary Bay Area artists including Elmer Bischoff,  Joan Brown, Enrique Chagoya, Kota Ezawa, Viola Frey, Richard Misrach and Lava Thomas.

Photography is not permitted in either of the galleries; however a beautifully illustrated catalog of the David Park exhibition with an essay by Jan Wurm is available for purchase at the RAC.

David Park, Seated Man, c. 1955-59

David Park, Seated Man, c. 1955-59

The Richmond Art Center, founded in 1936 and located since 1951 in the Richmond’s Civic Center complex, has operated continuously for 80 years and is the East Bay’s oldest and largest art center.  Tues – Sat, 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday, noon – 5 pm. 2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA.

The exhibitions are on view through May 22, 2016.

Richard Diebenkorn Sketchbooks at the Cantor Arts Center

Diebenkorn sketchbooks at Cantor

“Untitled”, from Sketchbook #10, p. 13 (1943-93), gouache and watercolor on paper.

Richard Diebenkorn:  The Sketchbooks Revealed will be on view at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University from September 9, 2015 through August 22, 2016.  The exhibition presents a collection of 29 of the renowned Bay Area artist’s sketchbooks, offering a rare insight into his process and inspirations. “This extraordinary collection is unprecedented in understanding an artist’s process so that students, scholars and the general public can better understand Diebenkorn’s style of working,” said Cantor Director Connie Wolf in ArtDaily.  “Presented together, the sketchbooks become a revelation of sorts, offering intimate access to the practice of a well-known, important and prolific artist. At Stanford they will serve for years to come as an extraordinary resource.”

Diebenkorn drew constantly and filled the sketchbooks over his long career. They include over a thousand drawings reflecting his interest in both nature and the built environment of California, as well as figure studies, portraits and experiments with abstract expressionist color fields.  Some were done quickly with broad strokes, while others are finely detailed.

The books have not been previously studied or published, and this exhibition marks the first time they are are on view to the public.  In an interview with Hyperallergic, Alison Gass, the Cantor’s Associate Director for Collections, Exhibitions and Curatorial affairs said, “As Diebenkorn kept these sketchbooks throughout his life and career putting one down only to pick it up years later, they are un-datable, but also each turn of the page offers a total surprise.”


“Untitled” from Sketchbook #2, p. 33 (1943-93), gouache, watercolor, crayon with graphite and collage on paper.

The sketchbooks range in scale and size from the spiral-bound to beautifully embossed journals.  They had been kept in a cardboard box in the home of Diebenkorn’s widow, Phyllis.  Before her death in January of this year, Phyllis donated the entire collection to Stanford.

The Cantor has taken apart one of the books and displayed it in its complete form so that viewers can get a sense of the intimacy of Diebenkorns’ visual diaries.  Because of the delicate nature of the sketchbooks, only a one-page spread of the rest of the books will be on view.  The museum has digitized all 29 books and made them available in the gallery on touchscreen kiosks, so visitors can leaf through each of the books digitally.

The exhibition also includes loans of some of Diebenkorn’s earliest works–all executed in the 1940s during his Stanford days and many on display to the public for the first time.

Also on view in the same gallery is the Cantor’s recent acquisition, an early Edward Hopper painting from 1913 entitled “New York Corner.”  Hopper made the work when he was just 31 and it is said to be the first work in his representational style.  Diebenkorn was influenced deeply by the work of Hopper, and viewers will have the rare opportunity to study the two artists’ work in close proximity.


“Untitled”, from Sketchbook #20, p. 45 (1943-93), crayon on paper.

Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in San Francisco, where he attended Stanford University (class of 1949).

Diebenkorn sketchbook at Cantor

“Untitled”, from Sketchbook #2, p. 26-27 (1943-93), graphite on paper.







Diebenkorn self portrait

“Untitled” from Sketchbook #2, p. 37 (1943-93), felt-tip market ink on paper

Richard Diebenkorn:  The Sketchbooks Revealed will be on view at The Cantor, on the Stanford University campus at 328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way from September 9, 2015 through February 9, 2016.  The museum is open Wednesday – Monday, 11 am – 5 pm.  Admission is free.

All images gifts of Phyllis Diebenkorn, @The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation.

The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky at the Met

Lakota Eagle Feather Headdress, c. 1865

Lakota Chief Eagle Feather Headdress, c. 1865

“The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art features 130 objects on loan from more than 50 international collections, ranging in age from pre-contact to contemporary pieces.  It has been called “one of the most completely beautiful sights in New York right now”  in Holland Cotter’s review in the New York Times.

The early Plains people had no written language, and they recorded histories and cultural and spiritual meanings through utilitarian and ceremonial art. They combined materials from the natural world to evoke the spiritual powers of animals, and later, incorporated goods acquired through trade with Europeans.  In his audio introduction to the exhibition, Curator Gaylord Torrence explains that while there was no word for “art” and no special class of “artists” in Plains Indian culture, the creators of these works were extraordinary individuals who were known and honored among their tribes and sometimes beyond.

