Art History

Sunday in the Park with George on Broadway

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Sunday in the Park with George on Broadway

On a sunny Saturday in April, I was fortunate to see the hit Broadway musical, Sunday in the Park with George, performed at the newly refurbished Hudson Theater in New York City. While I’ve seen a local production in Philadelphia, own the dvd with the original cast of Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, and have the cast soundtrack, I’ve never seen the production on Broadway. Sunday in the Park with George is a musical with lyrics by the amazing Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine.  The musical is inspired by the Neo-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat and his most famous pointillist painting, Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The story revolves around, George, played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the current Broadway production, and Dot/Marie, played by Annaleigh Ashford. The first act involves a fictionalized George Seurat during the 2-year time period when he worked on his most famous painting and Dot, a female in the painting and George’s model muse.  Dot is in love with George while he is only in love with his art. As various characters from the painting come to life off the canvas, they spotlight the intense focus of the painter to create paintings that combine his love of art and science.  This inventive way of painting was not supported by the art establishment of the time. The second act portrays the great-grandson of the late George Seurat, also played by Gyllenhaal, who himself is a struggling contemporary artist.  The young George, who has seen success with his sculptural light installations, now struggles with creating new works of art that will be financially supported and accepted into the art world. Jake Gyllenhaal, who stars as both George’s was fabulous. One of the biggest treats to see was that Jake sketched, just as the real Georges Seurat would, during the entire first act.  Annaleigh Ashford, who played the role of Dot/Marie, was fantastic while the rest of the cast brought each character to life wonderfully.  The sparse set design allowed the beautiful costuming to take center stage. As an undergrad student, I was introduced to Georges Seurat in an art history course and have been in love ever since.  As someone who wrote and illustrated a children’s book about the artist and his most famous painting, it was heartwarming to see how this artwork has inspired Sondheim, Lapine, Gyllenhaal and all the audience members who decided to spend a Saturday afternoon at the theater with Jake....

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Van Gogh and Math – TED-Ed video

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Van Gogh and Math – TED-Ed video

I came upon this fantastic video on TED-Ed explaining the connection between Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night and Math….      What do you think? 

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#TBT-Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers

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#TBT-Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Revisit our post, A Day at the Museum, and take a closer look at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting.

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Art and Music match game!

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Art and Music match game!

As a member of The Barnes Foundation’s Contemporaries group, I am fortunate to be part of some incredible learning experiences. Recently, we were asked to share what songs we were reminded of when looking at the collection. The collection is vast and I choose three of my favorite works and paired them with three of my favorite songs. I love this little painting by my favorite artist Georges Seurat. “The Ladies’ Man” pairs with Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” for me.   Philadelphia born and PAFA educated artist William James Glacken’s “The Bathing Hour” reminds me of another Philadelphia born and raised duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime.”   I love artist Amadeo Modigliani’s portraits. My favorite has always been “Redheaded Girl in Evening Dress.” There is so much debt behind her eyes that makes me wonder what she is hiding. The song “Brilliant Disguise” by Bruce Springsteen pairs with this so easily for me.     I thought this exercise was brilliant! It is something that brings the collection home to the viewer, who may not be in tune (pun intended) to the history of the individual paintings. This is a task that could easily translate to your own classroom or child at home. You can go to any major museums website and find images of their works, Google Cultural Institute to find images or click on the link to see images from The Barnes Foundation’s website. *All images care of The Barnes Foundation   What artworks and songs do you think pair well together?  Share your combinations on our Facebook page!   ...

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Quote of the Week Wednesday!

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Quote of the Week Wednesday!

  “It’s on the strength of observation and reflection one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” – Claude Monet  

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KAWS at PAFA…Who is KAWS?

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KAWS at PAFA…Who is KAWS?

I finally was able to visit the KAWS exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1805 by painter Charles Wilson Peale, sculptor William Rush and other business leaders of the time. PAFA is a museum and fine arts school that confers Bachelors and Masters degrees. Famous artist who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts include Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Maxfield Parrish, Charles Sheeler, John Sloan, Charles Demuth, Arthur B. Carles, architect Louis I. Kahn and filmmaker David Lynch. The building is a registered National Historic landmark designed by Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt and is an example of Victorian Gothic architecture. The building is grande and houses a vast collection of American art from the 1760’s to the present day. So who is KAWS you ask? Well, so did I. Brian Donnelly, professionally known as KAWS, is a Brooklyn based artist, well known as a designer of limited edition toys and clothing. KAWS attended the School of Visual Arts and became a graffiti artist in New York City in the 1990’s. He graduated in 1996 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. His graffiti art began to become sought after and recognize in major cities throughout the world. During the late 1990’s he began to design and produce limited edition vinyl toys. KAWS has also made a series of hard edge acrylic paintings all with repeated child like imagery. His spoof of the Simpson’s, “the Kimpson’s” is also on display. The exhibit is an amazing juxtaposition between the classis arts of the American period with the contemporary child like sculptures of KAWS. Each sculpture plays off of what is around it making one think about what contemporary art will be joining the ranks of the most famous classic sculptures of the past. While hundreds of years ago, marble and bronze were the medium of the time, plastic and vinyl are todays. KAWS is an artist we all should all be watching in the future. Have your child curate their own KAWS inspired exhibit! Have your kids curate their own show using their favorite toys and figures. Pick out a famous painting online using Google art project or use a post card from a museum visit. Have you child place their toys in front of the image and snap a picture. What toys will they place with what famous artworks? Discuss their choices with them. Why are these toys going with this famous work? Maybe it’s the color choices of the objects or maybe it’s the shapes of the toys along with the shapes of the famous artworks. Create a rich discussion with your child about their choices. They will open your eyes to the many creative connections they can bring together. Be inspired! What do you think of KAWS? Send us your child’s KAWS inspired photographs…we’d love to post...

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