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Intellect Seeking a Worm Hole, Oil on canvas with mirror, 66 x 59 inches (167.5 x 149.9 cm), 2007. By James Rosenquist

An HBO film crew was recently on hand for an event at the Miami Art Museum. Their focus-- a lesson by James Rosenquist. Those in attendance observed as Rosenquist turned a blank canvas into a study of color. The 74 year old Pop Art titan, as labeled by the Miami Herald, displayed painting techniques as onlookers-- including 28 art students selected by the youngARTS program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts-- observed the artist in action.

Read more: http://www.myartspace.com/blog/2009/01/james-rosenquist-painting-is-done-with.html
29th-May-2008 09:33 pm - say what!?

I found these brilliant pieces of art at somethingawful.com in the photoshop phridays forum, enjoy!

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I've known about Laurie Anderson for a while but only recently acquired the cult-famous first studio album of her's, Big Science. Laurie Anderson is one of those artists that I both love and love to hate. Her conceptual/performance art was so outrageously removed from mainstream culture and yet in 1981 she was (some how) able to produce a record album, Big Science with a hit single, O Superman.

However, Big Science is kind of difficult to actually listen to and a lot of the ideas that she was conveying on the record come off as cliche generalizations about United States culture... or not. Like I said I'm never sure what my opinion of her really is; I probably don't really need to have one. She is definitely an artist worth checking out, not only for her work but for what her work influenced.

bellow is an excerpt from the Pitchfork review of Big Science:

Big Science comprises songs from Anderson's also quite prescient United States project, a multimedia performance art piece cum opera ("It seemed like everyone I knew was working on an opera," she recalls) that depicted America on the brink of digital revolution and capitalist nirvana, where the dollar trumped tradition and the apocalypse-- cultural, political, technological-- loomed large. In fact, given its themes and presentation, much of Big Science sounds every bit about "the present" as "O Superman" does, and its idiosyncratic execution (with stylistic nods to the minimalists and pal William S. Burroughs) has helped the disc weather the passage of time remarkably well. It's less a document of the early 1980s than it is a dark glimpse of the future recorded at the dawn of the Reagan era.

Anderson's ingenious move, musically, was utilizing the vocoder not as a trick but as a melodic tool. It's the first thing you hear on Big Science, looped in "From the Air" like some bizarre man-machine synth. The rest of the track revolves around a circular pattern of blurted sax figures and hypnotic drums. There's virtually nothing about it that screams its age as Anderson intones a wry announcement from a (caveman) pilot of a plummeting flight. "There is no pilot," she speaks. "You are not alone. Standby. This is the time. And this is the record of the time." It's a metaphor for every frightening thing about 20th (and now 21st century) living you can think of, and in its spare way it's enough to scare you silly.


Frida Y Diego: The Elephant and the Dove
Oglethorpe exhibition examines the mysterious art power couple
By Felicia Feaster
Published 06.20.2007

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were the art power couple of the 20th century.

Groovy socialists and vanguard artists, Kahlo and Rivera ran with a hip, international crowd of intellectuals, revolutionaries and artists such as French surrealist André Breton, photographers Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, and Communist Leon Trotsky.

Even their look was supercool: Rivera sporting working-class overalls and Kahlo in flamboyant peasant attire. They dug the past like Brooklyn hipsters in trucker hats and vintage dresses but without the smear of irony.

Individually, muralist Rivera and symbolist Kahlo were hot stuff. But together they proved one of the most tempestuous and fascinating art couples of any time. More passionate than Cicciolina and Jeff Koons, cooler than John Currin and Rachel Feinstein, earthier than Bogart and Bacall, over the course of their almost 25-year-long relationship, they set the standard for creative coupledom.

Frida y Diego: Photographs of Their Life Together at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is presented on the centennial of Kahlo's birth, the 50th anniversary of Rivera's death and commemorates this most iconoclastic of art couples.

