I am a big fan of Arthur Dove (1880-1946), an American modernist associated with the Alfred Stieglitz group in the early 20th century. He didn’t become a household name like Georgia O’Keeffe, who was a good friend of his. I’ve long thought of him as “one of…” the pioneer abstractionists, “one of…” the painters who evoked nature and landscape in his works, “one of…” the names to be spoken of in the same breath as John Marin, Marsden Harley, and Charles Demuth. He didn’t stand out for me until I recently noticed some stunning works at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston:
Just as I was pondering how globalism and contemporary art are related, I visited the New Museum in New York and saw its 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience exhibition. Fifty-one artists from 25 countries were represented, all artists under 40, with works using many materials, technologies, and artistic references. In an interconnected world, ideas and trends are exchanged easily and quickly, so what can be new? And do artists evoke their own time and place anymore? I would think it excruciatingly tough to be innovative with art these days. The wonderful thing is, people all around the world are still meeting the challenge.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the exhibition From Two Arises Three at the Asian Art Museum, which showcases the collaborative work of two American artists who through different media have been intensely involved in interpreting Chinese landscapes. Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney acted on their synergies to create something fresh, interesting, and contemplative on many levels.
I’m back from a quick trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I had the chance to see the Ai Weiwei “@ Large” exhibition on Alcatraz Island. When I first heard about the exhibit, I had my usual blasé reaction to his name: “I am so sick of hearing about Ai Weiwei, can’t people think of any other Chinese artist to be interested in?” But fortunately I overcame my AWW fatigue and went to see the show.