Traditionally, throughout the hot summer months, no matter how hard artists and galleries work, the "art scene" always seems to be quiet. I have never figured out why. But this, year, I'm not going to fight it and follow suit. So, if it hasn't already been apparent, I am in full siesta mode. I'm guessing my batteries will be recharged by the time the weather begins to cool and the leaves turn colors.
In the meantime, I highly recommend these two summer art activities:
#1 is for your summer reading list. From one blogger to another, I recommend you hop on over to "Fins and Paddles" and give it a read. Please excuse my bias... but this is my wife's blog - Laura Jones. She has focused her immense talents and creativity on becoming an author. "Fins and Paddles" is a compilation of her journey as a writer and samplings of her work. The best part is she likes getting feedback. Give it a read and let her know what you think.
#2 might require a road trip (always a good summer activity). On the grounds of Nashville's Cheek Estate, glass master, Dale Chihuly and his team, have installed another glass wonderland in the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. Chihuly & Co. have done this in other cities - Atlanta, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids - and received well deserved rave reviews. Simply put, Chihuly is taking glass off the pedestals and out of the galleries and creating visually stunning scenes and settings. Unparalleled work. So... gas up the car, road trip it to Nashville and catch this unique installation. The show will end on October 31.
In the meantime, I'll be pulling my sombrero low and catching a few more ZZZZs for the rest of the summer. I'll be back when the Fall gallery fairs and exhibitions roll around.
I am a Weather Channel junkie. Plain and simple. I watch it a lot. But, over the last few weeks, I've grown tired of all the talk of the Tor:Con Index, Vortex 2, Fujita Scale, and all those horrible home videos of tornadoes raging through Midwestern open fields. It's all gotten pretty gloomy and depressing. I simply can't imagine living in one of those states that have no natural boundaries to slow down the wind and storms. Ugly.
In particular, it seems Oklahoma has been hit particularly hard this spring. When I see the daily reports of hundreds of lightning strikes, dozens of storm chasers and funnel cloud touchdowns dotting the state, all I can think is what a terrible place to live. But just as I wrote off the state in its entirety, I received a nice little magazine produced by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition called Art Focus Oklahoma. It was filled with images and articles of some of the beautiful artwork coming out of the OK state. (Yes, I accept the bitch slapping the weather gods have given me – or is it the art gods?). Turns out Oklahoma is not just about funnel clouds, hail storms, tumbled mobile homes and treeless fields. Here is a little example of some of the best and brightest art being created in Oklahoma:
"City of Light; Distopia Looming"
mylar, acetate, leaves and flowers, acrylic, india ink
12"x18"x4" wall-hanging lightbox
mylar, acetate, acrylic, photograph, leaves, ink
"I Told You This One Meant Business"
Giclee printed collage on canvas with embroidery
"Down the Road"
Mixed Media on panel
10" x 20"
Pastel and graphite on Rives BFK paper
15" x 10"
"and then it all became perfectly clear to me"
Venetian plaster on canvas, with organic pigment
60" x 60" x 2 1/2"
Whenever Big Bird's gig on Sesame Street ends, I bet he could become an excellent Art History professor.
This month's ARTnews features "The Rise of Aboriginal Art". Carly Berwick writes a nice article highlighting the inspirations behind the genre and the genesis and growth of the contemporary movement.
In Ms. Berwick's article, there is a one-line mention of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection owned by the University of Virginia. Only one line… deep in the story.
For those of you who don't know... Influenced by the Dreamings exhibition in New York, businessman John W. Kluge began collecting Aboriginal art in 1988. Over the next decade he compiled one of the finest private collections of Australian Aboriginal art in the world. In 1997, Mr. Kluge gifted his collection to the University of Virginia and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia was born. Today, the Collection stands (in its own building many miles from the main campus) as the largest and finest collection of Aboriginal art in the United States.
Pretty impressive. But, why the University of Virginia doesn't loudly trumpet the existence of this gem is beyond me.
Recently, the University of Virginia Art Museum has made efforts and spent a lot of money in refreshing its image and facility (as part of the "Campaign for the new UVaM"). Why the University hasn't taken this opportunity to brand itself as having the top rated permanent collection of Aboriginal art outside of Australia is, again, beyond me. This should be the identity of the art museum! If ARTnews can identify the importance of this art movement, why can't the scholars at UVa? It's contemporary. It's fresh. It's unique. It's rare in this hemisphere. It's important. It's marketable. It's beautiful. Simple, right?.
