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Gaston Dufour (Gaston Duf) in Lausanne

until February 23, 2020

Lausanne Museum of Zoology and Lucienne Peiry invite viewers to the exhibition “Ferocious Rhinoceros?”, dedicated to French artist Gaston Dufour ("Gaston Duf", 1920–1966).

Musée Cantonal de Zoologie
Place de la Riponne 6, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland

Prophet Isaiah Robertson (1947–2020)

Isaiah Robertson suffered from a heart condition in recent years, and he has died from complications of a stroke. Born in Jamacia in 1947, he emigrated to Canada in his 20s, and moved to Niagara Falls, New York in 2004. There, with remarkable use of stained wood applique, he transformed the three-story interior of the Mt. Erie Baptist Church into his first prophesy. His kaleidoscopic home site featuring an eight-metre healing cross surrounded by dense symbolism predicting the Second Coming would became his second prophesy. Always serene and genial, Prophet Isaiah considered himself a mere vessel for God's messages; he accepted no credit for his work and offered nothing for sale. "No man could do this – this is straight God."  

Flowers may be sent for the February 8th funeral service at the Mt. Erie Baptist Church: 1152 Fairfield Ave, Niagara Falls, NY.  

Please send donations for the family to his widow: Ms. Gloria Dolson, 1308 Ontario Ave, Niagara Falls, NY 14305.

Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York

until March 7, 2020

"Vernacular Woman", dedicated to the work of Sidney Janis and the Janis Gallery, presents depictions of women by self-taught, outsider and anonymous artists in various media. 

Ricco/Maresca Gallery
529 W. 20th St, New York, NY 10011

From Ricco/Maresca's website:


The introduction to Ricco/Maresca’s book American Vernacular reminds us that Dante was the first great “vernacular” poet in Western culture, as he wrote in Italian, the dynamic language of everyday life—rather than Latin, the stagnant lexicon of the church liturgy. As we understand it now, vernacular is the broad framework in which self-taught, outsider, folk, and “primitive” art occur. It encompasses the full spectrum of art making by, of, and for “the people;” all those creating on the margins of the academy. It relates differently (or not at all) to art historical narratives, to the waves of influence and rupture, and holds itself accountable only to the aesthetic sensibility and psychic compulsions of its makers.

Vernacular Woman presents depictions of women in several mediums (paintings, works on paper, and sculpture) by self-taught, outsider, and anonymous artists active in the United States between the late 18th century and the present year. We understand “woman” here as a visual idea; a familiar archetypal form, but also as a fluid concept that becomes richer and more nuanced with each distinct portrayal. As a collective, the women represented here tell an intriguing, open-ended story that bridges the ordinary with the uncanny and the frankly histrionic. The works in this exhibition are conventional, taboo, raw, sophisticated, disturbing, playful, beautiful, bizarre, perverse, hermetic, transparent… They speak to us with a sincerity, and a vitality, that comes from being unaware and unafraid of rules and expectations.

In a pair of drawings, respectively dated 1852 and 1853, Edward Durnford—a military man otherwise anonymous—rendered two likenesses of “Julia” at different moments in their presumed courtship. This is woman as wife, delicately recreated in graphite and blue colored pencil before photography transformed portraiture. Other representations of secular women include two needle prick watercolors found in New Orleans that could have been made as early as 1790, each presenting a figure standing in Little-Prince-like isolation, dressed in hybrid garbs illustrative of the African, French, and Caribbean cultural mélange of a southern city after the Revolutionary War; two works by Bill Traylor, women in motion—surely seized from the streets of Montgomery on a busy day between 1939 and 1942—and a female horse rider by Martín Ramírez (1954), smiling from her mysterious architectural stage like a memory captured in technicolor, her stallion’s hoofs matching her yellow pants, her red spurs echoing the linear iterations blushing around her. William Edmondson’s Lady with Cape (1935-40), one of the artist’s occasional earthly subjects, a kind of totemic female masterfully chiseled with minimal intervention on a chunk of limestone, is achieved with the same restraint as a small 1950s anonymous painted sculpture of a woman half immersed in water, emerging flawlessly from a solid block of wood that becomes a bathtub in a dance between illusion and abstraction.

Desire, sexual fixation, voyeurism, and pure fantasy permeate a number of works in this exhibition. An “erotic” cane (New England, mid to late 19th or early 20th century), guides the viewer through its unembellished shaft to focus on the carved handle: an upturned female figure in suspended motion designed to accommodate a hand ergonomically between her open legs. The Snake Dancer, a painting by Louis Michel Eilshemius from around 1915, presents us with a Dionysian can-can dancer holding a snake (their gazes locked with one another) against a backdrop of witchy green flames. Woman and Spider(1936), an oil on canvas by William Fellini, depicts a woman both thrilled and terrified to find a big black spider climbing up her bed. Morris Hirshfield’s Harp Girl II (1945) and Nude with Vase (1946)—a woman “sailing” a harp-boat and a standing nude next to a large neoclassical vase overflowing with ferns—both exude a gentle hypnotic sensuality pulsating throughout the woven patterns, textures, and theatrical “props” that were so vital to the artist’s vision. Gustave Klumpp presents us with a fantasy forest landscape of mixed perspective and scale (1971-72) that revolves around a woman, between a Venus and a bride, in a sheer white gossamer gown reclining on a hammock—her breasts and genitalia gratuitously exposed, shown from above for the viewer’s pleasure. Morton Bartlett photographed a nude inanimate girl-woman in lifelike manner (1950-60) whose preadolescent body he molded out of plaster around a wire skeleton. Bartlett’s game of make-believe was twice removed from reality, familiar and eerie in equal measures.

Another faction of artists regard woman as a classic muse and subject of unbridled fascination. A carving in giltwood and ebonized pine found in New England (early 20th century) portrays a nude female standing religiously still—the milky iridescence of her bare skin emphasized with an internal deco frame. Another carving depicts a kind of river nymph (1920-30) contemplating a butterfly resting on her right hand, and a sculptural torso of a bare breasted Hindu goddess (1925-35) observes the world with her immutable jeweled third eye. Helen Rae’s works on paper (2019) transform the spreads in fashion editorials into whole new worlds of collapsed three-dimensionality and vigorous color planes that convey a kind of drunkenness on beauty, wherever it may be found. Thornton Dial’s and Mary T Smith’s fluid, intuitive image-making transforms woman into semi-abstract matter. His works on paper and her paintings occurred in quick gestural fits. In Dial’s case, women are seen as sinuous, erotic beings (often transmigrating to fish and birds) for whom he expressed a physical and psychological curiosity. Smith’s works make us witness to an intensely personal spiritual journey where she recreates herself and those around her in bold animated brushstrokes.

Role-playing, alter egos, and performativity conclude this story. Lee Godie staged many photographic photobooth self-portraits (made between 1970 and 1994) in which she assumed different personas—the “French Impressionist” central among them—with the help of costumes, props, and face paint. She also often further altered her image by scratching or coloring over the surface of the prints. Edward Lawson’s drawings portray what seems to be a man in women’s clothing, perhaps Lawson himself, in glamorous dresses, elaborate coiffures, and dramatic makeup. Renaldo Kuhler feminized himself as “Renelda” Kuhler, a journalist for the New York Times who traveled frequently to Rocaterrania, a country of the artist’s invention, to report on the nation’s politics and culture. Kuhler conceived Rocaterrania as an autobiography and illustrated it for more than 60 years. His feminine doppelgänger is one of the more literal clues revealing that all the inhabitants of this nation—men, women, and neutants (asexual beings)—embody various facets of the artist, whose gender fluidity informed his vastly imaginative creation. Ursula Barnes’s I Cannot Choose (1930-40) is conceivably the most perplexing work in this exhibition, a melodramatic pastiche; part amateur painting, part German expressionist, and part circus banner. Like a Florine Stettheimer scene on crack, two clownish characters (a woman who could be a man and a man who could be a woman) occupy a kitschy exterior (or what could be a theatrical interior) heavily ornamented with Chagall-esque florals. The woman is surrounded by three jovial fluffy dogs and four puppies, the man holds a bouquet and looks at her expectantly, his red smiling lips a kind of counterpoint to her complacent pout. There’s an outrageous, mesmerizing “wrongness” here that’s somehow right.


Bill Traylor Work Auctioned for $507,000 at Christie’s

An artwork by American artist Bill Traylor (circa 1853-1949) sold for a record $507,000 at Christie’s on January 17, far exceeding the estimated $200,000–$400,000. Sold to a private collector, the work, titled Man on White, Woman on Red, comes with star-studded provenance: it was a gift from Steven Spielberg to Alice Walker at the conclusion of filming The Color Purple, the film adaptation of Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Both auction house and consignor received a surprise when the work was unframed at Christie’s, revealing it to be double-sided. It had not been unframed since the mid-1980s when it was handled by gallery Hirschl & Adler. The back side revealed an equally powerful image in the Traylor canon, a large dog. The remarkable rediscovery firmly establishes this work in the top tier of Traylor's output for both rarity and exceptional imagery.


Image credits: 

1) Bill Traylor (Circa 1853-1949), Man on White, Woman on Red / Man with Black Dog (double-sided), 1939-1942. Tempera and graphite on repurposed paper, 18⅞ x 24 in (48 x 61 cm). Sold for $507,000 on January 17, 2020. Courtesy Christie's.

2) The reverse side of the painting featuring the picture Man with Black Dog (double-sided), 1939-1942. Tempera and graphite on repurposed paper. 18⅞ x 24 in (48 x 61 cm). Estimate: $200,000-400,000. Property from the Collection of Alice Walker, offered in the Outsider Art sale at Christie’s New York on January 17, 2020. Courtesy Christie's.

Black Sheep Gallery, Nova Scotia

until February 21, 2020

The Black Sheep Gallery presents an online exhibition titled "A Gathering of Haints – Sulton Rogers 1922-2003".

Sulton Rogers was born in Mississippi and retired there as well. His favourite subjects were people with distorted faces, oversized features, numerous eyes, long tongues and noses, which he called "haints". He occasionally made "haint houses", which included several of his unique creatures. 

The Black Sheep Gallery
1689 West Jeddore Road, West Jeddore Village, Nova Scotia, Canada

Janet Sobel and Pearl Blauvelt at Andrew Edlin Gallery, NY

until February 22, 2020

Andrew Edlin Gallery presents concurrent solo exhibitions for Janet Sobel (1893-1968) and Pearl Blauvelt (1893-1987), two female self-taught artists born in the same year. Though both women were making art in the 1940s, they came from vastly different backgrounds and achieved art world recognition in the opposite manner. Sobel received critical attention during her lifetime at the epicenter of New York cultural circles, while Blauvelt created in complete anonymity, her drawings only discovered years after her death. Both artists currently have work on view in the recently completed rehanging of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

Andrew Edlin Gallery 
212 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

John Maull at Tierra del Sol Gallery, CA

until February 23, 2020

Tierra’s Gallery presents the solo exhibition of artist, John Maull, a Los Angeles County native who has participated in Tierra’s progressive studios since 2005. Maull’s expressive mixed media works are influenced by his personal and cultural histories, as well as his dedicated perusal of books and magazines. His impressionistic renderings demonstrate his passion for building visual literacy by investigating imagery and experimenting with texture and form.

Tierra del Sol Gallery
945 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Musée Visionnaire, Zurich

until February 16, 2020

"Dreams – Utopias – Visions of Seven Exceptional Artists" showcases the work of seven “Romantic Idealists”, including Ben Wilson, Julius Bockelt and Ilmai Salminen.

Musée Visionnaire
Predigerplatz 10, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland

Joaquim Baptista Antunes in Montpellier

until April 30, 2020

The Art Brut Museum in Montpellier presents works by Portuguese outsider artist Joaquim Baptista Antunes.

Musée d’Art Brut 
1 rue Beau Séjour, 34000 Montpellier, France

Pérez Art Museum Miami

until April 25, 2020

Pérez Art Museum Miami is presenting "What Carried Us Over: Gifts from Gordon W. Bailey", on view through April 25, 2020. The title of the exhibition emphasizes the artists’ impassioned commitment to their diverse practices and confirms the inclusive theme of the show which features artworks selected from 60 gifted by Gordon W. Bailey, a Los Angeles-based collector, scholar, and advocate, to PAMM since 2016. A variety of media is displayed including drawing, painting and sculpture. “I am thankful for Gordon’s friendship, scholarship and leadership in the discussion about these very important artists and grateful for his generous patronage that has brought the works of many of these artists to museum collections around the country, and especially for this significant gift to Miami,” said PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “His gifts allow PAMM’s permanent collection to present new expansive art historical narratives that are inclusive of artists who maintained a practice and produced work outside of the art-world ecosystem.”

Pérez Art Museum Miami
1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132