Controversial Subjects

Art Appreciation
There are a wide variety of subjects that people in the art field (and outside) love to debate.

Artist's Self Portrait In Religious Works star
Most artists may have looked in a mirror and became their own models. There are those artists who have painted themselves literally into religious works. Namely, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Leonardo, and Rembrandt.

'Expulsion from Garden of Eden' in Art star
In the Book of Genesis, the Biblefs first book, man and woman are expelled from the Garden of Eden. I will discuss paintings by: Masaccio, Michelangelo, and Thomas Cole - artists who painted this biblical theme.

'King Tut & Golden Age of Pharaohs' in NY star
Thirty years have passed since the 'Treasures of Tutankhamun' blockbuster exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1979. Then, the 'Golden Age of the Pharaohs' in 2005-2007 to be continued in 2010-2011 with a venue in New York.

'Leda and the Swan' as Popularized by Artists star
The Greek legend from Ovid's 'Metamorphoses' is a love story with a twist. This theme inspired Leonardo to create multiple versions - thereby influencing artists for centuries.

'Weary Herakles': Looters vs. Archaeologists star
I discuss the issue of looters stealing art treasures vs. archaeologists who properly excavate priceless works of art. The case of 'Weary Herakles' is examined.

A Brief Anthology of Being Unclothed in Art star
I discuss how being unclothed (both male and female) have been accepted or rejected over the centuries and how it is defined today.

A Review of the Movie ‘Tim’s Vermeer’ star
When I first heard about this movie I wondered who Tim was and why would he think he could 'paint a Vermeer'? I’ll discuss 'Tim' and others who spend time (attempting) to discredit Vermeer’s genius.

A Slave Ship, Slavery in Art, then the Present star
I will discuss how a slave ship and slavery were represented in art; then the present, when some Democrats address reparations for descendants of slaves in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Abduction Represented in Art star
From Greek mythology to Roman history to aliens, there is a history of abduction represented in art.

Actor From 1950’s TV Show To Exhibit at Louvre star
Tony Dow, best known as Beaver’s older brother in the 1950’s hit TV series "Leave It To Beaver" is about to exhibit a bronze sculpture at the Louvre in Paris.

Architecture: Hagia Sophia Museum, Turkey star
As one of the architectural wonders of the world, the Hagia Sophia faces structural damage and neglect. Why is it important to save this former mosque?

Art and Mental Illness star
It has been a baffling question as to how and why art could be a product of an artist's mental illness, or not. Depending on the era in history, mental illness has been associated with either insanity or genius.

Art at Chicago World's Fair 1892-93 star
The World Columbian Exposition was hosted by Chicago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World. This fair consisted of many exhibitions including fine art, architecture and decoration.

Art in Movies – Batman & Thomas Crown Affair star
Many notable paintings can be seen in Hollywood movies such as the 'Batman' movie of 1989 and the remake of 'The Thomas Crown Affair' in 1999.

Art vs. Commerce - Forrest Myers - 'The Wall' star
An eight year dispute over whether a blue painted exterior wall in New York by sculptor Forrest Myers should be permanently removed, is heating up in court.

Art With Text and Word Art star
From references to the Bible and philosophers, text is infused into artwork. 'Word Art' by contemporary artists since the 1950s is also discussed.

Artist Erin Currier Interprets 'Raft of Medusa' star
Théodore Géricault painted 'Raft of the Medusa' (1818-19) based on an historical event. Erin Currier, a mixed media artist, has interpreted the painting in her own contemporary style.

Artist Stanley Spencer Painted Biblical Scenes star
An early modern painter who is considered one of the greatest British artists of the 20th century. What made Spencer's paintings on Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection so unusual?

Artist Who Paints Flags - Jasper Johns star
On Memorial Day flags are flown at half-staff to honor those who have died serving our country. The artist Jasper Johns created flags as recognizable cultural icons.

Artists as Voyeurs: From Giorgione to Hockney star
As a followup to my article on artists painting the nude, I discuss how some of them seem to become voyeurs and draw us unknowingly into their world.

Artists Who Paint Political Portraits star
Painting political figures realistically or ideally began in the 1500s in Europe. Many artists have depicted politicians for the sake of propaganda or posterity. I will discuss such artists and their works.

Autobiographical Women Artists star
Women have been expressing themselves for centuries by putting their life into their work. These women artists have made their work very personal. I will discuss but only a few (of the many) who bravely spoke out.

Britain’s Royal Collection of Art and Treasures star
For over 500 years, the kings and queens of England have amassed a plethora of art and antiques of all kinds including: paintings, drawings, furniture, and jewelry (the Crown Jewels are legendary). I will discuss works by some highly recognizable artists.

Buying a Picasso at Costco May Be Risky star
A joke in favor of art galleries has always been whether you would buy fine art out of someone’s trunk. Now a debate continues over whether two Picassos sold by are fakes.

Claude Monet – Impression: Sunrise star
Monet's painting 'Impression: Sunrise' gave the Impressionist movement its name in the 1874 exhibition catalogue. I’ll discuss sunrises that impressed Monet’s contemporaries.

Clowns • Pierrot • Comedy in the Arts star
Picasso and Watteau are known for painting clowns; an Italian opera reveals the destiny of melancholy Pierrot. I'll discuss our love/hate relationship with clowns and the 'sad clown' paradox in comedy.

Color Theory Popularized by Seurat before Hirst star
Georges Seurat was a Post Impressionist artist who studied color theory and originated Pointillism, a systematic approach to applying multiple dots to a canvas. Just a century later, British artist Damien Hirst would create his ‘spot’ paintings. I’ll discuss their similarities and differences.

Death in the Arts star
While it may be uncomfortable to discuss our own passing, we can learn to accept the inevitable by discussing how others faced death: some by celebration, others through mourning. I will explain.

Defending Monuments as Art – Erase History? star
Whether you agree with the ideology of the person who is immortalized in a monument, we should show respect. I’ll discuss how we must preserve history and why these monuments are important.

Delvoye’s ‘Pig Farm’ – Art or Animal Cruelty ? star
Wim Delvoye should not be given the title of ‘artist’ unless you believe it is humane to tattoo an animal (a pig in this instance) in order to sell its decorated hide for profit. I, for one, will call it what it is.

Do We Need Art ? star
I try to answer the question as to whether we truly need art in our lives. I give examples of the ways man has communicated over time through art.

Dragons as Mythical Creatures in Art star
Originating in Egypt, depicted in the Medieval period, described in the Bible; and brought to life by today’s technology, I'll discuss how various cultures have adopted this fire-breathing reptile.

Earth Sculptures by Maya Lin star
Maya Lin is best known as the winning designer chosen for the National Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, DC. So what are earth sculptures?

East Meets West – Modern Indian Art at MFA Boston star
The culture of India is rich in old world traditions, but the artists of today are breaking new ground. See what makes a private collection of modern Indian art so exciting.

Endangered Threatened Animals Used in Art Objects star
While visiting the MFA in Boston, I realized how some animals and species are now endangered or threatened due to the demand for certain materials for ornamental purposes. The exhibit displays examples of jewelry made from these ‘natural’ treasures.

Explaining Artistic License star
I try to explain the reason artists digress from "what is" in the real world to create forms that are unrealistic and exaggerated.

Explaining Vanitas - Dutch Still Life Paintings star
The Baroque artist Jacques de Gheyn II is considered the first to paint still life and flower paintings. He also created some of the earliest female nudes in Dutch art.

Females in Harems + as Concubines in Art star
Since the 18thc Orientalism and Turkish art has fascinating many artists including Delacroix, Ingres, Gerome, Renoir, and Picasso. I will discuss how one artist influenced many others.

