Posted in December, 2010

Student Opportunities

The Smith College Museum of Art

The Smith College Museum of Art provides a six-week intensive summer program, The Summer Institute in Art Museum Studies. It is especially appropriate for undergraduates and recent college graduates.  The website is

Application deadline: March 11, 2011, and there is “generous financial assistance.” For students contemplating a museum career, this program might be an excellent introduction.

Faculty News

Tom Wolf in Exhibition

bOb Gallery  presents: ODYSSEY

New works by:

Tom Wolf, 'Odyssey,' detail

William Anthony
Paul Carpenter
Karen Shaw
William Stone
Tom Wolf

Opening Reception:  Friday, December 10, 2010 7:00-10:00 pm

bOb Gallery
239 Eldridge Street, L.E.S, N.Y. 10002
(between Houston and Stanton)
December 7-January 7, 2010

Man About Town

Tom’s Picks

As the winter holidays approach New York art institutions are cutting loose with scads of fascinating exhibitions to attract tourists, locals and potential shoppers.

The Kissers

At Gagosian uptown you can see John Currin’s recent paintings.  All sold, they feature finely rendered, sexually suggestive women—and sexually explicit women (with other women).  These surround the center-piece of the show, a large painting of two middle aged men in shorts, one fitting the other for a new outfit.  Currin combines Old Master technique and virtuoso rendering with bizarre subjects.  A beautiful still life of a white tea set at the lower right of The Women of Franklin Street steals the show from the erotic high jinks above. (980 Madison Ave., through December 23).  Currin is often called a Mannerist, and to see why check out the weirdly proportioned, erotic mythological nudes in the memorable exhibition of Netherlandish Mannerist painter Jan Gossart at the Metropolitan Museum.  (1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, through January17).

Currin’s hyper-realist and fashionably decadent paintings would also fit comfortably in the major, eye-opening art historical exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, Chaos and Classicism. It surveys the artistic reaction to World War I in Europe, when avant-garde artists moved either towards a subversive Dadaism, or towards a new look at tradition.  The latter is the theme of this beautifully installed show, with works that range from the majestic (Picasso) to the unsettling:  long forgotten, or suppressed, Fascist and Nazi paintings and sculptures.

Messerschmidt Head

For some more bizarre art on the Upper East Side, check out the Franz Xaver Messerschmidt show at the wonderful Neue Gallerie.  Messerschmidt was a late 18th century sculptor, an expert portraitist until he developed mental problems and turned to his unique 3D studies of people’s faces making extreme expressions.  This is the first U.S. exhibition of his work, and it is comfortably small, consisting of around 25 heads, upstairs from the lovely exhibition of early 20th century Viennese art and design on the second floor.  If you visit, you might want to save some time for the truly delicious coffees and deserts available in the Café Sabarsky, which is so popular that there is usually a long line—but downstairs the same menu is available in the recreation of Viennna’s Café Fledermaus, which is much less crowded—so far.  (1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street, through January 10).


A Former Art History Student Goes To Peru

Summer 2010 – Jessica Blau

Jessica with the big stone in Sacsayhuaman - the last Inca stronghold against the Spanish - in Cusco

With the advent of the Haiti earthquake in January, I was very keen to volunteer there with the relief aid; however due to political tensions in Haiti, the organization I was set to volunteer with suggested that I also look into volunteer opportunities in Pisco, Peru, which had been victim to an earthquake of similar magnitude in 2007 and was still undergoing serious reconstruction. My first week there was spent working with Pisco Sin Fronteras, an all-volunteer organization that works on different reconstruction and construction projects while providing social services and working to create sustainability as well.  From my first moments there, I was impressed by this beautiful and ancient city.  At 11,600 feet above sea level high up in the Andes (compare to Denver at 5,200 ft.), one feels close to the sky, the sun, and the mountains.  It is unsurprising that Pachamama, the Inca mountain goddess who represents the mother, and Inti, the sun god who represents the father, have historically been such important figures in Peruvian culture. I was fortunate enough to attend the Inti Raymi sun festival, which happens every year during the winter solstice (June 21st).  It is the largest festival in South America, second only to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.  Thousands of people flock to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, the last Inca stronghold against the Spanish, to watch the five hour-long theatrical ceremony ending with the sacrifice of a llama to Inti, much of which is performed in Quechua, the dialect of the Incan social elites.  There are simply too many things to say about the art, archeological sites, natural wonders, and the people of Peru.  I have not even scratched the surface of the amazing things I experienced there and how meaningful they were to me.  All I can say is that having sat in the dark in Susan Aberth’s Survey of Latin American Art class, looking at slides of the very things that I got to see this past summer, I am incredibly grateful to have had that art historical background and the passion of such a fabulous professor to enrich my knowledge and my travels.   For an art geek, like myself, Peru did not disappoint.