Sunday, October 25, 2009

Giorgio De Chirico: Mystery and Creation

" To become truly immortal a work of art must escape all human limits: Logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the regions of childhood vision and dreams. " Giorgio De Chirico
Source Goldwater, R & Treves, M. 1976 Artists on Art, From the 14th to the 20th Century. John Murray

Saturday, October 17, 2009

November 22, 2003-March 14, 2004
The Art of David Ireland: The Way Things Are
Great Hall
Presented by the Art Department

David Ireland virtual feature

Exhibition sponsors

David Ireland, Angel-Go-Round, 1996, installation view from exhibition at Oakland Museum of California, 2003-04. Fiberglass and cast concrete figures, motor, and nyon belting. 22 x 25 feet diameter. Courtesy of the artist; Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California; and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photograph by: M. Lee Fatherree.
"You can’t make art by making art" has been a guiding principle in the work of David Ireland, one of California's most important and critically acclaimed artists working in the challenging arena of conceptual and installation art. "Ideally my work has a visual presence that makes it seem like part of a usual, everyday situation," he says. "I like the feeling that nothing's been designed, that you can't tell where the art stops and starts."

The Oakland Museum of California exhibition surveys three decades of the work of this key figure in the conceptual art movement. The Art of David Ireland: The Way Things Are, the first in-depth assessment of Ireland's art and its ongoing significance, is on view to March 14, 2004.

The exhibition features approximately 80 works created between 1972 and 2002, including four large-scale installations, 30 sculptures and 47 two-dimensional pieces. Included is a wide range of work demonstrating Ireland's adventuresome sense of creativity, from drawings made of cement and dirt to a motorized sculpture and a wooden chair 18 feet high. Ireland has been directly involved in the exhibition's installation, "activating the space" and creating relationships among his works of the past 30 years.

David Ireland virtual feature

The exhibition also includes a video program featuring Ireland and his home—a San Francisco Victorian described by one writer as an "environmental-sculpture-in-progress"—and a reading room for visitors to learn more about the artist.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown said of Ireland's work, "David Ireland is one of this country's most influential conceptual artists, an artist of the enigmatic commonplace whose provocative, idiosyncratic art is like a Zen Koan. He makes us see that art is all around us and we need only to stop and look.''

David Ireland, Big Reading Chair, 2003; Drywall and paint; Courtesy of the artist; Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California; and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; photo by: M. Lee Fatherree.

Good Hope, 1991 Copper, wire, broom, concrete, and wood stool; Collection of University of California, Berkeley Art Museum; purchase made possible by a bequest from Therese Bonney, Class of 1916; photo by: Benjamin Blackwell.
Over the past 30 years, David Ireland has produced a remarkable series of architectural transformations, installations, objects and drawings that consistently challenge viewers' everyday distinctions between art and non-art. A self-described "post-discipline" artist guided by Zen thought and postmodern aesthetics, Ireland moves fluidly from making small drawings to creating sculptures as large as houses. The exhibition features early two-dimensional works from the 1970s, made of dirt, talcum and cement, that have been rarely seen since they were created but are important in foreshadowing Ireland's later work. More recent two- and three-dimensional pieces reflect his wide-ranging interests, from exploration of the phenomenon of chance to his interest in process and history.

One of the artworks for which Ireland is perhaps best known is his home in San Francisco. In 1975, he purchased a run-down Victorian at 500 Capp Street and spent the next three years working on it. While he did not initially intend to create a work of art, he gradually began to perceive his actions in cleaning and restoring the house as an artistic performance, equating his moves with those of any painter or sculptor. He approached his tasks — stripping wallpaper, polishing floors, sanding trim and repairing the sidewalk — with a deliberate respect and finesse that for him fixed his actions firmly in the realm of art. When he repaired the sidewalk in front of his home, Ireland videotaped it as though it were an artistic performance. The house is filled with sculptures made out of "non-art" materials, including old brooms, bent wire, cement and wet paper.

Ireland was born in Bellingham, Washington, in 1930. He received his bachelor's degree in industrial design and printmaking from Oakland's California College of Arts and Crafts in 1953. He returned to school in the early 1970s, studying plastics technology and printmaking at Laney College and receiving a master of fine arts degree in printmaking in 1974 from the San Francisco Art Institute. His studio is currently located in Oakland.

He did not fully commit himself to art until he was in his early 40s, after traveling extensively around the world and working as an architectural draftsman, carpenter, designer, businessman and African safari guide. The exhibition looks at how these early life experiences have been influential, resulting, for example, in the reference to elephants in his works, the claiming of architecture as art, and the open-ended sense of exploration that is the foundation for his work.

Other Id, 1992 Branded alder wood, glass, metal, paint & pillow; Collection of Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford
University, Stanford, California; Modern and Contemporary Art Fund,1998.109.a-d; photo by: M. Lee Fatherree.
David Ireland's work has been presented in more than 40 solo exhibitions, at venues including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. He has created major art projects and private commissions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other cities. His work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Oakland Museum of California, and the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, among others.

Curator of The Art of David Ireland: The Way Things Are is Karen Tsujimoto, senior curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California. Ms. Tsujimoto has more than 25 years experience in the organization of exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, and in 1985 organized David Ireland: A Decade Documented, 1975-1985 for the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 248-page catalog published by The University of California Press. The catalog contains 140 color and black-and-white illustrations along with essays on the development and significance of Ireland's work by the exhibition curator and Jennifer R. Gross, Seymour H. Knox, Jr. Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery.The catalogue is available in OMCA's online store.

The exhibition, catalog and all public programs are made possible with generous support from the Oakland Museum Women's Board; National Endowment for the Arts; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York; Ann Hatch and Paul Discoe; Paule Anglim; Agnes Bourne and Dr. James Luebbers; Nancy and Steven Oliver; and Friends of David Ireland.

Following its premiere in Oakland, the exhibition will travel to the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts (April 17 - July 18, 2004); Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska, Lincoln (August 21 - November 14, 2004); and Santa Barbara Museum of Art (December 11, 2004 - March 15, 2005).

For press information see

© 2003 Oakland Museum of California | Credits |Phone: 510-238-2200

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sea Dream-by Cicely Fox Smith

Why did I dream last night, I wonder, about the ship Ledore
I made a passage in from China — was it 'eighty-three or four —
And left in the East India Basin, and after saw no more?

I thought we were off the Pescadores, waiting a breeze from the land;
There were some fishing junks becalmed there, and nets spread out on the sand;
The sun had left the sky one glory, the sea was flat as your hand.

It was just like looking at a picture, I saw it all so clear;
Little things I'd long since forgotten about her rig and her gear,
And shipmates' faces I hadn't thought of for many and many a year.

I could see them all as plain as daylight — and then some fellow spoke,
"Here comes the wind," he said, "by thunder!" — the sea all round us broke
Into a hundred thousand wrinkles, and on the word I woke.

There was nothing out of the way about her so far as I recall;
She wasn't out of common handsome or fast or smart or tall;
There was no one in the crowd to remember — they were chaps like most, that's all.

We'd nothing much in the way of weather out of the usual kind;
The times we had they were like most times, goods uns and bad combined,
And nothing ever happened on board her to make her stick in your mind.

Just the same old round of sailorizing that us old shellbacks know,
The old hauling of sheets and braces in the Doldrums to and fro,
The old jobs aloft in the Tropics when the good trade-winds blow.

Reefing and furling, wheel and lookout, shifting and bending sail,
Tallying on to the topsail halyards, snugging down in a gale,
And an old song in the dog-watches and an old seaman's tale.

I went with never a look behind me, and glad to leave her too,
When we made her fast in the dock basin and the mate said, "That'll do!"
And it's rum I should have dreamed about her, of all the ships I knew!
From SAILOR'S DELIGHT, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Methuen & Co., London, UK, © 1931, pp. 70-73.

Here we have the old sailor musing over why he dreamed so vividly about a particular ship and crew he sailed on when there was nothing remarkable about her, his crewmates, or the voyage.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Odilon Redon - Quote

"I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly quote: My line is childlike but not childish. It is very difficult to fake.. to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child's line. It has to be felt.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hans Hoffman -- Exploring with color.

"The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color." Hans Hoffman

Thursday, October 1, 2009


This is one of my current paintings. Size is 24 X 30.