With the current political climate of immigration mud-throwing, this is a welcome dose of Hispan-chic in a show that otherwise tends to soft-pedal the couple's personal demons, philandering, sexual experimentation, miscarriages and depression – the complex portrait of marriage that writers and filmmakers have often dwelled upon. Frida y Diego instead captures the alluring, superficial mystique of a couple that Kahlo's disapproving father called the union "of an elephant and a dove." The 96 digital prints on loan from the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo in Mexico City come with that museum's often clunky and flowery text intact.

As if trying to subconsciously dramatize the couple's turbulent relationship in a way the romanticized wall text avoids, museum director Lloyd Nick has hung the photographs in an undulating pattern like a perpetually agitated EKG. Part of the show's appeal is surely the provocative evidence that photographs give to unspoken truths. Like the body of an artist's work, photographs are another means of reading and understanding their subjects.

Even without extended discussion of their very different artistic styles in the exhibition, Kahlo and Rivera are photographically revealing subjects. Their very physical presence gives some sense of the artwork they created. It would be easy for even a novice to glean the very different perspectives of this couple based on that elephant/dove dichotomy displayed in the photographs.

Kahlo's small-scale self-portraits dealt with topics from miscarriage to heartbreak in haunting exorcisms of her rich inner life. By contrast, Rivera's commanding girth and height telegraphed his artistic métier of bold, uncompromising, large-scale public mural projects centered on the worldly concerns of social justice.

What these photographs show, beginning with the wedding portraits of Kahlo's and Rivera's parents and ending with Rivera's death in 1957, is awkwardness mellowing into intimacy and a couple who revealed bits and pieces of their lives in these photographs.

Early images of the couple closely resemble an 1884 photo of Rivera's parents' posing for a traditional, emotionally restrained wedding-day portrait. That wedding portrait is in stark contrast to the one of Kahlo's parents, who in a surprisingly modern, sexy, 1898 wedding photograph embrace in a far more loving, expressive way. It would take decades for Rivera and Kahlo to grow into anything close to that expressive warmth.

Defying the stereotype of women as vain exhibitionists, many of these early images drawn from the late 1920s and early '30s show a fawnlike Kahlo looking anxious to escape the camera's prying eye. Rivera, however, grins and asserts his physicality like a preening male peacock, thrusting his impressive girth forward, his face animated by a cat-eating-the-canary smirk. Kahlo looks like a crumb, dwarfed at his feast.

But over time, as the conventions of photographic portraiture relax – becoming less indebted to the formal conventions of painting – so do Kahlo and Rivera. It is no small part of the growing intimacy and warmth that passes between the couple that photographers and friends such as Modotti, Weston and Ansel Adams were now documenting this power couple.

The couple softens and wilts in a more relaxed style toward each other, kissing and holding each other for the camera. In lieu of the children she couldn't bear – because of a devastating bus accident when she was a teenager – there are the compensatory animals such as hairless dogs and pet monkeys. In images of Rivera leaning over Kahlo in a hospital bed or of Kahlo wrapping her arms around her husband's neck, there is the sense that perhaps the couple became a world unto themselves as life's disappointments mounted.

Though some surely will find this exhibit that emphasizes a nationally treasured married couple in the manner of historical museums lacking in depth, there are smaller pleasures to be gleaned. Perhaps more than anything, the images illuminate one of the greatest of mysteries seen in many long-married couples. Over time, two very different people created a world of their own that no amount of pain or heartbreak would topple, and no surplus of visual information will ever explain. Marriage, more than artistic creation, may be the greatest mystery of all.

It is at the Ogelthorp University Museum through August 28th. Friends of mine who've already gone told me that it was a great exhibit.
4th-Apr-2007 08:20 am - "A" is for Affecting

I haven't always been fascinated by Rothko's work.

Early on, I figured art in museums should be about drawing something. It never occurred to me it could be about hue and stroke and texture and juxtaposition and blending -- in the absence of a drawn form.

Now I dig it.

Now I can stare at it for a long time.

Now it can transport me (if not astrally or existentially, at least to another level of understanding or a new perspective).

But, when we recently took our daughters to the Dallas Museum of Art, the piece I left talking about and literally enjoying was by Felix Gonzales-Torres. It was an installation piece that created a sidewalk of green hard candy wrapped in clear plastic along one wall of a room. At first glance, it appeared to be a bed of glass shards. Striking. It shouted "Don't Walk Here!"

But, curiously, it was quite the opposite of its initial caution against approach or touch. The small panel that provided artist information explained that the public was invited (against conventional museum etiquette) to take a piece of candy. This involvement of removing candy made the viewers into contributors to the ever-changing installation. By consuming candy, you participate in the exhibit, noting the cycles of change and rebirth (as the curators replenish the supply after closing and return to the art to its original form).


It's left me considering it days later -- nurturing the meaning (or possible meaning).

I like that manner of art.
13th-Mar-2007 09:49 am - Getting Close

Lately, I've taken to TiVo-ing CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Here are some of the reasons:

1.) I like Charles's voice. (I listen to him on the radio.)
2.) I'm fond of the varied sun-image bumpers that bookend the segments.
3.) Wynton Marsalis performs the inspired theme song.
4.) There are usually several reports in a given episode that I find fascinating, informative, and/or entertaining.

This past Sunday, they did a spot on Chuck Close. Last May, I was captivated by an exhibit of his work at The Ft. Worth Museum of Modern Art.

I share this 'cause I think you'll be a better person after viewing it. And I'm always on the lookout for ya. Here's the clip: Chuck Close Video
17th-Feb-2007 10:30 pm - bruce nauman

there's a bruce nauman exhibition at the berkeley art museum right now, and i was wondering if you guys have any opinions about him.

personally, i think overrated. sure he's done some revolutionary things, but some revolutions shouldn't happen. his question of "what is art" is quite valid, but his answer "whatever an artist does in his studio," which has reverbated throughout his career, is simplistic, to say the least.

and, more importantly, it doesn't hit me where art should, it doesn't shake my core, like art like this could.
11th-Aug-2006 04:55 pm - Jeff Koons, anyone?
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Jeff Koons is highly respected in the art community. He is known for a number of different sorts of pieces, varying in materials. Sometime in the 1980s (I think), he married a famous Italian porn star and subsequently created a number of famous, life size wax sculptures of them in the act of sex. What I love about the picture of the one above is that it was taken in the gallery, and gives you a much better feel for how these are actually presented, taken in by the viewer.

Perhaps, Koons's sculptures may conflict with some people's "idea" of what art is. But to me, I think it's funny because "sex" has been the driving force behind visual art since the beginning of art, ie. like for-ev-er! And women have been the "symbol" most commonly chosen to represent this topic in at least western art (this changes with other cultures, art outside of "western art", etc.)

So, maybe this actually isn't that exploitative? After all, it's not "woman" as the representation of sex, but sex, itself.

Or, is this so obscene that it should never be exhibited? Is it dangerous? Is it an insult to "real" art? And if so, then what differentiates art from pornography?
8th-Aug-2006 06:44 pm(no subject)
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"In Advance of A Broken Arm" Marcel Duchamp, 1915

This is where true beauty in art lies: discuss.
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(Donald Judd piece on far right, surrounded by other famous minimalist pieces I don't know the names of)

I've been a mildly warm, some-what enthusiastic fan of Donald Judd for the past 4 or 5 years. But, I've never really been that "in" to the kind of minimal-sculptural... stuff, that his art gets categorized into. Recently in a class, we talked about how, and I hadn't been aware of this until now, he was really into the 60s zen wave and would claim that his pieces were all about that.

It's not that I don't believe it- more so, I just don't think that whatever it was that he claimed the pieces were about even matters. His work is sculpture, but in a very modern architecture-influenced sort of way (they're like cute little Mies Van der Rohe pop art replicas- painted cool colors and illuminated). However, that view that I have towards him, that it doesn't even matter what he was thinking, is both, a very modern mindset towards viewing art, and not something I apply to most of the art that I study.

Theory aside, the art speaks for itself: you either like it or you don't. If you like 90' angles and basic euclidean geometric elements, then you probably will. If your sculptural taste veers more towards the curvilinear and you like pieces to be more than one color, then you might not. If you like objective art with a narrative, then don't waste your time looking at the pictures under the cut.

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