Jennifer Dasal

Jennifer Dasal

Jennifer Dasal is an art historian and is the creator and host of the ArtCurious Podcast (, an internationally popular, bi-weekly show exposing “the unexpected, the slightly odd, and the strangely wonderful in art history.” It was chosen as one of PC Magazine’s Best Podcasts of the Year for three years in a row (2018-2020), and it was selected as one of the Best History Podcasts of 2019 by O, the Oprah Magazine. In September 2020, Dasal’s first book, ArtCurious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful in Art History, was released by Penguin Books. The book has already received a much coveted “starred” review from Publishers Weekly and highlighted in BookPage, BookList, and other publications.

 Dasal is the former curator of modern and contemporary art at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), where she worked for thirteen years. She received her BA in art history from the University of California, Davis and her MA in art history from the University of Notre Dame, and she has completed PhD coursework in art history at the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the NCMA in 2008, she was the curatorial assistant to the curator of Western art at the Snite Museum, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and at the Richard L. Nelson Art Gallery, University of California, Davis.

Abstracts Done Right

As a curator of modern and contemporary art for the last 14 years, I've been surrounded by abstraction-- after all, it is one of the most important, if not THE most important, hallmarks of 20th-21st century art. It has defined the arts, for better or for worse, for the last 100-plus years. For many of us—curators, art historians, and the casual visitor alike—abstract art is painting, period.

But just because abstract art sometimes looks straightforward or simple doesn’t mean that it is easy to create. To pull off a good abstraction, you have to be skilled, you have to be perceptive, and you have to understand balance, color, space—and more. It’s easy to get it wrong. But when an artist gets it right? Ooof. It hits a viewer right in the solar plexus, in the best possible way—and I can’t look away. I don’t want to look away, either.

Luckily, there’s no lack of abstract goodness to enjoy on Altamira. From the exuberant colors of Gina Werfel to the daily practices of Fong Fei, the tight patterning of Sean Ward and the watery expanses of Joseph Piccillo, there’s something for every art lover here. Here are abstracts done right, in my humble opinion.