Thoughts on ‘La Vecchia’ from a curator

“His paintings are all shrouded in mystery in terms of subject matter, and this one more so than most. ” — Peter Jonathan Bell, associate curator, Cincinnati Art Museum

It’s always enlightening to get a private tour from an art curator. The other day, I was at Cincinnati Art Museum just as “La Vecchia” (Italian for “the old woman”) by Italian Renaissance painter Giorgione, was being unveiled following a major conservation. It will be on view through May 5.

Here are some thoughts about the painting from Peter Jonathan Bell, Cincinnati Art Museum associate curator of European paintings, sculpture and drawings:

“It’s both a portrait and an allegory. Giorgione is a foundational Renaissance artist, for the Venetian Renaissance in particular. It’s incredibly rare. There are by some counts only a couple dozen paintings that survived by him. He only had a career of about 15 years, around 1500. but because of him, Titian is who he is. Titian painted with Giorgione.

“His paintings are all shrouded in mystery in terms of subject matter, and this one more so than most. He was painting for a new class of private collectors, so many of his paintings have very complex layers of meaning.Read More »

Chamber Orchestra clarinetist to perform at Holocaust & Humanity Center opening

John Kurokawa

As part of the community celebration of the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center on Sunday, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra principal clarinetist John Kurokawa will lead a program of music celebrating our nation’s diversity driven by immigration, and touching on local survivors’ stories featured in the new Holocaust Museum.

The Center opens to the public at its new home at Union Terminal on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Kurokawa performs a FREE concert of about an hour in length at 3 p.m. in Reikert Auditorium at Union Terminal.

His program includes  “Viktor’s Tale” from the movie The Terminal; Bonia Shur’s “Fleeting Thought” (the late composer at HUC was a Latvian native who escaped the Nazi invasion, fleeing to Israel and later moving to the United States where he would become a major musical force in the Reform Jewish Movement in America); and Messiaen’s “Abyss of the Birds,” a movement from the “Quartet for the End of Time,” which was written and premiered in a prisoner-of-war camp in Görlitz, Germany.

Sarah Weiss, executive director, talks about the mural at the entrance of the new location of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center at Union Terminal during a hard hat tour last month.

There will also be selections from the movie “Schindler’s List” as well as the music of Bella Kovacs, a celebration of Klezmer music.

Kurokawa will also perform the Sonata for clarinet and piano by Francis Poulenc, dedicated to the memory of his friend Arthur Honneger, which Kurokawa says is “a wistful and somber remembrance of his friend as well as a celebration of life.”

Read more about the new Holocaust and Humanity Center at Bizjournals.com/cincinnati. Remember, the Arts Front is free, but you may need to register for a FREE subscription.

Many refugees came through Union Terminal during World War II

Here’s the whole Grand Opening schedule on Sunday, Jan. 27:

1:00 PM Holocaust survivor & descendants processional followed by opening ceremony and ribbon cutting
2:00 PM Holocaust survivor Renate Frydman shares her husband’s survival story
3:00 PM Special performance by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s John Kurokawa
Union Terminal was a welcome sight for the U.S. service men and women returning from the war, as well as for refugees.

4:00 PM The making of Cincinnati’s Newest Museum panel discussion with exhibit designers Berenbaum Jacobs & Associates and Jack Rouse Associates

For more info: holocaustandhumanity.org

Who are the next leaders in the arts?

One of the most interesting stories I have had the privilege to write for the Business Courier was about 10 up-and-coming young arts patrons who will be guiding our great Cincinnati arts institutions in the decades to come. For as long as I’ve covered the arts here, there has been hand-wringing over who will replace those great philanthropists and board leaders who have gone before. The Nipperts and Corbetts are just two of most well-known names from the previous generation, among many others.

Cincinnati has a great history of generosity and stewardship that goes back more than a century. You only need to consider this:

The CSO turns 125 in 2020

Cincinnati Opera turns 100 in 2020

Art Academy of Cincinnati turns 150 in 2019

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music is celebrating its 150th this year.

That kind of legacy takes leadership and creativity. And it takes changing with the times. Who could have imagined that an arts event called Blink could bring a million people downtown last year?

These young leaders already hold some of the city’s most important board roles. I think the arts are and will be in very good hands.

So who are the 10? Read the story here.

Where to find arts news and reviews: Visit the new Arts Front at bizjournals.com/cincinnati. It’s free, but you may need to register for a free subscription. For the latest CSO review of Beethoven’s Ninth, click here.

Brahms Concerto shines with Ehnes in CSO season finale

James Ehnes performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major with the CSO. Photo provided

Violinist James Ehnes’ inspired playing in the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra over the weekend can only be described as masterful. The golden sound that he achieved on his 1715 Stradivarius violin was stunning. In Saturday’s concert, it was equally fascinating to hear Ehnes reveal the Cincinnati connection behind his $8 million instrument.Read More »

Terracotta Warriors have arrived

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the Chinese Terracotta Warriors exhibition right before the opening at Cincinnati Art Museum this week.  Here’s my interview for the Business Courier with co-curator Hou-mei Sung. It is a rare opportunity to see these Chinese treasures. And don’t forget, you need a timed ticket to see it.

Chinese officials were also here this week, as well as reporters from the China Daily News. Enjoy my small gallery of photos.Read More »

Sapling sculptures grow at Taft

So, earlier this week I took a peek at the environmental stick work sculptures that are going up on the lawn of the Taft Museum of Art. It was interesting to see the scaffolding-like structure that the sculptures were being created around.

Sculptor Patrick Dougherty happened to be there, working hard with his crew of volunteers, so I asked him what anchors them down. The saplings are actually planted into the ground. They don’t have roots, but sometimes they actually do sprout roots, he said.

Here’s my interview with him for the Business Courier. Enjoy the photos.

Read More »

Taft Museum: Volunteers needed for monumental stick sculpture

Ready or Not, (2013) North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, NC. Used by permission. Photo: Juan Villa

The Taft Museum of Art is seeking volunteers to work outdoors at the museum this April on a monumental art installation by Patrick Dougherty. Dougherty, who was born in Oklahoma and raised in North Carolina, specializes in creating large interactive sculptures out of tree saplings.

The sculpture will take three weeks to create — with your help — and it will last for two years. Visitors will be able to touch and walk through the sculpture.Read More »