Dog Star / A Creative Arts Guide






Image above: Vik Muniz

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2012.

Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life. Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, painted in 1882, explores the treachery of nineteenth-century Parisian nightlife through the depiction of a bartender attending to a male patron reflected in the mirror behind her. Muniz plays on Manet’s style, replacing Manet’s visible brushstrokes with the frayed edges of torn paper and lending the work immense visual interest.

“Thank you for DogStarNYC, in general. The site speaks to so many kinds of interests; it discerns which qualities will appeal to many different tastes in a tremendous number of activities. I love how it encourages young people to pay attention to the unusual.

In New York we let so many teens walk around the periphery, mildly shell-shocked by life, while the information that they need to make sense of their world sits in the center of the room. DogStarNYC welcomes them into the middle of the room; the blog tells them how to walk there. ” - Stacy L.


DOG STAR is the creation of a high school English teacher in New York City. This blog began in 2008 as an online community for a journalism class and has since evolved into a curated site on the creative arts, arts-related news and a guide to free and low-cost events for teens. Our mission is to offer teens real-life options for enjoying all the creative arts in New York City. May wisdom guide you and hope sustain you. The more you like art, the more art you like!

IMPORTANT NOTICE OF NON COMMERCIAL & EDUCATIONAL CONTENT Unless otherwise stated, we do not own copyrights to any of the visual or audio content that might be included on this blog. Dog Star is for criticism, commentary, reporting and educational purposes under the FAIR USE ACT: Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. If you own the copyright to any images and object to them being included in this blog, please advise and the content will be removed. No attempt is made for material gain from this blog's content.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

21Quest on North Hill

North Hill is a Paris-based site featuring artists from around the world with original voices in music and design.

Our homie 21Quest is featured on the site - go here to see more.

Watch the interview from the North Hill / Art Is website below.


"Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment."
- Zen Master Dogen - (1200- 1253) AD

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is Race Plastic? (Article in NY Magazine)

Dog Star re-posts this from New York Magazine.  The excerpt below starts the article and then continue reading at the New York Magazine website.  The headline really means "Is race ELASTIC?" meaning, is race and its definitions stretch and bend according to tastes and, in this case, money.  The article explores the cosmetic surgery trends to "acquire" facial features of those who are not from one's racial or ethnic group.  What a strange new world we live in.

Is Race Plastic? My Trip Into the ‘Ethnic Plastic Surgery’ Minefield

By Maureen O'Connor 

“You’ve got some nice Caucasian features,” Dr. Edmund Kwan says, inspecting my face at his Upper East Side plastic-surgery practice, where the waiting room includes an ottoman larger than my kitchen table. “You’re half-Asian mixed with what?” Chinese mom and white dad, I reply. “You inherited a Caucasian nose. Your nose is nice. Your eyes have a little bit of Asian mixed in.” He proposes Asian blepharo­plasty, a surgical procedure to create or enlarge the palpebral fold, the eyelid crease a few millimeters above the lashline that many Asians lack. “You’ve got nice big eyes,” he admits, but eyelids more like my father’s would make them look bigger.

To some, Kwan’s assessment may seem offensive—an attempt to remove my mother’s race from my face as though it were a pimple. But to others, it will seem as banal as a dietitian advising them to eat more leafy greens—advice having nothing to do with hiding one’s race or mimicking another. Asian blepharo­plasty belongs to a range of niche cosmetic procedures known colloquially as ethnic plastic surgery, the popularity of which has spiked in recent years—and is prone to heated arguments, major misunderstandings, alternating whiplashes of sympathy and disgust, and some intensely uncomfortable reckonings. (Including, perhaps, the ones in this article.) The issues at stake are loaded: ethnic identity, standards of beauty, the politics of diversity, what constitutes race, and whether exercises of vanity can reshape it.


LONG HEELS RED BOTTOM (Watch for the dude in the red mohawk at left!)

Monday, July 28, 2014

GO SEE ‘Jeff Koons: A Retrospective’ at the Whitney (FREE for HS Students!)

Dog Star says put this museum exhibition on your summer to-do list!

You haven't ever seen artwork like this before!

Jeff Koons is an American sculptor who comes up with the ideas for pieces and then pays for the very best specialists to create the works.  In the photo above is a typical birthday party balloon dog.  But this one is made of stainless steel polished with a mirror surface (and painted yellow).

The exhibition is huge!  It's on FIVE FLOORS of the Whitney Museum and they WANT YOU TO SEE IT!

Whitney Museum is on Madison Avenue at the corner of 75th Street.

Hours and admission:
  • Mon–Tues Closed
  • Wed–Thurs11 am–6 pm
  • Fri1 pm–9 pm
  • Sat–Sun11 am–6 pm
Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 6–9 pm; pay-what-you-wish tickets are available in person only and may not be purchased in advance.

The Whitney offers free admission for visitors ages 18 and under. 


Regular admission is $20. 

Teen Event: Jeff Koons

Sat, July 19, 2014  2–4:30 PM

For New York City teens in grades 9–12
New York City high school teens are invited to explore Jeff Koons: A Retrospective and participate in art making workshops throughout the Museum. Refreshments will be provided. 
This event is free to attend, and no RSVP is required. Questions? Email or call (212) 570-7752.

Here's the fantastic review in The New York Times by Roberta Smith:

There are so many strange, disconcerting aspects to Jeff Koons, his art and his career that it is hard to quite know how to approach his first New York retrospective, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s largest survey devoted to a single artist.

First there are the notorious sex pictures from his “Made in Heaven” series of 1989-91, big paintings printed in oil inks on canvas that depict the artist in stagy foreplay, and beyond, with his wife then, the angelic Ilona Staller, known in her porn-star days as La Cicciolina. There is the automaton-like presence of the artist himself, as freakish as Andy Warhol, but far wordier, seemingly more extroverted and given to a slightly nonsensical Koonsspeak that casts him as the truest believer in a cult of his own invention. Like his art, he is completely sincere.


Watch Consumption on PBS. See more from ART:21.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Black Fathers the Key to the Black Male Crisis in America

Finding our fathers

Bringing dads back to their sons is the only honest answer to the crisis of young black men

BY Ron Howell
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 4:30 AM

For millions of black Americans, Barack Obama's legacy is not going to be Obamacare, nor his decision to move troops out of Iraq, nor what he does about immigration.

No, it will be the image of him as a black father - of him, for example, standing at the White House and declaring, after the 2012 racially charged killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin, "this could have been my son."

For all the accusations that Obama waffles and wavers when it comes to controversial issues affecting African Americans, there is a widespread perception of him as the model of black fatherhood. It is a view of him that I share, and it means a lot to me, because I know in personal ways the difference that the presence, or absence, of a dad can make in a young black man's life.

So much of my writing over the years has been about the disrespect and even viciousness with which police officers treat black and Latino men. The brutality against Eric Garner, who died 10 days ago after a white officer placed him in what seems to have been a chokehold, is just the latest case.

But I have to say - and this isn't easy, because tough love never is - that our collective shortcomings as African-American fathers also cause me great distress. Unlike the beatings, chokings and shootings our black youngsters are too frequently victims of - from the police, yes, but often from other black males - the pain of paternal abandonment is a dull ache in the heart that, in the end, can do as much damage as a bullet.


George Steinmetz: Summer in Brooklyn/Domino Sugar Factory (via thenewyorker)

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: Leroy Sanchez's Cover of Bonnie Rait's "I Can't Make You Love Me"

Saturday, July 26, 2014


"Go all the way with it. Do not back off. For once, go all the goddamn way with what matters." 
- Ernest Hemingway

BEYOND THE HOOD: Discovering Other Lives of Black and Latino Males

Dog Star believes in the power of literature to open minds and offer new images of ways to live a life.  We like these books because they are a counter-balance to the prevailing monolithic view of the "hip hop hood" experience.  

Black and Latino males must be exposed to a broader range of experiences and positive role models.  Too often the prevalent image in their lives is glorified drugs / gun violence / misogyny.

