Artists on an island

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Art project, Videos

Here’s an interesting video about two artists – Catherine King and Wayne Adams – who live on their own self-made island/complex, which is completely off the grid and floating off the coast of Vancouver Island. They’ve named the complex “Freedom Cove,” and it includes their home, a lighthouse, a dance floor, an art studio, and four greenhouses, where they grow most of their food (they fish the local waters as well). It’s pretty amazing to see what they’ve built here … but they never really show much of the art that either artist makes … so watch the video first, then scroll down to see some of their art which I’ve found in order to help give a bigger picture of this couple.

It’s actually quite hard to find much of their art online; King is described as a retired ballerina, carver, and sometimes painter, and Adams is described as a sculptor who carves pieces from legal ivory. Below are a few ivory pieces that I could definitely attribute to Adams; everything else I find on these two artists is only the story about their home. One could say it’s an art project in its own right!

legal ivory carvings and sculptures by Wayne Adams

New Gallery Insider with Ron Mueck

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Artist Spotlight, Contemporary Art, Sculpture

Our latest “Gallery Insider” features hyper-realist sculptor Ron Mueck and his recent self-titled exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Click on the link above (or the picture below) to see highlights from the exhibition, and for teachers (or homeschoolers) looking for materials to use in teaching contemporary art, check out the feature’s essential questions and topics for discussion which you can use in the classroom.

Click here to see all of our Gallery Insider features.

Gallery Insider featuring sculptor Ron Mueck

Public art featuring a giant beard meant for climbing

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Historical Figures in Art, Products we'd like to see, Sculpture

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, social scientist, journalist, and businessman who worked with Karl Marx in developing Marxist theory. He’s also the inspiration for a giant 16 foot-tall sculpture of his head (and significant beard) meant for climbing, located at the University of Salford in Manchester, England.

climbing sculpture featuring the beard of Friedrich Engels

The sculpture was conceived and created by “Engine,” an arts production company based in Manchester. It features a climbing wall on the front (pictured above), a viewing platform at the top, and stairs on the rear side (pictured below). Jai Redman, an artist and director at Engine, stated that the sculpture is “… a metaphor for how it is an effort and a struggle to pull ourselves out of ignorance.” It also looks like a fun, interactive piece of public art!

Friedrich Engels interactive beard climbing sculpture in Manchester

An artistic confrontation as opposed to a dialogue

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Museum exhibitions, Art project, Artist Spotlight, Making an art history comparison, Videos

I heard about an interesting show that took place at the Museum Berggruen in Berlin titled “Confrontation,” which took place from November 2016 through May 1st, 2017. The show featured work by George Condo set alongside work from the museum’s collection, including works by Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti, among others.

I especially like Condo’s explanation for the show title:

It’s about putting things together and seeing how they react to one another … I could have a dialogue every day with the lady down the street who’s selling cupcakes. But if I say to the cupcake lady, ‘Something is wrong with the frosting. Why is it blue?’ – suddenly we’re having more of a confrontation. And then it’s memorable!

Here’s a couple pairings: far left: George Condo’s “Windswept Figure,” 2007; Pablo Picasso’s “Dora Maar With Green Fingernails,” 1936; George Condo’s “The Chinese Woman,” 2001; and an undated African reliquary figure.

Art works in the exhibition Confrontation featuring George Condo

Here’s a video about the exhibition – it gives many more views of the works in the show, along with commentary by Condo and others. It gets a little tricky to follow because the subtitles jump back and forth between English and German, depending on who is talking, but it still affords a good look at the show.

