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Inside the Artist’s Studio – David DiMichele

Inside the Artist’s Studio is an-ongoing series exploring issues on contemporary art through direct encounters with the artists themselves. The Gallery In Ruins – In his 1986 book Inside the White Cube based on a 1976 series of Artforum essays, artist and writer Brian O’Doherty examined the pristine white gallery space as the required context and condition for appreciating contemporary art. He wrote of such spaces, “The outside world must not come in, so windows are usually sealed off. Walls are painted white… The purpose of such a setting is not unlike the purpose of religious buildings.” [1] As with congregants in any religious space, once within the gallery a special group shares its solidarity with art world values. The … [Read more...]

Bad Boys and Good Girls

The Artist's Life — Two provocative books about individual artist's lives came out early this year —Bad Boy-My Life On and Off the Canvas (Crown Publishers, 2013) an autobiography of painter Eric Fischl written with Michael Stone, and The Woman Upstairs, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), a novel by author Claire Messud. Since I read them in sequence, the question arose as to how one book based on facts, and another a work of fiction frames the experience of the contemporary artist. Fischl, an ultra successful painter in the mid-1980's opens his autobiographical account with a coke and alcohol fueled traffic incident in New York after the opening of his retrospective at the Whitney to commemorate five years of unrelenting good fortune, … [Read more...]

The Anxiety of Originality

Made in L.A., 2012 Hammer Museum Biennial – Until the beginning of the 20th century, the education and subsequent “originality” of an artist  depended heavily on the practice of copying from the Masters. Even Cezanne and Matisse openly acknowledged their artistic debts. As epater le bourgeoisie became a requirement of serious Modernist art, however, significations of genius and inventiveness were tied less to technical mastery and more to unpredictability, novelty and eccentricity. Heavily dependent on a cult of individualism and its supposed position outside of mainstream culture, the myth of originality propelled the succession of Modernist movements with its serial overthrowing or “clean breaks” with tradition. The artist’s … [Read more...]

When Art Had Heart

L.A. Raw—Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980  – As part of the massive near year long Pacific Standard Time series of exhibitions exploring the post-World War II Los Angeles art scene, curator Michael Duncan’s survey L.A. Raw - Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, from Rico Lebrun to Paul McCartney at the Pasadena Museum of California Art stands out as the most memorable and powerful—and least publicized—of all the PST offerings. An in-depth investigation of notable and less familiar artists of that period who were driven by “introspection and angst” to make “socially relevant art ,“ the exhibition raises as many questions about the current state of art in the face of equally compelling issues. In his … [Read more...]

Inside the Artists Studio—Sean Duffy

Inside the Artist’s Studio is an-ongoing series exploring issues  on contemporary art through direct encounters with the artists themselves.  Dude-entity – Consider the American garage. Besides its primary purpose as storage for automotive maintenance supplies and providing year round protection for our economy’s most important commodity, the 21st century garage might be analyzed in the same manner as Walter Benjamin examined the deteriorating 19th century Parisian arcades. According to Benjamin, the 20th century was foretold in the demise of the 19th century shopping malls with its often absurd contents. Catacombs of surplus and obsolete consumer items, like the arcades, the garage reveals the fashions, … [Read more...]

Inside the Artist’s Studio – Maren Hassinger

Inside the Artist’s Studio is an-ongoing series exploring issues  on contemporary art through direct encounters with the artists themselves.  Now Dig Into This – There are opportunities for sculpture everywhere. In a field, in a room, on a stage, in the street, on the ceiling, in front of a camera, etc. Every place inspires a different response. Some responses locate us in space and time and link us to particular people in particular places. These last offerings might be political. There are reactions to given events…..There are sculptures acting like sculptures and people acting like people and sculptures acting like people and people acting like sculptures. There’s stillness and motion. There’s the … [Read more...]

Inside the Artist’s Studio – Nuttaphol Ma

Inside the Artist’s Studio is an-ongoing series exploring issues  on contemporary art through direct encounters with the artists themselves.  A River Runs Through It – Badwater Basin in Death Valley, the lowest point in the continental US, is flat, empty, surrounded by desolate, desiccated mountains, and yet the near blinding whiteness of the valley floor symbolizes and enlarges upon the traditional ground zero for the artist—the vacant white studio wall. Or as Jean Baudrillard described the desert, it is the place of “superficial neutrality”, a “challenge to meaning and profundity.” Here on May Day this year Thai American multi-disciplinary artist Nuttaphol Ma began a 6 day, 138.3 mile documented … [Read more...]

Inside the Artist’s Studio: Brian Forrest

Inside the Artist’s Studio is an-ongoing series exploring issues  on contemporary art through direct encounters with the artists themselves. A Radical Arcadia – “There have always been two kinds of arcadia: shaggy and smooth; dark and light; a place of bucolic leisure and a place of primitive panic”, Simon Schama tells us in Landscape and Memory, one arcadia being “a dark grove of desire, but also a labyrinth of madness and death”. He further describes certain arcadias as purposefully and importantly untamed: “turf, gorse, heather, and timber, trees, shrubs and brushwood” of the heaths outside of 19th century London were a cherished gift to the city dwellers—landscapes of urban imagination that answered certain needs … [Read more...]

Inside the Artist’s Studio: Harmony Hammond

Inside the Artist’s Studio is an-ongoing series exploring issues  on contemporary art through direct encounters with the artists themselves.   The Monochrome Reconsidered – Harmony Hammond and I had just turned onto the interstate leading out of Santa Fe to Galisteo where she maintains her home and studio when traffic assumed the sluggish pace caused by rubbernecking motorists. As if from a slow moving escalator, we then had our chance to gaze at the limp body of a smallish black dog in the center of the left lane, its curvy plush form like a thick brushstroke dolloped on a gleaming linen canvas. A larger mongrel dog frantically circled its companion’s corpse, its terrified eyes searching to comprehend … [Read more...]

Urbanature – Ross Rudel and Pierre Picot

New Representations of the Natural A six part serial essay and online exhibition focused on the contemporary depiction of landscape in the painting, photographic and sculptural arts. Introduction and Additional Exhibition Artists: Urbanature, An Introduction, Merion Estes, Roland Reiss and Elizabeth Bryant,Don Suggs and Karen Carson, Linda Stark and Nancy Evans,Coleen Sterritt and Constance Mallinson – ROSS RUDEL Once a year at the summer solstice, Ross Rudel runs naked through Griffith Park late at night. Feeling the warm air, the brush of shrubbery almost erotically touch the skin, reverting to animal instincts as one uses all the senses to safely move through the darkened, potentially dangerous space, affirming our … [Read more...]