I just wanted to share a notice that The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (in Omaha, Nebraska) is now accepting applications for their 2018 Artist-in-Residence Program. This program will take place from September 19–November 16, 2018, which may seem like a long way off, but the application deadline is December 15, 2017. National and international artists of all backgrounds and areas of practice are encouraged to apply. Selected artists-in-residence enjoy generous sized, private live/work studios complete with kitchen and bathroom, and as you can see from this picture of this year’s artist-in-residence – David Colannino, from New Orleans – it looks like a pretty amazing space to use to make art.
First-time author David Wise has created a twist on the idea of a classic spy novel: The Atlas Pursuit is published online at this website, but you only get to read “Part I” before you are pushed into action. The story offers riddles which must be solved in order to unlock the subsequent password-protected chapters, and clues are found on public landmarks in New York City. So you literally need to get up and go out to look for these things yourself in order to advance the story.
But I’ll stop here, because the author specifically requests ” … please don’t be that guy … don’t tell your friends the answers, or post solutions on Facebook or Twitter, or upload pictures and clues on Instagram or your blog. That would ruin other people’s chance to solve it for themselves.”
Obviously, this need to be in New York City restricts the potential audience to those who can actually get there, but the author suggests that a focused and dedicated reader could finish the narrative and puzzles in one day.
So how does the author make any money from this free, interactive novel? He has a “help page” for those who don’t mind spending a few bucks to get more clues, or some e-mail support. You can even get the author to accompany you around NYC, if you agree to negotiate the time and fees. What a fantastic idea! Click on the image below to get started on Part I!
I was introduced to the “Wall That Unites” project when I saw this mural on the side of a building on 25th Street off of 10th Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. As you can see, it has some simple symbolism of birds flying freely in the sky over a red wall, with the following message:
Walls shouldn’t divide us, they should unite us. #WALLTHATUNITES is a global project to create artworks of hope and unity, that when combined will be longer than the proposed Mexican border wall – 1,900 miles. wallthatunites.com
You can see from the top right corner of this mural some measurements: this mural counts for 49 feet out of the 1,900 miles that the project organizers are hoping to create. If you click on the link (above in the quote, or here), you’ll see that the current total as of today is 260 feet, so they’ve got a long way to go, but it’s certainly an ambitious project.
The organizers also respond to the question of why they’re doing this with this reply: “Like so many other people, we are against the message that a giant border wall between the US and Mexico sends. As the impact of globalization continues to change the way we see the world, we need values of tolerance, unity, and harmony more than ever. It’s through diversity, not division, that our country and world will become great again.”
Drew University in Madison, NJ is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of “The Semester on Contemporary Art” this year. The program is an incredible opportunity for art students to get a behind-the-scenes look into the New York art world, with classes taking place in NYC in order to visit with artists in their studios, meet with critics and dealers in Chelsea galleries, and to visit museums for a comprehensive immersion in the art market as it currently exists. Below is a video which gives a basic introduction to the course along with some feedback from students:
Disclosure: I am a graduate of Drew University and the Semester on Contemporary Art was one of the main reasons I chose to attend this school. The program was one of the highlights of my four years at Drew and my experience there led me to pursue a career in the arts. While the students in the video above focused on their opportunities to meet working artists, I found the program to be helpful in gaining an understanding of all aspects of the art world, including the business side. I secured an internship with a top NYC gallery in the spring semester of my senior year at Drew, which led to a full-time job upon graduation and a ten year career in the New York Gallery scene (including opening my own art gallery in the East Village for a brief period in the mid-1990s). So the opportunities and experiences from this program go far beyond just learning how artists “make it” in NYC.
Congratulations to Drew University on the 50th Anniversary of this unique program!
I get a fair amount of e-mails with offers from people to write blog posts for Artsology, and I think I’ve pretty much said no to all of them, because they usually just want to promote something, and because most times the writing style has nothing in common with how I write and blog-post at Artsology. But I recently received a request to guest-write, and the angle was so unusual, I decided to share some of the unexpected aspects of it.
The e-mail in question started out with an explanation that the writer and her husband had cleaned out their car for the first time in years, and having a newly-cleaned car inspired her to write about it for Artsology. Huh? I’m not following the thought process here. But after going out to explore street art in Bushwick recently, I did happen upon this graffiti-covered van that might provide a challenge for this cleaning writer.
An interesting fact (?) provided by the writer was the idea that clean cars get better gas mileage than dirty cars, which have dirt and grime that might hinder the aerodynamics of the car. Hmm, I suppose someone could have done an experiment with a car in both dirty and clean states, but do you think this is really true? I don’t know …
Another idea provided by the writer was that driving a clean car makes one feel good. I do agree with this, but then it makes me wonder how does the van owner above feel when driving his van? How does one feel if your car is clean, but also covered with a custom paint job, like this car below that I also saw in Bushwick?
I don’t know that my blog post makes any more sense here than the original car-cleaning post idea that was sent to me, but it did give me the excuse to show two pictures of cool graffiti-covered vehicles that I saw in Brooklyn. Just to be clear, the pictures are mine; the e-mail sender did not include pictures to illustrate her points.
Who ever said farm life is the only domain for pigs? It seems that there’s an influx of pigs into urban life, as you can see below. At left we have a street art mural seen in Bushwick featuring a chrome-finish piggy bank, courtesy of artist Joshua Santos Rivera, who is also known as “Bik,” or “Ismo.” He refers to himself as “The Chrome Master,” and a look at his Instagram feed shows some amazing paintings!
Below right is a view of something I saw while walking down Van Houton Place in Belleville, NJ. At first I thought someone had just chained up their little dog in the front yard, but a double-take revealed that it was in fact a mini pig! He was just happily grazing in the front yard, and at one point he plopped down in the grass and rolled over, exposing his belly to the sun. He was definitely a happy pig!
Please note: no pigs were harmed in the making of this blog post.
The NY Times had an interesting article recently suggesting that ugly art is a hot item right now and that the art world is “obsessed with ugly painting.” Two of the artists they mentioned are represented below: at left, “Untitled,” 2016, by Laura Owens, who will have a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art this fall, and at right, “Dear Clifford Rocket, Don’t You Want a Home,” 2016, by Torey Thornton.
Whatever your opinion of these two artists and art works, the article does make some interesting points: when Willem De Kooning first started making his “Woman” paintings, people considering them ugly, and now these paintings are considered some of the most-important paintings of the 20th Century. Likewise, when Philip Guston gave up pure abstraction and started painting cartoon-like images, people thought he had lost his mind, and yet these works are today considered treasures in many museums.
So what’s my take-away from this article and pronouncement that “ugly = good?” Maybe this means it’s time I can start to gather some outside appreciation for my own paintings, which I’m sure have been deemed less-than-aesthetic on more than one occasion over the years (insert smiley face here). I’m long past the point of wanting to be the next Picasso, and still enjoy making art, but it sure would be nice to sell a few of them. But sales aside, I decided to go look through a box of old watercolor paintings and see if I could come up with a couple examples of my own “ugly art.” Here’s a pair for your viewing pleasure: at left, “Past Possessive,” 1993, and at right, “Manless Hat, Hatless Man,” 2001. To see more of my art, check out my website here. A note on the McKinney Arts website: I’ve revamped it countless times over the years, and it’s undergoing another overhaul now, so there will be more coming soon!
I was back in South Orange yesterday, after having been there a week ago on Sunday when I saw this covered piano. At the time, I did a little research to find out that it was from an annual event where artists painted pianos and placed them throughout South Orange. However, the best I could do was find an example of a painted piano at that location from a previous year … I still didn’t know what was under the wraps of this piano this year. Until yesterday – when I walked by the same location to see this piano out on full public display!
As you can see here below, it’s covered with a large and colorful peacock, painted by Elizabeth, Alexa and Allie Sibio. I’m not finding any artist websites or specific information on these three artists – I’m assuming they’re sisters – so if you have any info on them to share, please do so in the comments section below. At any rate, scroll down below this initial picture to see more details of this painted piano from the 5th Annual “Playin’ Around South Orange” Project.
I guess now that I’ve seen one of the pianos uncovered, I need to find a way to get back at a time when someone is actually playing it! Even this, however, has been a little difficult to track down – it sounds like they had scheduled performances on the opening day, but after that, could it be that they’re inviting people to simply sit down and play? Maybe I should have sat down and played a little something just to see what would happen …?
I was recently reading the obituary for the architect Gunnar Birkerts, who passed away on August 15th at the age of 92, and learned that he was responsible for the Federal Reserve Bank building in my hometown of Minneapolis (pictured here). As you can see from the pictures, it’s an unusual building, both for its curved lines and the fact that it stands elevated on two “legs” or end supports with empty space underneath. As you can see in the picture below right, there’s a vast open and flat space underneath the building, and the memories it brings back from my childhood was that this was a favorite location for skateboarders in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I’m sure that was not Birkerts’ intention for this open space, but that’s how it was adopted by the skateboarding crowd at the time.
Birkerts was a fan of the Bauhaus while studying in Germany after World War II, and emigrated to the United States in 1949, where he was able to get a job with the noted architect Eero Saarinen in Birmingham, Michigan. You can learn more about Birkerts’ life and the buildings he designed in the same NY Times obituary that I was reading here.