December musings

Nude male sculpture outside the gallery
Sculptures abound on the terraces outside the Whitney galleries

img_0068 img_0067img_0128img_0121img_0112

These images of original artwork were permitted by a security guard at the Whitney, to promote the museum’s exhibits on my art blog. 

I visited the Whitney Museum at the end of November and didn’t have a chance to tell you about it until now. It had been decades since I had been to that museum, which moved to 99 Gansevoort Street, on the Hudson in Chelsea, (only blocks away from the 8th Ave./ 14th Street subway station.)  It’s an art scene, popping area, and you can see the High Line from the museum.

On exhibit was Carmen Herrera‘s “Lines of Sight” exhibition of her hard-edge painting style, spanning 1948-1978.Included was one of her most important series, ” Blanco y Verde” and some later paintings and sculptures. I was more impressed by the fact she is still painting at 101 years old. How is it possible?  Driven and fulfilled must be the magic.  When I saw her work I was most impressed with an untitled black and white painting, wherein the frame was used as an integral part of the painting, It was all black and white and I wondered if the painting was inspired by a checkerboard. Other paintings reminded me too much of the shapes and line formations I create and use all the time in my pen & ink doodles and in my paintings and I felt familiar and at home with them from my own integration of form. It had nothing to do with Ms. Herrera’s long history with the same, and I wondered if I had ever been influenced by her, How could I have missed out on knowing the impact of her geometric clean edge architecturally inspired abstracts? Her contribution was significant to the abstract expressionist movement that forged ahead. Moving forward, “Fast Forward: Paintings from the 1980s” was the adjacent exhibit of artists with figurative expressionism and conceptual projects, as well as politically and socially engaging abstract works of art.

On another two floors  below (seven and six) were the portraits in the exhibition of “Human Interest: Portraits from he Whitney Collection.” Artists featured included Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Georgia O’Keeffe and one of my mother’s and my own favorites, Alice Neel. Sometimes my portraits reminded her of the artist’s style, which I acknowledge. It’s the depth and expressionism that speaks volumes. It is a form of channeling the inner sanctum of the person portrayed. I see it as the artist’s ability to turn the subject’s power of emoted outward.

The Dreamlands exhibit on the fifth floor gave me the disassociated, creepy, and scary insecure feeling of being in a perverse circus environment. A cacophony of music, speech and cinema conflicted and polluted my clean-pallete consciousness, after the elevating experience on the prior three floors of the museum. I was dropped three floors into a hellish “Dreamlands: immercive cinema and art 1905-2018 experience.  It seemed like the Whitney’s nightmare exhibit. My advice is to skip the fifth floor. It’s worthwhile exploring the outdoor and near the door exhibits, like the larger than life-size wax sculpture of one famous artist by another. The creation is extraordinarily life-like only much larger and served as a candle.(Click link for Art Vulture‘s article about the sculpture). When lit, the figure burned all night and the head was either lopped off or fell off and lies below the body.I think the sacrifice was by Fischer, a friend of Julian  Schnabel’s. That is certainly worth pondering.

Artist Fischer’s larger than life wax sculpture of his friend Julian Schnabel at the Whitney, prior to the meltdown, that left the sculpture headless. As if an ISIS member lopped it off, it lies in the foreground of the body now.

Note: I’ve provided you with two important links related to Carmen Herrera, that are highlighted above. One is an excellent Art News interview with the artist at 100 years old, and then the Whitney’s exhibit page.  


December Exhibits

I am exhibiting  paintings in four venues this December. Perhaps you can stop by and see the artwork of mine and other Long Island artists.  The Reception for Winter Harvest is tonight (6-9 PM) , at the popular BJ Spoke Gallery at 299 Main Street in Huntington, LI, NY. Reception is Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6-9 PM. BJ Spoke Gallery’s Winter Harvest exhibit runs through Jan. 1, 2017.


Sunday, Dec. 4 is a double-header, with the Beauty in the Abstract Juried Exhibit Reception at the Art Guild of Port Washington, in Manhasset  on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3- 5 PM. The exhibit runs through January 8. And, the Annual East Meadow Invitation Art Show, at thenEast Meadow Public Library at 1886 Front Street,  reception is on the same day, same general time frame, from 2-4 PM. This exhibit  is an honor, primarily of artists who are past East Meadow award winners. It is not a juried show. It runs through the month of December.

Long Island’s own renowned abstract artist and art professor, Stan Brodsky judged the Art Guild show. I was told I am receiving an award for “Blue Rhapsody,” although I have no idea which award, at this time. I’ll update you later. I am excited to meet the Mr. Brodsky, because I’ve admired his work and heard many positive reviews of him as a teacher and artist.


Beauty in the Abstract runs  Dec. 3, 2016 thru January 8, 2017. The gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays, 1-5 PM, and by appointment.

The fourth show for December is upcoming. I haven’t delivered the painting yet. It’ll be in the Members Showcase (for the second-half of the alphabet’s members), in the main gallery at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills, NY. It may be juried. I’ve already committed to enter a new painting, which I have been in a quandary about naming. It is either “Rhapsody” or “Did I Channel Calder?”  The latter is the initial title I gave to the piece, but I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t substitute it with another I am working on now, that’s taking much longer to finish than I anticipated.

Determining an appropriate title for a painting may sometimes pose a dilemma; there’s so much more behind the artist’s preparation. When it comes to shows, there’s not only the angst of will I or won’t my work be accepted, and what can I show in time for the delivery date and can I enter X-number of  exhibitions and still put my best forward? It can seem like a juggling act, when entering three or more shows during the same period. Generally, I have been exhibiting two and three times per month. Sometimes more, sometimes less.  There is another minor exhibit I am committed to and there are three more I want to enter, but the dates conflict with each other and with a show I am already scheduled for, and that too becomes a question,  can I negotiate a change of exhibition dates? I believe, in most cases,  the artist, if not yet famous, does not have that clout. Does one enter all the exhibitions one wants to be in and take the roll of the dice?  That is a question an ambitious artist must ask herself/himself.

Add to those considerations, how to determine prices for one’s artwork, the artist must consider  purchase and cost of supplies, the time one needs to complete one’s paintings and then to have them scanned or photographed and archived and to frame, and then to transport safely to each venue, and all the entry matters and the followup and promotion are time consuming, and require taking time away from creation of new and completion of existing works of art.  It can be exhausting!  Who says it is easy to be an artist?

In my case, because I witnessed two women (and others I know of) had taken “verboten” photos of my artwork, I began a process of copyrighting all of my artwork, as collections and individually, each time I complete a painting.  I use Legal and copyright with the Library of Congress copyright office. It is costly, but I am protecting my intellectual property rights. Watermarking too, I do.

In the age of multimedia and social media apps proliferating at an alarming rate,  it is dangerous to post one’s original creations.  I often over-watermark to the point of losing the beauty I intended to display. It is a question again, of how much protection is enough? An artist is a sensitive being and creation is individual and an expression of one’s soul, (at least for this artist) and to have parts of one’s soul stolen by art thieves, those who are told not to photograph and won’t pay for the image. I must have a means of legal retribution. It hurts me, that art is not elevated to the highest value in our busy culture, that all school children don’t have access to the finest opportunities and exposure.  I was fortunate, to have an artist-art teacher mother who took me to galleries and museums and shared her passion for art with me, from an early age, when I did not appreciate it. Now I do. I also, see it is important to support art education and special programs for young artists and venues for their exhibitions. I was breathless at the Art Guild recently, when I dropped off “Blue Rhapsody” for the Beauty in the Abstract exhibition, and I looked at the work of high school students. Several ranked right up there with some of the best artists in the adult art scene. The opportunity that the Art Guild provided and that the Huntington Arts Council did with the Halloween exhibit for high schoolers, are good examples of what we, as artists and art lovers need to support, promote and encourage.

NEWS FLASH:  Winter Harvest 2016 — Opening Reception was packed with artists and friends tonight.  There were more abstract paintings than representational ones, an excellent sculptures, artisan’s jewelry, and professional photography. It was a rich variety of styles and mediums on display.  Lorraine Nuzzo, whose painting was hanging prominently and was more busy with color and line/shape work than I had seen in her work more recently, I was speaking with her about her piece, interrupting her at the busy desk.Other members, visiting exhibitors and guests mingled.  Kevin Larkin posed for me with a brilliant painting, that I told my spouse I wanted to buy. Wall space is limited and the price tag steep, but certainly worth it…I will have to wait for him to paint a smaller piece.  (Note, he is the one who advised me, “GO BIGGER.”)

