Not All Art Lives in New York City

Jasper Johns Flag on Orange, 1998

Jasper Johns with John Lund
Flag on Orange, 1998

We are city-centric in New York.  We think all the best restaurants are here, all the best museums, all the best art, etc.  This must irritate people from other places – of whom I am about to be one.

So as I prepare to move back to Connecticut, where I can go to my day job in person instead of by Skype, and where I will have loads of room for a studio, I decided to see what kind of art I can find outside of the city.

First stop (so far): the Katonah Museum of Art, in northern Westchester County.  I went to see their Jasper Johns/John Lund show of Johns’ intaglio prints.  Intaglio, as I learned, is an umbrella category that includes any printmaking technique based on incising the image into a plate.  Etching, aquatint, and drypoint are forms of intaglio.  (My own printmaking experience ends with silkscreen and woodcuts.)

Jasper Johns/John Lund Untitled, 1998

Jasper Johns/John Lund
Untitled, 1998

I liked the images, but the highlight of the exhibition for me was actually the video of John Lund discussing his lifelong collaboration with Johns.  Lund is the master printer who produced Johns’ wide variety of prints.  It was good to see the printmaker getting some credit for the art he made possible.

In another gallery, to my surprise, was an exhibition of Rosemary Wells’ art from the covers of her books.  I am a longtime Rosemary Wells fan and was delighted by this serendipitous discovery.  Wells’ books, ostensibly for children, are slyly witty, with perfect illustrations of animals with human expressions.  I still enjoy them and highly recommend them, especially Max’s Chocolate Chicken and the series of stories about MacDuff, the dog.

Rosemary Wells cover art from Yoko Learns to Read

Rosemary Wells
cover art from  Yoko Learns to Read

The Katonah Museum was also hosting a print sale.  I saw a Wolf Kahn (that I couldn’t afford), two by James Siena, and plenty by lesser-known artists, starting at $100.

Prints by various artists, including James Siena, top center and top right.

Prints by various artists, including James Siena, top center and top right.

So I learned a lesson in bucolic Katonah as I wandered through the pristine museum. Not all art lives in New York City.