Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The dark cloud hanging over auction season...


The auction itself was pretty dull all in all (read more about that here:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/arts/design/04auction.html?ref=arts), but the dullest thing there were the catalogue photos of the work! I understand we're all feeling the little grey recession-cloud hanging over the auctions this year, but does that cloud need to be apparent in the photos of the work? I guess Christie's really IS cutting catalogue expenses by hiring a blind five year-old to shoot the work. Sheesh.

I've shot my own work before. I've shot work at the gallery's I've worked in. I'll admit, it's not always easy, particularly when you're dealing with glass, weird lighting situations, shiny oil paint, etc. But with a tripod and Photoshop, any moderately schooled fool can get this stuff close to right!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

F-ART

Saw this today on one of my favorite blogs-- http://unfortunatenames.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who stole the Klonopin from the Klonopin Jar?

Since no one can seem to stop talking about Damien Hirst this week (I think it was that "sharktank" article in the Times), I've decided to just go with it.  So here's yet another post about Mr. Hirst:

I was once at a student artshow where a young sculptor created a piece similar to these "medicine cabinets" of Hirst's. The artist laid out a variety of different prescription pills he or she collected from friends on top of a pedestal and tacked labels beneath each drug.  The piece was intended to be about the proliferation of psychotropic drugs, showing just how many powerful medications one could find within even a small group of close friends.  What made this work memorable, however, was that there was one pill missing.  There was an empty slot labelled "Klonopin," leading me to believe that some college student in attendance had stolen that particular pill.  The whole idea behind the work fell away, and with that one empty slot the piece became about 'who the hell stole that tranquilizer?'  The missing pill made the work the star of the show; everyone in attendance was laughing and whispering about it.  As my friends approached me I'd immediately ask, "Oh my god, did you see that someone stole the Klonopin?"

As I recount the experience, I wonder if the artist might have left the Klonopin off the work on purpose.  I guess we'll never know who stole the Klonopin, or if the whole thing was a set up, and that's what made the work interesting.

Jeff Koons or shitty Christmas gift?

My boyfriend likes to tell a story about the worst Christmas gift he ever got: a Chia Pet. All I can tell him is just to be glad he didn't get a Jeff Koons instead.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blood Diamonds: "Damien Hirst Trips Over a Diamond the Size of his Head and Dies"

Here are some things I’d rather do than continue to think about Damien Hirst this week: 

1. Watch more Bloomberg campaign ads

2. Clean my cats’ litter box

3. Look at Ryan Seacrest’s shit-eating face

4. Try to get my health insurance company to provide me with basic services

5. Become friends with the idiot I’m watching get screamed at by Judge Judy

However, when I came across this jewel (pun intended), I just had to continue to expend energy worrying about Mr. Hirst’s rich ass.  The image above is an edition of work by a duo of Dutch artists known as PIEK! and is entitled “Damien Hirst Trips Over a Diamond of his Head and Dies.”  Wouldn't we all love for the only casualty of Hirst's gratuitous use of blood diamonds to have been himself?  

Luck for you, there are still a few available! see more here: http://www.piek.com/ned/werk/damien/index.html

Also check out there series of self portraits (photos taken by people selling mirrors on craigslist. genius).

John McCracken or Cheap Furniture?

In honor of some of our most recent posts (Damien Hirst or Halloween decor, and the "Donald Judd or Cheap Furniture" quiz) I bring you "John McCracken or Cheap Furniture."

Want that mirror? Check it out at cb2: http://www.cb2.com/family.aspx?c=589&f=4407

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CAT-alyse Creativity

I think it is safe to say that most artists are characters, some charmingly quirky, others uniquely eccentric, and then there are the select few who are not playing with a full pack of cards. We all joke about the crazy peeps we meet in the field, but this is of course, because we really aren't witnessing the worst of the mental disorders (which is no laughing matter). I am talking about the big ones that get you committed. It is hard to say if any of these creations from within the hospitals are going to count as fine art. There are those who believe that these unbridled expressions of Academically untainted creativity are the purest, truest forms of art (children's pictures also being included here). Then again, there is a difference between an artist, now committed, making work, versus the creations of a non-artist in an art therapy session. It boils down to what is art as a craft and what is art as a product made by a professional who combines mastered technique with creative genius. This is why you normally see mental patient art in outsider art galleries, with one noted exception of Louis Wain

Wain was a Victorian artist, never part of the mainstream British Academy, who specialized in comical cat illustrations. Then he became a schizophrenic and started his 'whooooooaa' cat drawings (like Mittens here, pictured above). Now he is highly collectible and finally counted as a fine artist. Wain was prolific; fabulous, really because I need one of these strangely psychedelic cats. It is really funny to think that these drawings are from the 1930's. They just seem so forward thinking in terms of aesthetic. I feel the same way about William Blake's work. I don't think they are ahead of their time exactly, just unfettered by temporal conventions. I would say that they fit in with more modern work only because it is now mainstream to be 'original' and un-Academic. But who knows, in another 20 years these kitties might go back to being dated misfits.

Monday, October 19, 2009

So Cute... I'm Getting All Faklempt

I am going to try and keep it under control here, but holy monkeys, I love cute things. I don't think I am alone here. Japan has Kawaii, which is cuteness embraced at the national level, and New York has these simply amazing lottery advertisements. If you haven't seen these commercials, you really should look them up. There are bunnies in people clothes doing people things in miniature environments. I just can't handle all the fluff!

So I figure that it is time to give a shout out to cute art. First of all, it is so smart from a commercial standpoint (kinda important if you want to make rent each month). Cute stuff sells. You can have a cute painting up in your house and not worry what your Great Auntie Mable is going to say when she comes over to visit; don't lie, you know that you have one piece in your collection that is too much of a conversation starter for family viewing. And then cute things are just plain fun. They tap into a childlike mental state we all have where you can just like something without having an intellectual or conceptual justification for it.

