Friday, June 4, 2010

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

Finding Frida Kahlo

Last fall, Barbara Levine's and Stephen Jaycox's Finding Frida Kahlo was published by Princeton Architectural Press. The book details what was purported to be a trove of paintings, unpublished sketches and drawings, keepsake boxes, diary, letters, and other ephermera of the artist's uncovered at an antiques shop in a converted textile factory in Mexico. Collected in two wooden chests, a metal trunk, a wooden box, and an old suitcase bearing the name "Sra. KAHLO DE RIVERA", the materials comprised, as was stated on one of the letters, the "personal archive of Frida K. and personal archive of my private life."

In the video below, Levine offers a glimpse into the "find". Levine is head of project b, a curatorial services company that specializes in archives, collections, vernacular photograpy, and artist projects. Formerly, Levine was  director of exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Of interest and worth reading are these articles and reviews: "Finding Frida Kahlo" at Book By Its Cover; "Finding Frida Kahlo: Editorial Reviews", including a January 2010 Bookslut Review by Colleen Mondor; and this report in The Art Newspaper, "Forthcoming Frida Kahlo Book Denounced as Fake", which appeared before the book's publication in November 2009. (The latter's headline itself was a bit off, as it was not the book that was deemed a "forgery" but the "lost archive" that was the subject of the book.) Also see this page at the PAP, which includes links to other reviews about this controversial book. 

"Finding Frida Kahlo" by Barbara Levine from Princeton Architectural Press on Vimeo.

Exhibitions Here and There

Washington, D.C.-based artist Ryan Hill is presenting work through June 19 at D.C.'s Civilian Art Projects. His solo exhibition SuperFacial comprises creative and humorous works on paper that, as the show's press release states, "play with ideas of the spectacular, glamour, and faciality". Hill draws from different kinds of spa treatments (cocoa and shea butter, sea kelp, etc.), FaceBook profiles, fashion magazine images, and images on entertainment Websites to explore ideas about identity and the art of masquerade.  Some of Hill's drawings are made with color pencil and ink, others with graphite. Some are based on the  "subtraction of context" from found images that are then "masked" (see, at left, the image for "Apricot and Almond Oil" © Ryan Hill) and sprayed with ink before being enhanced with other imaginative details.  Included in the show is a wall collage of ephemera, photographs, drawings, and textworks, as well as a video collaboration with experimental filmmaker Rob Parrish, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, who now lives in Arlington, Virginia.

A press release for the show is here. An interview with Hill is here.

Parrish, who has received three Rosebud Awards for filmmaking excellence, has two video blogs: Hopper Video and Next to Heaven

✭ Los Angeles-based painter Jerry Shawback's I.O.N. — Instincts of Nature opens June 12 and runs through July 17 at Affinity Galleries in West Hollywood, California. His expressive self-portraits, which put one in mind of Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, whom Shawback acknowledges as influences along with his mentor Cornelius Cole III, are compelling, the eyes in each exerting a strong instant draw that leave you wondering about the unknown stories the emotive faces carry. Information about Shawback, whose background includes animation and communication design, is here. To see his daily sketches, go here.

✭ On exhibit until July 11 at MIT's List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is Tavares Strachan's Orthostatic Tolerance: It Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea If I Never Went Home. The project on which the Bahamian-born and New York-based artist has been working since 2006 explores space and deep-sea pressure ("orthostatic" means "stand upright" and "tolerance" refers to "ability to withstand pressure").

For those interested, the center's noted public art collection, which includes work by Calder, Picasso, and other major artists, can be explored here and by map here. Go here for information on the permanent collection, which includes more than 1,500 artworks (paintings, sculpture, photography, print media) that can be searched by artist, creation date, medium type, and style.

✭ A show of work by Rosemary Cooley and Tjelda vander Meijden opened June 1 at Washington Printermakers Gallery, Silver Spring, Maryland. The exhibition of prints, Present Water: Micro and Macro, is on view until June 27. View all of Cooley's prints here; all of Meijden's here.

Images at left: Top, Cooley's "Blue Smash", woodcut on Rives BFK with Mica, 12"x22"; Bottom, Meijden's "Present Water", Monoprint on Rives BFK, 11"x17".

✭ The installation project Este Es Mi Pais (This is My Country), by Philadelphia-based artist Roxana Perez-Mendez, is the first of a series of solo exhibitions by emerging artists at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Perez-Mendez, an assistant professor of sculpture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a multi-media and performance artist whose work examines the ambiguities and fragility of history and perceptions of identity. She is represented by Philadelphia's Vox Populi Gallery.

The show, which opened May 22 and continues through September 26, combines paintings from PAFA's collection with Pepper's video images, ready-made material, and Pepper's Ghost holograms.

Invented by professor John Henry Pepper with English engineer Henry Dircks and introduced in the 1960s, Pepper's Ghost is an illusory technique used in theatre and some magic tricks. It uses a plate glass and special lighting techniques to make objects seemingly appear or disappear or to make objects "morph" into each other. See "The Ghost in the Theatre: Pepper's Ghost Effect".

The image above at right is an example of how "Pepper's Ghost" would have looked in 1863.

Dennis Hopper Photographs

The actor Dennis Hopper, who died last week, was a photographer of some merit and is the subject of Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967, edited by Tony Shafrazi, with contributions from the late Walter Hopps and filmmaker and arts journalist Jessica Hundley. Issued by Tashen in a multi-lingual edition (English/French/German), the book is limited to 1,500 copies, each signed by Hopper. A video about the book is here.

Washington Post Obituary for Dennis Hopper

Hopper's Career in Photos

E-ArtNow for Exhibition Announcements

An information service for the distribution by e-mail of selected announcements of exhibitions, arts publications, arts conferences or other events, residencies, and other arts-related items, e-artnow was founded in 2008 and, according to its Website, serves more than 55,000 visual arts professionals worldwide, from museums and art schools, to galleries and nonprofit arts organizations, to magazines, to curators and artists. Approximately 44 percent of the community is in Europe, while 42 percent is in North American; the proportion of artists is 20 percent, and of museums, 18 percent (see database demographics on "About" page). Users create their own announcements online at least a week in advance of the event date and e-artnow distributes them ("How It Works") to its community. The first "trial" announcement is free; thereafter, the cost is 150 euros per announcement or 5 announcements for 500 euros. For examples of announcements that have been distributed, see the archive. Direct questions not answered on the Website to

Meditations with Art

Netherlands-based ArtWay, a service to the community of faith, is providing weekly image meditations. (The group's Website debuted May 23. It is accepting now registrations for the art meditations, which are delivered via e-mail. You can toggle easily between Dutch and English versions. This is a beautiful site.)

What's Your Definition?

Daniel Grant at The Huffington Post raises and tries to answer what he calls the "vexing" question, "How Do You Define 'Artist'?"


M.L. Gallagher said...

You are such a constant treasure trove of wonder.

When I went to the meditation site I was a bit taken aback by the Dutch! LOL -- and then I found, to my relief, it also was in English -- whew -- and then I realized.... but meditation is without words :) It is a beautiful site.

And how do I answer that vexing question? Good question!

Joyce Wycoff said...

Such treasures you send us. As for the question ... I like the answer that says an artist is someone who calls herself one. That seems like step one ... if we don't call ourselves artists, we won't make art ... and if we don't make art then we obviously can't call ourselves artists.

Writers write. Artists art. Great reminder about the challenge ... and power of labels.

Anonymous said...

L.L. Barkat said...

I particularly like the blue paintings.

I love blue.