Three Great Summer Books—and One Only So-So

Why read two Diane Arbus biographies back to back? Because, after finishing Arthur Lubow’s recent life of the photographer, published a year ago, I found myself so annoyed with his detached and bloodless recitation of Arbus’s life that I turned to other reviewers to...

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Carol Hepper

In 2011-2012, Carol Hepper spent a year-long residency at Park Avenue Armory, the venerable 19th-century building on New York’s Upper East Side that once served as home to an elite military regiment. The landmark was undergoing extensive renovations as part of its...

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Open Studios: Part One

The ins and outs of making your life and work a public affair When I first broached the topic of open studios to several Vasari 21 members, some said, “No way. I don’t want a lot of lookee-loos traipsing through my private spaces.” Or “I’m at the point where I have...

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Arlene Rush

“I always liked the physicality of sculpture,” says Arlene Rush, who grew up in the Bronx and Queens and now lives and work in what denizens of the outer boroughs still refer to as “the city”—Manhattan. The daughter of Depression-era parents, the second generation in...

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A Sense of Place

What does it mean to be a “regional artist” today? By Millicent Young Bradley Sumrall, curator at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, posed this question in his juror’s talk for “Homeward Bound,” the Taubman Museum’s inaugural triennial for Virginia artists. I resisted...

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Brandon Graving

As Hurricane Katrina approached New Orleans in late August 2005, Brandon Graving, whose studio was in the uptown Riverbend area, calmly thought to herself, “Well, I’ve lived through hurricanes, so I’ll survive this one.” By that Saturday, though, it was clear that...

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Jane Shoenfeld

After dropping out of the MFA program at Brooklyn College in her twenties, Jane Shoenfeld stopped painting and using color and spent three years drawing her dreams in black and white. Thus began a process that continues some 40 years later of working from what she...

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They Cried. They Gasped. But No One Fainted.

How Critics and Curators Respond to Memorable Works of Art In a recent issue of The New Yorker, actress Allison Janney reported of her first encounter with Wassily Kandinsky’s Black Lines (1913) in the Guggenheim Museum: “I felt an energy go through my chest." I could...

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Critical Reversals

Even the Most Respected Critics Change Their Minds When a politician flip-flops on a position, the public and press alike are quick to cry foul, hurling accusations of bad faith or pandering. But when an art critic changes his or her mind, the ripple effect is likely...

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Deonne Kahler

In the last four years, Deonne Kahler has produced a remarkable series of photographs of the U.S. National Parks system. With an unsentimental but expansive eye, she aims to capture what she calls the “soul and personality” of these wild and often breathtakingly...

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Further Thoughts on Collecting

Some unsolicited advice from a rank amateur I recently read online an excerpt from The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market, the latest book from economist and art market commentator Don Thompson, which will be available in...

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Reinventing Landscape: Part One

The “genre,” if it is such these days, never really goes away Landscape painting enjoys a long and honorable history in art, going as far back as ancient times, when the Greeks and Romans made frescoes of pleasant vistas and enchanting gardens. There have been periods...

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Daisy Patton

Daisy Patton’s cheerfully dysfunctional portraits are bound to remind you of pictures from somebody’s attic, those old crinkle-edged Kodak photos or studio shots that commemorate engagements, high-school graduations, and informal family get-togethers. Yet there are...

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Five Residencies off the Beaten Path: Part One

An artist's residency is a chance to get away from all the crazy distractions of modern life (iGadgets, family, openings, the news) and focus solely on your work. Some find their art growing from the experience, others value the contact with other creative souls, but...

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