Saturday, August 31, 2013


1. Blue Bathers, 1952
2. Demolished Houses, St. John's Wood, 1953
3. Laborer Carrying Hod, 1954
4. Coastal Cottage, 1958
5. Porthmeor, 1961
6. Bather, 1961
7. Standing Figure, 1963
8. Two Figures, 1964-66
9. Gouache, 1965
10. Gouache, 1965
11. Ninth Assembly of Figures (Eldorado Banal), 1976

Last year the final volume of the journals of Keith Vaughan was published to mark the centenary of the painter's birth. As edited by Gerard Hastings, Drawing To A Close covers a time-span of just over two years, from mid-1975 to late 1977 when Vaughan died at age 65. Reading it motivated me to take another look at the paintings, having earlier stared at different ones and pondered them here.

Friday, August 30, 2013


James Castle allowed screen doors into his art in many forms.

Several of his rectangular cardboard assemblages suggest screen doors.

Drawings of screen doors also survive.

In one such, a screen door stands on its own in a field, dwarfing buildings behind it.

All above were included in a 2008 retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ballet Stickers

Mabel sent me a postcard with writing on one side and this sticker-picture on the other side.

I think it is beautiful in the extreme.

And festive. This upcoming weekend, Mabel and her parents will be guests at two birthday parties on the same day, the first party for a baby-friend who is turning 1 year old, the second party for a lady-relative who is turning 100 years old.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


These cardboard, paper, string and pigment constructions were executed in the same tall rectangular format that James Castle most frequently used for his human-looking figures. When the pieces above were shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2008, these figure-like assemblages were designated as segments of interior walls. One of them situated an electrical outlet where a figure might have had a face. Another used a gold-framed picture in the face-position.

Below, the artist in drawing mode, articulating interior spaces. He used three-dimensional perspective to create interiors populated with rows of two-dimensional figure-constructions. Whether these tall front-facing figures can be said to represent known people or imaginary friends or segments of wall or the artist himself depends pretty much entirely on the whim of the curator who writes the labels.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Man in red between two giant chickens. Blue, red, and green washes with soot and spit on thin cardboard from doughnut package.

The work is by James Castle (1899-1977). The label text is from the catalog of his retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2008.

Relatives who lived with or knew James Castle were quoted at length in the catalog. According to all accounts, the artist's clear favorite among his fellow creatures was the chicken.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Six Borrowed Instagrams

My daughter's phone catches Mabel's summer life.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


This twelve-page "panorama" of drawings was published in the catalog to the James Castle retrospective mounted in 2008 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. At top the artist gazes (in fact or in memory or in imagination) down the road away from home. Then he slowly pivots and draws and pivots and draws – though successive scenes don't line up literally edge to edge. Perspectives and light effects vary, but the circle  is continuous. And completes with a face-on symmetrical picture of the farmhouse and its trees.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Umit Benan at work refining the presentation of his Spring 2014 Menswear collection before sending it down the runway in Milan. Models wore masks. These displayed traditional Turkish elements of masculine adornment – fez, handlebar mustache, dangling cigarette. Soft supple Italian wools and silks in dignified earth-tones stopped so much resembling Armani and started more resembling Magritte, thanks to the masks.

Efendi (as the show was titled) took place last June. The large portfolio of backstage and runway photos on Jak & Jil (sampled above) were only posted later, in mid-August.