So Very Ordinary 2.

I have a thing for the mundane, things so mundane they are invisible. All the things that no one sees. I drive Rick a tad spare when we go walkabout, because I’ll be hanging way back there, staring at a chain link fence. I enjoy all the invisible things just the way they are, and I enjoy playing with them too. This little bit of ordinary is chain link fence (part one). Click for full size.

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© C. Ford. All rights reserved.

So Very Ordinary.

I have a thing for the mundane, things so mundane they are invisible. All the things that no one sees. I drive Rick a tad spare when we go walkabout, because I’ll be hanging way back there, staring at a chain link fence. I enjoy all the invisible things just the way they are, and I enjoy playing with them too. This little bit of ordinary is a taillight on a school bus converted into a camper. Click for full size.

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© C. Ford. All rights reserved.

Psycho meets the Met Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden is perennially one of the most popular spots in New York City during the summer, in part because it’s a lovely venue, but also because of its fantastic, often-immersive outdoor exhibits. This year should be no exception: For the 2016 season, the roof garden commission is British artist Cornelia Parker’s “Transitional Object (PsychoBarn),” which is indeed a replica of the creepy home featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic Psycho.

Becky Schear, Instagram.

Becky Schear, Instagram.

Parker says she was inspired not just by Hitchcock’s iconic film, but also by the work of artist Edward Hopper, who was known for painting rural landscapes punctuated by the odd barn or rambling old house. In fact, the Bates home in Psycho was allegedly inspired by Hopper’s painting House By the Railroad, and Parker’s piece shares similar characteristics. It’s covered in reclaimed wood, which comes from an actual barn; she’s stated that she wanted to contrast the “wholesomeness” of that image with the creepiness of the Hitchcock film.

 Cornelia Parker's "Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)" on the roof of the Met Fifth Avenue Photographed by Alex Fradkin, Photo courtesy Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker’s “Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)” on the roof of the Met Fifth Avenue. Photographed by Alex Fradkin, Photo courtesy Cornelia Parker

The exhibit opens today and runs through October 31st.  Curbed and Out have the story.

A common complaint

A common cause for complaint among artists is the high cost of supplies. It’s not unusual to spend thousands of dollars a year on supplies. It’s this cost that leads a lot of artists to abandon art as a career. It’s this cost which also makes a lot of people complain about the cost of art works. While most artists can recoup the cost of materials in selling a piece, they often have to cut the price of their labour down to the bone. A good example of supply cost is turpentine – both of these cost $10.00:

Complaint

The small bottle is Winsor & Newton distilled turpentine, 2.5 ounces / 75 ml. Ten bucks. Is it better? Yes. At least it used to be, it has become increasingly suspect (mostly detected by smell. It no longer smells pine-y fresh). What it has is a name, one established enough that they can stick any price on their products, and people will buy it. (Obviously, I’m included there – I bought it.) I don’t use turpentine a great deal, so it’s easier for me to go with the cheap stuff. The temptation to cheap out is always there, but that is problematic too, because you do get what you pay for. An example:

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Prismacolor coloured pencils, and Derwent blender and burnisher. Prismacolor is my preferred colour pencil, and they cost $2.00 a piece. That might get a shrug from most people, and if all you needed was one pencil, that might be an appropriate response. When you need 5, 10, 20, or more pencils, well…it adds up quickly. What about a set? I should mention that I don’t shop at Amazon or Walmart, but even at Walmart, a set of 150 Prismacolor Premier pencils costs $163.50. (The list price is $312.00). Online art supply – Dick Blick, the set is $151.00 + shipping. Same with Jerry’s Artarama. Prismacolor is far from the most expensive in coloured pencils, too. I won’t even look at Caran D’Ache ($292.00 for a set of 76 luminance). The pricing is the same when it comes to drawing pencils. I have an assortment of pencils, Staedtler, Koh-i-noor, Faber Castell, Derwent, and Sanford to name a few. And yes, all those pencils have specific attributes and effects, so going cheap on pencils isn’t an answer either. The price of good quality markers is very high, for a limited amount of colours, usually in the neighbourhood of $40.00 to $50.00 for 24 markers. I don’t want to even discuss the cost of brushes – that alone can utterly break you, along with the cost of canvas and, oh, paper. I love paper, and a lot of it I just dream about. The cost is prohibitive, especially for things like large size, single sheet Arches 300 lb cold press.

Quality matters, so the next time you’re contemplating buying an art work, please keep in mind that artists aren’t just mindlessly putting an ‘outrageous’ price on their work. We should be able to earn a living wage and be able to continue buying supplies.

“No Soy Tu Chiste ( I Am Not Your Joke).”

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© Daniel Arzola.

Out: What prompted you to create the “No Soy Tu Chiste” campaign?

Daniel Arzola: Since I was a teenager I had been creating art with a purpose, with a social voice, a cry in a universal language. I started with poems, then photography, and finally illustration. For me art has always been a social expression. I called it “Artivism.” But, my story is not very different than the stories of so many gay and trans Venezuelan people. I had a difficult adolescence where I was constantly chased and bothered. When I was about 15 years old, neighbors tied me to an electrical post, took off my shoes and tried to burn me alive. They destroyed all my drawings.

