Monday, February 27, 2012

Wilhelm Lehmbruck Sculpture - NYC Gallery Show + Sweet & Savory Cornish Game Hens

At Michael Werner Gallery 
(Upper East Side, NYC)
Through March 1, 2012

Michael Werner Gallery is presenting an exhibition of works by Wilhelm Lehmbruck (1881-1919). This is the first major Lehmbruck exhibition in the United States in more than two decades with significant works by this European artist, rarely seen in America. 

Wilhelm Lehmbruck is an important figure in the development of modernism and the first German sculptor of the twentieth century to significantly impact art on an international scale. A contemporary of Auguste Rodin and Aristide Maillol, Lehmbruck’s contribution to sculpture was distinctly modern. His achievement was of particular importance to a later generation of sculptors, chief among them Joseph Beuys, who openly credited his predecessor as the inspiration to begin his own work in sculpture. 

In 1895, at the age of 14, Lehmbruck entered the School of Arts and Crafts in Düsseldorf and later received specialized studies at the Düsseldorf Academy – training typical for aspiring sculptors of the time. He adhered to tradition during his Academy years, though he remained mindful of modern developments in painting and sculpture, vis a vis Rodin and other artists working in Paris at that time. A major Rodin exhibition, presented in Düsseldorf in 1904, made a deep impression on Lehmbruck and allowed him to conceive of a break with the traditions that had guided him during his student years. Beginning in 1907 Lehmbruck made several trips to Paris and eventually settled there in 1910. It was in Paris that his unique style began to emerge. Gradually moving away from the neoclassical foundations of his work, he began to fuse elements from his traditional formal vocabulary with a range of sources including Romanticism and the Gothic. 

Lehmbruck’s specifically modern contribution to sculpture lay in an innovative approach to materials, in particular his use of recently developed industrial materials including cast stone. This experimentation encouraged his interest in fragmentation, another important quality of the artist’s modern sensibility. Lehmbruck often preferred to rework or recast elements from his existing sculptures, rather than to conceive of entirely new forms. Figures could be recast in stone or terracotta, for example, and given various different patinas; or, the head or torso from a larger figure could be isolated and recast in a variety of media. Lehmbruck exploited his experiments with materials and form to augment the emotional tenor of his works, all in an effort to achieve the deepest possible feeling. 

Lehmbruck participated in the famous Armory Show of 1913 and had his first solo exhibition in 1914, at Galerie Levesque in Paris. With the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Germany, arriving first in Cologne and Düsseldorf and later Berlin. During the war he worked briefly in a field hospital. His already fragile sensibility, fraught with self-doubt and prone to melancholy, did not withstand the horrors of war. Tragically, he took his own life in 1919 at the age of 38, leaving no immediately apparent successor. While the Nazis would later denounce Lehmbruck as “degenerate”, his work became for many a symbol of creative freedom. Joseph Beuys, in a moving acceptance speech given on the occasion of being awarded the Lehmbruck Prize in 1986, honored the artist as his inspiration and mentor. As his biographer Paul Westheim wrote in 1922, describing the artist’s sadly truncated legacy, “Lehmbruck’s art remains a torso...He has given us much that is significant, but, judging from his beginnings, we had the right to expect more...” 

Wilhelm Lehmbruck features more than a dozen sculptures by the artist, including several rare lifetime bronze and stone casts as well as unique plaster and terracotta figures. Also included in the exhibition is a large selection of related etchings, many of them unique impressions. The works are remarkable for their physicality and exploit the emotive qualities of their material to reach beyond mere depiction toward something deeper. 

Wilhelm Lehmbruck is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring a text by art historian and curator Annabelle Ténèze. The exhibition is on view through 3 March. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10AM to 6PM. Please call the gallery for more information or visit

Michael Werner Gallery
4 East 77th Street, New York, NY 10075
Tel +1 212 988 1623 | Fax + 1 212 988 1774
If you have an interest in purchasing one of these sculptures contact the gallery at

(Source: Michael Werner Gallery Press Dept.)

Sweet & Savory

2 Tbls salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp black pepper
6 Cornish Game Hens
1 1/2 cups Karo Syrup
1/4 cup water

1 cup butter
1/4 cup onion, finely diced 
1/4 cup celery finely diced
2 Tbls dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chicken bouillon
4 cups cornbread bread crumbs

Mix salt, cayenne, sugar, and black pepper. Rub hens with seasonings mixture inside and out; using all the seasoning.

