Podcast #8 C’est Francais! Jacques-Louis David and Jean Dubuffet

Oath of Horatii

Oath of Horatii

Bonjour!  Welcome to the next Masters and Mod Pod cast where we feature two French artists! One, Mssr. Jacques-Louis David and our Modern, Jean Dubuffet.  Two very different artists, yet what might they have in common (besides being French)?!

It is 1784, there is considerable unrest in the streets of Paris and France.  People are starving, France is broke, yet the aristocracy are living more decadently than ever.

His influences are Caravaggio (and you will find that many artists claim they were influenced by Caravaggio),

It was his painting, the Oath of the Horatii, HO-RAH-TEE-EYE which created a lot of talk (in historical talk, they say “a sensation”) and became the turning point from the art of the aristocracy to the art of “republic”.  The painting spoke to the people.  And this was the few years before the revolution.  If you need a reference, think of what is happening today in Egypt.  That’s a revolution!  They are calling it the Arab Spring, and now maybe this is an Arab summer, but if you look at how the French revolution unfolded, and look at the events today…

He creates three more paintings that epitomize the cause, using classical references.

Anyway, the arc of David’s career is interesting, because he is so tied into the revolution and eventually Robespierre, that he becomes what they call an art dictator – which is not really what one wants in the art world – and that earns him the nickname the “Robespierre of the brush”.

The artwork he creates is very much along the lines of Ancient Rome and equating it to the new France.

Finally, he creates what is his masterpiece, the Death of Marat.


The Death of Marat, 1793, is an idealized image of David’s slain friend  shown holding his murderess’s (Charlotte Corday) letter of introduction.

The bloodied knife lays on the floor having opened a fatal gash that functions, as does Marat’s very composition, as a reference to the entombment of Christ (reference to the wounds Christ is said to have received in his hands, feet and side while on the cross).

Moving on, Teresa and Suzanne then introduce the modern for today’s podcast, Jean Dubuffet.



A French Avant-garde painter.  Avant-garde is considered experimental or innovative. There are many sub categories such as Abstract expressionism, COBRA, cubism, Primitivism, his was art-brut (raw art) although he did not like to be categorized.0709170078

Derived from Dubuffet’s studies of the art of children and of the mentally ill, art brut is intended to achieve immediacy and vitality of expression not found in self-conscious, academic art. To reflect these qualities, Dubuffet often used crude ideographic images incised into a rough impasto surface made up of such materials as tar, gravel, cinders, ashes, and sand bound with varnish and glue. His drawings and paintings are by turns childlike and obsessive, and their unfinished appearance excited much controversy.

He has a very strong stance on what art is or what it should be, and he writes a lot about it.

Would you say that he is relevant today?

Listen to today’s podcast and send us your comments!  You can email us at:



Podcast #7 American week! American Master, Andrew Wyeth and Modern, Alexander Calder

Christina's World

Christina’s World


This episode of the Masters and Mod Pod, Teresa and Suzanne talk about two American artists, one who is considered an American Master, Andrew Wyeth, and one Modern, Alexander Calder.

When speaking about Andrew Wyeth, it’s difficult not to mention the familial talents that go with the name Wyeth. His father was N.C. Wyeth, one of the great American Illustrators of the 20th century. His sister, Carolyn Wyeth was a great painter, as was several other siblings including Henrietta Wyeth Hurd, and  his son, Jamie Wyeth.

Wyeth’s work is decidedly modern, although he considered himself an abstract painter (not by the traditional definition of the word!) he was categorized as a regionalist and realist.
What makes him a master in this series is his superb technique and use of egg tempera, a very old medium made with the yolk of an egg and pigment.  He truly perfected a style and method of painting with this medium and his use of lighting and color palette which captured a specific location and time of day. He is quoted about using egg tempera, “Tempera is not a medium for swiftness.  You have got to weave it, as if you were weaving a rug or tapestry, slowly building it up.”

Braids, 1977

Braids, 1977

They talk about Christina’s World, one of his masterpieces, (which you can find at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC) and his paintings of Helga, the model who was his muse for many paintings.  Wyeth made over 240 drawings and paintings of his German model, Helga Testorf. Helga became a minor celebrity because of these paintings, as she was featured on the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines.

Many of his paintings are on view at the Brandywine museum in Chadds Ford, PA.

On to the modern, Alexander Calder. Teresa picked him because of his use of a very modern material, metal and wire. Calder, who went to school to be an engineer and physicist, instead became a sculptural artist. Working in metal and wire, Calder made works of art that were kinetic, that is, they had movement.  Many of his sculptures were called “mobiles”.

Tower with painting

Tower with painting

On the flip side, his stationary sculptures were called “stabiles” and ranged in size from small to huge.  He is famous for his “Calder Circus”, a small wire sculptural work that can fit in a suitcase.  He used wire, shapes and bright paint to create a three-dimentional and moving work of art, as if abstract paintings popped off the canvas and reached out to grab the viewer.

His large, sheet metal public sculptures were also abstract, which cause a lot of controversy when they were installed.

These two famous American artists, although they differed in their materials and their styles had one thing in common: while Wythe worked with brushstrokes that were wire-like,  Calder painted with brushstrokes of wire.

Podcast #7 – American Artists

Cheval Rouge

Cheval Rouge

Podcast #6 Master- Albrecht Durer, Modern- C.M. Coolidge

This is a fun week about pets, animals and art!  The great master artist, Albrecht Durer, was primarily an engraver and printmaker, he was also a painter and “theorist”.  During his lifetime (1471 – 1528) he created some of the most recognizable animal prints that people are familiar with today.  He is also said to be one of the first European landscape artists.

Young Hare I

Young Hare I

Teresa and Suzanne talk about two important pieces, Young Hare I (1502), and Rhinoserus (1515) (his spelling). Both are fantastic works of art, one for it’s amazing attention to detail and shading, the other because of it’s remarkable likeness to an actual rhinoceros, though the artist had never seen one in real life.  It takes a draughtsman with strong skills and vivid imagination to create an engraving that has such believability.

“I just want to reach in and pick up the hare” says Suzanne as they talk about Durer’s work.

“It’s true, his work is so detailed and exacting, it has very strong sense of being” Teresa points out.

The rhinoceros is another story completely- the image was based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon earlier in 1515. Dürer never saw the actual rhinoceros, which was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times. In late 1515, the King of Portugal, Manuel I, sent the animal as a gift for Pope Leo X, but it died in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy in early 1516.

Rhinoceros, Durer 1515

Rhinoceros, Durer 1515

Dürer’s woodcut is not an entirely accurate representation of a rhinoceros. He depicts an animal with hard plates that cover its body like sheets of armor. Despite its anatomical inaccuracies, Dürer’s woodcut became very popular in Europe and was copied many times in the following three centuries.  Some art historians have said of Dürer’s woodcut: “probably no animal picture has exerted such a profound influence on the arts”.

After the break they talk about a painting that has been found in basements, bars, pool halls and even public bathrooms for about 100 years, a painting done by self-taught commercial artist and painter, Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, better known as C.M. or even Cash.  That painting… (drum roll)….

Dogs Playing Poker, Coolidge.

Dogs Playing Poker, Coolidge.

Dogs Playing Poker!  This iconic painting brings together a group of dogs who all have their own personalities while playing cards at a table.  A true work of Americana and Folk, you can’t take your eyes off of it while you visit each character and imagine you’ve seen them before (if you’ve ever played poker).

Coolidge, almost the complete opposite of our Master, Durer, has a sense of humor and an eye for detail, at least as far as a card game is concerned.  Just as Durer’s rhino and hare spent many years as great artistic reference, so does Coolidge’s Dogs, for parody in illustration.

During his career, Coolidge made a series of paintings for his animals, mostly dogs depicting daily life in an anthropomorphic manner.  Shooting dice, playing poker, playing pool.  They were used for advertisments and as anyone would tell you today, if he was a working commercial artist, he was a success!

The reason for such diverse artistic personalities is mostly because The Art Garage is hosting an art show for the month of June called “Peticular Poses” which features a wide range of paintings and photos of animals and pets.  The artist reception is Friday, June 7th from 6-9pm while the show will be up until the end of June.

See you next week!

Podcast #5 Master: Leonora Carrington Modern: Betsey Johnson

This episode of the Masters and Mod Pod is a salute to two “mom” artists, women who have incorporated their families into their life of art!

The Temptation of Saint Anthony. Leonora Carrington

The Temptation of Saint Anthony. Leonora Carrington

Our first artist, Leonora Carrington,  (April 6, 1917- May 25, 2011) was a surrealist artist who was once linked romantically to Max Ernst and lived to the age of 94.  Her life was an amazing roller coaster of being an artist, daughter, lover, wife, and mother.  Teresa and Suzanne touch on her escaping from the Nazis, being in the circle of Peggy Guggenheim, Max Ernst, Picasso and others.  She also bucked the system, remaining true to her art and her artistic ambitions for her entire life.

Next we talk about the inimitable Betsey Johnson, the fashion designer who also

Betsey Johnson and Lulu

Betsey Johnson and Lulu

kept her arrow straight on the target of being herself and creating fashion that she loved to make.  Betsey Johnson is also a precursor to the Punk Rock movement, a large show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this summer is a testament to that movement and it’s founders.

Podcast #4 Photographer Bob Skinner


Wayne. Copyright Bob Skinner.

One of the advantages of having an art studio and gallery is that often artists will stop by, either to drop off artwork, see what’s on the walls or just to hang out.  When this happens we take the opportunity to ask our visitors as much as we can about what makes them do what they do.

Bob Skinner, whose photography is on display now at The Art Garage, was one of those artists who shared with us his vision for photography.  We spoke about the equipment, the medium itself and the psychology behind taking pictures.

What makes someone go up to someone or something and snap a photo?  What is it that created the impulse to capture it, and then reinterpret it using composition and the materials used?  We posed these and many other questions to Mr. Skinner and got some interesting answers.

