cynthia1

First Nations Art Preserved and Celebrated at the Audain Museum Whistler, B.C., Canada

The masks of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast are powerful objects that assist us in defining our place in the cosmos. In a world of endless change and complexity, masks offer a continuum for Native people to acknowledge our connection to the universe.     -Chief Robert Joseph (Down from the Shimmering Sky, 1998) […]


Across Borders: Two Artists Respond to Nature Mystically Emily Carr at the Audain Museum, Whistler, B.C. and The Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, B.C. Charles Burchfield at The Burchfield Penney Art Center-SUNY at Buffalo State University, Buffalo, New York

Emily Carr is one of those heroic early 20th century artists who should escape attention no more. It was her singular vision to document the magic of the British Columbian wilderness and to be the very first artist who recognized and painted the magnificence of First Nations’ peoples’ totems that existed throughout British Columbia and […]


Frank Herrmann, Slayer of Dragons Solo Exhibition, “New Works”, Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts December 1, 2017 through January 28, 2018

Painter extraordinaire Frank Herrmann means what he says. In a 2016 interview, Herrmann stated: “Never wait for the great idea or wait for the perfect moment when the work has stalled. You have to work through those moments, that may be depressing but just keep working.”1 Herrmann takes his own advice; his vivid new exhibition […]

Read | Comments Off on Frank Herrmann, Slayer of Dragons Solo Exhibition, “New Works”, Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts December 1, 2017 through January 28, 2018 | Tags: * · December 2017

How a Czechoslovakian Artist Promoted the Modern Woman Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau, Dayton Art Institute September 16 through December 31, 2017

Like Impressionism, with its wild brushstrokes and look of abandon in representing the world shocked the smug Parisian Salon art community, so too, Art Noveau originally was intended to be moderne, to usher in the new century, the twentieth century.  But now, oh those erotic cascades of hair in Alphonse Mucha’s women smoking in Job […]

Read | Comments Off on How a Czechoslovakian Artist Promoted the Modern Woman Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau, Dayton Art Institute September 16 through December 31, 2017 | Tags: * · November 2017

A Cincinnati Artist Finds Meaning in a 2,000 Year Old Poem Dynamic New Paintings by Kim Krause Marta Hewett Gallery, October 6 through December 2, 2017

“Nothing seems that certain”1 is a great operating procedure for an artist to generate new work.  This is what Kim Krause believes and it is clearly manifested in his new solo exhibition at Marta Hewett Gallery titled The Nature of Things. Krause read the original long poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things)2 […]


Swoon, a survey, the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati September 22, 2017 through February 25, 2018

Swoon makes magic. Swoon stirs souls. The world needs more Swoon. I get cynical about politically inspired art much of the time.  Such art is often self-serving (great way for an artist to get a solo show in our hyper-correct gallery and museum environments.)  Or simply, it is handy for an artist to use the […]

Read | 2 Comments | Tags: * · October 2017

Takashi Murakami Takes His Octopus to the Bank

Incredibly, the Takashi Murakami exhibition officially broke the David Bowie attendance record of 193,000, making it the all-time highest attended exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago’s 50-year history. Numerous prints Murakami had available for the MCA Museum Store were sold out, including an $11,000 print in an edition of 100. So the popular and commercial successes of TM […]


A Painter’s Family Tree, “Predecessors” at the Contemporary Arts Center

Everyone has a family tree. Painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s exhibition, Predecessors, outlines her family tree poignantly. She gives us the women in her family in portraits and with important personal photographs that are photo-transferred and are featured in still life tableaux. She further imbeds in her paintings photo-transfers of important Nigerian political and popular figures […]


Transcending Reality: The Woodcuts of Kōsaka Gajin through May 7, 2017 at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati continues to harness the landscape lion: the Taft Museum exhibition of 2016, Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape and two more stunners, the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Picturing the West: Masterworks of 19th-Century Landscape Photography and Van Gogh: Into the Undergrowth. Anyone fortunate enough to have seen all three exhibitions last year must certainly […]

Read | 1 Comment | Tags: * · April 2017

Unique Vision Celebrated in Two Exhibitions: Otherwise: Keith Benjamin, Ben Clark, Richard Emry Nickolson at Thunder Sky Gallery Uncanny at Visionaries and Voices Gallery

The story of the founding of the Raymond Thunder Sky Gallery and Visions and Voices Gallery, both in Northside, is as compelling as the art that is featured in these spaces. Keith Banner and Bill Ross are the founders of both galleries; both of whom are visionaries, humanitarians, social workers and tireless supporters of art […]

Read | Comments Off on Unique Vision Celebrated in Two Exhibitions: Otherwise: Keith Benjamin, Ben Clark, Richard Emry Nickolson at Thunder Sky Gallery Uncanny at Visionaries and Voices Gallery | Tags: April 2017

KayWalkingStick at the Dayton Art Institute

I can’t decide if I should leap for joy or feel cheated by the art world when I discover yet another marvelous woman artist who has not received appropriate mainstream recognition. Here’s Kay WalkingStick, now in her eighties and thriving in her studio practice, who has had a vibrant career with early New York accolades. […]

Read | Comments Off on KayWalkingStick at the Dayton Art Institute | Tags: * · March 2017

Color Beauty Vision – Carl Solway Gallery

  Color is the lush and unapologetic feature that binds the three artists whose solo presentations opened Friday, February 3rd, 2017 at the Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati and continue through April 29. Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson’s new woven silk weavings are the quiet scene-stealers of the Solway shows, though all three artists weigh in with […]

Read | Comments Off on Color Beauty Vision – Carl Solway Gallery | Tags: January/February 2017

Visionary Artists at the Carnegie Arts Center

E is for Edie, An Edith McKee Harper Retrospective Tony Dotson, An American Outsider Solo Exhibition Both exhibitions run from December 9, 2016 through February 11, 2017 Amanda Ackerman and Emily Frey are the curators for the brilliant retrospective of about three hundred works by Edith Harper, collaborator and wife to Cincinnati’s well-known and beloved […]


When Photography Was New: Picturing the West: Masterworks of 19th-Century Landscape Photography Islands of the Blest Artist-Led Communities: Meatyard, Lyons, Siskind & Callahan

The Fotofocus Biennial 2016 features a marvelous array of photography exhibitions – eight exhibits curated by Kevin Moore for Fotofocus and about sixty additional ancillary exhibits of photography that various museums, galleries and libraries from Cincinnati to Columbus have prepared in support of the biennial endeavor. While the eight exhibitions specially selected by the curator […]


Letter from Chicago: ‘Kerry James Marshall: Mastry’ opens April 23 and runs through September 25, 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Letter from Chicago: ‘Kerry James Marshall: Mastry’ opens April 23 and runs through September 25, 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. By Cynthia Kukla If you haven’t met him yet, let me introduce you to Alabama-born, Chicago-based artist Kerry James Marshall. If you go to Los Angeles, you can see one of his […]

Read | 1 Comment | Tags: May 2016

Letter from Chicago: Making Their Mark: Illinois Women Artists, 1940-1960

Making Their Mark: Illinois Women Artists, 1940-1960 opened October 17 and is on view until January 17, 2016 at the International Features Gallery of the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Peoria, Illinois. With this exhibition, the museum is contributing to the necessary scholarship on women artists. This rich and diverse exhibition of over seventy art works […]

Read | Comments Off on Letter from Chicago: Making Their Mark: Illinois Women Artists, 1940-1960 | Tags: November 2015

Letter from Chicago: “Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997–2014″

Midwest-born, Los Angeles–based sculptor Charles Ray’s mid-career retrospective, “Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997–2014,” is a significant and revelatory exhibition which opened at the Art Institute of Chicago May 15, 2015 and concluded on October 4. The exhibition was co-organized by the Art Institute, its only North American venue, and the Kunstmuseum, Basel. Six of Ray’s sculptures—including […]


la Biennale di Venezia: Part Two: Americans in Venice

The Venice Biennale, which opened in May, is on view through Nov 22 with exhibitions in the Giardini and the Arsenale, featuring 136 artists, 89 participating countries, and 44 collateral events presented by non-profit organizations and exhibited in various locations across Venice. The city’s massive Arsenale (of Venice’s mighty past as controller of the Mediterranean) […]


la Biennale di Venezia: Part One

Inaugurated in 1895 with the first international presentation in 1897, la Biennale di Venezia is the oldest and in my opinion, still the most prestigeous of the contemporary international exhibitions of visual art. Venice celebrates the 120th anniversary of the first Exhibition (1895).Venice is an erotic city, steeped in cultural, and military history and it […]

Read | Comments Off on la Biennale di Venezia: Part One | Tags: * · Summer 2015

Letter from Springfield Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art

Not every Friday the 13th is as memorable as the opening reception and new exhibition at the Illinois State Museum-Springfield Gallery.  Curated by the museum’s Robert Sill, Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art “explores the various ways artists choose to combine language in their visual art. It features art by self-taught artists and works by […]

Read | Comments Off on Letter from Springfield Pro-Text: When Words Enter Visual Art | Tags: March 2015

February 28, 2015: Reflections at the End of Black History Month. Where We At? Dealing (with) Black Feminism

By Venise Keys, Edited by Cynthia Kukla In the great tradition of Black Feminism, I have integrated a daily practice of self-love into my lifestyle as a full-time graduate student. This self-love is deeper than an assortment of wooden Afrocentric jewelry or a proclaiming Black Nationalist flag (although I proudly have both)…it is an active […]

Read | Comments Off on February 28, 2015: Reflections at the End of Black History Month. Where We At? Dealing (with) Black Feminism | Tags: March 2015

WHAT IS THIS ART THING? by Ruben Morrissey Edited by Cynthia Kukla

Read this like you saying, “Homie is a baller.” Swaying would be good too. http://www.learner.org/courses/globalart/work/207/index.html So I says, “Man, look at all those chairs.  2014 was “The Year of Chairs!”  I see this exhibit, orange chairs, lime green chairs sitting in front of really boring paintings not even made with paint (can you imagine?)  What’s […]

Read | Comments Off on WHAT IS THIS ART THING? by Ruben Morrissey Edited by Cynthia Kukla | Tags: Winter 2015

Letter from the Midwest

Letter from the Midwest differs from my previous “Letters.” It is a quick romp through parts of the Midwest where there have been interesting exhibitions. While “there is good art everywhere” to quote myself, we can’t get everywhere, so I hope this snapshot gives you an impression of some of the exhibitions, or it inspires […]

Read | Comments Off on Letter from the Midwest | Tags: October 2014

Seeking to Make “Everyday Objects Shriek Aloud”

Why a new exhibition on Magritte? “René Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938,” is the Art Institute of Chicago’s season blockbuster. This stunning exhibition is the first that zeroes in on Magritte’s most inventive and experimental years, showing us his seminal experiments of 1926-27 on through 1938.  I was bowled over. Among art lovers, […]

Read | Comments Off on Seeking to Make “Everyday Objects Shriek Aloud” | Tags: September 2014

Letter from Thessaloniki

In April and May of this year, during my second art research trip to Greece, I had many long discussions about art and politics with my good friend, fellow artist and professor Xenis Sachinis. When he told me of the special circumstances of his poignant print series, Traces and Memory, and that he donated one of them to Aristotle University for the commemoration of […]

Read | Comments Off on Letter from Thessaloniki | Tags: * · Summer 2014

Letter from Wyoming – There Is Good Art Everywhere

By Cynthia Kukla There is good art everywhere, just look.  Look a little harder and you will find great art just about anywhere.  Such is the case with the exhibition of Robert Motherwell and Lee Hall in Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s big ski country.  Great art indeed. Tayloe Piggott, owner and namesake of her gallery, presented/paired […]

Read | 4 Comments | Tags: * · Features · March 2014

Letter from Chicago: Focus on Five Artists and a Nod to Leyster

by Cynthia Kukla               Twenty years ago, in 1993, the Frans Hals Museum mounted an exhibition of the dozen authentic oil paintings of the ‘lost’ Judith Leyster (1609-1660).  Banners throughout the city of Amsterdam proclaimed and celebrated this centennial of Leyster’s rediscovery.  Why was this significant?  Judith Leyster was […]

Read | Comments Off on Letter from Chicago: Focus on Five Artists and a Nod to Leyster | Tags: * · Features · January 2014

LETTER FROM CHAMPAIGN: “RETURN TO SENDER”

LETTER FROM CHAMPAIGN: “RETURN TO SENDER” By Cynthia  Kukla   “I study cancellations, the manner in which the stamp is placed, the way the address is done…. It’s a marvelous art form, the letter – full of wonder and surprise.” Ray Johnson (1965) Mail Art and Ray Johnson remain vivid and remembered, owing to the […]

Read | Comments Off on LETTER FROM CHAMPAIGN: “RETURN TO SENDER” | Tags: November 2013

Letter from Chicago

Letter from Chicago  By Cynthia Kukla • Chicago, City of Big Shoulders, is home to numerous gems of specialized art museums beyond the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Polish Museum of Art, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, National Museum of Mexican Art, The Arts Club of Chicago, DePaul Art […]

Read | Comments Off on Letter from Chicago | Tags: October 2013

A Contemporary Art Checklist

A Contemporary Art Checklist By Cynthia M. Kukla “ALL ART HAS BEEN CONTEMPORARY” Neon installation piece above entrance to the Altes Museum, Berlin’s collection of classical antiquities. What is contemporary art? This increasingly important topic is complex and it is debated with no clear-cut conclusions, since current conditions fold back upon themselves and older conditions re-emerge […]

Read | Comments Off on A Contemporary Art Checklist | Tags: September 2013

Letter from Chicago: Part II.

Letter from Chicago: Part II. “Picasso and Chicago: the Fearless Pursuit of the Modern” Art Institute of Chicago, Feb 20 – May 12, 2013 http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/picasso-and-chicago By Cynthia Kukla I returned to Chicago for the April 19th symposium on Picasso1 organized for the “Picasso and Chicago” exhibition and seeing the exhibition again strengthens my already deep […]

Read | Comments Off on Letter from Chicago: Part II. | Tags: * · April 2013

Letter from Chicago: Part I. “Picasso and Chicago: the Fearless Pursuit of the Modern”

Letter from Chicago: Part I. “Picasso and Chicago: the Fearless Pursuit of the Modern” Art Institute of Chicago, Feb 20 May 12, 2013 http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/picasso-and-chicago Questions flood the mind after seeing a stunning exhibition by an artist whose name is part of the cultural and popular vernacular. In this first of a two-part analysis, questions arise. […]


Letter from Chicago

Letter from Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago:  MCA DNA: William Kentridge by  Cynthia M. Kukla The Drawing Center in New York featured the art work of William Kentridge in 1998, a year after he premiered at Documenta X, Kassel, Germany. The MCA-Chicago first presented the work of South African Kentridge in 2001 in his first […]


Letter from Chicago: Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective Art Institute of Chicago May 22 to September 3, 2012 “Whaam!  Bratatat!  Varoom!  The Art Institute of Chicago explodes this summer with the energy of Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) in the largest exhibition of the seminal Pop artist to date.  More than 160 of Lichtenstein’s works, from the familiar to the completely […]

Read | 6 Comments | Tags: * · May 2012

Letter From Los Angeles

Our Debt to the West Coast: Pacific Standard Time: 1945-1980 “An unprecedented collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California coming together to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene.”1 Visiting L.A. is like a review of your whole life. Driving around greater L.A. in traffic much less crazy than my hometown […]