Category Archives: Visual Art

Getting Closer to Now: The Revised Contemporary Artists Meta-List

I’ve revised the meta-list of contemporary artists (and selected works) by adding 10 more lists, bringing the total number of original source lists to more than 20.  I first created this meta-list in 2015 and a great deal has happened in the art world since then, so this new list has a lot more artists.  In fact, there are 44 new artists on the list, from all over the world.  Here are their names, dates, and countries where they have worked.  For each artist, I researched their more-often mentioned works of art by doing an informal Internet survey.  I have added these new works of art (there are several hundred) to my visual arts checklist and also to the geographical lists that tell where you can find the artwork.  Many of the listed artworks cannot be found in museums, but may be viewed at occasional exhibitions or installations, or at certain art galleries.

Here is the link for the revised list: Best Contemporary Artists.

Here are the 44 new artists on the list, organized chronologically by date of birth:

  1. Donald Judd (US, 1928-1994)
  2. Dan Flavin (US, 1933–1996)
  3. Christo and Jeanne-Claude (Christo Vladimirov Javacheff: Bulgaria/France, 1935-2020) (Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon: Morocco/France, 1935–2009)
  4. Eva Hesse (Germany/US, 1936–1970)
  5. Frank Stella (US, 1936- )
  6. Robert Smithson (US, 1938–1973)
  7. Gilbert and George (Gilbert Prousch: Italy/UK, 1943- )(George Passmore: UK: England, 1942- )
  8. Jörg Immendorff (Germany, 1945–2007)
  9. Sean Scully (Ireland/US, 1945- )
  10. Marina Abramović (Yugoslavia (Serbia)/Netherlands/France/Germany, 1946- )
  11. Chris Burden (US, 1946- )
  12. Luo Zhongli (China, 1948- )
  13. Barbara Kruger (US, 1949- )
  14. Jenny Holzer (US, 1950- )
  15. Julian Schnabel (US, 1951- )
  16. Günther Förg (Germany, 1952-2013)
  17. David Salle (US, 1952- )
  18. Carrie Mae Weems (US, 1953- )
  19. Albert Oehlen (Germany, 1954- )
  20. Robert Gober (US, 1954- )
  21. Christopher Wool (US, 1955- )
  22. Zhou Chunya (China, 1955- )
  23. Kerry James Marshall (US, 1955- )
  24. Rudolf Stingel (Italy/US, 1956- )
  25. Andy Goldsworthy (UK: England, 1956- )
  26. George Condo (US, 1957- )
  27. Luc Tuymans (Belgium, 1958- )
  28. Mark Wallinger (UK: England, 1959- )
  29. Grayson Perry (UK: England, 1960- )
  30. Mark Bradford (US, 1961- )
  31. John Currin (US, 1962- )
  32. Sarah Lucas (UK: England, 1962- )
  33. Liu Xiaodong (China, 1963- )
  34. Zeng Fanzhi (China, 1964- )
  35. Liu Wei (China, 1965- )
  36. Matthew Barney (US, 1967- )
  37. Mark Grotjahn (US, 1968- )
  38. Wolfgang Tillmans (Germany/UK, 1968- )
  39. Chris Ofili (UK/Trinidad & Tobago, 1968- )
  40. Cecily Brown (UK: England/US, 1969- )
  41. Jenny Saville (UK: England, 1970- )
  42. Adrian Ghenie (Romania/Germany, 1977- )
  43. Kehinde Wiley (US, 1977- )
  44. Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigeria/US, 1983- )

Here is my visual arts checklist: My Checklists – Visual Art

Here are the geographical lists with new items:
North America & South America
Europe
Africa, Asia & Australia

 

 

 

Pandemic Art Adventures: Commonwealth Avenue Mall

The closing of museums during the pandemic put me in a state of art withdrawal.  In search of a fix, I traveled to various locations in the Greater Boston area looking for publicly-accessible art.  On several days in June 2020, I wandered around downtown Boston, looking for public art. One day, I walked along the tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue Mall in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood and photographed the various statues and monuments along the way. The Mall was designed by Arthur Gilman, using the new boulevards of Paris as his inspiration, and was created between 1858 and 1888. The dominant trees were American elms, although many of them have succumbed to Dutch elm disease; other tree species include sweetgum, green ash, maple, linden, zelkova, and Japanese pagoda. Interestingly, public sculpture was not a component of Gilman’s original plan, although it is now a highlight of the Mall.

The tour begins at the Public Garden (Arlington Street) and moves west to finish at Charlesgate East. For more information and photos, check out the website of the Friends of the Public Garden.

1. ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1865)
Sculptor: William Rimmer


Born on the Caribbean island of Nevis (and thus not eligible to be president), Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) helped draft the U.S. Constitution. He founded the Federalist Party, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the New York Post. He was George Washington’s secretary of the treasury and authored the nation’s early financial policies. He was killed in a duel with then-Vice President Aaron Burr.

2. GENERAL JOHN GLOVER (1875)
Sculptor: Martin Milmore


A merchant and fisherman who was born in Salem, Massachusetts and lived in Marblehead, John Glover (1732-1797) served as a brigadier general during the American Revolutionary War. The regiment he commanded evacuated George Washington’s army after losing the Battle of Long Island, and ferried Washington and his troops across the Delaware to surprise Hessian forces at the Battle of Trenton.

3. PATRICK ANDREW COLLINS (1908)
Sculptors: Henry Kitson and Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson


Patrick Collins (1844-1905) was an Irish immigrant who became a prominent Boston politician. He served in the Massachusetts Legislature from 1868-1871, in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1883-1889 and as Mayor of Boston from 1902 until his death in 1905.
 

4.  VENDOME FIREFIGHTERS’ MEMORIAL (1997) 
Sculptor: Theodore Clausen
Landscape Architect: Peter White 


The memorial honors the nine firefighters who were killed on June 17, 1972 in a fire at the Hotel Vendome, which was located across the street from the memorial.

5. WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON (1886)
Sculptor: Olin Levi Warner


The most prominent Boston abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) published the anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator from 1831 until 1865 and was a co-founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society. He fought to give women the right to vote and supported other social reforms.  

6. SAMUEL ELIOT MORISON (1982)
Sculptor: Penelope Jencks


Boston-born Samuel Eliot Morison (1887-1976) was a Harvard professor and distinguished historian, who specialized in naval and maritime history.  Morison was also an accomplished sailor who recreated Columbus’s voyages using the original log books.

7. BOSTON WOMEN’S MEMORIAL (2003)
Sculptor: Meredith Bergmann


The Boston Women’s Memorial includes representations of Lucy Stone (left), Abigail Adams (center), and Phillis Wheatley (right).

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts. She was married to second U.S. President John Adams and served as First Lady from 1797-1801. She served as informal advisor to John Adams, who consulted her on most matters. Abigail Adams was also the mother of sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams.  Her letters are the source of important information about the early United States.

Massachusetts women’s rights activist Lucy Stone (1818–1893) was a public speaker and writer who helped to organize the first National Women’s Rights Convention and establish the Women’s National Loyal League and the American Women’s Suffrage Association. She was also an abolitionist who campaigned for the passage of the 13th Amendment.

An acclaimed poet, Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784) was born in West Africa, sold into slavery and brought to Boston, where she was sold to the Wheatley family.  In 1773, she published Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, the first book of poetry published by an African-American, which received praise from many, including George Washington.  Following the publication of the book, Wheatley was emancipated.

8. DOMINGO F. SARMIENTO (1973)
Sculptor: Yvette Compagnion


Domingo Sarmiento (1811-1888) was an Argentine writer, intellectual, and politician who became the 7th president of Argentina, serving from 1868-1874. Sarmiento modeled his country’s education system on that of Boston’s Horace Mann, and Argentina gave this statue to the city in gratitude. 

9. LEIF ERIKSSON (1887)
Sculptor: Anne Whitney


Leif Eriksson (c. 970-c. 1020 CE) (also spelled Erikson) was a Norse explorer from Iceland, who may have been the first European to establish a settlement on continental North America. Some scholars believe that the settlement of Vinland described in Icelandic sagas corresponds to a Norse settlement, remains of which have been discovered in Newfoundland, Canada at L’Anse aux Meadows. The statue in Boston, which is the oldest public sculpture of Leif Eriksson in the U.S., was donated by patent medicine maker Eben Horsford, who mistakenly believed that Vinland was located on Boston’s Charles River.



For other Pandemic Art Adventures, check out these posts:

Brandeis University
Harvard University
Boston University
MIT
Boston Common
Boston Public Garden

My Kid Could List That: Introducing the Updated Art Lists

I’ve updated the Best Works of Art lists, both the ranked (with the artworks on the most lists at the top) and chronological versions. (The chronological version, in seven parts, is called Art History 101.) I’ve added a number of new lists to the meta-list and also changed the formatting somewhat. Hope you enjoy.

Here are the links:
Best Works of Art of All Time – Ranked, Part 1
Best Works of Art of All Time – Ranked, Part 2
Best Works of Art of All Time – Ranked, Part 3

Art History 101, Part 1 (Prehistory-399 CE)
Art History 101, Part 2 (400 CE – 1399)
Art History 101, Part 3 (1400 – 1499)
Art History 101, Part 4 (1500 – 1599)
Art History 101, Part 5 (1600 – 1799)
Art History 101, Part 6 (1800 – 1899)
Art History 101, Part 7 (1900 – Present)

I’ve done a little analysis of the entire artworks meta-list. There are a total of 555 artworks (actually more because some entries encompass series or artworks with multiple versions). There are artworks from Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America, although the vast majority are from Europe.

Here are the artists with the most works of art on the meta-list:

9 works of art
Rembrandt
(The Netherlands, 1606-1669) paintings, prints

8 works of art
Michelangelo
(Italy, 1475-1564) sculptures, paintings, architecture
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (The Netherlands, c. 1525/1530-1569) paintings

7 works of art
Leonardo da Vinci
(Italy, 1452-1519) paintings, drawings
Raphael (Italy, 1483-1520) paintings
Titian (Italy, 1488/1490-1576) paintings
Vincent van Gogh (The Netherlands, 1853-1890) paintings, prints

6 works of art
Albrecht Dürer
(Germany, 1471-1528) paintings, prints
Francisco Goya (Spain, 1746-1828) paintings, prints

5 works of art
Jan van Eyck (Belgium, before 1390/1395-1441) paintings
Piero della Francesca (Italy, c. 1415-1492) paintings
Peter Paul Rubens (Germany, 1577-1640) paintings
Diego Velázquez (Spain, 1599-1660) paintings
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italy, 1598-1680) sculpture, architecture
Claude Monet (France, 1840-1926) paintings
Pablo Picasso (Spain, 1881-1973) paintings, sculpture, collage
Jackson Pollock (US, 1912-1956) paintings

4 works of art
Donatello (Italy, c. 1386-1466) sculpture
Giovanni Bellini (Italy, c. 1430-1516) paintings
El Greco (Greece, 1541-1614) paintings
Caravaggio (Italy, 1571-1610) paintings
Johannes Vermeer (The Netherlands, 1632-1675) paintings
J.M.W. Turner (UK, 1775-1851) paintings
Édouard Manet (France, 1832-1883) paintings
Paul Cézanne (France, 1839-1906) paintings
Auguste Rodin (France, 1840-1917) sculpture
Georges Seurat (France, 1859-1891) paintings
Henri Matisse (France, 1869-1954) paintings, sculptures, prints

3 works of art
Phidias (Greece, c. 480-430 BCE) sculpture
Paolo Uccello (Italy, 1397-1475) paintings
Andrea Mantegna (Italy, c. 1431-1506) paintings
Hans Holbein the Younger (Germany, c. 1497-1543) paintings
Tintoretto (Italy, 1518-1594) paintings
Frans Hals (Belgium, c. 1582-1666) paintings
Jean-Antoine Watteau (France, 1684-1721) paintings
Théodore Géricault (France, 1791-1824) paintings
Paul Gauguin (France, 1848-1903) paintings, sculpture
Salvador Dali (Spain, 1904-1989) paintings; sculpture

Yes, it’s mostly men. Dead white men. I’m sorry. The contemporary art lists are more diverse. But there are a few works by women on the meta-list.

Works by Women Artists
Unknown Women Embroiderers: The Bayeux Tapestry (c. 1045)
Artemisia Gentileschi: Judith Beheading Holofernes (1611-1613)
Rosa Bonheur: Ploughing in the Nivernais (1849)
Mary CassattThe Child’s Bath (c. 1891)
Frida Kahlo: The Two Fridas (1939)
Helen Frankenthaler: Mountains and Sea (1952)

The artworks span many centuries. Here are the results by time period:

Artworks by Time Period:
28,000 BCE – 1000 BCE:  44
999 BCE – 1 BCE:               52
1 CE – 999 CE:                     35
1000-1099:                            4
1100-1199:                          13
1200-1299:                            6
1300-1399:                          10
1400-1499:                          77
1500-1599:                          61
1600-1699:                          54
1700-1799:                          29
1800-1899:                          81
1900-1999:                          79
2000-Present:                       1

Pandemic Art Adventures: Boston Public Garden

The closing of museums during the pandemic put me in a state of art withdrawal.  In search of a fix, I traveled to various locations in the Greater Boston area looking for publicly-accessible art.  On several days in June, I wandered around downtown Boston, looking for public art. I found quite a bit of art in Boston Public Garden, which I was able to identify either through plaques or an online search. Here are some photos and descriptions of what I discovered.

  1. The Ether Monument (1868)
The oldest artwork in the Public Garden, the Ether Monument (also known as the Good Samaritan Monument) is dedicated to the discovery of ether as an anesthetic in the 1840s. Although there is evidence that ether was used by Crawford Long in Georgia as early as 1842, the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia was conducted in 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital (in what is now called the Ether Dome) by William T.G. Morton, a dentist, and Dr. John Collins Warren. The monument was designed by William Robert Ware and and sculpted by John Quincy Adams Ward in 1867 and was installed in 1868. The figures at the top represent the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan (see detail below).
Each of the four sides of the monument contains a relief sculpture. Shown about is an allegorical representation of the Triumph of Science.
A patient undergoing an operation in a civic hospital.
A solider undergoing surgery in a military field hospital.
The Angel of Mercy descending to relieve suffering humanity.

2. Equestrian Statue of George Washington (1869)

The Equestrian Statue of George Washington in the Public Garden was created by Thomas Ball and installed in 1869. Ball, a Charlestown, Massachusetts native, was an accomplished sculptor, painter and musician (voice).

3. Statue of Charles Sumner (1878)

Thomas Ball’s statue of Charles Sumner was erected in the Public Garden in 1878. Sumner served as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 1851 to 1874. He was a member of the Radical Republican group that opposed slavery and supported harsh treatment of the Southern states after the Civil War.

4. Statue of Colonel Thomas Cass (1899)

An 1899 statue of Colonel Thomas Cass by Richard Edwin Brooks, a sculptor born in Braintree, Massachusetts. Born in Ireland, Thomas Cass commanded the 9th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry on the Union side in the U.S. Civil War. He died in 1862 of wounds suffered in the Battle of Malvern Hill.

5. Wendell Philips Monument (1915)

Daniel Chester French created the monument to Boston abolitionist Wendell Phillips in 1915. In addition to his anti-slavery work, Phillips was a pioneer advocate for the rights of women and Native Americans.

6. George Robert White Memorial (1924)

The George Robert White Memorial, dated 1924, was created by Daniel Chester French. The central figure is the Angel of the Waters. White was a Boston business owner and philanthropist. He made significant charitable contributions to the City of Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Details of the memorial are shown below.
The Angel of the Waters.
One of the ram’s head water spouts.

7. Statue of Tadeusz Kościuszko (1927)

Noted Boston-area sculptor Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson created this statue of Tadeusz Kościuszko in 1927. Kitson was the first female member of the American Sculpture Society. Kosciuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian military leader who served as a colonel with the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. His expertise as a military engineer (including overseeing fortifications at West Point, NY) led the revolutionaries to promote him to brigadier general.

8. Small Child Fountain (1929)

The Small Child Fountain, dating to 1929, was created by Mary Moore, a sculptor born in Taunton, Massachusetts.

9. Boy with Bird Fountain (1934, 1977, 1992)

The Boy and Bird Fountain, by Bashka Paeff, originally dates to 1934, but it was recast in 1977 and 1992. Paeff was born in Minsk (now Belarus) and lived and worked in the Boston area.

10. Make Way for Ducklings (1987)

Probably the most famous statues in the Public Garden are those memorializing the characters in Robert McCloskey’s 1941 book “Make Way for Ducklings.” The sculptures were created in 1987 by Boston-area artist Nancy Schön, who also made the statues of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends outside the Newton Public Library. At the time this photo was taken, someone had outfitted the ducklings in colorful knitted sweaters.

Pandemic Art Adventures: Boston Common

The closing of museums during the pandemic put me in a state of art withdrawal.  In search of a fix, I traveled to various locations in the Greater Boston area looking for publicly-accessible art.  On several days in June, I wandered around downtown Boston, looking for public art. I found quite a bit of art in Boston Common, which I was able to identify either through plaques or an online search. Sadly, the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment (1897) by Augustus Saint-Gaudens was undergoing renovations at the time of my visit so I was unable to get a photo of this remarkable sculpture.

  1. BREWER FOUNTAIN (1868)
The oldest work of art in Boston Common is the Brewer Fountain, designed by French sculptor Michel Joseph Napoléon Liénard. The original was created for the 1855 World’s Fair in Paris. This bronze cast was made in Paris and donated to the City of Boston by wealthy merchant Gardner Brewer. It was unveiled in 1868.  The figures at the base of the fountain represent Neptune, his wife Amphitrite (Neptune’s wife), the Nereid (sea-nymph) Galatea and her mortal lover Acis, whose story is told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Above and below: detail of Brewer’s Fountain.

2. SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT (1877)

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Boston Common is a Civil War memorial designed by Martin Milmore and erected in 1877. It consists of a base and column (topped by an allegorical figure of America), freestanding statues (including a soldier, a sailor, and allegorical figures of Peace and History) and bas reliefs.
Detail of the base of the monument.
The Departure for War. One of the bas reliefs on the base of Martin Milmore’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
The Sanitary Commission, showing medical treatment at a Civil War battlefield, is another one of the bas reliefs.
The Return from the War: Massachusetts Governor John Andrew greets returning soldiers.

4. BOSTON MASSACRE MONUMENT (1888)

The Boston Massacre Monument (also known as the Crispus Attucks Monument, in honor of the first man killed in the massacre) was designed by Robert Adolf Kraus and erected in 1888. The main figure is an allegory of the Spirit of the Revolution, who is holding a broken chain and standing on a broken British crown, along with an eagle about to take flight.
A bas relief on the Boston Massacre Memorial shows the massacre itself taking place in front of the Old State House, with the body of Crispus Attucks at front center.

5. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE TABLET (1925)

The Declaration of Independence Tablet, by John Francis Paramino includes a sculpted eagle, a bas relief, and a complete replica of the original Declaration of Independence, with signatures. It was erected on the Tremont Street side of Boston Common in 1925.
Detail of the tablet showing the bas relief, which appears to be based on John Trumbull’s 1817 painting.

6. THE FOUNDERS MEMORIAL (1930)

The Founders Memorial was designed by John Francis Paramino and was erected on the Beacon Street side of Boston Common in 1930. The bas relief on the Founders Memorial shows Rev. William Blaxton greeting John Winthrop, Ann Pollard, and others. At left, several Native Americans (probably members of the Massachusett people) observe. There is also a female allegorical figure of Boston at right.

7. COMMODORE JOHN BARRY MEMORIAL (1949)

The Commodore John Barry Memorial, by John Francis Paramino, was erected in Boston Common in 1949. Extensive restorations were completed in 1977.

8. EDWARD A. FILENE PLAQUE (1959)

A 1959 plaque with a relief portrait of Boston businessman Edward A. Filene – department store owner, credit union founder and philanthropist was made by George Aarons and erected on Boston Common in 1959.

9. PARKMAN PLAZA (1961)

Parkman Plaza in Boston Common was designed by Arcangelo Cascieri and Aido di Biccari in 1961. Adorning the plaza are statues with allegorical figures representing Religion, Industry, and Learning (show in detail below).

10. FROGS OF TADPOLE PLAYGROUND (2003)

Above: Two of the frogs, which were sculpted by David Phillips in 2003. Below: another of the frogs (I don’t think the glove was part of the original sculpture…).

Pandemic Art Adventures: Boston University

The closing of museums during the pandemic put me in a state of art withdrawal.  In search of a fix, I traveled to various locations in the Greater Boston area looking for publicly-accessible art.  College campuses are great place to find art, so one day in June I visited the Boston University in Boston, MA to see what art I could find without having to go inside.  I found quite a bit of art, most of which I was able to identify either through plaques or an online search. There is some excellent information this BU-sponsored website. There were a few sculptures I couldn’t identify, which are shown at the end of the post – if you have any information about them, please share in the comments!

Gregg LeFevre – Untitled (1974). Do we really need the plant in the middle? My guess is that the artist would not be pleased.

Gregg Lefevre – Untitled (1974?) There is no date on the plaque but one source gives the date as 1974.
Sergio Castillo – Free at Last (1975) (above and below)
Edward Monti – Fountain (1976). In front of the College of Communication. (photos above and below)
Igael Tumarkin – Homage to Dürer (1976) photos above and below
Frank Smullin – Untitled (1979) photos above and below
Sergio Castillo – Explosions (1987) photos above and below

Russell Jacques – Point Counterpoint (1992) photos above and below
Armand LaMontagne – The Golden Greek (Harry Agganis) (2004)
Virgil Oertle – Rhett (2019)

Carl Berkowitz – Armillary Sphere (no date). If you know the date of this sculpture, please let me know in the comments.
I have no information about this sculpture. If you have any information about the artist, date or title, please let me know in the comments.
I have no information about this sculpture. If you have any information about the artist, date or title, please let me know in the comments.
I have no information about this sculpture. If you have any information about the artist, date or title, please let me know in the comments.
I have no information about this sculpture. If you have any information about the artist, date or title, please let me know in the comments.
I have no information about this sculpture. If you have any information about the artist, date or title, please let me know in the comments. Photos above and below.
I have no information about this sculpture, which is visible from Storrow Drive. If you have any information about the artist, date or title, please let me know in the comments. Photos above and below.

Pandemic Art Adventures: Brandeis University

The closing of museums during the pandemic put me in a state of art withdrawal.  In search of a fix, I traveled to various locations in the Greater Boston area looking for publicly-accessible art.  College campuses are great place to find art, so one day in June I visited the Brandeis University in Waltham, MA to see what art I could find without having to go inside.  I found quite a bit of art, most of which I was able to identify either through plaques or an online search. Brandeis has an excellent website with additional information here.  There were a few sculptures I couldn’t identify, which are shown at the end of the post – if you have any information about them, please share in the comments!

Louis Brandeis sculpture
Robert Berks (1922-2011) – Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1956).
K3B Robert Berks -Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1956) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

L6B Peter Grippe - The Three Freedoms (1963) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Peter Grippe (1912-2002) – The Three Freedoms (1963)

L9D Nathan Rapaport - Job (1967) (detail) Brandeis University
The statute of Job (1967) by Nathan Rapaport (1911-1987) is part of a larger Holocaust Memorial outside the Jewish Chapel at Brandeis.
L9C Nathan Rapaport - Job (1967) Brandeis University

M4B Maurice B. Hexter - Non-Objective (1970) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA M4C Maurice B. Hexter - Non-Objective (1970) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Maurice B. Hexter (1891-1990) – Non-Objective (1970).

M8F Jacques Lipchitz - Pegasus (Birth of the Muses) (1972) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973) – Pegasus (Birth of the Muses) (1972)

O1H Ernest Trova - Tree (1982) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Ernest Trova (1927-2009) – Tree (1982)
O1I Ernest Trova - Tree (1982) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

O2B Lila Katzen - The Wand of Inquiry (1983) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Lila Katzen (1925-1998) – The Wand of Inquiry (1983).  The mockingbird is not part of the sculpture, but it insisted on remaining for the duration of my visit.
O2C Lila Katzen - The Wand of Inquiry (1983) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

O8B1 Penelope Jencks - Student and Knowledge (1986) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Penelope Jencks (1936- ) – Student and Knowledge (1986)
O8B2 Penelope Jencks - Student and Knowledge (1986) (2) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

P3D David Bakalar - Duality (1990) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
David Bakalar (1924- ) – Duality (1990)

P6B Rita Blitt - Inspiration (1993) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Rita Blitt (1931- ) – Inspiration (1993)

Q1E David Aronson - Ruach Yisrael (The Spirit of Israel) (1997) (1) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
David Aronson (1923-2015) – Ruach Yisrael (The Spirit of Israel) (1997)
Q1F David Aronson - Ruach Yisrael (The Spirit of Israel) (1997) (2) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

A6E Unknown Artist - Brandeis Peace Monument (2002) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Brandeis Peace Monument (2002). I have been unable to locate the identity of the artist(s) who created this work.  If you have any information, please let me know.

E1A1 Paul Belenkey - A Golem for Brandeis University (2014) Waltham, MA
A Golem for Brandeis University (2014) was created by Brandeis student and artist Paul Belenkey (Class of 2014).

E1A3 Chris Burden - Light of Reason (2014) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Chris Burden (1946-2015) – Light of Reason (2014). These photographs were taken during the day; for the full effect, the work should be seen at night when the lamps are lit.
E1A4 Chris Burden - Light of Reason (2014) Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Brandeis sleeping sculpture 2
Muslim at Prayer (?).  I have been unable to locate any information about this statue, which is located in a small wooded glade near the university chapels.  At first I thought it was someone asleep or collapsed (after too much studying?), but I have been told it may represent a praying Muslim figure (perhaps intended to draw attention to the lack of a Muslim chapel?).

Brandeis sculpture 2
Armillary Sphere with Zodiac Signs.  I have been unable to find out any information about this artwork.  If you know anything about it, please let me know in the comments.

Gryzmish Brandeis
This abstract sculpture adorns the exterior wall of the Gryzmish building.  I have been unable to find out any information about it.  If you have any knowledge of the sculptor, date, etc., please contact me or leave a comment.  Thanks.

POSTSCRIPT: Outside the sculpture studio, I found a number of student works in various states of completion, waiting for the students to return after the untimely interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Pandemic Art Adventures: MIT

The closing of museums during the pandemic put me in a state of art withdrawal.  In search of a fix, I traveled to various locations in the Greater Boston area looking for publicly-accessible art.  College campuses are great place to find art, so one day in June I visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA to see what art I could find without having to go inside.  I found quite a bit of art, which I was able to identify either through plaques or an online search. MIT has an excellent website with additional information here.

K2B Eero Saarinen - MIT Chapel (1956) Cambridge, MA
Although Eero Saarinen’s 1956 MIT Chapel is a work of architecture, it’s compact size and modernist belltower make it feel like a sculpture, so I am including it here.  Other interesting works of architecture on campus are Baker House (1948), one of only two permanent structures in the US designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (see below),
baker house 3
and of course, the whimsical Stata Center (2004), by Frank Gehry.
stata center 1
stata center 5

L8B Alexander Calder - La Grande Voile (The Big Sail) (1965) (1) MIT
Alexander Calder’s La Grande Voile (The Big Sail) (1965), made of painted steel, is located in McDermott Court.
L8C Alexander Calder - La Grande Voile (The Big Sail) (1965) (2) MIT

N1C Louise Nevelson - Transparent Horizon (1975) (1) MIT
Transparent Horizon (1975) by Louise Nevelson is made from Cor-Ten steel painted black and is located in front of the Landau building.
N1D Louise Nevelson - Transparent Horizon (1975) (2) MIT

N9B Gary Wiley - Invaders (1981) (detail 3) MIT
Gary Wiley’s Invaders, completed in 1981 and installed in 1982, consists of three different butterfly figures and is made of wrought iron, soft steel, mirrored and colored Plexiglas, marbles, and paint. The sculpture is intended to be mobile and is moved to different locations on campus from time to time.  I saw it at the alumni pool building.
N9C Gary Wiley - Invaders (1981) (detail 2) MIT N9D Gary Wiley - Invaders (1981) (detail 1) MIT

B1C Mark di Suvero - Aesop's Fables, II (2005)(1) MIT
Mark di Suvero’s Aesop’s Fables, II (2005) is made of steel painted red and is located on the northeast sector lawn.
B1D Mark di Suvero - Aesop's Fables, II (2005)(2) MIT

C6C Jaume Plensa - Alchemist (2010) (2) MIT
Alchemist (2010), by Jaume Plensa, is made of stainless steel painted white and is located on the lawn of the Stratton Student Center.
C6B Jaume Plensa - Alchemist (2010) (1) MIT

Pandemic Art Adventures: Harvard University

The closing of museums during the pandemic put me in a state of art withdrawal.  In search of a fix, I traveled to various locations in the Greater Boston area looking for publicly-accessible art.  One place to find art is college campuses, so one day in June I visited Harvard University in Cambridge, MA to see what art I could find without having to go inside.  I found quite a bit of art, and some of it was fairly easy to identify either through plaques or online searching.  In one case, I had no luck with IDs.  If you know anything about the unidentified artworks, please leave a comment!

29A1 Brunswick Lion (original 1166, replica 1900-03) Adophus Busch Hall, Cambridge, MA
Outside Adolphus Busch Hall proudly stands a replica of the Brunswick Lion. The original was made in 1166 and is located in Dankwarderode Castle in Braunschweig, Germany.  This replica was made in about 1900-1903.

Speaking of lions, these two Chinese protector lions are located at the entrance to the Harvard-Yenching Library, but I have been unable to locate any information about them. If you have anything to share (artist, date, provenance, country of origin, etc.), I would appreciate it.

99C Daniel Chester French - John Harvard (1884) (1) Cambridge, MA  99B Daniel Chester French - John Harvard (1884) (2) Cambridge, MA
Certainly the most famous sculpture on the Harvard University campus is Daniel Chester French’s 1884 statue of John Harvard, which, as any student can tell you, is not a likeness of 17th Century benefactor John Harvard (there are no paintings or drawings of him) but of 19th Century Harvard student Sherman Hoar.  Daniel Chester French’s most famous work is the statue of Abraham Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

J4A Richard Lippold - World Tree (1950) Harvard University, Cambridge, MAAlthough much of the architecture at Harvard consists of traditional 19th and early 20th Century brick  and stone structures, in 1948, the University commissioned The Architects Collaborative, led by Bauhaus innovator Walter Gropius, to design a Graduate Student Center on campus.  The modernist features of the multi-building complex serve as a stark contrast to the ivy-covered walls of old Harvard.  As part of the project, Gropius commissioned a number of artworks, including this one, called World Tree (1950), by Richard Lippold.
world tree photo
An archival photo from the 1950s shows Gropius and his colleagues (including John Harkness) posing on the sculpture.

M8E Louise Nevelson - Night Wall I (1972) (2) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
My personal favorite work of public art at Harvard is Night Wall I (1972) by Louise Nevelson, which is located outside Hauser Hall at Harvard Law School.  The multi-component sculpture, made of steel painted black, presents many different views as you walk around it, and reveals more layers of detail the more time you spend with it.  As seen in these photos, the play of light and shadow on the various steel surfaces is an added component of interest – the time of day and season of the year will affect the viewing experience.
M8D Louise Nevelson - Night Wall I (1972) (1) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

G9A Marla Allisan - Hope (pandemic series) (2020) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA G9B Marla Allisan - Uncertainty (pandemic series) (2020) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA G9C Marla Allisan - Hope III (pandemic series) (2020) Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
During my June 2020 walk through a deserted campus, I was pleasantly surprised to discover this triptych in the windows of the Sherman Fairchild Biochemistry Building.  The works are (from left): Hope, Uncertainty and Hope III (all 2020).  They are part of the Pandemic Series by Marla Allisan, who is listed on Harvard’s website as a member of the University’s Health Services staff.

 

Listening to Black Voices: The African-American Artists List

One of the downsides of meta-lists is that they tend to be conservative. To a certain extent, they confirm the conventional wisdom and perpetuate the status quo. “Best of” meta-lists, which combine the results of multiple lists from different sources, focus on the consensus: what most people can agree on, not the controversial, the outliers, those that push the envelope.  In the case of the lists of best artists and best artworks, the meta-lists tend to confirm the stereotype that nearly all the great artists were male and white.

But these lists don’t tell the whole story.  Great artists come from all backgrounds, ethnicities and genders.  And every artist tells a different story, presents an individual viewpoint, even as they (as all artists) absorb or react to their culture, environment and historical context.  By ignoring these voices, the standard “best of” lists tend to marginalize the marginalized, and oppress the oppressed.

I recently created a new meta-list of the best African-American artists: Best African-American Artists of All Time.  The 23 artists on at least three of the original source lists are featured, along with images of their work.  These men and women range throughout the entire history of the United States – the earliest was born in the 1760s and the youngest was born in 1977. They provide an important counterbalance to the narratives and visual styles of white artists.  You may recognize some of the names on the list, but some of them may be new to you.  Most of them were new to me.  In order to make a better world, we need to listen to each other’s voices, as expressed in words, music, and, here, in the visual arts.

If you want to go even deeper into the story of African-American art, check out these other names of artists who were listed on two of the original source lists:
– Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1877-1968)
– Sargent Claude Johnson (1888-1967)
– Beauford Delaney (1901- 1979)
– Lois Mailou Jones (1905-1998)
– Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012)
– Roy DeCarava (1919-2009)
– Betye Saar (1926- )
– Bob Thompson (1937-1966)
– Martin Puryear (1941- )
– Howardena Pindell (1943- )
– Barkley Hendricks (1945-2017)
– Glenn Ligon (1960- )