Month: May 2009

Eye Candy


Art as eye candy! These look too good to be fake. But they are. Check ’em out

Peter’s premise:

I like to create art that can lure, charm, tease, disarm and surprise. My sculptures put viewers in a vulnerable state so that I can communicate with their inner selves in a more honest and direct way.

Hmm, does this mean that realism can be arresting and disarming? Andy Warhol rings a bell. Or the ’70’s artist who lives in San Francisco who paints pictures of cakes… Sounds like? Let’s play charades because I cannot remember his name and no amount of googling will get me there.

Oh wait, Wayne Thibaud!!! He paints objects other than confections, but the Philips Gallery in DC a few years ago focused on just his sweet works. And they were sweeeeeeeeet!

Thiebaud Three Machines

Thiebaud Three Machines


Male Art, Go Gather Dust


Pompidou Center, Paris

Pompidou Center, Paris

Having put works by male artists in storage, the Pompidou Centre in Paris is preparing to open a new exhibition, elles@centrepompidou, filling its permanent collection galleries with the tale of art since the twentieth century as seen exclusively through the eyes of female artists, The Los Angeles Times reports. The exhibiton’s organiser conceeds that taking this approach to the display of Europe’s largest collection of Modern and Contemporary Art is a risk: “Excluding men and showing only women is a revolutionary gesture of affirmative action. But the museum is avant-garde. It’s part of the Centre Pompidou culture to do things differently. And we like a lot of drama. This is going to be dramatic in a big way.”

Wow, I don’t even know what to think of this. It’s a pretty groundbreaking concept: Putting works by male artists in storage.

In storage.

Feminist shows are set up all the time. That part of it is nothing new. It’s the storage thing that gets me (although I can’t think of another  solution). To put something into storage is so deameaning. It screams “object, you are so useless to me right now that you don’t deserve even a daily glance.”

Maybe I’m just thrown by that powerful intro (in storage!), but this is saying to me “move over men! We women are not only exhibiting by ourselves, but we may not bring back your stuff at all.” It’s like the women can’t wait for the dust to move in, settle down, and grow thick. Real thick.

Sorry, I’m just really hung up on words. When journalists write, they pick words very, very carefully.

I’ve said it before, but wow. Critics can really move a concept and a reader’s impression. There’s no indication of how long the exhibit will show, but I’m sure the exhibitionists are in no rush to reinstitute normalcy.

Where Art and Words Collide

Born Magazine creation

Born Magazine creation

Not to be missed. Simply NOT to be missed! Born Magazine (online mag) brings together graphic/visual artists with poets and prose writers to make magic.

Even the View Waxes Poetic

duomo.jpg image by emillyorr

Hold on to your flying buttresses: the Milan Cathedral, the 600-year-old Italian Gothic structure, will hold its first concerts on the building’s roof…[for] the first time in more than six centuries

How different would the experience be sitting on a rooftop as opposed to a concert hall? I can imagine very different. The rarity of the experience would make it more acute. The timeline would come into play. I’d be consumed thinking about the concert that happened six centuries ago. Time would revert back. You’d start to envision what different instruments would appear before you. The different sounds. The different horizon line. The music would achieve its ultimate goal: to move you to a different place.

Lost Art

Picasso's Woman With Book

Picasso's Woman With Book

It fascinates me that an artist could potentially relay a singular thought/expression/concept across a thousand different types of media. Perhaps the message would be the same, or in each case it would have a slightly different meaning.

Something else that fascinates me is when I stumble upon something that stares me in the face every day but I never really see it as beautiful or artful. And then — eureka! — I get it.

I’m talking about the act of reading aloud, the art of reading aloud. It is a type of art, yet one of a myriad that we don’t think about often.

I read to my kids every day. Sometimes they pick the books,  sometimes I pick the books. Usually I read to them, sometimes they read to me. Yet we always tell a story a different way each time. We get something different out of it. We narrow in on one character, zoom out to get the whole view. Perhaps we go into it looking for something different each time.

I suppose the art of reading out loud is not the words themselves or the illustrations in the book, it’s the way the words are spoken. Lilting in places, s—l—o—w in places, rapid-fire in places. Filled with emotion (or not), crafty, cheeky, peppy, fiesty.  

The NYT published a recent article on this topic that beautifully demonstrates the “art” of reading aloud:

Reading aloud captures the physicality of words. To read with your lungs and diaphram, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone. The language becomes part of the body, which is why there’s always a curious tenderness in those 18th and 19th century literary scenes where a book is being read aloud. The words are not mere words. They are the breath and mind, perhaps even the soul, of the person who is reading… It’s as though they’re reading what the words represent rather than the words themselves.

Stupid Art

Manchester's B of the bang sculpture was commissioned by the public

Manchester's B of the bang sculpture was commissioned by the public

So, Jonathan Jones (UK Guardian art critic): the public shouldn’t be trusted to choose their art? He argued on a panel at the Big Art Debate at the Royal Society of Arts in London, that:

public art is never going to be great art so long as it has to conform to the prejudices, enthusiasms and assumptions of the majority.

Meaning: who cares what the public thinks, they are too stupid to “get” the art anyway. Bah with them! Let’s salute disturbing/aggressive/ politically motivated/vulgar/profane art because it’s a free society.

Bear with me as I write this next paragraph. It pains me, but I guess I should give the other side a fair shake:

While I appreciate art that pushes the limits, not everyone wants to see sculpture that might be aggressive/politically motivated/etc. in the middle of rush hour on their way to work. In public spaces, art is often an afterthought, a piece on the periphery, “that big blobby thing” that people walk by day in, day out and have never really stopped to look at (and how much of my paycheck taxes did the govt. spend on THAT?). People who want to be challenged by art want to savor it when they feel like it, not on a day they are rushing in late for work. They like to look at it at lunch when they wander through the MOMA or on the weekend at a gallery opening. They like to look a it when they’ve set aside time to do it. Perhaps publicly chosen art, by design or genre, should work in its surroundings, and enhance the space pursuant to all the environmental/social/political factors around it. Or perhaps it should just be PRETTY. Not something that people have to think about or try to figure out — like what statement, exactly, is that piece of art trying to make? People want to look up at a , smile/grin/say “cool,” and move on.

OK, I’m done with the “other side.” Stop all this nonsense. I wouldn’t appreciate this art at all. I suppose pretty art has its purpose, but if the public can’t handle a little mind stretch now and then, then we’re in a sad state of society. And that’s too bad.

The Dawn of the Metrocurator

The New Curator  has come up with a new concept (at least to me) of curating in big cities where there’s a lot to curate: Metrocurator. New Curator defines it like this:

Metrocurators is the term I used to describe a new generation of curator that’s lightweight, deals in very little bureaucracy, has a DIY attitude because of very limited funds and basically is running all over a city pushing small outbreaks of museums into public spaces.

It’s fabulous concept, and the article goes on to explain that the metrocurators might get their “stuff” from venture culturalists (another brilliant concept, but that’s not new). But why is this metrocurator concept new? Is it because we hoard our art? Is it because no one has been stricken with the idea that they could ship out their art on loan? Or maybe they think that their collection is paltry and nobody would want to look at it (I’m in this category). Or that they have a random grouping of art and it doesn’t work collectively (but I think the point of metrocurating is that it’s pulled together from various places anyway, to culminate in an exhibition.) Or maybe people are just too busy to go to the trouble. Too busy to share.

I’m not sure where the museum would be housed (has the metrocurator snagged a downtown loft with brilliant lighting?). I don’t think people who do have art to offer would want the random public traipsing through their home.

I think it’s a concept that needs molding & sculpting. But it’s a great one.