It's important for everybody to truly know and appreciate the experiences of all kinds of people.  It's especially important for young Black and Latino males to understand that not everybody grows up the same way just because you share the same skin color.  

It's also important to teach young Black and Latino males that the good and poor choices they make have lasting consequences for their lives.  We hope you'll help get these books into the hands of young Black and Latino males in your life.

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. The summer of ’85 won’t be without its usual trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through and state-of-the-art profanity to master. Benji will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, just maybe, this summer might be one for the ages.

The Brothers Torres by Coert Voorhees 
Frankie Towers has always looked up to his older brother, Steve, and with good reason. Steve is a popular senior who always gets what he wants: girls, a soccer scholarship, and--lately--street cred. Frankie, on the other hand, spends his time shooting off fireworks with his best friend Zach, working at his parents' restaurant, and obsessing about his longtime crush, Rebecca Sanchez. Frankie has reservations about Steve's crusade to win the respect of the local cholos. He doesn't think about them, though, until he gets into a fist fight John Dalton the richest, preppiest kid in his New Mexican high school, and longtime nemesis of Steve. After the fight, Steve takes Frankie under his wing and Frankie's social currency begins to rise. The cholos who used to ignore him start to recognize him; he even lands a date to Homecoming with Rebecca. The situation with Dalton continues to simmer, and after another incident Steve is bent on retaliating. Frankie starts to think that his brother is taking this respect thing too far. He may have to choose between respecting his brother and respecting himself. In an honest and humorous debut novel, Coert Voorhees uses a coming of age story to look at where loyalty ends and the self begins.

Discovering Wes Moore by Wes Moore
Wes Moore is the author of Discovering Wes Moore, an autobiography for young readers based on his bestselling adult memoir The Other Wes Moore. Exploring factors that contribute to success—and failure—he compares and contrasts his life story with that of a man who shares his name, is almost the same age, and, like the author, grew up fatherless in Baltimore but who is serving a life sentence for murder. Upon learning about this other Wes Moore, the author was compelled to write to him and was surprised to receive a reply. That reply gave birth to a friendship as letters turned into visits and the two men got to know one another. This compelling story about the challenges of growing up and accepting responsibility for our choices is sure to inspire. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz  
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

The Pact by Davis, Jenkin & Hunt
Chosen by Essence to be among the forty most influential African Americans, the three doctors grew up in the streets of Newark, facing city life’s temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attaining that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are not only friends to this day—they are all doctors. This is a story about the power of friendship. Of joining forces and beating the odds. A story about changing your life, and the lives of those you love most...together. 

Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out by Farrah Gray  
A remarkable teenager who went from public assistance to a million dollar net worth shares his story and offers 9 key principles to success. Farrah Gray is no ordinary teenager. He wears a suit and tie; he has an office on Wall Street and another one in Los Angeles . . . and he sold his first business at the age of 14 for more than a million dollars. He invested that money in a partnership with Inner City Broadcasting, one of the most prominent African-American owned businesses in the country, and now is heading the relaunch of their signature magazine, InnerCity. According to People magazine, Farrah is the only African-American teenager to rise from public assistance to a business mogul without being in entertainment or having a family connection. Reallionaire tells Farrah's extraordinary and touching story. When he was just six, Farrah's mother became seriously ill, prompting his decision to provide for this family, and he spent the first $50 he ever made taking them for a real sit-down dinner. At the age of eight, he founded his first business club. By fourteen, with a million dollars in his pocket, Farrah was well on his way to business success. Each stage of Farrah's progress is marked by one of the principles of success he learned along the way, creating not just an extraordinary story but also a step-by-step primer for others to create success in their own lives with honor; charity and compassion. In the tradition of great motivators and leaders, this is both an instructional book and a story to inspire others to live life to the fullest. And readers don't have to be interested in business to enjoy it. In fact, Farrah is a role model for everyone. 