Place 3 hens in each of 2 gallon-size re-sealable plastic bags. Combine syrup and water for a marinade. Pour half of the marinade in each bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal. Allow hens to marinate at room temperature for 2 hours turning bags every 15 minutes.

While hens marinate, make the stuffing.

In a small saucepan over high heat, melt butter. Add onion, celery, parsley, salt, and garlic powder. Saute 10 minutes. Add water and chicken bouillon and stir well. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

Mix in cornbread to make a sticky consistent stuffing. Chill mixture in refrigerator for 45 minutes or until cold and firm. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drain hens, reserving marinade. Stuff marinated hens and place in a greased baking pan. Pour reserved marinade over each hen.

Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, basting with marinade every 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer or until golden brown outside. 

Makes six portions - serve with grilled vegetables and rice pilaf.
(Source: A "Prejean family" recipe, Prejean's Cookbook.)

Until later,
ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2012 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mardi Gras in Cajun Country + Prejean's Cajun Food

King of the Carnival.

Throw me something mister!

Purple, green and gold Mardi Gras
flags following a float.
Mardi Gras 
is a work of art
Photo's by Jack A. Atkinson

A family wedding brought me back to the South of my youth, which is always a joy for me. By coincidence Mardi Gras was just three days later, so I searched out the parades of Cajun Country and ended up in Lafayette, Louisiana. Below I share some of the sights I saw at Lafayette's Mardi Gras Parade!

The traditional Cajun
costume for Mardi Gras
is made from camouflage
material with fringe.

(Photographs in this article on Lafayette's Mardi Gras Parade are by Jack A. Atkinson © 2012, all rights reserved.)

Simply Cajun
at Prejean's 
in Lafayette 


When entering Prejean's Restaurant, one comes face to face with a fish tank for your enjoyment while you wait. It is swimming with turtles and catfish! These aqautic critters are lucky, because catfish, alligator, crawfish, crab and shrimp are the main ingredients of the food at Prejean's (pronounced prey'-zhon). 

The decor is wooden and rustic. I was seated under a giant stuffed alligator - behind me were large maps of Louisiana and in front of me a back-lit stained glass artwork of a fishing boat. Tiny purple, green and gold lights flicker through mardi gras ribbons here and there. (Purple, Green & Gold are the colors of mardi gras and represent royalty.) 

Danny, my server, was a native of Laffayette and had that pleasant indescribable drawl that only South Louisiana voices possess. I decided to order only appetizers, in order to try several different items.


Drink, to start the meal, I ordered the strawberry tinged beer, brewed in Covington, Louisiana. It was delightful, not sweet or off tasting, but light, delicious beer, with just a hint of strawberries.

FirstI tried a cup of Duck & Andouille Sausage Gumbo, served with a small amount of white rice on the side. The roux was as black as ink, yet the duck and andouille sausage dominated the brew. (Assessment: Great!)

Next came a serving of six Crawfish Boudin Balls with Louis Sauce. These were about the size of golf balls and were a very soft rice and crawfish combination. This dish was not finger food and required a fork to dip the bites into the white, creamy Louis Sauce. I only ate two. (Assessment: Good, but not worth how full I would have been, if I had eaten all six.)

Third I was served a 3" x 1/2" disk of breaded and fried eggplant topped with a mound of sauteed then chopped crab and shrimp surrounded by a Cane Syrup & Worcestershire Cream Sauce. The eggplant had become liquefied during the cooking and the combination of flavors was Very Good! (Assessment: Excellent!)

Finally came the "pièce de résistance" the Crawfish and Alligator Cheesecake in Crawfish Cream Sauce. This concoction was served as a 3" x 3/4" round disk with a crispy, parmesan cheese, crust on all sides. The interior was a white mousse made by combining several cheeses with the pureed crawfish and alligator meats. The mousse was slightly sweet, the crust was salty and crunchy and the sauce, garnished with chopped green onion tops, added more body and flavors to the total experience. (Assessment: Extraordinary!)

My appetizer meal was a real treat. These exact dishes I had never eaten before. If you are ever near Lafayette, Louisiana, Pejean's is a "must"!

Cajun Style
Prejean's also has a gift shop full of "Cajun Gifts". They offer a "Prejean's Cookbook" and some of their "Cajun Food" (frozen) as a mail order option.  (

Until later,

More Mardi Gras photos from Lafayette.

It was a hot and clear Mardi Gras.

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2012 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.