Monthly Archives: April 2018

Hygieia in Worcester

HygieiaThe marble Hygieia at the Worcester art museum is missing her head and arms, yet still appears graceful and somehow beckoning. From the 2nd century CE, excavated in Antioch, the goddess of health (Greek: ὑγίεια – hugieia[1]) still retains traces of gilding on her long, wavy hair.

Hygieia was one of the Aeclepiadae; the sons and daughters of the god of medicine, Asclepius, and the goddess of healing, Epione.  Her name is the source of the word “hygiene”. Many neoclassical American sculptors took on this theme, notably Edmonia Lewis.



Tracking down ancient goddesses


#GoddessID is where I’ll keep a repository of ancient goddesses in sculpture, like Talakh, a new one to me. Here’s a quote from the label of this relief sculpture, in the Worcester Museum of Art:

“This Nubian masterpiece depicts Prince Arikankharer in a triumphal scene….a winged goddess, incised with the name Talakh, hovers behind the prince and holds a long fan and a cudgel.” So it looks like Talakh helped the prince smite many enemies, like the one lying on the ground at his feet, a dog eating his face. Ouch.

Worcester Art Museum

Artists’ rights, and don’t pay to play!


Recently, I came across yet another “opportunity” for artists to pay fees to show, and thought I’d spread the word about how unfair this practice is. I’m quoting here from one of my favorite bloggers, paintingdemos:

“A reputable commercial gallery won’t make you pay to exhibit your art, they will make their money from their commission, so they work with the artist as a team to get sales. If you pay thousands of dollars to show in a gallery, they don’t have so much incentive to sell your art, you are the target market they go after, not the gallery visitors.”

And an important piece of legislation for artists is making its way through Congress. Now’s the time for you to weigh in on increasing copyright protections for artists and creatives. The Case Act, HR3945, will establish a small-claims type process for infringement, meaning artists don’t have to pay huge fees to copyright attorneys to recover theft and misappropriation of their art. Read more here and contact your Representatives.

Images of Ourselves


Now streaming on PBS, an interesting survey of representative sculpture and the art of the body in “How Do We Look,” part of the Civilizations series:

pictured: jade Olmec figurines

Schön & Schön

PodNancy Schön, sculptor of  the beloved Make Way for Ducklings bronze on Boston Common, is showing new and classic work at the Gallery at North Hill, an assisted-living complex. On view are her series of small-scale Aesop’s fables pieces and life-size animals in bronze. Crow and the Pitcher, a diminutive 6x6x14 inches, is shown below

Ellen Schön, Nancy’s daughter, is a ceramic sculptor who teaches at Lesley University College of Art and Design (LUCAD). Nancy’s hand built, direct-fired ceramic forms are inspired by nature and the landscape. Her transcendent Lotus Pod (above) is smoke-fired clay. The piece references lotus flowers, symbols of enlightenment, and almost seems to hover above its pedestal.

The gallery is open to the public daily from 9am-5pm just inside the main entrance at 865 Central Ave., Needham, MA.


State of Clay

State of Clay

State of Clay is a biannual show of Massachusetts clay artists, and I’m included this year. The show opens May 5 and the opening reception is May 6. Juror was Emily Zilber, Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Miniature Murder, She Wrote

Frances Glessner Lee created her crime-scene miniatures to assist, and in a sense develop, the training of forensic investigators. Using real dollhouse furniture and dolls, the miniatures are, however, anything but toys.

Thwarted in her quest to become a doctor, this Gilded-age heiress constructed tiny rooms from descriptions of real crime scenes, so accurate they contained correct blood spatter patterns. A sculpture series in its own right, the diminutive rooms subvert all notions of domestic bliss. Viewing the doll corpses and wee murder weapons is to enter a dystopian wonderland of murder, suicide, accident, and mayhem.

Exhibited at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC several years ago, where they were the subject of a book, “The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death,”  Lee’s pieces deserve a permanent home on public display.

Too Real?

I couldn’t resist reposting this article about Carol May‘s Happy Meal parody sculpture ending up in the trash. Read to the end, which has a short history of other sculptures mistaken for something that needed cleaning.

Maya Lin’s Library

What has Maya Lin been doing lately? Among other things, re-designing a “jewel box” library complex on the historic Smith College Campus. Lin’s innovative design incorporates, among other features, a large, light-gathering prism to bring rooftop sunlight deep into the interior of the library.

While on campus, visit the College’s Museum of Art, which has a fabulous ladies room designed by Ellen Driscoll and collection highlights like this one by Betye Saar:


Boston Biennial Five


I’m excited to be included in the Boston Biennial 5, opening Today at Atlantic Works Studios. Closing Reception April 22nd.