Film Directors as Artists star
Woody Allen denies that he is one of these, yet points to fellow film directors as being true ‘artists’. I’ll discuss these internationally acclaimed directors.

Food That Inspired Art and Creativity star
Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks contain a diary on health and cooking. The artists Henri Matisse and Paul Cezanne painted fruit as their subject matter. I’ll discuss art conceived with the theme of food - yum.

Francis Bacon's Pope Exhibit - Tate Britain star
Francis Bacon may be one of the greatest 20th century painters from the UK. A major retrospective was at Tate Britain and ran until January 4, 2009.

Frank Lloyd Wright - Price Tower Turns 50 star
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Skyscraper Celebrates Fifty Years (1956-2006).

Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian Homes For Sale star
Many owners of Frank Lloyd Wright homes are having difficulty selling due to size and location. Also, a look at the only Wright home in New England open to the public.

Funerary Art in World’s Most Visited Cemetery star
The Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world because of its celebrated occupants and artistic tombs.

Gender Bending in Art star
Breaking gender norms does have a history in the story of art. I will discuss the Dada movement and beyond, along with artists portraying themselves as transgender or of an ambiguous identity.

George Washington Credited With Thanksgiving star
George Washington is responsible for proclaiming ‘a day of public thanksgiving’ in 1789. I will discuss Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of the first president of the United States.

Great Wave Tsunami in Asian Art star
Due to the devastation in 2004 by the tsunami in South Asia, and the tsunami in 2011 in Japan, I will focus on a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai.

Harems in Art star
As a popular subject for 19th c artists, there are misconceptions and falsehoods associated with the mysteries of the harem.

Henri Rousseau – Primitive & Naïve Artist star
Henri Rousseau contributed to the Primitivism movement of the late 19th century. I'll discuss the similarities and differences in the lives and painting styles of Henri Rousseau and fellow artist Paul Gauguin.

How To View Art star
How to view art by discussing master painters from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Hudson River Valley Artists & Idealized Landscapes star
Thomas Cole and his pupil Frederick E. Church painted romantic landscapes. Were these idyllic settings a truthful record of nature in the 19th century or did these artists edit their works to satisfy their buyers’ desires?

Ideal Man and Woman in Art - Then & Now star
Throughout history various cultures have defined ideal beauty in different images. If beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, I’ll discuss the variety - and let you, the observer, decide for yourself.

If Man Had Wings to Fly – Interpretations in Art star
There are scientific reasons (along with a dose of common sense) as to why a man cannot just attach a set of wings and fly like a bird. But in mythology, the Bible and in the minds of some artists, angels (and mortals) do have wings and can fly. I’ll discuss why.

In Art - That Which Divides Us star
As a sensitive political talking point, the obvious is that borders, walls, and gates keep some people inside and some out. I will discuss how they are used in the context of art, which has no boundaries.

Inflatable Space Destined for Hirshhorn Museum star
A $5 million blue vinyl balloon is slated for the Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 2011.

Is That Rodin Bronze Cast at The Museum Real? star
The Rodin sculpture at your local museum is real, but is it authentic? I’ll explain the possible difference.

Ivory as Art Objects or Protect the Elephants star
Ivory can be traced back to time BC, found on items in King Tut’s tomb, and popular in the Art Deco era. But at what cost? The killing of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory. I will discuss these issues.

Japanese Influence on Art star
It is interesting how Japanese woodblock prints of the 19th century would influence Western art even until today. I will discuss one print that is hugely popular and why.

Judith in Art star
The story of the biblical heroine Judith can be interpreted as virtue over vice or taking on a more political stance. I will discuss the story and its interpretation by artists.

King Tut Exhibit - From Art to Science Museum star
From 1976-1979 a precedence was set in blockbuster museum exhibitions with 'Treasures of Tutankhamun' exhibit. In 2007 'Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,' sponsored by National Geographic, could be viewed at a Philadelphia science museum.

King Tut Replicas on Display in UK star
Interest in Tutankhamun gained popularity with the groundbreaking 1979 exhibition in the U.S. and continues into 2011. The venue in England and other European countries is to display only replicas of the tomb and treasures.

LA's Frank Lloyd Wright House in Disrepair star
The historic Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House, seen in many Hollywood films, now needs restoration.

Light as an Element in Art star
Light affects our senses of sight and touch. Along with shadow, they are essential in the visual arts for varied effects. I will identify the many ways artists express themselves by using light.

Matisse & Picasso Borrow Bather’s Pose by Cézanne star
Cézanne’s model in his ‘Four Bathers’ would strike a pose that would later greatly influence Matisse and Picasso. Can you guess what it might be?

Messages + Hidden Meaning in Floral Art star
Flowers can be painted simply for their beauty; but many artists throughout history have used them symbolically. I will discuss some surprising and some not-so-secret meaning of flowers.

Monuments, Memorials, and Statues star
More than ever, these three structures have become part of our daily conversation, but what is the difference? There may even be an overlap. I will discuss some that are presently controversial.

Museum Membership Pros and Cons star
I address the cost of museum membership, its benefits and shortfalls.

Mysticism in Art star
From medieval woodcuts to illustrations by William Blake, there is a rich artistic tradition of alchemy and mysticism. I will discuss artists who express their personal interpretations.

Mythology in Art: The Abduction of Europa star
What began as a story from Roman mythology by the poet Ovid in 8 AD would become the subject of a painting made famous by Titian and Rubens over a millennium later.

Original Art vs Replicas – Cave Art & Monet star
What do the paintings from Chauvet Cave and Monet’s Giverny have in common? Besides both being found in France, they have been duplicated. How? you ask. Read on for answers.

Origins of the Human Heart in Art star
The human heart was symbolically represented in ancient Egypt as well as in a Mesoamerican culture. In the 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci would realistically draw this human organ. I will discuss this evolution.

Portraiture or Voyeurism star
Portraits are a representation of one's face, by another or as a selfie. Later in the history of art, half and three-quarter length portraits were added. But when the artist peeps at the subject, well, that is another issue. I will explain.

Rare Works of Pope on Art Market - Francis Bacon star
British expressionist artist Francis Bacon is well known for his 'pope' paintings. Two rare Bacon papal works will be auctioned by Christie's in London. I'll discuss the merits of these fine paintings.

Renoir Paints ‘Luncheon of Boating Party’ star
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s beloved painting is one of the most recognizable in the world. Over 100 years old, it still delights us with its color and subject matter. I will discuss his friends as models and the techniques Renoir used to connect them.

Restoration vs Conservation in Art star
Art historians typically favor art conservation over restoration. Why? I will discuss the Sistine Chapel restoration project.

Review of: The Man Who Made Vermeers star
Han van Meegeren began forging old masters in 1920. I feel his success was due to a ‘perfect storm' of events. I'll explain why.

Revisiting Ancient Egyptian Art : Sculpture star
Naturally the story of Egyptian art includes hieroglyphics and statues in pharaohs' tombs. I will explain that there is much more to understanding this Near East culture.

Richard Estes – Painter of Photorealism star
Like Chuck Close and Duane Hanson who emerged during the ‘60s and ‘70s, Richard Estes also used photography to help create his artwork.

Robert Indiana 's Love Sign Interpreted star
I examine the LOVE sign by Robert Indiana, created in the 1960s. Was it symbolic of romantic love or was it intended to have another meaning?

Romanticism as a Style / Liberty as an Art Theme star
The Romantic era in 19th c Europe is a period of imagination and strong emotion. I’ll discuss the Delacroix show at the Metropolitan Museum, NY and my thoughts on liberty as a theme in art.

Sargent - Madame X - Exhibit 1998-2000 star
Although the identity of Sargent’s ‘Madame X’ was revealed as Madame Pierre Gautreau, why was this painting so scandalous at the time? I’ll discuss the exhibit in Boston and NYC.

Satire by Dissidents Disguised as Art star
Those opposing the Trump presidency use parody and satire - meant to bring ridicule to the core of our democracy - disguised as art and First Amendments rights. I will discuss this much-heated issue.

Saving Wyland’s Famous Whaling Wall Mural star
The marine artist known simply as Wyland completed his 100th in a series of Whaling Wall murals in Beijing, China for the 2008 Olympics. Now some of his sea life murals in the U.S. are endangered.

Science X Art star
From monuments to color theory to perspective to photography, these are just a few examples of how science and art merge. I will discuss.

Sculpture: From Ancient Egypt to Modern Times star
Even though sculpture dates back to prehistoric times, Egyptian sculpture is probably the best known. I also discuss nineteenth and twentieth century sculpture and how it was influenced by earlier civilizations.

Seven Deadly Sins in Art star
Also known as cardinal sins, not actually found in the Bible, but were mentioned in Pope Gregory I 6th c text "Moralia." They are defined as pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth in Christian teachings.

Shame in Art star
Guilt and shame seem to have been interwoven into cultures and religions over time and especially today. Where did it originate? Where do we go from here? I will explain in the context of art.

Shooting Elephants in Wild with Camera not Guns star
I have always considered African elephants to be the ‘gentle giants’ in the animal kingdom. After seeing extraordinary photos by Nick Brandt, I wanted to bring awareness to the demand (still) for ivory goods, causing the demise of these magnificent animals.

Sometimes Ecstasy / Sometimes Pain in Art star
From paintings to TV commercials, there can be a fine line between ecstasy and pain. I’ll discuss religious and spiritual art as well as some surprising interpretations of familiar works.

Stonehenge Replicas as Art Across America star
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument built in 2500 BC in Wiltshire, England. Stonehenge mania has hit the U.S. with replicas as art appearing across the country.

Stonehenge – UK National Treasure star
To some skeptics, Stonehenge is just a pile of stones. After seeing it upclose and personal, I’ll share my thoughts (and photos).

Surrealism the Art of Dreams Dali + Magritte star
The Surrealist movement in art originated at the end of WWI. I will discuss the works of Surrealist painters Salvador Dali? and Rene Magritte.

Tattoos & Graffiti as Art star
Tattoos & graffiti have been adopted by today’s young generation as their own, although their beginnings started eons ago. I’ll discuss the history and artistic significance of tattoos and graffiti.

Terracotta Army & Genghis Khan Exhibits star
Qin Shi Huangdi was China’s first emperor who is best known for his mausoleum containing terracotta statutes of warriors; Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire. Museum exhibits in 2010 highlight their life achievements.

The Apocalypse in Art star
The final destruction of the world has been represented in many works of art. Considering the current unsettling world affairs, I think it important to experience catharsis by sharing the frustration and pain of these artists.

The Art of Writing & Cy Twombly star
Writing has evolved as an art form – beginning with pen/pencil on paper - to telling a story through: typing/texting, graffiti and tattooing. I’ll discuss the ways we 'write' as a society today.

The Circus in Art - The End of an Era star
Who doesn’t love a circus? Artists in the late 19th - early 20th c frequented the circus with its color and movement. Ringling Bros. farewell tour brings relief - but also sadness and nostalgia. I’ll explain.

The Color Blue and Blue Art star
In the evolution of humans, those recognizing the benefits of clear (blue) skies and clean (blue) water became better adept at survival. I will discuss the origins of the color blue and its application in art.

The Effects of Rx and the Pharmacy in Art star
In our society today, it is virtually impossible to escape TV ads for drugs. The re-creation of 'Pharmacies' in art began well before the drug culture of the 1960s. I’ll discuss our [art] culture’s infatuation with drugs (Rx's).

The Eye as a Subject in Art star
From ancient Egypt to the Surrealists, the eyes of humans and animals have captured our imagination. Does it represent power, paranoia, or superstition? I'll discuss its meaning.