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos
He didn't say good-bye. He didn't leave a phone number. And he didn't plan on coming back - ever. In Wisconsin, Rico could blend in. His light hair and lighter skin wouldn't make him the "dark dude" or the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. The Midwest is the land of milk and honey, but for Rico Fuentes, it's really a last resort. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. And when Rico no longer has to prove that he's Latino, he almost stops being one. Except he can never have an ordinary white kid's life, because there are some things that can't be left behind, that can't be cut loose or forgotten. These are the things that will be with you forever.... These are the things that will follow you a thousand miles away. For anyone who loved The Outsiders -- and for anyone who's ever felt like one -- Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos brings to life a haunting choice and an unforgettable journey about identity, misidentity, and all that we take with us when we run away. 

The Afterlife by Gary Soto
You'd think a knife in the ribs would be the end of things, but for Chuy, that's when his life at last gets interesting. He finally sees that people love him, faces the consequences of his actions, finds in himself compassion and bravery . . . and even stumbles on what may be true love. A funny, touching, and wholly original story by one of the finest authors writing for young readers today.

More resources:

A Latino booklist - here

A blog called READING IN COLOR - Reading in Color is a book blog that reviews YA/MG books about people of color (poc). There is a serious lack of books being reviewed by teens that are YA/MG about people of color, I hope my blog is one step closer to filling in this void.

A blog called The Happy Nappy Bookseller has a post on Young Adult (YA) black male fiction - here

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NFL Needs to Confront Misogyny (The Hatred, Mistreatment and Disrespect of Women)

The NFL needs to stop worrying about whether or not gays and their allies are a distraction and pay more attention to the misogyny among its players. Ray Rice gets a 2-game suspension for beating his girlfriend unconscious!

Vikings coach and his homophobia:

FREE! Go See "HERE & ELSEWHERE" at New Museum

Dog Star recently visited the HERE & ELSEWHERE exhibition at the New Museum on the Bowery in Manhattan.  It's an incredible journey through Arab cultures as seen through the eyes of artists and filmmakers from the region.  All of the artwork is related in some way to challenging stereotypes about the "Middle East" and the ways images are used as propaganda.

One of the things that makes the exhibition so engaging - and worth seeing - is that there are many kinds of artwork:  video, painting, sculpture, dioramas, photography, drawings and collage.  Another reason to see the exhibition is to be exposed to different points of view and cultures than what we typically see in American media.

See a slideshow of artwork and read more about the exhibition in this New York Times review here

NEW MUSEUM is EASY TO REACH - go here for directions.

Thursday Evenings 7 p.m.–9 p.m.: Pay-What-You-Wish
Suggested Minimum: $2 
ALL TIMES FREE for 18 and under accompanied by an adult.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

“Here and Elsewhere” runs through Sept. 28 at the New Museum

Our favorite work in the exhibition is the discovery of a photographer Van Leo.  His self-portraits reminded Dog Star of the work of Claude Cahun (here) and Cindy Sherman (here) to other artists who also use self-portraits to create alternative identities.

Van Leo (here) was an Armenian-Egyptian photographer who became known for his numerous self-portraits and portraits of celebrities of his time.

Here are some images of Van Leo:

from the New Museum website:

The exhibition brings together more than forty-five artists from over fifteen countries, many of whom live and work internationally. In keeping with the New Museum’s dedication to showcasing the most engaging new art from around the globe, “Here and Elsewhere” is the most recent in a series of exhibitions that have introduced urgent questions and new aesthetics to US audiences. 

“This exhibition continues the New Museum’s commitment to looking at art from beyond the confines familiar to the New York art world,” said Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions. “‘Here and Elsewhere’ brings new works and new voices to our audiences, presenting many artists who are showing in New York for the first time.” 

Combining pivotal and under-recognized figures with younger and midcareer artists, “Here and Elsewhere” works against the notion of the Arab world as a homogenous or cohesive entity. Through the original and individualized practices of a multigenerational constellation of artists, the exhibition highlights works that often have conceptual or aesthetic references to the Arab world, yet also extend well beyond.

FREE! Go See Diane Arbus's Classic Photo Jewish Giant at The Jewish Museum - Bring your friends!

Masterpieces & Curiosities: Diane Arbus's Jewish Giant continues a new series of exhibitions focused on individual works in The Jewish Museum’s world-renowned collection. 


On view from April 11 to August 3, 2014, this exhibition focuses on Diane Arbus's A Jewish giant at home with his parents, in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970, using ephemera, sound recordings, and family photos to provide an intimate look into one of Arbus's most recognized yet least understood subjects. 

In 1959 the photographer Diane Arbus (1923–1971) visited Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus, a Times Square basement phantasmagoria. One of its main attractions was Eddie Carmel, a man who supposedly stood over nine feet tall, billed as “The World’s Tallest Man.” 

In April 1970, a year before her death, Arbus visited him at the home he shared with his parents, and shot her iconic portrait. Carmel was the son of immigrants from Tel Aviv. He had lived a normal life in mid-century New York until age fifteen, when he began to suffer from acromegaly, a hormonal condition causing extreme growth. He soon needed custom-made clothing, and was unable to finish college or pursue a typical career because he realized that people could not look beyond his physical appearance. 

Feeling like a social outcast, he embraced a life in show business, celebrating and even exaggerating the feature that made him unique. A Jewish giant at home with his parents, in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970 shows an ailing Eddie, age 34, struggling to stand upright just two years before his death. 

Photographs and ephemera on view chronicling Eddie Carmel’s life and career include family snapshots from the 1940s, a pair of his custom-made size 24 shoes, an example of the oversized rings sold at his sideshow performances, and a novelty album Carmel recorded as part of his efforts to find greater fame. 

The exhibition also features works from The Jewish Museum’s collection depicting the biblical giant Goliath and the Jewish legendary figure of the Golem; a selection of memorabilia of two famous giants from popular culture, the Incredible Hulk and the wrestler Andre the Giant; as well as a photograph by Lisette Model – one of Arbus’s influences and teachers – depicting the gender-bending performer Albert-Alberta, who appeared alongside Eddie Carmel at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus.

Diane Arbus’s photographs often explore the tension between normalcy and aberrance. In A Jewish giant at home with his parents, in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970, she touches on the popular obsession with superhuman height – a recurrent theme in folklore and popular culture. 

Her image and its mesmerizing subject may be seen in both historical and metaphorical terms. Artists and audiences have long marveled at any deviation from a supposed norm, but the allure of the extraordinary is deeply intertwined with unease about the human body, its unpredictable abnormalities, and their attendant difficulties. 

In this way, gigantism and its mythology offer lessons about the infinite range of human experience, poignantly emphasized by Arbus’s photograph. 

The Jewish Museum in on the corner of Fifth Avenue & 92nd Street

Admission is $7.50 for students (with school I.D.) and $15 for adults

Dog Star recommends going on a Thursday night from 5pm to 8pm when everybody can pay just $1 or go on Saturdays when it's FREE all day for everybody.  Check website for opening and closing times.

Dog Star Field Trip to Storm King (Upstate New York Sculpture Park)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Discover 21 Quest's WHERE I'M FROM

Dog Star is a long-time fan of 85th and one member of the crew, 21 Quest, has just released his solo project.  This self-released concept album pays homage to his roots:  the Lower East Side, Dominican Republic, Brooklyn, Queens and the rest of New York City and the people who matter to him.

85th member Matt Cronin stands out on HOME COOKED MEALS and the track sneaks in a fine conscious-raising spoken word performance by poet Janine Simon.

On LADY LIBERTY 21 enlists the incredibly talented and mesmerizing Candace Lee Camacho for an intoxicating hook.  Switched on beast mode, 21's comrades-in-arms Eleagle Being and DC make appearances to remind listeners of this crew's hard swagger in full effect.

