Art

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

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Zapatistas Clemente Orozcos 1931 

A stupendous show at the Whitney Museum explores the profound impact of Mexican painters — the meeting and mingling that enriched American culture.  From floated proposal to finished product, “Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945” at the Whitney Museum of American Art represents a decade of hard thought and labor, and the effort has paid off. The show is stupendous, and complicated, and lands right on time. Just by existing it accomplishes three vital things. It reshapes a stretch of art history to give credit where credit is due. It suggests that the Whitney is, at last, en route to fully embracing “American Art.”

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The Art of Peter Max 

Peter Max (born Peter Max Finkelstein, October 19, 1937) is a German-American artist known for using bright colours in his work. Works by Max are associated with the visual arts and culture of the 1960s, particularly psychedelic art and pop art.  Max, the son of German Jews, fled Berlin in 1938, settling in Shanghai, China, where they lived for the next ten years. In 1948, the family moved to Haifa, Israel where they lived for several years. From Israel, the family continued moving westward and stopped in Paris for several months—an experience that Max said greatly influenced his appreciation for art—eventually settling in Brooklyn, N.Y.C.

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  statue of liberty face hi

The United States has debated immigration since the country's founding, and the Statue of Liberty—a potent symbol for immigrants—is often invoked as an argument for why we should usher in those who seek safety and opportunity with open arms. A little-known fact about Lady Liberty adds an intriguing twist to today's debate about refugees from the Muslim world: according to the Smithsonian Institute the statue itself was originally intended to represent a female Egyptian peasant as a Colossus of Rhodes for the Industrial Age. That might be surprising to people more familiar with the statue’s French roots than its Arab ones.

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Cochinilla Red 

Truly vibrant red was elusive for many years: until a mysterious dye was discovered in Mexico and how a crushed bug became a sign of wealth and status. Although scarlet is the colour of sin in the Old Testament, the ancient world’s elite was thirsty for red, a symbol of wealth and status. They spent fantastic sums searching for ever more vibrant hues, until Hernán Cortés and the conquistadors discovered an intoxicatingly saturated pigment in the great markets of Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. Made from the crushed-up cochineal insect, the mysterious dye launched Spain toward its eventual role as an economic superpower and became one of the New World’s primary exports, as a red craze descended on Europe. .

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 costa

Olga Costa was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1913, at the outset of World War I. Her parents, Jacobo Kostakowsky and Ana Falvisant Bovglarevokeylandel, were immigrants who had fled czarist Russia to escape persecution of the Jews. Costa and her younger sister Lya were raised in Berlin, where their father, a violinist and composer, exposed them to the arts at a young age. But after the end of the war, her family, along with many other Russians, fled Germany. In 1925 they set sail from the French port of Saint-Nazaire, arriving in Veracruz, Mexico later that year.