I have read (and conducted) hundreds of interviews of artists. The common theme from each is that, more often than not, artists are terrible at talking about themselves and their art. (Sub-theme: interviewers ask some ridiculous questions.) Naturally, artists express themselves visually and not verbally, but there has to be some balance. Occasionally, however, I have read q&a sessions that stand out as insightful, entertaining, educational and sincere. In an interview of painter Randall David Tipton, Maureen Doallas has done just that: good questions by Maureen and flawless answers from Randall.
RDT: I still haven't figured out how [to describe my style]. I've used these at times: painterly realism, expressionist naturalism, abstract realism.
And what Randall hopes a critic would say about his work:
RDT: That [my paintings] were sincere, painted with conviction, complex in sensation, and an expression of human regard for nature.
Knowing Randall's work and him personally, I find the interview gives an extremely accurate picture of the painter and the paintings.
So... for all artists out there... practice your interviewing skills. Be able to talk about yourself in clear and concise terms. And, please please please never say that you paint "intuitively". Give a real answer. Or, at least make up a good one, memorize it, and regurgitate it with some sense of sincerity when asked about your creative process.
[Image: December Slough, oil on unstretched canvas, 12"x9". © Randall David Tipton. Image courtesy of artist. All rights reserved.]
An ever increasing local art tradition spreading throughout towns across the country is the "First Friday Gallery Walk." In a word: on the first Friday evening of each month, art galleries hold opening receptions of their newest exhibits (or just keep their doors open later into the evening). With a number of galleries collectively doing this, it increases the general public turnout as people get to take in a number of exhibits in one fell swoop. Migration was a regular participant and always got sizeable crowds at its First Friday receptions.
Without actually exhibiting, I thought I would bring to you a First Friday reception here at artPark a la the web.
Recently, Arturo Mallmann (a Migration and personal favorite artist) opened a show of his newest paintings at Art Cube Gallery in Laguna Beach, California. The show is called "Contemplation" (those familiar with Arturo's meditative work can appreciate the title). Luckily for us, the opening reception was beautifully videoed by Andrew J. Whittaker. I hope you enjoy it.
Arturo also has an opening tomorrow night in New Orleans at Gallery Bienvenu. Here is a nicely done promo for it.
artPark has received another "top Art blog" award and is now listed by The Daily Reviewer as one of the top art blogs in the world. Yowza! I'm honored.
The Daily Reviewer selects only the world's top blogs (and RSS feeds). We sift through thousands of blogs daily to present you the world's best writers. The blogs that we include are authoritative on their respective niche topics and are widely read. To be included in The Daily Reviewer is a mark of excellence.
Thank you Daily Reviewer.
Although I live in Charlottesville, Virginia, I have absolutely no affinity for the University of Virginia athletic teams. Seeing the swim teams, lacrosse teams, baseball team and rowing team succeed is nice, but I couldn't give a rat's rear about the Cavalier football or basketball teams. So, in general, I don't follow them, and I don't generally bother reading any news articles about either of them. But this one caught my eye... and made me grin:
For those who don't know, the UVa men's basketball team really sucks this year... worse than usual... last in the ACC. There was some renewed hope early in the season with a new coach and a small win streak. But the end of the regular season saw them string together an impressive series of consecutive losses. So, desperate for a win, it was particularly odd to hear that the coach suspended the team's star player, Sylven Landesberg, prior to the final game for "academic reasons". (FYI: UVa lost that game.)
Stick with me, the art part is coming, I promise.
Turns out, the academic reason for the suspension was that Landesberg was skipping his art class. And by "skip", I mean, he never went! Read the news article here. Apparently, he went to his other classes, but not to art. Bad decision. I'm guessing Landesberg, like many of the shallow thinkers out there, believes art is a skipable class and carries no repercussions for doing so.
I tip my hat to Coach Tony Bennett for taking a stand. I'm sure he would do the same thing if Landesberg skipped his math class. But, in this situation, we all get to see the importance of art in every student's education, even student-athlete's.
I'm a junky for news about the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist (a theft of 13 pieces of art which included three Rembrandts and a Vermeer and remains the world's largest art theft in dollar value). So, as we approach the 20 anniversary of that fateful night, I'm thrilled to see the investigation continues in full force. New leads from the examination of forensic evidence may result in finding the whereabouts of the stolen art... not to mention who did it.
As reported in the Boston Globe:
Because of advances in DNA analysis since the 1990 robbery, the lead agent in the case, Geoffrey Kelly, decided to send evidence to the FBI's scientific laboratory in Quantico, Va., a spokeswoman in the FBI’s Boston office said.
Kelly said he could not disclose the type of evidence to be reviewed, but others familiar with the case said it would probably include long strips of duct tape used to tie up the museum's two night watchmen, whom the thieves overpowered to get access to the artwork.
