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One Man’s Treasure

Graffiti, A Movement: Judgements and Valuations — People have been distributing unsolicited art to unappreciative recipients since long before Sylvester Stallone left his “movie prop” on the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum, but it does seem to have become a trend these days. “The bronze Rocky statue, commissioned by Stallone himself, was originally placed atop the Art Museum steps, but it has been moved several times over the years because officials thought it was not art.” – ABC 6 (Philadelphia) This begs the question of course: what is art? What, indeed? An unappreciative or uninformed individual may simply not be aware of the value of this or that masterpiece and kick it summarily to the curb. Another may walk by, … [Read more...]

Art in the Age of Trump

Made in LA 2018, Biennial Exhibition, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles — 2018, the second year into Donald Trump’s presidency, also is the year for the current installment of the Hammer Museum’s sprawling “Made in L.A.” Biennial. As the Trump administration systematically obliterates the groundbreaking accomplishments of several of his predecessors, the exhibition features artists of all mediums who enlist their observations and explorations in the cause for maintaining—or restoring—progressive and critical thinking. Virtually every area of human and non-human activity that has been harmed by the present regime, including, but not exclusive to global politics and trade, climate change, women’s rights, racial discrimination, immigration … [Read more...]

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...]

Pinking Pershing

Chalkupying for the Women's March, Los Angeles, January 20th, 2018 — January 2018 I was busy laying down some more chalk art in Pershing Square, this time for the 2nd Women’s March Los Angeles whose attendance I would learn reached 500K, the largest in the country. My concept of a raised Fist in defiance and defined by power, seemed to resonate with the crowds intent; be seen, speak out, be heard, be counted! The Fist was an overall pink experience and featured a nail job lacquered pristinely in ultra gloss, designed to invoke the spirit of this significant gathering. In the final photos, filmed by drone, I had my own epiphany and the impulse to extend my middle finger was a heartfelt exultant gesture combined … [Read more...]

Looking Back: La Biennale

All Photography Courtesy of Martha Wilcox Venice — After so many blue chip gallery openings, sales-driven art fairs, and blockbuster museum exhibitions this year, the Venice Biennale was a memorable departure. The strong presence of capitalism was still there, lurking always in the background of important cultural events, yet it was upstaged by the quality of the work itself; a rare feat in the art world. Criticism of the Biennale is certainly warranted, from the countries exhibited to the allocation of the onsite pavilions, but there remains a kind of fitting grandeur to the event that recalls Venice’s bygone days of doges and palaces. The Biennale felt both modern and global while taking place in a city that is anything but. After … [Read more...]

Martin Creed: The Art of Installation

The Back Door, Park Avenue Armory, June 8th-August 7th, 2016— You’re The One For Me (2012) It may be 2016 but it is still surprising to be confronted by the medium-less methodology of truly conceptual artists. Even today, as the lines between art and culture blur daily, artists who define themselves by concept rather than medium, continue to be unique. The latest installation at the Park Avenue Armory by the conceptual British artist Martin Creed (b. 1968), teases viewers with every form of art imaginable. There are videos, wandering minstrels, paintings and drawings, “sculptural interventions,” installations, balloons, metronomes, and woven textiles, making the exhibition seem like a surrealist carnival. Within this massive … [Read more...]

Extrusion Riff

Notes from Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital (Museum of Art and Design) Inside 3D Printing (New York Javits Center)  — I can extrude anything. I can make anything out of anything. I can make products out of my images. A duvet out of a photo of my dog. Why? And why not? Last year I wandered excitedly through a show at New York’s Museum of Art and Design, Out of Hand:  Materializing the Postdigital  (Oct 16, 2013 to June 1, 2013). From the website: “Out of Hand will be the first major museum exhibition to examine this interdisciplinary trend” {i.e., digital fabrication – JS}  “through the pioneering works of more than 80 international artists, architects, and designers, including … [Read more...]

Notes From Paris: JR’s Au Panthéon

This summer, the Parisian street artist known semi-anonymously as JR installed his massive, black and white portraits inside the classically built Panthéon, tackling that age old divide between art and architecture. Erected in the latter half of the 18th century in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Panthéon was intended to be a neo-classical church and ended up as a famous mausoleum. The Panthéon has an ornate, Gothic exterior embellished by Corinthian columns and beautiful stonework, and inside boasts lofty domed ceilings, religious murals and stunning marble floors. Glass windows and skylights fill the galleries with natural daylight, giving the interior the hushed feeling of a religious space. For the duration of the exterior renovations … [Read more...]

Swoon’s Submerged Motherlands

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands, Brooklyn Museum, 2014, Installation View — The Brooklyn-based artist Caledonia Curry is known best as the street artist named Swoon. She remains one of the very few female street artists whose style is as recognizable as a Banksy, and who has been wheatpasting her intricate portraits and paper cutouts onto Brooklyn buildings and beyond for over a decade. In the last five years, as the street art movement has gained momentum and commercial appeal in the art world, Swoon has created several site-specific, high-traffic installations. From her Swimming Cities project,handmade rafts that sailed uninvited onto the shores of the Venice Biennale in 2009, to the suspended sculptural installation Thalassa, … [Read more...]

Rhizome Central

Clare Graham, MorYork Gallery and The New Craft Paradigm — To enter MorYork gallery in Highland Park you follow a curve of finished concrete beneath an understated, vaguely neo-deco pediment. The functional, just-so quality of this entrance amplifies the aesthetic shock you encounter stepping into what is either an Aladdin’s cave full of techno-primitive wonder, or a poetic cargo ship adrift on a sea of dreams — possibly both at once. The high-ceilinged space is so full, floor to ceiling, with handcrafted wonders that the eye is never sure where to settle, and therefore stumbles along bejeweled surfaces and up curving forms fashioned in startling ways from the familiar products of mass production. Lacquered cabinets open to reveal … [Read more...]