The Grey Area

Museums and Social Media in the Time of COVID-19

October 28, 2020 By Monica Marchese Social media is a powerful tool, one that museums are increasingly learning to exploit. Now more than ever, museums are moving to expand their online presences. While museums mainly use Instagram and Facebook—to promote their exhibitions and programs, to share object and installation images, and to provide practical information […]

Museums, Colonial Legacies, and Contemporary Art, Part 1: Introduction

October 12, 2020 By Saga Beus While provenance—the documentation of an object’s journey from maker to collector or collection through acquisition, sale, exchange, or donation—is crucially important in the museum world in establishing legitimate ownership and ethical collection practices, it can also tell us a lot about cultural exchange, colonialism, and the history of museums […]

Museums, Colonial Legacies, and Contemporary Art, Part 2: Primitivism and the Division of “Modern” and “Traditional”

October 12, 2020 By Saga Beus An examination of the Museum of Modern Art’s controversial 1984 exhibition “Primitivism” in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern helps put the relationship between Western art history and non-Western art into historical perspective. The exhibition centered on the Primitivist movement that emerged in Europe at […]

Museums, Colonial Legacies, and Contemporary Art, Part 3: Expanding Modernism and Addressing Colonialism with Contemporary Art

October 12, 2020 By Saga Beus “Primitivism” went on view at a MoMA that still adhered to its chronological “isms”-based approach to defining modern art, which posited a clear evolution from Impressionism to Post-Impressionism to Cubism, and so on. The exhibition was hindered by its focus on individual artists and on a largely Euro-American progression […]

Collection Spotlight: Romare Bearden

October 6, 2020 By Géranne Darbouze Within the NYU Art Collection is found an unusual watercolor, one clearly inspired by the Cubist art movement of the 20th century as well as by African masks—a work composed of a puzzle-like array of geometric shapes coming together to form an image that seems to be all at […]

The Sacred Unveiled: Part 1, Introduction

August 21, 2020 By Géranne Darbouze Religion is a driving force in culture, and this is especially evident in Spain. From Ancient Egyptian cults to the pagan rituals that helped fuel the Roman empire, to the Islamic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, to the animistic beliefs of West and Central Africa, religions have developed methods […]

The Sacred Unveiled: Part 2, El Greco

August 21, 2020 By Géranne Darbouze Doménikos Theotokópoulos (1541–1614), better known as El Greco, was a Mannerist artist born in Greece and active in Spain during the later 16th and early 17th centuries. Fascinated with the depiction of religious subject matter, he worked hard to perfect his presentation of such images. Between the 1540s and […]

The Sacred Unveiled: Part 3, Juan de Valdés Leal

August 21, 2020 By Géranne Darbouze In considering the notion of the ideal nobleman in the context of Baroque Spain, we must attend to the work of painter Juan de Valdés Leal, who was a primary influence on the religious experiences of visitors not only to the hospital and chapel of Santa Caridad in Seville, […]

The Sacred Unveiled: Part 4, Luisa Roldán

August 21, 2020 By Géranne Darbouze Luisa Roldán (1652–1706), also known as La Roldana, was an enormously influential woman sculptor of the 17th century, and in considering the topic of landscape in Spanish Mannerist and Baroque Nativity-related scenes, Roldán’s The Repose in Egypt should not be overlooked. A polychrome terracotta sculpture dating from near the […]

The Sacred Unveiled: Part 5, Francisco de Zurbarán

August 21, 2020 By Géranne Darbouze Another artist known primarily for his religious works, whose art also speaks volumes about the artistic entanglement of painting and sculpture, is the Spanish Baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664). A passionate follower of the Catholic faith, Zurbarán crafted his images from a combination of real-life models and the […]