Posts Tagged ‘Norman Rockwell Museum’

The notion that the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA was going to have an exhibition comparing Rockwell with pop art icon Andy Warhol may have sounded strange to many people. When I bought the catalog for the exhibition – and I almost NEVER do that! – even the saleswoman in the gift shop had thought it didn’t seem obvious. Yet we agreed that, somehow, it really worked.

Both artists were cultural icons who worked a great deal in commercial art. Some of their subject matter – Jackie Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Judy Garland, for example. Warhol owned at least a couple pieces of Rockwell art, including her Jackie piece and the Christmas piece Extra Good Girls and Boys.

They were both considered apolitical, yet there were partisan glimmers in some of their works. It was clear that Norman had some influence on Andy; see the Razor’s edge picture of Tyrone Power by Rockwell (left) compared with the male fashion model by Warhol (right).

They were both city kids. Rockwell grew up in Manhattan’s West Side, which he did not enjoy, preferring instead his summers on Long Island or upstate New York. Warhol was a poor coal miner’s son from Pittsburgh; his parents recognized that the youngest of three sons had talent and scraped to send him to art school. Eventually, he found his way TO New York City, where he thrived on the Upper East Side, living with his mother for the last two decades of her life.

Of course, they did have their differences. Rockwell was a generation older, e.g. But they were both misunderstood. Rockwell was supposedly doing treacle, Warhol simplistic items such as soup cans, when both their bodies of work were far more complex.
The third artist represented in the exhibit is James Warhola, Andy’s nephew, son of Andy’s brother Paul; the family kept the final A. He has done everything from paperback book covers for science fiction books of Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke to Garbage Pail Kids cards (asked to do so by Art Spiegelman of MAUS fame) to MAD magazine.

He was also a devotee of Rockwell, but of course was affected by Uncle Andy. In fact, Paul and his family would surprise Andy with their visits to New York, when James and his brother would end up stretching canvases.

The show continues through October 29. It is HIGHLY recommended!

As spring ended, I told the family that the one thing I really wanted to do during the summer was go to the Norman Rockwell Museum to see the work of cartoonist Roz Chast, having loved her material in the New Yorker magazine for decades. When my friend David Brickman reviewed the show, which had opened June 6, in July, it just intensified my desire.

Life being what it is, we didn’t make it to the Stockbridge, MA site until October 24, a mere two days before the close of the Chast exhibit, even though it’s only an hour away from Albany, NY. As it turned out, they were having a show outdoors featuring vintage cars; it cost $10 per carload, but the price would apply to going inside the museum, so no big deal.
roz chast
The linchpin of the Chast portion of the exhibit was her first graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (2014), about her aging parents, “who were in the same fifth grade class.” There was “her gentle, worrywart father, George” (d. 2007) and “her strong-willed mother, Elizabeth” (d. 2009), educators both, “who subscribed to The New Yorker and inspired” their only child’s “art and world view.” I could have read the whole book right there, on the walls, but I perused enough to know that it’ll be on my Christmas list.

The Daughter preferred some of her other work, such as What I Hate from A to Z, also shown in its entirety. The video about the Brooklyn-born artist was quite entertaining as well.

We’d been to the museum at least twice before, but there were works by Rockwell I had never seen before, notably Glen Canyon Dam; the texture of this painting is lost in the photograph, because, up close, this is a STUNNING piece.

Oddly, a section called Love a Vet: Honoring Our Veterans was already open; the website had given the dates as from November 7, 2015 through January 5, 2016. The playing card format of the works from various artists were very effective.

Finally, I checked out the vehicles outdoors, that were of many makes and models from the 1930s to the 1980s. I’m not a “car guy,” but the 1936 Rolls Royce was, as they say, sweet.

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attemptedmurder Arthur’s article Why we think the news is worse than it is. This led to a thread that I wrote about finding good news amongst the bad which are here and here and here.

People I know personally, at least one an artist, seemed really irritated that a Norman Rockwell painting fetched a record price last month. This antipathy seemed to be tied to the notion of Rockwell as artistic pablum. Another view of the artist Read the rest of this entry »

The day after our trip to Tanglewood, we decided to go to the Norman Rockwell Museum. It was showing “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic,” which had opened on June 8 and would be available through October 27, 2013.

The exhibition “features more than 200 works of art including conceptual drawings, early character studies, detailed story sketches, and animation drawings. Also featured are delicate thumbnail layout watercolors, meticulously rendered pencil layouts, rare watercolor backgrounds, colorful cels, and vintage posters all illustrating how Walt Disney advanced the creation of an entirely new art form.
Read the rest of this entry »

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