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Contemporary Cave Art

16 Dec

I happened upon this story on Facebook and was so wowed by this man and his work. Ra Paulette digs out the most inspired, beautiful caves and hand carves the walls with gorgeous, organic patterns and textures. What an artist!

I dream of retiring in northern New Mexico, it’s so alluring with the vast landscape and sky. Knowing these caves exist over there makes me want to move there now and live in art cave. This is a must see in my life.

Watch the YouTube link:

http://www.racavedigger.com

Ra Paulettecave Ra Paulette

 

Artist as Celeb:14 minutes with Marina Abramovic

10 Aug

I know the insinuation of the title is that I maybe spoke with Marina Abramovic, but what happened was that I spent 14-ish minutes in the same general area as her.

I went to the Marina Abramoic show, 512 Hours, at the Serpentine Gallery. Marina is basically the big art-star/art-celeb right now &  I found myself sucked into her fame vortex because I waited in line for 40 minutes to see the show. I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about.

Admittedly, I don’t know her work besides the famous MOMA peformance, The Artist Is Here, and also her video with Jay-Z (read my commentary in the July 13 archive ).

When you walk into the gallery you are asked to put away sunglasses & mobile phones (anything distracting) in a locker provided. No talking.

The first room is a locker room. I put my stuff away and didn’t know what to do next. People were sitting on the benches. I thought we were going to be led into the other rooms in groups (I was let in as part of a group). Then I noticed there was a lady whispering to someone. It was Marina herself and she looks just like the picture you see of her as you’re standing in line for 40 minutes. I sat down thinking maybe she’ll come over and whisper something to me.  I thought we could talk about art & life! After a few minutes I realized everyone was probably thinking this same thing. It was like once when I was shopping at Barneys in Beverly Hills and I saw Victoria Beckham a few feet from me. I wanted her to look over and smile at me or say something frivolous about my cute outfit- but she just walked away. Attention from a celeb would be so validating in a totally fucked up way. I hated that feeling, so I walked into the next room.

In the rest of the gallery you need to wear noise canceling headphones. I walk into the center room with my noise canceling headphones and it was a pretty cool experience. People were sitting or walking around and there was no noise. It felt like a scene in an artsy film ala Spike Jones-ish. In the center of the room were small square platforms and people were gathering in a circle with their eyes closed. Is this a meditation room? Do they meditate at home or are they only doing this so they can be filmed by Marina (there’s info as you enter that alerts you to the filming in process). I sat down and watched people – I’m a people watcher. These gallery goers were partaking in some un-discussed ritual-ish, contemplative-ish performance. Is this was Marina wanted? It felt really contrived…very, “Let me stand in meditation to the art gods”. Forced. Artsy. Maybe I’m too jaded.

There are 2 rooms off to each side. I walked into the room on the left. It was filled with cots and people were napping. Ok, that’s nice. Resourceful for those tired tourists walking all day. Then I walked to the room on the right – I passed Marina talking to a young girl holding her hand. Is Marina just super nice and holds your hand? Not if she’s British (she’s not). I kinda still wanted to have her come talk to me and hold my hand so I could have a story to tell my art school friends, like when Robert Rauchenberg drunkenly flirted with me.

The second side room was filled with school desks. On the desk was a pile of lentils and rice next to a piece of paper and pencil. The gallery attendant apparently had permission to talk and told me that I’m supposed to separate the rice & lentils and count how many are in each. What bitch? Do I get a free t-shirt if I do it? I sat there for a moment and realized everyone was doing it. Stupid. I felt like I was in an undergrad performance project circa 1994. She lost me in this room.

I was done. As I walked out I saw this cute girl that had on a really cool black and white stripped skirt…very chic, especially because she had on an old yellow tank with it. It totally clashed and I loved that, so I mouthed the words “cute skirt” and I waved my hands over me like I had a skirt on too. That was the most exciting part of the show for me because the girl looked at me like “Shh! Why is this gay guy talking to me about my skirt?”. It was my mini rebellious action to this sterile-robotic environment.

Overall I liked the idea of the show. Was it about the a Universal consciousness? or maybe how we we need stillness in this crazy world? or maybe how stupid our society is for counting rice grains and lentil beans in hopes of being in the video that is being filmed? I’m totally reaching. Whatever it is it came out really contrived, but she’s famous and I totally caught her looking over at me once – maybe it will be a moment in her film; I was validated. My official 512 Hours souvenir

Did you see Jeff Koons on Late Night TV

15 Jul

Seth Meyers, the host of Late Night, had artist Jeff Koons as guest on his show. I found it really interesting and refreshing to have a contemporary artist on mainstream TV. The dialogue is so different than the normal celebrity guest. Koons is currently having a retrospective at the Whitney & they chatted about the flower sculpture Seth (or Andy Cohen) can see from his office. It’s nice to see Seth Meyers throwing the American public a little diversity & culture. I wonder if Jeff Koons brought Seth a gift of one of those balloon dogs on a plate like you get at the museum gift shops. I want one signed by all 120 of Koon’s assistants (fantasy example shown).

Link to show clip below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/10/seth-meyers-jeff-koons_n_5575797.html?utm_hp_ref=arts

Jeff Koons Balloon Dog on a Plate w/ fake signature of his assistants

Jeff Koons – watch him on Late Night w/ Seth Meyers

 

 

Thank a Teacher : The Crucified Luke Skywalker Story

6 Jul


bracelet

I believe in acknowledging & appreciating the journey it takes to get to this day in my life. Today I saw a Facebook post about my old Metals professor Rachelle Thiewes, who is retiring from my undergrad alma mater, the University of Texas at El Paso. I am so grateful for her effect on my creative life.

My first personal-statement-art-work I made was in a metalsmithing class circa 1989-90ish. The assignment was to use anodized titanium in a piece. I wanted to do something really radical; I was going to make a “gay” piece. I was just accepting myself as gay and influenced by the AIDS crisis which had hit with friends and family. My titanium piece was a cross made out of pink triangles (very Silence=Death) that I crucified a Luke Skywalker figure upon (my symbol for childhood, identity, masculinity, etc).

In all honesty, the piece came out a bit shoddy. It was hard to get titanium to turn pink evenly and my Luke Skywalker was my readymade, and just didn’t fit quite well. Critique time came & I was nervous. This was my big art-school coming out moment, although I was already “out”, I hadn’t really incorporated it so blatantly in my art work & 99% of my classes were straights. Ok, it was only about 12 other students but I felt very vulnerable (obviously because I still remember this 25 years later). What happened was I didn’t say much about the piece… I wussed out. What also happened was that my professor, Rachelle Thiewes, made some sort of acknowledgement that she “got it”. I don’t remember what, but I remember feeling relieved, happy & empowered that I was able to communicate my message.

I had some truly great instructors at UTEP who went above & beyond the requirements of an average education (like my painting prof. Jim Quinnan- shout out), but Rachelle and I became friends & keep in contact. A few years back she even invited me to speak to her class a few times. I was able to share how art is still part of my life even if it’s not in a gallery. To give a talk at my alma mater has been a great symbol of achievement & gratitude in my life.

Rachelle’s influence on me in art school was impactful. She was the first person I knew to actually wear cool designers like Besty Johnson (which was big time in 1990 El Paso), and to be an “adult” with pink hair made her all the more cool. Her art is not only beautiful, it’s absolutely brilliant… & wearable. Today I thank my teacher Rachelle Thiewes & wish her well in retirement.

Take a look at a recent article on her:

http://theartave.com/?p=3943&fb_action_ids=10203135489087192&fb_action_types=og.likes

Rachelle

Arianne talks Hedwig!

25 Apr

 

A great article on the uber talented Arianne Phillps and her Hedwig creations! I’m dying to see this Broadway show!

Click link to Style.com belowHedwig Hedwig Costume Designer

http://www.style.com/stylefile/2014/04/arianne-phillips-talks-dressing-hedwig-angry-inch/?fb_action_ids=10202886501697911&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Isabella Blow : Creativity in the Self Destructive

29 Jan

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Isabella Blow was an icon in British fashion; creating innovative styling looks, discovering models and designers, as well as serving as muse for top designers like Alexander McQueen & Philip Treacy. The exhibition, Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is a collection of her wardrobe purchased by Daphne Guinness and is currently showing at the Somerset House in London through March 2, 2014.

The show is a dream couture closet. Mannequins are lined up and dressed in Blow’s astounding fashion archives.  It’s a stylist’s heaven. As much as I loved the spectacular outfits by top designers like McQueen, Julien MacDonald, and Hussein Chalayan, there is an unspoken & disturbing aspect of the show. Yes, Blow is fabulous, amazing, , etc, etc…. but she was really fucked up.  She had multiple suicide attempts, which finally got her when she hit the weed killer. Why does this aspect feel so important to me? Well, first, I love a lost soul…my friends are a collection of lost souls (I say that with the utmost respect and love for them). There is a deepness there that resonates with me from my life experience…& yes I’ve had years of therapy-(which is a different blog ). It just seems that the psychology of the show is screaming to be discussed and instead it’s presented as “Isabella the Fucking Hot Visionary Fashion Goddess”-which has some truth, but instead should be “Isabella the Fucking Hot Visionary with Self-Destructive Behavior that Fuels Her Creative Fashion Goddess”. The exhibit begins with photos of her as child and growing up; an emotional hook that’s not followed through. There is an overt sense of mental illness and/or addiction that could be explored further.

When there is a discussion or even just a viewing of an artist like Van Gogh- you know because we are taught that he cut off his ear and went crazy, hence the O.C.D. brush strokes and intensity of the image. What we know about his personality really elevates the understanding of his work. Fashion is full of fucked up, narcissistic people denying personal demons- and that is what I saw and felt from this show. Fashion-fashion is insular and ego based. Allowing dysfunction to thrive is rewarded. This isn’t a 100% true statement for all fashion people, but if you’ve worked in fashion you know there is a lot of truth in it. I don’t know anything about Blow personally (besides the multiple suicide attempts & she was BFFs with McQueen); but using the theory of like attracts like, I question whether there were structures in her life that supported a healthy mental state. Comprehending this really gives the exhibition a greater sense of awareness into her innovation. Toward the end of the show I felt that everything looked like costumes that conceal emotional truths. The incredible hats & head pieces were true pieces of art, but here they function as symbolic (& literal) masks. I felt like I was sober at a wasted fashion rave…I just wanted to get out of the frenetic energy.

As intense for me viewing the show, I love any show that creates a deep emotional reaction. The exhibit made me wish she were my friend and I could help her somehow, more than marvel at her aptitude. A big disappointment to show was the finale-gift shop. I know museums have to make money but the Disneyfication of museum shows, especially something as cutting edge as Isabella Blow, hampered my experience. They are selling of all sorts of nick-nacks, faux relics and especially disheartening was the Nars makeup section where you can by your very own Isabella Blow inspired make up kit, not to mention you can smell just like Isabella when you buy her favorite perfume, Fracas; all targeted toward the hoards of young fashion student milling around sketching their favorite outfits. I think I may have more of an individual take on this show having dealt with addiction & such, than the majority of the reviewers. I really loved experiencing the fashion but at the cost of a bit of sadness; but such is life.

Real Beauty Sketches

7 Dec

dovesketch

This is a very telling video of how we see ourselves. I love that Dove does all these positive image pieces.