Fine Art Notebook™

The art world in general, NY, South Florida and Italy in particular…

Andrew Stevovich’s “Chocolate Truffles”

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Andrew Stevovich, Chocolate Truffles, 2013, oil on linen (12″ x 7 1/4″)

One of my favorite contemporary American painters, Andrew Stevovich, recently posted this new painting, “Chocolate Truffles,” on his blog .

I like it on so many different levels.  With Stevovich’s work, I always feel to some degree like it’s a Rorschach test for what is going on inside my head, inside the head of any viewer of his work, rather than what is going on inside the artist’s head.  I’m in awe of how Stevovich manages to remain removed from, yet completely present in his inimitable style in, his own work.  Trying to figure out what his intentions are always fascinates me.  Not only is he a remarkably gifted painter, in terms of process and color, but he’s also an extremely keen visual commentator on the human condition.

About this work, Stevovich writes, “As in the first version, I kept to an analogous harmony of closely related colors. Often when I go in this direction, I’ll add a note of complementary color which can add some jump and energy to the visual experience – perhaps could have made the ribbon green or blue – but this painting wanted the quiet of staying totally focused on warmth.”  So, he keeps his focus, and ours, entirely on the process by which he paints and makes color choices.

Yet, for me, the beauty of his process is just the entry to the profound world that he creates.  For me, here in this world, a woman is plagued by a simple choice: truffle or no? But for women, food is never an easy choice.  For women, food is friend or foe.  As she pauses with the truffle, I wonder if she’s worried about breaking her diet? Or perhaps she’s paused to contemplate the beau who gave her the box as a gift?  What does the truffle represent?  What is this woman thinking?  Why did Stevovich choose this as subject matter?  What made him think of this, or other things he’s represented in his work, such as hats and subways and card players.  So, here are all the “layers” I just spoke of.  The work just keeps unfolding and revealing itself to me. However, my reveal – my response to this woman staring at a chocolate truffle – may be entirely different than yours.

How does Stevovich always make this mundane world his subjects inhabit seem so chillingly intriguing? How does he make this world so enticing, dangerous and beautiful at the same time?

It’s simple.  He’s brilliant.  He’s one of the most brilliant painters working today and I’m so glad to have found his work through my friend, Wendy Blazier, who brought his show to the Boca Raton Museum of Art a few years back.


Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

January 23, 2013 at 3:54 am

Palm Beach Art Fairs for JetSet Magazine

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ImagePlease look for the article, “Palm Beach Art Shows: Art Away From the Maddening Crowds” that I co-wrote for the current issue of JetSet Magazine.  The article profiles the three major Palm Beach art fairs and how they create a seasonal winter market for fine art and antiques that attracts leading dealers, collectors, curators, advisers and writers from around the world.

The fairs include two that are produced by IFAE (International Fine Art Expositions) founders ImageDavid and LeeAnn Lester.  The first Art Palm Beach is a contemporary art and design fair.  The second, AIFAF, American International Fine Art Fair, is a fine art, antiques and jewelry fair.

Following these two, the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show happens every year during President’s Day Weekend. That show attracts the financier set who vacation in Palm Beach during that weekend and is produced by the Palm Beach Show Group and its founder Scott Diament.

For the article I interviewed both producers, David Lester and Scott Diament.  The dealers that are interviewed included Jim Schantz, a dealer of high-end glass artists like Lino Tagliapietra and Dale Chihuly at his gallery in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Then there is Arlie Sulka, who deals primarily in Louis Comfort Tiffany, David DeBuck, a contemporary art dealer and Greg Kwiat, the CEO of Fred Leighton. All are in New York City.  Jonathan Dodd of Waterhouse & Dodd corresponded with me from London and David Setford, a prominent curator and art adviser provided his insights on the art fair vetting process.


John Singer Sargent & Italy

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John Singer Sargent, "Venezia, tempo grigio (Venice Time Gray)," 1880-82

John Singer Sargent, “Venezia, tempo grigio (Venice Time Gray),” 1880-82

It’s John Singer Sargent’s birthday today. Sargent was fascinated with Italy. He was drawn to the country as am I (and who isn’t?) and some of his most beautiful work was done there, including this painting, Venezia, tempo grigio (Venice Time Gray), 1880-82.

In fact, Sargent was born in Florence, Italy to American parents. They’d been traveling through Europe, but stopped there because of the cholera epidemic.  Sargent later tried to study at the Academy of Florence, but couldn’t because the school wasn’t yet able to handle students, so he went to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris instead.

In 2003, an exhibit of over 70 of his paintings and watercolors titled “Sargent and Italy,” originated at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Florence and then toured to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and concluded at the Denver Art Museum.

You can actually still purchase the catalog on Amazon, by clicking here>

Art Basel Miami Beach for JetSet

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I just received the copy of the article I ghostwrote about Art Basel Miami Beach for JetSet magazine on behalf of a prominent dealer and art adviser.


The Art of the Deal by Noah Horowitz

The Art of the Deal by Noah Horowitz

This provided me the opportunity to interview Noah Horowitz, the director of the Armory Art Show and also the author of The Art of the Deal, an amazing book about the economics that drive the contemporary art world and market.  In addition to Noah, I also interviewed Bob Goodman, the Miami spokesperson for the Basel organization and Frederic Snitzer, the only Miami gallerist on the Basel MB selection committee.

