Art on the Street

This is not the first time I've posted images of Chelsea's street color, but it's the first time I've commented on the references to Steir, Indiana, Pollock and Rothko.

Steir on the Street? Shot on 21st Street, outside Eyebeam Gallery

Same location, different reference

A few Pollockian drips on 20th Street

Rothko on a dumpster?

These images were taken over the course of several months, so they may not be there now.

For more ephemeral art, visit Joy Garnett's Newsgrist. She's got a series of Found Art--fleeting "installations" like this, this, this and this.

Update, August 3: In his blog, In it for Life, Tim McFarlane shows a fabulous "Rothko Wall" in Philly.


Awash in Color: My Own


If you happen to be in San Francisco, stop in at Adler &Co. Gallery , 77 Geary Street, to see this installation. The work is from my Silk Road series, each 12 x 12 inches, encaustic on panel.



Greek-American Paul Thymou, resident of the Aegean island of Lesbos, holds a banner reading: "If you are not from Lesbos, you are not a Lesbian," outside of an Athens courthouse on on June 10


Oh, this is just too good! Reuters reports that we can continue to be "lesbians," lowercase L. Here's the story:

ATHENS - A Greek court has dismissed a request by residents of the Aegean island of Lesbos to ban the use of the word lesbian to describe gay women, according to a court ruling made public on Tuesday.

Three residents of Lesbos, the birthplace of the ancient Greek poetess Sappho whose love poems inspired the term lesbian, brought a case last month arguing the use of the term in reference to gay women insulted their identity.

In a July 18 decision, the Athens court said the word did not define the identity of the residents of the island, and so it could be validly used by gay groups in Greece and abroad.The ruling ordered the plaintiffs to pay court expenses of $366.

"This is a good decision for lesbians everywhere," Vassilis Chirdaris, lawyer for the Gay and Lesbian Union of Greece, told Reuters. "A court in Athens could not stop people around the world from using it. It was ridiculous."

He said the plaintiffs were free to appeal the decision in a higher court.

Lesbos, which lies just off the Turkish Coast, has become a gathering spot for gay women from around the world, especially at the village of Eressos which is regarded as the birthplace of the poet in the 7th century B.C.

Several residents testified during the trial that the use of the word lesbian had brought recognition to the island and boosted its tourist trade.

# # # #

In ridiculously related news, ClaireTrageser reports in the Seattle P.I. blog that the American Family Association's OneNewsNow (I'm not even giving you that link; why encourage them?) has a strict policy of substituting the word "gay" with "homosexual"via automatic editing. Thus the Christian news outlet repeatedly described the sprinter Tyson Gay, whose record-breaking Olympic time trials will send him to Beijing, as "Tyson Homosexual."


Anish Kapoor in New York


Anish Kapoor at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery, through August 15. Reflection and distortion challenge your spatial perceptions, so you back up, edge forward, circle around and repeat, engaged by the illusion and the reality of the massive forms before you

I first saw Anish Kapoor’s work in 1990 at the Venice Biennale. He was representing Britain, and his work filled that country’s “pavilion,” a small building that consists of gallery rooms. (Each represented country has a building of its own design that remains permanently on the ground of the Giardini, the gardens, where the Biennale is set.) There were a number of sculptures, abstract forms of human scale.

Looking at my photographs from the exhibition reminds me that there was a room of carved stone blocks, about three feet in any direction, with voids of various sizes in their centers, so that as you peered in you didn’t know just how deep or shallow the negative space was. There was a disc the diameter of an armspan covered in midnight blue pigment; you couldn’t tell if it was concave or convex and you didn’t want to get too close because of the powdered pigment on its surface. And there were piles of that same midnight blue pigment; looking at these I remember thinking, “Yves Klein at a spice market.”

I’d never heard of this artist, but I responded to the simplicity and materiality of his work. Since then I’ve encountered his work, as I'm sure you have, with increasing frequency. The surfaces are always interesting; and more than most dimensional work, his forms challenge your spatial perceptions of dimension and direction.

These concerns continue in two recent exhibitions at the Barbara Gladstone galleries in New York City. Red predominated in Gladstone’s 24th Street “flagship” space
(the show is now closed); reflection and distortion in the 21st Street space, where the show remains on view until August 15.

Anish Kapoor at Barbara Gladstone. My shot of the installation is above, showing Drip, Double Corner, and in the foreground, Bloodstick. All are resin and paint

A gallery shot of Bloodstick is below, where you get a better sense of the color and of the scale, some 401.57 inches--a little over 33 feet long

Read my whole report, A Tale of Two Cities: Anish Kapoor in Boston and New York, at the ARTtistics blog.



Geometry in the Field

If you had been flying over Holland in late May, this is what you might have seen
These are tulips, yo. Thanks to Scott Rothsten for sending a link to a website with some great pictures from which I found a link to the Daily Mail


A Gift From A Friend

The first week of 2008, I received the e-mail below from Chris Ashley, a good friend from Oakland (and my writing partner in the now-languishing-because-we’re-both-too-busy blog, Two Artists Talking) to announce an online solo show, I Made This For You, at the Marjorie Wood Gallery. Here’s his e-mail. Pay special attention to paragraph four:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Each day during December 2007 I made an HTML drawing for my online exhibition I Made This For You at Marjorie Wood Gallery. The final drawing was uploaded on December 31, and all thirty one drawings are on view until January 31, 2008.

The exhibition was reviewed by Timothy Buckwalter for San Francisco public television station KQED's Arts & Culture blog: Art Review : Chris Ashley: I Made This For You.

I'd like to extend special thanks to artist and MWG proprietor Chris Komater for this opportunity, and for taking on daily upload duty.

