Rodin’s Visceral Vision

Rodin Sculpture

Rodin surrounded by plasterworks in his studio. Photographed by Eugène Druet Ph.203. 10 × 10 in. (25.6 × 25.2cm).

The new Musée Rodin book does an excellent job of framing Rodin’s multi-faceted legacy. It covers the artist’s beginnings, historical contexts, studio practice, and artistic achievements, including the surprising fact that Rodin failed the École des Beaux-Arts sculpture admissions test three times and largely developed his sculpture practice on his own. Due to space limitations, my review will address three facets not fully fleshed out in this well-illustrated volume: why Camille Claudel’s role is still under-explored;  how Rodin enlarged the platform for sculpture and public art as he ushered in subjects lacking conventional beauty and frontal male nudity; and how his erotic art challenged the sexual taboos of his era (and even our own). Continue reading

Starving to Successful


By way of justifying his art college’s lack of business of art courses, the former chair of the fine arts department at Ringling School of Art & Design, once told me that “our faculty are all practicing, exhibiting artists who know very well what it takes to make it in the art world.” Presumably, just the presence of these teaching artists and the example they set would provide their students all the information they needed. However, that claim is difficult to test. Certainly, art faculty don’t lose their jobs if they haven’t had a show or sold a work of art in many years, and no one would want that to be the criteria for evaluating an instructor. Continue reading

Code of Best Practices

Code of Best Practices Fair Use Sculpture

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts by The College Art Association

The College Art Association’s (CAA) newly published pamphlet, Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, is intended as a guide to assist visual arts professionals in understanding the principle of “fair use” first set forth in the 1976 Copyright Law as it relates to current practice in creative and scholarly work. Over the last two years, a series of focus groups made up of a broad spectrum of practitioners including artists and designers, art and architectural historians, curators and museum professionals, editors, educators and scholars gathered in closed meetings in New York, Washington D.C., Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles to develop commonly shared guidelines and standards in their respected fields. Continue reading

Unfolding the Archive Review

Sarah Carne Sculpture

Installation shot of “I’m Looking for Barbara” by Sarah Carne. Image by writer

There is something quite apt about making an artist’s book in response to an archive – beyond the more obvious similarities of physical format. Both sit in the traditional sense as prescript systemisations, located on the periphery of art making; they are often awkward realms where old material is circled or shoehorned.  Continue reading

Playing to the Gallery

Playing to the Gallery Grayson Perry

Images from “Playing to the Gallery” by Grayson Perry. Photo taken by writer

Playing to the Gallery is the published and polished version of Grayson Perry’s Reith lectures. Whilst the BBC Radio 4 talks are widely acclaimed in the media, Perry is, to some extent, a dividing figure. The Turner prize winner has been the go-to presenter of Channel 4 art programmes for several years, a highly exposed and irreverent middleman between notions of the gallery and the general British public. Continue reading

Beverly Pepper: Monumenta


Beverly Pepper’s catalogue Monumenta opens with an introduction by art historian and curator Robert Hobbs, “Beverly Pepper: Time as Space,” in which he situates Pepper’s work within the critical context provided by Henri Bergson, André Malraux, and Walter Benjamin. The continuum of time and space and their indivisibility are apparent in Pepper’s works, which are often monumental—if not in size, in presence—and integrated with their surroundings, the materials of the sculptures interacting and changing with their environment over time. Continue reading