Recent links of note:
“Embodiments of energy: Rodin’s incessant urge to create and animate”
Bruce Boucher, The Times Literary Supplement
Bruce Boucher, the current Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum, has penned a review of the new Rodin exhibition at the Tate Modern, “The Making of Rodin.” The curators took inspiration from the sculptor’s self-curated retrospective of 1900, which contained versions of his works all in plaster. As Boucher explains, Rodin aimed to “reveal the creative process rather than conceal it,” preferring to model clay and plaster than carve marble; he was, however, profoundly influenced by Michaelangelo’s unfinished marble “Slaves” after seeing them on a trip to Italy in 1876 that “liberated him from the tethers of academicism.” Boucher touches on Rodin’s “marcottage” experiments, his assemblages of new sculptures grafted onto ancient artifacts, and his Romantic belief that “a beautiful object in ruins was more beautiful than a beautiful object.”
“Italian Futurist’s Rome apartment—‘a total fusion of art and life’—revealed by MaXXI museum”
Thea Hawlin, The Art Newspaper
The Italian Futurists were energized by the contemporary world and attempted to capture its speed, light, and vibrations in painting and sculpture. The movement’s founding manifesto, written by the provocative poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909, praised the beauty of new technology, glorified violence, and called for the destruction of “museums, libraries, and academies of every sort.” In 1915, the painters Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero published their “Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe,” a somewhat gentler text that argued for a total redesign of the world in order to “render it more joyful.” Balla sought to minimize the distance between art and life, designing vibrant new versions of everyday objects, such as clothing, kitchenware, and furniture. While the first thrust of the movement faded with World War I, Balla’s interest in Futurism persisted, as seen in his own highly stylized home. Rome’s MAXXI museum of contemporary art has recently restored and reopened Balla’s playful “art house” apartment in the city’s Prati district, where he lived until his death in 1958.
“How Do You Move a 30-Ton Diego Rivera Fresco? Very Carefully.”
Carol Pogash, The New York Times
Diego Rivera’s fresco Pan American Unity was created for—or rather, during—the Golden Gate International Exposition, held on San Francisco’s Treasure Island in 1940. Rivera himself was a feature attraction in the “Art in Action” section, which allowed visitors to watch a number of artists working on in-progress projects. Despite its massive size, the fresco is portable, as it was painted on steel-framed cement panels. For the last few decades the fresco has been sitting in a poorly lit theater lobby owned by the City College of San Francisco, but now the college, which had debated selling the work, is in the process of creating a new performing arts center better equipped to display it. In the meantime, from June 28 of this year until 2023, the fresco will be on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This richly illustrated article gives readers a close look at the complicated logistics of transporting a thirty-ton artwork.
“Roger Kimball introduces the June issue.”A new podcast from the Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion.
“The shape of democracy,” by Daniel N. Gulotta. A review of American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783–1850, by Alan Taylor.