The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog starts in my second year of working almost exclusively from the figure.

In the fall of 2015 I reintroduced still lifes and an occasional cityscape into my painting repertoire. Rather than abandon this figure blog or start a new one I decided to just add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from the live model.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Ruling Art Class

I'm going to take a brief detour from the figure to vent and unburden my heart. An institution that is very dear to me is going to be no more. The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC is being taken over by two larger better financed institutions and will cease to exist as an autonomous entity. I worked at the Corcoran in the early 1980's. It was the job that saved me. As a preparator I installed exhibitions and did whatever else the understaffed gallery required. My three years there equipped me with knowledge and skills that have proved invaluable in my art career and life. I met my wife there and made life-long friends.

I also saw from the inside the political and business sides of the institutional art world. During this time the age of the "blockbuster show" was going full tilt. Big crowds and bigger gift shops were trademarks of the day. Art became a vehicle for attracting and producing large sums of money to finance not just shows but also pet projects and extravagant futile expansion plans.

One Dollar Bill, acrylic/oil on panel, 7" X 9", 1992
Collection of Charles Tate

Many things happen in life that people have little or no control over. The demise of the Corcoran isn't one of them. I don't pretend to know the private financial situation of the Corcoran. But I know what I saw and heard from good sources over the years. The Corcoran was done in by the people who ran the place. The ruling art class for whom art is just a path to status and power. A shortsighted, feckless board and a string of incompetent, egotistical and often greedy directors brought down the Corcoran. A more thoughtful approach that valued art over the almighty dollar could have avoided this outcome.

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