Tag: artsy

We Get Good Press

Maybe you’ve heard the buzz? In the past six months, both browngrotta arts and Tom’s book project, The Grotta House by Richard Meier: A Marriage of Architecture and Craft, which features many of the artists we work with, have gotten great coverage in the Connecticut publications, nationally and elsewhere in the world.

Collectors Crafty in More Ways Than One. New York Times Article By Ted Loos
New York Times Article By Ted Loos

In December, the illustrious New York Times, profiled Sandy and Lou Grotta, their 300+ collection of Modern Craft  which are beautifully featured/illustrated in The Grotta House book. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/31/arts/design/show-us-your-wall-grotta.html So did Art in America online.

At in America Book Release


https://www.artguide.pro/event/ book-release-the-grotta-home-by-richard-meier-a-marriage-of-architecture-and-craft/ Tom got a shoutout as the photographer in both articles as well. Next up was TLmag, True Living of Art and Design, a Brussels-based, international biannual print and online magazine dedicated to curating and capturing the collectible culture. 

Interview with Tom Grotta and Rhonda Brown: Originators in the Field of Fibre Art. TL Magazine
Interview with Tom Grotta and Rhonda Brown TL Magazine
1st dibs Introspective Magazine Article Tour a Richard Meier-Designed House That celebrates American Craft by Osman Can Yerebakan

Also in February, the Grotta house and browngrotta arts were covered by Introspective, the online magazine produced by 1st Dibs, In the piece titled, “Tour a Richard Meier-Designed House that Celebrates American Craft,” author Osman Can Yerebakan, observes that the Grottas, are “[l]ed by intuition, they simply let an affinity for objects, and for the people who make them, guide their unerring eye.”https://www.1stdibs.com /introspective-magazine/richard-meier-grotta-house/?utm_term=feature2&utm_source=nl-introspective&utm_content=reengagement&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2020_02_23&emailToken=2277332_1a3d078b2c480b774c0897f7484ece12b4545b9bb006358a40eba4b7215550ce

browngrotta arts presents Transforming Tradition: Japanese and Korean Contemporary Craft in Artfix Daily
Transforming Tradition:
Japanese and Korean Contemporary Craft
in Artfix Daily

On March 1st, Artfix Daily covered our online exhibition in “browngrotta arts presents Transforming Tradition: Japanese and Korean Contemporary Craft.” http://www.artfixdaily.com /artwire/release/7876-browngrotta-arts-presents-transforming-tradition-japanese-and-kor. An article by Rhonda, “Active Collecting: Acquiring Experiences as Well as Art,” appeared in the Spring issue of Surface Design Journal,

Active Collecting: Acquiring Experiences as Well as Art by Rhonda Brown in Surface Design Journal
Active Collecting: Acquiring Experiences
as Well as Art in Surface Design Journal

describing the interactions between Sandy and Lou Grotta and the artists they collect. The couple have met many of those whose work they have collected or commissioned and have developed deep friendships with others, including furniture makers Joyce and Edgar Anderson and Thomas Hucker, jewelers Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins, ceramist Toshiko Takaezu and weaver Mariette Rousseau-Vermette.

Art of Love, Love of Art n Wilton Magazine
Art of Love, Love of Art: Wilton Magazine

The Spring also saw a light-hearted story in the March/April issue of Wilton Magazine, on Rhonda and Tom, “Art of Love, Love of Art,” by Karen Sackowitz, noting that our creative synergy– for better or worse — has spanned decades (3 decades and 7 years to be precise). Other local publications have championed us as well — The Ridgefield Press, Wilton Bulletin and Connecticut Magazine have talked up our taking art online, nothing that, “Social distancing doesn’t mean people have to distance themselves from the arts” as area arts institutions like bga have taken to providing people with digital experiences on their websites and social media platforms to ensure people are still able to engage with art.

The Collecting Couple Lives with a Rotating Cast of Craft Masterpieces by Casey Lesser in a Artsy Editorial
The Collecting Couple Lives
with a Rotating Cast
of Craft Masterpieces
by Casey Lesser: Artsy Editorial

Artsy, covered the Grottas and their home in April, in “This Collecting Couple Lives with a Rotating Cast of Craft Masterpieces,” by Casey Lesser https://www.artsy.net /article/artsy-editorial-collecting-couple-lives-rotating-cast-craft-masterpieces. Tom got a shout out, too. The author shared Lou’s collecting advice to “do your homework” as he recalled being told that “you have to see 50 works by an artist before you can start to understand what’s good.” Thanks to the internet, that’s much easier today than it was when he and Sandy started out. “Don’t fall in love with the latest stuff,” the author quotes Grotta. “Decide who you like and what you like.”

Dwell featured the Grotta House online

April also saw the Grotta house and book featured in Dwell online https://www.dwell.com /home/the-grotta-house-0257ab73 and in Archello https://archello.com/project/the-grotta-house. In progress (fingers crossed), a piece on The Grotta House by Richard Meier, a Marriage of Architecture and Craft in INTERIOR+DESIGN, a Russian publication.

Comp for upcoming June Interior+Design issue Featuring The Grotta House
Comp of the article to appear in INTERIOR + DESIGN

We hope to get press coverage for our upcoming events:

Online in June: Cross Currents – Arts Influenced by Rivers and the Sea, Vols. 38, 35

Online in July: Fan Favorites — Sekimachi, Sekijima, Laky and Merkel-Hess, Vols. 24, 19, 2, 3, 8, 5, 15, 16, 19

Online in August: Cataloging the Canon – Tawney, Stein, Cook, Hicks and So, Vols. 13, 28, Monographs: 1-3; Focus: 1

Live in September: Volume 50: Chronicling Fiber for Three Decades. Now rescheduled for September 12 -22. Details on how we will mix art viewing and safe practice to come.

Hope you’ll join us for all or some of these.

Stay Safe, Stay Distanced, Stay Inspired!!


An Unexpected Approach — Contemporary Art for NY Asian Art Week 2019

Top: Grinded Fabric-Three Squares Blue Threads and Blue #689, Chiyoko Tanaka
Bottom: (Left) Ceramic 49, Yasuhisa Kohyama
(Right) Ceramic 50, Yasuhisa Kohyama.
Photo by Tom Grotta

For the 10th year, New York is celebrating Asian Art Week from March 13th – 23rd and we’ve prepared related programming of our own. Through the end of this month, browngrotta arts is presenting An Unexpected Approach: Exploring Asian Contemporary Art, an online exhibition featuring 21 accomplished artists from Japan, Korea and the US, whose work reflects a contemporary Asian sensibility. 

Pulguk-sa, Kyong-Ju, Glen Kaufman, silk damask, silver leaf; screenprint, impressed metal leaf, 48” x 24” x 1” 1990. Photo by Tom Grotta

More than three dozen works are included in the exhibition. including select works of ceramic, textile, basketry and sculpture. The artists in this exhibition, including Jiro Yonezawa, Yasuhisa Kohyama, Glen Kaufman and Shin Young-Ok, have an understanding of traditional processes and aesthetics, but apply this understanding in a contemporary manner. Conventional Asian materials and/or techniques are featured, but often used in unconventional ways.  

Indigo Grid, Kiyomi Iwata, silk organza, 39″ x 29″ x 5″, 2011. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Kiyomi Iwata, for example, who has lived in the US for many years, explores the boundaries of East and West using silk organza metal. She creates sculptures that combine traditional Japanese aesthetics — organza boxes with kimono references – in minimalist grids, forms common in contemporary Western art.

Chiyoko Tanaka, who lives on the outskirts of Kyoto, weaves fabric on a traditional obi loom, then distresses it with brick and mud or clay. By grinding her newly woven cloth with earth, she exposes that original warp, unveiling the essence of the fabric. She says of her deconstructions, “I feel that my woven work is about time and the human condition.”

New York Skyline I + II, Jin-Sook So, steel mesh, electroplated silver, patinated, gold leaf, thread, 33″ x 39.5″ 2.25″, 2006

Jin-Sook So’s work is informed by time spent in Korea, Sweden and Japan. So uses transparent steel mesh cloth, folded, stitched, painted and electroplated to create shimmering objects for the wall or tabletop. The past and present are referenced in So’s work in ways that are strikingly modern and original.  She has used old Korean schoolbook pages to create collage and steel mesh to create contemporary pojagi and to re-envision common objects — chairs, boxes and bowls. 

Lyric Space, Shin Young-Ok, Korean silk fabric and handmade ramie threads, 26.4″ x 26.4″ x .75″, 2014. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Kyoko Kumai, the subject of a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, also works in steel, using steel threads to weave or spin strikingly contemporary clouds of steel. Jiro Yonezawa has received numerous awards for his bamboo vessels and sculpture. Formally trained in Beppu, Japan, Jonezawa then moved to the US, and when he did so, the lacquered twill-patterned form associated with Beppu was transformed by the artist into sensuous sculptural vessels, formal yet more freely formed.

 You can view An Unexpected Approach: Exploring Contemporary Asian Art Online by visiting browngrotta arts’ You Tube channel.  You can see each individual work in the exhibition on Artsy.

The complete list of artists participating in this exhibition is: CHANG YEONSOON; YASUHISA KOHYAMA; NAOKO SERINO; KEIJI NIO; KIYOMI IWATA; KYOKO KUMAI;JIN-SOOK SO; SHIN YOUNG-OK; NANCY MOORE BESS;JIRO YONEZAWA; TSURUKO TANIKAWA; GLENN KAUFMAN; NORIKO TAKAMIYA; NAOMI KOBAYASHI; HISAKO SEKIJIMA; MUTSUMI IWASAKI; JUN TOMITA; MASAKO YOSHIDA; HIDEHO TANAKA; CHIYOKO TANAKA; HIROYUKI SHINDO


On the Flip Side: What the Back of an Art Work May Reveal

More of a mystery — the back of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage, 9.125” x 9”,10/23/64. Photo: Tom Grotta

More of a mystery — the back of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage, 9.125” x 9”,10/23/64. Photo: Tom Grotta

Though artists generally create artwork with the intent for just the front to be viewed, the backs of canvases and tapestries can provide collectors, curators, historians and viewers with an interesting narrative. Since the late 18th century, conservators have been paying attention to the backs of artworks. “Why?” you may ask. The answer is this: the face of a painting communicates its art, but it’s back carries the history of the artwork itself.

The front of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage (1964). Photo: Tom Grotta

The front of Lenore Tawney’s Untitled Collage (1964). Photo: Tom Grotta

“On the backs of canvases, stretcher bars (the wooden framework holding the canvas in place), and the undersides of frames, careful examiners can often find inscriptions left by artists, last-ditch attempts to advocate for works once they’ve left the studio,” explains  Karen Chernick of Artsy in a lengthy piece,“The Secrets Hidden on the Backs of Famous Artworks, (https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-secrets-hidden-backs-famous-artworks?utm_medium=email&utm_source=13995943-newsletter-editorial-daily-07-27-18&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_content=st-S Artists’ inscriptions serve as an important means of ensuring that the important details of a piece, such as its title, date and authorship, are preserved as the piece changes hands through time. In fact, “Versos are also frequently marked by dealers, collectors, and museums, with notations ranging from greased pencil notes to wax seals, exhibition labels, and inventory numbers,” writes Chernick. “Taken together, these markings are akin to a painting’s passport, representing its identity, travels, and even changes of address.”

However, it’s important to note that this practice is individual. There are artists who choose to provide meticulous details—notes, sewn labels, stitched informatio—and artists who leave the back of canvases or tapestries blank. For some artists, discovering provenance requires determined detective work, others offer an open book.

