Don’t miss this incredible show, closing Sunday. Like me, you might be surprised at what you see. This Ossorio work, Perpetual Sacrafice, for example, stopped me in my tracks. When I first stood before it, I saw LA graffiti, I saw Swoon, I saw tattoo art, I saw comic books; modern, urban, loaded with icons and references. And yet, this is a work from 1949 by the erudite, wealthy, Filipino-American artist and collector Alfonso Ossorio. After you see the show on the third floor, be sure to stop on the second floor, around the corner from the Rothko Room, where you’ll find an installation of Ossorio’s Recovery Drawings, created 40 years later during a hospital stay. Having catalogued a facsimile volume of these drawings, I can say that the energy Ossorio captures in all of his works, from mixed media in the 1940s and ’50s to felt tipped marker in the 1980s, can produce a remarkable sensation in the viewer.
Vincent van Gogh seems to endlessly fascinate us. We love his art and feel so attached to him as a person. Perhaps we’re moved by the admiration and respect for common men and women that underlie so many of his works. Perhaps it’s the vulnerability that we perceive in him as a human being, based on accounts of his life and personality. The most recent van Gogh biography, a New York Times bestseller, is nearly a thousand pages long–we just can’t seem to get enough.
In spite of this intensive, longstanding interest in the Dutch artist (or perhaps because our knowledge is obscured by the mythology that’s grown up around him ), much remains to be learned about how van Gogh actually worked. The time has come to take a closer look at his process. Last spring, the Philadelphia Museum of Art examined his working methods toward the end of his brief, ten-year career in Van Gogh Up Close . Then in the fall, the Denver Art Museum mounted Becoming Van Gogh, an in-depth look at the artist’s influences and evolution. Now at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Van Gogh at Work brings forward new insights, gained through years of conservation analysis, into the artist’s materials and methods.
Soon the Phillips adds its own distinctive voice to this groundswell with Van Gogh Repetitions, an exhibition opening this October that invites very focused study into a specific aspect of van Gogh’s process–his practice of making more than one version of certain subjects. His bedroom, his friends, the weavers and road menders whose labor he so admired. Perhaps by visiting this exhibition we will all learn a bit more about what fascinated him and drew him back in again and again.
Cecilia Wichmann, Publicity and Marketing Manager
In many ways, the story of Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet unfolds in East Hampton, where Ossorio settled and Pollock lived (and painted) with his wife Lee Krasner in what is now the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center. Here is a virtual tour of the abstract expressionist’s homestead (with captions provided by the Stony Brook Foundation-run site), which a participant in this online game (and two friends) will visit later this summer.