Posted in April, 2011

Faculty News

Professor Jean M. French to Retire

Jean in the early years at Bard

Professor Jean M. French, Edith C. Blum Professor of Art History, has taught Medieval and Renaissance art history at Bard College since 1971.

The Art History Program cordially invites you to a Retirement Celebration
1:00– 4:00 pm
Friday, May 20, 2011
under the tent behind Barringer House
1442 Annandale Road
Please rsvp to [email protected], or 845.758.7158

Prof. Jean M. French will be the recipient of the 2011 Bardian Award presented at the annual President’s Dinner at 5:30 pm after the party!
Reservations are required:

Jean will become Professor Emeritus at Bard College.

Notes from the Chair

Fulbright Recipient

The Art History Department proudly announces that graduating art history major Rachel Heidenry has received the Fulbright Award.

Rogue Dalton Mural

She will do further research on the subject of her senior project entitled Mártires y Comandantes: Tracing Historical Memory in the Murals of El Salvador while living in El Salvador 2011-2012.


Man About Town

Tom’s Picks

Malevich and the American Legacy

There are some interesting shows in the Uptown galleries in Manhattan this spring.  Although Gagosian’s Kazemir Malevich and the American Tradition is a flimsy premise for a show—anything geometric by an American artist seems to qualify as being inspired by the pioneering Russian Constructivist painter—it is a large show with some great works, as well as some slight ones (980 Madison Avenue, through April 30).  It is a rare opportunity to see seven Malevich paintings, including a Cubist one from 1913 and several classic Constructivist abstractions from 1916.  Beyond that, the show includes a mediocre Dan Flavin in a corridor of its own (dark blue/purple fluorescent tubes that give off very little light, so what’s the point?) plus a spectacular Flavin installed in a small room of its own.  Vertical blue tubes straddle a far corner facing the room, on top of horizontal red ones that face away:  the room is dyed luminous blue, while intense flames up the corner walls.  Other galleries include Richard Serra’s classic One Ton Prop, four immensely heavy sheets of lead supported by their weight leaning against each other, and one of his pointless black grease pencil rectangular drawings (to coincide with the show of his drawings that recently opened at the Metropolitan Museum a few blocks north).  Always interesting and maverick Charles Ray shows a subtle and original black ink painting, and there are some trivial paintings by Ed Ruscha, along with two beautiful Don Judd sculptures, a great early Frank Stella notched silver striped painting opposite a large, somber, dark late Mark Rothko—just a dark gray rectangle within a deep purple frame, the purple creating complementary images of golden yellow on the gray.

Much more focused is a lovely little show of works by Eva Hesse and Sol Lewitt at the Craig F. Starr Gallery, (5 East 73rd Street, through May 27).  Lewitt and Hesse were close friends, but while he had a long, prolific career, hers ended tragically with her death at age 34, so her output was limited.

Eva Hess and Sol LeWitt

This is a good opportunity see some fine examples, many from Lewitt’s personal collection, in an intimate setting.  Although he is usually considered a geometrical Minimalist and she an organic Post-Minimalist, the resolutely abstract and materialist pieces in this show reveal the two artists had a lot in common–and in several of the modestly scaled works in the show they are at the top of their game.

Gal About Town

Japan Society

Review of Bye Bye Kitty!!!
Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art
By Patricia Karetzky

Makoto Aida, Harakiri School Girls (detail) 2002

Japan Society
333 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017 Phone: 212.832.1155

Curated by David Elliott, founding Director of the Mori Art Museum,
Friday, March 18 — Sunday, June 12