Details from Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s notes on Joie 2. Photo: Kaitlyn Capps

Details from Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s notes on Joie 2. Photo: Kaitlyn Capps

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, for example, used a numbering system on that back of tapestries, which matched the meticulous files that she kept for the 640 signed works she created in her lifetime. Her files offer very detailed information about the nature of her working methods and the means by which she created and executed such commissions. Her commission for the curtain for the main hall of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa include the negotiations leading up to the contract awarded to her for the commission; original sketches documenting her various conceptions for the curtain, blueprints and plans, fabric and textile samples, diagrams relating to the means by which the design would be implemented, correspondence with craftsmen, manufacturers, and other individuals with whom she collaborated to complete the commission, and installation instructions. 

The label for Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s Joie 2 — the number links to her meticulously maintained files. Photo: Tom Grotta.

The label for Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s Joie 2 — the number links to her meticulously maintained files.
Photo: Tom Grotta.

In some instances, the backs of art works can give you a peek into an artist’s artistic process. While creating their work, artists who have continually reworked canvases “may cross out bygone titles previously inscribed on stretchers, leaving hints about images cloaked beneath layers of superimposed brushstrokes.”  For 20th-century artists, such as as Josef Albers, writes Chernick, the backs of canvases were the perfect place to leave explanatory appendices. Albers used the back of canvases to record detailed notes on the themes of his series. Chernick quotes Jeanette Redensek, a scholar who has reviewed hundreds of pieces of Albers’ work, used his extensive appendices to differentiate between the varying pigments used in each piece. In his series Homage to the Square, Albers methodically experimented with pigments, creating more than 2,000 variations over the course of 26 years. “When I see the backs of those paintings, I can see that he’s changed out pigments to get a yellow ochre that’s a little darker, a yellow ochre that’s a little lighter, a cadmium yellow, a cadmium yellow light. He’s playing with very fine distinctions in the colors, and so those color notes are essential,” explains Redensek. The backs of Norma Minkowitz’s works provide another example. Replete with thoughts, images, references, they provide an eye into her process.

The label for Mariette Rousseau-Vermette’s Joie 2 — the number links to her meticulously maintained files. Photo: Tom Grotta.

The back for Norma Minkowitz’s Goodbye My Friend
Photo: Tom Grotta.

The information on the back of a canvas can also impact the value of a piece of art. After a piece is consigned to auction, house specialist scan the piece for indicators of authenticity and condition. In some cases, conservators use ultra-light and raking light to unveil hidden details. The extra information uncovered through this research aids collectors and conservators in proving the authenticity of a piece, therefore increasing the value.

The elements — lining, framing, notations — that restorers consider and what auction houses review once a work is consigned is described in detail in, “What the Back of a Painting Reveals About Its History,” from In Good Taste, https://www.invaluable.com/blog/painting-back/?utm_source=brand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weeklyblog&utm_content=blog082318. 

The backs of canvases, drawings and tapestries not only provide collectors and conservators with the information needed to prove the authenticity of a work, but presents them with an opportunity to explore an uncharted area of art history.

 

 

 

 

 


App Haps: Accessing Art on Your Mobile Device

There are so many ways to see and make art these days. Technological advancements have granted people all over the world unprecedented access to art and knowledge about art. One series of these advancements, iPhone and Android Apps, puts art at people’s fingertips. We curated a list of some of our favorite creative apps:

Google Arts & Culture
The Google Arts & Culture skyrocketed to the top of the App Store this year after it unveiled a feature that can analyze your face and match it with a well-known painting, creating “masterpiece memes” as it were. However, it is the app’s wide variety of other features that makes it stand out. The app allows users to take virtual tours of some of the world’s most famous museums and iconic landmarks, helps locate museum and cultural events near the user and has an art recognition software that identifies pieces by pointing your device camera at the artwork, just to name a few. One of our personal favorite features is under the “Experiments” tab, which gives users the chance to experiment with new technologies created by artists and coders. The “Art Palettes” experiment helps users find art that matches their preferred color palette , while the “Curator Table” experiment delivers users with insights and connections between artworks scattered all around the world.
Cost: FREE

