The Art Caravan is celebrating…in a covid kind of way. A year ago we started posting regularly – every two weeks. (Our initial, and very tentative post was in February 2014, with sporadic postings until 2020.)
Re-reading the March 2020 post reminds me how little we knew about life in a pandemic. Sigh. Be reassured this post is NOT going to discuss the all-too-familiar challenging and horrendous circumstances of the last twelve months. Instead, we are going to mark this anniversary (of sorts) with gentleness, one of the strategies Dr. Pauline Boss recommends, to survive in a time of loss. She recommends doing things we enjoy, participating in rituals and being kind to others.
The most recent edition of Cocktails with a Curator: Rembrandt’s Self Portrait aptly kicks off our celebration. It’s a perfect blend of art, ritual and kindness. If you are a regular reader of The Art Caravan you will know that I am mad for Rembrant’s Self Portrait at the Frick. I make a point of seeing it whenever I visit New York City.
I wondered when this masterpiece would be featured on Cocktails with a Curator, one of the four (4!) video series produced by The Frick Collection. (I also enjoyed The Frick Five video series, which resulted in excellent daydreams and interesting conversations. Skip the Netfl*x and go to The Frick’s You Tube channel, which offers a plethora of worthy choices.)
A virtual visit to an artwork isn’t the same as experiencing it in person, but I enjoyed the presentation by the always erudite Xavier F. Salomon, the chief curator at The Frick. He outlines the history and context of this self portrait in Rembrandt’s life. I may not agree entirely with his interpretation of Rembrandt’s self-depiction, but the discussion adds to my appreciation of the painting.
The Frick adapted well to the harsh realities of a pandemic. It generously (most programs are free), and regularly shares its art and expertise through innovative online programming.
If you’re in the mood for more celebrating (and who isn’t?) The Winnipeg Art Gallery opens Qaumajuq, its new Inuit Art Centre, this week. (Here is the post from January 2021 with more information about this gallery hosting the world’s largest collection of Inuit art.) The WAG is kindly inviting us to a two part, virtual opening to celebrate the new 40,000 square foot space.
I encourage you to open some bubbly, and salute The Frick and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Despite the formidable difficulties presented by a pandemic, both institutions continue to contribute to society in innovative and meaningful ways. They unstintingly provide easy access to art, beauty, differing cultures, ideas and a myriad of educational opportunities. They are worthy of our appreciation, praise and celebration. Cheers!