All listeners familiar with the alchemy of producer Ken-I will lay offerings at his feet for this one.  As the Executive Producer of WHERE I'M FROM, Ken-I shows himself to be the high priest of the temple in the hills.  We imagine he lives in a far away palace with rooms filled with turntables and libraries with sounds he'll put into service of fresh and original tracks like potions from an ancient spell book.  Below Ken's temple palace beautiful near-naked priestesses guide pilgrims who have come from miles and miles to lay their headphones at the temple doors.  He is truly on some next-level shit.  You will recognize.

12 Animal Adjectives to Bolster Your Vocabulary

ANGUINE The word means snakelike. 

BUTEONINE Resembling a buzzard. 

DELPHINE Delphine is an obsolete adjective referring to the dolphin. 

DIDELPHINE It’s a variant of didelphian (double uterus) and refers to a subclass of marsupials including opossums. 

HIPPOCAMPINE A rarely used adjective relating to seahorses. 

LIMACINE Of, relating to, or resembling a slug, slime.

MACROPODINE Refers to kangaroos or wallabies. 

MEPHITINE Skunk-like. 

MURINE Relating to a mouse or mice. 

MUSTELINE Of or belonging to a weasel. 

PHOCINE Rresembling a seal. 

PICINE Like a woodpecker. 

So, I'll get you started: 

"You know the one I mean...the one with the hunch back and phocine body?" 

"I was so creeped out on the train by these two guys and the limacine way they hung close to the door..." 

"She wouldn't sit still; she'd dart around the room like a murine creature in search of some cheese. I think she stole the stapler off my desk, too!"

Monday, July 21, 2014

QUOTE OF THE DAY (Picasso's Bathers)

"Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?"
— Pablo Picasso 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Five Paintings We Love @ The Frick - Bring your friends and family!

Dog Star enjoys The Frick Collection because it NEVER changes its permanent collection - it always has on view the paintings Henry Clay Frick selected and placed within his home.  

This does not mean the Frick doesn't have room for special exhibitions; it has separate spaces for temporary little shows.  We want devoted readers to visit the Frick to see these paintings in person - for yourself.  

The descriptions of the paintings are taken from the museum's website.  

Here is a photo of the West Gallery - imagine having this room in your home as your private art collection.  It's just ONE of the rooms you will see at the Frick:

The Frick welcomes quiet and respectful teens who put away all electronics, check their coats and bags and enjoy this very special museum as if they are visiting a stranger's home.  The Frick is open to ALL NEW YORKERS!

The Frick Collection (more here) is EASY TO REACH at 70th Street and Fifth Avenue - take the 6 train to 68th Street / Hunter College and walk over to 5th Avenue from Lexington & 68th. Admission for teens is $10 (students with valid identification).  Dog Star says go early on Sundays and pay just $1!  On Sundays, pay what you wish from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Learn more about the Frick family and origins of the collection and museum here.  The museum was planned as a permanent art collection to be open to the public by its founder Henry Clay Frick!

PAINTING #1 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE:  Lodovico Capponi painted by Agnolo Bronzino. This proud young aristocrat is Lodovico Capponi (b. 1533), a page at the Medici court. As was his custom, he wears black and white, his family's armorial colors. His right index finger partially conceals the cameo he holds, revealing only the inscription sorte (fate or fortune) — an ingenious allusion to the obscurity of fate. In the mid 1550s Lodovico fell in love with a girl whom Duke Cosimo had intended for one of his cousins. After nearly three years of opposition, Cosimo suddenly relented, but he commanded that their wedding be celebrated within twenty-four hours.   

WHY WE LOVE IT: We like to think that Frick chose this painting of Capponi because of its association with one of the most powerful families in history.  The Medici family of the Italian Renaissance ruled over the region of Florence / Tuscany and nobody did anything without their permission.  They made a fortune owning farms, mills, textile (tapestry) companies and family members were even connected to the Vatican in Rome.  Frick most likely admired this young man and may have seen an aspect of himself in the picture:  bold, proud and ready for the upper classes!

PAINTING #2 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Gilbert Stuart  (1755 - 1828) George Washington, 1795-1796  Stuart earned a fortune producing replicas of the three portraits he painted from life of the first President of the United States. The Frick canvas is thought to be one of two copies painted by the artist for the Philadelphia merchant John Vaughan. It belongs to the group known as the “Vaughan type,” although it differs from the related versions in the color of the coat and in the treatment of the background. Stylistically the portrait recalls the work of Stuart’s English contemporaries, such as Romney and Hoppner.

WHY WE LOVE IT: The first thing to know is that the portrait of Washington on the one dollar bill is by Gilbert Stuart - same artist.  We like this painting because it shows our first president in a red velvet coat and we like to think Frick liked that, too.

PAINTING #3 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Johannes Vermeer  (1632 - 1675) Mistress and Maid, 1666-1667  The subject of writing and receiving letters, which recurs frequently in Vermeer’s work, is given an exceptional sense of dramatic tension in this painting of two women arrested in some moment of mysterious crisis. The lack of final modeling in the mistress’ head and figure and the relatively plain background indicate that this late work by Vermeer was left unfinished. Nevertheless, the artist seldom if ever surpassed the subtly varied effects of light seen here as it gleams from the pearl jewelry, sparkles from the glass and silver objects on the table, and falls softly over the figures in their shadowy setting. Bought by Mr. Frick in 1919, the year of his death, this painting was his last purchase and joined Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Holbein’s Sir Thomas More, Bellini’s St. Francis, and Velázquez’ King Philip IV among his favorite acquisitions.

WHY WE LOVE IT: Frick had exquisite taste and bought the very best paintings.  His taste in art is strongly conservative; by the time of his death in 1919 cubism and abstratcion were very popular but he would never have bought those kinds of pictures - he did not have a taste for "modern" art.  But there is just no disputing the beauty of a Vermeer - the way he handles the light so delicately!

PAINTING #4 - ABOUT THE PAINTER/ING ABOVE: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn  (1606 - 1669) Self-Portrait, 1658.  Rembrandt first studied art in his native Leyden and later worked under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. Around 1625 he returned to Leyden, but in 1631/32 he settled permanently in Amsterdam. Although he enjoyed a great reputation and pupils flocked to him, he suffered financial difficulties that led to insolvency in 1656. By 1660 most of his debts were settled, and his last years were spent in relative comfort. Rembrandt painted many portraits, biblical scenes, and historical subjects.

WHY WE LOVE IT: This painting was completed about ten years before the painter died.  By the time he painted it his career had long been over.  And yet Rembrandt makes himself look so majestic, so regal like a king who is still at the top of his game.

PAINTING #5 - ABOUT THE PAINTING ABOVE: Jean-August-Dominique Ingres  (1780 - 1867) Comtesse d'Haussonville, 1845Louise, Princesse de Broglie (1818–82) and granddaughter of Madame de Staël, married at the age of eighteen. Her husband was a diplomat, writer, and member of the French Academy, and she herself published a number of books, including biographies of Robert Emmet and Byron. For her time and her elevated social caste, she was outspokenly independent and liberal. This portrait, begun in 1842, was the fruit of several false starts and a great many preparatory drawings, including full-scale studies of the raised left arm, the head, and its reflection. According to a letter written by the artist, the finished work “aroused a storm of approval among her family and friends.” Ingres appears to have surprised the young lady in the intimacy of her boudoir, where she leans against an upholstered fireplace, having just discarded her evening wrap and opera glasses.  

WHY WE LOVE IT: This painter's last name is pronounced eng-ah.  It's so easy to see why Frick would have loved this painting and why we love it, too.  The Comtesse is so beautiful and so charming in this portrait while also hinting that she is ready and willing to have an intelligent conversation.

Imaginary Dog Star Soundtrack: The Spinners - Could It Be I'm Falling In Love

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dog Star Selects Shuttlecocks

Claes Oldenburg , American , b. 1929 , b. Sweden
Coosje van Bruggen , American , 1942-2009 , b. The Netherlands
Fabricator: Merrifield-Roberts, Inc. , American
Shuttlecocks, 1994 
Permanently in view outside the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, MO.
Go here for the museum and go here for the sculpture park.