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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.


Picasso shows at Gagosian and Pace, New York

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Le réservoir (Horta de Ebro), 1909. On loan to Gagosian from David Rockefeller, who has promised it to MOMA

Two stellar Picasso shows are on view in New York galleries this month.  Both are museum quality and contain loans of major original paintings, drawings and sculpture that you’ve probably seen in museums or art books over the years.

Picasso & the Camera at Gagosian was co-curated by the artist’s friend and biographer, John Richardson and explores how Picasso used photography as a source of inspiration and also as an integral part of his studio practice. The show, which spans 60 years, includes 40 paintings, 50 drawings and 225 of the artist’s photographs. Many of the works are on loan from the Picasso family, private collections and major museums.

An example is the photograph of Picasso’s mountain retreat in Horta de Ebro, Spain and one of his paintings from 1909 of the same subject.

Pablo Picasso, Le réservoir (Horta de Ebro), 1909

Pablo Picasso, Le réservoir (Horta de Ebro), 1909

Picasso worked from the photograph to create the blocked, jagged shapes he painted on canvas. These early landscapes became regarded as the beginning of cubism.  Throughout the exhibition are similar examples of photographic inspiration paired with paintings, drawings and sculpture.  More on this show by Carol Vogel, New York Times.


Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline aux Fleurs, 1954

Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style at Pace features nearly 140 works by Picasso created in the last two decades of his life while living with his muse, and later, wife, Jacqueline Roque. Accompanying the exhibition is a group of more than 50 photographs by David Douglas Duncan, a confidant of Picasso, who captured the artist at work and during private moments with Jacqueline.  Many of the works are from the Picasso family and Jacqueline Roque’s estate and are on view to the public for the first time, plus other loans from private collections and major museums.  Read more on this show and see a slide show of photos of Picasso and Jacqueline by Hilarie M. Sheets, New York Times.

Jacqueline and Picasso. 2014 David Douglas Duncan. Estate of Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Jacqueline and Picasso. 2014 David Douglas Duncan. Estate of Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Picasso & the Camera is at Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st Street, until January 3, 2015. Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style is at PACE Gallery, 32 East 57th Street and 534 West 25th Street until January 10, 2015. Security is high at both shows:  Bags are checked at the door at Gagosian, photography is not permitted in either gallery and Gagosian had 15 hired guards posted throughout the gallery and Pace, 7.  Catalogs of the shows are available for purchase at the galleries.

Stanford’s Windhover Contemplative Center Opens

Windhover Stanford

Windhover Contemplative Center, Stanford campus
Nathan Oliveira painting

Stanford University’s newly opened Windhover Contemplative Center is a spiritual and meditative refuge intended to allow visitors to escape from the daily intensity of campus life.  The Center, designed by Aidlin Darling Design, a San Francisco architectural firm, features paintings by Nathan Oliveira, an outdoor reflecting pool, a granite labyrinth and a Japanese-style garden.  The entryway is intentionally drawn-out, requiring navigation through tree and bamboo groves to reach the entrance, with the intent of shedding the stresses of the day prior to entering. The building’s structure will block cellular and internet signals, and visitors are expected to remove their shoes when coming inside.  Except for the public docent tours described below, a Stanford ID card is required to enter.

Nathan Oliveira

Artist Nathan Oliveira

Nathan Oliveira, who taught at Stanford for three decades, was an internationally acclaimed artist. He retired from teaching in 1995 and died in late 2010 at 81. SFMOMA released a video in 1999 with Nathan talking about the genesis of the Windhover project, which was named for a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.  Oliviera began the project in the 1970s, inspired by kestrels swooping above the Stanford foothills. He returned again and again to the paintings during a lifetime of art, ultimately creating monumental oil paintings of wings and curves that measure up to 17 feet across.  Oliveira said he envisioned a place for these paintings where people could “sit, meditate and reflect on themselves.” He said he hoped people would be able to sit and watch the paintings change as the light changed and “distract themselves from whatever is bothering them.”   

Docent-led tours of the Windhover Contemplative Center are open to the general public on Tuesdays. The tours include information about the conceptual ideas behind the physical structure and an in-depth look at the Windhover paintings by Nathan Oliveira featured in the building.  Tours are ongoing every week from October 14, 2014 through June 20, 2017, 10:00 am – 10:45 am.  Admission is free.  Reservations not required; 15-person maximum.

82nd & Fifth from the Metropolitan Museum

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.01.47 PMJust discovered the Met Museum’s really wonderful “82nd & Fifth” iPad app. 100 curators talk about 100 works of art that changed how they see the world: one work, one curator, two minutes at a time. Inspiring and fun and free:  great for a long flight.  Met Director Thomas P. Campbell said “In a world filled with constant information, these two-minute, authoritative commentaries provide powerful, compelling content in quick doses.”  You can also watch on the Met’s website.