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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...]

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...]

Redhawk, Documenting Standing Rock

Ryan Vizzions: Photography Raising Consciousness, Dakota Access Pipeline—   A lot has been happening in North Dakota since the Standing Rock Sioux tribe first stood up against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that threatens the 174,00 sq mile Ogallala Aquifer.   At least 76 law enforcement agencies have been called in to protect corporate interests, against the peaceful water protectors who oppose them. Representatives from an estimated 280 groups of indigenous peoples (a first in U.S. history) as well as 5,000 veterans have showed up in solidarity with the tribe. Peaceful water protectors have been charged with rioting and attempted murder, while laws are being … [Read more...]

The Human Side of Drone Warfare

National Bird (2016), Produced and Directed by Sonia Kennebeck— What happens to humanity when you take the humanity out of warfare? The documentary, National Bird, which opens in theaters in New York and around the country on Veterans Day, November 11, addresses this question head on. The official argument would have us believe, that at least in the US, humanity benefits. Our servicemen and women conduct war safely, here at home, playing with cool technology that negates injury and losses. But, as with any adoption of a new technology, the planned effects may differ drastically from the actual outcome. National Bird offers us an opportunity to see this war through the eyes of both the operators and their victims. The film … [Read more...]

The Godfather of the Media Hoax

Joey Skaggs, Art of the Prank, directed by Andrea Marini — Credit: Relight Films LLC At the NYC premiere screening of the movie Art of the Prank, media satirist Joey Skaggs, the movie's subject and protagonist, pulled a prank. The movie screen went blank and the projectionist claimed that the disc was blank. Nobody fell for it. Unlike the mainstream media and much of the rest of the world, too many us in the 500+ audience at the SVA Theatre were already fans of the man who brought us the Cathouse for Dogs, Dog Meat Soup, Comacocoon vacations, The Fat Squad diet commandos, Baba Wa Simba, the roar therapist and Maqdananda the psychic attorney; all news stories, none true. A rarity in any day and age, Joey Skaggs has succeeded in … [Read more...]

The Christmas Card that Never Was

But Reached Biblical Proportions Despite — Christmas Creativity Beginning 6 years ago I started work on a holiday card that would feature a series of gun-toting Jesus’ from online. I was tempted by the eye-catching efforts of various “artists” to recruit this man, legendary for his non-violent views, to their own base purposes. It was to be an irreverent, “He’d Turn in His Grave” kind of card. I would staple it together into as a found-art booklet that would amuse and impress friends with my Crazy Christmas Creativity. Little did I know how vastly infectious the Jesus meme is when it enters one’s life and consciousness. So, how do we know who Jesus is? We readily recognize this bearded longhair, even in disguise. Google Jesus … [Read more...]

Passages

Paths and Proximities, Photography by Robert A. Kato — In my conversations with Robert Kato he states his intention is to frame these photographs as not of paths, but of things in their proximity, things that had compelled his attention when he wasn't predisposed to look for anything in particular. These photographs speak to the individuality of each passage. Robert’s journey is not about destination but about staying with the moment, a mindfulness practice: impressions, bifurcations, mist, frost, a bush, a history in prints, scratches within scratches, scarification by repeated footsteps, cool colors, green, pale blue, grays and browns, deterioration, the passage of time. “There is no difference between Time and the three … [Read more...]

Nesting Instinct – Outreach

The Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum – This is the third  installment of a three part series on the Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Part 1, “First Encounter” tells how the author-photographer first became a part of the museum’s conservation efforts. Part 2, “Behind the Scenes” takes a look at how the nests are collected, categorized, conserved and studied before display. This final photographic essay is accompanied by the text “Outreach”, an interview with the museum’s Natural History Curator, Marty Buxton. ***** Naomi Pitcairn: Can you walk me through the creative process of preparing an exhibit? Marty Buxton: The process can be quite variable, but essentially it involves choosing a theme and tweaking it enough to fit the … [Read more...]

Protest

On the Ground with Occupy Oakland – Photography by Naomi Pitcairn Naomi Pitcairn, activist, photographer and contributor to Times Quotidian, has a choice—and she chooses Oakland. When my husband and I were contemplating a move to the Bay Area she was begging us to please be open to the East Bay with it's diversity in art and culture. When the community calls she left the comfort zone of her sequestered studio work and took her camera to the streets to be a part of Occupy Oakland. Naomi is also a long time member of the Fresh Juice Party , "a politically prejudiced media group who produces custom media packets for causes we believe in." FJP sponsored two free vegetarian lunch programs for the protestors via the sympathetic Fountain … [Read more...]