One person I interviewed was a particular high – Ron Warren – wait, I should actually say the “uber-famous” Ron Warren, because he’s such an art-world heavyweight and persona, from Mary Boone Gallery.  I wrote an extensive research paper on Mary Boone when I was getting my art history degree.  I idolized her and her gallery.  I was going there when I was a teenager for gosh sake. Also interviewed are Norman Braman, one of the world’s leading art collectors and the man who helped bring Basel to Miami and Carol Damian, the chief curator for the Frost Museum of Art.  Matt Bangser from Blum & Poe provided the perfect quotes and info to round out the article.  It was as though he read my mind.

Up next for me is that JetSet has asked me to write a second feature on the Palm Beach art fairs and this time I’ll get the credit.  I’m working on that as we speak….

Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

December 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Sylvia Plimack Mangold at the Norton Museum of Art

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sylvia plimack mangold

I’m finally writing again after more than a month of not feeling well.  The fog is slowly lifting as I sort through everything that got neglected and I’m still not quite 100 percent.  However, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see an exhibit from an artist that works in my favorite region of the world, the Hudson River Valley.  I was born there.  I lived on the Hudson River for 10 years.  My window faced the Tappan Zee Bridge.

I miss it every day.  Wait, let me say that again.  I miss it every single day.

So, I was not going to miss seeing Sylvia Plimack Mangold: Landscape and Trees, which opened at the Norton Museum of Art this past weekend.  I attended the preview on Thursday with curator Cheryl Brutvan and on Sunday I attended a public event with Cheryl and Sylvia.

I got teary eyed while looking at Plimack Mangold’s paintings of the Maple, Elm, Locust and Pin Oak trees that surround her studio in Washingtonville, NY, also the hometown to NY’s oldest winery, Brotherhood.  It also happens to lie in between Goshen and Middletown, areas I drove to often as a kid with my parents when we’d pick up and return my beloved, and now departed stepbrother Greg. So, this is a place that really has a special place in my heart.  Plus, it’s less than 50 miles south of the Catskills where Thomas Cole worked.

I liked the exhibit very much.  I’m a tad more emotional in my approach to the subliminal beauty of the region, however, than Plimack Mangold, who emerges from the Minimalist tradition.  But no matter how analytical and heady one may be, it’s hard not to capture the essence of what makes the Hudson Valley so beautiful when you’re painting its landscapes and trees.

I submitted my review to the Palm Beach ArtsPaper yesterday, but I only had 800 words, which was a challenge because Brutvan provided many references and information in the exhibit’s accompanying catalog.  And, despite the subject matter, Plimack Mangold’s work is complex and requires both context and explanation to really fully “get” it.

Up next: I’m now reading through books given to me by Andrew Stevovich, one of my favorite American painters and my next subject, and then want to contact an Italian photographer named Mauro D’Agati….

List of Annual Art Fairs, Auctions

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NADA 2011 Fair

NADA Miami Beach, 2011. Photo courtesy: New Art Dealer’s Alliance

Please bookmark this list of annual art fairs and auctions.  I continue to add to it and it will be a helpful resource if you are following the art market.

Agustina Woodgate at 2012 Art Basel Miami Beach

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Agustina Woodgate and Anthony Spinello

Agustina Woodgate pictured with Anthony Spinello. Woodgate will represent Spinello Projects in the Art Positions sector of this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

This morning great news arrived in a press release from Spinello Projects announcing that the work of Argentinean-born and Miami-based artist Agustina Woodgate will appear in the Art Positions sector of this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, which will be held December 6-9 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

If you follow my blog and social media pages, you already know that I’m a fan of hers.  I’ve tagged her a few times as an artist I think is worth watching.  I like to think I’ve been around art long enough to spot talent, but it’s great to get the affirmation that I was right. It’s funny, too, because I had just posted on my Facebook page on September 2nd that I predicted great things for her.  Now, I get this.  I’m telling you – this young artist is amazing!  (My next Miami artist-to-watch: Zach Balber).

I stumbled upon Woodgate’s work when she was doing this wonderful “poetry bombing” project where she would go into Miami thrift stores and sew tags with poetry into the clothing.  I found this charming and uplifting and it made me pay attention.  She’s got a palpable energy stream that emanates in everything she does.  She’s dynamic.  The more I learned about her, the more I liked her.  Now, I follow her travels and projects via her Facebook page and she’s always doing something interesting.

Woodgate partners often with Anthony Spinello, an intelligent and uber-hip young dealer here in Miami who also blogs for ArtInfo.  Since I arrived here about four years ago, I’ve watched his gallery evolve into one of Miami’s best.  Having been selected for Art Basel MB confirms others have been watching him and think the same.  He’s staged nice work at SCOPE over the past two years.

Art Positions provides a showcase for the work of a single emerging artist.  Woodgate’s work is called “New Landscape.”  This is what the release has to say about it:

Positive and negative matter from three representations of the planet Earth will be featured — each representation a proposal for a new kind of territorial exploration. Rather than nations or countries taking precedence as the visual anchor, the Earth as a whole, all at once rendered mute, but equal, becomes the primary focus. From the violent, aggressive gesture of erasing political borders and imagined national spaces, Woodgate offers a signal of hope: an optimistic realization of a world both beautiful to behold and comforting to imagine.

I think that’s what resonates most with me about Woodgate’s work.  There’s a lot of “hope” in it.  It’s always affirming and I’m looking forward to seeing this.

Click here to see the entire line up for this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach that was released earlier today.