Hudson Highlands Suite: Pre-Publication Subscriber Discount Extended to October 27

One-third of the edition has already been sold. Click on the link below for more details:

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$1,000.00 USD until October 31, 2017. Post publication retail price is $1,500.00
To be listed in the chapbook, payment must be received before October 17, 2017.

To pay by check: PO Box 142, West Haverstraw, New York, 10993

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Michener Art Museum Acquires Important works by WPA/AbEx Artist Hugh Mesibov (1916-2016)

“The Hunt” by Hugh Mesibov. Acrylic on Canvas. 78 x 116 inches

The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA, has just acquired a major painting and a series of Mesibov’s prints and drawings from the WPA era. Raised in Philadelphia, trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Mesibov gained national attention during the 1930s, when he, Dox Thrash and Michael Gallagher developed the technique of Carborundum printing. It was a golden age for Philadelphia printmaking, led by more senior artists like Wharton Esherick and Benton Spruance.
The gift was facilitated by Needlewatcher LLC Artist Legacy Projects estate planning and management services.

The Hunt by Hugh Mesibov is now on view, at the Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown PA 18901

HUGH MESIBOV (1916-2016) FEATURED IN NEW SHOW AT ZIMMERLI

1942 Title Nocturne Size 7 x 10 1:4 (17.8 x 26.0 cm) 71.8 sqr inch Medium Color silkscreen Substrate Paper

Hugh Mesibov. Nocturne. 1942. 7 x 10 1/4 (17.8 x 26.0 cm) 71.8 inches. Color serigraph on Paper

A win for the Hugh Mesibov estate, and for Needlewatcher LLC, which facilitated the loan of this work to this exhibition.

Read the whole article in ArtDaily news:
http://artdaily.com/news/98607/Zimmerli-examines-lesser-known-legacy-of-the-WPA#.WbAm9DOZOCQ

Professional Development Lectures at Greenwich Art Society: “A Fly on the Wall: Re-envisioning a Life in Art” with James Lancel McElhinney. October 5, 2017

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On Thursday evening October 5, Pollock-Krasner grant recipient James Lancel McElhinney will deliver one of several professional-development lectures being presented by the Greenwich Art Society. McElhinney will unpack his experiences as a visual artist, author and now publisher. His talk will identify challenges facing artists today, and propose concepts for addressing them.

Read the article in today’s Greenwich Sentinel:

G.A.S Offers Lecture Series to Help Professional Artists

Program description:

A FLY ON THE WALL_JamesMcElhinney_(c)2017

Oral History Project: Conversations with Gendron Jensen and Christine Taylor Patten

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On April 19, James McElhinney completed in-depth oral history interviews with Gendron Jensen and Christine Christine Taylor Patten, who delivered wonderful narratives about art, transformation and the power of drawing. The audio files are being transcribed for reading. At some point in the future these conversations may be published, or be accessible through those institutions where Christine and Gendron’s papers will ultimately reside.

An oral history is the keystone document to any archive. Many researchers will begin by consulting the oral history because it provides a sweeping overview of an artist’s life. Producing artwork and gaining recognition are only the beginning. The real challenge that awaits every artist is assuring that their work will have a durable legacy. Forming an archive is essential because if the future cannot find you, you were never here.

Concept and Painting: A Conversation with Robert C. Morgan

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Robert C. Morgan is an internationally renowned critic, artist, poet, historian, educator and author of the book The End of the Art World. Concept and Painting, an exhibition of the artist and critic Robert C. Morgan is now on view at Proyetos Monclova in Mexico City. The show opened on March 23rd and runs through April 29.

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I first met Robert when we both taught on Fridays at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. We were in different departments, but at midday we each went off campus for lunch. On one of those days, we found ourselves at a restaurant, waiting for dining companions who never arrived. Rather than dining alone, we began a series of conversations, of which this is the latest. On Friday April 7, I sat down with Robert at his home near Union Square to learn more about the exhibition.

Listen to our conversation:

Comments are welcome below, where you can share this on social media and request notification of future podcasts and blog posts

Conversation with Artist Sigmund Abeles

Over the last two weeks I collected a series of conversations with Sigmund Abeles for the Jewish Heritage Oral History Archives, in the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston. The audio recordings will be available in the future through the Lowcountry Digital Library.

I fist met Sigmund Abeles in the late 1970s. My then wife Vicki Davila and Sig’s then wife Frederike Merck had been room-mates in Pietrasanta, where both had been studying stone-carving with local artigiani. Over the years we have maintained a warm friendship, and shared a great passion for drawing. We both identify with a Northern esthetic–the figurative German and Netherlandish tradition that favors sharp tools and articulate line.
We spoke of his undergraduate days at University of South Carolina, graduate school at Columbia University, fresco-painting at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Art Students League of New York. Unpacking stories about his career as a draftsman, printmaker, painter and sculptor, he described also the perils of being so diversified in an art-market built on backing brands. Abeles taught in a number of colleges and universities, finally retiring from the University of New Hampshire. The conversation mentioned artists whose names today are less well-known; artists such as Leonard Baskin, Michael Mazur, Harold Tovish, Marianna Pineda, Sidney Hurwitz, Hyman Bloom and Rico Lebrun, whom Sig quoted as saying, “If one has nothing to say, they gossip. If one has nothing to draw, they sketch.”
Resisting pressure to work abstractly, or bow to formalist figuration, Sig’s work embraced narrative, social commentary, eroticism and equestrian subjects. Manifested in visual form, as representational imagery, these works represented a departure from his paternal roots in Orthodox Judaism. He discussed his activities within the National Academy of Design, the Century Association, the New York art-world and his beloved children, one of whom–Max Abeles–is making a name for himself as an artist.

Part of our discussion did address his experience of growing up Jewish in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, his association with the Civil Rights movement that led to his expulsion from the University of South Carolina, standing up to the Klan, and later in life being courted by USC as a Native Son. We spoke of his friendship with Jasper Johns–another South Carolinian, and his first exposure to art at Brookgreen Gardens, which now owns some of his work.
It may come as a surprise that the largest Jewish population in the antebellum United States was not in New York or Philadelphia but in Charleston, followed by New Orleans, Mobile and Savannah. As many as ten thousand Jews saw military service during the Civil War, during which General U.S. Grant ordered all Jews to be expelled from Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. Judah P. Benjamin served as Secretary of War and Secretary of State for the Confederacy. Its surgeon-general was Simon Baruch, from South Carolina. The first Jewish governor of any American state was David Emanuel, a captain of militia during the Revolutionary war.
A second interview conducted by Dale Rosengarten, Curator of Special Collections at the College of Charleston, will focus on Sigmund Abeles’s Jewish identity.

The value of collecting these conversations is to preserve the voices and ideas of significant artists like Sigmund Abeles whose creative legacy, despite a distinguished career, might otherwise be forgotten. Artists born in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s are advancing in years. Many have diminished their output, and have been marginalized by shifting trends in the art-market.
Oral history interviews collected by the College of Charleston, the Archives of American Art, the Senior Artists Initiative in Philadelphia, the Frick Center for Oral History and many other organizations become keystone documents–primary sources for researchers to consult, and from which artists and others might draw inspiration.

James L. McElhinney

PIONEERING 1997 STUDY INTO VISUAL ARTIST ESTATE PLANNING

In April 1997 the Judith Rothschild Foundation and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation co-sponsored a conference on Visual Artists Estate Planning, which led in 1998 to the publication of a very useful book, A Visual Artist’s Guide to Estate planning. In the ensuing nineteen years, more and more artist estates have created foundations and trusts to support the creation, exhibition, publication and study of visual art. A softcover edition of the book is available from a number of online and bricks-and-mortar booksellers. A free downloadable PDF of the book was located online. More and more information about this challenging subject is becoming available. One thing is certain. Without an estate plan and the creation of an archive to establish durable reference value of an artist’s life and work, that life will disappear from history. If the future cannot find you, you were never here.

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RE-EMERGING WPA ARTIST-ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST. Monumental Mural by Hugh Mesibov on view at Yeshiva University Museum. Public reception October 26, 2016. 6-8pm

The Book of Job mural by High Mesibov currently on view at Yeshiva University Museum
The Book of Job mural by High Mesibov currently on view at Yeshiva University Museum

On December 4, 2012, oral historian James McElhinney and Chelsea Cooksey traveled to Rockland County, New York to collect an interview with American expressionist painter and printmaker Hugh Mesibov, for the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. He had recently celebrating his 97th birthday.

 Hugh Mesibov (1916-2016)

Hugh Mesibov (1916-2016)

Born, raised and trained in Philadelphia, Mesibov was very active in the Works Progress Administration during the 1930’s, painting canvases, murals and inventing new printmaking techniques. Later, during the 40’s he moved to New York City, where he became a member of The Club – an informal artists’ union that famously met at the Cedar Bar when Abstract Expressionism was in its heyday. Mesibov became close friends with Franz Kline and Ibram Lassaw.

In 1960 he moved his growing family to an old house in Rockland County; the home where McElhinney, assisted by Cooksey, met with him over the course of two days, years later. Hugh Mesibov passed away in March of 2016. A few months after Hugh’s death I was invited by the Mesibov family to help them to establish a durable artistic legacy. This began with an assessment of his papers and artworks.

Already in the works was the pending gift to Yeshiva University Museum by The Reform Temple of Rockland County of a major mural by Mesibov, The Book of Job, which had been commissioned in 1969 by Temple Beth-El in Spring Valley, New York. Mesibov’s reputation as a Modernist painter was known to the congregation, which requested that he approach the mural depicting the Book of Job with a more traditional style. In preparing to execute this massive canvas, Mesibov was able to draw on the skills he had learned working under the WPA. The painting was completed in 1972.

You are invited to attend a reception to celebrate the donation of this major work by a re-emerging American master on Wednesday October 26, at the Popper Gallery of Yeshiva University Museum, 15 West 16th Street, 10011.
A reception will be held in the Popper Gallery at the museum on Wednesday October 26, from 6-8pm. The mural will remain on view through January 15, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA PIONEERING ARTS LEGACY PROJECTS

Kathie Manthorne and Archives of American Art collections specialist Jason Stieber, with the Bernard Chaet papers.
Kathie Manthorne and Archives of American Art collections specialist Jason Stieber, receiving the Bernard Chaet papers. Washington, DC. 2014.

Several years ago I had the honor of delivering the papers of a friend and mentor to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. Until that moment the fate of a lifetime’s accumulation of letters, manuscripts, photographs and other biographical ephemera had hung in the balance. Passing away after a long and difficult illness, he had left his widow and daughter exhausted and overwhelmed with the Herculean task of figuring out what to do with his papers and artworks. A long and distinguished career had not given him blue-chip status, but his contribution had been significant and worthy of preservation. An oral history interview had been collected by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in 1997, but no followup interview was conducted during the very productive years that preceded his final illness and death in 2012.

A few years ago I purchased a large painting out of a junk shop in Tarrytown, New York. I paid a few hundred dollars. The piece had been exhibited in a solo exhibition at the New Museum in the 1980s, by a living artist whom I know. These two events were a wakeup call for me, as they should be for any artist who finds oneself in the mid-list of the market.

Unless an artist can establish durable reference value by getting their papers in order and donating them to a research archive at a museum, university or library, scholars, journalists and biographers will be unable to retrieve information about an artist’s life and work. It follows that the more accessible an artist is to researchers, the more likely they are to be studied. The same hold true for works of art. If an artist or their estate can make strategic donations of artwork to museums, universities and libraries, the easier it will be for researchers and curators to find their work. It follows that artists whose works are accessible will be more likely to be included in exhibitions and be discussed within the canon of whatever movement, style or milieu they are associated. This is all common sense, and yet many artists and their heirs are unprepared to undertake such efforts. This is partly due to living artists continuing to be focused on promoting active careers. It is also sue to a lack of information about how to approach questions pertaining to the physical legacy of a life in art, such as papers and artworks.
During a recent visit to the Michener Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania I met the director of education Zoriana Siolako. In discussing the matter of artists’ legacies, Zoriana informed me that she sat on the board of the Senior Artists Initiative, a Philadelphia-based organization that conducts oral histories with artists whom it also assists with organizing archival materials. The Senior Artists Initiative commenced operations in 1998, partnering with local schools and museums. The downside is that S.A.I. is limited to providing this support to a select number of artists each year. More artists are worthy, but resources are limited.

Philadelphia has always sustained an independent art community. It might be said that the City of Brotherly Love cultivates an allergy being seen as a satellite to New York City (less than one hundred miles to the northeast).
Leading foundations maintain offices in Manhattan. NYFA–New York Foundation for the Arts, located in Brooklyn, is a resource to local, national and international artists. Pollock Krasner Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation are exemplars of artist-estate philanthropy, providing direct monetary support to living artists. I have recently shared this concept with friends and contacts in here in New York, expressing the hope that some of these philanthropies may develop similar programs. Please pass this along to an artist you know.

http://seniorartists.org/home.html