The recent work of sixteen Japanese artists, half of whom are female, is on view at the Japan Society until mid June. The title of the show indicates that these artists have moved beyond the cute phenomenon exemplified by the cartoon character Hello Kitty. Indeed, many viewers were startled to find so many prophetic images of doom and destruction. Range widely in medium and format, the works are marvelously skillful and detailed. Here are short descriptions of but a few of the artists’ work. Miwa Yanagi in My Grandmother Geisha, photographs her wizened Nanny in full Geisha costume and makeup; this is a chilling image of old age and decay juxtaposed with traditional ideals of beauty. Yamaguchi Akira paints an extraordinary aerial view of Narita International Airport with several jets circling, waiting to land, as if he were a 16th century Japanese artist using such techniques as the bird’s eye view, arbitrary clouds that obscure details, and the roofless technique that allows views of interiors of the airplanes and the airport terminal. Using bright colors and miniscule detail, Yamaguchi renders the multitudinous activities found at the airport.  Manabu Ikeda in Existence has drawn an incredibly old large tree that actually measures 67 inches tall. Seen among the gnarled bark of the trunk and leafy branches are tiny figures and flanking the iconic image are small-scale views of ancient decayed Buddhist cities of Sri Lanka and more, which are dwarfed by the size of the tree. Tomoko Shioyasu in breathing wall, blessing wall, creates a delicate and moving installation with her large-scale paper cuts: dramatically lit in the dark gallery, they are gently animated by the movements of passersby. Kohei Nawa, in PixCell Elk #24, is a taxidermy Elk, covered in crystal glass balls of various sizes. The image is unnerving as the balls, which give the impression of having been the agent of death, are still beautiful to behold. Motohiko Odani’s sculptures, SP Extra Malformed Noh Mask Series Half Skeleton’s Twins, eerily conjure up radiation poisoning, half of the classic Noh mask is covered by deformed growths.

Bye Bye Kitty!!! The sixteen featured artists are: Makoto Aida???; Manabu Ikeda???; Tomoko Kashiki????; Rinko Kawauchi????; Haruka Kojin????; Kumi Machida????; Yoshitomo Nara????; Kohei Nawa????; Motohiko Odani????; Hiraki Sawa?????; Chiharu Shiota????; Tomoko Shioyasu????; Hisashi Tenmyouya????; Yamaguchi Akira???; Miwa Yanagi?????; Tomoko Yoneda????.

Student Opportunities


The Emerging Landscape: Photographs and Drawings Exploring Real and Imaginary Landscapes


Society is an independent space showcasing contemporary art. Located in New York’s landmark Fuller Building, their exhibition program features innovative work by established artists with limited exposure in the United States and exhibition opportunities for emerging artists that inspire and integrate the local community. Society hosts free public and educational programs for the community promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and its practices.

The Curatorial Internship at Society is a rigorous and meaningful opportunity to work closely with the curatorial staff and current artists throughout the development of exhibitions, special projects, online initiatives, and educational events. Curatorial interns assist with upcoming programs and exhibition logistics including but not limited to: assisting with exhibition research, planning and installations, pubic program support, marketing, and correspondence with artists.

In exchange for their work interns will gain valuable experience in a dynamic arts environment. This is an unpaid internship.  Exact days and hours will be discussed once selected to interview but ideal candidate should be able to start immediately and commit 20 hours/week. Hours and days are negotiable.  Strong oral, written, organizational, and inter-personal communications skills are required. Ability to make independent decisions and manage time efficiently. Knowledge of contemporary art and art history, skilled in academic research, creating bibliographies, and writing proposals. Computer proficiency is a must, Microsoft Office; Adobe Illustrator. To apply p lease submit a resume and a cover letter stating interest, start date and availability per week to: Anna Di Stasi, Curator of Exhibitions, via email at: [email protected]

Gal About Town, Uncategorized

China Institute

Along the Yangzi River:
Regional Culture of the Bronze Age from Hunan
China Institute in America

25 East 65th St, between Lexington and Park Avenues

Review by Patricia Karetzky
January 27, 2011 – June 12, 2011

Bronze Elephant

The China Institute is once again hosting a marvelous exhibition of the most precious objects lent from China. These ancient bronzes from the Hunan Provincial Museum are over three thousand years old. Beautiful and skillfully crafted, the bronze vessels, which represent a regional culture of the south, are a unique interpretation of local beliefs and decorative preferences. The rare elephant-shaped container, nearly 9 inches tall, is encrusted with a design comprising dozens of animals, making it especially fit for ritual use–it is a sort of gravy boat fashioned to hold liquids in its wide body with a lid and its trunk is the spout. A square bronze vessel nearly 16 inches tall has on each of its long sides, the image of a human face that menacingly looks out at the viewer. In addition there are dozens of finely crafted articles for the heating, mixing and drinking of wine as well as an assortment of tripods and large bowls for the preparation and serving of food. Several large size bells are also on view.  In the darkly lit gallery, these ritual articles provide a real insight into the nature of sacred rituals in ancient China.

Gal About Town

Asia Society Exhibition

Patricia Karetzky reviews: A Prince’s Manuscript Unbound: Muhammad Juki’s ‘Shahnamah’
725 Park Avenue and East 70th Street
February 9 – May 1, 2011

The show at the Asia Society Museum exhibits a very excellent illustrated Persian manuscript dating to the 15th century. The tome, on loan from the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, is an illuminated 15th-century volume. Commissioned by the Timurid prince Muhammad Juki (1402-1444), it has more than 30 delicate, polychrome and gold miniatures that are scenes  from the Shahnamah (Book of Kings). In book formation the illustrations are accompanied by long passages of beautifully written text. Often set in landscapes, the works are lively interpretations of the privileged life of the Timurd princes – their costumes, jewels, weapons, palaces and more.

A second show slated for Exhibition at the Asia Society Museum on Gandharan Art, largely Buddhist stone bas relief sculptures dating from the 2nd to 4th century CE, has been indefinitely postponed due to difficulties with lenders in Pakistan.

Vitrine Project

Peggy Bacon: Illustrator

Peggy Bacon: Illustrator

Show curated by the students in Tom Wolf’s seminar American Women Artists

Peggy Bacon, Kitten

Stevenson Library, Bard College
Faculty Advisor: Tom Wolf

Wednesday April 20-May 8

Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 20, 5-7 pm

Peggy Bacon (1895-1987) was an American painter, printmaker, writer and illustrator.

Faculty News

Review by Patricia Karetzky

Zhang Dali at Eli Klein Fine Art|
462 West Broadway NY NY 10012
April 4th – May 8th

Zhang Dali: New Slogan

Zhang Dali has a show in Soho, New Slogan, which is a further development in his painting series AK47. Zhang first won acclaim as a graffiti artist who from 1995-1998 secretly spray painted his profile on 2000 buildings slated for destruction in Beijing. A form of social protest, it remonstrated the government’s policy of tearing down the old buildings and neighborhoods (hutong) in favor of western style shopping malls and apartment complexes. This series, whose origins date back nearly a decade, takes homeless rural migrants living on the margins of society as the subject of large-scale portraits painted on vinyl. The monochrome images are exacting close-up and frontal depictions that have the immediacy of portraits, or more likely mug shots, that commemorate the unknown denizens of the city. In the early version of the series, Zhang painted over the images a veil of block printed letters –AK47- that looks, in the uniformity and repetition of the motif, like a written page of text.  The phrase AK47, also one of his monikers, is a protest of world violence. From a distance, the paintings seem like skilled portraits, it is only up lose that the tension between the graphic surface design and image is appreciable. New Slogan, which also uses using migrant workers as models differs in the text that covers the image: the veil is now comprised of slogans from the Cultural Revolution sometimes in Chinese: “Practicing good manners leads to a beautiful life” or “Promote Socialism and the construction of a harmonious society”. The intimations of the series are deep and layered ranging from a remonstrance of the urban social problems of homelessness and the manipulation of a society denied freedom of expression, and more.

Student Opportunities

ENGLAND’S HIDDEN TREASURES-summer internship and special tour

Summer internship and study tour program available in the beautiful Roman and Medieval city of Lincoln in the UK.

For more information please visit: