Monday, December 4, 2017

Palm Beach Social Diary: Art for the Ages

On Saturday night beneath a looming Super Moon, art collector and philanthropist Beth Rudin DeWoody welcomed friends, artists, collectors, aesthetes, and aficionados to the opening of The Bunker art space, celebrated with the same pop and spark she expresses in her exceptional Modern and Contemporary art collection. Pictured above, John Copeland’s painting I Only Have Eyes For You, 2008.
Palm Beach Showplaces: Beth Rudin DeWoody @ The Bunker + Winston Churchill @ The Four Arts
By Augustus Mayhew

South Florida offers stark contrasts. On the East Side (as Palm Beach was called before it became Palm Beach), The Society of the Four Arts season opener A Man for all Seasons: The Art of Winston Churchill, is a splendid retrospective for an accomplished artist. On the West Side, as West Palm Beach was once called, renowned art collector Beth Rudin DeWoody has transformed a mundane office building into a multi-dimensional spectacular setting to display aspects of her vast art collection. Well-designed galleries and showrooms arranged with theatrical flair supplanted the commonplace.

At The Four Arts, I confess my interest was purely historical in attending the Winston Churchill painting exhibition. Nevertheless, I was surprised to discover Churchill was a very good painter. While Churchill was reported to be tutored by Paul Maze, said to have been one of the great artists of the  Post-Impressionist generation, and perhaps inspired by Renoir, Dufy, Pissarro and Monet, the two-time prime minister and Nobel Prize winner was not only one of history’s most lionized personalities but also a true artist who knew his way around a paint box.
Four Arts chairman Susie Elson welcomed Harry and Gigi Benson to the Four Arts' first exhibition of the season that featured one of Harry's photos of Winston Churchill.
Representatives from national and international Churchill organizations attended as well as sculptor Edwina Sandys, one of Winston Churchill’s grandchildren. Speaking with longtime curator Nancy Mato at the event, I told her I thought I first met her ages ago the night composer Gordon Getty presented Emily Dickenson poems set to music (The White Election) to a hugely, incredibly big, audience of maybe five (not counting Getty family members) at collector J Patrick Lannan’s then art space housed in a Streamline Moderne-designed former movie “art” theater in Lake Worth that today accommodates the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. She remembered as well what sounded like someone crying during the performance. I was sure it was the emotional composer himself who was sitting directly behind me. It was one of those moments, like watching Rudolph Nureyev live on stage as the King of Siam in The King and I. Unbelievable. 

Stepping out of the distant 20th century for a moment and into the virtual 21st, NYC-LA-PB art collector Beth Rudin DeWoody opened with fanfare her much anticipated Midcentury Modern art space in WPB’s craft-and-design district as a timely prelude to the annual Art Basel convergence. Aptly called The Bunker, DeWoody plans to rotate pieces from her myriad of objet d’art in the revamped two-story 16,000 square-foot showcase. The Bunker’s inaugural exhibition was co-curated by Maynard Monrow, Philip Estlund and Laura Dvorkin.

December 2, 2017 - 6 p.m.
Beth Rudin DeWoody Art Space opens at The Bunker

444 Bunker Road – West Palm Beach
The advancing Super Moon, view from The Bunker.
Firooz Zahedi and Beth Rudin DeWoody backlit by Centum, 1971. Richard Anuszkiewicz, artist.
Lobby. Sputnik chandelier, 1950s.
The Lobby features the work of Piero Fornasetti, Sylvie Fleury, Ron Arad, John Copeland, Beverly Pepper, and on the right wall, Jim Lambie’s Blue Moon, 2015.
Maynard Monrow, co-curator, with a Richard Hughes work, Kings with a Zed, 2008. Gold-plated metal, chains, bicycle parts.
Philip Estlund, co-curator, on the Mezzanine with Kathleen Ryan’s Untitled Chandelier, 2015.
Co-curator Laura Dvorkin, right, with Siena Mayers and Nick Paliughi.
Performance group Fallen Fruit on the main stage.
Ruth Baum and Hope Alswang.
East Gallery. Jeff Colson’s Roll Up, 2012.
On the second floor Early/Atypical Room, Davida, 2000, by Kehinde Wiley.
On the mezzanine level, Ron Davis’ Silver Slab.
Michele Oka Doner. Will Ameringer and Kevin Byrne.
Pauline Pitt.
David Shrobe. Tight Ship, 2016.
Benny Holmes Jr. and Benny Holmes.
Art on a pedestal. An Untitled c. 2010 work by Benny Holmes made from matchsticks. Swiss Made, 1999 (Detail). Thomas Hirschhorn.
Studying the Silver Room, Philip Martin.
The extraordinary work of Moffat Takadiwa, Commission Work Tobey, 2014.  Reclaimed computer keys, thread.
The Super Moon on the move.
Guests arriving at The Bunker.
Susan Lloyd and Jason Laskey.
Donna Long. Maynard Monrow and Emilia Fanjul.
The Bunker, East Gallery.
East Gallery tableau.  Artists include: Robert Melee, Nancy Grossman, Dan McCarthy, Ruby Neri, Benny Holmes, Sherrie Levine, Nicole Eisenman, Tony Tasset, Nir Hod, Jennie Jieun Lee, Karon Davis, Allison Schulnik, Tanya Batura, Al Hansen, Davi Altmejd, and George Condo.
East Gallery, panorama.
In the Library
Head Librarian Beth Rudin DeWoody. Along with art history volumes, collector's books and artistic literature, the Library has several sculptures, reliefs and assemblages.
Family matters.
A window garden tableau.
A painted sculpture of some note.
In The Bunker administrative offices, Sandra Kaszak stands (image above) in front of a New York winter snow street scene by photographer Jeff Hirsch.
Bob Hiemstra and Michael Formica.
Bonnie and Jim Clearwater.
Lars Bolander and Nadine Kalachnikoff.
Roshan and Mas Massoumi. Thomas Beale and Gopal Rajegowda.
East Gallery, 2nd Floor. At the center, Thomas Downing’s Untitled, 1962
Beth Rudin DeWoody with a collage composed from Hershey wrappers.
Dariel Donovan and Drew Considine. Right, IC 2177, 2005 by Jose Alvarez.
Lanya Snyder, Kathy Goncharov, and Irvin Lippman.
The cork-floored Food Room.
Sushi Boats were served.
Among the artists featured in the Photography Gallery, the work of Cindy Sherman, Deborah Kass, Firooz Zahedi, Tseng Kwong Chi, and Paa Joe’s Unititled (Nikon F2), 2011, made from hardwood and oil paint.
Beth Rudin DeWoody, at the vortex of the Art About Art Gallery, along with the work of  Ray Beldner, Cheryl Ekstrom, Al WeiWei, Buster Cleveland, Marti Cormand.
The approaching Super Moon, view from The Bunker.
December 1, 2017 – Press Preview + Opening
A Man for All Seasons: The Art of Winston Churchill
The Society of the Four Arts – Palm Beach

Esther B. O'Keeffe Gallery
December 2, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Winston Churchill painting The Château St. Georges-Motel, Normandy, France, 1930s. Published in Life Magazine 1946. National Churchill Museum, Fulton, Missouri.
Frank O. Salisbury (British 1874-1962). Blood Sweat, and Tears, 1943. Oil on canvas, 49 x 39 in. (Frame: 61 x 53 in.). Collection: David & Jillian Gilmour © Estate Salisbury. In 1946 Churchill delivered his Iron Curtain speech at Westminster College in Missouri that today houses the Churchill Museum that organized the exhibition with The Four Arts.
Edwina Sandys led the press tour before the opening.
The Great Hall at the Esther O’Keefe Gallery moments before the reception began.
A cast of Rodin’s Age of Bronze is the Great Hall’s centerpiece donated by Amy Phipps Guest.
Susie Elson. Donna Plaskow and David Breneman, president of The Four Arts.
Nancy Mato, executive vice-president and curator for The Society of Four Arts.
Missy and Russell Corey with sculptor Edwina Sandys.
Edwina Sandys, Brush with History, 2014. Acrylic on canvas. A tribute to her grandfather’s passion for painting.
The gallery’s central rooms showcased Churchill’s paintings while the additional rooms housed fascinating Churchill memorabilia, videos, photographs.
The central showroom at The Four Arts O’Keeffe Gallery.
Winston S. Churchill (British, 1874-1965), Marrakech, 1947. Oil on canvas, 22 x 27 in. (55.9 x 68.5 cm.). Coombs No 429. Collection the Family of the late Julian Sandys. © Churchill Heritage Ltd. 
Michael Bishop, director National Churchill Library & Center and executive director of the International Churchill Society, and Timothy Riley, director and chief curator of the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College. Alfonso de Landa and Elizabeth Hoadley.
Bud Broda and photographer Kate Kuhner.
Dale Coudert. Lily Holt.
Susan Stautberg.
Aniko Schott. Ellen Liman and Walter Liebman. Cynthia Van Buren.
Sculptor Jacob Epstein’s bronze bust of Winston Churchill (1947) in the central gallery.
Profile of Winston Churchill’s bronze bust.
Ray Wakefield and David Miller.
Mary Ann Kunkle. Susan Jacobs.
Ellis and Nancy Parker. Jim Callaghan and artist Stephania Conrad.
Havana, January 1936. The cigar box.
Cast of Winston Churchill’s hand, 1950s. Bronze hand. Oscar Nemon, artist. National Churchill Museum, Fulton, Missouri.
Winston Churchill in Florida - 1946

During the winter of 1946 Winston and Clementine Churchill spent a six-week holiday in South Florida. While most of the time was spent around the Surf Club in Miami, at the end of their stay they were house guests of the Jacque Balsans at Casa Alva in Manalapan.
January 1946.
February 1946.
February-March 1946. Artist Douglas Chandor at the easel painting a portrait of Winston Churchill.
Winston S. Churchill (British, 1874-1965). Coast Scene Near Marseilles, 1935. Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm.).Coombs No 334. Collection the Family of the late Julian Sandys © Churchill Heritage Ltd.
A rendering representing Edwina Sandys’ monumental 8-panel sculpture Breakthrough created from stones taken from the Berlin Wall that was installed at the National Churchill Museum.
Edwina Sandys stands between two of her grandfather’s paintings.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur