Winston Churchill—one of the most famous men of the 20th century— was the Prime Minister of England (twice!) and a big, sappy painter. He loved his landscapes and still lives and painted over an estimated 500 in his lifetime. What drew a man of such political power to something like painting? He saw it as the end-all, be-all of anxiety, which I think says a lot coming from someone who nicknamed his own clinical depression.
Churchill was an accomplished writer as well, establishing a close friendship with American publisher Emery Reves — who would inevitably begin to collect the politician’s paintings. Reeves would later die in 1981 but soon after his wife, a native Texan, would establish the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art.
In Churchill’s 1932 meditation, Painting As A Pastime, he begins with remedies to avoid worry for those who have to “bear exceptional responsibilities.” He states:
Some counsel travel, and others retreat. Some praise solitude, and others, gaiety. No doubt all these may play their part according to the individual temperament. But the element which is constant and common in all of them is Change.
Change is the master key.
Preston Hollow is a northern suburb of Dallas, Texas and the home of former president George W. Bush. It takes, according to Google maps, about 10 minutes to get from downtown Preston Hollow to 1717 N Harwood St, the home of the Dallas Museum of Art. Make a few turns here and there and inevitably, you are surrounded by paintings by the most powerful Prime Minister of all time.
Since the news spread in early February of Bush’s new interest in painting, and the inevitable link between the two men, I’ve thought a lot about what it takes to take up any act of artistic expression after immense anxiety. All crazy theories aside, I don’t really think it’s that far fetched to assume that Bush, the recent (for-a-lack-of-a-better-word) “victim” of cyber hacking, is unaware of the paintings by Winston Churchill.
Churchill was pretty unabashed about the masculine attributes of his endeavors. Painting, he felt, was like fighting a battle. Speaking of his initial hesitation to begin, he realized “anyone could see that it [the canvas], could not hit back.” It was, in his opinion, great for reducing the worry brought about by public pressure.
Though subject matter for Churchill was always of a tame, amateur nature that had been in vogue for hobbyists for a long time. The typical English countryside, French landscape or an orchid set up are his most notable works—never (thank goodness) any implied nude self-portraits. Churchill did not live to see the post-Warhol world, though, and was probably too busy to notice the Abstract Expressionists or any other Avant-garde art movements at the time. After his initial stint as Prime Minister, he was briefly in the United States to give the Iron Curtain speech and was probably monitoring The Cold War thereafter as Leader of the Opposition party.
So while in theory he proclaimed in Painting as a Pastime and elsewhere that painting held strong sentiments to war and ‘conquering a canvas’, as it were, Churchill’s actual paintings were anything but war-like.
In order to make his plan, the General must not only reconnoiter the battle-ground, he must also study the achievements of the great Captains of the past.
He must bring the observations he has collected in the field into comparison with the treatment of similar incidents by famous chiefs.
You see the difficulty that baffled you yesterday; and you see how easily it has been overcome by a great or even by a skilful painter. …You will look at the masterpieces of art with an analyzing and a comprehending eye.
George W. Bush is rather famous for waxing over any misgivings about his presidency by saying on numerous occasions, “let history be the judge.” If Churchill has given a precedent regarding hobby-painting after leading a war-driven administration, is it safe to say that Bush is attempting to reconcile his previous gutsy, no nonsense Cowboy persona by tapping into his artistic side?
He wouldn’t be the first but he is certainly the strangest.
 Originally appeared in Churchill’s essays of adventures, Amid These Storms
 Churchill took up painting at the age of 40 and was Prime Minister the first time, during WWII at age 66, when England was part of the allied forces against Germany, headed by Adolf Hitler—another famous politician and painter of the 20th century. President Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn’t a painter but an admirer who established a role for artists as part of the New Deal. Supreme Commander of the allied forces, Dwight D. Einsenhower (later 34th president) was known to dabble in oil painting, Churchill’s preferred medium.
 Given on March 6th, 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Churchill touted his long skepticism of Soviet control in Western Europe despite their former status as an major ally force. At the time Jackson Pollock still lived in relative obscurity and most artists at the time were seen as Communist-leaning, or “nutty” as President Truman saw it.
First things first kiddos, have y’all gotten in your Ox-Bow and ACRE applications? It was sixty degrees today! The summer is pending. Get in on that dreamy Michigan/Wisconsin landscape. (My apologies to the jury committee.)
Also, The Art Institute of Chicago is looking for a new Associate Photography Curator.
THE ART INSTITUTE IS OF CHICAGO IS LOOKING FOR A NEW ASSOCIATE PHOTOGRAPHY CURATOR.
That being said, they will probably hire within… but regardless, join the masses and apply!
Details for all below. As always, good luck!
Ox-Bow residency for MFA/Arts Faculty application time is coming to a close as April 5th keeps creeping up. Info Here
(psssst, if you’re a normal human who isn’t all up in that institutional drama, consider their Fall Artist Residency, which I will talk about a little later)
Associate Curator, Photography /// Art Institute of Chicago
At the direction of the Department Chair, is responsible for conceiving permanent collection and loan exhibitions; researching and proposing acquisitions for the collection; researching the collection and contributing to scholarly publications; working closely with donors, scholars, dealers, and artists; supervising volunteers and special project staff; and contributing to fundraising activities. Serves as coordinator or local curator for traveling exhibitions. Develops relationships with artists and galleries that can guide future exhibition projects. Conceives of appropriate programming and conducts gallery talks. Takes an active role in conceiving and preparing the biannual Photography Gala.
Must have a Master of Arts in Art History, preferably with a concentration in a photographic subject. Must have at least 3 years of experience with exhibition projects, preferably involving photographic objects and preferably living artists. Strong writing skills are highly recommended. Foreign language abilities are encouraged.
