by americanartmuseum 677 views
An interview with artist Kerry James Marshall at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Kerry James Marshall is one of the leading contemporary painters of his generation. Over the past twenty-five years, he has become internationally known for monumental images of African American history and culture.
by americanartmuseum 168 views
Toots Zynsky was born Mary Ann, but was called Toots almost from birth. She earned her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design then went to Seattle to study with Dale Chihuly at the Pilchuck Glass School. Since then, she has returned to Pilchuck as a teacher. In the mid-1980s, she spent six months in Ghana, on a special research project, recording Ghanaian music. In 1995, her work was shown at special exhibitions in Tokyo, Zurich, Italy, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
by americanartmuseum 810 views
An interview with the artist Harvey Dinnerstein
Harvey Dinnerstein grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He studied art in New York and Philadelphia, and was an instructor at the Art Students League for many years. Dinnerstein started his career just as abstract expressionism was beginning to take hold in America. He rejected this new style, however, and focused on emphasizing the "traditions of the past" in his realistic, detailed images (Harvey Dinnerstein, A Retrospective Exhibition, The Butler Institute of American Art, 1994). Dinnerstein paints from life, and many of his images show intimate, poignant views of the people and buildings of New York and Brooklyn, where he has lived for most of his life. (Harvey Dinnerstein: Artist at Work, 1978)
by americanartmuseum 389 views
An interview with the artist Frank Romero
Frank Romero grew up in the Hispanic, Asian, and Jewish communities of East Los Angeles. He began painting when he was five years old and as a teenager attended LA's Otis Art Institute, one of the best art schools in the nation. Romero did not think of himself as a Chicano until he began to work with three other artists in an informal group known as Los Four. Los Four and other Hispanic artists throughout the West used wall murals, graffiti, and street theater to protest America's involvement in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The police response to antiwar demonstrations in Los Angeles was part of a larger pattern of violence against the minority communities that Romero experienced throughout his life. It takes years for the artist to think through and to paint these episodes in the life of his community, because, he says, "That stuff is hard for me to do, it hurts, it's frightening" (Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2002 [online]). Romero's brightly colored paintings celebrate the Los Angeles culture of lowriders and "rascuache," the art of making something beautiful out of the ordinary.
by americanartmuseum 276 views
An interview with the artist Consuelo Jimenez Underwood
Consuelo Jiménez Underwood grew up in California, the eleventh of twelve children born to a Chicana mother and a Huichol Indian father. She was the first person in her family to finish high school, and went on to enroll in religious studies and art at San Diego State University. She started as a painter, but became interested in fiber art while in college and soon turned all of her attention to weaving and textile design. Underwood imbues her pieces with powerful messages about her Chicana heritage, creating images that call attention to the dangers that Mexicans face trying to cross the border into the United States in search of a better life.
by americanartmuseum 672 views
An interview with the artist Miriam Schapiro
Miriam Schapiro earned her master of fine arts degree at the University of Iowa in 1949 and in 1952 moved to New York City with her husband, the artist Paul Brach. In Manhattan, Schapiro discovered that women artists were not taken seriously by the male-dominated abstract expressionist movement. Schapiro's abstract paintings of the 1950s won her some recognition by museums and galleries, but she struggled for decades with her identities as a wife, mother, and professional painter. In the 1970s she collaborated with the artist Judy Chicago on Womanhouse, the mansion famously transformed by a women's art cooperative into a gigantic installation of feminist art. Schapiro's "femmages," her assemblages of scraps of fabric, buttons, lace, and other "feminine" tokens, appear in major American museums. The artist has been awarded fellowships and grants from many institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.
by americanartmuseum 260 views
An interview with the artist William King
As a child, William King built model airplanes and carved cities out of coral with a screwdriver "chisel" and a hammer "mallet" (William King: Forty Years of Work in Wood, 1994). He briefly studied engineering at the University of Florida before enrolling in the architecture program at the Cooper Union Art School. During his first year at Cooper Union, King was impressed by the steel sculptures of David Smith and promised to make a similar piece for an attractive female classmate. He began selling works to friends and fellow students and committed himself to a career in sculpture. King constructs his pieces from a variety of materials, ranging from burlap to wood to aluminum. He draws inspiration from daily life, and his tall, elongated figures imitate everyday human gestures, poking fun at human behavior.
