Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why not live with art you love?

I’m the kind of person who walks into your home and heads straight for your bookshelves and artwork. I can’t help it. As an art historian, I’m always avid to see more art, and as a mystery lover, I’m always curious to see what common threads I can identify in the books and artworks.

Your choice of art is, of course, a very personal matter. What you like will depend both on what’s in a particular artwork and on your experiences and values. If Michelangelo’s David looks like the bully who beat you up in high school, you’re not likely to want a reproduction of him in your home. No one can or should tell you what you ought to like.

But what if you want to own more art, and don’t know where to start looking?

Based on my years studying art history, my knowledge of esthetics (my writing and research are based on Ayn Rand’s esthetic theory), and my familiarity with art galleries and online sources for buying art, I’m offering my services as an art consultant. If you’ve had the same works on your wall for so long that you don’t really see them any more, or if you have wall space you’d like to fill, I can help. Together we can look at your favorite works and figure out what other artists or periods you might like to explore or live with, in your home or office.

My charge per hour for these consultations is less than the latest edition of Janson’s History of Art a framed 18 x 24” giclee print of the David. Email for details:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Forgotten Delights in the NY Times blog

I'm quoted in the City Room section of today's New York Times blog, in an article on a bust of Aristotle that was just dedicated in Queens. Sewell Chan, who writes the column, read Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan last year and loved it, and now calls me when he needs background on older sculpture in NYC. The article is at Incidentally, traveling to Queens is not a life-threatening experience - if you want to visit Aristotle in Astoria, you can expect to return unscathed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

HBO's John Adams & the monument to the Montgolfier balloon ascension

Those of you who saw the John Adams miniseries on HBO this past Sunday may remember the scene in which Jefferson and the Adamses watched the ascension of a balloon in Paris in late 1783. Even in an era when scientific discoveries were being made with astonishing rapidity, the development of the world's first flying machine ranked as an awe-inspiring event. Wikipedia has an account of the Montgolfier balloon ascension, with an illustration that looks very much like the balloon that appeared in the Adams series. (Nice to know the producers did their homework.)

One of my favorite 18th-c. sculptures in the Metropolitan Museum is a terracotta model over 5 feet high for a monument commemorating this ascension. It’s surmounted by a hot-air balloon and a figure of Fame blowing her trumpet. On its base, absurdly energetic putti (cupids) feed the flames that keep the balloon aloft. This is an exuberantly ornate work, one of the few sculptures in the Metropolitan that still makes me giggle with glee. If you visit the museum, look for it in the room directly behind Canova's Perseus, who now guards the main entrance to the Petrie Court. In my whirlwind tour of 4000 years of sculpture at the Metropolitan I always regret not being able to spend more time on this piece.

Incidentally, I was worried that the John Adams series would be yet another made-for-TV smear job, diminishing the Founding Fathers to the Neighboring Nitwits. However, there are enough substantial quotes from Adams, Jefferson, Washington and others to bring the series up to a thought-provoking level, and the production is very well done and extremely well acted. If you've missed it, HBO is rerunning the first 4 parts on Friday, April 4th. The 5th episode (of 7) will be broadcast Sunday April 6th.
Sorry about the blurry photo: the Metropolitan Museum doesn't allow flash photography, and doesn't have an image on its site that I can link to.