All info, including the online application submission, here via the AIC employee portal.
Chicago Artist Resource is teaming up with OtherPeoplesPixels to fund the new Maker Grant, a $3,000 opportunity for Chicago artists who demonstrate a commitment to sustainable artistic practice and career development. The deadline to apply is March 31st.
This grant is open to visual artists who meet the following criteria:
• Artists who can show that they are at a defining moment to achieve growth in their creative and professional careers.
• Artists who demonstrate a strong and active engagement with, and professional commitment to, their artistic practice.
• Artists whose work as cultural makers impacts the development of art and culture in a meaningful way.
Applicants must be:
• A U.S. citizen or legal resident
• A resident of the Chicagoland region
• At least 21 years old
• NOT currently enrolled in a degree-granting program or its equivalent
• NOT an applicant or collaborator on more than one proposed project
Submissions are evaluated by a jury of three professional peers from Chicago’s leading cultural institutions as well as a representative from Chicago Artists Coalition and OtherPeoplePixels.
The 2013-2014 jury will be announced mid-March
• March 31 (midnight): Application due
• April 1-15: Jury Deliberates
• Mid to late April: Announce Finalist/Awardee
more application info can be found here
As always – Good Luck!
February 17, 2013 · Print This Article
Proximity Magazine is now accepting proposals for the upcoming edition on the intersections of art, food, politics and social practice. Proposal deadline is is March 15, 2013. Completed texts and works are due by April 15, 2013. Issue release will be this Spring at Version Festival 13.
Full information here: http://proximitymagazine.com/2013/02/call-for-works-proximity-number-11/
As always, good luck!
February 10, 2013 · Print This Article
ACRE in Wisconsin. Ox-Bow in Michigan. Bemis in Nebraska. With so much midwestern residency happening, there is no excuse not to apply. Details below. (And for anyone who missed part one, BOLT and PLAND are still accepting applications.)
2013 Application now open, deadline April 15th with $25 fee waved by February 15th
ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions) is a volunteer-run non-profit based in Chicago devoted to employing various systems of support for emerging artists and to creating a generative community of cultural producers. ACRE investigates and institutes models designed to help artists develop, present, and discuss their practices by providing forums for idea exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experimental projects.
Residency: Steuben, WI
Exhibitions: ACRE Projects / 1913 W 17th St / Chicago, IL 60608
Our admissions panel comprises an impartial jury of established artists, critics and curators from Chicago and elsewhere. Jury members are asked to evaluate work samples and the written portion of the application. Scoring is based on quality of work, potential for growth, and feasibility of project proposed based on the facilities we offer.
Notification of acceptance will be issued in early May.
- 1 session (12 days), $600
- 2 sessions (26 days), $1200
- day rate: $60/day
full info available at http://www.acreresidency.org/
2013 application now open, deadline for Summer MFA & Arts Faculty residencies is April 5th
Ox-Bow offers a wide range of opportunities for artists at all stages in their career. With year-round programs that cater to degree-seeking students, professional artists and those new to the field, Ox-Bow is a protected place where creative processes break-down, reform, and mature.
There are a variety of ways to engage in the program, from being a student, artist in residence, faculty member, visiting artist, or fellowship student.
Ox-Bow one and two-week residencies for Arts Faculty, June 2 – August 17th, 2013
Over the summer, Ox-Bow offers one and two-week residencies for artists who are also faculty members in the arts, in an adjunct or full time capacity. This program is designed to give teaching artists the much needed time to focus on their own work throughout the summer and also to connect to other faculty who are teaching at Ox-Bow.
Artists are selected upon the merit of their work and written statements describing their proposed use of the residency. During their stay, artists are encouraged to present a slide lecture or reading of their work and to participate in the community life at Ox-Bow. Recipients receive a small private studio and room and board. Please note that the classroom studio facilities are not available to artists in residence.
Cost: $225 per week, (includes room and board and studio use), due at the time the residency is awarded.
Deadline: April 5, 2013
Ox-Bow MFA Residency, three week residency, June 2 – August 17th, 2013
Ox-Bow will offer three to five 3-week residencies to MFA candidates from schools around the nation. Students must be currently enrolled in an accredited MFA program or have graduated from an MFA program on or after December 2012 to qualify. Students may apply as individuals or as pairs to live and work on campus on a project of their design. Applicants will receive one studio space, as well as housing for the duration of their stay (if applying as a pair, applicants will share a studio, as well as housing). Access to classroom studios and studio equipment is not guaranteed. Students should submit proposals to create work that is not dependent on studio access.
These three-week residencies are designed for graduate students who may not need the formal instruction provided by Ox-Bow’s traditional class structure.
Only one application is required from the applying group/collaboration. The first person listed on the application will be considered our main contact person.
Cost: $500 per 3-week residency for one artist; $800 for two artists, (includes room and board and studio), due at the time the residency is awarded.
Deadline: April 5, 2013
For full information, visit http://www.ox-bow.org/experience
The Bemis Center
Accepting applications for 3 month residencies featuring $750 monthly stipends, generously sized live/work studios and 24 hour access to facilities. Deadline February 28th, 2013 (!!)
The Bemis Center provides Artists-in-Residence with the gift of time, space and support.
TIME 3 months of uninterrupted, self-directed work time.
SPACE The Bemis Center is housed in two urban warehouses totaling 110,000 square feet. Each artist is provided with a generously sized live/work studio with a private kitchen and bathroom and 24 hour access to facilities including a wood shop, installation spaces, and 10,000 square foot sculpture facility.
SUPPORT $750 monthly stipend.
Applications are being accepted through February 28.
For more information or to apply: http://www.bemiscenter.org/residency/