Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

August in San Diego continued

August 30, 2017

Los Angeles

A continuation of art at the Broad Museum:

(We missed Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, a mirror-lined chamber housing a dazzling and seemingly endless LED light display. This experiential artwork has extremely limited capacity, accommodating one visitor at a time for about a minute, and requires a separate free timed same-day reservation which ticket holders are able to reserve, pending availability, after arrival at the museum at a kiosk in the center of the lobby, as we hadn’t figured that out when we first got in.  L said it’s coming to the San Diego Art Museum in November, so she’ll try to get tickets for it.)

A room of Jeff Koons, well known for his balloon dogs and other balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces, but years ago (1988) he did Buster Keaton of polychromed wood and others of its ilk.  This about Rabbit:

In 1979 Jeff Koons made Inflatable Flower and Bunny (Tall White, Pink Bunny), the seed for so much of his future work… Seven years later, Koons… created Rabbit. The switch from the word “bunny” to “rabbit” is intriguing. Bunny is cute and floppy; rabbit is quick and sharp. The carrot in the rabbit’s paw is wielded like a weapon, and the once soft, leaky, and cheap vinyl shell of the bunny has been replaced by armorlike, costly stainless steel, which reflects everything surrounding Rabbit and deflects any allusions to the sculpture’s interior.

(Dorothy Cargill, who just passed away, at 86, in April of this year, the millionairess who gave our art group a tour of her Palm Springs home back in 2014 – I never finished those blogs – donated a larger balloon dog to the Palm Springs Art Museum, so “Jeff” made her a small one with a radio in it.)

I liked Forward Retreat by Mark Tansey.

Forward Retreat, 1986, describes the slipperiness of perception and questions the validity of innovation in art. The central image of horseback riders is painted as a reflection on water. The riders, all outfitted in uniforms of Western powers (American, French, German, and British), represent the nationalities of artists who came to dominate twentieth-century art history. They are seated backward on their horses, focused on a distant receding horizon, and are oblivious to the fact that their steeds trample on the crushed ruins of myriad pottery and objets d’art. With typically dry humor, Tansey implies two conclusions: that art progresses on the ruins of its past and that art making is propelled in part by unconscious forces.

Robert Therrien‘s Under the Table:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland…  The table, at nearly ten feet tall, exudes an extraordinary presence.  One is compelled to walk underneath it…

 

 

Here a photo of another visitor.  Loved his diaphanous skirt, jacket with the skull, and fuchsia topknot, fitting nicely with Marakami’s work.

 

 

 

 

A few of Takashi Murakami‘s huge (pronounce that in Trump’s voice, without the “h”) paintings.  These were my two favorites, My arms and legs rot off and though my blood rushes forth, the tranquility of my heart shall be prized above all (Red blood, black blood, blood that is not blood), acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on board, although the ceiling reflection takes away from the blackness, and this one that I couldn’t get an entire photo of, as it wrapped around the room:

Takashi Murakami’s massive eighty-two-foot-long painting, In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, reflects on the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. Murakami discovered that roughly 150 years earlier, after the great Ansei Edo earthquake of 1855, artist Kano Kazunobu had created a large grouping of monumental scrolls conjuring the five hundred arhats, the traditional stewards of Buddha’s teaching. Murakami, through the post–World War II lens of Japan’s pervasive pop culture, again revived the arhats. In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow portrays a cartoonish, spiritual landscape, awash in an enormous tsunami of churning water. The work is a specific reference to a Japanese history of natural disasters and an attempt to place suffering into a visual language.


John Ahearn‘s Raymond and Toby.

John Ahearn has worked closely with his subjects, making life casts of people in the South Bronx neighborhood of New York City… often making molds of people directly in plaster and casting them [this one in fiberglass]… Many subjects enact the roles that fill most of our lives — grocery shopping, walking a dog, getting children ready for school — and, subsequently, the sculptures are not only recognizable but joyful in their celebration of life.

I’d seen another of Kara Walker‘s cutouts at the Venice Biennale.

In African’t, [her] cutouts are nearly life size, becoming a theater of remembrance and forgetting.  Here, blacks and whites, men, women, and children, all participate in pre-Civil War scenes of degradation, sex and violence…

There were two of Shirin Neshat‘s videos.  (She has been exiled from Iran.)  Here are some shots from one of them.  Not much sound other than the wind and the women’s ululations.

Shirin Neshat’s Rapture shows a divided world where architecture and landscape stand as metaphors for entrenched cultural beliefs about men and women. The men are trapped in a fortress while the women make a long journey through the desert to the sea. While the men wrestle and pray, the women eventually board small boats to leave the land entirely. As with Possessed, Rapture’s poetic potential taps into the collective dreams, fantasies, and horrors confronting the Iranian people.

Cy Twombly‘s Nini’s Painting (Rome).  Think my color’s off; don’t remember the green, but looked online and saw it in five different shades.

Nini’s Painting (Rome)… is part of a series of monumental works completed by Twombly in the early 1970s that, according to some critics, were inspired by both a trip to a Jackson Pollock retrospective and the themes of repetition emerging in minimalist art.

 

Edward Ruscha‘s Desire.  He came into prominence during the 1960s pop art movement.  I liked this one.

John, by Chuck Close.  (Put L in the photo so you could see the monumentality of the painting.)

John, one of Close’s earliest paintings, is described as photo-realist…  instead of using mechanical means to transfer his images onto canvas, Close works entirely from sight to achieve the intensely animate detail…

Back to Tucson

Returned home Saturday afternoon.  The high for the day had been 108° and the humidity was 57% (not a dry heat!) as it had just rained.  Blowover from Hurricane Harvey.  A newscaster was interviewing someone in Texas whose house had just flooded for the third time in two years.  (Photo from CNN.)  I had just ranted about that in my last blog!  The feds should buy the house, tear it down, and make the land into a park.  And get rid of flood insurance!  Then I was thinking that all of the news had been about the amount of water (50″!!!) and the rescue of people, nothing about all of the oil refineries down there.  But on NPR this morning it was said that one million pounds of pollutants would be released around Houston:

On Sunday, Houston-area resident Stephanie Thomas told Houston Press “something powerful” hit her nostrils, describing the smell “like burnt rubber with a hint of something metallic thrown in.”

The La Porte Office of Emergency Management identified the chemical as anhydrous hydrogen chloride, a colorless gas that turns into a white mist of hydrochloric acid when exposed to moisture in the air. A Dow Chemical safety sheet warns that eye or skin contact causes severe burns, and that inhaling the fumes can be fatal.

Air Alliance Houston estimates that the area’s petrochemical plants will release more than 1 million pounds of air pollution as a result of Harvey…

(In April of this year, a federal judge ordered Exxon Mobil to pay $20 million in fines because the Baytown complex illegally spewed 8 million pounds of hazardous chemicals over a five year period.)  houston-refinery-toxic-pollution

That fits nicely with Trump’s pushing for the Keystone pipeline, and at the end of March:

..the State Department granted the pipeline giant TransCanada a permit for Keystone construction…

…it would connect with existing pipelines to deliver the sludgy oil to refineries in Texas and Louisiana for processing. Most of the refined product would probably be exported…  keystone-oil-pipeline

On a positive note, my plants having been loving all of the rain.  A few months ago I started making a daily bouquet for the shelf above my desk.  The flowers on the bougainvillea, Mexican petunia, and red bird of paradise last only one day, but there are so many of them that I can have fresh flowers daily.  (The woman who does the flower arrangements for our art group’s monthly art-viewing-with-wine-and-hors d’oeuvres did one with bougainvillea, giving me the idea.)  This arrangement of chive blooms (white), Mexican petunia (lavender), and red bird.  Yes, the chive flowers are a bit odoriferous, so I added some mint flowers (lavender) which don’t really show up here, but somewhat ameliorate the scent.

But all of my second round of tomatoes are still green, and the eggplants aren’t ripe yet.  I had to buy tomatoes at the grocery store!  As my daughter often texts me: #firstworldproblems  Like when the irrigation guys took a week to show up to fix a spouter on my drip system, which had to be turned off, so I had to water the garden by hand!  #firstworldproblems  Or the handle on the 20-year-old microwave broke off, and I had to wait two weeks for a new microwave.  (This is a rental, and the microwave was so old you couldn’t get parts any more.)  #firstworldproblems

Yes, I’m one of the spoiled Americans.  You probably are too.

Are You in the Top One Percent of the World?  According to the Global Rich List… an income of $32,400 a year will allow you to make the cut.  one-percent-world

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August 2017

August 29, 2017

San Diego

Visited friends L and P last week in California.  Monday morning we made pinhole cameras and watched The Eclipse as tiny dots on white paper on their patio, coverage only 59% here in San Diego, kinda an eh event, but the weather was gorgeous. Then watched on television as The Eclipse moved across our country.  Our President wasn’t getting enough attention, as we were focused on Nature, so he pardoned Maricopa County‘s ex-sheriff, Joe Arpaio.  Arizona is such an embarrassing state to live in.

Next day went to see the movie Detroit, of the 1967 Detroit riot (think I was at Michigan State in summer school when it happened), because I am from Detroit and the director, Kathryn Bigelow, had done Hurt Locker, a good flick.  Do not see Detroit; way too depressing.

Thursday went to Balboa Park for an exhibit, Ultimate Dinosaurs, at the Natural History Museum.  At least a dozen complete skeletons, and a few great videos of the beasts flying by or walking by in herds, looking as natural as elephants.  The rooms, in the basement of the museum, were dark, and dinosaur roars and squeals emanated from the bones.  (My brother told me not to buy this camera ’cause it’s not good in low light. My bad – bought it anyway and it’s not good in low light.)  Lots of active information on how the continents divided from the original Gondwana.  (Explanation here from National Geographic: continental-drift.)

Wednesday was overcast, great day to hike one of the area’s five peaks, Kwaay Paay, at 1,194 feet.  We were in a cloud at the top.  Much easier than hiking at 12,000 feet!  (denver-2017.)

That afternoon to Ocean Beach to see friends N and G, who are renting there, escaping Tucson’s heat.  Walked about the town, through the large Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays 4-8 PM featuring locally grown produce, art & live music), and a short drive away, to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, to see the sunset, it too late and too chilly for the ubiquitous divers who illegally take their lives in their hands.  TripAdvisor recommends cliff diving here!  (This photo from their site.)

 

Friday L and I drove up to Los Angeles to see the relatively new Broad Museum (pronounced with a long “o”).  It’s next door to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank O. Gehry Architects, which I have a photo of in this blog: 2014 san-diego.

She drove, and I was supposed to navigate.  After two-and-a-half hours of freeway driving, we could see the museum, but the main street, Grand Avenue, was blocked by construction.  Detoured to the adjacent street, but each of the next six cross streets had been turned into underground parking garages.  Finally backtracked to the correct cross street, but we were going one way through a tunnel, while the entrance to the parking garage was above us, going the other direction.  Took us probably 40 minutes to find the garage, once we were downtown!

Then we saw the line of maybe 200 people who didn’t have reservations for one of the 15-minute time slots, and, of course, we didn’t either.  L said to the guard who escorted us to and from the restroom, that she couldn’t possibly stand in line that long with her plantar fasciitis, so the guard gave us two tickets for immediate entry!

First, the architecture.  It is known as the Veil and the Vault.  The fiber-reinforced concrete façade, seen at left, was dubbed the “veil” by the architectural firm who designed it, Diller Scofidio + Renfro.  (The other photo at left shows the skylights providing filtered natural daylight to the galleries.)    The “vault” houses the collection storage, as well as the entry (photos at left).  This diagram from the museum’s website: the broad building.

Fabulous exhibits!

Three humongous pieces by a favorite of mine, El Anatsui, from Ghana.  (Mentioned him in this blog: monsoon.)  Friend L in front of Stripes of Earth’s Skin (detail, left – look at the curled copper wires and the small strips of aluminum, as narrow as bag ties), me in front of Red Block, for scale.

Born in Ghana and based in Nigeria, El Anatsui crafts giant shimmering sheets from bottle caps, reused aluminum commercial packaging, copper wire, and other materials. The elaborate works hang like tapestries referencing kente cloth, all-purpose pieces of fabric used in Nigerian and sub-Saharan African culture for everything from washcloths to dresses. The function of the kente cloth is often determined by its context. Red Block can be thought of in a similar manner; the firm square of woven red liquor labels can be folded and hung according to the dictates and curation of the institution that displays it. The materials are embedded with multiple histories and influences, ranging from the effect of the colonial period on Africa to current problems facing its people, including alcoholism, pervasive poverty, and the impact of global markets on the continent’s economies.


I’m going to post this and finish up the Broad artwork in the next post.

 

Berlin Day Three

June 15, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A late start! The history buffs got up early to walk to the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charley. We others slept in. But our curator suggested that I trot to the shopping center across the street to see an installation by John Chamberlain, a tower of crushed cars.  (Since 1999, CAS has raised and contributed more than $1 million in artwork value to the Tucson Museum of Art in consultation with the curatorial staff. Acquisitions include works by John Chamberlain…)  TMA’s Chamberlain is only a foot or so tall, but cost many K.  Imagine how much this behemoth must be worth. The Tower of Klythie is in the Q Shopping Mall Gendarmenmarkt.

After breakfast, on a rainy, grey day, we took a coach to Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, “an international cultural centre [our guide, Jill Sheridan, is a private curator in London, so her spellings are English] where there is an artist-in-resident programme, workspaces for professional artists and it is an exhibition venue.”  Christoph Tannert, the director and project coordinator of KB, gave us background information and the tour.

In 1974 the defunct hospital [Hospital Bethanien: “Bethanien” was then a common name for welfare and healthcare facilities, most of which were run by church organisations, as it evoked the Biblical town in which Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead] was scheduled for demolition, but the opposition of political interest groups sharpened public awareness for the building’s history, thereby paving the way for preservationists to propose a series of redevelopment plans. Among them was Dr Michael Haerdter, the founding director of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH and its managing director until 2000. Under his leadership the institution grew into an internationally renowned project and presentation platform for contemporary art.1

They moved in 2010 into a building that had manufactured metal chandeliers.  There are 400 square meters of exhibition space, but they have no permanent collection.  And in the basement are a wood and a metal workshop, complete with three trained workers and an engineer to work on the machinery for the artists.  Wow!  When I was in architecture school (with many more than 25 students), our wood shop was about the size of my living room.

There are 25 studios which face the courtyard.  Artists come from all over the world – this year from Japan, Egypt, Korea, Canada, Norway, German, Sweden, Thailand, Cyprus, New Zealand, the USA, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Australia, Switzerland, and Denmark.

Pets and kids are forbidden.  Each artist has a 75 sq.m. exhibition space.  They are supported for one year by grants of 1500€/month plus material costs.  The foundation is supported by the UN, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the EU, universities, cities (such as Berlin), countries.  In the US, Texas supports one artist each year.  This is the studio (one room, divided in half) of Joey Fauarso, from the US.

There are 600+ artists in residence all over the world, such as MoMA PS1 in New York and the London docks, both of which started in the 70’s.

The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is also an active publisher. Since its foundation it has produced over 300 books, catalogues and magazines covering a wide range of topics, exhibitions and projects.2 This includes publishing a bilingual magazine each year: BE.  To BE or not to BE.  Or BErlin.

Elizabeth Hoak- Doering, who gave us a talk in her exhibit, psycho- pomp, has a fascinating backstory.  She was born in Philadelphia, earned a BA magna cum laude in Anthropology at Amherst College, an MAed at University of the Arts, in Philly, and a MFA in Sculpture from Boston University, after which, in 1997, she traveled to Cyprus on a Fulbright scholarship!  She moved to Cyprus in 2006, the only person, who I have heard of, who actually left the US because of Bush.

In 2011 she was selected to represent Cyprus in the 54th Venice Biennale.  She teaches Figure Drawing at the University of Nicosia, in both Greek and English.

There was a 98 minute out-of-focus video of a ride on the Ostsee Highway (Rostock to Wismar), which is made from reused slabs of the Berlin Wall in 1990.  (There was a lot of concrete to dispose of.)

She quoted a poem by Hilda Doolittle, but I didn’t write down the reference.  Perhaps Cities:

…That the maker of cities grew faint
with the splendour of palaces,
paused while the incense-flowers
from the incense-trees
dropped on the marble-walk,
thought anew, fashioned this —
street after street alike…

And she spoke of political freedom – how people express themselves.  But you need her description to appreciate these drawings.

Hoak-Doering’s Berlin works are devoted primarily to the recent past, traces of which she has been offered abundantly in Berlin. In Gesundbrunnen she explored the texts and drawings scratched into the air-raid bunker there as thoroughly as the signatures and messages from prisoners in the cells of the Stasi prison, Hohenschönhausen. Hoak-Doering did not copy, re-draw or photograph the inscriptions – which have often survived only in fragments or have been painted over in places – with any documentary intention: instead, she took the signs, engravings and inscriptions from their background by tracing and frottage, using this in turn as a pattern for a re-enactment of the unknown writers’ gestures and a focus on the surface as a transmitting medium. The direct ‘copies’ were left for the memorial site’s archives.3

Daniel M Thurau‘s exhibit is entitled It’s Only Rock’N’Roll (But They Will Play It At McDonald’s).4  One example at left.

 

Orawan Arunrak‘s Exit-Entrance. I just took a shot of the entrance curtain.  I can’t get the sound from this website, but it has the text of the conversation.  Here is the description:

All the artworks featured in the exhibition are are the visual and sound elements of a four-language conversation. It is presented in the form of installation of pattern images on the wall, which were designed from a conversation in Thai, German, English, and Vietnamese. It is the conversation between 10 people: a Thai monk, a Thai nun, a Thai anthropologist, a Thai woman, a German woman, a German anthropologist, a German man who ordained in a Thai temple in Berlin, a Vietnamese nun, and a Vietnamese woman, all of whom live in both Asia and Europe.5

There are gallery rooms for artists who live in Berlin.  One is Riccardo Benassi (whose work, if you google him, is all over the board); we viewed his Sleep’n’Spleen.  (We missed the acousmatic sound installation4 because we were not there during usual gallery hours.)

This is part of what is left of The Wall.  We have driven by this a few times, but I never took a photo, except for the graffiti.  (This from the internet.)

Lunch at Ubersee. Then a coach to the Springmeier-Gnyp Collection, where Marta Gnyp (she an art advisor from Amsterdam) and Giovanni Springmeier (a Berliner) live.  Much of their collection I didn’t care for; photos only of what I liked. The building, from 1903, survived the bombings (WWII). Even wallpaper in one room from 1903, but the chandeliers, one Murano glass, all new. Note: most buildings in Berlin are post-war, but some built with modern design, others to recreate demolished buildings.

This intricately beaded work by Raul Nieves, a Mexican artist, on their mannequin.  Below, a photo (from W) of the artist with some of his works (see this collection’s costume on the right) for this year’s Whitney Biennial.  (OMG – its website is totally disorientating!  http://whitney.org/www/biennial2017/artists.html)  Read this interview in his queer underground safe space from W – he’s fascinating.6


Petra Cortright, from Los Angeles,  does digital paintings created from a single master file of internet-sourced imagery.  I took this photo of a painting, printed on aluminum, which appears to be from the Zero-Day Darling exhibition.

Over the last few years, Cortright has been using Adobe Photoshop to make paintings, lightly hacking both the technology and the intended social use for this program—as an image-editing platform, Photoshop is frequently used to alter the appearance of women in photographs. Using websites like Pinterest, she sources colors, patterns, skin tones and other fragments of images. These elements are, then, integrated into the hundreds of abstracted layers that make up her work. This multidimensional process and hacking of visual language via technology was also a large part of her earlier video work, where she would “layer” software, manipulating the programs to create new visual effects and experiences.7

This is interesting, but you have to check out her website!  http://www.petracortright.com

Old master, 1690 (neglected to write down name, but not one of the Biggies), portrait of woman with embroidered dress, of tulips. Reminds us of Tulip Mania, beauty used for speculation, as many are buying paintings today. (A painting by the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat just sold at auction in New York for $110.5 M! )

One piece of Danh Vo‘s recreation of the Statue of Liberty.  We had seen a whole room of them on a private visit to Museion Bolzana in Verona two years ago.8

We the People, more than twenty fragments of monumental copper invade the fourth floor of the museum. The pieces reproduced life-size parts of the Statue of Liberty [as the original, out of copper, two pennies thick], an icon symbol of America, which is then revived dismembered.

In the ancient play, Medea, by Euripides, Jason leaves Medea for a Greek princess of Corinth, so Medea takes vengeance on him by killing not only his new wife, but her own children too.  This painting , by a German artist, whose name I did not get, depicts her bathing one of the children before she murders them.  (Whale bone in front not connected.)

Claire Tabouret‘s painting, The Blue Queen, 2016, from her show, Battlegrounds, which was shown at the Bugada & Cargnel, Paris, France.  You can see it better on their website (scroll down)9.

 

Portrait of English schoolboy (pimples and all) by Dutch photographer Rineke DijkstraKnown for her stark, engaging portraits, she often focuses on particular communities of people with an emphasis on capturing the awkwardness and self-consciousness of adolescence. “With young people everything is much more on the surface—all the emotions,” the artist observed.10  I’ve seen some of her Beach Portraits somewhere, but can’t remember where.

A beautiful tapestry by Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, made from Jerrycans (5 or 12 liter plastic containers used for carrying water), although not as complex as those by fellow Ghanaina El Anatsui, who has gained international attention for his tapestries made from soda cans and bottle caps, and who I had mentioned in a previous blog.11)

Based in Accra and working internationally, Clottey refers to his work as “Afrogallonism”, a concept thTat confronts the question of material culture through the utilisation of yellow gallon containers. Cutting, drilling, stitching and melting found materials, Clottey’s sculptural installations are bold assemblages that that act as a means of inquiry into the languages of form and abstraction.12

On, by coach, to Karin Sander‘s studio.  She sold 180 pieces of this wall at Basel in 1999.  It was wallpapered in canvas, and rectangles were cut out and then were then fit into dozens of differently sized clip-on frames and displayed in a top-to-bottom salon style: not paintings on the wall but  the wall hung as paintings.13 The walls are now going to be taken to Switzerland. The canvases sold between €4,000 and €10,000!

She also tacked canvases on a building to collect graffiti.  (Photo of her at left, below two of the graffiti-ed canvases.)

More recently, she has done scaled figures, 1/10 scale (you have to search for the dog).  She used a scanner to measure people, then a 3D printer to recreate them.  The first generation were monochromatic.

Then came the second generation, and all museum guests were scanned at an exhibition in Dusseldorf.

Sander created these Lilliputian figures by first recording her subjects in the round with sixteen digital cameras [there is one machine in Germany that does this three-dimensional photographic body-scanning, usually for the fashion industry], then feeding the images into a machine designed for making models and prototypes. From this photographic matrix, the machine sprayed layers of plastic according to the shape of the person at 1:10 scale, which was then painted with an airbrush.14

The third generation captured the colors as well.  This young girl, about 6″ high, in the artist’s studio.

A person is scanned with a 3D Whitelight Scanner [seen at right], and by selecting their own gesture, pose and accessories, visitors can shape these representa- tions of their own figures. The 3D body scanner reads the whole surface of a person’s body. The data is then transferred to an inkjet printer which three dimensionally builds the figures layer by layer according to the whitelight scan. The “mirror image” is completed… in either grey tones or color with all the details of the original person’s pose and appearance. The artist refers to these works as self-portraits.15

I am fascinated with the concepts she comes up with.  This for an installation in Berlin:

…At five different upstairs sites… Sander removed the wastepaper baskets next to the desks and cut perfect circular holes in the floor at the exact places where the bottoms of the baskets had been. At each hole a small metal railing was installed to prevent people from injuring themselves. For the duration of the exhibition, gallery employees were instructed to throw away paper trash as they normally would. But rather than filling receptacles, the trash drifted down to the floor below: a slow rain of paper from on high, a gravity-induced information flow, falling “messages” that made you consider the mysterious people at work above…16

 

She affixed vegetables to the wall in Kitchen Pieces.17


She mailed blank canvases.  The postal service wasn’t sure what to do with some of them.  In one case, a postal worker sliced off the previous label. (Yes, these sell for a lot.)

 

Recently she has been learning to melt glass.

After freshening up our our hotel, we had dinner at Hugo’s Restaurant, the East Boardroom, on the top floor of the InterContinental hotel, with a panoramic view of the entire city.  The food was marvelous and beautifully presented.  (I stopped taking photos of food.)  A lovely ending for the day.

1http://www.bethanien.de/en/kunstlerhaus-bethanien/history/
2http://www.bethanien.de/en/programme/
3http://www.bethanien.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Presse_MAI_EN.pdf
4http://www.bethanien.de/en/exhibitions/riccardo-benassi/
5http://www.orawanarunrak.com/project/exit-entrance/
6https://www.wmagazine.com/story/raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-2017-studio-visit
7http://sfaq.us/exhibition/petra-cortright-may-13th-july-16th/
8https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/verona-thursday-june-13/
9http://artviewer.org/claire-tabouret-at-bugada-cargnel/
10http://www.artnet.com/artists/rineke-dijkstra/
11https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/monsoon/
12http://www.gallery1957.com/artists/serge-attukwei-clottey/
13http://www.sculpture.org/documents/scmag99/dec99/sander/sander.shtml
14http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2000.411/
15http://lucienterras.com/projects/commission-your-3d-body-scan-portrait-by-karin-sander-during-the-armory-show/
16http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/reviews/karin-sander/
17http://www.notey.com/@cadaily_unofficial/external/10418570/karin-sander-at-helga-de-alvear.html

Berlin Day Two, afternoon

June 10, 2017

Monday May 29, 2017 continued

This afternoon we saw the Fahrbereitschaft [which translates motor pool or driving readiness – ?], with the Haubrok Collection. The series of buildings have a colorful history in the former East Berlin.  Purchased in its original condition more than two decades after the fall of the regime, a guardhouse, a sauna, and a bowling alley remain as reminders of its former purpose.1  If you’re interested, read this English translation of the complex’s background: driving readiness.

Our guide for the week is an art curator from England, who put together our Programme.  This is what she said of the Collection:

This is a collection focusing on conceptual art built up by Barbara and Axel Haubrok.  Frank Hauschildt, who works with the Haubroks, will lead a tour of the site and explain its history after which we will visit the exhibitions and several artists’ studios.  Axel Haubrok will meet the group and discuss the collection during the drinks reception.

I absolutely loved 100 Boots by Eleanor Antin, 1973 when I first saw the black and white photos in some magazine in the 70’s.  So quirky.  These are just six of the many.  Unfortunately, they were behind reflecting glass, so you can see me taking the photos.  (You can google them and see much better images.)  A record of performance art.  100 Boots in a Field, 100 Boots on the Job, 100 Boots out of a Job, 100 Boots Try Again, 100 Boots Enter the Museum, 100 Boots Move On.

 

 

 

 

 

This is how Antin has described the conception of her 100 Boots series: “Somehow it came to me in a dream. There! Black boots! Big black boots. I got them at the Army-Navy Surplus then I printed them up on postcards. Over the course of it — finally two and a half years — fifty-one cards were mailed out to about a thousand people around the world. Now it is  a piece that I see as a kind of pictorial novel that was sent through the mail, came unannounced, unasked for. It came in the middle of people’s lives….It spilled out of their mailboxes along with bills, letters, newspapers, Christmas cards, divorce papers. They could tape it to the fridge, tuck it away in a drawer, throw it in the trash.”
Through the simultaneously haunting and humorous photos, Antin had found her first group to direct. She had also portrayed a clear character: an everyman with the might of fifty people, and as powerless as none. We follow 100 boots in its pursuit of survival, justice, and an expansion of consciousness. And by following 100 boots, we each become an extra pair. In essence, by simply having people look at the series, Antin has helped foster a unity among us. You could say that those boots represent us, all who have viewed them, as scattered as we are by place, time, and ideology. Is this a bit authoritarian? Sure, but isn’t all art authoritarian at some level? And that’s when the fact that these are military boots comes back around.2

I did not know of Allan Kaprow’s Pose before I saw this show, but I found this greatly amusing too.  Carrying chairs through the city. Sitting down here and there. Photographed. Pix left on the spot. Going on.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

A two day performance where Kaprow and his friends walked around Berkeley carrying chairs. Pictures were taken periodically and left on the site where they were sat upon. The documentation of this performance is printed on seven loose sheets and bound in a manila envelope.3

I also love Mason Williams’ Sunflower.
Many in our group couldn’t get their heads around Conceptual Art.  Here is the Synopsis that our TMA curator gave us:

Conceptual art is a movement that prizes ideas over the formal or visual components of art works…
Conceptualism took myriad forms, such as performances, happenings, and ephemera. From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s Conceptual artists produced works and writings that completely rejected standard ideas of art. Their chief claim – that the articulation of an artistic idea surfaces as a work of art – implied that concerns such as aesthetics, expression, skill and marketability were all irrelevant standards by which art was usually judged. So drastically simplified, it might seem to many people that what passes for Conceptual art is not in fact “art” at all, much as Jackson Pollock’s “drip” paintings, or Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes (1964), seemed to contradict what previously had passed for art. But it is important to understand Conceptual art in a succession of avant-garde movements (Cubism, Dada, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, etc.) that succeeded in self-consciously expanding the boundaries of art…4

The galvanised steel ducts used by the late German artist Charlotte Posenenske were not appreciated by most of the group.  This from Wikipedia:

In 1968 Posenenske published a statement in the journal Art International referencing the reproducibility of her works, and her desire for the concept and ownership of the piece to be accessible:

I make series
because I do not want to make individual pieces for individuals,
in order to have elements combinable within a system,
in order to make something that is repeatable, objective,
and because it is economical.
The series can be prototypes for mass-production.
[…]
They are less and less recognisable as “works of art.”
The objects are intended to represent anything other than what they are.


Our curator had also given us a Synopsis of Minimalism:

Minimalism emerged in New York in the early 1960s among artists who were self-consciously renouncing recent art they thought had become stale and academic. A wave of new influences and rediscovered styles led younger artists to question conventional boundaries between various media. The new art favored the cool over the “dramatic”: their sculptures were frequently fabricated from industrial materials and emphasized anonymity over the expressive excess of Abstract Expressionism. Painters and sculptors avoided overt symbolism and emotional content, but instead called attention to the materiality of the works…5

In the last building were beautiful fabric hangings, but I neglected to record the name of the artist.  (Email me if you know.)

1http://www.visitberlin.de/en/spot/sammlung-haubrok-haubrok-collection
2http://www.feldmangallery.com/media/antin/general%20press/2012_antin_yowzer%20yowzer_staff.pdf
3https://www.printedmatter.org/catalog/716/
4http://www.theartstory.org/movement­conceptual­art.htm
5http://www.theartstory.org/movement­minimalism.htm

Berlin Day Two, morning

June 9, 2017

Monday May 29, 2017

Our room at the Berlin Hilton is a bit small, but my roommate and I have divided up the space. The breakfast buffet is marvelous, and I can get my lattes every morning.

Our first venue was the Boros Collection.  The building, which had been a WWII bunker, was renovated for the art collection, and a penthouse (which we did not get to see) added as the residence for the art collectors.  This photo I took of the exterior of the Reichsbahnbunker (Railway Passenger Air Raid Shelter), which was built by forced labor after WWII bombings; the “windows” on the exterior are fake.  I found photos of the penthouse (which is totally awesome) online, but they are copyrighted by Ailine Liefeld für Freunde von Freunden. However, they’re on this website: christian-und-karen-boros

The listed air raid bunker was constructed during the second world war… The building could house up to 3000 seated people distributed on five floors during air raids… a 1,8 meter thick outer concrete wall and a 3 meter thick concrete ceiling. In the year 2003 an art collector bought the bunker and commissioned Jens Casper of Realarchitektur to design a place for him and his family to live in and house his collection.
Outer additions were removed, the facades were cleaned and have been structurally refurbished. Selected ceilings and walls were cut out of the building, the resulting overlapping spaces now join the floors vertically throughout. Only parts of the interior walls are plastered and painted white. Traces of all former uses and incidents, graffiti, scars, bullet holes remain present.

To connect up to the newly created dwelling on top of the building, around 150 cubic metres of concrete were cut out of the bunker roof. The apartment is reached through this opening by way of a steel staircase and an internal open lift. It is laid out as an open plan with the living spaces flowing through the entire area. It has a ceiling height of 3.75 meters. Only few materials were used for the interior: concrete, smoked oak and shell limestone. The apartment is surrounded by a load bearing steel-glass facade, gardens, terraces, a pool and the Berlin roofscape.

The project has been widely published and received many prestigious awards…  bunker

We were allowed no photos of the collection.  Here are some of my notes, with similar photos from the internet:

One room had egg cartons of different sizes on the floor, by Chinese artist He Xiangyu. Gee, I recognized these bronze items right away, as I had made one in my lost wax class.  (‘Cept He covered his with gold leaf; I only sprayed mine with gold paint.) There is a photo of mine in this blog, before I spray-painted it: Lost Wax

His first egg carton installation had a “single actual egg – personal reflection of the artist on the one-child policy in China”1. This installation had two eggs, for obvious reasons.  There was also a painting of his – lemons, them in white, the background yellow – similar to the one on this website: lemons

Two giant heads by Brooklyn artist Justin Matherly.  In the entry this eagle head This (photo on Pinterest).  They are carved originally from styrofoam, then cast in concrete, and set on walkers.

Next, Kris Martin, a Belgian artist, with Life after Death.

The Belgian artist brings together sculpture, drawing, photography, and works on paper that examine themes of morbidity, beauty, destruction and time.2

 

 

Avery Singer, from New York, does paintings, some huge, that look like black and white photos of computer animation, with lots of heavy, fuzzy shadows.

Employing the 3D-modeling software, Google SketchUp, to create an under-drawing, Singer applies acrylic paint to the canvas via an airbrush, creating images that are both digital and analog… part human and part cyborg…3

This website gives some examples: avery-singer

 

A large canvas by Danish artist Sergej Jensen, similar to this:

Jensen employs a range of ready-made materials in lieu of canvas including wool, silk, linen, and burlap. His works often eschew painting altogether, relying instead on sewing, bleaching, or staining. When used, paint has been applied subtly, sparingly, and at times from behind the canvas.4

Martin Boyce, from Glasgow, won the Turner Prize4.5, and represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2009.  A few nice mobiles and ventilation grilles with messages (much the same as these), venting to a closed-off space.5

German artist Johannes Wohnseifer, plastic trash in corner.  I looked him up on the internet; his works are all over the board, but couldn’t find anything resembling what we saw.

Johannes Wohnseifer’s video works, photographs, sculptures, and installations contain references to the history of art and design—analyzing our everyday life as defined by the media, in which the hierarchies between highbrow and lowbrow have become invalid.6

Katja Novitskova from Estonia was in the Venice Biennale.  This is the work we saw in the Boros Collection, Pattern of Activation, 2014 from Art Basel 2015 – larger than life-size horse digital print on aluminum looks 3D, arrow on trampoline is.  arrow on trampoline

German artist Peter Piller‘s photos of houses in series.  These photos are from the Sleeping Houses series.  (They are boarded up and “sleeping”.)

In 2002, German photographer and archivist Peter Piller obtained over 20,000 aerial photographs from a bygone business venture that endeavored to sell homeowners images of their own houses. In the statement for the work, somewhat dryly titled Arial View Archive, Piller explains:

“The salesperson had used a ball-point pen to add some revealing notes to the back of the photographs: “Not interested in pictures”, “looks nicer from the ground”, “wife keen, but house too expensive”, “you’ll get half a moped for that”, “doing it himself” or simply: “deceased”, for instance.

After several archive inspections, I was led to the first collection themes and classification categories: “Sleeping Houses”, “Floral Objects” and “Person in front of House”. Whilst sifting, for the forth, fifth and sixth time, through 18 removal boxes packed with yellowing photos and negatives; I eventually discovered the material that now constitutes the content of this book.”7

 

 

A few pieces from Norwegian artist Yngve Holen. Two sets of Hater Headlights that were similar to this, and a section of an airport fence, possibly entitled Butterfly, a symbol of death.  yngve-holen

Right, this massive piece of metal, the face of a CT scanner covered with a fishnet stretch fabric.  I don’t trust anyone for the most part. But then again, I am my own creature, 2015, plastic, fabric, metal.

