Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas in Art from Around the World

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Annunciation. 1898
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Archangel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary to announce that she will bear the Holy Child.

Dirk Bouts, The Visitation, c. 1445
Museo del Prado, Madrid

The pregnant Virgin Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, already pregnant with St. John the Baptist.

Byzantine, Journey to Bethlehem, 11th century, mosaic
 Church of Chora, Istanbul,

Joseph leads his wife Mary to Bethlehem for the census to pay taxes.

Woonbo Kim Ki-Chang (1914-2001), The Nativity, 1952-53
Seoul Museum, South Korea

The birth of Jesus outside the inn where Mary and Joseph could not find lodging in Bethlehem.

Jacopo Bassano, Adoration of the Shepherds (detail), c. 1590-91
Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

And a star appeared in the heavens that brought all from far and near to the manger where the Baby Jesus lay.

Ethiopian artist, Adoration of the Magi, n.d., 
Courtesy of Patrick Comerford

The Three Wise Men or Three Kings brought gold, frankincense and myrrh (celebrated on the feast of the Epiphany is on January 6th).

Bon Natale!

Feliz Navidad!

Joyeux Noël!

May you enjoy the blessings of the season -
The New York Arts Exchange.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Last Call: Diane Green at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art through December 24

Diane Green, Yellow Lit, 2010

Diane Green: The Space Between features 18 paintings that capture a sense of the momentary and the timeless.  It is in this unnameable "inbetweenness" that the spirit dwells. And it is there too, where the artist gives herself to her audience without imposing definitions.

Diane Green, OK, 2010-11

Herein lies what Raphael Rubenstein identified as "intimacy," which binds human beings to each other and to the world they inhabit. In Green's paintings, we witness intimacy and its mysterious pull - evident in the figures' relationships to each other and in the shapes that frame their fragile presence. Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Villard understood this sense of the corporal woven into the ephemeral, which characterizes their Intimist movement. Here we find an impressionistic emerging and submerging simultaneously, all in splendiferous colors melting into one another from a distance and then more specific up close.  As we exam the surface of each canvas, we succumb to an intimacy with the work itself, as if we too participate in these implied conversations. 

Diane Green, 4 PM, 2013

Diane Green, Green, 2015

Diane Green received her BA from  Bennington College and her MFA from Yale University.  Early in her career, Green exhibited mainly abstract works in several galleries. Then she took a break from the hub-bub of the art scene to reassess her work and her direction, choosing to embrace the figure which had lost its primacy among aspiring artists intoxicated with the then dominant Abstract Expressionism. The decision was courageous and fruitful, yielding an admirable body of work mid-career. 

Diane Green also runs The Green Studio School in Manhattan. Founded in 1994, the artist develops each "individual's approach to life, using art process to reveal personal patterns that empower."  In this exhibition, we see Green's method in action.

Diane Green, Between, 2015

Diane Green: The Space Between has been extended through December 24 at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art, 37 Popham Road, Scarsdale, NY.  The catalog is available online.

Merry Yuletide - and please remember that purchasing your gifts in the museums supports their efforts and is a gift to us all.

Beth New York

aka Beth Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
New York Arts Exchange

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Hanukah 2015/5776

Happy Hanukah!

Hanukah greetings to all who celebrate and to all who love to eat latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (jelly donuts) regardless of faith or dietary restrictions (warning to vegans: both contain eggs).

May we all heed the story that tells of resilience against a mighty oppressor and the desire to have the right to worship without fear of persecution.

May this Festival of Lights called Hanukah ("dedication") inspire peace, hope and harmony.  And may all the radiance of the holiday season illuminate our world with goodness.

Despite news that all public celebrations of Hanukah in Paris were cancelled, there was in fact a tremendous celebration hosted by Chabad last night. Click on the label under the photograph to watch the 1 1/2 hour speeches, concert, etc.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and her Maidservant, 1612-3

And, once again, the retelling of Judith and Holofernes in art.  Judith is celebrated on the fifth night of Hanukah, because she too saved the Jews from mass murder without a miracle or supernatural intervention. 

Best wishes/Chag Sameach,
Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
New York Arts Exchange

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you so much for sharing your love of art with us!

Best wishes for a joyous holiday -

New York Arts Exchange 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Diane Green and Beth Gersh-Nesic: Q and A at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art, Sunday, Nov 20 at noon

Diane Green, The Space Between
Madelyn Jordon Fine Arts, through December 20th
37 Popham Road, Scarsdale, New York

Please join me on  

Sunday, Nov. 22nd from 12-2 pm

for  a

Champagne Brunch Q & A with Diane Green

on her work in the exhibition

To RSVP, please reply to

Diane Green, 4 PM, 2013

View the exhibition here

Diane Green, Green, 2015

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Beth New York, aka Beth Gersh-Nesic
New York Arts Exchange

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paris in Tears

Arlene Rubenstein posted on FB a photo of herself and her beautiful family in front of the Paris Opera House with the statement "There are no words."   Yes, there are no words to describe the violence and violation to hundreds of carefree people out for a pleasant evening in Paris, hurting no one, simply out on the town to be with friends and family in a sports stadium, a concert hall, a restaurant and a shopping mall.   

There are no words to describe our outrage, pain and resolve to fight this element determined to wreck havoc through out the entire world.  Today, we weep not only for Paris, but for all the victims of terrorism - from Kenya to Boston to Beirut. 

Paris Coat of Arms
Fluctuat nec Mergitur
(toss at sea, but sunken)
(wounded but not defeated)

Here is a comment that responded to the news article printed in the NYT following the attacks in Paris on Friday: 


 Santa Barbara November 13, 2015

"France embodies everything religious zealots everywhere hate: enjoyment of life here on earth in a myriad little ways: a fragrant cup of coffee and buttery croissant in the morning, beautiful women in short dresses smiling freely on the street, the smell of warm bread, a bottle of wine shared with friends, a dab of perfume, children paying in the Luxembourg Gardens, the right not to believe in any god, not to worry about calories, to flirt and smoke and enjoy sex outside of marriage, to take vacations, to read any book you want, to go to school for free, to play, to laugh, to argue, to make fun of prelates and politicians alike, to leave worrying about the afterlife to the dead.
No country does life on earth better than the French.
Paris, we love you. We cry for you. You are mourning tonight, and we with you. We know you will laugh again, and sing again, and make love, and heal, because loving life is your essence. The forces of darkness will ebb. They will lose. They always do."

Let us wish Paris godspeed as she resists intimidation and resolves to move forward, back to normalcy -  to a genuine joie de vivre.
Nous sommes Paris.
 Vive la France!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Women Rule! Three Events Dedicated to Women in the Arts, Thursday, November 12th

Diane Radycki on Paula Modersohn-Becker
Galerie St. Etienne, 24 West 57th St.
Thursday, November 12th at 6 pm, free

Professor of art history and director of the Payne Gallery at Moravian College, Diane Radycki offers New Yorkers a rare opportunity to hear her speak about the first modern woman artist, Paula Modersohn Becker. Director of GSE, Jane Kallir wrote in her beautiful essay: "Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907) was almost completely unknown when she died following childbirth at the age of thirty-one, but within fifteen years she had become a near mythic figure in her native Germany. Posthumous exhibitions were staged at museums and prestigious galleries throughout the country. The artist’s letters and journals, limited excerpts from which were first published in 1913, became a bestseller when an expanded edition appeared in 1919-20. And she was famously eulogized by Rainer Maria Rilke, whose early career had been intimately intertwined with hers. Although these literary elements did not exactly overshadow Modersohn-Becker’s art, they gave her story a tragic cast that belies the unsentimental rigor of her achievement.."

Here is the PMB exhibition online. Paula Modersohn-Becker: Art and LIfe, at Galerie St. Etienne, November 3, 2015-March 12, 2016

Margaret Oppenheimer on "Madame Jumel Collects"
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue, 
Thursday, November 12th at 6:30 p.m., free

Eliza Jumel has been featured on this blog before as a "ghost" invented by the incomparable artist Yinka Shonebare, during his exhibition at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights. Margaret wrote to me: "The amazing Eliza Jumel—raised in a brothel, indentured as a servant, and confined to a workhouse while her mother was in jail—rose to become one of New York's richest women. Along the way she turned herself into an art connoisseur, acquiring more than 240 paintings in Paris between 1815 and 1817." Art historian Margaret Oppenheimer will bring Jumel’s pioneering collection back to life through a slide lecture of the paintings, their owner, and the early 19th-century art scene in New York and Paris at the New York Public Library - Mid-Manhattan.

Oppenheimer holds a PhD from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts and is the author of a newly released biography, The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel: A Story of Marriage and Money in the Early Republic, as well as The French Portrait: Revolution to Restoration (2005), the collaborating writer of the first edition of Art: A Brief History (2000), and a contributor to A Personal Gathering; Paintings and Sculpture from the Collection of William I. Koch (1996). Her articles have appeared in Apollo, the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, the Metropolitan Museum Journal, and other publications. 

Margaret volunteers as a docent at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City, Eliza Jumel’s former home. (Please join me for a tour with Margaret on Saturday, December 5th.)

Kathleen Gilje, Linda Nochlin at the Bar of the Folies Bergère , 2005

Kathleen Gilje, Self-Portrait in Bougereau's Assault, 2012 (detail)

Jovana Stokic, Professor of Curatorial Studies, School of Visual Arts, NYC
Maura Reilly, Chief Curator, National Academy of Art, NYC

"Linda Nochlin: The Art Historian as Seen By Artists"  - A Panel with Linda Nochlin
Maison Francaise, NYU - Washington Mews
Thursday, November 12th, 7 pm, free

A rare opportunity to hear celebrated art historian Linda Nochlin discuss portraits of herself with one of the artists, Kathleen Gilje, and two curators (former Nochlin students at IFA) Jovana Stokic and Maura Reilly.  Maura edited Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader (Thames and Hudson, 2015). 

Which one will I attend - alas: none.  I teach "Picasso: The Artist, His Work and His Critics" on Thursday evenings at Purchase College.

Please join us for Margaret's tour on December 5th!  

Best wishes to my dear colleagues and friends as you celebrate this tribute to women in the arts!

Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Happy Birthday, Pablo Picasso!

Feliz cumpleaños, Pablo Picasso. Today, you would have been 134 years old. And to celebrate your legacy, we bring attention to two great exhibitions of your work and about the influence of your work:

Picasso Mania! in Paris at the Grand Palais, through February 29, 2016

And Picasso Sculpture in New York at the Museum of Modern Art, through February 7, 2016.

Viva Picasso - Long may you reign as the art master supreme.

Beth New York

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"Sins" of the Summer Continue through the Fall 2015

Hieronymus Bosch, Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things, 1485

The Fairfield/Westchester Museum Alliance (FWMA) organized a sinned-filled summer and fall with its first united effort: the "Seven Deadly Sins."  Based on the "Eight Evil Thoughts" set down by Evagrius Ponticus, a Greek monk (345- 399 AD), and established by Pope Gregory I in 590 A.D., these moralizing concepts may seem a bit out-of-touch with our relativist 21st-century minds. Moreover, most of the curators missed the opportunity to teach us about the use of morality tales in art history. For traditionally, art was meant to uplift and ennoble, inspire virtuous behavior and give comfort to those afflicted by pain.  Art also promoted fame through portraiture - an act of pride, of course.  Pride, therefore, can do good - recording the faces of yore,

Fay Ku, Juno's Creatures, 2014
Graphite and oil on mylar, 42 x 30 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery, New York

Deputy director and curator at the Bruce Museum Susan Ball should take great pride in her wonderful selection of artworks and her ability to educate her audience. Of special note, the exhibition includes a mesmerizing Antoine Roegiers video of animated Bosch and Bruegel characters which act out all Seven Deadly Sins in brief humorous vignettes.

Gabriel Schlaching (1850-1912), 
Sweet Reflections, 1886
oil on canvas, 51 x 39 inches
Woodmere Art Museum, Bequest of Charles Knox Smith
Photograph by Rick Echelmeyer

According Dr. Ball: "The Seven Deadly Sins have played a significant role in theology, literature and art since the Middle Ages, Pride, or superbia, represents the mother of all sins and the one from which all others arise – the root of a many-branched tree.  .  . The debate about the definition of sinfulness in general and each specific transgression in particular has raged for centuries.  One might ask, at what point is the line between healthy self-esteem, or pride, and the sin of arrogant self-aggrandizement, or pridefulness, crossed?” 

So true!  I should note that there were attempts to conscious-raise in other exhibitions. 

Diane Burko, Arctic Cyclone, 2012

For example, "Wrath: Force of Nature" at Wave Hill, took on environmental issues with magnificent paintings that address the unpredictability of Mother Nature. Some were tumultuous, others calm. Together, the works delivered such visual pleasure their negative connotations seemed beside the point. (Please click on the title of the exhibition to see digital reproductions of the paintings and read the catalog.)

James Lee Byars, The Golden Divan, 1990

Greed at Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, exhibited Gold organized by the Curator of Exhibitions José Carlos Diaz at the Bass Museum. The press release stated: "Some artists explore the ritualistic use of gold to imbue objects with spiritual and eternal significance. James Lee Byars utilizes gold in pursuit of his idea of sacred beauty and perfection by including a tiny golden sphere in his Self-Portrait and using metallic fabric in The Golden Divan for one of gold." 

What does this have to do with "Greed"???  Plenty of eye-candy, but "Seven Deadly Sin"-ful it is not.(Please click on the exhibition title to view several examples in the show.)

Sylvie Fleury, Yes to All That, 2004

Sylvie Fleury at least has a sense of humor. The absurdity of this gold-plated garbage receptacle evokes a preciousness that teeters between excess and emptiness. "All that glisters is not gold," Shakespeare reminded us, i.e., a gilded veneer may lend value to worthless objects, such as Dario Escobar's 1999 Untitled (a golden McDonald's soda cup) or disguise potential dangers, as in Chris Burden's Gold Bullets (2003).

Emilie Clark, Sweet Corruptions, 2012-13
egg shells, fruit peels, bread crusts, shells, on wooden table
(liquids and solids in auxiliary jars)

Emilie Clark, "Untitled EHR/H-1," from The Delicacy of Decomposition series, 2015

Gluttony at Katonah Museum of Art, serves up the sin of garbage-making by aesthetically displaying various food scraps accumulated over a year.  The artist Emilie Clark views her studio as a lab and combines art with science to help us understand her installation Sweet Corruptions, 2012-13. Her  series of delicate watercolors of decomposing edibles (2015) surround a large wooden table groaning with egg shells, bread crusts, fruit peels and cheese rinds, arranged in an attractive composition.

However, one person's idea of  gourmet may be another person's idea of gourmand.  Do we really need 20 ounce servings of soda?  Apparently, Mike Bloomberg said "nay" and his NYC constituents said "forgettaboutit."  Gluttony is in the eyes of the beholder.  And waste, well that's another topic entirely - and suitable for a different show.

Adrien Broom, Envy and Temptation, 2015

Envy:One Sin, Seven Stories, combines digital photographs of actors and 3-D stage sets in order to dramatize classic fairy tales about coveting desirable possessions, from beauty to material goods. Unfortunately, the choice of Snow White set my nerves on edge, as I am a stepmother and believe that today's stepmothers need kinder publicity.  Why not consider the envy of siblings: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Osiris and Seth, Mufasa and Scar?   Why not an updated examination of Envy in today's media: Cribs, Housewives of Whatever, or The Primates of Park Avenue?

Marcy Freedman, Poster for Performance Piece, July 26, 2015

Lust at Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art proved to be the least appealing of the exhibitions and most inappropriate for its location: the only museum in a family town (Peekskill) should not bar youngsters under 18 years old from art. This decision may be the real sin perpetrated by this lifeless show. Nevertheless, In Bed with a Big, Bad Wolf, performed by Marcy Freedman on July 26, brought intelligence with a twist of humor to this fairly dull take on such a spicy topic.

Sin Najafi with Mats Bigert, Sloth, 2015

Sloth at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Center had the most innovative idea: engage the audience through direct participation.  Here, the visitor can sit in a comfy recliner and watch a video loop of curators explaining the other exhibitions in the FWMA SDS project.  However, right here and right now, as you read, you can out sloth the Aldrich's Sloth-y installation.  For the New York Arts Exchange provides the various links to the FWMA venues so that you can sit in your own easy chair in the comfort of your own home accompanied by gluttonous portions of your own favorite snacks tailored to your own greedy appetite. (After all, this the 21st century and you should be able to curate your own experience of the Seven Deadly Sins in your own way.)  

Two exhibitions have closed already.  Five still remain on view, but not for long.  May I suggest that you put Pride at the top of your to-do list - and take pride in the fact that you didn't miss this excellent show.

Lust at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, April 19 - July 26, 2015
Wrath at Wave Hill, June 7 - September 7, 2015

Still open:
Envy  - Hudson River Museum, June 6 - September 26
Pride - Bruce Museum, June 27 - October 18
Gluttony - Katonah Museum of Art, July 12 - October 11.
Greed  - Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, July 12 - October 18
Sloth - Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, July 19 - October 18

If you were to organize an exhibitions on Seven Deadly Sins in our time, which would you choose? Perhaps, an updated list might consider the Seven "Sins" that lead to death, such as murder, neglect, abuse, hazing, drug addiction, "doping" in sports, and excessive measures for beauty.  

Please write to me at or comment on my FB page.  I would love to hear your thoughts on "sinfulness" in the 21st century.

Best wishes to you all - whether you are atoning for your sins on Yom Kippur or indulging in the pleasures of mid-September or both,

Beth New York

Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11 - We Remember

In Memory of All Who Lost their Lives in the Terrorist Attacks on September 11 
and by working on the site in the aftermath

And to Michael Richards - whose light still shines upon us through his art:

Michael Richards, Are You Down?, 2012

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall Courses 2015 and New Blogs

Michael Pupin's Birth Place in Idvor, Serbia

Happy end of summer and best wishes for the Labor Day Weekend.   I hope you all had wonderful experiences and enjoyed every minute of summer pleasures.

Please send me your list of art adventures.  Did you see "China" and Sargent at the Met?  Van Gogh and Whistler’s Mother at the Clark?
Hans Hofmann and "Pride" at the Bruce Museum?  "Alice" at the Morgan?
Did you see "Storylines" and Doris Salcedo at the Gugg?  Lots of old friends there (including a few from the New Museum Triennial we saw last May).  The Salcedo show is among my favorites this summer.

There is still time to catch them all.

This semester I won’t be able to give tours.  I agreed to give 3 courses at Purchase:
  • Pop Art, Mondays and Wednesdays, 4 – 5:45 pm at RCC campus (starts today)
  • Picasso, Thursdays, 6:30-9:50 pm, Purchase College campus (starts tomorrow)
  • Museum History and Fundamentals, Tuesdays, 6:30-9:30 pm, Purchase College campus (starts Sept. 15) – this is for the certificate program in Museum Studies.

You are welcome to register for the credit class with Friends of Humanities – only $65 per course: - if you are 60 years young or 60+.

If you would like to join the Museum Studies course, please let me know. This is a non-credit course and may not accept the Friends of Humanities privileges. Nevertheless, it's a great way concentrate on museum culture and have your say during our lively conversations.

Also – I started two blogs (in addition to this NY Arts Exchange blog):
"Summer in Serbia"    where I will add my pictures taken this summer, one batch at a time.

And Postmodern Mom:    where I post personal essays that have been rolling around in my brain for a while (inspired by the "Envy" exhibition at the Hudson River Museum).

I am sharing these blogs on Facebook, so if you are not on FB (or have not friended me on FB) and would like to receive these posts separately, please sign up to follow the blogs.  Many thanks!

I also started the Museum of Kindness on Facebook and have a blog for that too.
Please, please send me information that might contribute to this virtual museum. I would greatly appreciate it.

Please stay in touch – WRITE, CALL, TEXT!   I would love to hear from you.
And, please feel free to drop in to my classes. 

Love and hugs,

New York Arts Exchange

Friday, August 28, 2015

Last Call: Hans Hofmann Murals at the Bruce Museum, through Sept 6th

Hans Hofmann
The Gate, 1959-60
oil on canvas, 75 x 48 1/2 inches
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Now is the time to visit the Bruce Museum, if you haven't already savored their most exciting summer yet!  Four excellent exhibitions are still on view through next weekend: 
  • Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann (through September 6th)
  • Pride, one of the Seven Deadly Sins series in Westchester and Fairfield Counties (through October 18th
  • Theodore Nierenberg: Photographs from His World Travels (through November 29th)
  • Madagascar: Ghost of the Past (through November 8th)
Each in its own right is worth the trip to Greenwich, CT.  Altogether, Bruce delivers a perfect outing for families - great art and fascinating science that everyone can enjoy.  (I love looking at lemurs since my daughter and I read Lunch with Aunt Augusta by Emma Chichester Clark years ago.)

