Art & Literature Reviews

Ancient Nepali art on display

Ancient Nepali art on display

The intricate Mithila art is made up of hundreds, maybe thousands, of fine lines and details, depicting human figures with proportionately large eyes and noses, telling the stories of the rituals, customs and everyday life in the ancient Mithila region.

The Huntington adds highlights to its American collection

The Huntington adds highlights to its American collection

Gainsborough's "Blue Boy," Thomas Lawrence's "Pinkie," landscapes by Constable and Turner: British art from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries will always be a hallmark of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Yet the institution's collection of American art,...

Joan Quinn portrait exhibit spotlights artist's champion

Joan Quinn portrait exhibit spotlights artist's champion

Like all creative types, artists often benefit from the largesse of others. Genuine patrons of the arts, though, are scarce these days. The N.E.A., charitable foundations and corporate grants have largely replaced benefactors of earlier times like collector Peggy Guggenheim or new music doyenne...

Music pours life into artist's work

Music pours life into artist's work

When you wander through the show of acrylic constructions by artist Megan Madzoeff at the Offramp Gallery in Pasadena, don't be surprised if the nonrepresentational images bring to mind impressions of music. Strictly speaking, it's not what she has in mind, but the 38-year-old Madzoeff understands...

Taking a tour through the past at Museums of the Arroyo

Taking a tour through the past at Museums of the Arroyo

You may know that those colorful Victorian houses visible from the Arroyo Seco Parkway (the old Pasadena Freeway) are all part of the Heritage Square Museum. You may have visited the 1908 Arts and Crafts Gamble House once or checked out an exhibit at the Southwest Museum — 100 years old this...

Enjoy this 'Lion' while it roars

Enjoy this 'Lion' while it roars

Ah, Christmas at home in the 12th century with Henry II and family. Dinner, a little tree-trimming... and threats of fratricide, patricide and war, fueled by marital malice: What could be cozier? (“What shall we hang, the holly or each other?” asks Henry).

Getting to know the artist behind Gonzo

Getting to know the artist behind Gonzo

For decades, artist Ralph Steadman was author Hunter S. Thompson's main collaborator in the creation of Gonzo journalism, as it appeared in startling drawings in the books "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "The Curse of Lono" and elsewhere. The art took a hilariously dark view of American politics...

Portraits of intimacy at the Norton Simon

Portraits of intimacy at the Norton Simon

Regardless of size, a good art show can transport an audience outside of its everyday reality and into another space of consciousness, however briefly. If a small-scale exhibition does this, the possibility of a meaningful emotional connection between a viewer and the artist increases exponentially....

Play and replay

Play and replay

“Everyone dies with secrets, why can’t I?” Convalescing at home after a fall, Lilith Fischer, age 87, is snappish with her son on the phone, rude to her in-home aide and determined to keep the memories of her youth buried.

Pasadena painter's traveling show knocks the ball out of the park

Pasadena painter's traveling show knocks the ball out of the park

To call the sandy-haired Terry Cannon a baseball fan is to damn with faint praise. He's a baseball obsessive. But Cannon is no Rain Man with batting averages, career wins and losses, and career RBIs rolling around in his head. He's fascinated with the little-known sociopolitical aspects of the...

Glendale artist's work featured at Art Share L.A.'s Black Panther exhibit

Glendale artist's work featured at Art Share L.A.'s Black Panther exhibit

When the Black Panthers in Los Angeles fought for change in the 1970s they started with the soil, planting an edible oasis in the heart of South Central. Today at 34th Street in Exposition Park, a garden dubbed Community Services Unlimited still draws neighbors together, inspiring an image of love...

True film buffs know them by name

True film buffs know them by name

Cemeteries aren't usually thought of as hotbeds of activity, but last Saturday night at the Forest Lawn Museum, atop the memorial park's Glendale grounds, proved the exception. As a blues band blared and colored lights splashed off the white walls of an adjacent chapel, several hundred guests ate,...

Alfred Ramos Martinez: A modernist who revered the peasant class

Alfred Ramos Martinez: A modernist who revered the peasant class

Lester Bowie, the late Art Ensemble of Chicago trumpeter, once dissected how Louis Armstrong purveyed his art in American culture: "The true revolutionary that's out waving a gun in the streets is never effective; the police just arrest him. But the police don't ever know about the one that smiles...

Peter Adams: Between the sun and the darkness

Peter Adams: Between the sun and the darkness

Artist Peter Adams likes a challenge. He has passions and procedures that make his paintings significantly more difficult than they might otherwise be. Known for his landscapes, Adams often likes to paint in nature, trying to capture a piece of the changing light. That's not terribly unique but as...

A balanced mission statement: Junípero Serra exhibit at the Huntington Library

A balanced mission statement: Junípero Serra exhibit at the Huntington Library

If you missed it over the summer or fall, there's still time to explore the remarkable exhibition, "Junípero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions," at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

Goya risked art's edges to capture Spanish society

Goya risked art's edges to capture Spanish society

If it's a truism that art reflects the surroundings and the time that it's made, there's another accompanying truth equally durable: All artists have to navigate in the surroundings they work in. Da Vinci could schmooze wealthy patrons, and Michelangelo had no talent for it. Pollock's exposed-...

Charles Phoenix: Celebrating that SoCal style

Charles Phoenix: Celebrating that SoCal style

Charles Phoenix, humorist, author, food-crafter and gleeful guide to pop culture at its kitschiest and most off-beat, will serve up his one-of-a-kind look at mid-20th century building design in “Charles Phoenix: Architecture in LA!” on Sunday at Art Center College of Design's Ahmanson...

Works deliver Bob Zoell's unique, spot-on design

Works deliver Bob Zoell's unique, spot-on design

If you should wander into the Boone Art Gallery at Pasadena City College, you'll see a grouping of large paintings that, at first glance, could be the work of a child. So simple are the spare arrangements of different colored circles and ovals in the show.

Pottery collection casts an eye on continuity

Pottery collection casts an eye on continuity

The modern art of the 20th Century didn't arrive fully formed without antecedents. In the case of the Art Deco movement of the 1920s, the style drew on the geometry, sleekness and minimalism of classicism. While Deco may have had a primary stronghold in Germany's Bauhaus, its gospel spread far and...

A Renaissance origin story: Huntington exhibit demonstrates Flemish influence on Florence

A Renaissance origin story: Huntington exhibit demonstrates Flemish influence on Florence

If you've ever snoozed through art history classes, you probably heard a lot about the Italian Renaissance. The lectures in those courses often give the impression that something in the national Italian character, coupled with the rise of a prosperous middle class, resulted in an unprecedented...

A century of color and variation: The Latin American art world

A century of color and variation: The Latin American art world

The small exhibition installed in the alcove gallery near the ticket desk at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is somewhat unexpected. In recognition of Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, an institution noted for the depth of its European, Indian and Southeast Asian collections has mounted a...

Taking the Offramp to art

Taking the Offramp to art

When it comes to art openings, Southern California audiences have a shared experience. It usually involves driving a fair distance and arriving at the exhibition space with an attendant amount of stress. Once inside, a visitor is often greeted by steely-eyed art-types in mandatory black attire, each...

Glendale City Council OKs cowboy cutouts

Glendale City Council OKs cowboy cutouts

A life-size cutout of Clint Eastwood in cowboy garb won’t be the only likeness of a western star to become city property.

Rude imagination: Lurid, horrific artwork blends B-movie sensibility with professional design

Rude imagination: Lurid, horrific artwork blends B-movie sensibility with professional design

At a towering 6 feet 4, artist Bill Rude is a figure somewhat akin to the grotesque and menacing characters which populate his extraordinary work. A full-time effects, graphics and animation professional in film and television, Rude leads a shadowy Jekyll & Hyde double life, dividing his time...

The nuances of Korean digital media at Pacific Asia Museum

The nuances of Korean digital media at Pacific Asia Museum

Our national art consciousness has long had at least a vague sense of contemporary art (and a few individual artists) in Asia.

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Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

I have to admit that when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States back in 2008, it seemed not only historic but incredibly exciting to everyone in my liberal-minded circle. A black...

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