The geographical area of the Plains cultures extended from Texas to Canada and from the Mississippi River to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Nations represented include Osage, Quapaw, Omaha, Crow, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Lakota, Blackfeet, Pawnee, Kiowa, Comanche, Mesquakie and Kansa.


Woman’s Dress, c. 1855

The masterworks in the exhibition include an array of forms and media:  painting and drawing; sculptural works in stone, wood, antler and shell; porcupine quill and glass bead embroidery; feather work; painted robes, richly ornamented clothing and ceremonial objects.  Many of the works were collected centuries ago by French traders on their travels through America and ended up in French, not American, museums–particularly the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, where the exhibition originated in 4/14.  It then traveled to the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City and was shown there from 9/14 – 1/15 before coming to the Met.

Pawnee Ghost Dance Drum, c. 1891

Pawnee Ghost Dance Drum, c. 1891

For more background on the exhibition and its major pieces, listen to the Met’s accompanying audio guide by curators Gaylord Torrence and Judith Ostrowitz, artists Edgar Heap of Birds and Dana Claxton, along with narration by Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of the American Indian College Fund.  All of the exhibition objects are illustrated and described on the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition website. Click on any of the images in this post for a direct link to the Met’s description.


Girl’s Dress, c. 1900


The Plains Indians:  Artists of Earth and Sky continues through May 10, 2015.  The Met is open 7 days a week:  Sun-Thurs, 10-5:30, Fri-Sat:  10-9 & closed on major holidays.  1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street) New York, NY 10028  Phone: 212-535-7710.

Elizabeth Catlett at MoAD


Roots, 1981, mixed media, Elizabeth Catlett

The Art of Elizabeth Catlett: Selections from the Collection of Samella Lewis on view at The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), San Francisco, is a tribute to the life-work of the artist

Stepping Out, 2000, bronze

Stepping Out, 2000, bronze

and celebrates seven decades of her career as a sculptor and printmaker.  It is one of the first major exhibitions of Catlett’s work on the West Coast since her passing at age 96 in 2012.

Sharecropper, Elizabeth Catlett

Sharecropper, 1952, linocut

Widely considered one of the most important African American artists of the 20th century, Catlett’s work blends art and social consciousness while confronting the most disturbing injustices against African Americans. “Throughout her career, she has been a political progressive committed to improving the lives of African-American and Mexican women, and she has often used her art explicitly to advance their cause.  She has also protested, picketed, and even been arrested in her quest to win justice for those she describes as “my people.”Jeff Harrison, Chrysler Museum of Art.  Catlett is best known for her work during the 1960s and 1970s when she created politically charged, black expressionistic sculptures and prints.

Elizabeth Catlett - Black Girl

Black Girl, 2004, lithograph

Pauline,  1967/2003, lithograph

Pauline, 1967/2003, lithograph

The exhibition was co-curated by Samella Lewis, Ph.D. and Cecile Shellman and includes 38 works by Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), her husband, Francisco Mora (1922-2002), and artist-historian, Samella Lewis, Ph.D.  All 38 works are from the personal collection of artist, educator and author Samella Lewis, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Art History, Scripps College, in Claremont, CA. Lewis was a student of Catlett’s in the 1940s at Dillard University in New Orleans when Catlett became her mentor and lifetime friend. MoAD has posted a video interview with Samella Lewis about her art collection and her relationship with Catlett.

Elizabeth Catlett, 2011New York Times photo

Elizabeth Catlett, 2011
New York Times photo


The Art of Elizabeth Catlett exhibition will be on view at MoAD, 685 Mission Street (at Third), San Francisco through April 5, 2015.  The museum is open Wednesday – Sunday.

Park, Diebenkorn, Bischoff at Hackett | Mill

David Park

David Park, Woman Reading, 1957

Hackett | Mill’s current exhibition, “Interiors and Places”, features a collection of thirteen sumptuous paintings by David Park, Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff, the founding members of the Bay Area Figurative movement.  It is an exceptional opportunity to see a selection of paintings by these artists that have rarely or never been exhibited publicly before, since most are on loan from private collections and institutions.

Elmer Bischoff

Elmer Bischoff, Red House, 1961

The Bay Area Figurative movement was a distinct departure from Abstract Expressionism, the dominant art movement of the time, and it is now considered the Bay area’s most singular contribution to 20th Century American art.  Park, Diebenkorn and Bischoff started as abstract painters and their move to figurative work was initially regarded as a step backwards.

In his article about the exhibition, art writer John Seed describes the genesis of the exhibition, the opening reception and the paintings in detail: “Seeing a David Park painting in person always offers a reminder of just how fresh and bold his use of paint was. Looking across the surface of his Surf Bathers, with its fluid intermixing of brushwork and palette knife, provides viewers the chance to appreciate the balance between representation and abstraction that give his works their aesthetic tension and vibrancy.”  

Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn, Still Life with Book, 1958

The exhibition is on view through March 27, 2015. Hackett | Mill Gallery hours are 10:30 – 5:30 Tuesday through Friday or by appointment.


Nancy Boas, author of the biography, David Park, A Painter’s Life, will speak at Hackett | Mill on February 19. For information, call the gallery at 415-362-3377.


