New Moon in Aries and Mercury Retrograde Ends

On Sunday, April 15, Mercury with station direct, ending it's three weeks of retrograde motion. 


Three times out of the year, Mercury in it's faster orbit, appears to travel backwards, or "retrograde motion" in the sky. During this time, mercurial tasks such as writing, speaking, contracts, and communications shift momentum and turn inward. 

Hung Liu At Sherry Leedy

My first exposure to the work of Hung Liu was in high school during a visit to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art  nearly seven years ago. I remember being fascinated by a particular piece depicting a woman in traditional Chinese garments- a painting layered with various levels of resin, gold leaf, and paint. Her work seemed to transcend both figurative and abstract styles, finding a way between both representation and non-objective mark-making and paint splatters.


Her recent solo show at Sherry Leedy - organized by art dealer Toma Wolff - was a stunning display of large scale oil paintings in addition to smaller ceramic work. Everything featured some form of portratiture - a range of faces and styles. My favorite works were those that referenced "The Migrant Worker" photograph by Dorothea Lange. Researching her work online, I realized this is a common narrative, a focus of the migrant farm worker - laborers of the earth - as well as the more harrowing elements of farming life. 


Her style has changed  since I saw her work last. Her new large scale paintings are purely oil paint-based and contains colorful underpainting that shows through in the subtle outlines of the figures. The resulting imagery is reminiscent of Wayne Thiebaud's portraiture with similar line work. Her thick paintings give you more information as you move closer into the picture, examining the heavy brushstrokes emphasizing features and movement.


We were fortunate enough to meet the artist. Above is a photo of Sharon Grandischnig, Hung Liu, and myself- Mark Allen. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and hope you have time to check out Hung Liu at Sherry Leedy open throughout the month of November.

Golden Gates of Paradise

My first experience seeing the Golden Gates were in Florence, Italy where I was studying art abroad at School of Art Center International. It was almost overwhelming the sheer amount of monumental art in the city. Every turn was another feature. However, what they don't tell you at first is that the real art is usually housed in a museum and the outdoor features are merely replicas. For instance, there are several David replicas of Michelangelo but the real one you have to go into a museum to see. When I first saw the Golden Gates of Paradise in front of Il Duomo (the Main Cathedral in Florence) it was behind a fence creating a distance of nearly ten feet, making it hard to discern the art from up close. 

 Mark Allen and Shea Gordon in front of The Golden Gates of Paradise at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Mark Allen and Shea Gordon in front of The Golden Gates of Paradise at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

To my surprise, this summer a replica of The Golden Gates of Paradise appeared at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, one of the finest institutions in Kansas City and really the entire nation. I was amazed to see this up close, and even more amazed to find this is the only replica that exists outside of Florence. During the flood of 1966 of the Arno in Florence, the Golden Gates were badly water damaged. Once the flooding subsided, intense conservation work was done to preserve the quality of the brass doors created by Lorenzo Ghiberti in 1452. Using lasers they etched out the grime that had adhered to the surface, and were able to make a plaster cast of the bronze masterpiece. Only two replicas were cast: one remains in the original baptistry doors, the original is now housed in a museum in Florence, and the second copy is now permanently at the Nelson! I forget the benefactor who donated the pieces, and will surely update this with more information later.


It is truly an amazing masterpiece that the Nelson has acquired, and I am sure this will be a pilgrimage destination for hundreds if not thousands of art enthusiasts around the country and the world. The best part? The Nelson is an entirely free museum !


If you are around Kansas City, be sure to check out the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and witness this masterpiece firsthand. You can even put gloves on and touch the piece!


Look at that amazing detail! It apparently took decades to complete this masterpiece of sculpture, which depicts ten Biblical scenes in chronological order - a monumental feat of both narrative form, sculptures, and history. As far as I know this will be a permanent display for all to see at the Block Building in the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

Through The Eyes of Picasso

Through the Eyes of Picasso is a monumental exhibition of the work and collection of Picasso spanning his entire career. This exhibition is only on view in three locations in the US and Canada and marks a special tribute to the savant artist of the 20th century.


What I love most about this exhibition is it's curation. Not only does the exhibit feature original paintings, drawings, prints, and ceramic work by the artist - but it also outlines his life and career. In addition to his personal work, it also includes a photography collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of this famed artist and also his collection of African and Iberian masks which largely influenced his work.


Seeing one of his cubist guitar sculptures, which was groundbreaking at the time of creation, was an extraordinary experience. I have only seen one of these sculptures before several years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


Seeing his personal collection of African masks and artifacts side-by-side to his work gave a whole new context into understanding his ouvure. 


His range of work is astounding, such diversity in his choice of color, medium, stylization, and form.


The details from his lithographic prints is something that must be experienced in person. His use of form, line, and gesture truly broke the formal tradition of European art.


Be sure to check out Through The Eyes of Picasso at the Nelson-Atkins of Museum of Art - on display now through April 8, 2018.