POWER OF PURPOSE: Jigsaw Puzzling for a cause transforms the process into an act of kindness. ARTXPUZZLES presents a dedication to noted art historian and critic Barbara Rose. Quickfire Interviews

Artist Nino Longobardi | Italy

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

I met Barbara Rose in Lucio Amelio, art gallery, I was very young I believe I was twenty at that time, I was not so interested in the fact that Barbara was an art critic but rather that she was a beautiful woman. I found her an extremely interesting woman, she looked at me curiously: she told me, you are an artist? do you dream of being an artist? I replied: “What do I know, I am what I am ….”. I was fascinated by the fact that she was American and I was a provincial kid, even if at that moment Amelio’s gallery was the center of the world … I was intrigued, she told me: “I am an American Jewish lady and you instead live in a province forgotten by God ..” Barbara was sometimes hard almost to provoke you to get you out …. She studied me and I studied her, and this was irritating and fascinating at the same time …. She said if you do a good job I will write something … The first impact was that of a young man in front of a woman with an irresistible charm… Over time I studied her, I studied her texts, then she wrote about me, she opened my mind ….

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

In fact no, it is the things that above all she wrote about me that made me mature …..

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

To answer this question Barbara needs to be studied, analyzed, I am not an intellectual … In my life she certainly had a great impact especially coming from a distant world from mine ..

Any additional thoughts?

I live in the studio I have always lived in my studios, once I hosted her telling her: this is a dump I don’t feel up to hosting you .. she replied that I had offended her because she was used to everything, but then when she found out that there was no shower she ran away, then she called me saying that “we women need more cleaning of you men … “

Publications: Multiple ones by Barbara Rose

Dedication Note: I would like to have the opportunity to speak to her in person and tell her that I have finally added the shower to the studio to be able to accommodate her!

Artist Arturo Casanova | Italy

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

I remember the first time I met Barbara Rose very well, no possible to forget! It was autumn 1999 and Barbara Rose came to Naples to visit the new gallery of Mimmo Scognamiglio, the collaborator of her great friend Lucio Amelio, who had passed away a few years earlier. At that time, I was working in the gallery to install my personal show “Liquid”, she carfully looked at my work then she stared at me with her “celestial” and smiling gaze, immediately freeing me from fear (judgment), asking me to have lunch together. The peculiarity of this first meeting, concluded in a Neapolitan tavern, is that we ate and had such passionate conversations that the owner (a nice character) asked us -we were the only ones in the room- if we were in love or recently married, despite the difference of our age. I was very happy that day. She had just announced me that I would have been one of the youngest artists invited to the “MONOCROMOS from Malevich to the present” exhibition at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

Surely Barbara highly convinced me of the great power of monochrome, on the possibility of a single color in painting -in its most mystical connotation- to be still viable, capable of raising questions despite its centenary origins. Basically, she encouraged me to continue.

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

Barbara knew the art system very well and she only wrote about those artists she was interested in. I witnessed a fierce and brilliant defense of an artist who was attacked by critics during a press conference, and I saw her refusing to write a monograph under remuneration of a valid artist who was not of her taste. Therefore, she has an “intellectual property”, indeed I believe her latest exhibition “Painting After postmodernism”, is a legacy to painters, a “sacred” essay, on how to avoid the automatisms of the post-modern system, to not be replicable, nor rituals, but visionary and dedicated to dexterity and tactility. I don’t think it’s a losing bet!

Any additional thoughts?

Although I was an artist born and raised in Italy, I had the greatest awareness on my role after I met Barbara.

Publications: Arturo Casanova: Mystic Passages by Barbara Rose

Artist Paul Manes | United States

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

I was introduced through the art world.

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

HA! HA! HA!

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

She is part of art History and touch many lives with her brilliance and charm. — Paul Manes

Any additional thoughts?

She loved Italy… She loved riding on a motorcycle — Paul Manes

Publications: Exhibition Catalog at Art Museum of Southeast Texas in 2006 by Barbara Rose

Artist Rosella Vasta | Italy

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

I met Barbara Rose when I was a teenager in Umbria when she was living in Camerata (todi), she came to see my works and she gave me a strong encouragement which at that age was so important, then she introduced me to other friends living in Todi at that time such as Beverly Pepper, Nick Carone, Al Held, Paul Manes, and especially Don Kimes who joined me in Corciano where for many years with Barbara Rose co-directed the “Institute of Art and Architecture” ; they all became lifelong friends.

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

She came every year to visit my studio, conversations about my work have always been enlightening and she always knew exactly where I was going…, she helped me being aware of my path even in the up and down moments which happens in the life of an artist. Every time I had a show she offered to write, I never asked, until in 2015 she said, “now it’s time to have a monograph”, she wrote one in occasion of my solo show “Kenosis” in Madrid.

