Guidelines for the Warhol Foundation’s Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant Programs are available. The program supports individual writers “whose work addresses contemporary visual art.” Grants range from $3,000 to $50,000. Says the Warhol Foundation, “The first program of its type, [Creative Capital] was founded in recognition of both the financially precarious situation of arts writers and their indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture. The Arts Writers Grant Program aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship.” The program is currently open for submissions. Submission deadline is Wednesday, June 6, 2012.
Writers may apply to these categories: Articles, Blogs, Books, New & Alternative Media, Short-Form Writing. For guidelines and a statement of the program’s mission, visit http://www.artswriters.org Additionally, an Art Writing Workshop program offers “ten select applicants consultations with leading art critics.” For more information, visit http://www.aicausa.org.
Two weeks ago, give or take a day, I visited San Francisco’s de Young Museum for the first time. A taxi dropped me off at the museum’s entry around 10:30 am, and I didn’t stop exploring until 4:00 pm. Many of you will have had the chance to see the museum, I realize. But for me, it was transformative. I have visited many museums, and this is one of my favorites. Big city museums can be overwhelming, impossible to cover in a day. The de Young’s layout and the size of its exhibits make it possible to not only take in a world of art, but do so at a leisurely pace. Each gallery had just the right amount of works, curated to perfection.
I only experienced one disappointment: the Piazzoni Murals Room, filled with landscapes by California landscape painter Gottardo Piazzoni, was being used for a meeting and was closed to the public. Piazzoni is tonalist landscape painter Russell Chatham’s grandfather.
I gorged on sculptures of the Nyarit and Teotihuacn people of Mexico; abstracts by Richard Diebenkorn (Berkeley No. 3, 1954 & Ocean Park 116, 1979); Robert Motherwell; Arthur Bowen Davies’ “Pacific Parnassus, Mount Tamalpais”; Stephen De Staebler’s half-materializing, half-deteriorating sculptures, Inuit art; Peruvian Feather Tunics c. 8th-16th Century AD…….Wayne Thiebaud, Roland Petersen, Mary Cassatt, Chihuly….
But perhaps most moving to me was to see three great sumi ink paintings by one of Yosemite National Park’s first chronicling artists, Chiura Obata. Obata is the grandfather of my highschool classmate–the family is filled with great artists. I knew his work was there; I had never seen it. Upon my arrival at the museum I was fortunate to immediately join a docent tour, “Three Masterpieces.” We, the tourees, requested works we’d like to see. Feeling shy, and hoping my guide would be familiar with the name, I asked her if she would show us the paintings of Chiura Obata. Not only would she show us, she jumped for joy at the prospect. To our guide, Obata is one of America’s great masters.
Obata taught at the University of California, Berkeley. He soon made a name for himself in the San Francisco art community. During WWII, he and his family were relocated to an internment camp; when he was released he returned to teach at Berkeley. In 1927 he visited the Sierras and Yosemite, and it was there he found his greatest subject, wilderness.
“Success or failure is not my aim in life,” Obata said. “Whether I be a flake of snow or only a drop of dew—I do not care. I wish only to paint with gratitude to Nature in my heart and with sincerity in my brush.”