For his first solo show at Galerie Neu, the artist has produced a new series of works with the face of CT scanners, the machines that create tomographic images from computer-processed X-rays… beige medical-grade plastic, and dressed with black, white, or yellow fishnet stretch fabric.8

Hubcaps that look like snowflakes, such as this one, right. yngve-holen-at-schloss

And a washing machine part, with a chicken, not with a car brand, but similar to this description (foto: Anna Kærsgaard Gregersen):

Sensitive to Detergent, Moving Forward (2012), which includes a VW-branded, ghost-white, 3D-printed chicken breast resting on the drum of a washing machine.9

Swiss Fabian Marti – photograms, some massive, covered with resin, of eggs.  fabian-marti

The only note I have for Michel Majerus is big, upstairs.  Cannot remember the piece(s).  This from Wikipedia:

Michel Majerus was a Luxembourgish artist whose work combined painting with digital media. He lived and worked in Berlin until his death in an accident in November 2002.

Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson did an interesting installation of mole holes, in bronze, scattered about a room.  Homage to Mole, I think it was entitled.  I couldn’t find any on the Web, so just imagine this dirt entry to a mole hole (right), without the grass, cast in bronze with a black patina.  Has to be done in the winter when the ground is frozen.  There were a few paintings too.

…Andreas Eriksson works with a variety of materials. Here in Basel he does painting, photography and sculpture, for which he uses structures from nature. His still works have their origins in the isolation of his homeland, a small place in the Swedish countryside. In accordance with the famous quote from Cézanne, he does not work subject to nature, but in parallel to it, such as when he traces the painterly structures and rhythms of a group of tree trunks…”.10

Some of the works, we were told, were chosen by Christian Boros’ wife, Karen, an art historian, such as a number of works by the German artist, Uwe Henneken, whose work has been described as kitsch or romantic, and reflects the “inner child of the artist”.  There were three paintings, and a number of sculptures of Monsters in boxes, like this.11

There were a few bronze (except for the parasol) sculptures from Chinese artist Guan Xiao, and this may have been one of them: Slightly Dizzy (2014)12, which I loved, and a video.  This was not it, but you get the idea: Guan Xiao

The works we saw of Swiss artist Pamela Rosenkranz dwelt on skin color, both in bottles of silicone, and in paintings, one done on gold.  She was influenced not only by the beauty industry, but also by Yves Klein… a notable French artist known for his innovative blue monochrome artworks.13

At the Venice Biennale 2015 (which we attended) the [Swiss] pavilion is filled with a monochrome liquid matching the standardized northern european skin tone.  (photo by marc asekhame)

pamela rosenkranz fills the swiss pavilion at the venice art biennale 2015 with an immersive installation … her chosen materials — bionin, evian, necrion, neotene, silicone, viagra (to name a few)14

But there was also a satellite photo kaleidoscope of earth.15

In the collection was a muslim robe, hand embroidered by Brazilian artist Paulo Nazareth,

He exhibits quite regularly in Europe, recently in the Lyon Biennale, and in Oslo for instance. Still the continent hasn’t had the opportunity to greet him personally, as he plans to walk the earth of Latin America and Africa, before going to Europe. He’ll get there eventually, finding his way via Africa. It is not a matter of dislike of Europe, Silva tells me, it is just a matter of priority, as Nazareth wants to understand his own roots first. In 2011 Nazareth went by foot to attend Art Basel Miami Beach. His trip took him almost a year. He was met with disbelief by border patrol; sometimes they didn’t accept his passport. He was wearing flip-flops, not washing his feet so they gathered the dust of all the America’s, to be washed off in the river Hudson as an apotheosis of his journey. While travelling, he took pictures of himself and the indigenous people he met during his travels, to look for similarities, to look for differences (‘Noticias de Americas’, 2011). It is his own background, being of African, Krenak and Italian descent that fuels his search for identity. Sometimes people think he is black, either indigenous. In Cuba, he was perceived as local. On Facebook he posted a message: “Being mixed-race and travelling through the Americas, my skin changes every day. At home the labels are not so well defined…I cannot open my mouth because then my skin color changes, there are days when I am an Arab, Pakistani, indigenous and other adjectives which may change according to other people’s gazes and the words to come out of my mouth at any rate, sometimes in the United States of America, when I go into white people’s shops, everyone is afraid, including me.”17

The curator giving our tour mentioned that he is now hyped in the art world, but when his art sells, half goes to the galley, and the other half he gives away (as the kaftan).  His suitcase was a sugar sack from Brazil (in the collection).  He is very much a performance artist.  Here is a video of him walking backwards around the Tree of Forgetfulness: Tree of Forgetfulness

Nazareth’s long walks question the notion of boundaries and the global scale. In L’Arbre D’Oublier, filmed in Ouidah, which was once home to one of Africa’s biggest slave trafficking ports, the artist walks 437 times around the Tree of Forgetfulness, which men were made to encircle seven times in a rite meant to erase their memories of the past. The performance gesture, a poetic attempt at rewinding history, is repeated by Nazareth around other trees, in Africa and Brazil, including an ipê amarelo (golden trumpet tree), the national symbol of the latter country.18

For the last artist I have written Ama Blanca and Brazil, but cannot find her.  It translates White Love.  Perhaps that was the name of a painting…

Phew!  On to Clarchens Ballhaus for lunch, then the afternoon collection.

1http://www.galleryintell.com/contemporary-chinese-artists-at-the-armory-show-2014/
2http://momaps1.org/exhibitions/view/157
3https://art21.org/artist/avery-singer/
4http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2013/08/sergej-jensen-at-regen-projects/
4.5 The Turner Prize, named after the English painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist… Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery… Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the UK’s most publicised art award. The award represents all media.
As of 2004, the monetary award was established at £40,000… A prominent event in British culture, the prize has been awarded by various distinguished celebrities: in 2006 this was Yoko Ono, and in 2012 it was presented by Jude Law.
It is a controversial event, mainly for the exhibits, such as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – a shark in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst – and My Bed, a dishevelled bed by Tracey Emin. Controversy has also come from other directions, including a Culture Minister (Kim Howells) criticising exhibits, a guest of honour (Madonna) swearing, a prize judge (Lynn Barber) writing in the press, and a speech by Sir Nicholas Serota (about the purchase of a trustee’s work).  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_Prize
5http://mmk-frankfurt.de/en/the-collection/werkdetailseite/?werk=2005%2F4
6http://www.artspace.com/johannes_wohnseifer
7http://theexposureproject.blogspot.com/2009/04/photographic-typologies-peter-piller.html
8http://www.galerieneu.net/exhibition/125
9https://frieze.com/article/focus-yngve-holen
10https://artprize.baloise.com/home/news/2015/baloise-art-forum-andreas-eriksson.html
11http://thebreedersystem.com/artists/uwe-henneken-artist-page/
12http://rhizome.org/editorial/2015/apr/22/artist-profile-guan-xiao/
13http://blog.art.com/artwiki/~/yves-klein/
14http://www.designboom.com/art/swiss-pavilion-venice-biennale-2015-pamela-rosenkranz-05-08-2015/
15https://www.moussepublishing.com/products-page/product/pamela-rosenkranz-our-sun/
16https://frieze.com/article/walker
17http://africanah.org/paulo-nazareth/
18http://www.19festival.com/paulonazareth/?idioma=en

Easter 2017

April 17, 2017

Dyed eggs with my three grandchildren.  It’s trite, but they do grow up so fast!

Spring Flowers

Some of the palo verdes in the wash behind my house have turned yellow.  One of mine is now in flower.  The tiny backyard is looking beautiful.  A friend gave me a yucca and two prickly pear cuttings to fill in around the huge barrel cactus and rocks (see photo).


I think the quail have nested under a large Texas ranger in the side yard.  “Dad” was patrolling along the wall.

There is 18″ of 1/4” welded wire wrapped around the backyard wrought iron fence, and I assumed, when I planted a vegetable garden in a corner of the yard, that no rodents would get in.  Then I spied a rabbit, frantically trying to get out, until he realized that I was watching him through the window, and he froze. When I went out to open the gate to shoo him out, he was gone, and a dent in the top of one section of the welded wire.  He was so scared that he didn’t eat anything!

 

I enjoy seeing neighbors’ yards in bloom when I walk to the mailbox.  My next-door neighbor has this cactus in a pot, where it’s happily blossoming in fuchsia.  Orange flowers on a cactus down the street.  And this purple prickly pear is squeezed between an ocotillo and a saguaro.  My own prickly pear flowers.

 

Art

Can’t remember what I was looking for when I found Erwin Wurm’s One-Minute Sculptures on the Net. Check out all three websites – there are lots more.

 

http://publicdelivery.org/erwin-wurm-one-minute-sculptures/
http://www.stuk.be/en/one-minute-sculptures
http://sculpture.artapsu.com/?p=1581

Smoke Bomb Photos

Then I somehow got into these smoke bomb photos.  Above, by Julie SmithAviphile, “Lover of Birds.”

And this one: Se me escapan las ideas by Marina Gondra
http://marinagondra.com/

But that’s enough for tonight. http://myportraithub.com/smoke-bomb-photography/  And you can google for hundreds more…

Dearly Departed

April 5, 2017

No, they’re not dead, just gone.  “My” baby doves got so big Mom couldn’t fit in the “nest” (a small pile of twigs) any more, but stopped by occasionally to give them some pigeon milk.  That was something I didn’t know about previously.  According to Wikipedia:

Crop milk is a secretion from the lining of the crop of parent birds that is regurgitated to young birds. It is found among all pigeons and doves where it is referred to as pigeon milk…

Then I didn’t see them in their nest, so I went out to trim some bushes outside the window of my breakfast room (which I am using for an office), and they were sitting on the windowsill, across the narrow side yard from their nest.  But I had upset them, so they flew away.  They returned in the evening twice to the wall outside the kitchen, but I think Mom had decided that they could be on their own, so they’re gone.


A week ago it was so windy that people with respiratory problems, old people, and young children were asked to stay indoors and refrain from exercise.  I heard that on the news as I was driving to the Y to exercise.  The mountains were almost obscured, but I still loved looking at them.

The soil is pretty sandy here, which is maybe why the cactus grow so large.  Here are three on my street, on the walk to the mailboxes.  The biggest yucca and century plant I have ever seen, up to the house eves!  And a plump and happy saguaro.

Spring has hit Tucson with a splash of yellow.  It started with the brittlebush and desert marigolds at the side of the roads (with  an occasional slash of red or pink penstemon), then on to the palo verdes, heavy with flowers (with intermittent stripes of gaudy magenta bougainvillea – this in my back yard, the same color as all of the bougainvilleas in my subdivision).

I stopped in a parking lot yesterday to take these photos with my phone, but the wind was blowing pretty hard, so they look “painterly”.  The blooms started in the washes, and have been climbing up to the higher elevations.  Beautiful along La Cañada and La Cholla, and River Road especially!  Oro Valley is a bit higher than Tucson, so my three palo verdes are still covered with buds.

Seen Today

A quail couple, apparently looking for a suitable place to nest, he on the fence, alert for predators, but giving his mate helpful suggestions, she checking out the purple Mexican petunia in the backyard.  (These beautiful flowers only last one day.)

A bulky guy with blond hair past his shoulders, in shorts, shirt tied about his waist, walking along the road.  (It was cool this morning, and I was wearing a sweater!)

The area behind the fenced-in part of the back yard is riddled with holes.  Saw the first round-tailed ground squirrel today, but he didn’t stick around for a photo op.

Sculptor Ira Weisenfeld’s Boat in a Tree, on Wetmore.  Must take my own photo of it.  This from the sculptor’s website, https://www.circleofironforge.com/about-me.

Ubiquitous clutches of cyclists in colorful lycra.

At a light, a taxi-yellow sports car in front of one of the palo verdes overladen with yellow.  I was turning, and couldn’t stop for a photo.

A roadrunner skittering along the outside of the fence.  There are now many lizards in the yard, a few zebra-tailed lizards recently (this photo from Wikipedia), so I was surprised he didn’t want to venture in.  Maybe the 18″ of chicken wire wrapped around the base of the wrought iron fence deterred him, although he could have jumped over.

A hawk sitting on a power line, watching the traffic on La Cholla go by.  Looked like the hawk on the cover of the book I recently finished, H Is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald.

Equal Pay Day

March 24, 2017

The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 4, 2017. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.1

I just got this email from the American Association of University Women:

April 4 is Equal Pay Day, and to mark this powerful day of action AAUW is offering a discounted introductory membership rate of just $21, of which $19 is tax deductible.
Right now the pay gap is so wide and closing so slowly that women will have to wait 135 years to receive equal pay. If we don’t step up now, the gender pay gap won’t close until the year 2152! I know you think that’s unacceptable, so please join.

This link has my code for your discount:
https://ww2.aauw.org/national-join/?appealcode=D17CEL1003A

Seen This Month

A woman driving a small silver BMW convertible with the top down, a tiny gold glitter Mickey Mouse cap at the top of its aerial.  It is cool and threatening rain yesterday, but a few days ago, when the weather was in the 90’s, I also saw two other convertibles with their tops down.

Then there was the young man leaving the Y with his two-year-old daughter on his arm, explaining why the car in the parking lot had no roof.  Why doesn’t it have a roof? He replied, So the wind can blow through your hair.

A dove made a typically flimsy nest near my kitchen window.  It laid two eggs and now has two young’uns.

I’ve been here a month and the lizards are just coming back into the yard.  The previous renters had a dog and the lizards have just figured out that the dog’s no longer a threat.

Lambert Lane, my east/west artery, is closed for three months, to widen it from two lanes to four.  But before they closed it, we were driving 25 mph as construction workers played in the dirt on each side, scraping away any plant life, moving dirt, concreting a hillside, and so on.  Was checking out a house right next to the construction – three coyotes were on the steep driveway, checking out something in the lot further on.  Usually when you see three together, it’s a mother and two pups.  These pups were well-grown.

There were a few items in this “new” house that had not been cleaned in a while.  One was the small storage shed.  Found, in addition to all of the screens that had fallen off the windows (’cause they had been velcroed on, and the velco had dried up), three desiccated pack rats, what looked like a mother and her pups.  Plus all of the stuff they had chewed up, along with the droppings.  Yuck!  (No – I did not take a photo, but here is one of my potted flowers, grass, and herbs, very happy to have morning sun.)

STILLNESS

The Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery, at the Pima College West Campus, had a showing which ended at the beginning of this month, STILLNESS. Our Contemporary Art Society went to the reception.  I love these descriptions from the Tucson Weekly.  (My photos were just taken with my phone.)

Kate Breakey, an internationally known photographer, lives in the desert outside Tucson. She makes gorgeous photos of desert moons and of the ocean waters of her native Australia, but most often, as she does here, she zeroes in on lifeless animals.

