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Displaying items by tag: louise nevelson

George Bellows, Robert Henri, Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, John Marin, Louise Nevelson and N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. All lived or worked in Maine.

And all are represented in the 45 paintings, sculptures and assemblages in "American Treasures from the Farnsworth Art Museum" at The Society of the Four Arts. The Farnsworth, situated in Rockland, Maine, focuses on the state’s role in American art — the extent to which might surprise some viewers.

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Cardi Gallery, the Milan-based modern and contemporary art gallery, presents "Louise Nevelson: 55-70," an exhibition of over thirty important collages and sculptures created between 1955 and 1970 that reveal the formalist achievements of Louise Nevelson (1899-1988), an icon of the Feminist art movement and one of the most significant American sculptors of the 20th century. "Louise Nevelson: 55-70," is on view through December 20, 2014.

"Louise Nevelson: 55-70" features works created between 1955 and 1970, a period when the artist’s signature modernist style emerged, with labyrinthine wooden assemblages and monochrome surfaces, and evolved, as Nevelson incorporated industrial materials such as Plexiglas, aluminum and steel in the 1960s and 1970s.

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A 1930s shoeshine stand bedecked with gilded knobs and beaded fringe, which was once exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art — where it played a role in a famous director’s ouster — resurfaced last month and is headed back into the public eye.

The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., purchased the imaginatively decorated stand, which was created by an Italian immigrant bootblack, Giovanni Indelicato, who ran a makeshift booth on lower Broadway and sometimes went by the name Joe Milone. The Fenimore bought it a few weeks ago for $10,000, after the New York folklorist Joseph Sciorra of Queens College, a specialist in Italian-American culture, alerted the museum, which has a specialty in American folk art, that the piece had re-emerged after decades in obscurity.

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Storm King Art Center, a sprawling sculpture park in New Windsor, New York, has acquired three contemporary works through major long-term loans. The sculptures include “Source” (1967) by American minimalist Tony Scott, “Royal Tide 1” (1960) by monochromatic master Louise Nevelson, and “Broken Obelisk” (1967) by Abstract Expressionist Barnett Newman.

Guests who enter through the Center’s Museum Hill entrance are greeted by “Source,” Smith’s monumental black painted-steel sculpture. First exhibited at Documenta IV in Kassel, Germany, in 1968, “Source” is among Smith’s most dynamic large-scale sculptures and exemplifies the painted black outdoor works for which he is best known.

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What kind of pop artist “does battle at the border of life and death”? Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), who so described her art-making in 1961, suggests a Japanese Andy Warhol in terms of sheer energy, protean endeavors and fixation with publicity. But Warhol would never have professed such high purpose.

Indeed, the Kusama revealed by the current Whitney retrospective defies any single label. Despite her friendships forged in the ’60s with Warhol, Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg and Joseph Cornell, her work leapfrogs categories like pop, minimalism and conceptual, revealing an honest vulnerability seldom seen in her male colleagues.

The museum’s front windows, crammed with the giant, bobbing spheres of her “Dots Obsession” (2009/2012), offer an instant dose of her signature polka-dotted installations. It’s only a foretaste, though, of the six decades of painting, sculpture, collage, film, performances, installations, fashion design and writing displayed or documented on the fourth floor.

Kusama’s “Infinity Net” paintings, her early nod to abstract expressionism, fill one gallery with countless swirls of white, subtly tightening and expanding across wide surfaces. She shifted gears with the “Accumulation” sculptures that appeared in some of the first exhibitions of pop art. These monochromatic works encrust various items—chairs, shoes, rowboat, ladder, hat, suitcase—with multitudes of stuffed fabric phalluses. The fidgety, potato-like protuberances have an awkward intimacy very foreign to pop and minimalism. A variation of these “Sex Obsession” sculptures, dubbed by Kusama the “Food Obsession” works, covers objects with macaroni.

Also on view is Kusama’s Self-Obliteration, her 1967 film showing her fiercely applying polka dots to animals and naked, carousing humans. But it took her “Anatomic Explosions” to put the self-styled “Priestess of Nudity” on the front pages. For these public performances, the artist hastily painted spots on nude dancers until the police showed up. The press releases and flyers combine ’60s breeziness with equal dollops of hucksterism and galactic purpose: “Become one with eternity. Obliterate your personality…take along one of our live bikini models.”

On a more poetic level, colorful mixed-media works on paper from the 1970s combine images of faces, insects and flowers with surprising delicacy. By this point, though, museum visitors may be wondering: How long can a soul publicly obsess about its own obsessions? Only so long, it seems; having returned to Japan, Kusama voluntarily entered a mental hospital in 1977, where she resides to this day.

Thankfully, it has been a nourishing environment. The vaguely biological forms of her large canvases and soft sculptures from the ’80s and ’90s glow with asexual sensuousness. Though frankly decorative, the seething, micro-dotted tentacles of “Yellow Trees” (1994) mesmerize. On the first floor, standing in for the enclosed installations produced since the ’90s is “Fireflies on the Water” (2002), from the Whitney’s own collection. Its coolness factor—with lights seeming to shimmer infinitely in all directions—-is not to be missed.

Pacing the exhibition are numerous photographs of the artist posed next to her work in matching attire. Apparently, notions of art and celebrity were as inseparable for Kusama as they were for Warhol. But Kusama’s motifs seem purer, and her emotional life—with joys and mortifications strangely fused—more accessible. One senses that when she appropriated, it was not for ironic effect but simply to cope. Hence her exploitation of the gestalt of the ’60s, and later, perhaps, of stylistic aspects of Cornell, Nevelson and Eva Hesse.

Today, Kusama is as much life force as artist—if we still distinguish the two—and uncannily predictive of the ascendancy of younger artists like Takashi Murakami. But her triumph illuminates a certain diminution, too, of our expectations of art.

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