David and Art - Spreading the Word
David and Art
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1y ago
Remembering a writer who served the cause of the arts from coast to coast. Last week I took a little time to note the passing of Wall Street Journal theater critic, author, playwright and musician Terry Teachout. He left behind a record of writing and speaking on behalf of the arts: particularly theater, but more broadly, all the arts. If you followed his columns, if you read his books, if you listened to his podcast, you realize he approached art in its totality as something wondrous—something above the material plane on which we all live day-to-day. For Terry, to talk about art was a chance ..read more
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David and Art - Terry Teachout
David and Art
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1y ago
As a critic Terry Teachout had few equals. He was that way as a person as well. I met Terry Teachout in October 2007. I was in Washington DC working on my book about the National Endowment for the Arts and at a dinner the Chairman of the Endowment was hosting. “I’ve got someone I want you to meet,” he said, and introduced me to Terry who was then on the National Council on the Arts. I was one of the countless people, who, from the moment I met him, felt like I’d known him for years. He was that kind of person. He died earlier this month at age 65. Terrance Alan Teachout was born in Cape Girard ..read more
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David and Art - The Critic at Work
David and Art
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1y ago
When you read the work of a great critic, you instantly understand why they’re a critical part of the art world. Is popularity important for art? Is there a relationship between something being good and something being popular? Should the people decide what deserves the label “art” or should it be left to the experts and critics? Answers to these questions vary wildly. At the outset of the Modernist period, around the 1880s, many artists began to think of themselves as being the true critics—that is, critics of the grubby materialism they thought was the primary quality of contemporary middle ..read more
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David and Art - Joan Mitchell
David and Art
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1y ago
Joan Mitchell was an American artist at the center of the 20th century American scene. You probably know the name Jackson Pollock. You might know Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. You know Barnett Newman. They all were part of a movement in American art known as “abstract expressionism” that broke out in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Though their work was often hard to make sense of, it was hailed even by mainstream American publications like Life Magazine as the very expression of American energy in the postwar world. Now let me tell you the name of another artist associated with that move ..read more
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David and Art - Discontinuity and its Discontents
David and Art
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1y ago
When times seem unsettled, knowing the story of history and of art can bring comfort. I was reading an article in the paper the other day and came across this passage: “We’re living through a discontinuity…a moment where the experience and expertise you’ve built up over time cease to work.” The piece quoted someone as saying “It is extremely stressful, emotionally, to go through a process of understanding that the world as we thought it was, is no longer there.” It struck me as sharply applicable to the times we’re living in. I think I may use it at the start of my classes this semester, parti ..read more
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David and Art - Barnett Newman
David and Art
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1y ago
How do you force a viewer to see your painting as a painting and not a little story about something? American painter Barnett Newman finally came upon an answer. “Painting is finished; we should give up.” In the 1930s, American painter Barnett Newman said that to his fellow artist Adolph Gottlieb. Newman as an artist had become stuck. He didn’t know what to paint. Much more than that however he didn’t know what any artist should paint anymore. Why should a serious artist paint in styles and in topics that have been done to death? Why copy Picasso? Why imitate the fauvists? Why paint a steamboa ..read more
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David and Smith - Turner and the Future
David and Art
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1y ago
Storms and steamboats and misty mornings allowed one artist to transform what we see in galleries. Last week, I mentioned that there was a show at the Kimball Museum of Art up in Fort Worth that I don’t want you to miss. It’s of paintings by an English artist named J.M.W. Turner and it’s open until the beginning of February. Turner died of cholera in 1851, which was quite a while before impressionism and modernism begin to sweep through the culture of Europe and energize artists with new ideas of what art could be. But, in many of his paintings, Turner points to what’s on the way. Years ago, w ..read more
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David and Art - New from the 1800's
David and Art
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1y ago
An English painter born during the American Revolution gave clues to what the 20 th century would look like. If this show has a motto, I think it would probably be “there’s always something new to discover.” Because I believe that. I live that. The entirety of my interaction with the arts, and, in fact, with history itself, is testament to it. I’m always coming across something that may not be new to you necessarily, but is to me. In October 2007, I was in Washington DC and I knew I was going to have some free time on my hands. I was interested in seeing an exhibit at the National Gallery of a ..read more
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David and Art - “Stories from the West Side”
David and Art
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1y ago
Whether the year is 1957 or 2021, the Sharks and the Jets always remind us of the talents that created them. “Something’s comin’ / I don’t know what it is / But it is gonna be great.” So sings Tony when he’s overcome by the premonition that something big is about to happen to him. And of course, that something big is meeting Maria, a name that instantly becomes the most beautiful sound he ever heard. Chances are that you’ve at least heard of West Side Story , the groundbreaking 1957 Broadway musical from which these songs and characters come. The idea of an up-to-date urban version of Shakespe ..read more
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David and Art - Musical Theater’s Greatest Lyricist
David and Art
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1y ago
One of the true architects of the Broadway musical leaves us with a rich legacy of deep, personal, and moving songs. “We have lost a giant.” That was pretty much the consensus a couple of Friday evenings ago as word began to circulate that famed composer Stephen Sondheim had died. Almost at once, social media came alive with memories and tributes. People who knew him personally spoke of his friendship and the way he mentored and supported younger composers. People who knew only his music spoke of him in terms hardly less personal. His songs were like that: personal, intimate, and open. When I ..read more
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