Window Seat

For me a glass is a transparent wall located between my heart and the heart of the world.
—Marc Chagall

Window views on the same day in Metz, France:
The 13th century Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Metz, known as “The Good Lord’s Lantern” for its nearly 6500 m2 of stained glass, including these scenes above designed in1958 by Marc Chagall.

And a 21st century picture-window view from the Pompidou Center.



“I feel great bein’ an artist.” —Nellie Mae Rowe

Nellie Mae Rowe

A drawing from a marvelous selection of Outsider and Visionary Art recently on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans by Nellie Mae Rowe: a self–taught artist born in Fayetteville, Georgia in 1900. She was always interested in art, but plunged fully into her work after the death of her second husband in 1948.

Her vibrant works express thoughts and emotions through flowers, farm animals, fish, birds, shotgun houses, churches, colorful people and fantasy figures. Using every available surface and a variety of materials, her works are nostalgic, deeply spiritual and full of humor. She believed her work was a gift from the Lord and worked until her death in 1982.

I would take nothin’
and make somethin’ out of it.
Ever since I was a child,
I’ve been that way.

Seems like God gives everybody a talent and I guess makin’ little stuffs is mine.
And people comes from near and far to see my little junks.
Folks like to see them and I like to see folks.

—Nellie Mae Rowe, quoted from Ninety-nine and a Half Won’t Do by Lee Kogan

Starlings and sparrows and koi, oh my!

Based on the paintings of Ben Snead



Mosaic Glass Installation
Jay Street Metrotech Subway Station, Brooklyn
Based on the paintings of Ben Snead

Larger-than-real-life glass mosaic creatures at the Jay Street / Metrotech station in Brooklyn: long walls of mosaic beetles and birds and parrots combined with black and white rasterized prints of bugs on shiny white tile. They are based on the paintings of Ben Snead. Find more frogs, spiders, insects, fish, birds, heads, eyeballs and elbows at his website. Very cool.

They put me in mind of Charley Harper’s amazing animal kingdom artworks, available now on everything from dish towels to puzzles.

Hilma af Klint – Pioneer of Abstraction

The Ten Largest, No. 3 Youth Group IV, 1907 by Hilma af Klint 324 x 240 cm

The Ten Largest, No. 3
Youth Group IV, 1907
by Hilma af Klint

I became aware of Hilma af Klint about 15 years ago from an essay and photo of her work published in a museum catalog entitled “The Spiritual in Art”. I had only seen four or five small paintings at the Modern Museum in Stockholm, though I looked for her work and more information about her many times over the years. I knew she was from Sweden and worked in the early part of the 20th century and that she was way ahead of her time – even before other pioneers of abstraction in Russia and Europe such as Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian. She didn’t exhibit her abstract paintings in public and had specified that they could not be shown until after her death.

How thrilled I was to see that Moderna Museet Stockholm put on a huge show in Spring 2013 of over 200 pieces of her works (out of a collection of around 1000). It was stunning and well-selected. She worked quickly and in very large scale – a whole series of paintings are over three meters tall. She believed that as a medium she received the abstract paintings from her higher consciousness. Not unusual now, but way radical for her time. From an aesthetic perspective her paintings are as wild and fresh as anything you’d see produced today and full of her own rich symbolism.

There is still a chance to see her work in “real life” in 2013 – 2014:
Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum in Berlin
June 15 – October 6, 2013

Museo Picasso Málaga
October 21, 2013 – February 9, 2014