Tag Archives: Art

LA Holiday: James Turrell Retrospective at LACMA…

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It’s been a looooooooooong time since I have had anything worth while to blog about. School has kept me INSANELY busy and I haven’t really had the chance to engage in any creative or artistic pursuits since moving to Eugene… so, I am really glad that I went back to Los Angeles to see my father for holiday!

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I have a school mate who is interested in James Turrell (a major artist of the 1960s/1970s Light and Space movement) so I wanted to make sure that I got in to see his retrospective that is on exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) so I could report back. Obviously, Turrell has produced a monumental amount of work, what I didn’t know (mostly because my head is always stuck in Medieval Byzantium) is how scientific Turrell’s work is– it’s on a completely different level then where my mind naturally operates, and because of that, I find Turrell FASCINATING.

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Sooooo…. technically, I was not allowed to take pictures…. but what kind of Art Historian would I be if I didn’t sneak a few? 😉 It’s all for educational purposes anyway… The exhibition was separated into two parts, housed in two separate spaces at LACMA. Part one (BCAM, level 2) basically traced Turrell’s artistic evolution chronologically, starting with his early geometric light projections, prints and drawings, and then moving to the installations that challenge and explore the sense (specifically sight) with what seems to be unmodulated fields of colored light as well as his recent works that incorporate holograms.

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Part two (Reznik Pavilion) is then devoted to the Turrell’s magnum opus Roden Crater, a “site-specific intervention into the landscape just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, presented through models, plans, photographs, and films.” (LACMA website) Turrell has been working on Roden Crater for 40 out of the 50 years of his professional career. AMAZING.

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Turrell’s Breathing Light was a complete trip!! You walk up stairs into this space that is just filled with light front front to back and lose all sense of space and depth… I had a weird moment where I thought to myself, “This must be what Heaven feels like…” It was as if I was floating in the space… totally weird and amazing.

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[top: James Turrell, Raemar Pink White, 1969, Shallow Space, Collection of Art & Research, Las Vegas, Installation view at Griffin Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA, 2004]

[Bottom:  James Turrell, Breathing Light, 2013, LED light into space, Los Angeles County Museum of Art]

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I HIGHLY recommend this retrospective. Dear, Lord. YES. GO. Make sure you buy tickets in advance though… or good luck getting in. I ended up purchasing a membership for $30, which somehow got me a ticket to Turrell and to Calder’s show even though both were sold out… it ends up being cheaper to buy a membership than to buy a general admission ticket and also  tickets to the special exhibitions separately…. ENJOY!

WAR…. WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR…?

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I’m Baaaaaaaaaaack!!!

So, I’m almost two months into my graduate program and I have to say that is it kicking my ass! It’s very fun and very engaging but VERY hard. But, I will devote a whole blog post to my move, getting settled and the school year. I did however, want to talk about a exhibition in Portland that I just saw.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit the White Box Gallery in Portland. Being new to Oregon, I was excited to be able to see an art space outside of Eugene and was also really pleased to discover that the White Box is actually a part of the University of Oregon. Currently, a collection of photographs by Craig Hickman is being exhibited. Craig Hickman is a professor in the Digital Arts department at the University of Oregon. The show entitled, “Craig Hickman” is a pretty fascinating collection of photographs documenting student protests during the 1960s and 1970s, especially after the Kent State Massacre on May 4th, 1970 and the focus on the Vietnam War.

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These protests occurred while Hickman was at the University of Portland as a student where he studied photography, so Hickman was there to document the happenings. However, for whatever reason, many of the photographs were never developed or deemed poor quality by Hickman and boxed up. The curator of the exhibition explained that a couple of years ago, Hickman discovered the same boxes of the undeveloped negatives and looked at them with more experience and fresh eyes. What is remarkable about the photographs that are up on the gallery walls today is the process that Hickman used to develop them. Unlike the typical film developing processing of chemically treating the photographic film and or paper, Hickman actually photographed the negative with a digital camera and then uploaded the picture onto Photoshop where he then “developed” the negative through photo editing and filters. In short, the photographs on the walls are actually edited digital photographs of undeveloped film– which you would never know just by looking.

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In the main gallery, the narrative is laid out with large scale, landscape format photographs each depicting the larger aspects of the student protest. The viewer is confronted by various steps of the process: the build up, the planning, the execution, the outcome and the damage. As you move into the second gallery (which is all portraits), the viewer gets a better look at all of the individuals within the student protests. Hickman also documents some major players in the United States at this time, like Huey P. Newton and Robert Kennedy in one of his last public appearances before his assassination in 1968. While many of the portraits are purely documentary in style, some photographs are very intimate and the viewer can get a sense of how closely tied these students were to the movements and each other.

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Overall, this was a pretty great exhibition and I was really happy to have the chance to see the photographs. The White Box Gallery seems to be a pretty incredible resource for exhibition. I am really looking forward to spending more time exploring outside of Eugene and experiencing art of the Northwest.

Birthday…

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Well… no, it’s not mine… but “Birthday” is the title of this beautiful Surrealist painting by the amazing Dorthea Tanning.

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I was reminded of this painting yesterday and I had a completely different reaction to it than I have had in the past. This time, I feel like I was looking at myself. I am coming up on some big changes and moves in my personal, professional, and academic life… and I felt like the symbolism in Tanning’s self portrait really leant itself to those kinds of feelings. Tanning stands in the room, bare-chested and vulnerable but at the same time gives off a sense of self and internal (read emotional) strength through the gaze of her eyes and the placement of her hand on the knob of the door; the first open door in a long stretch of rooms, each separated by opened doors. At Tanning’s feet, a mystical, winged creature waits patiently, ready to follow Tanning loyally through each door. Perhaps this creature represents all the currently intangible possibilities that lie just through those doors that do not exist in her reality yet… but they are certainly coming!

When I have personal moments like this, I am reminded about why I love Art History SO MUCH. I am really jazzed about starting school and getting to a place in my career when I can contributed to the immense art historical scholarship that already exists.

And, while I have you… if you are interested, a little background on this incredible woman, in her own words…

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“Dorothea Tanning was born in 1910 in Galesburg, Illinois and attended Knox College in her hometown before studying painting in Chicago (haunting the Art Institute where she learned what painting was.)   In 1941, now in New York, she met the art dealer, Julien Levy, and his surrealist friends, refugees from Nazi occupied France. Late in 1942 Max Ernst visited her studio, saw a painting, (Birthday), and stayed to play chess. They would have 34 years together, at first in Sedona, Arizona (a mere outpost at the time).  Here she would continue to paint her enigmatic versions of life on the inside, looking out:The Guest Room, The Truth About Comets, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Interior with Sudden Joy, Insomnias, Palaestra, Tamerlane, Far From. By 1956 Max and Dorothea had chosen to live and work thenceforth in France. Though Paris was headquarters, they preferred the country quiet lure in Touraine and Provence. These years included, for Dorothea Tanning, an intense five‐year adventure in soft sculpture: CousinsDon Juan’s BreakfastFetishRainy Day CanapéTragic TableVerbXmasEmmaRevelation or the End of the Month, Hôtel du Pavot Room 202.

Max Ernst died on April 1, 1976 and Dorothea faced a solitary future. “Go home,” said the paint tubes, the canvases, the brushes. Returning to the United States in the late 1970s, and still painting, Tango LivesWoman ArtistOn AvalonDoor 84Still in the StudioBlue MomDionysos S.O.S., she gave full rein to her long felt compulsion to write.  Words, poetry.  Written, read, heard.  Would she join these voices even then? Her poems have since appeared in a number of literary reviews and magazines, such as The Yale ReviewPoetryThe Paris ReviewThe New YorkerThe Boston ReviewThe Southwest ReviewParnassus, and in Best Poems of 2002 and 2005. Her published works include two memoirs, Birthday and Between Lives, a collection of poems, A Table of Content, and a novel, Chasm.” (From the Biography page on Tanning’s own website)

Shout Outs! Modern Art Notes and Tyler Green…

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Tyler Green is a pretty incredible art journalist based out of Washington DC. Green is currently the editor for the art based blog Modern Art Notes on Blouin ArtInfo.com

Tyler VERY graciously included my blog on one of his posts during the “Day for Detroit” initiative and it absolutely made my day! I am a really big fan of his writing and this particular art blog– so this is really fantastic!!

It was pretty great to see art blogs from all over the country rallying together and focusing on the beautiful works of art that people may not know can be found at the Detroit Institute of Art.

Day for Detroit XV…

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[John Singleton Copley, George Boone Roupell, 1779]

The Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) has been in the news A LOT lately. I wrote a blog awhile ago when the country was just getting wind of Detroit’s plight and the fact that Emergency Manager for the city of Detroit, Kevyn Orr was in the process of declaring bankruptcy. The biggest concern for the DIA surrounds the fact that the museum (and museums in general) is city-owned and the art housed inside the walls of the museum is in a public trust.

The New York-based Sharon Butler, who writes Two Coats of Paint, echoed those thoughts, saying the liquidation of the collection would be shortsighted: “Artists and arts organizations can help generate Detroit’s economic recovery,” she said. “Every artist who has ever renovated a loft in a depressed urban area only to be priced out of the neighborhood as gentrification takes place knows this, but city managers often do not. We are trying to spread the word.”

More than 15 art-based blogs are focusing on the DIA today in an effort to spotlight the museum as well as what is potentially at risk in this very serious situation. You can read a really great article about the “Day for Detroit” here.

Throughout the day, I will be posting images from the collection at the DIA to show solidarity with the museum as well as other art-blogs that are doing the same.  You can even do one better and join us in becoming a Member of the Detroit Institute of Art. Let’s save the DIA!!!!

Other art blogs joining the cause:

Day for Detroit XIV…

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[Stool, c. 19th-20th Century]

The Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) has been in the news A LOT lately. I wrote a blog awhile ago when the country was just getting wind of Detroit’s plight and the fact that Emergency Manager for the city of Detroit, Kevyn Orr was in the process of declaring bankruptcy. The biggest concern for the DIA surrounds the fact that the museum (and museums in general) is city-owned and the art housed inside the walls of the museum is in a public trust.

The New York-based Sharon Butler, who writes Two Coats of Paint, echoed those thoughts, saying the liquidation of the collection would be shortsighted: “Artists and arts organizations can help generate Detroit’s economic recovery,” she said. “Every artist who has ever renovated a loft in a depressed urban area only to be priced out of the neighborhood as gentrification takes place knows this, but city managers often do not. We are trying to spread the word.”

More than 15 art-based blogs are focusing on the DIA today in an effort to spotlight the museum as well as what is potentially at risk in this very serious situation. You can read a really great article about the “Day for Detroit” here.

Throughout the day, I will be posting images from the collection at the DIA to show solidarity with the museum as well as other art-blogs that are doing the same.  You can even do one better and join us in becoming a Member of the Detroit Institute of Art. Let’s save the DIA!!!!

Other art blogs joining the cause: