News for the Week of August 31, 2020

by Stephanie Cassidy | August 31, 2020

Hugo Bastidas[1]
Hugo Bastidas, Walking Towards the Deep, 2019, oil on linen, 16 x 24 in.

ASL Instructors

Hugo Bastidas’s Onslaught is a virtual exhibition of small works created in response to recent struggles—from the pandemic to racial reform. In addition to hosting a viewing room[2] of this solo exhibition, Nohra Haime Gallery has also produced a full-color catalogue[3] available as a PDF.

Jerry Weiss has created a one-hour instructional video on landscape painting[4], which is part of a multi-course curriculum offered by the American Academy of Landscape Painting. 

In the 2020 Virtual Juried Salon Show of the Oil Painters of America, Sherrie McGraw received the Gold Medal in the Master Signature Member division for her portrait Mountain Man[5]. 

The MTA has officially unveiled James Little’s Radiant Memories[6], an installation at the Jamaica Station of the Long Island Railroad. The work is a translation of Little’s paintings onto thirty-three “large glass panels using multiple layers of airbrushed and hand-painted colored enamels and silver stains, as well as hand-cut stencils.” Little’s current exhibition James Little: Beyond Geometry, Selections, in The Lobby Gallery (449 Park Avenue), has been reviewed[7] by William Corwin for the website Arcade Project.

Stephen Lack will have a solo exhibition, Everyday Life, at the Gallery Laroch/Joncas[8] (Montreal, Quebec) this fall, October 7–November 7, 2020, which will include The Raid.[9] He will also be exhibiting at the May Park Gallery (Chengdu, China) in the group show East Village New York: Vulnerable and Extreme, September 30–December 30, 2020.

On View

News for the Week of August 31, 2020[10]
Art Students League Group, undated. Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum

The American Fine Arts Society Building, long before the construction of its new neighbor, the Central Park Tower, has been involved in a dialogue with nearby structures, street life, and municipal politics.

In this candid photograph women art students are gathered on the stoop in front of the Art Students League’s side entrance into the American Fine Arts Society building[11]. Their Edwardian pompadours and billowy painting smocks suggest it was taken around 1910. The style of dress was similar to one Robert Henri captured in his portrait The Art Student (Miss Josephine Nivison)[12]. This image of women gathered together can serve as a reminder of the League’s progressive policy of universal suffrage, which granted its women members the vote forty-five years before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Yet, it also prompts us to think about the persistence of sex-segregated life drawing classes, a custom that was phased out gradually, finally ending in the fall of 1933. 

An integral part of urban life, the stoop served as a perch to observe as well as a site to engage with the city, as captured in this scene of the same spot of a fruit seller and ASL student[13] from 1900. The ASL’s side entrance was intended to route students’ foot traffic up the stairs to its studios. This helped preserve the decorum around the building’s main entrance for visitors coming to see exhibitions in AFAS galleries. A photograph of National Academicians[14] standing in front of the main entrance in 1922 offers a contrasting scene of men, formally posed, in pressed suits and hats with walking sticks. Notice the elaborate carvings around the archway of its main entrance and the names of resident artists’ organizations in gold lettering just visible on the glass panes of its front doors. 

In the last months of 1922, West 57th Street was widened and repaved, part of an initiative spearheaded by the Fifth Avenue Association to improve traffic flow and make 57th Street the “undisputed centre of a beautiful shopping and business district.” As a result, the street’s sidewalks were narrowed, causing a few alterations to the AFAS facade. The stoop was removed as were the raised planting beds that flanked the main entrance. A new side entrance for the League[15] was created where a window had been. 

In the words of the late Pete Hamill, “We New Yorkers know that we live in a dynamic city, always changing, evolving, building.”

Special Projects

Mireille Miller[16]
Mireille Miller, Women Leading the Way: Suffragists & Suffragettes, 2010. Miller launched an online interactive version[17] of the painting with biographies of every woman pictured.

Mireille Miller’s Women Leading the Way: Suffragists & Suffragettes is a history painting for the twenty-first century. To celebrate women who wrote, spoke, marched, organized, and agitated in support of women’s enfranchisement, Miller, a life member of the Art Students League, assembled the likenesses of notable women activists from all over the world into a single group portraitThe painting, which entailed several years of research and dozens of portrait studies, was completed in 2010, in time to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day and the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. Miller then used the painting to launch a national community, art, and storytelling project to engage high school students across the country with a simple question: “Who was the first woman in your family to vote?” Students’ portraits and stories from seventeen states have been collected on her project website, “A Centennial of Women’s Suffrage[18].”

  1. [Image]:
  2. viewing room:
  3. full-color catalogue:
  4. instructional video on landscape painting:
  5. Mountain Man:
  6. Radiant Memories:
  7. reviewed:
  8. Gallery Laroch/Joncas:
  9. The Raid.:
  10. [Image]:
  11. American Fine Arts Society building:
  12. The Art Student (Miss Josephine Nivison):
  13. scene of the same spot of a fruit seller and ASL student:
  14. A photograph of National Academicians:
  15. new side entrance for the League:
  16. [Image]:
  17. interactive version:
  18. A Centennial of Women’s Suffrage: