by Jennifer Sheehan
Myron Barnstone, arguably one of the Lehigh Valley’s most influential artists and educators, believed that artists should not acquire their skills through replication of other artists’ pieces. His philosophy was that artists should undergo years of rigorous training, mastering the structured, geometric systems used by artists such as Picasso, Michelangelo and Da Vinci known as the Golden Section.
Barnstone held this belief so firmly that none of his own pieces, many of which were shown in major art galleries around the world, hung in his Coplay art school, where he taught for nearly 30 years.
To mark the one-year anniversary of Barnstone’s death, three never-before-displayed paintings by Barnstone will be on display during two events Oct. 20 and 21 at the former Barnstone Studios, 52 N. Second St. in Coplay.
Barnstone, who died Oct. 29, 2016 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at age 83, had a profound impact on the Valley art scene and helped launch the careers of many in both fine and commercial arts.
The three pieces that will be displayed are oils on canvas, with one being a favorite of Barnstone’s that he painted in 1972 and hung in his home in England. The pieces are untitled.
On Oct. 20, Bartnstone’s daughter, Catherine Barnstone Szafran, will unveil the pieces. Also, Lehigh Valley photographer Bill Stank will display 68 photos of additional Barnstone paintings in the third floor walk-up studio.
Barnstone’s pieces as well as those from some of his many students will be on display noon-4 p.m. Oct. 21. At 2 p.m., Roger Brinker, a student of Barnstone’s, will discuss Barnstone’s artistic lineage. Brinker teaches foundation and figure drawing, sculpture and contracted study at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts in Bethlehem.
Over three decades of his school, Barnstone taught about 70 students a semester, ranging from preteens to adults. He closed his studio in 2014 and he moved from Whitehall to Maryland, where he lived until his death.
Barnstone recorded his lectures, and they continue to be available online at BarnstoneStudios.com.
Since its founding in 2012, Unseen has moved quickly to define itself in the busy, ever-changing world of contemporary photography. At its inception, it was known as the “photo fair with a festival flair,” a much-needed injection of fun and freshness into the often overly serious and staid circuit of “serious” art fairs. At its core lay the “unseen” concept, which placed great emphasis on showing debut work from emerging talents or never-before-seen pieces from established names.
Now, Unseen is changing again—the annual photo fair will still occur but as part of a year-round platform of programming and opportunities for exposure. Guiding the organization’s artistic direction is the dynamic Emilia van Lynden (also a member of the jury for our Emerging Talent Awards 2017). In this interview, conducted via email with LensCulture’s managing editor Alexander Strecker, van Lynden discusses the importance of showing new work and the responsibilities that the photography community has towards supporting young artists. Continue reading.
Slant Rhymes is a photographic conversation between Alex Webb and poet and photographer Rebecca Norris Webb. Selected from photographs taken during the Webbs’ nearly 30-year friendship and later marriage and creative partnership, this group of 80 photographs are paired—one by Alex, one by Rebecca—to create a series of visual rhymes that talk to one another, often at a slant and in intriguing and revealing ways.
“Sometimes we find our photographic slant rhymes share a similar palette or tone or geometry”, writes Alex Webb in the introduction to the book. “Other times, our paired photographs strike a similar note—often a penchant for surreal or surprising or enigmatic moments—although often in two different keys. ”
The resultant book is an unfinished love poem, told at a slant. Here, the pair discuss their joint work in tandem, their poetically echoing images, presented side by side as in the book. Continue reading.
Over ten years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the project “Faubourg Tremé” focuses on the daily life of the population living in one of the most legendary and historical districts of New Orleans. When it comes to African-American culture in the city, Tremé lies at the heart.
Each Sunday, In historical times, the slaves would gather in the neighborhood's center, ”Congo Square,” and dance to the rhythm of the percussions from their long-lost, distant homelands. Later on, the “Creoles of color,” (freed blacks) would regularly put together brass concerts on the very same Square. Without knowing it, they were establishing the foundations of what would become one of the world’s most fertile music genres: jazz.
Recently, I decided to go back to Tremé in order to observe the daily life of the district’s contemporary inhabitants. I also went back 10 years after the Katrina disaster, curious to see what remained. I discovered that despite everything which had happened, music never left the city. Instead, it permeates all the aspects of local culture, blending into every facet of the city’s life: religion, education, tradition, bars and in the very streets themselves.
Particularly during special occasions, such as jazz funerals and carnival parades, the mixing of past and present becomes abundantly clear. Meanwhile, at night, when the darkness has fallen, areas far from the center begin to liven up. The lights of the bar create a unique aesthetic, and each venue offers a different vibe. Finally, during the yearly climax that is Mardi Gras, the entire city dances as one to the upbeat rhythms of the carnival and the parade’s “Indians.”
Over several separate visits to the city, I worked on different topics in order to understand how to work with this city and its unique population. Over time, I saw firsthand how music was and remains the people’s principle remedy against the bitterness and challenges of life.
This project aims to study the traditions and perseverance of these people who, after Katrina, were abandoned and left aside by all. It is a penetrating look at these men and women who continue to survive and thrive thanks to the sound of brass.
I hope my pictures convey the beauty of exaltation and fervor triggered by the eternal rhythms of New Orleans music. Continue reading.
By Casey Lesser
“What the heck does Impressionist art have to do with medical communication?”
It’s a question that Dr. Michael Flanagan often gets after telling people about “Impressionism and the Art of Communication,” the seminar he teaches to fourth-year medical students at the Penn State College of Medicine.
In the course, students complete exercises inspired by 19th-century painters like Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet, ranging from observation and writing activities to painting in the style of said artists. Through the process, they learn to better communicate with patients by developing insights on subjects like mental illness and cognitive bias.
Flanagan’s seminar speaks to a broader trend in medical education, which has become pronounced over the past decade: More and more, medical schools in the U.S. are investing in curriculum and programming around the arts. Professors argue that engaging in the arts during medical school, whether through required courses or extracurricular activities, is valuable in developing essential skills that doctors need, like critical thinking and observational and communication skills, as well as bias awareness and empathy.
While it’s become more common in recent years, some medical schools have been incorporating the arts into their curriculum for decades. Penn State, for example, was the first medical school in the U.S. to develop its own department of medical humanities, which launched with the school in 1967. And many schools have long required students to take reflective writing courses or interdisciplinary classes that tap into social sciences or the arts as part of graduation requirements. This coursework is meant to address a wide swathe of real-world scenarios, from medical decision-making to ethics. And within this framework, there’s room for the performing arts, music, literature, and visual arts, as vehicles to deliver lessons. Continue reading.
By Magnum Photos
Raymond Depardon first visited Bolivia in 1997 as a tourist on a family trip. La Paz, he says was like nowhere he had been before, its streets electric and mysterious, its dramatic history still seemingly hanging in the air. The fruit of five different trips to the country between 1997 and 2015, a new book brings together Depardon’s impressions of a place that has a timeless quality, where the rural and indigenous populations live primarily from the land.
Raymond Depardon’s black-and-white photography highlights the harsh beauty of the landscape, the ravaged faces he encountered, the omnipresent silhouettes of women, and the magic of age-old ancestral traditions. As he returned several times, the unique changes in the light throughout the seasons seemed to bring out more elements to discover within the long shadows of the narrow streets.
From the desert plains of Salar de’Uyuni and the mountain village of Tarabuco, to the serenity of Lake Titicaca, Raymond Depardon presents a journey filled with humanity, culminating in the discovery of Vallegrande, in the footsteps of Che Guevara, whose image has had a lasting and profound impact on the collective memory of the location.
Depardon’s documentation traces socio-political shifts, such as the slowing of migration from rural towns to cities, and the green shoots of promise as those towns begin to thrive. But each time he returned he found the spirit that he had experienced on his first visit prevailed. Each time, he said, he could feel the presence of Che Guevara “lurking in the shadows” and the lingering weight of the icon’s history. Many of Depardon’s photographs were taken along the “Che trail,” in fact.
Speaking earlier in 2017, Depardon said: “At a time when the trend is towards homogenization all over the planet, there is only one country, in my opinion, that still embodies the spirit of resistance: Bolivia. One of the few countries that have no direct access to the sea, Bolivia sits like a fortress in the middle of the Andes. Its inhabitants, who are rural for the most part, are the epitome of the resistance to globalization, whose effects are being felt throughout South America and the rest of the world. That is what is reflected in the photographs in my book Bolivia, published by the Foundation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain. I was encouraged more than once by the Foundation to travel to this country, whose spirit of resistance never ceases to amaze me.” Original article and more images.