The Female Body in Art star
I discuss artists who have taken a more classical approach to the female body. Namely, Giorgione, Titian, Ingres, and Manet.

The Genius of Vermeer the Artist star
If you have ever seen a painting by Johannes Vermeer, you will notice extraordinary brushwork and colors (to die for). I will discuss the camera obscura and highlights from this Dutch artist's oeuvre.

The Grotesque in Art star
Reacting to 'perfection' found in art during the Renaissance, artists with different notions created frescoes and garden architecture to mimic the grotesque. I will discuss these artists as well as their inspirations.

The Guennol Lioness Statue Has Record Sale star
A 5000 year old Mesopotamian stone lioness measuring a mere 3 1/4 inches high brings record sales for any type of sculpture.

The Kiss in Art – What’s in a Name ? star
'The Kiss' has been a popular subject in art since the Romanticism of the late 1800s. It may just be a sign of affection in art or 'the kiss' may take on a different meaning and title. I’ll discuss the controversy surrounding this social gesture.

The Spiral As Art - Smithson's 'Spiral Jetty' star
The spiral is an ancient form, symbolizing eternity. Recreated in art, American sculptor Robert Smithson´s famous earthwork ´Spiral Jetty´ is now threatened.

The Veil & its Significance in Art and Religion star
If Ancient Greece preceded the Muslim culture, then perhaps the veil of a certain bronze statue began the buzz that prevails today over the wearing of this garment. I’ll discuss artists that have 'veiled' their subjects.

The World’s Most Expensive Painting by Klimt star
In June 2006 an American paid $135 million for a portrait by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

The ‘Imitating Game’ & Gainsborough’s ‘Blue Boy’ star
Allow me to borrow from the name of the 2014 movie "Imitation Game." Throughout the history of art it is quite obvious that some artists have been 'imitating' the work of other artists – either intentionally or subliminally. I will expose some of these artists – once and for all.

Turning Point in the Success of Impressionist Art star
The Impressionists of the late 19thc were mocked by Europeans from the start. An unlikely art dealer supported the artists and implemented an ingenious way of selling and marketing their works.

Vermeer Art Created from Smoke & Mirrors? star
Artist David Hockney has been critical of artists such as Johannes Vermeer, saying he may have 'cheated' by projecting and tracing images onto his canvas. I'll explain the camera obscura and how contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons and Abelardo Morell use technology to produce their art.

Vespucci Notes Hold Key to Identity of Mona Lisa star
The most recognized painting in the world, with her enigmatic smile, Mona Lisa’s true identity may finally be revealed due to the discovery of notes written in the margin of a book in the Heidelberg University Library in Germany.

War Atrocities Represented in Art star
Throughout history, many have expressed the cruelty and evil of war through their art. From Romanticism to German Expressionism to Surrealism, I'll discuss works that exemplify 'war art'.

What is Art ? What isn't ? star
I try to answer the age old question, "What is Art?"

When Humorous Greetings Cards are Banned star
Who would think that the cartoonists and illustrators who create humorous greeting cards could produce art cards that are banned?

Whistler, Sargent - Americans in Paris exhibit star
The "Americans in Paris" exhibit highlights Singer Sargent´s "Madame X."

Why Fine Art Cartoons by Raphael Aren’t Funny star
The original meaning of a cartoon was a preparatory drawing for a painting or tapestry. I will discuss cartoons by the Renaissance artist Raphael and where you might find one of the best textile conservation labs in the country.

Women in Art Who 'Stood By Their Men' star
After the recent news of former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer´s wrongdoings, many ask why his wife Silda was by his side. I´ll discuss women in history, portrayed through art, who ´stood by their men´.

‘Project Runway’ Designers Visit Getty Museum star
Five finalists from the popular ‘Project Runway’ show on Lifetime Television visit the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles to gain inspiration for their clothing designs.

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