Thursday, November 13, 2014

Art is Everywhere- Part 2

If someone had told me when I began training as a docent at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (NPG) that I would still be leading tours after seventeen years, I would have been surprised, to say the least. That said, I am so happy to have had the experiences that I have had as a result of my connection with the Smithsonian. In fact, I was introduced to an opportunity to experience art in another unlikely place because of information passed to me through my Smithsonian connection. 

In September, NPG had an appreciation event honoring the docents. These events are always special. The food is terrific, seeing my fellow lover's of NPG is always a treat, and an interesting presentation is often a part of the evening. This year, the presentation shed light on an upcoming exhibit of art that was most unusual. The evening included an announcement given to us from the director of the Portrait Gallery, Kim Saget. Saget stated, “I want to expand the idea of what a portrait is,”  “The Portrait Gallery commissions paintings, video, photography and drawings all the time. This is about pushing the boundaries of portraiture outside the walls of the museum.” Her excitement was palpable, but she didn't have to convince me. I was fairly bursting at the seams to see the work she described.

During the month of October a giant portrait could be viewed from atop the Washington Monument on the National Mall. This portrait was commissioned by NPG, and was made by the Cuban-born American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada using approximately 2,300 tons of sand and 800 tons of soil. His work, he says, “will avoid any negative impact on the environment.” (That’s a requirement of the National Park Service, which will install soccer fields on the site next year.) Using GPS, he mapped the ground with 15,000 pegs to indicate facial features. He then linked the pegs with string to form a template for placing pale sand and dark soil.

To see this piece in a short video, click here

Here is a photograph that I took from atop the Washington Monument on a nearly perfect day before it was deinstalled. The clarity was not as precise as when the art was first completed, but my excitement at seeing the work was not diminished. Art is everywhere!


"Out of Many, One" © Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada






Thursday, November 6, 2014

Art is Everywhere - Part 1

"The Steward" at Saint John the Divine in New York City © Lynn Goldstein
Caravan Artwork in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
Lately, I have been contemplating how art seems to spring up in very unlikely places. This is due in part to my recent activities, and just plain dumb luck. After completion of my piece for the CARAVAN exhibition, "Amen- A Prayer for the World, " I was struck by the art that was present in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The Cathedral in the nation's capital is in the beginning stages of hosting art exhibitions, while the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City has been hosting art exhibitions and installations for years. Synagogue Temple B'nai Shalom was very excited to install "Treatise," my piece to commemorate the Holocaust, last year. So, religious institutions are not new places to show and see art. That said, I was in for an eye-popping surprise when I first made my way into the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. I was expecting to see my piece alongside the 47 other sculptural forms. The CARAVAN exhibition was beautifully mounted there. What I didn't expect was the stunning installation suspended from the ceiling of the giant cathedral.

The Catholic church has a long history of including art in their edifices. The Protestant movement has traditionally been less than enthusiastic regarding art displays. That has been changing for some time. What met me when I walked into the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine were two giant phoenix sculptures by the Chinese artist, Xu Bing. The artist culled refuse from construction sites in Beijing for two years, and used what he found to create two birds that are suspended from the ceiling of the church. The view was astounding. I was astonished to find out that the combined weight of the sculptures is 12 tons. It was an amazing experience to see this monumental work, and to have my artwork under the same (giant) roof.

"Phoenix" at Saint John the Divine in New York City © Xu Bing



Friday, August 29, 2014

Saying Goodbye

After living with "The Steward" for a little over two months, I said goodbye to "him" yesterday. Our short-lived relationship was just what every positive relationship should be. "He" pushed me to do things artistically that made me think and grow, made me happy, worried me, and challenged me. I am grateful for every moment, even the sleepless nights. I thank Paul-Gordon Chandler for selecting me to participate in this wonderful exhibition.

Speaking of gratitude, I want to thank the employees of Farrish Fairfax Auto Body. Upon completion, I realized that I wanted to protect the end result. Unfortunately, I had a bear of a time finding an auto body shop that was willing to take on the task of clear-coating the finished product. Fortunately, I contacted Kevin Wynn at Farrish Fairfax Auto Body. Kevin, the manager of the body shop, and George Gallahan, the assistant manager, couldn't have been more helpful. They insured that the sculpture was treated with care, and put a protective coating on the surface that is undetectable. I send them a hearty thank you. Now, "The Steward" will be able to travel to New York City in October without damage, and whoever purchases the sculpture will have a well-protected piece of art.
Wrapped in 3.5 mil polyethylene plastic for transport

"The Steward" with Reda Abdel Rahman on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral
Reda Abdel Rahman is one of the curators of this exhibition, as well as a noted Egyptian artist
Being carried into the National Cathedral
"The Steward" with his friends and family © Lynn Goldstein 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"The Steward" Finished and Waiting to be Installed

The finishing touches have been put on "The Steward," my piece of art for the Caravan exhibition to take place at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The show will be on view from Sunday, August 31 until Tuesday, October 6 in Washington, DC, and then will travel to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City.

When first asked to participate in this show, I was honored. Then, I panicked. After the panic, a concept was born. Following the initial concept decision, I wrote a statement about the work. This statement helped me to maintain my clarity regarding what I wanted to say with the piece while working. Here is the statement that expresses my idea behind the work:

Trees have been a central symbol of transcendence, immortality, and life in almost every culture. Without trees, we would no longer be able to exist, since they create the very air that we breathe. Without working together as groups and individuals, humans would no longer exist either. With this idea in mind, my figure is embracing trees and the trees are embracing the figure. This image symbolically indicates that we are stewards of the land and of one another. We are all connected, and can provide comfort in times of trouble, and joy in positive moments. Our roots may help to define us, and lead us to a better understanding of others if we so choose.

This exhibition will be fascinating to see in person, but you may see some of the work now by visiting the Caravan website at this address: http://www.oncaravan.org/ My work will be included on the site soon. Until then, here's "The Steward."

Closeup of "The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein

"The Steward" from behind © Lynn Goldstein

"The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein

Closeup of "The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Progress Comes Slowly with LOTS of Work

I have been steadily working on the piece for the Caravan Exhibition in order to complete the art well before the due date. This project has knocked me out of my comfort zone, forced me to learn some technical qualities of acrylic painting that I never expected to have to learn, and made me smile everyday. Hope that looking at the progress puts a smile on your face too!

Here are some progress photos:

I have completed 5 trees at this point. "The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein

One of my studio friends took this shot of me working. © Lynn Goldstein 

The back of "The Steward" with trees almost completed. © Lynn Goldstein

All the trees are completed on "The Steward." Now fine-tuning to be done. © Lynn Goldstein

Here is a close-up of "The Steward." Starting to add leaves.  © Lynn Goldstein



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Progress on "The Steward"

When work has to be done quickly, ideas need to come at lightning speed. That's how things have been progressing with my work for the CARAVAN art exhibition. As a landscape painter working out of my comfort zone, it felt appropriate to utilize a subject near and dear to my heart... trees. With that in mind, I decided that having roots on the form would be a terrific addition. Thanks to Bill "Tex" Forrest, roots are starting to sprout from the sculpture.  After the roots are in place, I will be painting the form, and will keep posting the progress. Here are some photographs thus far:

Primed "The Steward" and have drawn the trees on the form


Color palette ideas

Roots being fabricated

Bill "Tex" Forrest working on the roots of "The Steward"


Monday, June 2, 2014

Opportunity Knocked ... My Socks off!

An example of the figure on which I will be working 

A visitor came to my studio on Saturday, and shared that she was reading a book that postulates that there are only two types of people in the world; those that accept a challenge and those who do not. I never thought of myself as the former. Imagine my surprise when she said, with gusto, that I am the type who rises to a challenge. Her reason for this pronouncement was in reaction to my excitement regarding an opportunity that knocked on my door late last week. I was one of 18 Western artists selected to participate in the CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art.

The 2014 exhibition will focus on Egypt and the United States, and is entitled, "AMEN- A Prayer for the World." The show will include work from 30 Egyptian artists, and 18 Western artists. The exhibition seeks to express the deep, fundamental human acknowledgement of power and hope for the universe, for all peoples. Each of the participating artists are given a life-size fiberglass sculpture. I have included an image of the sculpture design on which I will be working, and am hoping to document my progress. The sculpture will arrive in mid-June. When the work is completed, there will be an exhibition that will be taking place at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. After that exhibition, all the sculptures will be moved to St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world,  in New York City. An auction led by a Sotheby's auctioneer will take place in NYC, and part of the proceeds will help fund a school for under-privileged girls in Cairo.  You may visit the CARAVAN website here: http://www.oncaravan.org/ Stay tuned!