Let's take a look at Florentijn Hofman, Dutch artist whose globe trotting, ginormous duckie is pictured above, Rubber Duck In Osaka, 2009. Hofman's work varies in theme (always whimsical but not always cute animals) however, everything is always done on a large scale. I think this is a great strategy to keep things from getting too cloying and also giving just enough of an innovative edge. Still, large works means lots of money--not something an unestablished artist can easily attempt. So let's try at cute on a smaller scale...

Check out Inhae, an artist from Berkley who is now the notorious chronicler of My Milk Toof. The story line goes like this: you loose your baby teeth/milk teeth when you are a kid and they wander off to who knows where (I unfortunately do know; my mom has them in a jar next to old house keys...shudder), then one day Inhae's teeth show up with faces and personality, and now they all live together and Inhae records their misadventures on her blog My Milk Toof. These 'teeth' are made of polymer clay and are essentially props for some rather adorable photography. The artistic innovation here is using the Internet as a gallery and the blog becomes the actual art piece.

But what if you prefer a hermit, bunker style studio with no Internet access? We have you covered!! Amigurumi is the Japanese art of making cute, crocheted, stuffed figurines with anthropomorphic features. Here in the US I guess this is more of an Indie craft thing, but in Japan it is a full on art form. I think Amigurumi is one of those things that could be just a fun decoration, but it has the potential to be flushed out into an interesting installation or creepy/adorable public art project.

Or you could just train cats to dance with each other while wearing bloomers and top hats.

Go and hassle the Hofman: http://www.florentijnhofman.nl/dev/index.php
See Toof on Toof action: http://mymilktoof.blogspot.com
Your daily fiber art: http://www.fullamigurumi.com/en/

Silence of the Leaves: Your kid looks like Hannibal Lechter.

One of the things I love most in this world are amateur photography contests. Just like a thrift store, these contests ask you to dig through some ugly crap to get to the good stuff. You find ugly cliches, some lovely images, and the occasional accidentally HILARIOUS picture. You can imagine my excitement this morning when I came across the gem above at weather.com's fall photo contest. I can understand how the photographer (who I'm guessing is a loving relative of this child) may have missed the obvious likeness between this adorable child and Hannibal Lechter, but what about the photo editors?

Check it: http://www.weather.com/outlook/photo/read/fallfoliage/B437C983-6EE6-4BA0-92FE-D979A1C38FBF?from=hp_dwp

Sunday, October 18, 2009

All that glitters is not worth $100 MIL...

Piggybacking off Allie's last post, I thought I'd give ya'll a side-by-side skull comparison. At left is Damien Hirst's "For the love of God, 2007"  valued at $100,000,000; at right is one of Pottery Barn's newest Halloween acessories "Glitter Skull" valued at $19.  Remind you of one of these shitty fashion magazine features entitled "Blow the rent, Pay the rent?"

Friday, October 16, 2009

OOOOO, Sparkles!!

I am not sure if I am a fan of Damien Hirst. Yes, I like most of his ideas, but I am so professionally offended by his art factory and general whoring it up that I have a hard time really appreciating his concepts. For the Love of God was no exception. I can really get behind the inspiration, which was reportedly his mother asking him something along the lines of, "well... what are you going to do now?" Of course, cover a skull with diamonds. Personally, I would have trained hamsters to perform The Rite of Spring but with a post apocalyptic twist (after three martinis, you would totally pay to see this).

The funny thing about this skull is that the idea has to be the artistic genius in this piece as Hirst in no way did this himself. Not that I would necessarily fault him for this as he is not a jeweler, however it is the flawless execution which is the real selling point of this piece. Seriously, if it wasn't flawless it wouldn't be creepy or nearly so emotive. Hearken back to the scandal with Spiritus Callidus #2 by John LeKay; the Pillsbury-esque crystal skulls which is the idea that Hirst allegedly ripped off. The reason why no one really bought into the concept stealing (no matter how likely it was the Hirst did take the idea) was that a professional jeweler doing an amazing job of faceting the skull took the concept to an original place. Bearing this controversy in mind, Hirst can in no way take credit or copyright of this sparkly skull idea otherwise he opens a can of worms all over himself. Well, this is where irony steps in. You can now own your own 'diamond encrusted skull' from Pottery Barn. I heart you karma.

Hey kid... You wanna buy a skull?: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/glitter-skull/?pkey=call-decorative-accents

Do you think it is a rip off?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_LeKay

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sitting on the "Tois"-let

Check out this this Roger Andersson toilet. Is it a piece of crap? Or nothing to piss at? Who cares? The point here is I want one.

Want to see more? Go here: http://sarameltzergallery.com/artist.php?artist=andersson

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WalmART

Oh goody, it's another quiz!!It is fairly easy to spot which is art and which is Walmart furniture, but I am entertained with the humor. It is pretty amazing how Modernism is what contemporary furniture looks like. I wonder what mainstream will look like in another 50 years. Personally, I am getting tired of all the clean lines and the photoshoped, graphic aesthetic. Maybe it is because a 10 year old with a paint program could make most of those designs and a 10 year old did make that cheap, Modernist furniture. Not that there is anything wrong with children getting immersed in the arts at a young age. I guess that we all owe Walmart thanks for making art accessible to everyone, regardless of age and socioeconomic status. http://reverent.org/donald_judd_or_cheap_furniture.html

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Clear Your Desks, It's Time for a POP QUIZ

My butt got kicked. I am really embarrassed. I blame public education.

See how you do: http://reverent.org/true_art_or_fake_art.html

So Art is the Oldest Profession?

I heart you Maryland. It is where I grew up and a girl couldn't ask for more. There was always some drama (thank you Marion Berry) and now I am proud to say that art has entered the lime light.

For those of you who have not already heard (sorry for not jumping on this sooner but it takes a while for news to trickle out here to the West Coast) ACORN's Baltimore branch got in the news for giving tax advice to pimps and prostitutes with special provisions to child trafficking for sexual exploitation. But is this legal? Sure, if you are a performance artist, which is what our undercover pro was told to describe herself as. Brilliant. Seriously though, it is only a matter of time before someone turns prostitute for art; this would be on the street corner and not in the galleries or schools, mind you. I am predicting sometime in the next year. Or is it not shocking enough? What if you were a prostitute dressed up like the Statue of Liberty? Or like a hamster? No, a spork!!

Read all about it: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/09/10/acorn.prostitution/

Friday, September 4, 2009

MY CAT IS FAMOUS


Do you like kittens? If yes, check out my now famous one-eyed cat. If no, then you may need to re-evaluate your life.

Building Hair-odynamics

DAMMIT

This was going to be my senior thesis...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6129774/Woman-builds-house-out-of-human-hair.html
I know this was not made as art outright (more in the craft category), but I think the basic idea fits well into many process, time lapse, and conceptual art practices. Although I guess it counts as fiber art, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

3F ARTS Fail

Who doesn't love failblog.org? I, for one, check it everyday. Today's fails featured a little gem that seems quite appropriate for F***ART. Enjoy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun: More Chewing Gum

I feel compelled to respond to Allie's last post about Maurizio Savini with a discussion about the grandmommy of chewing gum sculptures, Nellie Mae Rowe. Considered a master of American Folk Art, Rowe's work has influenced artists and designers (check THIS out) since the 1970s, when she was first recognized as an artist.

Rowe, like many great outsider artists, was prolific, using every scrap of paper for drawings, and recycling any spare materials she could find into her artwork. Childless and a two-time widow, Rowe devoted herself almost completely to art-making after the death of her second husband. Every inch of her home and yard were filled with drawings, sculptures, and dolls. She is well known for her chewing gum sculptures like "Woman in Bonnet" pictured above, though there are surprisingly few images of these to be found on the web.

Want more Nellie? Read John MacGregor's "I See a World Within a World: I Dream but Am Awake." (No, it's not online, you have to go to the library or a bookstore for this one **gasp**)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

But Do They Come in Spearmint??

Who doesn't like a larger than life poodle surrounded by hungry alligators? And YES, those bubble gum pink figures are GUM. Italian artist Maurizio Savini makes these delectable sculptures from a combination of chewed and un-chewed gum over a fiberglass core. Once assembled, these sculptures are treated with astringent and formaldehyde to keep them from spouting mold (so don't think about breaking off a leg to take home for later). Still, I would like to think that the smell is terrific.

I really like these. It isn't just because they are fun and unusual; to be honest, it is one of my pet peeves when someone uses an unusual material for no reason in particular instead of some intended conceptual reasoning. In his interviews, Savini always describes the gum as a more intimate material that can retain a flesh memory. I can get behind that. You look at a hunk of gum and you can't help but think about the intimacy of chewing and taste. And then there is the visual appearance...PINK: it just brings on the whimsy. As a material, gum is funny with its soft, fleshy, moist mass once chewed and its clean, crisp look when it is fresh out of the wrapper. You really can achieve many visual effects. It would be easy to build with since it sticks and doesn't really crack when dried. Actually, it is a near ideal sculpting material other than the cost. Just think about how much a roll of Bubble Tape costs, now add it up to a life size alligator. Also, I would think that the sugar content would get to you eventually. I hope Savini has good dental.

Molto Maurizio: http://bibi.org/box/archives/2008/01/maurizio_savini.html
Maybe you want to see some more poodle art? I apologize in advance; I just am staggered by what people do with their pets and free time: http://www.pinkcoyote.net/creativegrooming.html

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm Down to Two Pictures a Day

You might have seen these around. Or like me, you lived next to them and never noticed. I blame it all on the cumulative effects of paint fumes and rouge clouds of swamp gas.

Art-o-mats have been springing up world wide for a little over a decade. They are the brain child of one, Clark Whittington, and really an interesting idea. The whole premise behind the Art-o-mat is to extend art into the community with accessibility and a low price point that allows everyone to buy art. The art vending machines themselves are recommissioned cigarette machines that have been retrofitted to dispense small, original art pieces from hundreds of artists worldwide. There are many machines so there is an excellent chance that one is located near you. And yes, if you are interested in having your art become part of this project, you can submit images for consideration.

I just think that this is a great idea. It is a fun venue for artists (with great exposure) and it really promotes the idea that everyone can be a connoisseur and get involved in the arts. Not to mention the cool, smooth, energizing scent left on the art that keeps you coming back for more.

Buy Me: http://www.artomat.org/
More on Whittington: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_Whittington

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Watch Out for Falling Artists

I think she should get an incomplete because she didn't die. Better yet, can she turn it into a series?

http://www.lemondrop.com/2009/08/25/girl-on-trial-for-making-bad-art/?icid=mainhtmlws-maindl5link3http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lemondrop.com%2F2009%2F08%2F25%2Fgirl-on-trial-for-making-bad-art%2F

Seriously though, this is the type of bullshit that gives performance art and art in general a bad name. This same rational would make an episode of Punked the equivalent of watching Art21. But maybe I have been in the presence of genius for many years now and never knew it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Q + A with Professor John Sarra!


You have painting questions? We have painting answers. Today's answers are courtesy of John Sarra, painter and professor extraordinaire. 


FB: How does one put a layer of water-based paint on top of oil? 

JS: The rule to follow is "oil over water, but not water over oil". When we talk about oil paints "drying", we are actually talking about a process called polymerization in which the molecules continually cross-link, making the surface more and more brittle over time. Water based paints, on the other hand, are usually fully cured in less than two weeks. The surface has a tendency to continue to breathe, allowing water vapor to move through the paint film. This works fine when the flexible, breathing layer joins the substrate of fabric or wood, which are also mobile as moisture levels go up and down. Problems happen when the flexible and mobile layer is adhering directly to an oil film. The result, whether it takes a long or short time, will be a degradation of the painting's surface.