Read the whole BG article here.
And for those of you who might have any information... The Gardner Museum has offered a $5 million reward for the return of the paintings in good condition, and the US attorney's office has stated that it will not bring charges of possession of stolen property against anyone who returns the artwork. The statute of limitations for participation in the actual theft expired five years after the crime.
Photo above: A security guard stood outside the Dutch Room of the Gardner Museum a few days after artwork was stolen. (Associated Press File 1990)
With the current snow storm dumping on the northeast following record amounts of the fluffy stuff here in the mid-Atlantic this winter (and spring still weeks away), I thought this picture was appropriate for artPark fans. Regardless of the weather, I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy some fresh air.
This winter has been a tough one for those of us living in the mid-Atlantic. The record snowfall and continued frigid temps have reinforced my wish that the month of February be carved off the calendar forever. But then, just as I am hitting the lowest of winter lows, the American Craft Council Show rolls into Baltimore, and my spirits are lifted. So, if you are like me and need a visual pick-me-up, get to Baltimore this weekend for the ACC Show – the largest juried craft show in the country where more than 700 of the country's leading craft artists will present their latest artwork.
Of particular note: Don't miss the newest blown glass pieces from Twisp River Glass (Twisp, Washington). Allison Ciancibelli and Jeremy Newman continue to capture the nuances of the environment surrounding them and their connection to it in their blown glass artwork. Their newest series is another homerun. And, during a long snowy winter, every east coaster will appreciate the quality and subtleties in Jeremy and Allison's white glass.
Can you say "publicity stunt"?
Dan Zak of the Washington Post reports on the marriage of DC artists Dana Ellyn and Matt Sesow. Read the article here. I started to read it with only mild interest, but that interest quickly turned to an overwhelming feeling of "ugh." I know times have been tough for career artists who make their living selling their work to the public. But I didn’t think it was so tough that two moderately successful artists had to stoop to a new low and produce a show based on their own staged marriage. As the article states:
Everyone says they're perfect for each other, but no one thought they'd get married. They decided to do it when they realized they could craft a show called "Till Death Do Us Part." They'd paint about their impending nuptials, hang the art in a gallery, have a ceremony at the opening, invite the public, maybe cast themselves as a power couple in the D.C. art world.
Now do you see where my feeling of "ugh" comes from? If not, wait until you get to the part in the article about how they will continue to live apart after the wedding. Now?
I know there is a long history of themed weddings, but this one simply feels wrong. Maybe it has to do with previous divorces in the couple's past. Maybe it's the overt self-promotion. Maybe it's the fact that the art just isn't very good. Take any one of those things and add in Ms. Ellyn's and Mr. Sesow's lack of modesty, and I can tell you that I would never have exhibited either of their art... wedding or not.
A tangent to this rant: I can't help but think about the millions of Americans who fight against gay marriage, yet this stunt falls within their definition of "a-okay." Ugh.
[Images: Top, Cheers by Dana Ellyn; Bottom, Till Death Do Us Part by Matt Sesow.]
The FLAG Art Foundation is pleased to present "Size DOES Matter", curated by basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. This exciting exhibition, on view from February 18, 2010 - May 27, 2010, includes works from international artists exploring the myriad ways that scale affects the perception of contemporary art.
Weighing 320 pounds and standing 7'1" atop his size 22 shoes, Shaq is one of the most dominant players ever to play in the NBA. Throughout his career, O'Neal has capitalized on his size and strength to overpower opponents for points and rebounds earning him nicknames such as Diesel and Superman. Now Shaq takes the opportunity to reflect on his size with an exhibition boasting works from microscopic to giant pieces that have the ability to dwarf and exaggerate everyone -- even Shaq himself.
Artists have readily utilized the element of size. Large and small objects require different approaches, elicit unique responses from their viewer, and reflect the varying purposes in which works of art were meant to serve. This dynamic exhibition will include a variety of mediums that play with scale as a key component in the composition of the artwork. Every work in the show was selected by Shaq himself or is being newly made at his request.
There is no question Shaq has done some impressive things in his life... but curate a contemporary art exhibit in NYC? I’m not so sure even Shaq's former alter-ego, Kazaam, can legitimately pull this one off.
Regardless, artists are lining up and hoping to be selected. This could be interesting. But, it forces me to ask the question (again): Why do art institutions continue to feel the need to link themselves to pop culture personalities - no matter how remotely associated they may be to the organization's mission? I'll call it pandering and leave it at that.
