Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Goldfish in Portland

That would be Goldfish Bowl at the Portland Art Museum...

Here's Roy Lichtenstein's Goldfish Bowl currently on view at the Portland Art Museum. It's on loan so if you want to see it in person you'll need to plan ahead since the owner could decide to take it back at any moment.
108/365 Goldfish Bowl (after Matisse)

As Lichtenstein did in a number of his images, he's triggering off of another artist's work. Here it's Matisse's Goldfish and Palette. Matisse had created two goldfish scenes in 1914. This one is an abstraction of an earlier more conventional view. He's outlining the forms in black as Lichtenstein repeated in his bronze sculpture.

.(also posted on my other blog)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vincent Van Gogh ~ Happy 157th!!!

Yes, if Vincent Van Gogh were still alive he'd be 157 years old. We featured Vincent during  Week 38 here at Fifty Two Pieces. Going back and rereading the week, I was reminded of not only him but also a number of other artists, including Robert Colescott, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney. 

Here's the reprised post for Tuesday of that week.
Van Gogh ~ Appropriations by Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Colescott

At least two of the artists we have featured here in Fifty Two Pieces have painted appropriations of Van Gogh's work. Roy Lichtenstein from Week 37 made this print of Bedroom at Arles with Drawing on the verso in 1992. Evidently, Vogue Hommes, Paris, published a special hand signed catalogue, portfolio in a limited edition of 50. The illustration on the reverse (shown here on the left) was made when Roy Lichtenstein spilled coffee on the print during the signing. In addition to this print, Lichtenstein also painted an oil of Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles. It is shown below on the left as well as Van Gogh's original version of his Bedroom at Arles.

Robert Colescott from Week 20 was another artist famous for his appropriations of work by fellow artists. His versions became riffs and parodies. One of his most famous was of Van Gogh's Potato Eaters. Both images are shown below and it's fairly clear which artist was responsible for which painting.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gregory Grenon ~ Sighting at the Ecotrust Building

This painting, "I'm Very Well Protected (1991)" by Gregory Grenon (week 16), can be seen at the Ecotrust Building. A local artist here in Portland, you can see his oil paintings on glass around town. Two of them (images here) are in the entryway of the Westin Hotel on SW Alder. Three clues that you're looking at a Grenon. His images are almost always of women. The colors are intense. The surface is glass, not canvas or board.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lee Kelly ~ Reprised, Part of the Portland Transit Mall

On one less than sunny day, I walked past this sculpture by Lee Kelly the artist of Week 23 here at Fifty Two Pieces. It is part of the Portland Transit Mall, very near Burnside on SW 6th Ave. Since Kelly is a long-time Portlander, Portland is graced with many of his works. I selected the post from 5 June 2009 to reprise. I love the shot of Kelly working in his studio -- those hands have created so much.
For all of the posts from Week 23, click here.

Originally posted on Friday, 5 June 2009
Lee Kelly ~ The Hands that Made "Arlie"


Here are the hands of the man who made Arlie, our featured sculpture of the week. Lee Kelly was born in 1932 and has made art longer than probably most of the people who read this blog post have been alive. He has done so many things in those seventy-seven years. Think about that, seventy-seven years alive on this planet, living in the Pacific Northwest. Born in Idaho he spent part of his childhood here in Portland, served in the Korean War and returned to the Portland area. He has travelled widely, across many continents and his artistic works reflect those experiences as well as the totality of the life he has led.

He is an inspiration for the artists and public here in Portland providing much needed support for the artistic community when he could easily not be involved. There are a few videos of Lee Kelly available to watch on the internet. This one from OPB will really give you an insight into the man and his art. Those of us who have experienced his works are fortunate and those who are part of his inner circle are the ones who are truly blessed.

Lee Kelly has a studio in an old barn on property outside of Salem. That's where he has creates his art by welding and grinding. It would be a real treat to visit there. Not all of us can do that. So Oregon Public Broadcasting did a video interview of him there in Salem. The video linked here cannot be embedded as youtube and vimeo productions can be. So for a look at Lee Kelly, his life and his art, click this link ... Lee Kelly on OPB.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

John Buck Reprised and Now on the Green Line / Transit Mall

Lodge Grass ~ 2000

Cast bronze, 49.5 x 15.5 x 12 inches, Edition of 3
Back in May, Fifty Two Pieces featured John Buck. The Portland Art Museum owns a number of his wooden pieces. Lewis and Clark is home to some of the very tall bronze sculptures. However, all of us in downtown Portland can now enjoy one of his smaller, four feet high, pieces. Lodge Grass is a cast bronze and is located on SW 6th, just south of the rather large Lee Kelly that we'll have to showcase in the future. Portlanders are very fortunate to have so much public art on their streets. 

John Buck from Inside His Studio TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2009

Amy's link yesterday to ARTWORKS will give you an insight into John Buck, the man and how he came to be a word carver. All through school his sculptures had been made from found objects from other people's yards. During a semester abroad spent in England while he was in graduate school, Buck found that he was cut off from that source. As a result, he began to use the piles of wood the school provided him. He says it took him a while but he finally bonded with this new process and the rest is history so to speak. 

John Buck's own website John Buck Art opens with the image above, a look inside his studio. This and other photos from his spread in Montana would indicate that he has spent many years collecting tools and carving pieces that he can use in future assemblages. Here's another view of his studio. 

It's almost as if you can see the bones of the works he will create – a look inside John Buck's mind.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lovejoy Bakers and Sol LeWitt

One of the most popular pages here at Fifty Two Pieces continues to be one of Sol LeWitt's. I've linked it below this image that I took of a Sol LeWitt inspired piece. You can find this striking yellow piece of art outside of Lovejoy Bakers in The Pearl here in Portland.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2009

Sol LeWitt - Incomplete Open Cubes, 122 All Together Now

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Franz Kline ~ Reprised and with a Mind Open to all Kinds of Things

Okay, this is just not a reprised piece from our archives. I've decided to include some additional content that I came across while trolling the internet. Voice from the Couch knew that I wouldn't be able not to add to this site. Here's a nugget from Crown Point Press ~ well worth the five minutes.

Franz Kline 1959, Steve Martin 1981 ~ Rue  originally posted 02/05/09

This piece by Franz Kline, famous Abstract Expressionist painter, is entitled Rue (on loan to the Portland Art Museum from a private collection). Like his other paintings, Rue is the result of Kline having lived for many years in New York. He said that the feelings aroused in him by seeing the city for so long was what he painted. Although some abstract expressionist painters of his day left their paintings untitled. Kline chose to name many of them. Just before his first one man show he asked Willem and Elaine De Kooning to help him name his paintings. "[I]n a spirit of levity with a bottle of scotch on the table," was how Elaine would later describe the eight hour naming session. My own mind turns over the word rue and I chuckle thinking about the person who rues the day that he ate the rue he had found on the "rue".

Kline definitely belongs to the sub-group of abstract expressionists known as action painters. In my reading I found this quote from his friend Philip Pavia , "When I would visit Kline in his studio, he had stretched a large canvas on the wall, and underneath he would push with his feet a wood beer box to a certain spot. After a few trials and errors, he fixed the box into a right spot. He then slanted a plank from the floor with one end on the beer crate. A temporary ramp. Coming up the plank and down the plank, he slanted his brushstrokes for long strokes or short ones, and some of them were very loaded with paint."

Although Kline's paintings were the result of the emotions the city aroused in him and he didn't care to be in his painting, one owner of Rue did say that he could see himself in it. Steve Martin is listed as being the previous owner of this painting and had always said that he wanted to be part of it. The Portland Art Museum is also exhibiting the photo Annie Leibovitz took of Steve Martin in Beverly Hills when he posed for his portrait. Complete with black brushstrokes on his white suit, Martin realized his dream. A companion photo appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Prague Panoramas -- Josef Sudek Sausages, 242 and counting

Just this last week, this page has become very popular with visitors. So for everyone's enjoyment, I've decided to have Josef Sudek's Prague Panormas be the Reprise of the week. Expect to see more of Sudek, later in the year. His work was exceptional.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2009 Prague Panoramas -- Josef Sudek Sausages, 242 and counting

Josef Sudek was a master photographer, a genius with the lens and his use of light. Two areas of his photography have intrigued me -- his panoramic series made in the 1950's and his portraits. Many who are familiar with his work are unaware that he used his genius to take portraits of his family and friends. Those photographs will have to wait for another day.

For today, praha panoramaticka (Prague Panoramas) take the spotlight. In the early 1950's, Sudek acquired an 1894 Kodak Panorama camera. This camera had a spring-drive sweeping lens that made a negative 10 cm x 30 cm (4"x12"). Sudek used this camera on his daily journeys through Prague and the surrounding countryside. One admirer wrote... "The unusual format with its extreme proportions of 1 x 3 and the special distortions caused by the sweeping lens are extremely demanding, like the constraints of a sonnet. Yet like any set of artistic constraints, the peculiar requirements of the panoramic photo offer opportunities not found elsewhere. Sudek never tired of exploring the possibilities of the photographic sonnets he could make with his antique mechanism whose shutter speeds were marked simply "fast" and "slow". With it he gave us a geodesic feeling for the country-side which far surpasses anything we get from isolated views, and in Prague itself he showed how the River Vltava is an integral part of the city and how the labyrinthian quality of the city is offset by its broad open spaces. He was never short of resourceful ways of using the panoramic format. Before the horizontal panorama had yieided all its secrets, Sudek turned the camera on its side and gave us vertical panoramas!"

Prague Panoramas was published in 1956 and is one of the most sought after books in European antiquarian book shops. There are reprints available, but they too are quite pricey. On-line images of these photographs are limited to a few horizontals, but no verticals (ah, change the google search ever so slightly and voila, there's the vertical, see upper right). As you enjoy the composition and light in the following images, think of Sudek and his remarkable sense of humor... On February 26, 1956, Sudek jokingly remarked about his Praha Panoramaticka which was about to go to press: "made 242 sausages of Prague so far; at least 60 more left to make".

And last but not least, the European Commission has Sudek panoramas in one of their conference room. The overall effect is gallery-like until the people have arrived. Perhaps this was why Sudek preferred his photos without people unless he was taking an actual portrait. To be continued...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back by Popular Demand ~ The Two Roys and Kris

A number of people have asked about what's happening to Fifty Two Pieces, now that our original commitment of 52 pieces has been met. Reviewing the stats from our accumulator, Stat Counter, we've noticed that even the most loyal haven't seen all of our posts. Without further ado, we're reprising some of our own favorite posts, not on a regular basis but probably once a week, more or less. So check back in occasionally and you'll see some of our own personal favorites. And now for The Two Roys and Kris... WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2009 Roy Lichtenstein ~ Sweet Dreams Baby with Roy Orbison Earlier this week I mentioned Roy Lichtenstein's sense of humor and how it came into play with his choice of words for this image – Sweet Dreams Baby. Once I started to think of the usual endearing use of that phrase, it was extremely difficult not to hear Roy Orbison singing what some think of as his signature song, Sweet Dreams Baby. So although Roy Lichtenstein listened to classical music while painting in his studio, I'm certain he would enjoy the sight of Bruce Springsteen playing backup to Roy Orbison in the version of Sweet Dreams Baby posted below. More Words, Images and Music But wait, more music can be heard while looking at the prints in Word and Image/Word as Image. For example take a peek at William Hogarth's Marriage a la Mode. This engraving is from a set of four and concentrates on Squanderfield's bride. She's having her hair done while listening to the lawyer Silvertongue (you have to love the choice of names). Just in case there's any doubt about the affair between those two, Hogarth has placed a black servant boy playing with a broken horned statue in front of them – Squanderfield should know at this point that she's "fooling around". There's a great deal to see in this engraving, including Silvertongue's portrait on the far right wall. Hogarth did the faces and heads but had Simon Francois Ravanet complete the background because of its technical demands. While taking in Silvertongue and the rest of Squanderfield's friends, listen to Kris Kristofferson singing Silver Tongued Devil and I.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Top Ten

Here's our list of the top ten artists at Fifty Two Pieces and the pages that made them so popular. Like most popularity lists this one is skewed by length of time a page has been circulating on the internet. Although Raphael and La Donna Velata made the cut it was just barely. However, Raphael only first appeared during the last week of October. Part of the reason Josef Sudek is a front runner in popularity has to do with the world wide audience Fifty Two Pieces has. Visitors come from all over the world and make frequent revisits. Although most of the over 17,000 visitors are from the United States, Canada and Great Britain, people from over 100 countries have dropped in on Fifty Two Pieces.

Check out these artists and the other 42 that we have presented in the last year. For each one on the Top Ten List we've also included a link to all of their posts.

Amy had this to say today...
My personal favorite, the artist I most enjoyed learning about this year, is you LaValle. This project taught me so much about partnership in writing and learning. It has been invaluable for me. I have logged into Fifty Two Pieces for the last time and no new years resolution will ever be the same.

LaValle had this to say on this last day of 2009...
Starting tomorrow, I'll no longer be thinking about what I'll be writing about on Fifty Two Pieces, nor will I be researching what that writing will be about, nor will I be waking up early to actually write it. Not doing all of that in turn will be leaving hours of extra time every day. What is she going to do you might ask? Voice from the Couch is also waiting to hear and not too patiently for that answer.

Well, I'll be starting a photography blog Portland Through My Lens. I'm challenging myself to ride the Portland Streetcar every day of 2010 and take photographs and post at least one of those images. The restrictions I'm imposing on myself are that the photos must be either from the streetcar or within two blocks of the streetcar. And I should amend the challenge to everyday that I'm in Portland since I do hope to travel sometime during the year. I'll have to come up with a sub-challenge for those days.

2009 has been a fine year, full of lots of planning, website maintenance and many discoveries. Thank you Amy for a great year. And thank you to everyone, all 17,000+ visitors, who have helped to make the year as good as it was.