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

Her impact in the art-world is huge based on real experience, she knew how important it was to build an artistic community (she belonged to one when living in NY as a young art historian) which was never provincial. Through her I met most of the artists of the “New York New Generation” a show she curated in 1997 at the Museum Palazzo della Penna in Perugia; as well as I met many of the artists of this AxP capsule collection and in particular Arturo Casanova with whom I share a mystical way as we both exhibited in Assisi; “A due a due, Kenosis e Perdono” is the title of the show she curated and was happy to visit at the Porziuncola Museum. She was always envisioning the seeds of the new, instead of literally describe the present, for her a true artist in a visionary and the vision is never blocked in the present…At the end of her life she curated an important exhibition “Painting After Postmodernism” (PAP) which in collaboration with Roberto Polo (of the homonymous museum in Toledo) became a “Manifesto” statement on the primacy of Painting in this peculiar moment we are living in. On the third venue of the Exhibition in Caserta (probably the last show she curated in 2018) in south Italy, she added to the American, and Belgian artists included in the two previous PAP venues, 9 Italians among which I was the only woman. In her long essay Rose does an historical critical excursion on painting and she explains how its death and rebirth is crucial to continue the artistic dialogue meant to maintain its core values, meaning and commitment in a world which is in continue denial of those ones. Her approach to painting is not nostalgic, Barbara is the one who anticipated and defined minimalism, new media languages, she is a prophetic “visionary”, and the vision is always projected towards the future. During the Pandemic, she has participated to the “chat of painters in quarantine” leaving a script which is a sort of legacy, one of her last writing…

Last time she was in Italy she spent 10 days with me in Corciano, she loved being here, she was a mother/mentor figure to me, then she was so weak that she asked me to accompany her in the last trip to Madrid and in Europe. In Madrid we went to mass at the Almudena Cathedral, she has always being interested in all kinds of spirituality and in the relationship between art and the sacred, that was a special moment…she was weak but full of energy, she introduced me to Carolina Diaz with whom she was planning a group show called “Amazons” on women artists who had to fight for survival, I was supposed to be one of them.. This show never happened but was a great project! In her last trip to Italy , she strongly wanted to do a show in Umbria called “Umbria Mystica” at that purpose she was recorded on a video taken with a mobile phone, so that I could present the project to the local authorities, than the pandemic started and she passed away, but I am committed to help realize her great last tribute to a region she loved and where she spent a long and happy period of her life!

Publications: Catalogues: “Metamorphoses” Salon Privè solo show, Rome 1995. “New York New Generation” group show, Palazzo della Penna Museum, Perugia 1997 “Hortus Conclusus in Etra Moenia” Solo Show, Giuliana Dorazio Etra Moenia Gallery, Todi 2003 Monograph “Kenosis”, (pdf) , Solo show, Madrid 2015 “A due A due, Kenosis e Perdono” Porziuncola Museum, 2017 Assisi “Painting After Postmodernism” group show, Royal Palace of Caserta Museum, Caserta 2018 by Barbara Rose

Artist Bruno Ceccobelli | Italy

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

I met Barbara Rose in Todi in 1988 during the Festival in August, I was chosen to create the poster of the Todi Festival, she wrote a text for my exhibition.

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

The balance between her vast culture and deep sensitivity for the arts of the past as well as her innate search for transcendence and Beauty, have strengthened my faith in art.

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

Barbara encouraged artists to believe in themselves, knowing that humility, creativity, and hope combined with patience and silence are the path to success.

Any additional thoughts?

The slowness of execution of the work of art, it’s a central theme in her idea of painting after post-modernism, it is what define the quality of art.

“In binding himself to an ancient and profound culture, Ceccobelli evokes both the primitive vitality of Etruscan art and the simplicity and purity of the meditations of the Umbrian Franciscan poets who celebrated nature and creation.” Barbara Rose on the occasion of Bruno Ceccobelli solo show in 1988 at the Todi Festival, Church of S. Ilario. “Although he is not yet 40, Bruno Ceccobelli has developed a reputation as an artist of unusual depth and subtlety. In his paintings and assemblages, he seeks a transformation of materials that will put the viewer in touch with what he terms spiritual reality.” Barbara Rose The Journal of Art; June, July, August; 1991; pp 51–54.

“I believe the museum must be like a church, a place where one can breathe, an oasis in the desert!” Barbara Rose, in occasion of the press conference of the exhibition: Painting after Postmodernism, she curated in 2018 at the Royal Palace of Caserta, Italy.

Artist Don Kimes | United States

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

I met Barbara in the early ’90s. She was temporarily leaving her home in Italy and visiting Washington, DC, where she grew up. I was running the art program at American University at the time, and I invited her to teach. At our initial meeting she asked to see my studio. She looked at the monochromatic steel abstractions I was making and said, “You know how to draw don’t you?” To this day I have no idea how she knew this by looking at that work, but I immediately thought, “I’ve been waiting 20 years to meet someone with an eye this incisive.” As she did with many others, she said we should conspire on some ideas together. We spent the next 28 years doing just that.