Oh, and by the way, here is a description of FLAG from their website:
The FLAG Art Foundation is a new exhibition space for contemporary art. The program includes 4 to 6 professionally-curated shows each year. Each consists of works by established and emerging international artists. The objective is to present a venue in which visitors can view, contemplate, and be inspired by the artworks that curators will select and borrow from a variety of sources. FLAG also plans to facilitate loans of contemporary artworks to museums around the world.
Sometimes the irony hurts my head.
As they say on the site: "These blogs will give you insights to the art world that can help you refine your craft, inspire you to create new work, or just give you a little something pretty to look at."
Giving the list a good look proves they put together an excellent grouping of art blogs. The list also introduced me to some I was not aware of. Thanks OnlineCollege!
Irish artist (living in London), David Anthony Hall, photographs large format panoramic landscapes. His work often measures up to nine feet in width and is hung in large-scale public spaces. In an attempt to showcase his work in a more traditional and human scale, David has launched his own gallery. The 1:50 Gallery (as in One to Fifty) is the result. It has the unique and enviable advantage of being visited and enjoyed by anyone anywhere through their own computer screen. Go here for a look.
Possibly the world smallest gallery at less than two cubic feet in size, David's "solo show" examines the relationship between the internet and large-scale art; in particular, how to show 9' prints on a 17" screen.
For me, it gives new meaning to the term "White Cube".
Over the years, Laura and I have received countless compliments regarding Migration's website design. These compliments have come from clients, gallery owners, other business owners, friends and total strangers. We always say "thank you." But, in all honesty, we can't take much credit for the website. Before opening the gallery, Laura and I were fortunate enough to hire Michaux Hood and Jen Fleisher at Charmed Designworks. Jen helped us with the creation of the gallery's various logos and color schemes, and Michaux has handled the design and implementation of the website.
Once again, we have turned to Michaux to update Migration's website. And... once again... she has done an excellent job.
Take a look at the updated website. It is has been streamlined and focuses on the artists that have generated the national attention and reputation Migration has received over the years.
On February 5, 2010, a group of painters, sculptors, architects, writers, film makers, photographers, and musicians will hold an exhibition in a currently vacant building at 1017 West Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia. Soon afterward, the building will be demolished.
This multi-media show/exhibition is brought to you by The Center for the Study of the End of Things. A Migration fav, Ashley Williams, is one of the group’s organizers. Ashley has already brought together an excellent collection of visual artists to add to the event.
The exhibit's curatorial goal is to assemble a coherent body of work that revolves around themes of obsolescence, weathering, and decay, as well as meditations on growth, rebirth, and the utility of discarded materials.
Drawings, paintings, architectural models, maps, diagrams, photographs, audio or video recordings, writing, sculpture, or other work that relates to the theme will be considered for inclusion.
Submissions will be accepted until January 25, 2010. See the detailed info here.
The exposed nipples on portraits of women in the Ho-Down Mural Project violated a county sign code that bans (among other things) the showing of the areola of female breasts, the county says.
Museum curator Laura Henkel covered the nipples with pasties, but argues that the murals are urban art, not signs.
Read more here.
The issue of censorship is always a hot topic. But, what interests me is the fact there is both an "Erotic Heritage Museum" and a "Ho-Down Mural Project". Only in Vegas, some might say. For more on both, go here and here.
From Jeff Koons to Damien Hirst. From art auction houses to Art Basel Miami Beach. From the new MoMA to collector’s vanity museums. From the fall of Thomas Krens to the rise of contemporary Chinese art... the last ten years were a fun filled, roller coaster ride of a decade for the visual arts.
For a little detail of the highlights, see ArtInfo's review of the decade. Here's their beginning:
Say what you will, purists: the story of the aughts was the art market. When it wasn't all we could talk about, we were talking about why it was all we could talk about. After the Russian and Asian markets took a dive in the late '90s and tech stocks plummeted, and in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, the art market sagged a bit, breaking the stride it had slipped into in the mid-'90s, when it began to recover from the last recession. But that was a short dip, and by 2003 it was moving into uncharted territory. Soon we were looking at tens of millions of dollars for works of contemporary art; new buyers from Russia, Asia, and Latin America; and the rise of our robber barons, the vaunted "hedge fund guys." In 2008, the crash of the global economy brought the art market back to earth, but that was quite a run.
Go here for the rest of the article.
And a happy new year to all.
Maureen Doallas, a patron of Migration and a fellow blogger, has written a wonderful piece on one of my favorite artists, Randall David Tipton. I’ve reprinted the article below or you can read it here at Maureen’s blog, Writing Without Paper.
Landscape Become Image
By Maureen Doallas
Throughout my career the landscape has been my guiding orientation… My impulse comes from a simple belief in the restorative qualities of nature.
~ Randall David Tipton
His watercolors on yupo* and board were what first caught my eye. And I couldn't stop looking.
So I looked some more and found oils on canvas, paper, and board and felt a "WOW!" go through me.
I came across his work purely by chance, browsing the site of Laura and Rob Jones, owners of
In the art world, you'll often hear that the key to success is not what you know, but who you know. Well...
Last night, Laura and I spent the evening touring a few artists' studios at
One surprise was to stumble upon Michael Clark's studio. Laura and I have seen Michael's work before and we both like it a lot. It was nice to finally meet the artist and get some insight to his art directly from him.
Funny though... Michael, being a polite and gregarious guy, was quick to introduce himself. Laura and I reciprocated. He then asked, a little tongue in check, "So, should I know you? Are you guys movers and shakers around here?" Not being ones to toot our own horn, Laura and I simply said, "We used to be." (tongue in cheek back at 'cha)
In hindsight, it would have been easy to introduce ourselves as owners of Migration and artPark, but it seemed unnecessary. And, it probably would have changed the conversation. We were there to see the art.
My point: It's not always who you know. In the arts, I believe it's what you know; or, more specifically, it's about the quality of the art -- not the name game. And, Michael's art is terrific. That's all that matters to me.
As the annual American art orgy known as Art Basel Miami Beach kicked off last night, the lion share of news is not about the economy, the art, or the galleries. Instead, the big news item is how twelve US Marshals and police officers approached the booth of Swiss gallery Galerie Gmurzynska and promptly seized approximately $7 million worth of art by Yves Klein, Joan Miro, Edgar Degas and Fernand Leger. Read more here.
Imagine going through the preparation and expense of exhibiting at a gallery fair and suddenly having a majority of your available artwork confiscated. Tough way to start one of the biggest international fairs of the year.
Alas… all is not lost for Gmurzynska. Fortunately, the gallery is also exhibiting the work of action hero turned painter, Sylvester Stallone. Yes, you read that right. Sly, best known for his roll as Rocky, has been creating art and is now exhibiting at Art Basel Miami. Excuse me for clearing my throat –- tough to get that one out. His work has been selling for $40,000 and $50,000. Seriously?? Dare I say, is this yet another sign that the apocalypse is upon us? I guess others see it differently.
As one decidedly slanted broker states: "Collectors are doing their best to obtain Sylvester Stallone autographed art. The rarity of the art along with the driving force behind it will assure that the artwork will grow in value in the years to come. There is also the fact that Sylvester Stallone's artwork is actually very pleasant to look upon. His use of color, shapes, and designs is truly something to behold. Many collectors are eager to obtain paintings from Sylvester Stallone. Even more collectors are eager to obtain Sylvester Stallone autographed art of any type."
"Art of any type." That says it all to me.
As Black Friday approaches, I suggest every artist re-evaluate their holiday gift wish list and add this studio to it.
Last weekend, Laura and I received a wonderful invitation to visit Tom Clarkson's and Cindy Hammond's newly finished pottery studio. We knew they had been putting a lot of time into creating it and setting it up, but this was the first time we got to see it in action.
Wow! What a beautiful studio. I imagine any artist would give anything for space like Tom and Cindy's. Not only is it brand-spanking-new and gorgeous, but every inch of it is perfectly thought out. From the huge windows looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the skylights, to the custom and automated spray booth, to the dual kiln room (with attached sitting porch), to the (future) gallery space, and to the endless linear feet of work space... it is an artist's dream.
So if you think you've been good enough this year, go ahead and ask Santa to bring you a studio like Tom and Cindy's. Who knows... you might get lucky.
Oh, you know Laura and I couldn't leave without buying a couple of wonderful pots.
Naoshima is a small fishing island off the southern Japan coast on the Seto Inland Sea, between Honshu and Shikoku, and a short ferry ride from the city of Takamatsu.
During the 1990s, the Benesse Corporation, a Japanese textbook publisher, partnered with architect Tadao Ando to create the Benesse Art Site Naoshima, a complex of contemporary art museums designed based upon the concept of "Harmony between Nature, Architecture and Art." Read a nice summary here and a recent WaPo article here.
Shrewdly, Ando included hotel rooms within the museum complex in which visitors can stay. Brilliant! And (this is my favorite), in 1997, the museum initiated the Art House Project in the nearby village of Honmura. The Project restores old houses and turns them into permanent exhibitions for individual artists. A short walking tour takes in all of them.
[Images include: Left, from the Chichu Art Museum; Center, Ferry to Naoshima; Right, "The Oval"]
In yesterday's Parade Magazine (a Washington Post Sunday insert), Susan Fine writes an article titled "Can Art Save a Mall". Naturally I read it. And, I'll admit, I initially thought, "Hey, this could be good."
Ms. Fine reports how some large scale mall owners have responded to filling the growing number of vacant stores in their vast interior malls. They have approached artists and art groups and offered the empty spaces at very low rents for the short term holiday season. Better to have spaces filled than leave them empty, right? This is a great idea. Like all retailers, artists and artisans often depend on the heightened holiday season sales to make or break their year. And I can't think of another bigger magnet attracting shoppers than the prototypical American mall. Artists get the enormous exposure only a mall during the holiday shopping season can give and they don't have to bust their bank to get it.
Other than the indignity of an artist setting up shop next to a Cinnabon or a Spencer's Gifts or a cell phone kiosk, I'm still thinking this is good. And Ms. Fine reports it's a win-win opportunity too.
But wait... Ms. Fine defines win-win as the artists draw in the crowds ("come to the mall and see a poor starving artist at work"), and the increased crowds will in turn up the cash register totals in the other real retail stores in the mall.
That's not win-win. That attitude is only win… for the mall, not the artist. Ms. Fine proves this one-sided attitude in the article’s final paragraph where she says,
Art instead of commerce isn't new.
Art IS commerce. When will people get it? Art is not free. You can't just use art as an attraction without considering it as a retail venture. Artists spend their time, energy and money making art for it to be sold. The exchange of money is a good thing.
Here’s the real win-win: An artist makes a beautiful object; someone appreciates it's beauty; they buy it and it gives them pleasure throughout their life; the artist now has money to eat, pay rent, and make more beautiful things. That's what I call win-win.
For those of you who missed it last night, you can play your own encore of Charlottesville's CBS news report regarding artPark as one of the top three "Wired-In Businesses." Click here to go to the video. And go here for the web article – make a comment and let people know what you think of artPark.
And here is the transcript of the report:
How do you stay in touch with your customers and colleagues throughout the day? One key to surviving in this economy is staying ahead of the technology curve.
CBS19's Bianca Spinosa profiles a list of three local business leaders who are "wired-in." They use all the high-tech tools to communicate and keep their businesses prospering.
From cyber space to work space, these three local business people know how to make the most of their passions.
Real estate agent Jim Duncan just moved into his new office this summer. Back in May, it was completely empty. Duncan's blog, Real Central VA, is an online mecca for locals wanting expert real estate analysis with a personal touch.
"I am more cognizant of my readership now. Frequently I'll write stories for my readers, whereas in the beginning it was purely for me," explains Duncan of Nest Realty.
Thousands of people read Duncan's blog every day. "I'm passionate about real estate, about my clients, and about learning," says Duncan via a You Tube video on his site.
"One can be passionate about a lot of things they blog about, but when you're passionate about saving lives, I think that comes through so much," says Laura Jones with the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA.
At the CASPCA, saving our four-legged friends is their passion and their business. Laura Jones tells stories of recovery, and shows pictures of every animal on the SPCA blog.
"People don't know the time and work it took to get it there. This enables us to do that," says Susanne Kogut with the CASPCA.
Little Mo is a dog that came to the shelter scared of people. He left with a happy home. Through the blog, Kogut can find out how Mo is doing with his new family, and the thousands of facebook followers can too. Now, Kogut is hoping to adopt out Mo's sister.
Two on our list are married. Laura Jones with the CASPCA is married to Rob Jones, the founder of Charlottesville art blog, artPark. The couple founded an art gallery named Migration, which had to close its doors last January because of the economy. They shifted focus to the blog.
"One of my goals is to demystify the creation of art, the exhibition of art, and the acquisition of art. Pull back the curtain, so to speak," says Rob Jones with Charlottesville artPark.
Jones promotes local artists and critiques local works. What Jones learns traveling the country, he shares here.
They deal in very different fields: real estate, animal rescue, and visual arts, yet each knows how to use the web to enhance their visions.
Our local CBS affiliate (WCAV) has chosen artPark as one of this area's three "Most Wired-In Businesses." A feature story will run on tonight's 6 o'clock news. Yes... I'll be on TV tonight! Tune in.
As part of Sweeps Month, our CBS station (channel 16) is airing a series called "Making a List" which rates the area's top three in various categories. The series is being used to boost viewership. Inclusion is a very nice honor. I thank Bianca Spinosa for selecting artPark.
Initially, I was approached and told artPark would be a "Best Blog". This morphed into "Most Wired-In Business." Either way, I'm flattered. About the business: artPark is used as a cyber tool to promote the artists represented by Migration: A Gallery. In my opinion, blogging is essential for virtually every business – and something every artist should consider doing. At artPark, I also spice things up by talk about various other art, artists and events that I see and know about. And, of course, I share my astute opinions and vast experiences (it is a blog after all).
Click here for the CBS write-up. You’ll have to tune in at 6 tonight to see the actual interviews. Tomorrow, I'll post a link to the video (for all you out-of-towners). Oh... There is an interesting twist to the story that was entirely unintentional. See if you can figure it out.
I am thrilled to announce that Brian Mallman, a Migration mainstay and close friend, is featured in the Long Beach Museum of Art's winter exhibit Sweet Subversives: Contemporary California Drawings. The show is currently up and runs through February 12, 2010. Especially exciting is that Brian's work is the cover piece for the show!
Those of you who follow artPark and have been a fan of Migration should be very familiar with Brian's graphite drawings on board. Laura and I have been featuring his work since the gallery's opening day -- it was a big part of our very first exhibit; we have had two subsequent exhibits of his newest work; and we have featured him at the 2007 artDC Gallery Fair in Washington and the 2008 and 2009 Affordable Art Fairs in NYC. Needless to say, we have sold this LA artist's artwork to clients up and down the east coast from New England to Florida. Museums are now next in line to hang Brian's art on their walls.
Over and over, Laura and I have witnessed firsthand the quizzical and unrepressed reactions Brian's work generates in people. He is a true master of the pencil and has a complete grasp of all that a simple line can do. Through his additive and reductive methods, the layering creates a mystical depth with a little creepiness thrown in. His subject matter and methods may be mundane, but the results are truly superlative. Isn't that what great art is?
There's a reason why we find it easier to "get" modern art than avant-garde music, and it's not just about our natural conservatism and love of Mozart. >>>
Are Liberals smarter than Conservatives? An interesting discussion. >>>
In what is perhaps the first project of its kind, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has put English-language translations of 902 of Vincent van Gogh's personal letters on line. >>>
Damien Hirst, arguably the richest and most powerful artist in history, has received the critical pasting of his life, but there's a sense that our whole perception of what art is, or should be, may have subtly – or not so subtly – shifted. >>> and >>>
The secret behind Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile has been explained by scientists who believe it changes depending on which part of the eye sees it first. >>>
Women are often the cruelest critics of other female writers. Where does this anger come from, and at what expense? >>>
The 40th anniversary DVD of "Sesame Street" contains a warning label about early episodes. >>>
In September 2008, we posted about the sale of a particularly nice Alan Dehmer photograph ("Low Country", pictured right) that we made to Michael Danoff. Mr. Danoff was the curator and buyer for the famed Neuberger Berman-Lehman Brothers Collection. This story focused on the fact that Lehman Brothers had declared bankruptcy and we were watching what was going to happen to the Company's extensive art collection (which Alan's piece was now a part of). Through contacts and news sources, we were assured the collection would remain intact.
Subsequently, we have seen the Lehman Brothers Collection dismantled and individual pieces sold at auction as part of the liquidation of assets.
On November 1, Freeman's Auctioneers held an auction of Modern & Contemporary Works of Art: Works from the Lehman Brothers Collection. Alan Dehmer's "Low Country" was Lot #261 in Sunday's auction. Of the total 401 lots offered, 397 were sold for a total of $2,557,595. I am happy to report that "Low Country" sold for more than its top estimated price (not many lots did).
Sad to see the Lehman Brothers Collection be sold off, but its nice to see that Alan's work has found a new home... and his prices are appreciating.
Here is an interesting way for an artist to pre-sell his work prior to a major exhibit:
Tim Tate (a Migration favorite artist) is exhibiting again this year at SOFA Chicago (a Migration favorite fair). During the week leading up to the November 5 Preview Opening of SOFA, Tim has taken a piece scheduled to be shown at SOFA and listed it on ebay. The piece, titled "Summer of Love", will be priced at $12,000 in Chicago, but bids on ebay start at $9,500. See the listing here.
Tim is a well known and highly recognized artist. If anyone can make this strategy succeed, it will be him. Potential bidders/buyers can bid on "Summer of Love" with confidence (not always the case for most internet art sales). Tim has traditionally done well at SOFA selling virtually all his work on display. So, odds are, "Summer of Love" will sell in Chicago – for the full retail price. This ebay listing is an excellent opportunity for savvy bidders to get a beautiful Tim Tate piece for an excellent price... and a great story.
Tim is not the first artist to list his work on ebay, but this is a particularly unique preview opportunity to a major exhibition. Will this be a trend in retail art? Will it be a successful trend?
Success in the art world is often dependant on creating a buzz. Tim is a master of buzz. But, above all, he is a master of contemporary glass art.
Street artists add color to our life – and ask little in return. Here is a slideshow of photos of an artist (who goes by Cristophe) and his dog in Paris. He created a pastel self portrait with his dachshund in front of the Pompidou Center.
The photographer who took the shots says this:
he has no greed...doesn't know today's head-lines...has no idea about memory cards or computers....but,...he knows about life on the street, art, his accordion, a good calavados and to take good care of his dog...for some that does the trick...just look in his eyes...that's life!..
The world could use more street art.
October, November and December mark the height of the art fair year. It all starts in London at the Frieze Art Fair and culminates with December’s art-fair-orgy in Miami, Florida (featuring over 20 art fairs in just one week). Needless to say, every gallery’s bean counter has their eyes focused on Frieze. Last year, galleries exhibiting at Frieze (through clinched teeth smiles and drippy mascara) wept doom and gloom and endless talk of the global recession affect on the art market. This year, the reports have been quite positive. Participating galleries reported clear evidence of renewed confidence in the contemporary art market as well as an enjoyable and positive atmosphere (not sure if this translates into big profits or not, but it is upbeat nonetheless). Below is a video tour of Frieze. If you have never been to a gallery fair before, this pretty much captures what it is like inside [add your own comments below].
Next up is one of my favorites, SOFA Chicago. Opening night preview is November 5. This year, in addition to the exhibition of the finest contemporary sculptural objects in the world, the SOFA organizers have added some very special VIP events, exhibits and lectures. For those of you going to Chicago, keep your eyes on two of my favorites: Michael Janis and Tim Tate at the Maurine Littleton Gallery. Have your checkbook at the ready, because their work promises to go fast.
As usual, Miami in December will be as over-the-top as ever. I never know how any single person can take it all in. Even if you are not shopping for contemporary art, the trip to South Florida is still worth it – an "event" like no other.
Optimism is high – it always is. Hopefully, the reports will continue to be good, and we can all stop wringing our hands over the piss poor art market and get 2009 behind us.
I am a big fan of public art. Anything expressing creativity and beauty that is displayed in the open air is all right with me. But I have a head scratcher...
You know when a massive tree meets its premature fate and has to be cut down; sad to see something so majestic and time worn be reduced to saw dust and firewood. Apparently, those who feel the same have found a way to keep that beloved tree "alive". They carve something out of the massive trunk that remains standing. A home in my neighborhood happens to have one these treasures in its front yard. I see it everyday. It's a squirrel. But is it art?
A fine piece of craft? Yes. But art? Not so much.
Now here is the head scratcher: Within this genre, I have another example – another one I drive past virtually everyday (pictured below). A few months ago, a gorgeous beech tree was victim of a powerful windstorm. The damage required the whole tree to come down. However, about eight feet of the trunk was left firmly planted in the ground. To pay homage to what that tree once was, it looks like someone has tried to make something out of it. A little carving was done. There is even some drawing on it. But I can't tell what the intent is. Is the owner just having fun with his chainsaw? Is it an abstracted form that I'm not seeing (I still see "tree stump"). Is it art? Is it craft? Is it better than my neighbor's squirrel?
I'm sad to report the passing of modernist sculptor Ruth Duckworth at age 90. Ms. Duckworth is best known for her abstract (and not so abstract) ceramic sculptures. Her career spanned over six decades. She worked daily, and her reputation as one of the foremost sculptors in the world never waned.
Laura and I were fortunate to see her retrospective exhibit at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery a few years ago. I can safely say that show changed the way I look at abstract sculpture. Every piece was distinctive, gorgeous and rich.
The art world will miss her.
Here is a nice CBS report on Ms. Duckworth filmed in December 2006.
Attention art readers: There's a new art blog in town. Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville's 36 year old not-for-profit art space has launched a blog. They call it Second Look. Read it here. As an art space that is dedicated to bringing contemporary art to the community, I say... It's about time!
Hopefully, SSG will use its blog to consistently give the public some sneak peeks and behind the scene news (even to non-members). More importantly, the blog should provide its featured artists a much wider exposure.
I look forward to reading.
Is a 25 year old observation still relevant? Or is it stale? You decide.
What are the arguments about right now? There are arguments about whether it is still OK to paint, to make painted images. There are arguments about the possibility of feeling. There are arguments about what images mean... There are arguments about what artists do, about what relationship they have to the works they make... Arguing about art – you hear it, read it – it is very of the moment. To decide if certain art is of the moment – or if a certain show is of the moment – decide if it is worth arguing about.
- From "Your Show of Shows,"
Gerald Marzoratti, Sept 1984