Constantly trying out new media, this time she has used waxy encaustic paint and pencil atop the black-and-white archival digital prints of her new series, Taxonomy of Memory, a wall-full of 34 works. The encaustics add a creamy texture to her views of the desert’s dead… a vermillion flycatcher…  She lays out small corpses that she finds on trails, and makes haunting pictures of them, blowing them up to grand proportions. As she writes, “A thing fills with exactly the radiance you accord it.”

Colin Blakely, newish head of the UA School of Art—he started in 2015—makes his community debut with an elegant suite of landscape photos…  Blakely’s “Yosemite Valley” is after an 1875 oil by Bierstadt, who painted Yosemite over and over. Both painters helped mythologize the monumental landscapes of the new American nation; in their art of the sublime, the grandeur of a thundering waterfall or a soaring western peak suggested the greatness of America.

Blakely contends that these mythical place exist in some ways only in “our collective cultural imagination.” To “disrupt” those familiar landscapes, he switches the medium from classic oils to archival pigment prints spit out by a computer printers. He ratchets up or tones down the color, and even shifts some elements in the compositions.

…a fairytale forest of golden trees.  In this dazzling installation by Sean-Paul Pluguez, no fewer than 100 “trees” are lined up neatly, row on row, planted into low birch platforms. Bending slightly, as real trees do, they curve upward toward an imagined sky, reaching about six feet into the air.

The trees are actually grape stakes, rough wooden posts that normally would be used to hold up grape vines in a vineyard. But they’ve been transformed by glimmering 24-carat gold leaf, painstakingly applied by the artist over the course of a year. The gold catches the light, and it’s thick and textured, dipping into hollows in the stakes or pushing outwards into lines and patterns.

“The Genetically Modified Forest” is a thing of beauty—who can resist the allure of gold?—but it carries a warning. The stakes are sharp and pointed at the top. And as many fairytale heroines have found, all that glitters is not really gold.

As Pluguez notes in an artist statement, the piece “speaks of man’s limited abilities to deal with his own planet.” We may think we can clear-cut our real forests with impunity or that we can dump coal dust into our streams, a practice lately authorized by our new leaders in Washington.

We can’t disobey the laws of nature for long. When we pollute our rivers, we lose our drinking water, and when we ax our trees, we lose their life-giving abilities to filter out carbon dioxide from the air and provide us with oxygen. A pretty fake forest is no substitute for a real one.

Even so, Pluguez’s meditative installation is a paean to the beauty and stillness of the natural world, properly preserved. It’s the anchor for a group show about nature aptly called Stillness; all four of its artists create a sense of calm in works that cover landscape, animals and the human body.2

1https://www.pay-equity.org/day.html
2http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/all-that-glitters/Content?oid=7599592

Santaland

December 23, 2016

xmas-colorsStarted this two days before Christmas, then got busy.  (Photo of Tucson’s Christmas colors.)

It’s not even close to beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  The desert outside my window is in shades of tan, grey, chartreuse (Pantone 362 – the palo verdes), and a turquoise green (Pantone 374 – the prickly pears).  But after our rain the past few days, the clouds got snagged on the mountains, so Mt Lemmon probably has snow.

david-sedaris-as-elfAt least I’m not tired of Christmas carols yet.  Did not even step into a mall. Tried to find a kid’s toy at Target and got frustrated. Plus I don’t even remember what cheery music they were playing.  So got a couple of gift certificates and ordered everything else online.

But what made my day today (so far – I shall be making Christmas cookies with the kids soon) was hearing David Sedaris read from his Santaland Diaries on NPR this morning.  (Photo here of author David Sedaris in his actual Macy’s elf costume.)
http://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=506475364:506687049

La Encantada

I thought it would be nice to take the kids to see the lights at Tohono Chul (Holiday Nights, A Million Lights!) the weekend before Christmas, but it was pricey ($16 apiece, for six of us), so my fake-snowdaughter suggested seeing La Encantada’s “Enchanted Snowfall”, which was free.

Enchanted Snowfall will take place in the gorgeous Tucson Lifestyle Courtyard at La Encantada… delicate sprinkles of snow will cascade to the ground and fill the shopping center… keep toasty with hot chocolate from Williams Sonoma.
http://www.arizonafoothillsmagazine.com/tucson/tucson-travel-and-leisure/1561-la-encantadas-enchanted-snowfall.html

Don’t ever do this!  There was one Christmas tree, “artistically” decorated (read sparingly), and some garlands on the second floor handrails.  The “snow” was made of soap bubbles, which did not fill the shopping center, but made us cough.  The free hot chocolate was in 4 oz paper cups.  And there were three women with screechy voices, singing Christmas carols into a not-very-good sound system.  (Photo of me, my daughter, and granddaughter, taken between coughs.)

Cookies

img_6643 img_6644img_6642This is always fun, but having seven people (my son was in from out-of-town too) in my daughter’s kitchen was cozy.  We made walnut kiefel, pecan butterballs, chocolate spritz, and peppermint cookies, as well as the decorated sugar cookies.

img_6640 img_6638 img_6635I took a plate of the cookies to my next-door-neighbor the next day, and heard a bit of gossip about the neighborhood.

CAS Holiday Party

bear-grassThe TMA Contemporary Art Society Holiday Party was a couple of weeks ago at Tucson’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which is housed downtown in what used to be a fire station.

creosoteThe current show, Aranda\Lasch and Terrol Dew Johnson | Meeting the Clouds Halfway,  is quite nice.  Terrol Dew Johnson is a Tohono Oodham basketweaver, and this new work blends traditional Native  American craft with contemporary design.  (Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch, who collaborated with him, are architects, http://arandalasch.com/, as well as artists.)  The show runs through the end of January.

Terrol’s favorite is the endless knot with creosote (top right), but I liked the hanging one done with bear grass.  His work is in permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C., and the Heard Museum
http://nationalbasketry.org/artist-profile-terrol-dew-johnson/, so it is quite pricey.

Christmas Day

My daughter and her family drove up to Fountain Hills (northeast of Phoenix) on the day before Christmas, to exchange gifts with the inlaws, so the grandchildren already had a surfeit of toys, but with Santa’s presents, their parents’ and my presents, there were enough toys (and clothes, and books) for all of the children of Gabon.

But everyone seemed to like their gifts.  My granddaughter liked the hamster T-shirt (she has a pet hamster), the cat liked the boxes, the middle grandson liked his bicycle helmet with a Mohawk, the youngest can’t be pried away from his Pretend & Play Cash Register, the decor was fun (including the fake fire in the fireplace), and the breakfast (my daughter’s traditional sticky buns), dinner (scalloped potatoes, roast, veggies, mostly prepared by my son), and dessert (rum cake, with whipped cream) were fab.  All in all, one of the more successful holidays.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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A Scandalous Painting

December 10, 2016

workmenNPR was talking about Gustave Caillebotte last year and his “scandalous” painting of shirtless workmen (back in 1875, when the Impressionists were scandalizing everyone, his painting was called “crude” and “anti-artistic”).  The Academy of Fine Arts in ladiesParis would not take his work, so his pals (Monet, Renoir) talked him into showing with them at the Second Impressionist Exhibition.

The Floor Scrapers (6′ 4″ x 4′ 9″) is pretty nice, but when looking at his works (online, as I am not presently in DC), that are at the National Gallery, I started giggling at this one, Portraits in the rainy dayCountryside, noticing the woman on the left with her iPhone.  He is best known for the painting Paris Street, Rainy Day.

http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/exhibitions/2015/gustave-caillebotte.html