Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890), The Bedroom, 1889, The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bart­lett Memo­rial Col­lec­tion.

RETROSPECT

Vincent van Gogh's Bedroom

When I first saw a reproduction of The Bedroom I thought, Oh my God, this guy has so few clothes. Later I altered my assessment…
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Koon’s balloon dog at BCAM opening in Los Angeles, 2008.

RETROSPECT

Beauty is Not Truth; Now I Know All That

We talk about this art and that art, and then we either start seeing influences or start making them up. A popular one is the…
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Plácido Domingo as Macbeth and Ekaterina Semenchuk as Lady Macbeth.

RETROSPECT: Macbeth

Can't Stop the Evil

Macbeth is the story of a villain who people understand and have pity for—when the story is told correctly. Both Macbeth and his wife have…
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X at the Whisky a Go Go, August, 1980, photo by Lynda Burdick.

RETROSPECT

In Search of X-tasy

Does anyone remember the Paragons and the Jesters? In high falsetto voices they whined about the ache of first love way before I ever felt…
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Anonymous, copy of a classical painting. Courtesy The Ebell of Los Angeles.

RETROSPECT

The Ebell Collection

Have you ever been in someone’s home and seen a painting in the living room or hallway that you have never forgotten? It is not…
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Robert Mapplethorpe Lisa Lyon, 1982, Gelatin silver print, Promised Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the
J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

RETROSPECT

Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–89)

Unlike Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s fascination with his models—whom he painted obsessively, much to the detriment of his painting—Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs of Lisa Lyon show no…
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Ken Price, Orange, 1964, fired ceramic, courtesy Parrasch Heijnen Gallery.

RETROSPECT

Ken Price (1935–2012)

Kenny Price’s objects are modest in size and endless in meaning, which is another way of saying they make you think and feel instead of…
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Mary Woronov as Calamity Jane in Death Race 2000, 1975.

RETROSPECT

Death Race 2000

The most famous Hollywood movie I appeared in was Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000, which was bizarre because coming from New York, I didn’t know…
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Portrait of a Poet, “The Arundel Head,” 200-1 B.C., bronze and copper. Image courtesy of and © the Trustees of the British Museum

RETROSPECT

Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

These statues, never really alive, were visiting the Getty like ghosts from the past, and they have traveled an odd underwater route to get here….
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Woronov (far right) on badminton team at Packer Institute for Young Women of Brooklyn, 1961.

RETROSPECT

School's Out...And In

School—the word alone makes me shiver. I was forced to go when I was five. “Forced” is an ugly, ugly word but sometimes it turns…
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Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Jane Morris and the Pomegranate, 1874. (detail)

RETROSPECT

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)

To attempt to improve upon nature can mean creating a monster, something we are quite accustomed to in the plastic surgery industry, as we are…
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Squatting Female Nude, 1910.

RETROSPECT

Egon Schiele (1890–1918)

It is depressing for me to think that most of my favorite art is a cold-hearted attempt at mind control. No, the Egyptians were not…
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Kay Nielsen, The Hardy Tin Soldier, from Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen, 1924.

RETROSPECT

Kay Nielsen (1886-1957)

Narrative art is art that holds a story in it. It is as old as a simple clay bowl that holds life-giving water. The narrative…
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Installation view of “Andy Warhol: Shadows” photo by Brian Forrest. © 2014, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

RETROSPECT

Andy Warhol (1928–1987)

It seems the art critics think Andy Warhol’s Shadows painting (1978-79) at MOCA is the worst he has ever done—meaningless disco junk! One has to…
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Marsden Hartley, Arrangement—Hieroglyphics (Painting No. 2), 1914

RETROSPECT

Marsden Hartley (1877–1943)

A lover of Marsden Hartley’s landscapes, especially the “Dogtown” series, I have never been interested in his so-called cubist series depicting German symbols. Why would…
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Emil Nolde, Blue Sea (Blaues Meer), circa 1914, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll

RETROSPECT: Emil Nolde (1867–1956)

Indescribably Sublime, at LACMA

The inclusion of Emil Nolde in the excellent exhibition, “Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky” at the Los Angeles County Museum…
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