Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

“The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World” (MOMA)

From MOMA : Forever Now presents the work of 17 artists whose paintings reflect a singular approach that characterizes our cultural moment at the beginning of this new millennium: they refuse to allow us to define or even meter our time by them. This phenomenon in culture was first identified by the science fiction writer William Gibson, who used the term “a-temporality” to describe a cultural product of our moment that paradoxically doesn’t represent, through style, through content, or through medium, the time from which it comes. ..
From a New Yorker Article about it, "Is there Anything Left to Paint"
... “Forever Now” is the first large survey strictly dedicated to new painting that MOMA has organized since 1958, when “The New American Painting,” a show of seventeen artists, including all the major Abstract Expressionists, went on to tour Europe and to revolutionize art everywhere. 
...painting has lost symbolic force and function in a culture of promiscuous knowledge and glutting information. Some of the painters in “Forever Now,” along with the show’s thoughtful curator, Laura Hoptman, face this fact.Don’t attend the show seeking easy joys.  
More about Atemporal:



  1. existing or considered without relation to time.

  • SNIPS from:
  1. There are new asynchronous communication forms that are globalized and offshored, and there is the loss of a canon and a record. There is no single authoritative voice of history. Instead we get wildly empowered cranks, lunatics, and every kind of long-tail intellectual market appearing in network culture. Everything from brilliant insight to scurillous rumor....
    We can trace this now through genetics, we can trace it through archeology. Times before humanity existed. Cosmic chronology. The way we learn about our things, through non-literary sources such as garbage, pollen counts, environmental damage, even corpses. You can look at what’s been learned from the corpse of ‘Otzi,’ this Bronze-Age European. Fantastic things.... 
    "We are in a period which I think is dominated by two great cultural signifiers. An analog system that belonged to our parents, which has been shot full of holes. It is the symbol of the ruined castle. “Gothic High-Tech.” The ruins of the unsustainable. 
    And the other symbol is the favela slum, “Favela Chic,” the informalized, illegalized, heavily networked structure of the emergent new order. The things that the twenty first century is doing that are genuinely novel, that have not been domesticated or brought into sociality." 

    Atemporality - rather like all of culture - globally, from all time frames, coming together and being mashed up - because so much is available to us. And because for the last 150 - 200 years - people have been throwing out the old culture - trying to create something new.  

    The examples given by the MOMA show - indicates this is the "American (Western-culture) version" With 13 Americans, 3 Germans, 1 Columbian (9 women & 8 men).

    Personally - I don't think that everything that has worked in the past has to be tossed out. And really, it hasn't been. The examples from MOMA are still pretty invested in the American style of Abstract Expressionism. I gravitate to the ones that can draw on nature in an abstract sense.

    The function of painting continues to be much the same as well - more or less expressing the philosophy of the times (or at least the philosophy of some - or what some think the philosophy of others - in power - is).

    Some Images from the MOMA show:

    Dianna Molzan. Untitled. 2009   Oil on canvas on fir, 24 x 20"

    Julie Mehretu. Invisible Sun (algorithm 5, second letter form). 2014   Ink and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 9' 11 3/8" × 13' 11"

    Michaela Eichwald. Kunsthalle St. Gallen. 2012    Synthetic polymer paint, oil, crayon, and lacquer on cotton, 10’ 9 15/16” × 51 3/16” 

    Michael Williams. Wall Dog. 2013   Inkjet and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 8' 1 1/4" x 6' 6 1/8" 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Amrita Sher-Gil

I saw this article about Amrita Sher-Gil on the site - The Indian Frida Kahlo.
Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941) as Tahitian
She was the daughter of a "Sikh aristocrat and a Hungarian opera singer". Born in 1913, she grew up in Budapest and at the "family estate at Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas", in the Punjab area. At age 16, she moved to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

As her style developed, upon her return to India, she 
synthesized European and Indian styles and sensibilities. She embraced sensuality. She painted straightforward, non-sentimental images of women.

Self-portrait as a Tahitian (1934) 

"Europe belongs to picasso, matisse and braque and many others. india belongs only to me."

She died at age 28 - probably of hemorrhaging following an abortion .

Amrita Sher-Gil, Sleep, 1932.
Amrita Sher-Gil, Three Girls, 1935. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ann Hamilton

 Corpus at Mass Moca Building 5 Gallery, North Adams, MA - 2003- 2004
Forty machines dropping 8x11” pieces of onionskin paper, 24 speakers moving up and down in 15-minute cycles  with voices reading text written by Hamilton. Two tiers of windows with 3380 panes of glass covered in pink.

Ann Hamilton's Corpus was the installation up at Mass Moca the first time I went there. It was impressive - an experience. But I wasn't familiar with Ann Hamilton and it was not until 6 years later when I was teaching a class and one of her installations was featured in the book that I looked her up and realized she was the same artist whose work I had seen at Mass Moca. 

tropos, installation at Dia Center for the Arts, New York, October 7, 1993–June 19, 1994 (preceding pages, above, and right). Translucent industrial glass windows, gravel topped with concrete, horsehair, table,chair, electric buren, books, recorded voice: audiotapes, and audiotape player and speakers. Overall dimension: 180 x 1,128 x 1,080 inches (457.2 x 2865.12 x 2743.2 cm).

Indigo Blue, originally created 1991 for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, At SFMOMA 2007, installation | cotton clothing, wood and steel platform, wood table and stool, book, eraser

"Indigo blue is comprised of some 18,000 pieces of used, blue work clothes that are folded and piled on a steel-and-wood platform. In front of the platform are a wooden table and stool where an attendant sits and erases text from a book titled International Law Situations, published by the Naval War College, exemplifying Hamilton's incorporation of an active, physical presence within her work.... 
Hamilton typically engages participants in the unmaking of some component in her installations, whether through acts of erasure, burning, or emptying. The performative actions of the body are an essential aspect of Hamilton's work, investing the piece with an element of authorship. The activity in indigo blue, in particular, speaks to how traces of the human body have the potential to participate in the rewriting of a history.

.....indigo blue embodies the artist's abiding concerns with how material realities possess temporal qualities, or how changes in organic or cultural matter can speak to forgotten or overlooked histories and inform our perception over time."

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of hearing a lecture by Ann Hamilton in Louisville - at U of L. It was a great experience to hear her talk about her works. I gathered that she is not that fond of talking about her work - I don't think that most artists are. Just hearing her talk about a few things - somewhat in depth - added to the understanding of many of her others.  

I like the way in which women are often represented - and how the works are often fleeting / temporary. There are many aspects that describe life, and a rather zen perspective.

American, born 1956, lives in Columbus, Ohio
Ann Hamilton studied textile arts at the University of Kansas, where she completed her BFA in 1979. She went on to earn an MFA from Yale University in sculpture in 1985. Her varied background in the visual arts informs her artistic practice, which takes the form of installations, videos, objects, and performance. Hamilton’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2002), Musèe d’Art Contemporain in Lyon, France (1997), and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994). In 1999, Hamilton was selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. Her honors include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship (1993), The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1990), and a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1989).

Junk Mail Becomes Art - Amanda Nelsen

I love this reuse of junk mail. So much to throw away - to be annoyed about. It seems much less annoying when it can be repurposed.

I keep a lot of stuff - someday I want to turn it into art. One of these days I will.

Cecelia Webber's Flowers Made Of Nude Bodies

I saw this on It's pretty fun - people, naked people, colorized, grouped and arranged to look like flowers.

From the interview posted:
The models up until this point in time have all been volunteers. I've had a lot of people offer to pose for my pieces spontaneously. This month will actually mark the first in which I actively recruit models, and I'm going for a mix of different ages, body types, and ethnicities. [Our] culture can be very youth-centric and airbrushed, and I'm interested in portraying a much broader picture. I also appear as the model in a great deal of my artwork; I spent the first two years making this art with a self-timer on a little point and shoot digital camera I rigged up using the hanger bar in my closet.

It should be some great inspiration for my photoshop class I teach.

I like that as plants and with colors - the human bodies become like anything else in nature - natural. The context of sexuality has been removed.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


getting my accounts synced

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dragana Crnjak

These images are from an installation by Dragana Crnjak in a show at the main Herron art gallery @ IUPUI in Indianapolis, IN. These images are done in acrylic and charcoal. The marks in charcoal seem to have shadows underneath as the charcoal dust fall, which gives them an implied dimension while the others marks are flat. There is an interesting play of space involved. Before I had more clues as to what the image was about (migration, for one thing), I had a sense of the natural or wild being expressed.

As seen in the detail, some of the marks are of animals such as wolves - though even they blend in with the overall abstractness. She also mentioned ideas relating to villiage and community. And there is definitely wildness going on.

I went to her lecture on Wednesday. She is from Bosnia and her family came to the USA with refugee status. Some of her works, like the ones below, are more about houses (sometimes upside down), displacement and negative space.

I Flipped (2007)

Unusual Morning (2007)

More can be seen at her website:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Snake Photos

I saw these photos of snakes by Guido Mocafico while I was browsing on the National Geographic site:

Naja samarensis

Western green mambas - Dendroaspis viridis

Copperheads - Agkistrodon contortrix

Rhynchophis boulengeri - Rhinoceros rat snakes

Epicrates cenchria cenchria

Apodora papuana

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington, surrealist artist, has died at the age of 94 in Mexico

"She was the last great living surrealist," her friend, poet Homero Aridjis said. "She was a living legend."

"She was famed for haunting, dreamlike works focusing on strange ritual-like scenes with birds, cats, unicorn-like creatures and other animals."

She was born in Lancashire, England, in 1917 - her family was in the textile manufacturing industry. She painted, moved to Paris at the age of 20 where she met Surrealist painter Max Ernst as well as other artists - Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro Andre Breton, Picasso and Man Ray. She went to Frida Kahlo's and Diego Rivera's wedding.

Carrington and Ernst were briefly together until he was arrested by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France. Peggy Guggenheim took an interest in Ernst and helped him escape to America (Gugenheim and Ernst were married from 42-46) In 1939 Carrington went to Spain, fell into a deep depression - her parents had her committed to a psychiatric hospital after she had a breakdown in Madrid.

She escaped to Lisbon, and was able to leave Europe by marrying poet and journalist Renato Leduc. After settling in Mexico, she married writer-photographer Emerico "Chiki" Weisz in 1946 and had two children.

She first exhibited her surrealist paintings in 1938 in Paris and Amsterdam. In 1947 she exhibited at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York City which gained her attention. She also wrote several books.

"She created mythical worlds in which magical beings and animals occupy the main stage, in which cobras merge with goats and blind crows become trees," the National Arts Council wrote. "These were some of the images that sprang from a mind obsessed with portraying a reality that transcends what can be seen."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Toshiko Takaezu

Image from Stan Yake's Biography, Toshiko Takaezu, The Earth In Bloom

Toshiko Takaezu has died - she has been one of my favorite artists since I've known about her - 30 years or so. She was 88.

She is mostly known for her ceramics - enclosed or nearly enclosed cylinders and spherical shapes with expressionistic glazes.

I remember going to a show of hers at the American Craft Museum when it was by the MOMA in the 90s. (That museum has since changed its name to Museum of Arts & Design and moved to Columbus Square). I got yelled at for taking a couple photos.

The Perimeter Gallery in Chicago always had a couple of her things - usually fairly small - on display. Some of her things were quite large - over 5 feet. They would seem to stretch the limits of what would be possible or reasonable to create.

She is credited with helping to bring ceramics into the realm of fine arts.

The New York Times article says she was influenced by the Finnish ceramist Maija Grotell - who made ceramics "to be seen and not used." She was also influenced by Zen Buddhism.

She regarded her ceramic work as an outgrowth of nature and seamlessly interconnected with the rest of her life. “I see no difference between making pots, cooking and growing vegetables,” she was fond of saying. Indeed, she often used her kilns to bake chicken in clay, and dry mushrooms, apples and zucchinis.

“You are not an artist simply because you paint or sculpt or make pots that cannot be used,” she told Ceramics Monthly in 1975. “An artist is a poet in his or her own medium. And when an artist produces a good piece, that work has mystery, an unsaid quality; it is alive.”

She was born in Hawaii and died in Hawaii and in between she studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich (where she studied with Maija Grotell), taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art for 10 years and then at Princeton for 25 years.

Moon, n.d.

I got to making painted spheres for awhile - which were partly inspired by her ceramics.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Glue, Ceramics and Cloth

I went to the January show at the Halcyon in Terre Haute the other day. Upon walking into the foyer area, one encounters Christy Brinkman's hot glue creations. The dark grey-blue wall shows them off most effectively. The light, whitish translucent quality suggests snowflakes, but the shapes seem more like mold, or coral, or some life form yet unseen.

I have seen Ms. Brinkman working on these. It's a labor intensive process as she builds up the structures with strips of hot glue. It is interesting to experience the result, many of these glue creatures together in an environment. The dark back room with strategic lighting suggests an underwater habitat. Even though, they are so much plastic, unlike other plastic things, Brinkman's creations seem more fragile - as life is.

_________________In the large gallery is ceramics created by Judy Ohmit and textiles/quilts by Julia Sermersheim.

Sermersheim's quilt/textile pieces are mostly about abstraction and color - as quilts typically have been. Sermersheim's quilts often express a more organic nature - and a playful use of stitching. The one with the pond is the most literal in it's expression. The one shown in the background of the two ceramic figures is the most colorful. (You have to experience this in person to get the full effect - nothing could adequately reproduce those colors).
I like the way Judy Ohmit's ceramic women relate to each other - especially "Sisters" - and I like the colors and simplicity of them. In one sense some of them are like so many gift items that portray occupations. Perhaps one thing that makes these different is that so many of those things are about more typical types, while many of these are less typical yet abstract - such as "Hope."________________________________


Soon, I'll go off to work on a painting that is a multi-week process. The colors of the quilts inspire me to push the colors in my painting; the ceramic figures to endow my figures with personality. While I always like to express the organic quality of life - the hot glue pieces remind me to be experimental in my approach.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cao Fei

I noticed that Cao Fei had been considered for a big art award - so I looked her up. She was born, lives and works in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province,China. She has been in the Venice Biennale, the Taipei Biennial, the Moscow Biennale, the Fukuoka Triennale . She wants to be a bridge between art and pop culture. She works in video, performance, photography, installation and

RMB City 5, 2008, digital c-print, 120 x 160 cm

She is especially know for her RMB City. From ARTFORUM (China):

The architectural apotheosis of the Chinese city built in a virtual world. Developed by Chinese artist Cao Fei, RMB City offers an intense China experience. Combining the surreal with the virtual, critique with commerce, RMB City is an exercise in suspension that uses a dimensional distortion of architecture to create something which is described as “a city.” A place impossible to live in, but potentially an interesting one to invest in.

The other thing is the COSPLAYERS (costumed players). From

In cosplay — slang for “costume play” — people emulate the appearances of fictional characters. Cao Fei’s extensive series began by following Guangzhou youths, dressed like their favorite Japanese manga heroes, romping through their hometown. Gilded and winged outfits hearken to the future and far-away cultures, but gray cement overpasses and towering skyscrapers prevent any escape from the struggling city. In her more recent series, Cao Fei casts older Beijing residents in the same absurd roles and inserts them into typical street scenes.

Complementing these imaginative tableaux, Cao Fei chronicles the artistic creations of her peers in her Alternative Archive blog and further explores virtual reality in her Second Life blog via the avatar China Tracy. With her characteristic insight and wry wit, Cao Fei captures a generation caught between fantastic optimism and reality.

Statement about COSPLAYERS from
This cinematic work is an experiment that employs a surrealistic plot to give COSPLAYERS (young people dressed as game characters) the ability to traverse the city at will, and to engage in combat within their imaginary world. They expect their costumes will grant them true magical power, enabling the wearer to transcend reality and put themselves above all worldly and mundane concerns.

All COSPLAYERS are very young, with dreams in their heads, spending all their waking hours in the virtual world of video games from a very early age. Hence when they eventually grow up, they discover they are living a life style frowned upon and rejected by society and family members alike. With no channels open to express their feeling and aspirations they resort to escapism and, becoming alienated and out of touch, they turn into ever more unbecoming characters. However, in that moment when they are turned into genies, chivalrous knights, fairy princesses, or geeks, the pains of reality are assuaged, even if the "real" world they are standing on has not changed to the slightest.

In recent years a group of COSPLAYERS, growing up in and around China’s coastal cities, have been confronted by both the traditional values of the Chinese education system and subjected to the pull of invading foreign cultures in the new century. As a group of adolescents who refuse to grow-up, they choke themselves with passionate impulses and an undisguised infatuation with personal fancies, expressed through ways and manners only they can understand and be comfortable with.

Info about some of her works can be found at Alternative Archive.

I suppose it figures that art work that employs the internet, film, etc. would be considered the best new thing. I like the aspect of internet art that it is available to anyone.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sylvia Sleigh

Working At Home (1969)

From the New York Times:
Sylvia Sleigh, the British-born artist who put a feminist spin on portrait painting, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 94.

"Ms. Sleigh, who came to prominence as part of the surging feminist art movement of the 1970s, turned traditional portraiture on its head by presenting the male nude posed as a reclining Venus or odalisque, although she also painted both sexes, clothed and unclothed," writes William Grimes.

She was born in Wales in 1916, studied at the Brighton School of Art, lived in London for about 20 years and moved to the US in 1961.

Through her work with the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Artists and Women in the Arts, as well as her exhibitions with the SoHo 20 Gallery and A.I.R., she emerged in the 1970s as a prominent artist with an audacious take on traditional art history.

Not only were the sex roles reversed, but her paintings also wittily cast her all-too-human subjects in situations reserved for the gods of antiquity in Renaissance art.

Turkish Bath (1973)

Rosano Reclining (1974)

Annunciation (1975)

It was interesting to see the paintings posted with the NYT article - and the gardens that she included as part of her paintings - such as in "Annunciation". I don't remember seeing those before. A nice mix of flowers/gardens and people. I've just started adding people into my own paintings. I'm much more comfortable painting nature - having done so for years - but I enjoy the challenge of painting people, and it certainly changes the environment. People can overpower the painting, because of the way we, as people notice the people more. But it is evident in her paintings that she was very interested in the gardens. It's also interesting to see the figures in the modern dress of the day - the cut-offs.

A.I.R. 1978

This would be a good painting to show with the Zoffany piece - when doing art history. The A.I.R. group portrait (AIR = Artist In Residence).

I noticed her best work was done in her 50s :)