2001-07-14 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio by Susan Hartenstein

The suspense is over. The thirst is about to be quenched. Finally, after days of almost unbearable anticipation – The Answers to the 8th (or is it 9th)? "Rockaway Artists Alliance Test Your Art Knowledge Quiz."

  1. Al Hirschfeld is the American caricaturist who incorporates the name of his daughter, Nina, into his drawings. Sometimes difficult to locate, the name is always there, nonetheless. Just look closely. You know – sort of like those drawings in the kids’ magazine where you have to find the giraffe in the scene of a living room. Hirschfeld has brilliantly been capturing the likenesses and essences of the famous, from Jack Lemmon to Golda Meir, for a few generations now.
  2. Paul Revere was the American Revolutionary War patriot who made his living as a silversmith. Thought he spent all his time riding that horse and climbing church stairs, huh?
  3. Joseph Cornell’s wooden boxes of arranged found items were called "assemblages." The influence of Surrealism can be seen in the seeming randomness of the arrangements. But this belies the underlying sense of order and precision of these works.
  4. "Out of Towners" was the RAA exhibition that contained assemblages by versatile artist Donnarae Aiello. Aiello reached into the community during the exhibit by teaching a workshop on the art form to a group of young men from the Saint John’s Home for Boys. The youngsters were so stimulated by the class, they couldn’t wait to return for more of the same.
  5. Jasper Johns is the artist responsible for "Three Flags." Encaustic, by the way, is a very durable medium in which pigments are suspended in hot wax. This mixture may be opaque and creamy like oil paint or thin and translucent. Used primarily by the Greeks, encaustic is what gives "Three Flags" its thick relief-like surface.
  6. John James Audubon had intended to be a painter and studied with neo-classicist Jacques-Louis David. "Birds of America" combines Audubon’s artistry with his intense ornithological research and love of the subject. It is a work of great beauty and significant scientific documentation.
  7. Born in 1898, Paul Robeson’s talents were as enormous as his bass voice. He was an All-American football player at Rutgers University and graduated from Columbia University law school. He began acting with the Provincetown Players and went on to play such roles as Shakespeare’s Othello on the stage and O’Neill’s Emperor Jones on film. He was also a renowned concert singer. Robeson’s opinions about Communist causes were controversial in this country in the McCarthy era of the 50’s. He moved to Europe, where he continued to concertize. His recordings are still a monument to his magnificent voice and thrilling interpretations.
  8. Grandma Moses’ real name was Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860 – 1961). She began painting in her late 70’s, for her own satisfaction. Never formally trained, this "farmer’s wife" painted rural scenes of her upstate New York. Art collector Louis Calder saw her work being exhibited in a drugstore window, which led to her discovery by the New York art world and then to being exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art and the Gallerie Saint Etienne. Typical of her paintings are harmonious compositions and simple, beautiful decorative elements.
  9. Georgia O’Keeffe spent the latter part of her life in New Mexico. Her monumental flowers transfix the viewer with their complex, vibrating modulations.
  10. Winslow Homer, to my mind, is one of the three greatest American watercolorists. (John Singer Sargent and Andrew Wyeth are the other two.) Homer began his career as an illustrator for "Harper’s Weekly" and covered the Civil War.
  11. John J. Grillo’s hauntingly eloquent black and white photographs appeared in "Near and Far." Many of the works captured Rockaway scenes, including old Playland.
  12. Helen Frankenthaler is the abstract expressionist influenced by Pollack. She achieves her free-flowing staining and abstract, lyric forms by using an unprimed and, therefore, highly absorbent canvas.

Rockaway Artists Alliance would like to thank 2 Brothers Construction, specifically Al and Tommy Catanese, for their outstanding contribution of time, labor and expertise in forming and laying the concrete base for RAA’s "Ring Around the Moon" outdoor stage. RAA thanks Quadrozzi Concrete for their generous donation of the concrete. This new stage will add yet another dimension to the arts and entertainment being offered at the Rockaway Arts Center at Fort Tilden.

Speaking of which, the Rockaway Theatre Company, in cooperation with Gateway NRA, is presenting its annual USO Show July 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden. Each year’s production proves better than the last. Come enjoy.

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