Thomas Eakins, "The Swimming Hole," 1884-1885
Thomas Eakins Manly Pursuits: The Sporting Images of Thomas Eakins, Los Angeles County Museum of Art / July 25 - October 17, 2010
Cathy Opie Figure and Landscape, Los Angeles County Museum of Art / July 25-October 17, 2010
One might well argue that all representational portraiture is a kind of frozen art, a work documenting a second in the life of the individual or individuals portrayed. Even surrounded by the objects and costumes of a entire lived life, or represented with emblems that suggest the ideals or behavior of that life, such painting is, as the early abstract experimenters so entirely perceived, basically "dead." Yet there is something about the works of American artist Thomas Eakins as gathered in the titled "Manly Pursuits: The Sporting Images of Thomas Eakins," brilliantly curated by Ilene Fort, that particularly evokes a sense of freezing instantaneousness of that moment that makes one almost want to look away because it is so revealing of the painter's own sensibilities.
Los Angeles, August 30, 2010