Monday, February 23, 2009

Maritime History

The maritime history of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine encompasses much of New England's history. As the Ice Age glaciers began retreating from eastern Massachusetts around 16,000 year ago, portions of Stellwagen Bank and Jeffreys Ledge were dry and home to grasses, forests, and Pleistocene animals. It is likely that between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago, Paleoindians inhabited these areas and exploited the rich marine resources found along the shore. Rising sea levels slowly inundated Massachusett's Bay, pushing the native populations to settlements along the current shoreline. For thousands of years Native Americans utilized the vast fish and shellfish resources of Massachusetts Bay developing rich cultures that were in harmony with the marine environment.

During the thousands of years of human occupation of the Massachusetts' coastline, waterborne transportation was an essential part of the region's communication network. Vessels of many shapes and sizes have carried a variety of cargos and multitudes of persons to and from Massachusetts ports. Beginning with the native cultures and continued by the earliest colonists who cut settlements from the thick forests and fished along the shore, New Englanders have derived tremendous economic benefit from their close association with the sea. New Englanders have traveled the breadth of the globe in sailing ships, trading with far flung cultures or harvesting the bounty of the sea. At the beginning and end of each voyage, many of these intrepid mariners crossed through the waters that are now recognized as the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Modern and Contemporary art

Los Angeles real estate developer Edward R. Broida gave the Gallery 62 modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by 23 important artists with in-depth groups by Vija Celmins (b. 1938), including Eraser (1967), an early trompe l’oeil sculpture, and the Gallery’s first paintings by her—Tulip Car #1 (1966), Rhinoceros (1965), and untitled (Comet) (1988), as well as major drawings from 1967 and 1975; and by Philip Guston (1913-1980), including the paintings Rug (1976), a powerful and haunting image that is executed in his late realist style, and Midnight Pass Road (1975), and an extraordinary group of eight drawings from Guston’s crucial decades 1952-1975.

Broida’s gift also includes 64 Steel Square (1967) by Carl Andre (b. 1935), the Gallery’s first significant floor piece from the artist’s classic early period; Standing Mitt with Ball, Half-Scale, 6 Feet (1974) by Claes Oldenburg (b.1929), a sculpture last seen at the Gallery in the artist’s 1995 retrospective; Boober (1965) by Mark di Suvero (b.1933), an early piece in welded steel; Untitled (Quarter-Round Mesh) (1966), an important minimalist work by Robert Morris (b.1931); Head within Head (1978) by Susan Rothenberg (b. 1945), which postdates the Gallery’s Butterfly, a more familiar painting from this artist’s series of horse images; Them and Us (1969), a large early painting by Neil Jenney (b.1945); and the Gallery’s first works by Wolfgang Laib (b.1950); as well as important abstract expressionist drawings by Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) and Franz Kline (1910-1962).

Other artists represented in the Broida gift include Pierre Alechinsky (b.1927), Richard Artschwager (b.1923), Jake Berthot (b.1939), Jonathan Borofsky (b.1942), Dorothy Dehner (1901-1994), Jacob El Hanani (b.1947), Klaus Fussmann (b.1938), Franz Kline (1910-1962), David Nash (b.1945), Joel Shapiro (b.1941), and Christopher Mallory Wilmarth (1943-1987).

The National Gallery of Art will present a special exhibition of works from the Broida collection, dates to be announced.

The spectacular Color Panels for a Large Wall (1978), which went on view in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building in 2003 as a loan from the artist Ellsworth Kelly (b.1923) was purchased by the Gallery with funds from The Glenstone Foundation, founded by Mitchell P. Rales, a Washington-based financier. The painting consists of 18 rectangular monochrome canvases—each measuring 48 x 68 ½ inches (191.9 x 174 cm)—with two to three variations on each of the six primary and secondary hues, and two panels in black.

A Recent History of Art in Western Massachusetts: Flooded River for Lane Faison (Mass MoCA #12) (2005) by Stephen Hannock (b.1951), one America’s foremost contemporary landscape painters, was made possible with funds from Louis M. Bacon. The large mixed media collage depicts a view westward into the setting sun of the Hoosic River Valley between North Adams and Williamstown. Passages of text visible throughout the scene document the cultural life of northwestern Massachusetts and the artists, art historians, and other art world figures who have lived and worked there over the years, including the artist himself.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Maritime Museum

The new Western Australian Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay, Fremantle was opened to the public on Sunday, December 1 by the Premier of Western Australia, Hon Dr Geoff Gallop. The development of the new Western Australian Maritime Museum is a Western Australian State Government initiative.

The building looks out towards the western horizon, another symbol of the Museum’s intention to look outwards to Western Australia’s contemporary role in the Indian Ocean region. The Museum was chosen because of its great historical and cultural significance and its position in the working port, making it the ideal place to tell the stories of Western Australia’s early explorers, trade routes, naval defence, migration and the cultural richness that has resulted.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cash bid to build on marine heritage

Inverclyde Council is seeking a £60,000 cash injection that would be invested into developing Inverclyde’s marine heritage.

Should the Heritage Lottery Fund bid be successful, the Council’s Regeneration Committee has agreed to top up the funding with a £6,600 boost.

Greenock’s McLean Museum is already home to an excellent maritime collection but the culture team wants to purchase more marine art works that are relevant to Inverclyde and the lower Clyde.

The £66,600 funding would also allow comprehensive staff training, research and public activities to be taken forward on the area’s maritime legacy.

The museum’s current collection includes over 70 model boats, ships and other craft including several full models built by Inverclyde shipbuilders. There are also items such as nautical tools and marine engine models.

It also has works from maritime artists including Robert Salmon, William Clark, John Fleming, Patrick Downie in addition to a collection of over 5,000 maritime photographs.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Regeneration Convener, said: “While we progress the regeneration of Inverclyde, it is essential that we continue to celebrate the area’s maritime legacy. The McLean Museum is Inverclyde’s heritage focal point and already boasts a fantastic collection of marine works, but we want to build on this.

“The funding we are seeking would also allow us to take forward a range of public events and even web-based activities to take Inverclyde’s maritime heritage to a wider audience.”

The Council expects to know the outcome of the bid in May

Sam Davidson author of ‘Marine Art and the Clyde’ has written to the Council to express his support for the funding bid to expand on the current collection which he describes as “excellent”.