Format: Essay

The Challenge of Fragility: Piet Mondrian’s Victory Boogie-Woogie

It was the small pieces of colored tape applied experimentally at the last moment that made Piet Mondrian’s monumental Victory Boogie-Woogie fragile. They also presented a huge headache for Emily Hall Tremaine who purchased Victory Boogie-Woogie in 1945. “Almost from the day it arrived, this collage began to tremble and I realized that even losing… Read more »

The Return of the Zuni War God

Somewhere on a mesa in New Mexico on land belonging to the Zuni resides a powerful war god that once stood—more an exile than a piece of art—in the New York apartment of Emily Hall Tremaine. In solitude, visited by the wind, it looks out at the vastness of the land known as the Middle… Read more »

I am Here: Identity Museums and the Audiences They Serve

A museum carves and sculpts a cultural space for itself and its collection. Within its halls, a museum tells a story of the art pieces it displays, the artifacts it collects, the curatorial process it embodies. Such a mission can be as broad or as specific as befits the museum’s own calling. For many of… Read more »

Painting Toward Architecture: Bringing Art to Industry and Industry to Art

When the eminent art historian Robert Rosenblum was a graduate student at Yale in the late 1940s, he accidentally stumbled upon what seemed to be a catalog titled Painting Toward Architecture for a major exhibition of the same name then touring museums and galleries throughout the United States. He was stunned by what the book… Read more »

Confessions of a Commodity Fetishist: The Carters, the Louvre, and the End of Art

I can’t think of a more triumphant testimony to the late art theorist Arthur Danto’s essay “After the End of Art” than the recent Ricky Saiz-directed music video “Apeshit.” In it, the Carters—a.k.a. Beyoncé and Jay-Z—pose haughtily in the Louvre, commanding the building in a manner true to its original function as a Crusades-era royal… Read more »

Not So Tight: Adjusting the Seams of Art + Fashion

When artists, curators, historians and others talk about art and fashion as separate things, I’m always struck by the conversation. While taking in the essence of the 2004 exhibition Skin Tight: The Sensibility of the Flesh through the luscious images and the short, pithy essays in the catalog, I made note of the ways in… Read more »

The Black Rose: When Art Extends Beyond the Walls

The first major painting that Emily Hall Tremaine bought was The Black Rose by Georges Braque. It opened to Emily the possibility of making art more available to the public, in essence, sharing it. She came to believe that art should not be limited to the walls of a gallery, museum, or a collector’s home…. Read more »

Louise Lawler and Emily Hall Tremaine: Site-Unspecific Art

In the fall of 1983, Louise Lawler was given the opportunity to photograph the art in the New York apartment and the Connecticut home of the Tremaines. The results included a photograph of the bottom edge of Jackson Pollock’s Frieze and a soup tureen on a sideboard. Another showed Léger’s painting of three huge women,… Read more »

Democratizing Art Through Exhibition: Work Ethic and Amateurs

To democratize art is to make it inclusive, to allow a wider audience to have access and participate.  Art is often a field that causes many feel excluded from, that they are outsiders who do not belong to this otherwise unreachable and untouchable world that is controlled by the elite few. The two exhibitions, Work… Read more »

Christo’s Art of the Hidden and Transient

On the wall in the headquarters of the Tremaine Foundation hangs a lithograph by Christo of a little red wagon. A Radio Flyer, it is the iconic type of wagon children all across the nation have owned and treasured for one hundred years, pulling all manner of things in it, be it a friend, a… Read more »

Exhibitions as Experiences: Moving Beyond Object Display

Shipping estimates can be soul crushing. I say this as an art curator. For organizers of contemporary art shows at or for non-profits, the inevitable reality often is that this or that percentage of your total budget, or of that or this grant you received, must and will be spent on fine art couriers, insurance… Read more »

When Curatorial and Artistic Visions Clash

It is not unusual for there to be clashes between artists, curators, and collectors who loan works for exhibitions. Sparks can fly for many reasons including: differing understanding of an exhibition’s theme; fragility of the artwork; and difficulty in displaying it effectively and safely. A unique example of such a clash occurred between Emily Hall… Read more »

How Can Ecological Artists Move Beyond Aesthetic Gestures?

Editor’s note: This essay originally appeared on Hyperallergic. New evidence of a Southern Pacific Garbage patch has been found. Longtime combatant of oceanic plastic Captain Charles Moore has published new findings that further detail the concentrated amount of plastic in the South Pacific Garbage Patch near Chile and Peru, with his NGO Algalita, which is dedicated to finding solutions to… Read more »

A Cosmic Earthwork

Burton and Emily Hall Tremaine had part ownership of Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona, a vast impact crater that in a visceral way underscored the obvious—the Earth, for all its beauty, is a planet vulnerable to powerful blows from space. Adjacent to the Bar T Bar Ranch, the crater is a mile wide and 550… Read more »

Departure of the Ghost by Paul Klee: Technology and Intuition

Emily Hall Tremaine (1906-88) was attracted to art in which theory and technology served as conduits for intuition. “You see a prophetic vision, especially if you train yourself to see it,” she explained. “You almost see what’s coming through the artist.” In her stellar art collection that eventually surpassed 400 works, one of the best… Read more »

Echoes from the Holocene: Art, Science, and Media for After Humanity

Threatened by a rumor that a landslide may engulf his home, an elderly man becomes obsessed with a drive to preserve his knowledge for posterity. As he plasters his walls with pages torn out of the encyclopedia and his own personal taxonomies, he marvels that such a wealth of knowledge could have been accumulated in… Read more »

Letter from the President of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation

Dear readers, contributors, and idea generators, Welcome to Exhibitions on the Cusp!  This year-long platform celebrates and explores curators, creators, and connected communities.  The Cusp is curious about the evolving, intersecting, and blurring roles in the advancement of contemporary art.  It is also eager to understand the position of curators in our cultural and community… Read more »

What to Expect from Exhibitions on the Cusp

Welcome to Exhibitions on the Cusp! This publication is for all creators, curators, and communities, and we hope you’ll share in making this space one of lively and relevant discourse on issues shaping contemporary art. In that spirit, we’ve adopted a content plan that will evolve with your feedback and implemented site features that foster… Read more »