Tuesday, November 24, 2009

As the Year of Astronomy Comes to a Close (Who Knew?): An Exhibition at the Atlanta Airport

"Everything and the Space Between Everything," curated by Katherine Marbury and Lisa Alembik, is an exhibition in the Atrium Gallery of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. I seem to have dropped off the Airport Art Program's media list again (or possibly simply overlooked the e-mail), but the redoubtable Lisa Alembik posted the essentials on the artnews listserv today. With the informality that the blog format permits, I am here reproducing a work by Alejandro Aguilera along with word that the show exists, and the bare minimum of recognition, a list of its splendid roster of artists:

Alejandro Aguilera
Larry Anderson
Linda Armstrong
Don Cooper
Pam Longobardi
Yanique Norman
Joe Peragine
Vicki Ragan
Paul Rodecker
Nell Ruby
Richard Sudden
Lisa Tuttle
Caomin Xie

Do I have any idea of the exact content or appearance of this homage to the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescopic observations? No. But now that I am aware of its existence I hope to make my way there on MARTA. If I cannot travel anywhere for budgetary reasons, I can at least view the art that a good many other travelers will have the option of seeing en route to their destinations throughout the world.

last minutes and never at alls

I am delighted that the estimable Robert Cheatham has called our attention to the blog of architectural theorist Lebbeus Woods, who has been revisiting highlights of the long-deceased architectural theory of the 1980s. Of particular interest is his post on the Rem Koolhaas design for Paris' legendary Parc de la Villette, a five-layer project that was passed over in favor of Bernard Tschumi's fabled collaboration with Jacques Derrida:

I have decided it is time to make public my post on the Millennium Gate in Atlanta, which I consider one of the most significant pieces of postmodern creativity of the early twenty-first century, the filling in of the gaps left by history, by the absence of projects that, like Koolhaas's Parc de la Villette, should have been constructed but were not, or were never even imagined in their rightful time.

Whether I do that or not, I am chagrined that I have been unable to write a decent review of an eminently viewable show at the Millennium Gate Museum, major works from the Bank of America's collection of American Impressionism. George Bellows' Old Farmyard, Toodleums alone would be worth the rather hefty price of admission:

The exhibition closes on December 6. There are more familiar, signature works by the major figures of American Impressionism, but as always I am attracted most strongly to the works by lesser known figures or the works in a style not always associated with the more famous artists.

Thus I make no judgments as to the art historical adequacy of the collection, though it seems that Bank of America has made judicious acquisitions. All I can say is that I'm glad "Transcending Vision" has been here lo these many months, and I offer apologies for not having said so much earlier. I was working on a four-part essay on hybridity, cross-cultural stereotypes, and other topics not immediately thought of when the topic of American Impressionism arises, not to mention the Millennium Gate.

But all that will have to wait, since the show is on the verge of closing. Fragments of the essay in question already exist on this blog, but I am not about to make things easy for the merely curious by cross-referencing them.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

but wait, there's more

However, my remarks on Sarah Hobbs' visually involving and humorously cerebral approach to assorted psychological syndromes will have to wait for another time. The show just opened at Solomon Projects and will be getting immense amounts of publicity so my disinclination to put myself out there prematurely (or at all) should be no great loss.

Unless I'm just covering the mirror with origami butterflies as in "Denial."

if you can't say something intelligent, don't say anything at all. not a maxim to be obeyed in certain cases

Monica Cook's show is on the verge of closing at Marcia Wood Gallery (November 28, to be exact) and it needs even more analytical study than it has thus far received.

The newest works in Cook's oeuvre are far more complex than I can tackle at this point, indeed obscurely Swiftian in her tangles of slender and corpulent naked females...though the one shown with lilliputian figures is anything but a feminine version of Lemuel Gulliver. Thomasine Bradford, thou should'st be living at this hour. But you're not, and whether Drs. McClintock and/or Richmond will step forward, or a number of other writers I can think of, I am far from certain. Dr. Cullum makes no hypothesis.

The sheer allure of painterly renderings of physical texture in Cook's depiction of naked women entangled in tentacles or smeared with glorious foodstuffs is another matter. This is a Freudian feast of material celebration, probably going in directions I am not qualified to pursue beyond the triumph of painting involved.

Cook is, in some ways, accomplishing in painting a continuation of the incipient investigations that the too-early-gone Helen Chadwick accomplished in photography. I still recall vividly my sense of astonished shock at the encounter with "Of Mutability" produced in 1986, and my pleased feeling of discomfiture at all of Chadwick's subsequent studies of bodily limits and art based on bodily emissions (which, so far, Cook has approached only symbolically).

Views of "Monica Cook: Seeded and Soiled" are currently available at http://www.marciawoodgallery.com/ and the works themselves are, as I have remarked, on view through November 28.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

fyi for folks in Atlanta...or those few who still read this blog, anyway

Another year having gone by without a completely satisfactory solution to communicating art information to the various non-overlapping art audiences in metro Atlanta (despite the best efforts of the several online sources to remedy the situation), I am once again volunteering to put out the basic info re the first-weekend-in-December sale by the artists' studios in the Little Five Points Community Center. Perhaps someone will read it who shops at studio sales.

Tom Meyer's bio is deserving of quotation (as his photos are deserving of acquisition, but that accolade would go for any of the artists in the studio sales): "T.W. Meyer: 'I have been using a camera seriously since about 1976. I am a geezer. A geezer/hipster. Charming, capricious in word and harmless in deed, prone to solitary activity but witty and gregarious at a party (lala!). Boringly trusted by women young and old, a harmless flirt free of embarrassing ulterior motives (apparently).' www.twmeyerphoto.com, twmeyer.com and on Facebook (Tom Meyer)"

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Four Euclid Arts Collective Studios, Ten Local Artists

Hold Holiday Open Studio Tour & Art Sale 1st Weekend in December

at Little 5 Points Community Center in Inman Park

Studio 102, Studio 204, Studio 207 & “Kitchen” Studio

Fri, Dec 4th, 7-9 pm; Sat, Dec 5th, 10 am – 4 pm; Sun, Dec 6th, 12 - 4pm

EAC artists Michelle Jordan of Studio 102, Chantal Gadd & Carla House of Studio 204, Henry Leonard of Studio 207 and TW Meyer of the ‘Kitchen” Studio will open their studio doors to the public and display their work along with several local guest artists, including Cathryn P. Cooper, Yvonne Dauria, Susan McCracken, Becky Sizemore and Christine Stanton.

Come tour four separate working art studios, meet local artists, and view a wide variety of artwork, including ceramic sculpture, watercolor and oil paintings, fiber & acrylic on canvas and other mixed media, photography, paper collage, gourd vessels, hand-made glass beads, ornaments, bookmarks, jewelry, stained glass and hand-woven wearables.

Free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Michelle Jordan at (404)759-0851 or michelle@jordanclaystudio.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

comments to come re Frank Hunter's photos

It seems appropriate on Friday the Thirteenth to reflect on the ill luck attending Frank Hunter's current show at Thomas Deans; a very distinguished guest (distinguished, so obviously it was not me) came by at the one moment when an emergency resulted in the gallery being closed for a brief period; the photos themselves, which take the platinum-palladium print medium firmly into the contemporary moment, lose their impact almost entirely when rendered in tiny low-res format online (but for those who know how to see, they can be viewed on the Thomas Deans and Company website).

Fortunately, the "Iowa Signs" series will be on the walls through Thanksgiving, but they need contextualization both in terms of art history (the compositions are more reminiscent of historic etchings than of contemporary photographs, in spite of being night shots of illuminated billboards) and in terms of scale: the image of a billboard silhouetted in its own lights with a bolt of lightning arcing horizontally across the dark sky above it requires a certain size to achieve its impact. Reproduced without the richness of the platinum-palladium print and in a tiny format, the "Iowa Signs" photographs feel like the Old Master paintings reproduced on Christmas stamps.

I hope to be able to write a sensible review helping readers to see what is in the miniature images available online, and I understand that Thomas Deans is writing a few paragraphs setting the work in historical context.

The contemporary context needs to be spelled out: there is a mini-history of photographs of billboards (including Gregor Turk's color images of desolate blank billboards), and Hunter's particular camera angles that situate his billboards in dramatically lightless settings is at once realistic and surrealistic—which itself is part of a contemporary tradition. If his photographs of forests and mountain glades hark back to a nineteenth century idiom, the "Iowa Signs" reach forward towards a twenty-first century one.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

multitudes and common wealth or common weal

Jeremy Abernathy presents a mutual-aid challenge worthy of Pyotr Kropotkin at burnaway.org:

Speaking of Kropotkin, Rebecca Solnit's new book A Paradise Built in Hell has been getting considerably thoughtful reviews, especially the one in the New York Review of Books November 5 issue. Sorry, Bill McKibbin's review is only available online to paying electronic subscribers, which even us print-subscriber-types are not: