Author Archives: Sheila Blake

Guarding the Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art

The Baltimore Museum of Art has just put up a show curated by the guards.  The works repay long observation, as you might expect for the choices of the museum guards, who look at art for long periods of time.  Tom, Sheila and Peter visit the exhibition, and discuss several interesting issues brought up on the task of curation.

Picasso: Painting the Blue Period

We visit the new exhibition at the Phillips Collection, in Washington DC:  Picasso: Painting the Blue Period.  We discuss the transition of Picasso, at the age of nineteen, from painting scenes of the Paris nightlife to the paintings known as the Blue Period, and then the Rose period.  We explore our thesis that Picasso was developing his technique in presenting strong images of people with presence, a presence that melded into the room with gestures that capture our fascinated attention.

Picasso: The man and the artist

Tom, Sheila, and Peter discuss the dark side of Picasso’s life, and give an introduction to his innovations in art, and how the revelations of Picasso’s treatment of women might influence our understanding of his art. Along the way,we touch on Georges Braque,  Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning.

Legacies of the Harlem Renaissance

We discuss several major Black visual artists from before, during, and after the Harlem Renaissance (with a nod to philosopher Alain Locke): Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson, Lois Mailou Jones, Charles White, Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and Amy Sherald.  Poems by Nikki Giovanni and Langston Hughes.

Charles Ray, Tacita Dean, Jeff Wall, and Vija Celmins at Glenstone

Our hosts, Sheila and Tom, with Peter Blake, visit Glenstone, discuss issues in contemporary art brought up by sculptures by Charles Ray, chalk drawings by Tacita Dean, large-scale photographs by Jeff Wall, and drawings by Vija Celmins.

Alma Thomas

Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful    is the title of the retrospective of Alma Thomas at the Phillips Collection, in Washington DC.  Sheila and Tom respond to her brilliant color-field paintings to explore the topic of color.  The exhibition at the Phillips traces her journey from semi-rural Georgia to Washington, DC, in 1907, then to become at age 81 the first Black woman given a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art .