Artsy
The mobile version of Artsy is just as great as the online version. Arsty, an online platform that aims to connect collectors to art, helps users navigate and explore the many branches of the art world. The app grants you immediate access to over 2,500 of the world’s top art galleries, including browngrotta arts. Additionally, Artsy’s online magazine continually pushes out interesting and informative content for art lovers of all kinds. The Artsy app also allows users to follow their favorite artists and receive notifications when a new piece by them goes up on Artsy.
Cost: FREE

Typendium
If you love type and fonts and all things written this is the app for you. Typendium provides users with the opportunity to learn the stories behind some of the world’s greatest typefaces such as good ole’ “Times News Roman” and “Baskerville.” Though the selection of fonts is not huge at the moment, Typendium is sure to satisfy your craving for creative history.
Cost: FREE

Photo: Christian Zibreg


Lightroom
While most of Adobe Creative Cloud programs have sister apps, our favorite is Lightroom. Though the mobile version of Lightroom does not have all of the manipulative options the computer program has, mobile Lightroom allows users to edit their photos capture, edit, organize, store and share all of their mobile photos. Unlike many photo editing apps in the App Store, Lightroom doesn’t just give the option to apply a “one size fits-all” filter. Instead, Lightroom gives you the ability to make advanced adjustments with the tone curve to alter the color, exposure, tone and contrast in a way that you feel in adequate. This technique allows the user to make the adjustments they need while also preserving the integrity of the original photo.
Cost: FREE

In Praise of Older Women Artists

Simone Pheulpin at The Design Museum of London. Photo: Maison Parisienne

Last year, Artsy took a look at why old women had replaced young men as the “new darlings” of the art word. Its twofold explanation: as institutions attempt to revise the art-historical canon, passionate dealers and curators have seen years of promotion come to fruition and these artists have gained attention as blue-chip galleries search for new artists to represent among those initially overlooked.

Artsy points at Carmen Herrara, Carol Rama, Irma Blank, and Geta Brătescu and others to make its point. Mary Sabbatino, vice president at Galerie Lelong, is quoted as saying,  “They’re fully formed artists, they’re mature artists, they’re serious artists. They’re not going to burn out as sometimes happens with younger artists…and normally the prices are far below the other artists of their generation, so you’re offering a value to someone.” Barbara Haskell, a curator at the Whitney Museum in New York, says museums everywhere are realizing that “there’s been a lopsided focus on the white male experience” in art history, and are working to correct that.”

Primitive Figures Bird and Insects, Luba Krejci,
knotted linen, 40.5″ x 44.5″ x 2″, circa 1970s. Photo: Tom Grotta

Among the women artists working in fiber who belong on a list of those achieving belated recognition include Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks (mentioned in the Artsy article) Kay Sekimachi, Lenore Tawney, Ethel Stein, Simone Pheulpin, Sonia Delauney, Luba Krejci, Ritzi Jacobi and Helena Hernmarck. The international contemporary fiber movement was initiated by women who took reinvented tapestry, took it off the wall and drew global attention to an art form that had been synonymous with tradition to that point. Luba Krecji adapted needle and bobbin lace techniques to create, “nitak,” her own technique, which enabled her to “draw” with thread. In her use of line as “sculptural form,” Ruth Asawa,” provided a crucial link between the mobile modernism of Alexander Calder and the gossamer Minimalism of Fred Sandback, whose yarn pieces similarly render distinctions between interior and exterior moot,” wrote Andrea K. Scott last year in The New Yorker.

 

Damask 5, Ethel Stein, 1980-89. Photo by Tom Grotta

These artists continue their explorations though their seventies, eighties and nineties. An example, Kay Sekimachi, who created complex, elegant monofilament weavings in the 70s and 80s, bowls and towers of paper after that, and continues, at age 90, to create elegant weavings of lines and grids that are reminiscent of the paintings of Agnes Martin. After having received the Special Mention Loewe Craft Prize and exhibited at the  Design Museum of London, this year, Simone Pheulpin continues to create innovative work in her 70s, work that is part of the 10th contemporary art season at Domaine de Chaumont sur Loire and part of the exhibition “Tissage Tressage” at the Fondation Villa Datris.