Abstract painter/teacher Kevin Larkin at the BJ Spoke Gallery’s Winter Harvest Reception with one of his masterful works.
©Karen Kirshner with her  (40″x30″)painting “Sweep” 2016. BJ Spoke Gallery “Winter Harvest” Reception, Dec. 3, 2016.
Talented artist, Lisa Korte with one of her paintings at the Winter Harvest exhibit.  Her other one already sold!












This is the window of the BJ Spoke Gallery, where my painting “Vigil” is on display, Dec. 2016.









A Double-header in LI Art Scene, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016

I can’t believe I didn’t collapse. Two shows in one day!

First the East Meadow Invitational  Art Show, where I had two of my paintings, one never before shown in public.  One man studied “Carnival” for a long time, and told my friend, I am wondering what the artist was thinking ,and he  liked it. My friend said she told him it’s up to the observer to interpret it. Now she favors the art of the Flemish and Italian, Golden Era painters of the 17th Century. I was startled she was finally accepting the role of abstract art.

I don’t know what inspired me to paint “Carnival”.  It was summer and I worked outside and alone. I prefer to paint at home vs. in a studio where I have to lug my paints and canvases. I use the northern light. Because of the messiness of what I was painting and the larger size, I chose to cover up and venture yonder.  The other painting I had on exhibit  had received requests for prints and a request to purchase, and I loved the painting, which I sometimes referred to as “Stained Glass Window” (before  there was a show at the Huckster with that theme. I did it first!  Had I known about the exhibition, I would have submitted the painting.)  It is also alternatively entitled, “Window to my world.”  I was at the well attended reception, I had intended to to stay for half and hour and dash off to the Art Guild of Port Washington, where I was in another show. But, I was captivated by my fellow previous awarded artists and I met lovely people. Two artists, whose work I admired told me their stories and permitted me to photograph them with their exhibition paintings to share with my blog followers.

There was Jerry Cohen, whose pen & ink drawing of the Eiffel Tower from a different perspective, that appeared as if he viewed it from underneath and peopled it with gestures only a pro could master, was fantastic. He had a picture of birds and another colorful, “Facade of Library”. I asked if he was a commercial artist and he was. He handled his tools deftly and seemed to enjoy himself.

Jerry Cohen, artist at East Meadow Invitational Art Show, Dec. 4, 2016

And, there was Sandy Bier with two watercolor paintings, “Korea I” and “Korea II”.   The intriguing 91 year-young retired peri0dontist, who served in the Korean War and documented his experiences in an extensive collection of artful drawings. He is an art historian who was on a mission, while serving in the medical corps, I believe he said. Anyone with his kind of talent would have been expected to have followed his calling as an artist. Instead he followed the calling of being a master of teeth and gums. The more I heard about his life, the more I was certain he was a gifted man, who must share his documentation with Veterans projects. He has a lot to share.

Sandy Bier, Korean War Veteran, Retired Periodontist, Artist who created a graphic history of his wartime experiences.
Karen Kirshner with "Carnival" and "Window to my world" at the East Meadow Invitational Art Show, Dec. 2016
©Karen Kirshner with “Carnival” and “Window to my world” at the East Meadow Invitational Art Show, Dec. 2016. My work is colorful. Ideally, placed on separate walls.


The East Meadow Invitational Art Show is open for viewing thru December 2016.











Off to the Art Guild of Port Washington for “Beauty in the Abstract”…

Karen Kirshner with award winning Blue Rhapsody/(aka Blue Green Melody)
Karen Kirshner with award-winning Blue Rhapsody/(aka Blue Green Melody).













It was an honor to have met the famous Stan Brodsky. As an abstract artist, he has a huge and loyal following, whom I have met over time. (Including first-place winner Lorraine Nuzzo). He seems to be a fine man, He gave individual reviews, and I’ve never seen a judge do that!  At least two of his students received the top awards. I was grateful he had positive things to say to me about my work — because it is  very different from his own and those of his students in the exhibition. I believe he said he is 91. Two fascinating men with so much vigor and so appreciated in one day?






Stan Brodsky, Art Guild’s “Beauty in the Abstract” judge.



























Now I need time to rest and create. Oh, wait a minute….

Circle your calendar for the 61st Members’ Exhibition 2016 – Part II, last names starting with A-L, Reception is Sunday, December 11, 1-3 PM.  I didn’t realize it was a juried show, and it is. John Fink, Professor Emeritus, NCC is the Juror. 