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

She loved artists and was generous with them. A year or two after meeting her I was awarded a year-long teaching sabbatical. She’d been publishing the Journal of Art in Italy but had recently stepped back from it. When I told her, I’d been rejected for the Prix de Rome she said: “All right, I have a place in Umbria. I’m leaving for the year. You stay there, and just pay the utilities. It will change your life and you’ll meet people who wouldn’t even talk to you in New York.

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

There were many art worlds swirling around Barbara. She was the connector, the believer, the touchstone, the vortex. She was a trailblazing maverick in American art history, a pioneering woman who shaped the discourse of American art in the 1960s and 1970s, beginning with her seminal text “ABC Art,” published in Art in America in 1965 when she was just 29 years old. I knew Barbara during the final third of her life, that more discerningly experienced but still very active period, when she spent much of her time in Italy. She changed the art world and made us better for it. Her fierce intellect; her uncompromising, naked honesty; her pioneering charge into the unknown and untried; her mistakes and her successes; her warts and her beauty; the adventures we, the artists she knew well; the battles she, and we, have fought and lost, and once in a while won together; the late night laughter; her belief in all of us whose lives she changed; these are all part of the legacy and it’s impact on the artists who crossed paths with her.

Publications: Artscope Magazine, INTERVIEW: BARBARA ROSE TALKS WITH DON KIMES Her November/December 2020. The interview was also published in the May, 2021 issue of New Art Examiner.

“We are about a concrete alternative to theory driven art… You can’t study art from reproduction. You actually have to confront Piero in his backyard.” (Barbara Rose discussing our shared pedagogical position in the programs we built together)

Artist Juan Garazibal | Spain

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

Spanish art critic and director of the mayor art magazine Descubrir el arte took her to a dinner at my house in 2012. My name being complicated she decided from the first day to name me Garay…something. Garaysomething, she was brilliant.

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

We started an immediate correspondence through emails. She believed that I could be a global artist and encouraged me. We started by a huge installation at the Venice Biennial 2013 where she was the curator, La Memoria del Giardino. The exchange of ideas was continuous and in 3 continents. Came to all my studios very often, interviewed me many times, we did conferences in the program of Expo Chicago, Arco, Art Basel…incredible energy, generosity and believe in Art itself.

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

A true revolutionary, loyal to her principles and focused on art itself. A rara avis among the big players in the world of art, particularly Anglo-Saxon, that is much more based in money information and anecdotes than in art processes and degree of revolution in the work.

She really gave my career the globality it has now…a true citizen of the world. We spoke together in 5 languages. Such a generous person. Really gave me the biggest present anyone could have given me: Helped me to be myself.

Publications: GARAYSOMETHING. by Barbara Rose, 2014. Documenta Arts Diffusion by Barbara Rose

Artist Carolyn Marks Blackwood | United States

How did you meet Barbara Rose?

Many years ago- In the 1980’s. Barbara made movies with my husband Christian Blackwood.

How did Barbara help inspire you and/or your art studio practice?

Barbara came to a small art show with many artists in our small-town library. She came up to me and she asked me if I would be in a show, she was curating in NYC with two photographers and two painters. I was gob smacked. She was not a snob- she looked at my work and it just reverberated with her. She changed the trajectory of my life in that moment.

Do you have any thoughts on her legacy and how it has impacted artists?

Her writings and films are so thoughtful and original and she just lived and breathed art and loved and encouraged artists. She was not a push over and would tell you what she thought- but when she was on your side, she was an amazing ally.

Any additional thoughts?

I loved her and miss her terribly.

Publications: Barbara made a book- a catalogue, for my show in Brussels for The Story Series. She wrote an essay and asked me questions about the work. She wrote a number of essays about my work. WhiteHot Magazine, Musee Magazine- She also wrote an essay about my abstractions in Nature.

Dear Barbara- wherever you are, I am sure you are keeping those artists up there on their toes- and I imagine you just as mischievous as you always were- at least I hope you are. How we used to laugh……

CLICK HERE: AXPCAPSULE COLLECTION | Instagram @artxpuzzles

Find more @ ARTXPUZZLES Puzzles with Purpose | www. artxpuzzles.com

ARTXPUZZLES was founded in 2020 as a multifaceted sales initiative to support a range of contemporary artists as they faced the economic fallout from the world’s ongoing battle against COVID-19. Expanding horizons, Puzzles with Purpose sought artists from across the globe to shine a light on their studio practice and to create a unique Collector Edition Jigsaw Puzzle. A percentage of all net-proceeds from each Collector Edition is allocated to participating artists for their studio practice and creative endeavors while a percentage of proceeds from each sale will also benefit their respective cause of choice with a few artists donating their complete profits to COVID19 relief efforts and Artist Charity Choices. This AXP Capsule Collection benefits directly the Barbara Rose Film Archive.

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Editor at Large/Contributor as a top art industry specialist for arts and fashion industries. Vogue Italia, Metropolitan Magazine, Mandatory, UrbanMindz + more.

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Rachel Vancelette

Rachel Vancelette

Editor at Large/Contributor as a top art industry specialist for arts and fashion industries. Vogue Italia, Metropolitan Magazine, Mandatory, UrbanMindz + more.

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