Artwork of the Week

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July 22 Art Minute: George Tooker, “Meadow I”

Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Though best known for anxiety–filled images of modern city dwellers seemingly trapped in office cubicle boxes or subway station mazes, George Tooker’s Meadow I has a rural setting and a timeless quality. Painted as a memorial to his mother, the painting is suffused with melancholy. The reclining (dead?) woman resembles Renaissance paintings of the Madonna collapsed in […]

July 15 Art Minute: Martin Johnson Heade, “Hazy Day on the Marshes, New Jersey”

Posted on Friday, July 15th, 2016

The meandering tidal streams, flat landscape, and conical haystacks of the salt marshes of the northeast became the primary subject of Martin Johnson Heade’s paintings from 1859 on. Here he captures the change in light and atmosphere as the sun breaks through heavy haze to spotlight one of the haystacks. Though no humans are present, […]

July 8 Art Minute: Claude Monet, “Water Lilies”

Posted on Friday, July 8th, 2016

Claude Monet’s paintings of his water garden at Giverny were a culmination of his desire to capture the temporary effects of nature. “These landscapes of water and reflections have become an obsession,” wrote Monet in 1908. By 1914, Monet’s obsession had developed into a project for a circular installation of large-scale water lily paintings, conceived […]

July 1 Art Minute: Chuck Close, “Alex”

Posted on Friday, July 1st, 2016

Inspiring first awe and then intimate scrutiny, Chuck Close’s large-scale portraits draw attention to process as well as image. Working from photographs, Close imposes a grid—which is left visible—to enlarge and transfer the image onto canvas. Viewed from a distance, the thousands of small painted squares optically blend into an illusionistic portrait, but separate into […]

June 24 Art Minute: Greek, “Diadem”

Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016

Both Greek men and women wore jewelry, but the greatest variety was made for women. The most costly and elaborate objects were diadems and wreaths to adorn the head. Gold had been scarce in Greece until the conquests of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) supplied the riches of the Persian Empire. Thanks to aristocratic patrons […]

June 17 Art Minute: Jaume Plensa, “Spiegel”

Posted on Friday, June 17th, 2016

German for “mirror” or “looking glass,” Spiegel shows two identical giants, hugging their knees and facing one another, though they are technically faceless. They are nearly bodiless as well: the figures are hollow screens given shape by a painted steel latticework of letters from the Latin alphabet interspersed with Greek letters and Chinese characters. The […]

June 10 Art Minute: Ravinder Reddy, “Untitled (Head—Gold)”

Posted on Friday, June 10th, 2016

With his fusion of contemporary pop art and Hindu sculptural tradition, Indian artist Ravinder Reddy creates a union of the ideal goddess and the individual woman. The frontality of the head and its wide, starring eyes evoke timelessness similar to ancient sculpture. New York Times art critic Holland Cotter said in a review of Reddy’s […]

June 3 Art Minute: Probably J. & L. Lobmeyr, “Morning Glory Chandelier”

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Made in the mid–1800s, this morning glory chandelier recalls floral chandeliers made with porcelain or painted tin blossoms that were fashionable in French-style chateaux in the 1700s. Since the morning glory flower blooms and dies within a single day, it came to symbolize love, affection, or mortality in the Victorian era. A drawing of a […]

May 27 Art Minute: Greek, from Asia Minor (modern Turkey), “Gold Wreath”

Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2016

This lavish oak wreath is part of a set of gold jewelry that was made during the reign of Philip II (ruled 356–339 BCE), father of Alexander the Great. It reflects the wealth that poured into the court of Macedon as a result of the king’s conquests and the opening of new gold mines. Such […]

May 20 Art Minute: Rosemary Laing, “groundspeed, (Rose Petal) #17”

Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2016

At first look, this photograph by Australian artist Rosemary Laing appears to be a digital manipulation. But look closer—it is actually the result of a painstakingly staged installation. To create this scene, Laing laid down industrially produced carpet in a South Australian forest. The result, like all of the works in her groundspeed series, is […]