Monday, November 9, 2009


Channel 37, 1963

H.C. Westermann is one of my all-time favorite artists. I initially intended to use this blog for living artists, but Westermann is still a "contemporary" post-war American artist and he merits consideration and study. I am surprised and somewhat disturbed in my daily conversations with people who are well-educated and have more than a passing interest in contemporary art that the majority of people I encounter do not know who Westermann is. I also find it interesting that those who do know about him seem to glow when his name is brought up. In the last ten years, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago have taken huge strides in contributing to scholarship and public recognition regarding Westermann through excellent books and exhibitions. Today I came across this great article from Time Out Chicago, which I think does a very nice job of describing Westermann's art and the exhibition "Your Pal Cliff," which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I suppose Westermann has always been a somewhat subconscious impetus for my love of contemporary art. Growing up in the Chicago area, I have been consistently exposed to his art because of the aforementioned museums and their tendency to exhibit Westermann's work. I am in the process of writing a paper on Westermann, specifically looking at his print Dance of Death through the theoretical lenses of autobiography and feminism. When the paper is done, I will post it to the blog. In the meantime, here are a few images of Westermann's art that I have borrowed from a quick Google Image search:

Death Ship of No Port, 1967, and Dismasted Ship, 1956

Dance of Death, 1975, woodblock print

The Jazz Singer, 1953, oil on canvas with artist's painted frame

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