Chinese New Year: Year of the Goat / Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year! 2015 is the Year of the Goat/Sheep; can you spot the animals in these works from our permanent collection?

John Haley_sheep

John Haley, Sheep, not dated. Oil on canvas, 20 x 40 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1947

SimondsGooding_sheep

Maria Simonds-Gooding, An t-Oileánach Sheep, 1977. Etching and aquatint on paper, 21 7/8 x 14 7/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1979

Robert Gates_Goats

Robert Gates, Goats – Christiansted, not dated. Pencil on paper, 8 1/8 x 10 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1939

james mclaughline_sheep cote

James McLaughlin, Sheep Cote, 1947. Oil on canvas, 28 x 36 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1948

 

Four Things You Didn’t Know About Hiroshi Sugimoto

Sugimoto portrait

Hiroshi Sugimoto. Image courtesy of the artist

In a gallery adjacent to Man Ray–Human Equations: A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare, you’ll find photographs and sculptures by contemporary Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. His exhibition at the Phillips, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models, is on view through May 10, 2015.

1) Sugimoto’s work on view at the Phillips is largely inspired by Marcel Duchamp, particularly the Dadaist’s obsession with the mechanics of space and the mathematical foundations of his work.

2) He is best known for his time-exposed photography. Among his most recognized works are his series Theatres, which are shot for the full length of each movie’s projection, and Seascapes, a series of horizon lines formed by bodies of water whose movements have been blurred into stillness by Sugimoto’s long exposures.

3) All of the sculptures on view in this exhibition are derived from infinity equations. As is apparent from his time-exposed photography, time and history are significant themes in Sugimoto’s work, ranging from human time to cosmological time. Each sculpture is to be thought of as infinitely expanding, just as the universe continues to expand from a point of singularity.

4) His sculptures are created using computer-controlled, precision milling machines, and are crafted from solid blocks of aluminum.

A Sunday Poetry

Gerry Volunteer 1

Gerry Hendershot volunteering at the Phillips. Photo: Emily Bray

Gerry Hendershot is an Art Information Volunteer at The Phillips Collection. Here he shares his process and his poem inspired by Edward Hopper’s painting, Sunday.

In February I attended a three-day poetry workshop near Atlantic City, NJ. Each morning, 100 student poets gathered to receive a one-sheet prompt, then were given two hours to draft a poem; in the afternoon, groups of ten student met for moderated discussions of each poem.

On the day I wrote the below poem, the morning prompt directed us to write about something that was missing using stanzas of 2, 3, or 4 lines, and to include a piece of furniture, a spice, a proper name, and a musical instrument. We had to submit a hand-written fair copy of 30 lines by Noon.

Because of my longtime love of art, I have acquired an interest in ekphrastic poems; that is, poems about art, such as W. H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts.” I recalled a poem by Victoria Chang, “Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room,” which led me to think of Hopper’s painting Sunday.

I had recently attended a Spotlight Talk on Sunday, where I heard other viewers comment on its unsettling psychological impact. Like other works by Hopper, it creates in me a feeling of imminent danger, of something tragically missing.

With Chang’s exemplar as guide, and Sunday in my mind’s eye (aided by online images!), it was not difficult to meet the other prompt requirements— proper name, furniture, spice, and a musical instrument. Feedback from fellow student poets led to revisions—which are continuing.

 

Hopper_Sunday

Edward Hopper, Sunday, 1926. Oil on canvas, 29 x 34 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1926

Edward Hopper, “Sunday” (1926)

By Gerry Hendershot

After church, when I view him sitting
on the curb of an old-fashioned
wood plank sidewalk,

leaning forward, resting his arms on his knees,
cigar clamped in his teeth, its tip unlit,
its cold ragged head soggy with spit,

he’s gazing into the distance, eyes unfocused and blank,
sensing—not knowing—that something,
something is missing.

***

Bright sun beats the top of his balding head,
whitening one side of his face,
leaving the other side dark.

He’s wearing his work clothes, his not-Sunday-best clothes,
the sleeves of his white shirt held up by elastic red bands;
black vest, black pants, brown shoes. A waiter, perhaps,

or a barber. But the storefronts behind him are missing
any ads for today’s blue-plate specials, and a
red and white candy striped pole.

***

Is he missing the tools of his trade?
His revolving, adjustable, strop-hung chair? His shelf
full of brushes and scents, precursors of Boss and Old Spice?

Or does he miss in that sharp angled light from above
a rainbow of hope sung by angels with lyres
through windows of medieval glass?

Sunday, what’s missing
from his life
and mine?

Gerry Hendershot is a retired CDC health statistician who has been volunteering at the Phillips for 12 years.  He is a member of the nearby Church of the Pilgrims at 22nd and P Streets, NW, and co-founder, with his wife, of its Dupont-Pilgrims Art Gallery, an alternative art space for area artists.