Monday, March 12, 2007

Mr Cogito Challenges Sharon Percy Rockefeller To Recall The Beautiful American Art Wings Of The Metropolitan, National, And San Francisco Art Museums

Terry Moore wrote: " If WETA adopted an AmCon (American content) rule, I’m sure it would probably still lean toward the top-40 format. Copland, Barber, Sousa, Bernstein, Gershwin, and maybe some Beach and Ives..."

I believe that the older, intellectually-curated Cassical WETA (before it was cloned with, or rather subsumed by, the commercially- driven WGMS) performed all of those composers on a regular basis, as well as rarities, and the premieres of new and newer Classical works by American composers as performed on such outstanding programs as the delayed concert broadcasts from Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York City, Atlanta, and elsewhere; NPR's SymphonyCast; and other carefully curated programs.

The New Classical WETA, under Mr Allison, performs a single movement from a Arthur Foote Quintet -- if that -- and calls it a day (while programming perhaps three concertos by Saint Saens on a single day, as it did yesterday.)

Thank you for all of your very important and insightful comments, Terry. My proposal for the New Classical WETA-FM to perform 10 to 15% American classical music is predicated on the works being by 'American' (or perhaps 'Western Hemispheric') composers.

I would doubt that Dr Karen Ahlquist, the musicologist of American music and George Washington University Music Department Chair to whom Jens Laurson, Mr Allison, and Ms Rockefeller should be listening -- was referring to American performers as well as composers, but she is free to respond for herself.

Again, the great American museums have beautiful American Art Wings and Exhibitions, and Classical WETA-FM should regularly feature American Classical music throughout the day, evening, and night. American public culture was, indeed, much poorer before the Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery of Art (including their stunningly beautiful American Art Wings) opened in New York City and Washington, D.C.; or the Rockefeller family contributed 100s of exquisite American paintings to San Francisco's de Young Museum in 1977 or 1978 (many of which are now proudly displayed on a permanent basis, forming a highlight of that museum.)


PS. How about Classical WETA-FM programming Charles Ives's Symphony #1 and Daniel Pinkham's Symphony #4 next Sunday (each in full), which were both given their world premieres at the National Gallery of Art? A really radical suggestion?

And how about some of the exquisite American Cassical music by such fine woman composers as Mabel Daniels, Mary Howe, Esther Ballou, Amy Beach, Ruth Crawford Seeger, or Shulamit Ran; all championed by Washington's much better run cultural organization (than the New Classical WETA-FM) , the National Gallery of Art Music Division? Again, the New Classical WETA-FM is so far out of the mainstream of living American culture that it is "pathetic" -- as one of last Wednesday's three Library of Congress invited panelists concluded.

Source: The New Classical WETA-FM Blog


The Metropolitan Museum of Art American Art Wing, Paintings and Sculpture

The San Francisco De Young Museum of Art American Art Wing

"The de Young houses one of the finest collections of American paintings in the United States. Strengthened by the acquisition of the Rockefeller Collection of American Art, the de Young's treasures include more than 1000 paintings that represent a spectrum of American art from colonial times into the twenty-first century. Gems of the collection include George Caleb Bingham's Boatmen on the Missouri, Frederic Edwin Church's Rainy Season in the Tropics, Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park #116, and 20th-century treasures from artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, and Grant Wood."

The National Gallery of Art's American Paintings Galleries.

Selected Online Tours

American Portraits of the Late 1700s and Early 1800s
American Impressionists of the Late 1800s and Early 1900s
American Realists of the Early 1900s
Mary Cassatt: Selected Paintings
John Singleton Copley
Portraits of the Founding Benefactors
Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Stuart Paints the First Five Presidents
Homer and Eakins: American Painters in the Late 1800s
Selected African American Artists
Whistler, Sargent, and Tanner: Americans Abroad in the Late 1800s

In-Depth Studies

American Masters from Bingham to Eakins: The John Wilmerding Collection
Exploring Themes in American Art
American Impressionism and Realism
John Singleton Copley: Watson and the Shark
William Harnett: Trompe l'Oeil
Winslow Homer in the National Gallery of Art
Jasper Johns: Perilous Night
Thomas Moran
Jackson Pollock: Number 1, 1950, (Lavender Mist)
Edward Ruscha: Lisp
Frederic Remington
Mark Rothko
Edward Steichen: Le Tournesol (The Sunflower)

Streaming Slideshow

Winslow Homer: Right and Left (Download RealPlayer)

George Caleb Bingham, Boatmen on the Missouri, 1846, Part of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums's de Young Museum Rockefeller Collection of American Art.

Dialogue by Mark:

"Someday people will really travel to Mars. It'll be the cutting edge of adventure - a journey into the unknown!

In the 1800's the American west was one of the great frontiers of the world, just like Mars will be in the future. But the spaceships of the American west were riverboats...

Our Masters' Gallery painting today is from that great time of exploration. It was created in 1846 and is called "Boatmen on the Missouri." The artist was George Caleb Bingham.

Bingham grew up on the banks of the great Missouri River. When he was just a kid, a traveling portrait painter came to town and set up shop for a while. Bingham used to visit the artist's studio and watch him work. He was so impressed that he decided to become a professional painter himself.

Bingham was one of the first artists to paint the American west, and one of the only artists to have been raised on the frontier. He was a "man of the people" and his characters are shown with respect and appreciation.

The three fellows in this painting are wood cutters. Their raft, stacked with firewood, waits in the middle of the river for a customer to come along and buy the wood...probably that big steamboat you see off in the distance.

The guys are relaxing after their hard work. They look like just the kind of fellows you'd find on the frontier...independent, confident, adventurous. They're not fact they're kind of raggedy and barefoot. One woodcutter has a torn old top hat. Still they're optimistic...these guys really have a positive attitude.

Thanks to Kim Solga, our art historian at KidsArt, and to the Fine Arts Musuem of San Francisco for sending this picture to Imagination Station. It was even made into a stamp by the US Post of 20 American art masterpieces you could use to mail a letter to your best friend."

Text © Kim Solga, KidsArt 1999

Photo credit: Text (c) Kim Solga, Mark, and www. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Musuem of San Francisco via With thanks!


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