krasnerSo, it’s been more than a minute since I’ve posted to MWC. On several occasions, I’ve prepared pieces regarding Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – the still shiny-new museum 30 minutes to the north of me that opened its doors in the fall of 2011 – and then decided against publishing them. Most of these posts would have attempted to parse some rather mixed blessings that CBMAA’s temporary exhibitions bestowed upon this region in the last few years. Not so for Van Gogh to Rothko, which presents a healthy dose of major works by significant 19th and 20th century artists of both European and American extraction, culled from the Albright-Knox Gallery’s collection. In college, I pored over library books reproducing many of these paintings. Soutine’s Slaughtered Ox, a Diebenkorn Berkely painting, De Kooning’s Gotham News. Robert Irwin, Francis Bacon, Philip Guston, Max Beckmann, Grace Hartigan…more than I’ll name here. Lee Krasner’s 1955 painting/collage, Milkweed, shown here, is a deft orchestration of shape and surface that must be seen firsthand to be appreciated. The exhibition’s timeline begins with post-impressionism (hence Van Gogh being named in the title), stepping broadly and boldly through a host of 20th century movements – surrealism, futurism, cubism, abex, minimalism. When I first heard an art museum was coming to Bentonville, this was the kind of experience I imagined – it’s finally here. I hope that there are more in store.

Info here.

Brett Baker: Recent Paintings


Many of you know that Brett Baker is the sort of like the glue that holds together a unfathomably huge amount of the dialogue about painting on the internet together.  That’s through his online magazine, everyone’s go-to, Painter’s Table.  He’s also a painter.  A really good painter, of thick, material-centric  paintings.  The paintings tend to use a controlled set of marks, usually parallel and evenly space.  Because the paint is applied thickly and saturated with pigment, the surface undulates–both literally and visually–and allows for the eye to rove over the surface, forming and reforming the Gestalt.  In my mind, this kind of puts Baker’s paintings in line with the best, most essential human rituals, like the Catholic Rosary or Native American ceremonies, just without the dogma.  Baker has a show that just opened at Elizabeth Harris Gallery in NYC.    See more of his work at his own website.


Zurburan’s little “St. Francis Contemplating a Skull” from the St. Louis Museum of Art.

Kathy Liao Skype Lecture


The interview Kathy Liao did for us was one of our most popular posts last year.  Now she’s recorded a skype lecture for Northwest Oklahoma State University.  Watch above.


Kansas City based writer and critic Blair Schulman has a piece on Huffington Post about Travis Pratt’s series “The Joplin Paintings”.  Pratt painted these works in response to the the aftermath of the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin in 2011.

George Rose: Self Portraits


Back in 2008, MW Capacity went on a hunt for images of George Rose’s artwork.  Though Rose is an artist who is well-regarded by other artists, the quintessential “artist’s artist”, it was almost impossible to find images of his work online.  For our 2008 post on Rose, we had to publish scans of 30 year old slides.  Rose’s work has been shown several times over the years since, at Simpson College and as part of a travelling exhibit curated by the Midwest Paint Group.

Currently, Wright State University’s Art Galleries are exhibiting a collection of Rose’s self portraits.  The gallery has shared with us a number of images of the paintings, slowly adding to the number of images of Rose’s work available online.

All images are courtesy of Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries.  MW Capacity would like to thank the gallery, and Director Tess Cortes, for allowing us to share these images.





Hale Woodruff


This fall, the Nelson-Atkins will be exhibiting the “Amistad Mutiny” murals from Talladega College and significant works by Hale Woodruff, most painted in the late 1930s.  Woodruff was born in Illinois, went to school at Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and the Art Institute of Chicago.  Woodruff died in 1980.  The murals are currently on exhibit at the National Museum of American History.  Roberta Smith wrote about the exhibit when it was on view at NYU.  Looking forward to this one!


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