Hans Hofmann
Awakening, 1947, oil on canvas, 59 ¼  x 40 ¼ in.
Private Collection, Photograph by Paul Mutino 
Works by Hans Hofmann used with permission of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust

Of special note for art history fans: Hans Hofmann's iconic The Gate, 1959-60, which belongs to the Guggenheim Museum's permanent collection, makes a cameo appearance in this intimate setting. Often reproduced in art history textbooks (and selected for Wikipedia), this oil painting exemplifies Hofmann's well-known "push-pull" interpretation of Cubism that galvanized the New York School movement. Its luscious impasto slathered on neatly executed forms ("figures") cannot be appreciated in digital reproduction. Here is a physicality of expression that we find in Jackson Pollock: the evidence of "Action Painting," which was the critic Harold Rosenberg's description for Abstract Expressionism.

Hans Hofmann
Lonely Journey, 1965, oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (1989.397), 
Gift of Renate Hofmann, 1989

Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
Image source: Art Resource, NY
Works by Hans Hofmann used with permission of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust

Adjunct curator Kenneth Silver, a professor of art history at NYU, rightly points out that Hofmann was famous for "his dynamic approach to color."  "He was a towering figure among New York painters. . . a teacher and theoretician" for the AbEx generation, most notably Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell (among many others ), 

Born in Bavaria on March 21, 1880, Johann Georg Albert Hofmann settled in Paris in 1904 (as the Fauve movement was about to take over the avant-garde at the Salon d'automne in 1905). By 1908, Cubism was on the rise and Hofmann found his footing in this new movement, leaning toward to the non-objective spin-off Orphism. From here he concentrated on the tension between figure and ground.  In 1930, he came to the US to teach at the University of California in Berkeley and by the mid-1930s, he ran two schools - one in New York City and the other in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art gave him a retrospective.  He died on February 17, 1966.

Hans Hoffman
Mural, 711 Third Avenue (in situ), 1956

Walls of Color marks a significant moment in Hofmann's oeuvre: his mural projects made with mosaic tesserae (tiny tiles) rather than paint - very old medium that posed a new challenge for this seventy-six-year-old artist. (Mosaics made of tesserae, as opposed to natural stones, date back to the middle of the 3rd century BCE, invented in Hellenistic Greece.)

In an exciting model set up in the gallery space, we have the opportunity to study Hofmann's first foray into mosaics: a mural in the lobby of 711 Third Avenue, wrapped around a bank of elevators. In the Bruce Museum, this miniature room invites the visitor inside to view an excellent video on Hofmann's work. Today, still radiant in a cool white and gray lobby, the 711 mural reflects the zing of post WWII, 1950s exuberance. The building was completed in 1957.

Hans Hofmann
Mosaic Mural, 711 Third Avenue, New York, 1956 (detail)
Photograph by Paul Mutino
Works by Hans Hofmann used with permission of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust

439 West 49th St. (former School of Printing),1958

Not far from 711 Third Avenue (near 44th Street) is another Hofmann mural on the facade of the School of Graphic Design, commissioned by the New York City Board of Education.  It is 64-foot long and 11-foot tall, produced for the High School of Printing that is now the High School of Graphic Arts Communication at  439 West 49th Street. Here Hofmann's signature geometric forms seem to simultaneously advance and recede against a pure white background (his "push-pull" effect).

Hans Hofmann
Mural Fragment (Chimbote), 1950, oil on panel mounted on board, 83 x 35 ¾ in.
Photograph by Doug Young
Works by Hans Hofmann used with permission of the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust

Finally, the exhibition features nine studies that are seven-feet tall for a collaboration with the architects Jose Luis Sert and Paul Lester Wiener. They were meant for a church in Chimbote, Peru. This project, meant for the bell tower, was never realized.

Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann occupies the main galleries in the Bruce Museum.   Rush forth! And then slowly take in Hofmann's great works of art.

Best wishes as we end the Summer of 2015 -
Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
New York Arts Exchange