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Writing Samples as an Art Critic from Lily Kostrzewa

  • Lily Kostrzewa speaks with Aurora Robson at Hollis Taggart Gallery in Chelsea NYC, published by Art Review City

    • The Elixir of Ataraxy in a Sea of Trouble, a review of 17 contemporary expat Japanese women artists in NYC, published by Art Review City

    • Editor letter-about art world

    • John Link in art Teaching – Interview with Lily Kostrzewa – From Philosophy to Art to Writing”, Vol-34-no-2, UK, 2019

    • “Finding your path and dream big – an interview with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen in Grand Rapids Art Museum (written in Chinese),, online August 2019

    • “European Odyssey” (an art life by Lily Kostrzewa),, online July 2019

    • “A Quick Review of Cuban Art Today”,, online June 2019

    • “Sokurov and Rembrandt” – the 2019 Venice Biennale Russian Pavilion, New Art Examiner, Vol-33-no-6, UK, 2019

    • “Making art is … making love to the world.”- a Frank Gehry interview, New Art Gazette, Vol-33-no-4, UK, 2019

    • “After 40 years sowing seeds in Academia”- a special art exhibition at Richmond Center of Visual Arts, WMU, Kalamazoo, Michigan, vol-31-no-5, New art Examiner, Cornwall, UK, 2017

    • A letter to Editor about Rembrandt show, vol-32-no-3, New Art Examiner, Chicago, Jan/Feb 2017 see below clip

    A letter to Editor about Rembrandt show at Milwaukee Art Museum

    Milwaukee Art Museum exhibition “From Rembrandt to Parmigianino: Old Masters from Private Collections.” I have a lot of opinions regarding that show. Let me tell you what I think about it: When I walked into the exhibition, the first thing that struck me was that one of the museum employees came to apologize to me: there is only one Rembrandt in this show and there are two other paintings side by side to it that cannot be confirmed as Rembrandt’s. I have discussed this issue with other art lovers and museum-goers; it seems to be a practice of smaller art museums lately. These days famous artwork is too difficult for them to obtain. Many museums will use this promotional skill, as an exaggeration to lure audiences to their museums to see a special show that actually disappoints in size. I looked at the 11x14 inch Rembrandt’s old man portrait, then compared side by side with the other two 8x10 studies. I had some suspicions about the other two paintings too and was glad they didn’t confirm the others as Rembrandt’s. I then walked through the rest of the 50 paintings from the private classic collections of Wisconsin’s wealthy folks, it had a little emotional impact and I was hardly impressed. I came back to the unusual Rembrandt “Study of the head of an Old Man with Curly Hair, 1659” again, I have seen a lot of Rembrandt in my life, but I have to say this was such a treasure find. The complexities of emotions of an old man are still vivid, moving my soul after four centuries. It is a kind of senseless regret, repentance, as well as the feeling of time and tide waiting for no man. This painting was done in the last ten years of Rembrandt’s life, after his bankruptcy as well as losing his beloved lover and son. I assumed he was depressed as I noticed some critics said he might have been slightly mad during this period of his life. I think this is one of his self-portraits, as art historians claim that one-tenth of Rembrandt’s paintings are actually self-portraits. Myself -as a painter for more than three decades- I saw a genius who insightfully depicted humanity and spirituality; he was reflecting a truth of life on this old man’s face. We came with nothing and leave with nothing; it is all vanity. In this moment of Rembrandt's life, he had reached the highest maturity in technique. His special illuminated focal point against the dark background perfectly highlighted his sensitive emotions towards the old man in a way which no words can be used. The artist used his brush to pierce through viewers’ souls and minds and timelessly brings us to a spiritual realm. I saw loose brushstrokes of white color on an old man’s curly hair and the pallet knife with oil pigment touched on the old man’s rough skin. I have to say only the master of masters would be able to come out with such a bold approach to the canvas, and don’t forget it was the 17th century in his time. During his last decade, he produced some of the best art in human history, surely he was despised by many wealthy and people of nobility then. Losing commercial productivity has won Rembrandt the true art and soul. I am glad I had come to meet the master in the Milwaukee Art Museum.

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