I escaped. But, so many people don’t have the chance to escape from something like that. There was one guy who couldn’t run away—he was gay—his name was Angelo Prado. I saw it on the news. What struck me was that, even in this century, when you turn on the TV in Venezuela, if they talk about LGBT people, there is mockery. They are laughing about the pain of others. Making us a joke.

Full Article Here.

CIPX and Going Platinum

Nakotah LaRance is a citizen of the Hopi Nation, six-time World Champion Hoop Dancer, and member of Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations. He is equipped with a game console, earphones, a Japanese graphic novel, and a dance hoop, to signal that he is both a traditional dancer and a fan of popular culture; he resists easy categorization. Photograph by Will Wilson (Diné/Bilagáana), b. 1969

Nakotah LaRance is a citizen of the Hopi Nation, six-time World Champion Hoop Dancer, and member of Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations. He is equipped with a game console, earphones, a Japanese graphic novel, and a dance hoop, to signal that he is both a traditional dancer and a fan of popular culture; he resists easy categorization.
Photograph by Will Wilson (Diné/Bilagáana), b. 1969

 

1992, from the Feather series “1992 represents a future denied us in 1492. A kind of reminder that indigenous people have a future that they can make their own.” Photograph by Larry McNeil (Tlingit/Nisga’a), b. 1955

1992, from the Feather series
“1992 represents a future denied us in 1492. A kind of reminder that indigenous people have a future that they can make their own.”
Photograph by Larry McNeil (Tlingit/Nisga’a), b. 1955

 

Will Wilson is a Diné/Bilagáana photographer who has gone platinum (the platinum photographic process) with CIPX, The Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange. Another photographer doing the same is Larry McNeil (Tlingit/Nisga’a). You can read more about these artists at http://nmai.si.edu/indelible/.

A major exhibition featuring contemporary photographs by Native American photographers Zig Jackson, Wendy Red Star, and Will Wilson in dialogue with photographs from Edward Sheriff Curtis’ renowned body of work The North American Indian will be at the Portland Art Museum through May 8th. There’s more about the exhibit and the artists here: http://portlandartmuseum.org/exhibitions/contemporary-native-photographers/

The Resurgence of Women-Only Art Shows

The Resurgence of Women-Only Art Shows

Clockwise from top left: Sonia Gomes; Shinique Smith; Perle Fine; and Eva Hesse. Credit Clockwise from top left: Ana Valadares; Gary Pennock; Maurice Berezov/AE Artworks; Henry Groskinsky/Time & Life Pictures, via Getty Images

Clockwise from top left: Sonia Gomes; Shinique Smith; Perle Fine; and Eva Hesse. Credit Clockwise from top left: Ana Valadares; Gary Pennock; Maurice Berezov/AE Artworks; Henry Groskinsky/Time & Life Pictures, via Getty Images

While some artists are ambivalent about being viewed through the lens of gender, the all-women’s group show, which fell out of favor in the ’80s and ’90s, is flourishing again. At least a dozen galleries and museums are featuring women-themed surveys, a surge curators and gallerists say is shining a light on neglected artists, resuscitating some careers and raising the commercial potential of others.

These shows are “playing catch-up after centuries of women’s marginality and invisibility,” said the artist Barbara Kruger, who has both declined and agreed to participate in all-women shows. Galleries looking for fresh names to promote and sell have more than altruism in mind: They are sensing opportunity “to cultivate a new market,” Ms. Kruger said.

[…]

 

In Ms. Reilly’s 2015 Artnews article “Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures and Fixes,” she showed statistically a vast gender imbalance in terms of museum exhibitions and permanent collections, prices, gallery representation and press coverage. Last year, just seven percent of the artists on view in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection galleries were women. “Obviously great women artists have emerged, but unfortunately those are still token achievers,” Ms. Reilly said.

If these shows don’t close the gender divide, they at least provide substantial investment and rigorous scholarship to illuminate narratives that have slipped from the art historical record. The intergenerational lineup of 34 sculptors at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel includes younger artists like Kaari Upson and Shinique Smith alongside modernist forerunners like Louise Bourgeois, Claire Falkenstein, Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis.

An excellent article, and some great shows coming up.

Beauty Everywhere

Claudia Bicen shows the deep beauty of age, of impermanence. I’ve always had a deep and abiding love for Vanitas work, but I think there’s a tendency to show humans in vanitas only as skulls, or what detritus they may have left behind. Perhaps it’s in self defense that we skim over aging, in every day life as well as art. As an aging person, I’m all for seeing the beautiful in age, rather than looking away or being engaged in a desperate fight to fob it off. Bicen’s work is exquisite, go have a look.

Tat tvam asi - Pastel on wood block 12" x 12" - © Claudia Biçen 2013 Gauntlet Gallery, Visions & Reflections Group Exhibition (SOLD) Editor's Award - Portrait Competition 2013 - www.myartcontest.com

Tat tvam asi – Pastel on wood block 12″ x 12″ – © Claudia Biçen 2013
Gauntlet Gallery, Visions & Reflections Group Exhibition (SOLD)
Editor’s Award – Portrait Competition 2013 – www.myartcontest.com