2018 – A Year in Art

Although 2019 is well underway, I have only written a couple posts in the past month. So, although a bit late, here are a few art stories from 2018 that I found interesting.

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ABOVE: Maurizio Cattelan, America, gold sculpture

The Golden Bowl

Last fall, the White House asked the Guggenheim Museum if it could borrow Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 painting ‘Landscape with Snow’ to display in the living area of the President and First Lady. Nancy Spector, the deputy director of the museum declined because the painting was heading the Guggenheim in Bilbao. She did however, offer up Maurizio Cattelan’s 18-karat gold toilet ‘America.’ The White House declined her offer.

Art and the Opioid Crisis

In March, famed photographer Nan Goldin – herself, a former addict – lead a protest against Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by some members of the Sackler family, and is the maker of OxyCotin. The first protest took place in the Sackler Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A second protest took place the following month at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The protestors claimed that the Sackler’s are in part responsible for the opioid crisis in America.

It Pays to Take the Bus

In 2009, ‘Les Choristes,’ a pastel by Edgar Degas was stolen from a museum in the South of France. In February of 2018, it was found in the luggage department of a bus stopped at a gas station outside Paris. The artwork, which is worth an estimated $904,000, is set to go on display at the Musée d’Orsay sometime in 2019.

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Goals for 2019

Happy New Year! As this is my first post of 2019, here is a list of my goals for the next twelve months. Some of them are obtainable. Others, not so much.

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  • Continue to work on my latest, major art project (finishing it in 2019 may not be possible).
  • Continue to work on my short story/novella (same as above).
  • Read more about creative writing skills, grammar and structure.
  • Read more about the art world (past and present).
  • Find people to read my work (and read theirs in return).
  • Take more continuing education courses (I did so last year and loved it).
  • Study for the CAPM exam.
  • Attend more art openings.
  • Network.

Give it Time

Although not always possible, time is an artists best friend. If you can spare it, put any sketches/plans for your next project away, and revisit them a few months later.

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Above, are some rough designs. After putting them away, and moving onto another phase of the project, I recently took another look at them, and will likely make a few small changes. After that, I’ll put them away again, and repeat the process in a couple months. I find this helps a lot.

From the Vault

I was going through some old pictures this week and came across a painting I did about 13 years ago. It’s nothing like the work I do today. Here is a little bit about it.

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ABOVE: David McDonough, Spin, 2005, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

BELOW: David McDonough, Spin (detail)

In my early twenties, I rediscovered a love of art that had laid dormant for years. Like many new artists, I started with painting, and although my first efforts where admittedly bad, over time, I grew better.

The above painting is the result of many years of struggle. By no means is it a masterpiece, but for me, it was the first painting that I finished, took a look at, and said: “yes, you are onto something here.”

Spin, was one of the last paintings I made. Shortly after, I changed course, started experimenting with new materials and subject matter, and began making work closer to what I make today.

Whether it’s refining my skills, style or message, making art will always be a challenge. It’s sometimes helpful to look at past projects to gauge where you came from, where you are, and where you want to go.