The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection

My review of The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario.



ABOVE: Vasily Kandisnksy, Sketch for “Composition II”, 1909-10, oil on canvas, 38.4 x 51.6 inches, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Photo: © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York [2014]

Ice storms, polar vortexes and frost quakes – WTF? It’s not even February, and I’ve already got the blues.

To escape the funk, I braved the Arctic air and set course for the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

The AGO’s current exhibition: The Great Upheaval – Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection runs until March 2, and it is stellar.

As the above title suggests, the artworks on display were produced in an age of turmoil (1910-18), but despite the Great War, they are surprisingly uplifting.

Many are strikingly beautiful, and as a whole, the exhibition is vibrantly colorful. My blues got company.

I liked just about everything I saw, but I especially liked the works of Robert Delauney and Vasily Kandinsky. They rocked the house.

Nearly a century after their creation, the works of the Guggenheim Collection still have the power to brighten your day. Go see this show.

Art World Highs and Lows

From exorbitant tuition, to the debacle at the DIA, in many ways, 2013 was a tough year for the arts.



ABOVE: Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, 1887, oil on pasteboard, 9.8 x 10.5 inches, Detroit Institute of Arts, appraised value: $150 million, Photo: © Detroit Institute of  Arts, Detroit [2014]

In many ways, 2013 was a tough year for the arts:


Art School Inequality

Offering free tuition since 1859, Cooper Union will begin charging its undergrads $20,000 a year in 2014.

If you want a BFA, you had better be rich. If you want an MFA, you should start robbing banks now.


In the wake of economic collapse, the vultures descended on the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2013.

As if Detroit didn’t have enough problems already…now it could lose a world class collection to private collectors.

Record Setting Greed

2013 was a great year for auction houses with records being set left, right, and center.

Unfortunately, when auction houses win, the public often losses – many of these treasures are destined for private collections.

And now for some good news:


Bring on the Riot

In June 2011, Chinese authorities released Ai Weiwei. In December 2013, Vladimir Putin released the last two imprisoned members of Pussy Riot.

Oppressive regimes breed and need dissident artists.

The DIA May Be Saved

Nine charities have pledged $330 million to help save Detroit’s art from being sold. Here’s hoping.

Portland Brings Home the Bacon

The most expensive artwork ever sold at auction is heading to the Portland Art Museum.

Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud will be on display until March 30, 2014. After that? Who knows.

Goals for 2014

Realist goals are important. Without them, you will get nowhere. Here are some of mine.


ABOVE: David McDonough, Broken Cloud, mixed media, 14 x 20 x 1.5 inches

Goals are important. Here are some of mine:

  • Make millions off my art.
  • Date models/actresses.

OK…here are some of my realistic goals:

  • Explore new subjects.
  • Utilize new materials.
  • Build my brand and increase awareness.
  • Get my art into more galleries, shows and fairs.
  • Increase the quantity of art I produce.

New Year’s Reflections

Art is my life. I know that sounds overly-dramatic, but it really is true. I’d be completely lost without it.



As an artist, it is not possible for me to put into words how passionate I am about art. Nor, is it possible to describe my artistic practice without coming across as overly-dramatic. So be it. Art is my life.

For better or for worse, I put my art first. Whether it be emotionally, physically and most certainly financially, I have and always will, throw everything I have into it.

Moreover, I have and will continue, to work lesser jobs, and live in lesser places, because of it.

I don’t care how many times I am rejected; I don’t care if I ever sell another piece. I don’t care if I die penniless and unknown; I will never, ever, quit.

Art may very well prove my ruin. Such is life, or rather, what life has chosen for me.