Special offer: in keeping with the spirit of I Made This For You, I'd like to offer a free 11 x 8.5 inch inkjet print to the first ten people on this mailing list who reply to me with the date of the print they'd like and a mailing address. . . . .

I didn't read more than that. I got right on line and sent Chris an e-mail, hoping to make it into the lucky 10.

I am a huge fan of these drawings. (I curated his work into a summer show last year for the Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta--similar name but different venue from the one that hosted the online show). If you follow Chris’s work, you know that he makes one HTML drawing a day, which he posts on his website. These geometric images are made on computer using code, and originally they were meant to be seen only on a monitor. Eventually they migrated to the wall via inkjet prints. As a painter, I love the tangible as well as the visual, so I was delighted with the way pixels of light became spritzes of ink on paper. When Chris posted his offer, I knew exactly which one I wanted: December 27th.

I lucked out!

My print arrived on February 1. The paper he printed it on is velvety and thick, so the work looks very much like a gouache painting. Two weeks after it arrived, I had a mat cut at the framer. Since then it has taken me some weeks to actually frame the piece, but here it is—in tangible form—in my loft:

A home for Chris Ashley's print; a print for my home. December 27th, 2007, inkjet print

Thanks, Chris, for your splendid gift!



Sol Lewitt in the Street?

Artifice, not art

No, Sol Lewitt was not here, but you're excused for thinking so. These geometric optical illusions are meant to slow down traffic in Philadelphia. The full story is here in an AP story posted July 2 on Fake 3-D Speed Bumps Attempt to Detract Speedsters.

Thanks to Giovanni Garcia-Fenech for sharing the story.



Signs of Testosterone Poisoning, Exhibit A

"Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness."
This was said in what year: 1600, 1850, 1955, 2008?
Well, probably in all of them, but this particular quote dates from three days ago. "Women make up 50 per cent or more of classes at art school. Yet they fade away in their late 20s or 30s. Maybe it's something to do with bearing children," says British art critic Brian Sewer, er Sewell, in a July 6 feature from The Independent. .
Uh, maybe it has something to do with bearing the brunt of art history as it has been taught, with critics and curators following those teachings, and--I hate to say this--with some women curators so eager for a piece of the androgenic pie that they deny there's an issue.

Not great?

Louise Bourgeois, Maman, shown at the Guggenheim, Bilbao


Not great?

Mary Heilmann, All Tomorrow's Parties, Exhibition View, Secession 2003


Not great?

Anything by Joan Mitchell

Not great?

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes


Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart, on the Met Roof

. .


Sol Lewitt at Mass Moca via The New Modernist

I just found out about the Sol Lewitt Retrospective coming to Mass Moca. I read about it on Edward Lifson's blog, The New Modernist, via CultureGrrl, aka Lee Rosenbaum. On Lifson's June 25 post he shows many, many fabulous pics of the installation-in-progress, Sol Lewitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective at Mass Moca.

Here's one.

At Mass Moca: A Sol Lewitt in progress. Photograph from Edward Lifson's blog, The New Modernist


According to an online press release from the museum, the retrospective will consist of 100 works . . . covering nearly an acre of wall surface, that LeWitt created from 1968 to 2007.

If you have any concerns that a Sol Lewitt won't be a real Sol Lewitt now that he's gone, the documentation will put your fears to rest. Personally, I'd find the job of translating the drawings to be hell on a scaffold, but I'm glad others are up for the task.

They'll be at it for a while. The show doesn't open until November 18, and the installation will be up for 25 years. But you know how these things this go: Put it off and before you know it, it's 2033 and you've missed it.

Update 7.9.09: Chris Ashley has a great image of the Lewitt floor plan



A New Gig

Past, Present, Future, a retrospective of Anish Kapoor's work at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, up through September 7. This is the topic of my first post for ARTtistics


Today I begin a new gig as contributor to a new blog, ARTtistics. My fellow bloggers on the site are Lenny Campello and Bill Gusky, both known for their wide-ranging interests and good writing. We three have been given a mandate to write about whatever want. How cool is that? Lenny, based in the D.C. area, and Bill, in Connecticut, have been at it for the past month already.

ARTtistics is sponsored by the art moving and storage company, Mind’s Eye. I admit, I had some initial doubts—I don’t want to compromise my writing—but I appreciate that an art-related business is interested in sponsoring art writing. It’s a nice switch from companies that make money from the art community but never give back. And the freedom to write about what interests me is, well, just like blogging on my own blog, which will continue here as usual.

I will contribute two posts a month to ARTtistics, and I already have ideas lined up through the end of the year. By the way, see that little blue-barred widget on the sidebar, right? It's an index to current ARTtistics article. Use it to see what's there, and just click to access the post.

OK, that's it for the hard sell. Now on to the story, a teaser of which is below:

A Tale of Two Cities: Anish Kapoor in Boston and New York

Overview #2: The distortion of perception is a Kapoor hallmark, and part of the pleasure of viewing his work. The man in the picture is Nicholas Baume, curator of the exhibition and chief curator of the ICA. Both images are from a slideshow on the New York Times website

Although you’ll know a Kapoor sculpture when you see it, describing one does not come close to reflecting what Kapoor sculpture is. A sculpture by Anish Kapoor is monumental, yet it pulls you in close. It defines and reflects space; yet it suggests the topography and orifices of the body. It’s concave; it’s convex. It’s hard and smooth; it’s soft and powdery; it's shiny, translucent, opaque, gooey. The materialty of the forms defines both what’s there and what’s not. Like the blind men describing an elephant by touch, Kapoor’s sculpture is all those things. And more. And less. Read more here


A Teeny Tiny Rant:

Olafur Schmolafur.