Please excuse some of the quality of the sound, we are still experimenting with the equipment.  Here we used a mic directly attached to an iPhone and GarageBand.  It worked, but not as well as we hoped!

Bob Skinner’s work will be on display at The Art Garage from May 1st – June 5th.  Artist reception is on Friday evening, May 17th from 6-9pm.

Podcast #3 “Marked”: The Art of the Tattoo.

https://mastersandmodpod.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/artgarage-podcast-marked1.wavhello_sailor_collo Tattoos have a fascinating history and can be amazing works of art.  This episode, Suzanne and Teresa talk about the latest exhibit at The Art Garage, “Marked”, which celebrates the art of tattoos.  For the months preceding this show, Teresa (a big fan of tattoos) went around to some of North Jersey’s well known tattoo parlors, including Powerhouse and Jinx, to get some information on the artists of tattoos and have them participate. Before we start talking about the artwork and the artists who make this art form, Suzanne asks, “how exactly do you make a tattoo?” to which Teresa gives a brief tutorial on the inks, the machines and the sanitary practices. Teresa suggests that you always make sure the tattoo parlor that you are at uses only the most clean and sanitary practices. That segues into a discussion of Sailor Jerry, or Norman Keith Collins, the American tattoo artist who developed and perfected a true American style of the art form.  Taking influences from Vargas and Betty Page, Sailor Jerry turned tattooing into a business as well as an art. img1889smAfter his passing in the 1970’s, his apprentice, Ed Hardy, began building a following and also took the art of the tattoo to yet another level, adding T-shirts, sneakers, handbags and other items with the Ed Hardy label.  What else made tattooing the craze that it is today? Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Kat Von D, basketball star Denis Rodman and soccer star David Beckham displaying “flash”, has helped make it more mainstream. Finally, Teresa introduces the famous woman tattoo artist, Sunny Buick!  Sunny has been tattooing the rich and famous for years from her tattoo parlor in Paris. The art show, “Marked”, will be on display at The Art Garage in Montclair, NJ from April 7th- May 1st.  An artist reception will be on Friday, April 19th from 6-9pm.  211 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair NJ. https://mastersandmodpod.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/artgarage-podcast-marked1.wav

Podcast #2: Three Awesome Women Artists (and their names are not Frida, Mary or Georgia!)

Welcome to podcast #2!  Although we have already broken with our decided format of a Master and a Modern, we think that we can be excused for this one!  We have three amazing women artists.  Originally this was for Women’s History month, but we made another decision that women artists should be honored all year, as much as possible.

This week Suzanne and Teresa visit the artwork of the master artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, the modern work of architect and artist Maya Lin and the very contemporary and up and coming artist, Amanda Conner.

Artemisia Genileschi Self-Portrait.

Artemisia Genileschi Self-Portrait.

Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian painter during the 1600’s from the school of Caravaggio.  Her work is on par with any of the male artists of her generation.

Born in Rome in 1593, she received her early training from her father, but after art academies rejected her, she continued study under a friend of her father, Agostino Tassi. In 1612, her father brought suit against Tassi for raping Artemisia. There followed a highly publicized seven-month trial. This event makes up the central theme of a controversial French film, Artemisia (1998), directed by Agnes Merlet.

After her death, she drifted into obscurity, her works often attributed to her father or other artists. Art historian and expert on Artemisia, Mary D. Garrard notes that Artemisia “has suffered a scholarly neglect that is unthinkable for an artist of her calibre.” Renewed and overdue interest in Artemisia in recent years has recognized her as a talented seventeenth-century painter and one of the world’s greatest female artists. The first book devoted to her, Artemisia Gentileschi – The Image of The Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art. by Mary D. Garrard, was issued in 1989; her first exhibition was held in Florence in 1991. A TV documentary, a play and, more recently, a film and now a podcast have advanced her visibilty as an important artist.

020808_maya-lin-artworkOur Modern, Maya Lin is an important figure in todays art and architectural movement.  Her prize winning design for the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial catapulted her into the spotlight where she most definitely belongs. Lin’s conception was to create an opening or a wound in the earth to symbolize the gravity of the loss of the soldiers. The design was initially controversial for what was an unconventional and non-traditional design for a war memorial. Opponents of the design also voiced objection because of Lin’s Asian heritage.  But it is a well known fact that the Vietnam Memorial is the most visited memorial in Washington D.C.

In 1994, she was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. The title comes from an address she gave at Juniata College in which she spoke of the monument design process. Talking about the origin of her work, Lin says “My work originates from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings and this can include not just the physical but the psychological world that we live in”.

beforewatchman_silk_spectre2_02Our contemporary artist is Amanda Conner.  Admittedly, The Art Garage is partial to comic book and graphic novel artists, and here is one to watch.  Her work is playful, smart and well crafted.  Amanda Conner is a woman in a field that is definitely dominated by men.  Yet her work stands out and is part of some of the most popular comic books in recent history.