Raphael: The Consolation of Beauty in the Face of Fear

Raphael – Parnassus

My editor asked me to write about Raphael for the 500th anniversary of his death. I saw it as an opportunity to compare the apocalyptic times of the turn of the 16th century with our own.

Here’s the complete article.

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Into the Inferno – Eric Armusik’s paintings of Dante’s Inferno.

Eric Armusik – Dante’s Inferno, 1st Canto

I interviewed painter Eric Armusik about his series of paintings inspired by the Inferno, which he hopes to complete in time for the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death next year. The result was a gothic profile piece that I really enjoyed writing.

Here’s the published article.

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The Slow Evolution of Chinese Representational Art

Yang Khe and Zhang Lin – Good Morning,

I reviewed the 13th National Exhibition of Fine Arts, at the National Art Museum, Beijing, which closed mid-January, just before the Covid-19 virus hit Wuhan. The show included many paintings of an impressively high standard, although the range of ideas was limited by the political nature of the exhibit.

Each piece carefully followed the government-sanctioned pathway to aesthetic purity in the heritage of socialist realism.

Read the whole article here on the MutualArt website.

We weren’t able to include more photos of the art, so here are a few more that didn’t make it into the published story.

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Why Art Matters

Thomas Cole, "A View of the Mountain Pass Called the Notch of the White Mountains (Crawford Notch)," 1839.

I wrote an article for the Martin Center for Academic Renewal about why art should matter more to conservatives. It got a mention on the National Review website.

From the article:

“What do conservatives want to conserve? Clearly, conservatives everywhere desire the preservation and maintenance of the good things belonging to their various cultures that have been passed down from previous generations to their present time. That desire also implies conservatives wish to continue their cultural inheritance by passing these benefits on to their children and future generations. That is why teaching culture at universities and schools is important to conservatives.”

“People who claim to be conservatives, but do not participate in the perpetuation of these good things are deluding themselves. Partisan and pedantic, they corrode the conservative image to the point of appearing philistine. That false presentation of conservatism harms its reputation.”

Read the complete article at the Martin Center website.

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Goddess in Oils. New works by Nick Alm and Brad Kunkle

Goddess in Oils

My article “Goddess in Oils” was published in the March / April 2020 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur describing two shows of new paintings created by the exemplary figurative artists, Nick Alm (b. 1985) and Brad Kunkle (b. 1978). Both clearly venerate women, who are at the heart of their painted universes, yet each has a unique approach to expressing that esteem.

Unfortunately, both shows were interrupted by the Covid-19 epidemic. You can read about what we missed online at Scribd.

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My Review of the LA Art Show

Although I wrote a scathing review of the LA Art Show, with its hypocritical theme of social justice at this extravagantly capitalist event, there were some great pieces of work there, which were really enjoyable.

You can read the review at the MutualArt website: LA Art Show: Faux Bobo Nostalgia vs. Authentic Artistic Ingenuity

There wasn’t enough space to include many pictures in the article, so here are a few more.

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Party Pooper

Nicolas Party – Untitled

A response to the success of the latest art world darling, Nicolas Party, whose work has as much depth as a shallow puddle.

Here’s the whole story, which we gave an honest title: Kicking Kittens. Maybe we should have called it “Pity Party.”

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Odd, Odder, Odd Nerdrum

Odd Nerdrum - After the Flood
Odd Nerdrum – After the Flood

Getting to know Odd Nerdrum has been one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I first met him in 2014, when he came to The Representational Art Conference, and I had the remarkable pleasure of moderating a conversation between him and Roger Scruton, the great conservative philosopher.
I enjoyed writing this piece about him and his clan of followers, partly because we got to be first to publish one or two of his new paintings, but mostly because I admire this painter so much. A truly original man, and a genius of our time.

I adapted the first line from a famous gothic novel.

Here’s the whole story: Odd, Odder, Odd Nerdrum

Odd Nerdrum – Man Bitten by a Snake
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Adrienne Stein, Pre-Raphaelite Reborn 

Writing this profile piece was really fun – Adrienne was a wonderful person to talk to, and it was a real pleasure to get to know her world a little better. I took a little longer than usual over producing this article because I wrote it in iambic pentameter, the verse of Shakespeare. 

Here’s the full article: Elemental Feminine Resolve: Adrienne Stein, Pre-Raphaelite Reborn

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Guy Kinnear and the Golem Paintings

Guy Kinnear – Paper Leap at Daybreak

This is a profile piece about Guy Kinnear, who lives and works on the Californian countryside, where he models and paints humanoid figures on the backdrop of local landscapes. Both his work and life speak of the relationship of humans in their natural environment.

Here’s the link to the full story on the MutualArt website.
Surrealistic Realism at Nature’s Mercy: Guy Kinnear’s Golems

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