The Artist Sees Differently: Caroline Hoover

Caroline Hoover helping out in the Phillips' Conservation studio. Photo: Joshua Navarro

Caroline Hoover, Museum Assistant, Conservation Intern

How did you learn about the Phillips?

I learned about the Phillips because my great aunt [Elizabeth Turner] used to be a curator here. At the time, we came up to see her shows and visit the Phillips.

Do you feel you are inspired by the Phillips art?

I would say that I’m inspired by the Phillips art; there is a lot to take from the works in terms of formal technique in a lot of the older impressionist works and creativity and innovation found in the new works by contemporary artists.

What do you listen to as you create?

I always listen to music when I am painting, but honestly it depends on the mood I’m in, and I usually switch genres a few times before I’m satisfied.

Who’s your favorite artist in the collection?

Edgar Degas

What painting in the collection do you wish you’d painted?

Pierre Bonnard’s The Riviera

Do you collect other artwork – or anything?

When I studied abroad in Europe and Africa, I collected artwork from a lot of the countries I visited. A lot of it was street artwork, but also some from galleries. I usually collect at least a postcard of works that I especially like in other collections/museums.

And do you have a favorite Marjorie Phillips painting?

To be honest, the only one that I’ve seen is Night Baseball. But, I do like that one a lot.

Caroline Hoover, "Untitled," oil on canvas, 3' x 4'

Caroline Hoover, "Untitled," oil on canvas, 3' x 4'

 

“Seeing Red,” Mark Rothko Inspired Works Displayed at “Red”

Briefly augmenting the Tony Award-winning play, Red, by John Logan, at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, were a dozen works inspired by the grand, colorful paintings of Mark Rothko, who is the focus of the play.

Two Museum Assistants at The Phillips Collection were among the artists in the “Seeing Red” display, organized by Joseph Orzal and Josef Palermo of the Washington art collective, Vestibule. The works were on view February 3-5, 2011.

Experiment Station talked with Museum Assistants Janelle Ortiz and Rodrigo Carazas Portal about their works in the display.

Rodrigo Carazas (left) and Janelle Ortiz (right) stand by their works installed at Arena Stage in February 2011. Photos: Rodrigo Carazas Portal

You’re familiar with paintings in the Rothko Room at the Phillips, and I heard you went to the Phillips library to look through the books on Rothko. Is the Phillips your first exposure to Rothko?

Janelle: The Phillips Collection is not my first exposure to Rothko. I actually cannot even pinpoint in my memory when I first learned about Rothko or first saw a painting of his. However, the Rothko Room was my first EXPERIENCE with a Rothko. Previously, I passively viewed them at art museums; this was before I viewed the Rothko Room or did any research on the artist and his work. The way the Rothko Room presented his paintings requires real consideration from the viewer, a consideration I had never given before to a work by Rothko.

Rodrigo: Mark Rothko is a continuous inspiration for me. Working at The Phillips Collection gave me a much closer approach to his work, and the library [provided] a deeper insight on his life and ideas.

Is Rothko the inspiration for the work? Continue reading ““Seeing Red,” Mark Rothko Inspired Works Displayed at “Red”” »

William Maxwell: Monumental Head

It was 1995 when I was in my first stint as a Phillips Collection Museum Assistant as well as a full-time BFA student at the Corcoran College of Art and  Design after 20 years as a newspaper and magazine journalist. I was sitting on the front steps of the Phillips house during a work break when I saw a tall, angular older man leaving the museum with his daughter.

As they approached, I stood and said to the man, “Hi, excuse me, but are you William Maxwell? We corresponded often when I was a magazine editor in Delaware.”

I identified myself, and he said, “Oh, yes” and spelled out my last name, smiling.

Maxwell (1908-2000), a short-story writer, novelist, and fiction editor of The New Yorker magazine, was in Washington to receive the PEN/Malamud achievement award for short fiction.

He said whenever he was in Washington he visited the Phillips because he loved the collection. His biographer Barbara Burkhardt noted in William Maxwell: A Literary Life, that one of his favorite artists featured in the collection was Pierre Bonnard because of Bonnard’s “intimism.”

He also told me he particularly liked seeing Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Monumental Head (1960) because the head looked just like him (but without the really long neck).

It sure does.

(left) William Maxwell (right) Alberto Giacometti, Monumental Head, 1960. Bronze, 37 1/2 x 11 x 10 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1962.