FB:  How does one put a layer of oil-based paint on top of paper?

JS:  The problem with oil on paper is that the linoleic acid, which is found in many of the oils used in oil paints, destroys natural fibers over time. The principle to observe, then, is that a coat of sizing must be applied to the paper to isolate the fibers from the oil. There are a number of options for sizing including shellac, natural or synthetic glues (especially PVA glue), or acrylic polymer (in the form of a medium, acrylic paint, or acrylic gesso). I have also used left-over latex house paint (better brands are fortified with acrylic-- they don't actually have natural latex rubber in them), which behaves differently depending on the specified sheen. Matte colors remain more absorbent. Your choice of sizing depends on whether you wish to preserve the original look of the paper or if you wish to have a white or colored ground.


FB: "I don't have access to an industrial sink. How do I wash my brushes?"

JS:  I know many artists who wash their brushes with soap and water either regularly or occasionally, but I never do it. Instead I give them a good cleaning with rags and solvent, and this is just fine for natural bristle brushes. If you are using soft-hair brushes, this probably won't work for long-- the hairs will gum up and ruin the brush. The thing to do is to clean the brush thoroughly with solvent until it wipes "clean" on a rag. Then wash using soap and water. Most people don't have sinks with filtration devices for the waste water. The concern here is that heavy metals can be washed down the drain and into the environment. By the time you reach the sink, you should not be washing out any significant amount of pigment-- it should only be a trace amount. But you should recognize that these are cumulative poisons, and even trace amounts are bad amounts. Another strategy would be to eliminate heavy metals from your palette (lead, cadmium, and cobalt are three of the big nasties), replacing them with other pigments. I suppose that you could keep containers of rinse water in your studio, allowing solids to settle and collect as the water evaporates. Disposal of the residue will be covered by the final question, below.


FB: "What's the safest way to dispose of my chemicals and paint rags?"

JS:  The best way to manage waste is to minimize it. Solvent disposal is the biggest issue for most painters. In my view the best practice is to use as little solvent as possible, and to use it responsibly. I don't let my brushes soak in solvent. Instead, I clean them during or at the end of each painting session. This is my procedure for brush cleaning: (1) wipe excess paint off of the brush onto the palette, (2) wipe excess paint off of the brush onto a rag, (3) dip the brush into solvent, then "paint" the slurry onto a rag until the brush starts to wipe clean (4) submerge the bristles in the solvent and twist them against the SIDE of the jar, releasing any final particles (5) wipe the brush dry on a clean cloth. By cleaning the brush against the side of the jar in step 4, you allow the sediment on the bottom of the jar to remain undisturbed. Occasionally you can allow a jar of used solvent to settle out and then pour off the good solvent, collecting the sludge for later disposal. Rags should be allowed to dry thoroughly. If you are using strong solvents or fast-drying oils with your paint, be sure to spread the rags flat in a well ventilated area. Some materials may spontaneously combust if left crumpled. This is not a concern with artist-grade linseed oil. Once rags are dry, they can usually be disposed of with your regular garbage. Many communities have annual collections of hazardous liquid and solid wastes - check with your local government. I don't recommend that you stockpile the used rags because they present a fire hazard.

*bolding by F***art

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'll have a PETA platter to start...

Oh, PETA, PETA, PETA... where would I be without your shenanigans?

There has been an upswing in PETA (this would be the pro-animal rights group, not the 'people eating tasty animals' one) controversy in the past week. Some real classic moments. Who could forget Nia Long and her airbrushed poll? Or the beached, bikini clad whales of Jacksonville? I am going to gloss over my personal feelings on their objectified and twisted use of women and their nefarious art department and jump to the newest controversy.
PETA's panties are now in a twist over Kansas City's refusal to put their sculpture of a crying, chained, baby elephant up in a public, city park for a month long installation, which would be a protest to the circus whilst it is in town. Charming, really. While I do not regularly attend the circus, my gut feeling is that those baby elephants are living higher on the hog than a large segment of the world population (but why would we protest the starvation and trafficking of children?). What's more, PETA is challenging this refusal as an attack on 1st Amendment rights. Seriously??? A city can elect to put whatever they want up in a public space, hence the whole opting for something that won't be political or offend/disturb. Not to mention, the moment something is put up as 'art,' which this sculpture would clearly count as, it can be judged and rejected by anyone, anytime. I would also like to point out that this fiberglass elephant is not particularly well executed or visually pleasing AND it actually looks happy and festive. Kansas City will allow PETA to protest/rally and bring their elephant for a transient event, though. But not good enough... PETA wants a full month installation for their art. It is amazing how much self-righteousness has infiltrated their message so that they can't even understand that art, regardless of the author, does not have to be accepted. Or at least pick a blue state to debut that delightful little pachyderm (and hope that there is not a Feminist contingency in town lying in wait).

Whatever. It will be interesting to see the fallout over the 'save the whales,' too. There are so many groups that do billboard defacement/improvement art and I think it is safe to safe that this one is ripe for an embittered parody.
And now I am off to floss my teeth with a strip of bacon.
Check out the KC story: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/story/1391745.html

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"This Is Not a Pipe... or Painting"

Miz Briccetti's post on glare, gave me pause to reflect (anyone? anyone? I will be here all evening). It is so frustrating to see paintings under glass. A good painting will utilize the physical qualities of paint as a material and you end up with all this depth from different layers of glazing and whatnot. The glass on top always flattens out these layers as it doesn't let the light in properly and then there is the glare and reflections---although I would like to think that my face floating in the middle of the still life really makes the grapes pop.

Of course, photographing these glass covered pieces is near impossible. I think this is my biggest complaint. There are so many photographs of paintings covered by glass or other reflective surfaces, and I have no idea what I am looking at. Glaze or varnish on paintings are just as bad as glass and with the mandatory digitization of paintings for web viewing, I have doubts regarding the accuracy of what I am seeing. I am guilty of putting a thick, unctuous layer of varnish on everything I do (like a bird or 5 year old, I enjoy shiny things) and I gotta tell you, the photographs of these pieces are not entirely true. Between the flattened glazing and the presence of glare, photoshop makes a new image in an attempt to salvage the digitized painting. I hate that. I suppose the only consolation is that it is true of all paintings; if you can't see them in person, you aren't really seeing them. Take Marevich's White on White (pictured above). It is the proverbial polar bear eating marshmallows in a vat of shredded coconut. The photograph just reduces it to an image and as an image it is pretty boring. It is only interesting when you can get close to it and see all the nuances in the paint. The picture of the piece is only good for documentation (sorta) and if you put the protective glass over it, you may as well put it into storage.

Outsider Art for the Great Outdoors

Did we mention that it is also a planter?? Clearly a MacArthur contender. http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/spk/1269403672.html

Sunday, August 2, 2009

RIP ODB, and also this woman's fingers.

There is a whole genre of art within the New York City subway system which I like to call "Subway Ad-Defacement."  From a little black mustache drawn onto a model, to a more thought provoking political statement, these defaced ad's run the gamut from serious to funny to really really stupid.

So today, we celebrate "Subway Ad Defacement" with a photograph of my all-time favorite. RIP ODB. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Glaring Problem at the Met

 After weeks of procrastination, i finally got a chance to see the the Francis Bacon retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum today. And man, am I glad I went. They had his major masterpieces, studies, memorabilia from his epically messy studio, and so much more.  The show really shows the breadth of his work, explains some of his influences, and makes clear who was influenced by Bacon.  Basically, I loved it except for one tragically major problem: glare.

All the paintings were behind glass, which is in general not my favorite way to look at work, but can be important for conservation and safety.  Unfortunately, Bacon's work, with is subtle darks, really suffered from this.  In general, I'd much rather have to stand back a foot or two and actually be able to see the work I'm looking at than be able to get really close, but be blinded by glare, but this issue was particularly problematic at the Bacon show.

I'm certainly not trying to suggest we throw all caution to the wind at major museums, and put great works of art in danger of being damaged.  I'm not sure exactly why these paintings were all behind glass, and do realize there could be a very good reason for it.  Unfortunately, it made an otherwise amazing show difficult to view.  Also, it was really hot and smelled like sweaty New Yorkers in the first few galleries, but that's another issue all together.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'll Doro Your Dango...

Just when you thought that you had too many artsy hobbies, here comes a mud ball out of left field. Dorodango is the Japanese art of making balls out of mud and then polishing them. Wikipedia describes this as being very popular with Japanese children. I find this particularly funny since playing in the mud is also a common pastime for American kids---except when they play in the dirt, you end up with a big, freaking mess and ringworm.

Dorodango is well known in Japan but is definitely under the radar here in the US. It sounds like tremendous fun, though and a good opportunity to obsess over something. The Dorodango balls are gorgeous when they are done. They have a high polish and are colored according to the soil from which they originated, so you can get some interesting effects. You know you want to try it! Just think of cocktail party conversation potential!!

A dirty site with pics and instructions: http://www.dorodango.com/.

So Sue Me: The Art of the Copyright

Everyone knows that copyright is a big deal, especially in art, where we are banking on the ownership of our creations in order to extract all possible value and buy groceries. And let's be honest, having someone steal your images and pass them off as their own is like winning the lottery. Not only would you be able to prosecute and make some money, but if you spin it right, you could generate some more cash off the publicity. On the other hand, if you change something substantially, it should be yours home free and is even covered Constitutionally as free speech (just be prepared to fess up to the fact that you used something/someone else as a starting point).

Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans is a great illustration of this perspective. Obviously he was banking on the iconic nature of an object and it's originator while modifying the 'can' enough that it is an entirely unique and original item. I don't think this could have been made today without a pretty big law suit going down. There are many instances of appropriation with owned images and icons, but the minuet that the piece gets some monetary attention, the lawyers are called out (I am now thinking of a Mr. Burns type, "release the hounds"). A sad truth that does not seem to stop many artists in their 'borrowed' creations. Besides, that 'illegal' factor adds some mystique to the whole 'art' thing and can serve as the conceptual justification for some people in their art making. Personally, I do enjoy a bit of smart-ass and liability in art periodically.

For a chuckle: http://www.illegal-art.org/print/index.html.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Christie's Art Handler's Farewell Email. A True Classic.

One of my all-time favorite virals from one of my all-time favorite websites--passiveaggressivenotes.com.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When is MoMA going to get a clue? The year Nineteen-Ninety-NEVER?

Whenever I go to MoMA, I get so fucking angry.  And not just because I'm cheap and there is a $20 entrance fee (even though I'm a member and get in free, I am irked by the audacity of those ticket prices).  I'm mainly angry because all I see is work by big famous male artists and a few hot naked women.  Isn't the old joke about how the only way for women to get into museums is by posing nude getting  a little old?

Jerry Saltz recently called MoMA out for this on facebook.  Paris's Centre Pompidou has started promoting art by women with it's "elles" project. The Brooklyn Museum has got it's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.  So when is MoMA gonna get a fucking clue?  Though I'd really love for major museums begin to make serious changes with regards to female artists rather than launching NEW! (and separate) projects, at least such projects are a start.

NY Magazine calls it like they see it: http://nymag.com/arts/art/features/40979/
Remeber when the Guerrilla Girls mentioned those shocking artworld stats years ago? Not much has changed:  http://nymag.com/arts/art/features/40980/

Sticking Together: The Glue Society

If you have been checking out fellowship and prize listings, I am sure that you will have noticed how many of these programs are geared toward promoting international collaborations and the transmission of ideas and culture. I blame the Internet, what with it's connecting the globe and whatnot. Anyway, I came across this group called The Glue Society. It is comprised of artists, writers, directors and everything in between from New York and Sydney. What really sets this group apart is the quality of the work they generate and are affiliated with. They did a melting ice cream truck that was pretty delicious. Check it: http://www.gluesociety.com.au/

The West is Just Gorges

I took the train from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA and it was one of the best rides I have ever been on. The train takes you up though the Columbia River Gorge before running along the Puget Sound up to Seattle. It was just freaking gorgeous... there is not much else to say. I would describe the Northwest, as Hudson River School aesthetic on steroids. I grew up in the Northeast and I can affirm that while the scenery is quite lovely, all those artists of the Hudson were exaggerating just a bit. But out here, I am constantly seeing things that I could not imagine in my wildest flights of fancy. In the pictures above, the left is a photo I snapped in the Gorge and the one on the right is a painting by Thomas Cole called The Oxbow.

You would think that the area would be filthy with landscape painters, but there really aren't many. Actually, I have not seen any great, contemporary landscape paintings (or photography for that matter) in any galleries or shows out here. I am not sure why that is. If I had to guess, I would think that landscape painting has more of a classic or academic feel, while most NW art has more crafty, indie slant to it.

But seriously, if you are a landscape artist, I suggest that you make a trip out here. You might not leave, especially when you realize that Oregon has no sales tax and Washington has no property tax. And let's not forget the granola...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Go to Danese.

When I walk down 24th street in Chelsea, I'm usually pretty skeptical. This week was no different, until I happened upon a fabulous group show at Danese Projects, Forces of Nature. The show's title initally seemed kind of cliched, but after seeing the forceful work depicting and representing nature, I realized it was really a clear, consise, and descriptive way to talk about the work--not just an oblique and trendy catchphrase that looks good in an ARTNews ad.

My favorite piece in the exhibition was Andy Harper's Dry Tide, a muted, glazey oil painting that combined skilled figuration with that crafty "One Stroke Painting" technique I became so well versed in while working at Micheals Arts and Crafts. The show included a number of stand-out photographs, paintings and sculptures, and all in all displayed the gallery's clear point of view.

Go here: http://www.danese.com/Main/Introduction.html

Sunday, June 21, 2009

No, Your Mother Doesn't Work Here: Cleaning Up After Art

Let me start off with saying that I really enjoy Anselm Kiefer's work and 'Breaking of the Vessels' is a lovely piece that I have been attracted to since I first saw it at the St. Louis Art Museum as a kid and continued to see it over subsequent visits. In a way, this piece and I grew up together; it has seen me get bigger and surlier and I have seen it get... well, filthy.

In that pile of glass there are dust bunnies worthy of mounting on the wall of a lodge. There are gum wrappers, dead bugs, crumpled paper, and other miscellaneous blown-in leavings. And let's not forget the the crusty, dirty, smugged glass that is all in razor-sharp, shard form. This is a curatorial and conservation nightmare. If the whole thing were to be disassembled and cleaned, it would never be put back together the same way. On the other hand, if it is left as is... let's just say that you can't see the art through all the crud. Of course, that leads me to another question? Is the crud part of the sculpture? I am going to say 'no' since it started out all shiny and there have been minor attempts to spot clean over the years.
I am not going to say that artists should not make pieces that are impossible to maintain (I am not going to follow that rule) but I think that there should be some nod to the future conservation of any piece if it is supposed to be a permanent sculpture and not a temporary installation. Although it would be kinda funny to make a sculpture out of grapes, tissue paper, and puppies, just to see a museum deal with the mess. Take that future restorationists!! Muahahaha!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nanook of the Fuckin North.

Nanook of the North, the classic 1922 film about an Inuit family in northern Quebec, is usually discussed for its merits as an early documentary and as an example of directorial meddling and staging in a film sold as "reality" (little did we know back then how far MTV would take this premise a century later). But I'm going to discuss the title character and general Arctic badass, Nanook, as a sculptor. As seen in the screen shot above, in teaching his young son about hunting with a bow and arrow, Nanook carves two gorgeous little animal figures from ice for his son to shoot at (and comically miss). He even goes as far to dot their noses and eyes with little rocks and odd scraps! These are interesting examples of Inuit art, and proof that Nanook--expert hunter, igloo builder, and dad--really can do anything. In another scene, Nanook builds an igloo--in under and hour--and installs a clear ice window to allow in light. Artist, architect-- the man is a creative genius!

Also, let's talk about his pants. Do you fucking see them? He skinned a goddamn polar bear to make those--a POLAR BEAR. Remember PETA's unbelievably sexist "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign where they paraded hot naked babes all over town (which should have been called "I'd rather exploit women than wear fur")? I dare PETA to mess with Nanook--killer of polar bears and 300 pound seals--about his pants. But that's another discussion for a different kind of blog.

Cute and Affordable on Etsy: Kari Herer

Ah, summer.  What a perfect time to talk about beautiful flowers and reasonably priced art! When recently featured on one of my other favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy, the photography of Kari Herer came blazing onto my radar and has just been begging to be blogged about.

At left you see one of her delicate floral prints, a photograph of a flower and a drawing where the object and the depiction of it seamlessly flow together. The best part? You can own it for $25!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Video Killed the Painting Star

Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but anyone cruising the listings for grants, fellowships, and calls for work would have noticed the plethora of opportunities for video artists and other experimental media. I can understand the increased need for funds in this medium simply for no other reason than the fact that a video artist can't really sell the piece and consequently pay their rent with the proceeds. Still, it would be nice if most video/experimental work wasn't just some wanker jumping around with a camcorder while filming.

So what do you think is going to happen with video art? I have been having this discussion with a few people lately and I have a few predictions (anyone want to make bets?). First of all, as technology continues to become more and more mainstream, just using technology will not be significant enough to serve as the conceptual justification or qualifier to make something art. Essentially, no one will see the use of video as experimental or cutting edge anymore; it will just be a medium and it will be judged by how effectively that medium communicated the artist's intent and the artist's skill. With any luck, that will weed out most of the crappy videos.

And then the next new thing will come along and dominate the art funds. I have no idea what that could be. I feel like we have covered just about everything, except for animal artists. That would be amusing. The old, crazy cat lady would now be a leading patron of the arts. So go tape a crayon to your kitty's paw and get him started making you millions.

Don't Pull the Finger: Actual F***Arts

It was finally time to go there...

Performance Art has fuzzy definitions. It can be anything from picking up the garbage to crawling around naked in a tunnel of Vaseline. Most of the time, I think to myself, "yeah, sure, I could do that. I might have to burn my clothing and bathe in turpentine afterward, but I could do that." Well, being a Flatulist, an artist of flatulence and temporal bowel control, is something that will always be out of my grasp (God willing... I really do not want to go down in history as 'fart girl').

There is a long and illustrious history of performance f***art in Western Culture. Think back to your Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Ancient Lit, don't you remember mention of farters being the life of the party (don't look!! My inner nerd is showing!!)? This tradition was carried on into Court life; the king always had a professional f***artist on hand. And more recently, the artist known as Le P├ętomane (pictured here) thrilled Parisians at the Moulin Rouge. Just think of it: this guy on stage and Toulouse-Lautrec passed out on absinthe sitting next to you... must have been one heck of a time.

Contemporary F*artists include:
Mr. Methane
That guy on your freshmen floor

(bonus points to anyone who knows the name of the movie where a Le P├ętomane was GOV)

Doodles on My Noodle: John Casey's Creations

John Casey's work is delightfully disturbing. His drawings and sculptures walk that fine line between morbid and tapping into that fascination with our mortality and monstrous insides. I think they are interestingly psychological in that I look at them and find myself having a guttural reaction, not unpleasant, but a bit of a knot in my stomach. You know that feeling when you find a container of leftovers in the back of your fridge that has been there WAYYYYY too long and you know you need to clean it out? You know, that knot in your stomach (I am not talking about spewing here, just a bit of dread and trepidation)? It isn't that Casey's works are about death or are gory, but seeing segmented and deconstructed bodies does go to a place that is terrifying for most. Still, these drawings and sculptures are beautiful; I can't stop looking.

You should have a look, too: http://www.bunnywax.com/index.html

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Donors Should Choose

Anyone go to Donorschoose.org? If not, you should (unless you are a student or starving artist in which case this guilt trip is not meant for you.... or me, for that matter). But I do look at Donors Choose to imagine all the good causes that I could be contributing to if I did not have loans and aspirations of further education and health insurance. Whilst perusing the art listings, where teachers post requests for materials and goods that will aid in the art education of their students, I received quite a shock. After post after post for markers, pencils, books, and paper for high poverty schools, I came upon a request for an LCD projector (an expensive one) for a moderate, socioeconomically situated elementary school... to assist the students in experiencing art.

Am I the only one who is just a little offended by that? I mean, yeah, a nice big picture would be great for looking at pictures, but when compared to the actual mundane deficiencies at other schools... it just seems horrifyingly superfluous and taking away resources that could have been better used. Not to mention that a LCD isn't going to help a little kid experience art much more than a poster on the wall or a pic on the computer. And if we start nit picking, you only could truly experience video art on that projector (somehow I doubt they will be viewing the Cremaster Cycle in Ms. Mcgillicutty's 2nd grade class).

Anyway, I am stepping back down off my soapbox.

Go spend your money here: http://www.donorschoose.org/homepage/main.html?zone=0

Monday, June 8, 2009

So how was the Modern Wing opening?

Oh, you mean the one at the Art Institute of Chicago? Well, I mean, it was ok. You know? It was pretty ok. I guess. How's that for an answer.

1) The booklet. It's ok. I realize booklets are widely considered to be gauche, but the thing to remember is that lots of people still rely on the booklet so it is important. It's the first thing you get when you walk in the door. It's a museum's chance to bring art to the greatest amount of people, even if they have seem a little theme-parky. The first page of the booklet they gave at the doors to the museum and exhibit was titled "What to See in an Hour," and yikes, that was depressing. It was like a 99-cent menu for the history of artwork. Furthermore I didn't see any coherence or harmony amongst the menu items they chose... most of them were just really average. No excitement. It at least had El Greco's Assumption of the Virgin, which is a painting that kicks ass and takes names, but that was all.

2) The flow of the space. Did you hear that rumor that the museum is like a meat processing plant? That's is so ridiculous... because it's true. You do get milled through. Then, at the appropriate place for children, the elderly, and physically unfit young people like myself, they have benches, an espresso station, and bathrooms. I presume it will be a much more pleasant experience when there aren't a shitload of people milling about. I crushed them for your enjoyment.
3) The Special Exhibition room. It is a bunch of bullshit Cy Twombly. I mean, a little bullshit Cy Twombly is ok, everybody knows that he's only famous because of that crazy lipstick incident and all. Yep, I said it. Twombs can step to me. Previously, his un-kissed"masterpiece" was probably just some weirdo painting in the collection of some trustee. Seriously- try googling it and finding a mention or a good early image of Phaedras and you will believe me. That painting was like the little awkward racehorse in the stable of champions, a wee Seabiscuit of paintings amongst a collection of War Admirals! Then someone made out with Seabiscuit, and he became everybody's favie. Anyway, Twombly's here to stay and his paintings are ok. More than ok sometimes. But there is a ridiculous damn glut of Twomblys in this giant space, and they are hung really cramped together and awful.

4) The photography collection. Meh.

5) The Contemporary Art After 1960 rooms. AMAZING! They've got some really choice pieces by Margherita Manzelli, Kerry James Marshall, Robert Gober, Lucien Freud, Bruce Nauman, and Lisa Yuskavage, whom I also crushed for you.

6) The European Modern Art section had a nice view, but the collection itself was a mausoleum of musty old penis paintings. Mostly by Picasso. Swell, moving on.