This work and series of photographs is an exploration of my relationship to my family and community. The subjects of my pictures are my immediate family members, friends, and neighbors from the working-class neighborhood in New Jersey where I grew up.
There is a population in America that is forgotten. They aren’t “free” in the way that countless Americans are. Many people take it for granted that they can “pick themselves up by their bootstraps” and better themselves; for this group of Americans, however, that just isn’t true. Many struggle to be seen, to make ends meet, to feel worthy of the comforts that others can easily (even thoughtlessly) afford.
Some of my images are documents—moments that unfolded before the camera. Others are created from memory or reinvented fictions that strive for a different truth—one that is in conversation with the history of painting and photography. But all deal with the struggles of the working class, the cycle of addiction, deficits in education and an undercurrent of bigotry that defines the America in which I was raised. Continue to see more images.
Common Characteristics of Good Paintings
Good painters don’t merely recreate what is in front of them. An experienced artist knows how to create a successful painting, no matter what situation or model he or she is presented with or the materials being worked with.
Of course, this often comes after years of practice and experimentation — as well as the development of a unique artistic voice. But there are some basic characteristics that all good paintings have in common. As you are thinking about just how to paint your next composition, keep the following three tips in mind.
1. A Strong Focal Point
A focal point is not like the big, bold “X” that marks the spot on a treasure map. It can take on any shape and size. It can be bold, but it can also be subtle. A dappling of light, a pop of color, an expression or emphatic gesture — any of these can become a focal point in a composition.
Regardless of how it is created, its purpose should be to engage the viewer or act as the culmination of the momentum built in the work. Continue reading.
BY Alex Greenberger POSTED 10/04/17 10:09 AM
For New Yorkers, a memorable role as a mysterious spirit in Twin Peaks: The Return won’t be David Bowie’s only notable posthumous appearance to celebrate. “David Bowie Is,” a traveling exhibition devoted to the British pop star, will take up residence at the Brooklyn Museum next year from March 2 through July 15. The show first opened in 2013 in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum and has continued touring—and breaking attendance records—around the world.
In its previous incarnations, “David Bowie Is” has included as many 300 objects, among them album covers, costumes, videos, handwritten song lyrics, and ephemera. The blockbuster exhibition has covered Bowie’s prolific career, from his early experiments with music as a child through his most recent albums—and even, in some versions, his death in 2016.
BBC News reported in November 2016 that more than 1.5 million people had seen the exhibition. It has so far shown in 11 countries, including France, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Following a showing in 2014 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum will be the second American venue for the exhibition.
The coming show is not the Brooklyn Museum’s first major venture with David Bowie. In 1999, Bowie became the subject of controversy as one of several donors who had funded the museum’s notorious exhibition “Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection.” According to a New York Times report at the time, Bowie had given $75,000 to the show, which featured artists whose work Bowie himself owned—thus making him a potential beneficiary of the museum’s activities. (Bowie was named one of ARTnews’s “Top 200 Collectors” on several occasions.)
“There is only one famous person in the book,” says Chris Steele-Perkins of his photobook The Pleasure Principle. “It was a deliberate choice as I wanted the book to be about ‘ordinary’ people. The one exception is Margaret Thatcher as she defined Britain in the 80s in a way nobody else did. I could argue that while she is clearly center frame, the photograph is as much about the acolytes and her effect on them than it is about her. The photo was taken at the Conservative Party ball in Blackpool at the moment she made her entrance. I think I made a couple of frames before being pushed and elbowed aside by the mob of fans, press, and security.”
The Tate has recently acquired vintage prints of Steele-Perkins’ documentation of the English at play for its permanent collection (read Tate’s story here.). To mark the occasion, Steele-Perkins looks back at the work and discusses the images that, to this day, still capture his attention. To complete our time-capsule from the 1980s, the original introduction to the book, published in 1989, recalls the epoch-specific “public rituals we employ in the pursuit of happiness” from a hedonistic decade, and how the photographer navigated Britain from an almost outsider’s perspective. Continue reading.