Visiting the Dayton Art Institute

In August,  I visited the Dayton Art Institute for the very first time. There was a general admission fee to the museum as well as a fee for the current exhibit –  The Antartic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water.  

Unfortunately, I have sad news.  The Antartic Sublime exhibit was disorganized and underwhelming. My reasons for these criticisms are: first, there weren’t many pieces to the exhibit as compared to other exhibits I’ve seen recently (such as  30 Americans in Cincinnati or The Great War Experimentation and Change in Columbus); and second, there was a physical sense of disjointedness to the exhibit. Unlike normal exhibition spaces  -where the rooms sort of flow together cohesively in a loose maze as you walk through them- the Antartic Sublime was shown in three separate rooms on two different floors of the museum. The combination of these factors created a negative experience for me with this exhibit.

Even though their Antartic exhibit was disappointing,  the permanent collection at the Dayton Art Institute and the museum  itself was quite impressive. It’s a beautiful old building  with an extensive Asian Art and Oceanic collection, decorative arts collection and numerous other ambitious pieces. Shown below are some of the main features from the museum.



Alison Saar’s Lost and Found (2003) [Painting on wall, behind Saar’s work, is by artist Janet Fish]



Pat Steir’s Border Lord (1972)



Dwindell Grant’s Red Circle (1938)



Bodhisattva Guanyin – Chinese, 11th century


Amida Buddha – Japanese, 13th Century


Elephant Mask Costume – Bamileke people, 20th century

30 Americans



Late last month I went to the Cincinnati Art Museum for the first time. While I was there I saw  an exhibit called 30 Americans. The collection was composed of  African-American artists from the past thirty years. Read more about the show here.

Below are some of the high points from the show. (And, may I say, there were A LOT.)



Untitled (1985-1999) by Purvis Young



Bird On Money (1981) by Jean-Michel Basquiat



Non je ne regrette rien (2007) by Wangechi Mutu



The Seven Prisoners of the Abyss (2008) by Noah Davis


Soundsuit (2009, 2008) by Nick Cave


Whore in the Church House (2006) by Mark Bradford  [Top – Two close-up photos of the work. Bottom – The entire piece.]

Columbus Museum of Art – Contemporary Collection

While attending the Picasso The Great War Experimentation and Change exhibit early this past June at the Columbus Museum of Art, I had the opportunity to see the new Contemporary wing of the museum. The wing’s grand opening was in the fall of 2015.

The new wing adds over 50,000 square feet to the museum using 1,500 copper panels on the exterior of the addition.  In my humble opinion, here are some of the gems from the contemporary collection.

Nocturne Navigator by Alison Saar


Paranirvana (Self Portrait) by Lewis deSoto





Side note — The Picasso exhibit, by the way, goes from 6/10/2016 to 9/11/2016.

It’s all in the details

Google came up with a great idea on how you can truly appreciate art in close detail. A new technology called Art Camera, a robotic camera, can take high resolution images of objects. The results are amazing  finely detailed close-ups of artwork.

port of rotterdam

(Above Image – Port of Rotterdam by Paul Signac)

Read more about Google’s Art Camera here.

Reflections on Egon Schiele

The Met has a program called The Artist Project. Essentially, it is where contemporary artists discuss different art  featured at The Met. It’s their viewpoint on a specific work of art or the collective works of an artist. I highly recommend watching these vignettes. They are not very long in duration and are immensely insightful.

The one posted here is of the contemporary artist Wangechi Muta discussing the brilliance that is Egon Schiele.


Magdalene In Distress

This  article  about  eighty-nine year old artist, Magdalene Stift-Jourdan, got me thinking.

Magdalene Stift-Jourdan, who was born in the Austro-Hungarian empire but spent years living in Montreal, Canada, has been painting for over 60 years. On Thursday, she finally got to hold her own art reception at the public library in her adopted town of Thompson, Connecticut.

Unfortunately, their wasn’t much promotion for the event — and the sad octogenarian was left feeling ‘foolish’ and ‘forgotten’ when hardly anyone turned up for it.

After reading this sad tale, I came away with two key points. First, support artists in your community. Please. It’s crucial to encourage artists to do what they do because the arts are vital to society.


(Above Photo – One of Stift-Jourdan’s paintings from her art show.)

And second, artists are a unique breed: they are forward-thinkers.  According to one study, artists are immensely courageous individuals because they create works of art and put them out into the world for everyone to see, contemplate, critique and scrutinize. I guess, that is why reading  the article on Magdalene was so touching.

To have an art exhibit and have no one respond would be very disheartening. Understatement. I felt for this woman. And  I would be crushed to have any (let alone my very first!) art opening and to have no one attend.

So your takeaway in all this is to support the arts.   Also, keep in mind the idea that artists are a special kind of people –  bold risk takers and creative innovators.

Ask us anything about art

The best way to get people to enjoy and appreciate art is to make meaningful connections with them about the art. The Brooklyn Museum has come up with a really interesting approach to doing this.

[The staffed is] trained to help visitors engage more deeply and make personal connections with what’s on display. It’s like having a curator in your pocket.

This museum is embracing the idea of talking with guests and not at them.


(Side Note –  Above photo of Keith Haring painting from the Brooklyn Museum)