Commentary on Pop Art – Peter Selz

Peter Selz

Museum director, curator, art historian and author, Peter Selz. (Photo by Edward Caldwell)

Peter Selz was one of my art history professors years ago at UC Berkeley and I always enjoy his viewpoints on art. Here is a recent interview of him on the subject of Pop Art conducted by Editor Matthew Kangas of Visual Art Source:

Visual Art Source: An Interview with Peter Selz – Editors’ Roundtable 
by Matthew Kangas

No one expected pop art; that was its originality. “Pop Departures” (recently at Seattle Art Museum) triggered other responses, memories and reflections as well as those of the eyewitness collectors. One eyewitness critic and curator, Peter Selz, now 95, shared his views on the continuing power of pop art in an exclusive telephone interview from his home in the Berkeley hills. Subject of a recent biography, “Peter Selz: Sketches of a Life in Art,” (Paul J. Karlstrom, U. of Calif. Press, $38.95) and his daughter Gabrielle Selz’s memoir, “Unstill Life,” (Norton, $26.95), Selz chuckled as he recalled early New York responses to pop art and updated his own thoughts on the pervasive art movement.

Agreeing with the Germans (where he was born), Selz said capitalist realism was a “better term than pop art, more descriptive.” Pop art was not only rejecting Abstract Expressionism, it also dismissed Selz’s curatorial pet, expressionistic figuration, advocated in his epoch-making “Images of Man” show at the Museum of Modern Art.

Asked to rank the affiliate artists now, half a century later, Selz cheerfully obliged: “Lichtenstein was very apt at what he did, all those dots, but so what? There’s no spirit. Not only was he rejecting postwar humanism, but he replaced it with nothing.

”Warhol looks better all the time: he confronted important things. Early social Warhol is better; I didn’t appreciate it enough at the time. Sure, there was the celebration of consumerism; that was very open and honest. And now we learn he was so religious, too … Deliberate ambiguity is part of the power of his art. You can’t pin it all down the way some critics think they can. Don’t forget, when they asked him about the soup cans, he said, ‘I like tomato soup; I eat it every day.’ He was not criticizing it.”

Asked about the sexism of Tom Wesselman and Mel Ramos, he confessed, “I like real pornography, not fake pornography! I’d rather look at Penthouse than them.” On Robert Indiana, “Not that interesting now; just big letters, too simple, too dull.”

James Rosenquist also elicited a shift in Selz’s opinion: “Rosenquist is so-so … They are dated. He should’ve stayed with the billboards. It was a matter of size — his best works — not scale or subject matter.”

As to the best and the worst? Besides Warhol, Selz favors Oldenburg: “He was a master of metamorphosis. I met him; he was extremely bright, had great wit and a sense of humor. These large structures he made before he began collaborating, they look better and better. In a way he was like Charlie Chaplin, American but at a remove in order to comment — and laugh.”

If Oldenburg and Warhol are holding up best, 1980s phenomenon Jeff Koons is “bullshit. Really the last straw. The whole Whitney was filled with his work this year. You see, the Whitney can’t discriminate between good and bad anymore. But things move on.”

With that, Selz returned to his latest project, another show, another book, another interview. The unstoppable Peter Selz has lived to see it all, including pop art, and its rise and fall.

~Matthew Kanghas, Editors’ Roundtable, Visual Art Source (January 23, 2015)

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 4.37.44 PM

For more on Peter Selz, read his biography,UnstillLife_Cover
“Peter Selz:  Sketches of a Life in Art”

and “Unstill Life: A Daughter’s Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction” by his daughter, Gabrielle Selz.

Mark di Suvero’s Monumental “Dreamcatcher” at UCSF Mission Bay


Mark di Suvero’s Dreamcatcher sculpture at Crissy Field

Thanks to the generosity of benefactors Jeanne and Sandy Robertson, Mark di Suvero‘s monumental “Dreamcatcher” sculpture has a permanent home in San Francisco. After the Crissy Field exhibition ended, the Robertsons purchased the piece and donated it to UCSF. It was installed at the UCSF Mission Bay campus on the eastern side of the Koret Quad near Fourth Street and dedicated today.

The Robertsons have long been supporters of the UCSF Mission Bay campus and of UCSF’s commitment to public art. “Sandy and I are very pleased to contribute this magnificent sculpture to UCSF,” Jeanne Robertson said. “The name, Dreamcatcher, aptly describes the spirit of the innovative work of the scientists at Mission Bay.”  

Mark di Suvero "Dreamcatcher"

Mark di Suvero’s “Dreamcatcher” at UCSF Mission Bay

UCSF has posted a step-by-step photo log of the intricate assembly and installation of the piece:


(click on image to view photo log)

For more on the background of the Robertson purchase and donation, read the article by Jeffrey Norris of UCSF. 


Sculptor Mark di Suvero

Mark di Suvero was born in Shanghai, China, in 1933 and immigrated to the US in 1941. He was raised in San Francisco and graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1956 with a BA in Philosophy. He is one of the most important sculptors of his generation and his sculpture can be found in private collections and museums worldwide.