All in all, it was pretty ok. I look forward to seeing some of those paintings again. Some. I'm appreciative that admission was waived for this event... you can't beat that. I would have enjoyed more awesome paintings like those first few groupings in the Contemporary section, but I'm mostly please with the 'tute. Or as it is now spelling itself in logo, "Institvte." Nice try, guys.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Hair Clock

See The Hair Clock.
Be glad you don't have to wake up to it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Art Fag City vs. New York Times: F***ART weighs in.

Art Fag City had it's own opinion about the New Museum's Younger the Jesus show, which critic Holland Cotter called out for being overly commercial in The New York Times this week.

Check out what AFC had to say (and how we here at F***ART responded) Here:   http://www.artfagcity.com/2009/06/02/whos-framing-a-generation/comment-page-1/#comment-150454

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Museum curators dealt it, The New York Times smelt it.

If you hate museum curators as much as I do (backstory: I used to watch the front desk at a small museum and those sons of bitches were so rude and full of themselves it was unbelievable), then you'll love what the New York Times has to say about The New Museum's clever "Younger than Jesus" show:

"The same biographies (of the artists included in the show) reveal that nearly all of these 33-and-under artists already have substantial careers in progress, with solo shows in commercial galleries, appearances in international surveys and so on. So this isn’t a promising-newcomer event. It’s a market-vetted product and one that, my guess is, entailed relatively little adventuring on the part of its organizers. That much of the work might easily have been found and delivered over the Internet may be the show’s most distinctive generational feature."

Aww, snap! I love it when major publications keep it real.

Read it all here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/arts/design/31cott.html?ref=design
Read more about why I hate curators here: http://effartblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/so-heres-photo-from-new-york-times.html

Lets's Paint TV: "Don't expect an ice cream cone when there's a hamburger in your face."

John Kilduff (aka Mr. Let's Paint TV) makes paintings in a suit while running on a treadmill, answering phone calls, and cooking. And he does it all in front of the camera (and sometimes a live audience at major universities, festivals, and on a few little shows you might have heard of--Tyra Banks, America's Got Talent). His performances and his message are like the yoga of making art: by pushing your body to it's limits, you free your mind (unlike yoga, however, with Kilduff's exercize plan you have a pina colada and a painting waiting for you afterwards).

Kilduff is a serious artist and an internet celebrity with boundless energy and a big personality. His show is completely mesmerizing and features everything from full-figured nudes (see photo above), to pyschdelic-computerized-backgrounds, to bizarre call-ins (from gang members, hecklers, you name it). The public-access version of the show met an untimely end last winter, but Let's Paint TV lives on via youtube and the Let's Paint TV website.

(PS-If you look him up on IMDB, you find the quote in the title of this post.)

GO HERE: http://www.letspainttv.com/

Friday, May 29, 2009

Is Photography Becoming Painting? Duh.

When painter Paul Delaroche stood before an early Daguerreotype and exclaimed "Painting is dead!" he had no idea that one day a  little organization calling themselves "Adobe" would make him eat his words.  Nowadays, painting is far from death, and it's photography that is regressing back towards painting.  The images above, of Estonian model (and chess champion/entrepreneur/politician who's awful caught-with-her-mouth-open Wikipedia photo I don't feel bad about publishing since homegirl's got a zillion things going for her) Carmen Kass, are a perfect example. Start with a tall, thin, good looking girl who photographs well, add an Adobe Photoshop artist on a high-powered computer, and you end up with a digital painting of a supermodel (and a beautiful Dior advertisement).

When un-retouched Steven Klein photos of Madonna surfaced earlier this year, the blog-o-sphere exploded with criticism of the singer-dancer-adopter-of-African-babies' aging face as well as shout-outs to her well-maintained 50-year old face and form. Regardless of how you think she looked, it should really be shocking that "un-retouched photos" caused such a stir. Aren't photos supposed to be un-retouched? Wasn't photography invented as a way to preserve images of the world around us as it actually existed? Argue as much as you like about how photography even in it's purest form will always distort reality (and I'd tend to agree with you), we've entered an age where photography doesn't even resemble reality.

I'm not trying to tell anyone that re-touching that evil or otherwise.  I'm just saying that its interesting to think that photography, once thought to be the culmination of man's efforts in painting, is moving closer and closer back towards traditional painting every day. 

This New York Times Op-Ed piece thinks we should legislate retouching, as is being considered by the French:  http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/03/09/opinion/1194838469575/sex-lies-and-photoshop.html

Was Abe Lincoln re-touched? See a History of Photographic Tamering:  http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/research/digitaltampering/

Why I LOVE Yahoo Answers.

You find things like this--weird artwork and a bunch of people giving their opinions about it.

Cute and Affordable on Etsy: Kelly Neidig

All of a sudden, every artist I come across whose work I like is from Portland, Orgeon. Case and point: Kelly Neidig, artist and president of the Portland Open Studios. Ms. Neidig makes adorable little abstracted landscape paintings which are available on Etsy for under $100. These colorful, graphic squares give you big oil-painted bang for your buck.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cute and Affordable on Etsy: Rebecca Shelly

Looking at art on Esty is kind of like going to a thrift store: if you've got the energy to dig through all the junk, you'll find some really beautiful things.  Scrolling through seemingly endless mediocre (and worse) paintings of fruit still lifes, CUSTOM PORTRAITS OF YOUR PET!, and sunset and palm tree landscapes makes finding something really beautiful as exciting as finding a Prada skirt amidst racks of acid washed jeans and polyester suits.

Enter Rebecca Shelly, a young painter from Portland, Oregon creating beautiful, leafy abstractions which combine naturalistic description with biomorphic areas of flat color.  A number of her paintings are available for purchase on Etsy at wonderfully affordable prices. Currently featured on the Cover of the Portland Review Literary Journal,  Ms. Shelly is an artist on the rise!