by americanartmuseum 1,781 views
An interview with the artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith grew up on the Flathead Reservation in Montana and traveled around the Pacific Northwest and California with her father, who was a horse trader. Smith decided she wanted to be an artist after watching a film on the French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. She painted a goatee on her face with axle grease and borrowed a neighbor's beret so she could be photographed posing as the famous artist. In 1958, Smith enrolled at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington. She had to take many breaks from college in order to earn money, however, and didn't earn her degree until 1976. She moved to Albuquerque, where she studied at the University of New Mexico and founded the Grey Canyon group of contemporary Native American artists. (Postmodern Messenger, Exhibition Catalogue, 2004)
by americanartmuseum 17,741 views
An interview with the artist Alex Katz
Alex Katz's paintings and sculptures monumentalize common moments of everyday life. Katz was influenced by the golden age of the billboard business. Roadside signs with moving parts, in which the figures extended beyond the billboard, also motivated Katz to produce canvas cutouts pasted onto wooden boards, fashioning life-size figures that are like huge paper dolls. (Marshall, Alex Katz, 1986)
by americanartmuseum 478 views
An interview with the artist Robert Hudson
Robert Hudson grew up in rural Washington State and moved to San Francisco to attend college. Hudson was influenced by the city's ceramic artists, whose brightly colored works combine traditional craft and sculpture. He has said that he loves to be "in a position of being overwhelmed," so he makes objects that blur the lines between sculpture, painting, and drawing. His trompe l'oeil, or "fool the eye," sculptures look like one material but are actually made of another, often confusing our perceptions of two- and three-dimensional objects (Beal, "Welded Irony: The Sculpture of Robert Hudson," in Robert Hudson, A Survey, 1985).
by americanartmuseum 284 views
An interview with the artist Nicholas Herrera
Nicholas Herrera is known as El Rito Santero (the Saint maker of El Rito) in his New Mexico community. When he was young, he was mixed up in drugs, alcohol, guns, and fast cars and had several run-ins with the police. In 1990, however, he was involved in a serious car accident that changed his life. The accident put him in a coma, during which he saw a muerte (death figure) by his great-uncle José Inés Herrera at the end of a tunnel of light. He believes this image brought him out of the coma and that God intended for him to become a saint maker (Awalt and Rhetts, Herrera, Visions of My Heart, with essay by Charles Rosenak, 2003). Saint makers, or santeros, create devotional paintings and carvings of saints for use in churches and in private homes. Herrera makes crucifixes, death figures, and saints as well as sculptures inspired by modern issues such as police brutality and the dangers of nuclear power.
by americanartmuseum 1,050 views
Movie Palace is an elaborate kinetic sculpture that combines Hollywood escapism with the innocent pleasures of windup toys. Beck remembers movie going as a social experience that is disappearing from American culture today. Crafting this lost world in miniature creates the kind of magic that films once had, when they transported audiences to distant lands and improbable adventures. The fantasy world of film may no longer be what it was, but Beck's Movie Palace reminds us of the pleasures of pretending.
by americanartmuseum 2,762 views
On the occasion of the exhibition, Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Remembering the Running Fence , Christo describes the making of the Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin Counties, California in the 1970s. He describes collaborating with with Jeanne-Claude, working with the ranchers, obtaining permits and the experience of it all.  http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2010/christo/
by americanartmuseum 695 views
An interview with the artist Sam Gilliam
Sam Gilliam grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, and studied art in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1962 he moved to Washington, D.C., and created abstract paintings inspired by the Washington Color School artists Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. These artists, among others, broke the rules of abstract expressionism by pouring thinned paint directly onto unprimed canvas instead of applying thick, vigorous brushstrokes. Gilliam pushed this method even further by folding and draping the canvas before it dried, creating unusual "tie-dye" effects. He started working with very large canvases in the late 1960s, hanging vast pieces of painted cloth across walls and ceilings to emphasize the relationship between the work and its environment.
by americanartmuseum 319 views
An interview with the artist John Cederquist
John Cederquist's work draws on California surfing culture, trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) painting, and classical Japanese arts and crafts. The artist is not interested in creating "important furniture," but in exploring how appearances shape our perception. Cederquist prefers plywood and industrial resins to precious woods and pigments, creating large-scale pieces that ask us not to take the art, or ourselves, too seriously.
by americanartmuseum 3,591 views
An interview with the artist Will Barnet
Will Barnet studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, then moved to New York in 1930 to attend the Art Students League. After his first son was born, Barnet began a series of paintings that show scenes of family life. He experimented with abstraction for several years, aiming to "eliminate realistic space" in favor of simple geometric forms. His later work is more representational and focuses almost entirely on the female form. ("Will Barnet, Works of Six Decades," American Art Review, June-July 1994)
by americanartmuseum 3,362 views
As a child, Luis Jimenez apprenticed at his fathers neon-sign studio. He studied art and architecture at the University of Texas and then traveled to Mexico City, where he studied the famous Mexican muralists. His work shows his concern for working-class people and those who have suffered from discrimination. One such work, Vaquero, celebrates the Mexican tradition of the caballero and can be seen outside the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
by americanartmuseum 402 views
An interview with the artist Jesus Morales
As a college student in North Texas, Jesús Moroles tried to carve granite with a hammer and chisel. After only thirty minutes, he recalls, "The stone took me over. It was so hard it barely showed what I had done to it . . . It controlled me. I fell in love with it." He began sculpting exclusively in granite, using a diamond-edged electrical saw capable of "tearing" the stone. Moroles went on to establish one of the largest stone-carving workshops in the country, which he runs with the help of his father, brother, and sister. In 2001, Moroles began to strike his sculptures, sometimes with batons, sometimes with his hands or his feet, creating a type of music one audience member called "an unearthly composition . . . that recalled the effect of the . . . Orient" (Adlmann, Moroles, 2003).
by americanartmuseum 4,667 views
An interview with the artist William Christenberry
As a young man, William Christenberry often traveled the back roads of the South with his father. He studied painting as a graduate student at the University of Alabama until he discovered James Agees book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Christenberry was moved when he realized that the tenant farmers in Walker Evanss photographs were people he remembered from growing up near Hale County, Alabama. Although Christenberry creates many different kinds of art, ranging from photographs to drawings to sculptures, his experiences growing up in the South serve as the subjects for most of his artwork.
by americanartmuseum 5,747 views
An interview with the artist Grace Hartigan
Grace Hartigan grew up in New Jersey, where she married the boy next door after graduating from high school. They ended up penniless in Los Angeles, however, and Hartigan returned to the East Coast pregnant and alone. In 1948 she was mesmerized and fascinated by a Jackson Pollock exhibition and lived briefly on Long Island with the artist and his wife. She worked odd jobs in New York through the 1950s to pay for paint. In 1959, Hartigan married Dr. Winston Price and moved with him to Baltimore, where she worked in a large studio in Fells Point for decades. (Mattison, Grace Hartigan: A Painters World, 1990)
by americanartmuseum 1,398 views
An interview with the artist Yuriko Yamaguchi
Yuriko Yamaguchi was born in Osaka, Japan, after the Second World War. When she moved to the United States at the age of twenty-three, she barely spoke English and turned to art to express herself, exploring her identity as a "tiny being in a vast universe." She links elements with wood or wires and hangs her works on walls and ceilings to represent her spiritual connections with the world around her. She uses only delicate materials, such as thin wires, resin, or twigs in order to evoke the simplicity of Japanese poetry. (Yamaguchi, "Rope as the Symbol Expressing the Integration of Physical Existence and Metaphysical Being," MFA thesis, University of Maryland, 1979)
by americanartmuseum 1,149 views
Film by Billy Ray Sims.
Produced in conjunction with the exhibition "A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets" at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
"A Measure of the Earth" celebrates the generous gift of seventy-nine baskets to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by the noted collectors Steven R. Cole and Martha G. Ware, and the promised gift of twenty more.
The 105 baskets on display were made between 1983 and 2011 and demonstrate the endurance of indigenous, African, and European basket weaving traditions in the United States. The Cole-Ware collection presents an encyclopedic view of this medium, and is notable for the care with which samples were collected. The sixty-three weavers represented craft their baskets almost entirely from un-dyed native materials—grasses, trees, vines, and bark—that they have gathered. The forms—from baskets for eggs, harvest, and market to those for sewing, laundry, and fishing creels—reveal the central role basketry has played in the everyday life of Americans.