Untitled (Malcolm X) – 2008
Glenn Ligon – American
Acrylic, vinyl based paint, and graphite on paper mounted on fiberboard
Untitled (Malcolm X) is the result of a workshop Glenn Ligon conducted. He presented children with 1970s-era coloring books that had an agenda — to “normalize images of Black Americans to make them part of history. But to a 3-year-old, none of that matters,” he recalls. Eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick on the man once deemed the most dangerous in America by the New York City Police Department may seem transgressive, but the irreverence intrigued Ligon. He silkscreened the image onto canvas, then faithfully painted the Muslim minister, activist, and black nationalist leader just as the child colored him.
The Mirror (1966)
Fairfield Porter (1907-1975)
American, oil on canvas
Fairfield Porter’s The Mirror explores the complex relationship between reality and illusion. In this image, the artist depicts himself painting a portrait of his ten-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Her gaze, from within the illusionistic space of the canvas, acknowledges the viewer’s presence in “real space”. Simultaneously, the artist’s reflection in the mirror establishes another level of space that is neither ours nor Elizabeth’s.
Porter entered the art world just as the Abstract Expressionists were gaining international recognition. Yet he retained a commitment to the figure and to the traditional painting subjects: landscapes, interiors, still lifes, and portraits.
Soldier with Death before a Carousel
Graphite and oil on poster board
‘Artist Arthur Kraft’s experience in World War II influenced Soldier with Death before a Carousel (ca. 1947-51). In this painting, a skeleton wearing a helmet and boots holds a champagne flute. This image likely symbolizes the alcohol abuse many veterans face as a result of their traumatic experiences at war. Both Kraft and the artist Marcus Jansen utilize symbolism in their works. Kraft uses the champagne flutes, figures representing death, and white doves; Jansen depicts empty dishes and a few coins in Empty Plates (2007) to emphasize the economic effects of war on communities, families, and individuals. These signs and symbols reveal personal and universal reflections on war across generations.’
Pink Tint (2017)
Digital print from the series Flora and Fauxna
Patty Carroll – American
What was said to the Rose
What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.
What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was
whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever
was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them
so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is
being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.
The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,
in love with the one to whom every that belongs!
~ Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
‘Rumi the Book of Love – poems of ecstasy and longing’.
Translated by Coleman Barks
Being a lover means your heart must ache,
No sickness hurts as much as when hearts break,
The lover’s ailment’s totally unique,
Love is the astrolabe of all we seek,
Whether you feel divine or earthly love,
Ultimately we’re destined for above.
To capture love whatever words I say
Make me ashamed when love arrives my way,
While explanation sometimes makes things clear
True love through silence only one can hear:
The pen would smoothly write the things it knew
But when it came to love it split in two,
A donkey stuck in mud is logic’s fate—
Love’s nature only love can demonstrate:
Sunshine reveals its nature in each ray,
So if it’s proof you want just look this way!
Shadows can indicate what’s shining bright
But it’s the sun which fills your soul with light
“Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, is the only Kansas City-area venue to host Frida Kahlo’s Garden, an in-depth exhibition focusing on the influences and inspirations behind Frida Kahlo’s (1907–1954) body of work.” Here’s a sampling of that exhibit which is both biographical and educational.
I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book. His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.
I sat down beside him and asked:
What are you doing here?
He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:
It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him.
My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example.
My mother wanted me to be the image of her beloved father.
My sister always set her husband before me as an example of the successful man.
My brother tried to train me up to be a fine athlete like himself.
And the same thing happened at school, with the piano teacher and the English teacher — they were all convinced and determined that they were the best possible example to follow.
None of them looked at me as one should look at a man, but as if they were looking in a mirror.
So I decided to enter this asylum. At least here I can be myself.
– Khalil Gibran