The mysterious hula skirts and bagel guys

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Photo of the day, Street Art

I saw this unusual street art on an electrical box near the parking lot for MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts … it doesn’t make much sense, with two bare-chested guys pushing what appears to be a 5-foot tall bagel into a paper bag. It might make sense if it was for a local bagel joint, but there’s no words or company name on it. Does anyone know what this is?

men in hula skirts pushing a bagel

Elvis and the Hummingbird

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Found art, Historical Figures in Art, Murals, Photo of the day, Street Art

I recently saw this fading and disintegrating mural featuring a Las Vegas-era Elvis at the Riverfront Park in Rensselaer, NY, and then noticed the small mixed-media hummingbird piece to the left of his hand (the hand holding the microphone near the top) … do you see it? I’m not sure what the significance of Elvis and a hummingbird might be, although I might guess they were done at two different times by two different artists. At any rate, I love the look of this mural and how it’s falling apart on this cracked and rust-stained concrete pillar holding up the highway exit ramp overhead. Scroll down for some details and comparison views.

street art mural showing a Vegas-era Elvis Presley in Rensselaer, NY

Here’s a look at Elvis, with a photograph from his Las Vegas days, which ran from 1969 to 1976.

comparison between Elvis mural and Elvis photograph from Las Vegas

And here’s a closer look at the mixed-media hummingbird piece, alongside a photograph of a real hummingbird.

mixed media hummingbird street art next to photo of real hummingbird

There’s a huge collection of murals of all kinds and sizes at the Riverfront Park in Rensselaer … if you’re in the area, make sure to check it out!

2017 Jersey City Art and Studio Tour

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Art project

The Office of Cultural Affairs in Jersey City is organizing a Jersey City Art & Studio Tour, to take place this fall. The event will feature hundreds of area artists presenting visual art, performances, music and cultural programming in open studios, galleries, public spaces and mixed use venues across the city. The goal is to showcase the vibrant cultural landscape throughout Jersey City, from the Heights, to Greenville, to Downtown, to the West Side, to Bergen Lafayette and Journal Square. Some important dates include:

  • Registration Deadline: August 14, 2017
  • Kick-off Party: October 13, 2017
  • JCast Weekend: October 14-15, 2017
  • Closing Party: October 15, 2017

For more information, check out the JCast site here, or on the Office of Cultural Affairs website here.

A view of downtown Jersey City with the Freedom Tower in the background

Fried Chicken and Graffiti – perfect together

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art project, Graffiti, Murals, Street Art

Can I get a side order of graffiti with my fried chicken? I saw this mural by Green Villain on the back side of Kennedy Fried Chicken on Sip Avenue in Jersey City. Scroll down for a 2nd view of the extended mural by a number of different artists.

Kennedy Fried Chicken Jersey City with Green Villain mural

When I first started seeing Green Villain murals in Jersey City, I just assumed Green Villain was an individual artist, but it’s actually a local arts organization led by founder Gregory D. Edgell. Green Villain is many things: an art gallery, a vinyl imprint, an event series, and a coordinator of public art projects. Click here to learn more about Green Villain.

mural by arts group Green Villain seen in Jersey City

Commemorating Jackie Robinson in Jersey City

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Sports, Historical Figures in Art, Photo of the day, Sculpture, The Arts Adventurer

I was walking around Jersey City last night after attending an art opening, and happened upon this sculpture of Jackie Robinson by artist Susan Wagner. I wasn’t sure why a sculpture of the famous Brooklyn Dodger would be perched in Jersey City, and I was curious to find out why … see more and learn what I found out here.

Two views of Susan Wagner's sculpture of Jackie Robinson in Jersey City

Old and new in Jersey City

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Photo of the day, Street photography, The Arts Adventurer

I took this picture on Summit Avenue in the Five Corners area of Jersey City tonight – it seems like a war zone when you look at the left side of the picture, but once your eyes roll over towards the right, you see the shiny new skyscraper that signals the changes going on around here. At the risk of throwing a little politics into the situation, the tower at right – and the towers which will replace this crumbling mess (also known as “Journal Squared“) – are being developed by Kushner Real Estate Group, the same family who has a member spending a little time hanging around the White House these days.*

JournalSquared by Kushner Real Estate in Jersey City

*No political commentary intended here, I just thought it was an interesting footnote.