The exhibit is in the swank Jeannie Tengelsen Gallery at the Art League of LI, 107 E. Deer Park Road in Dix Hills,NY.

The exhibit runs through January 8, 2017.


The Reception of the Art League of Long Island’s Members’ Showcase was a major success. People crowded into the well lit, sophisticated two-tier gallery, catered and with live piano . Artists and guests went from image to image, taking it all in. Only a lucky few won the awards, and there were many disappointed faces. Everybody with work in the show were obviously talented, and there were varying levels of skill, from very good to extraordinary. It was an honor to be in the gallery. I enjoyed meeting other artists and their friends and family. Charlee Miller, the executive director was there, talking to the artists and guests. She is a charming humble woman, who always makes an effort to know the names of league members, and is down-to-earth. I’ve been told she attends the classes to see for herself how well they are conducted and what’s needed. I was in a watercolor class with her,  and at first, I had no idea she was the head of the huge operation.

The basic comment about my abstract acrylic painting, which was first entitled “Did I Channel Calder?” and then changed to “Rhapsody”  was that it is lyrical and so colorful it stood out from the rest. I I almost did not bring the painting to the show, I was struggling with another new painting of the same size, trying to finish it,  and I could not get it framed in time.  Regardless, so many fine works of art were on display, why should mine always win something?  It is subjective,( the judges’ selections) and each judge has different taste and is looking for one thing or another. Unless one knows the judge or past decisions, one must not harp on award status, but on one’s own satisfaction — presenting what was created with sweat of the brow and heart on one’s sleeve and spirit in one’s brush strokes. I received a notice today, inviting members and the public  to attend an event on Wednesday, January 4, at 7 PM in the gallery, when the juror , John Fink  will discuss and answer questions about the winning selections. Perhaps, providing such feedback is the new norm on Long Island? I think it’s a great move.

The  Art League is a sort of club to me, where I have membership and where they have large studios where I can play with paint, much like my father would belong to a country club with a golf course, where he could smack play golf.  We all need to pursue our passions.

Here are a few photos from last nights’ reception.

This is a photo of the well placed entries on the wall with mine the third in row.
This is a photo of the well placed entries on the wall with mine the third in row.
Karen Kirshner with "Rhapsody" (aka ©"Did I Channel Calder?"2016.
Karen Kirshner with “Rhapsody” (aka ©”Did I Channel Calder?”2016.
Art League of LI Members' Showcase Reception was packed with artists and guests. That's me with the bushy hair. (I keep having bad hair days.)
Art League of LI Members’ Showcase Reception was packed with artists and guests. That’s me with the red coat on arm.
Art League reception, Dec. 11, 2016.
Art League reception, Dec. 11, 2016.













Art Sale, Gifting Event, Sunday, Dec. 18.

The  Huntington Arts Council is having an exhibit, sale and gifting event, to share beauty — works of the prolific artist, Pauline Gore Emmert, (a beloved Huntington, NY resident).  A lifetime of artwork needs to find new homes and the Huntington Arts Council can apply donations given for the art to invest in more programs for artists and art students. RSVP is today. If you are interested  perhaps,  it’s still possible to attend. It’s worth a call to 908-619-3101, or email

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah 2016!

I am posting two admired  and rarely seen paintings, Picasso’s “Maya with Doll and Wooden Horse” recently unpacked from the Picasso family vault and the New York Times article about it, from November, when you click on the link. The other is Marc Chagall’s “Carmen”. In one there is dancing, a celebration, and in the other a child perhaps playing with her gifts.

Marc Chagall’s “Carmen”
“Maya With Doll and Wooden Horse”, from 1938. Credit 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Gagosian












Mark G. Kirshner, as a young man, painted by his mother, ©Karen Kirshner, 2016 for Betty B. Kirshner.
Betty Kirshner, the artist, self-portrait ©Karen Kirshner for Betty Kirshner 2015, 2016.

This season is  particularly sad, because I lost brother,  Mark Geoffrey Kirshner, JD, 4/29/55-12/12/16, who died this holiday season in Egypt. We shared a common family history and DNA.

I have lost two immediate family members within two years.

First my beloved mother Betty (March 1929-July 6, 2015), the artist who painted Mark’s portrait as a young man. Dear brother, (as with our precious mother) rest in peace, in God’s loving embrace.

2 thoughts on “December musings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *