Thursday, July 30, 2009

Contest!!!! How am I doing?

I have been trying to improve my drawing, so I've decided to hold a contest. I am looking for a caption for any of these drawings that has humor and references the drawing in some way. The prize, which has no value, is an original drawing by me, chosen by me, and sent to the winner via the USPS (that includes overseas airmail since this blog is now read in over 50 countries). I will select a judge or two (not me) who will make the final decision. Winning entry will be published right here in the blog. Closing date is August 3, 2009, no late entries will be accepted. Send your entries (and be sure to say which drawing you are referencing) via the comments section of the blog. If you win I will ask for your snail mail address. Do your best or as they say in Japan, あなたのベストを尽くす!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Alphabet Soup, Savor it While it's Hot

ABC No Rio, founded in 1980, has had the neighborhood dramatically change around it. In an area that's now starting to have $135.00 dinners it seems some what anachronistic. ABC No Rio’s entrance, rusty gates and geological layers of graffiti, as well as its grass roots political stance, that resulted in fighting City Hall for more than 20 years, has made me cherish it like a Gem Spa eggcream or a Coney Island knish.

That will soon change for ABC No Rio is raising funds for a new building. I will be a green sustainable pleasant building, with bright and lovely art and community spaces. In a way, I wish huge chunks of the old facade could be preserved in a glass hothouse, like the Temple of Dendur, it would be a great way to commemorate a place where artists took some power for themselves.

P.S. The name came from a beat-up sign that had once read “Abogado Con Notario” but was missing so many letters that it seemed to spell out “ABC No Rio.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

Roman Ondák

I was part of "vital role" that participants play in the creation of "Measuring the Universe" (2007), by Slovakian artist Roman Ondák. At MOMA these days attendants mark museum visitors' heights, first names, and date of their measurement on exhibition gallery walls. I've almost never seen people standing in line to become part of an art work. Beginning as an empty white space, the gallery is accumulating the measure of thousands of people.

The inclusion of viewers has a long tradition in performance-based art. Overcoming division between art objects and spectators, people stand in the line to perhaps rediscover the proud feeling they had as children—in the time honored custom — growth marks against a door frame or perhaps to have someone else make their mark in the universe, or perhaps to use part of their "15 Minutes", This artwork addresses gauging the scale of the world. Try it for yourself. If you see, "Susan July 15, 2009" you will know that I, like Kilroy, was there.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jim Inzero

Another friend from the line was Jim Inzero. (Great name right?) He works in encaustic creating soothing sail/shore landscape paintings. He posts his work on a blogspot blog leveraging the software to create a nice personal site. The painting below is "Spring Lake" encaustic on wood panel, 15 in x 20 in. He is like his paintings—warm and laid back—and was a great line buddy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Robert Rich Marbury

Here's the first of the "cool" artists I met in the audition line, Robert Rich Marbury. He was sewing a scout sash of some kind with entertaining pictograph badges while we waited. He hails originally from Baltimore and was in a John Waters’ film. Not surprisingly he is an explorer of contemporary culture.

I realize that I saw one of his pieces through Chashama. Marbury is also co-founder of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, which is an international organization dedicated to the shared mandate to advocate the showmanship of oddities. He also runs the Urban Beast Project, the taxonomy of fake and feral city dwelling mammals. Made my day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bodies the Exhibition and Bodies the Controversy

Today we're going to talk about the "human rights" of bodies. The use by artists of bodies for the study of anatomy used to be a routinely accepted practice (at least post the grave robbing era of study). Today, we use cadavers for many kinds of study including crash test dummies, crime decomposition models, post death free face lifts, "beating-heart" cadavers and more. I really enjoyed Mary Roach's book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and I highly recommend it if you are curious about what might happen to your body after you donate it to science.

In fact, Bodies the Exhibition, was offering discounts to artists to come and draw. However years of assurances that the cadavers on display were legally obtained in China, the company that runs the exhibit admitted that it could not prove that the bodies were not those of prisoners who might have been tortured or executed. A legal settlement came after an investigation into the origin of the cadavers/parts in the exhibit.

Under the terms of the settlement, the exhibit cannot obtain new bodies without documentation proving the individual’s identity, cause of death and consent for the body to be displayed, a requirement that may slow or end the importation of bodies from China.In addition, the exhibit must display, on its Web site and with a sign at the entrance, a statement explaining that it is not able to confirm that the bodies being displayed were not Chinese prisoners who may have been victims of torture and execution, the attorney general’s office said. The company is now looking into the feasibility of a program in which bodies would be donated from within the United States in the future. Will this become the newest form of performance art?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Seecond Post of the Day – Roxy Paine

You may remember the Roxy Paine post I did earlier about the pieces he had in Madison Square. He has a new bright silver dendriodic sculpture on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is worth a visit. In this piece the tree tops of Central Park are a perfect foil for the blinding twisting sculpture. People oddly insert themselves into the piece and seem lost in a wilderness. And it's so bright it's hard to see.

His dendroid sculptures can also be seen at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, the Wanas Foundation in Sweden, the Montenmedio Arte Contemporaneo in Spain and the St. Louis Museum of Art. The tension between organic and man-made environments is usually amplified by his works.

Not ready for my close-up...

Saturday morning I think I was in a fugue state, how else can I explain it? I applied to be on a reality TV show for artists that Bravo and Magical Elves were casting. I stood in line from 6 a.m. for hours and hours. I made the first cut. I didn't meet Sarah Jessica Parker. I didn't get a spot. Even worse I had a co-conspirator, the wonderful sculptor, Jon Berge. We actually had a lot of fun schmoozing in line. I enjoyed meeting the other artists trying out and made some new friends. Especially a few who are blog worthy stay tuned.

Even if I didn't get chosen, I'm really glad they are doing a show about art and artists. It's really the only way that people will learn that artists are serious about their art and that art is a great investment for everyone on any level. How many other things do you buy that you enjoy now and might be a winning lottery ticket later.

I have a friend who worked for Interview magazine in the old days. When they were struggling and couldn't pay her, they gave her a painting, it's a Warhol—need I say more about the lottery ticket aspect?

The best thing about the experience was that Jon Berge came to New York. He's the artist I talk with the most, Skyping him often. He's a supporter, critic, investigator, strategist and more. I value his friendship as one of the diamonds in my life box. And there you have it— I didn't win, but optimist I, rich in artistic friends, am already winning.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cut Velvet...

The last of the true lofts ...sad to say this ode to manufacturing is becoming a rare sighting.

Soon no one will even remember the jokes:

A man and his partner are having a very bad year with their garment business. They are in a loft building with many floors of small manufacturers like themselves, some much more successful than others. In despair the man jumps out the window. As he's falling, he calls out to his partner,"Cut velvet..."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Different Mediums, Singular Point of View

I fell in love with the work of Manolo Valdez, when I first saw his show at Marlborough in Chelsea. His large (approx. 80" x 100") oils on pieced together burlap knocked my socks off. I then discovered his sculptures and recently at Marlborough's summer show, a piece using cut paper. Looking at all of these together you can see his singular vision unfettered. Makes you want to cry.

And for us the struggling artists, I discovered, Eva V, Huile Sur Toile
by Manolo Valdez. A high quality art print on canvas approx. 16"x20"—it might keep us warm at night—with no tears.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lessons in driving on Astroturf

I recently discovered Jane Dickson's work, through it's resonance with my own. She paints similar subject matter (to mine) on unusual surfaces such as Astroturf, sandpaper, vinyl, or carpet to exploiting the textural qualities of these materials.
She is vastly better known than myself having shown at The Whitney Museum, Creative Time, and The Metropolitan Museum.

Most recently she has completed a mosaic for MTA in the 42nd street station. The figures are weary revelers after New Year's Eve in Times Square. I'm sure she will continue to be an inspiration and aspiration for me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AP Has No Right to Obama ‘Hope’ Image

Excerpted from Bloomberg, more on the Shepard Fairey Debacle:

AP Has No Right to Obama ‘Hope’ Image, Photographer Tells Judge
By Erik Larson

The Associated Press, which sued artist Shepard Fairey for using an AP photograph as inspiration for a Barack Obama campaign poster, wrongfully copyrighted the image it seeks to protect, the photographer told a judge. Mannie Garcia, the freelance photographer who took the disputed photograph while on assignment for AP, said the news company’s copyright for the image should be invalidated. “The AP is aware, and was aware at the time of filing its copyright application for the Garcia photo that it was not the true owner of the rights to that photo,” the photographer’s lawyer, George Carpinello, said in the filing.

Garcia is challenging both the AP and Fairey by trying to join the pending lawsuit between them. The news company sued Fairey in March, accusing him and his Los Angeles-based company, Obey Giant Art Inc., of copyright infringement for using Garcia’s 2006 photograph of Obama at a National Press Club panel discussion about the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Garcia also claims Fairey wrongfully copied the photograph.

The AP “remains confident in AP’s ownership of the copyright, because Mr. Garcia was an employee of AP when he took the photo in 2006,” said Paul Colford, an AP spokesman. Garcia, who works out of Kensington, Maryland, said in his court filing "that he can’t be considered an AP employee, because he was on assignment for five weeks and wasn’t eligable to join a union or receive health, vacation or unemployment benefits."

Whew...If we watched Obama, followed the lawsuit, obeyed Shepard Fairey and have an opinion, does that mean we can join the lawsuit too?

Here's the case info if you want to follow it on Lexus Nexus...
The case is Fairey v. The Associated Press, 09-cv-01123, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

I saw my dream studio...

...on the way to IKEA.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Highline #2

The inaugural artwork on the High Line, The River Flows Both Ways, by Spencer Finch is one of the additional pleasures of the Highline. The title of this work comes from the original Native American word for the Hudson River, Muhheakantuck. This work is located on the High Line between 15th and 16th Streets, where the High Line passes through the Chelsea Market building.

Finch transformed the existing windows with 700 individually crafted panes of colored glass representing the water conditions on the Hudson River over a single day. Finch photographed the Hudson River 700 times from the deck of a boat and selected an individual pixelfrom each image and matched each pixel color to a pane of glass.

This installation is presented in partnership with Creative Time, and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, and is made possible by a generous grant from The Rockefeller Foundation's New York City Cultural Innovation Fund. This project was made possible, in part, through the generous support of Chelsea Market and in-kind support from Jaroff Design and Mison Concepts.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Art School Confidential

Doesn't it look like these four are having some kind of serious conversation? And what about the clone convention below? Are they discoursing the merits of the open shaft or praising their original model? I love art school and that's not confidential!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


So far I've been to the Highline twice, once on a rainy and once on a sunny. It's a park created out of an elevated abandoned freight line. In the olden days when I was a child, shipping used to be unloaded from giant ships on the Hudson, stored across the street in giant warehouses, then loaded onto giant freight trains going to final destinations in tiny towns. The trains rode right into the warehouses on tracks above the city streets.

The new park is spare and lovely. There are greeters to answer questions, benches with views and little food carts. It catches a nice breeze and sports some spectacular artistic features. My favorite is the amphitheater of traffic watching. In this context even the pigeons look beautiful.