Earlier this month, two solo exhibitions by two very different artists arrived in the Palm Beaches. On December 1, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County in Lake Worth unveiled “RaWk: The Art of Jason Newsted.” On December 2, the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach opened “A Man for All Seasons: The Art of Winston Churchill.” Though completely disparate in every imaginable way, both are must-attend shows.
“RaWk,” on view through February 3, chronicles the artistic evolution of former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. Now a Jupiter resident, Newsted began painting as a creative outlet while healing from shoulder injuries. The exhibit displays his work chronologically, starting with earlier compositions, like the visually arresting JMB RIP, a 2006 piece Newsted made as an homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat, and leading up to his recent foray into sculpture, a medium he’s felt compelled to explore more after an inspiring visit to the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens.
Metallica fans will find many things to love about “RaWk,” too. Not only does it illuminate another facet of this multitalented artist, but it also contains many relics from his former rock-star days. Most of the featured memorabilia comes from Metallica’s 1993-94 tour, including every ticket stub from the 22-month-long undertaking as well as photos from such legendary shows as Woodstock ’94. There’s also a couple of bass guitars and even Newsted’s own action figure.
Perhaps the most heart-touching component of “RaWk” is the fact that a portion of the proceeds from art sales will benefit two of Newsted’s favorite charities: the Perry J. Cohen Foundation and Little Kids Rock. The latter will use the funds raised to start a branch in Palm Beach County, which would greatly help the foundation in its quest to bring the gift of music to one million kids by 2020.
For those more invested in history than rock and roll, “A Man for All Seasons,” on display at the Four Arts through January 14, might be more apropos. Equal parts artistic overview and biographical exercise, the exhibition aims to highlight the many sides of former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill. It abounds in amazing artworks, primarily of landscapes, with the occasional interior and still life thrown in for good measure.
The landscapes range from beloved vacation destinations (Miami and Surfside are represented), as well as spots Churchill visited more frequently, like The Château St. Georges-Motel. Many of the works are accompanied by images of the original location, adding another layer of context and understanding of Churchill’s considerable talent.
Historians more interested in the man than his art will appreciated the many personal effects on display, including one of his humidors and a trio of half-smoked cigars. There’s also a room dedicated to Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech, which he delivered in Fulton, Missouri, in March 1946. In addition to a Berlin Wall–inspired artwork created by his granddaughter, Edwina Sandys, the room also houses two drafts of his famous oration—one handwritten and one typed.
Whether you’re more of a “RaWk”er or a “Man for All Seasons,” these shows signal a great start to the cultural season in Palm Beach County.