Nesting Instinct – Behind the Scenes

The Nests of the Lindsey Wildlife Museum – This is the second installment of a three part series on the Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Part 1, "First Encounter" tells how the author-photographer first became a part of the museum's conservation efforts. Part 3, "Outreach" is an interview with the museum's Natural History Curator, Marty Buxton. Behind the Scenes The word curator comes from the Latin word cura, which means care. Also known as a keeper, the museum curator needs to be an authority on the subject of his/her collection to not only assure the collection's good condition, but to organize, and interpret it's contents for the public. By designing meaningful ways for others to interact with the subject matter the curator's … [Read more...]

Nesting Instinct – First Encounter

The Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum This is the first installment of a three part series on the Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Part 2, "Behind the Scenes" will take a look at how the nests are collected, categorized, conserved and studied before display. Part 3, "Outreach" is an interview with the museum's Natural History Curator, Marty Buxton. First Encounter I am not a birder, too much looking through binoculars and neck strain, but that doesn’t keep me from being fascinated by their lives. I first came to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum and Hospital with a small finch, a pine siskin, that had flown into my house, having been attacked by my cats. After delivering my bird, who sadly did not make it, I walked around the … [Read more...]

Citi Wallz

Mission District Wall Painting – I spent the most of the '80s in NYC back in the heyday of the train graffiti. It was such an alive art form; fun, ironic, unashamedly bright, daring and political. Just the way the paint was applied had a living energy. You had to enjoy it in the moment because you might never see it again. Some of it ended up in books and galleries, but most was power-washed away or painted over. You never knew for sure who did it or why. I worked as billboard painter or "wall dog" at the time, which prompted my appreciation of these works of art in progress. There were similarities in the brash, temporary slickness of both mediums and they often competed for real estate. Unlike more formal painting, walls are … [Read more...]

A Lamentation for the Gulf

Exquisite Corpse, Photography by Naomi Pitcairn – On this the 55th day of BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, as tens of thousands of gallons of oil continue to pour into the Gulf of Mexico, the heartbreaking vandalism of the sentient ocean's population is unimaginable. According to the Center for Public Integrity, BP accounted for "97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government inspectors." This willful and egregious trespass against wildlife of the Gulf Coast of Mexico amassed in the name of high speed gross profit is truly unconscionable. I have been holding on to these Exquisite Corpse photographs by Naomi Pitcairn, waiting for larger meditation to take shape in my mind, but I keep returning to … [Read more...]

The Politics of Hand Made

The Art of Pam DeLuco— On a recent foray to Michael’s – “The Arts and Crafts Store”, amidst a jungle of fake flowers and pre-assembled memories I had an “epiphany beside the wall of Easter Bunnies”. It would appear that hand made has not only lost its place in “art” but also its place in craft. It seems to have morphed into a ready-made elite pastime fashioned on figurines, stickers and plastic jewels. As we carefully decorate, glue and frame with pre-packaged stuff made in far away lands, are we not just supporting the art of mega industry? In our attempts to feel a feigned sense of loving hands of home are we not undermining the very politics of hand made? The time honored politics of "hand made" are those of self-sufficiency; … [Read more...]

Remains of the Day

Astroboy Unbound  Photography by Naomi Pitcairn – The photographs of Naomi Pitcairn's Empty Nest series remind us that deconstruction is immanent. That inherent in all possibility is also the inevitable demise. These packages, once disembodied, cease to hold it together. Take Astroboy. He is first seen forward facing, standing at attention, full of potential. But when next spotted he has become Icarus, back now turned away, heading towards his destiny. How quickly promise can turn into ambitious defeat. Fated, singed by aspiration he floats away untethered on his space walk into the sunset. Initially designed to preserve and protect, a few of these leftovers possess a built in means to inflict injury. Child endangerment is a … [Read more...]

Out of the Box

Empty Nests – Photography and Artist's Statement by Naomi Pitcairn  In this photographic series entitled "empty nests" I focus on a set of ordinary objects - the packaging of children's dolls and action figures. Removed from their larger context these items of material culture become extra-ordinary, providing a micro-context of their own - one that is emotionally manipulative, sensorial-ly seductive and ultimately, persuasive. Though often manufactured abroad, these "fictionalized" mini-environments for plastic homunculi bear surprising truths about our culture of consumption and the western world view. Sans "toy" the packaging can be viewed for its semiotic quality where it works on many layers to reify culturally constructed gender … [Read more...]