Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today's hero

They have been demonized by an art blogger whose reputation and popularity rests mostly on destructive criticism of nearly everything related to the artworld, and someone who has never had to guard anything in his life, but today's hero in the museum world, and the nation in general, is a DC museum security guard.

Stephen Tyrone JohnsHe is US Holocaust Museum security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns, who gave his life protecting others, shot by a Jew-hating artist, James Wenneker von Brunn.

Mr. Johns, we all thank and salute you, and all of you who stand as the first line of defense against all the would-be killers and haters in the world. You and your fellow security guards at the Holocaust Museum, and all other museums and security points in the nation, deserve our respect and gratitude.

This is from the Holocaust Museum:

Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died heroically in the line of duty today. There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events. He served on the Museum's security staff for six years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johns' family.

We have made the decision to close the Museum tomorrow in honor of Officer Johns, and our flags will be flown at half mast in his memory.
Rest in Peace... Fair winds and following seas Sir.

Museum Shooting Suspect Details

The man suspected of walking into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and opening fire Wednesday has a long trail of vitriol and vindictiveness.

According to the AskART Web site, which features the work of James W. von Brunn, he was born in St. Louis on July 11, 1920. The birth date jibes with real estate records of a James W. von Brunn who lives in Maryland. He is listed as living in either Annapolis or Easton.
Details from NPR story here and here.

President Obama issued the following statement in regards to the shooting:
"I am shocked and saddened by today's shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms. No American institution is more important to this effort than the Holocaust Museum, and no act of violence will diminish our determination to honor those who were lost by building a more peaceful and tolerant world.

"Today, we have lost a courageous security guard who stood watch at this place of solemn remembrance. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this painful time."

AOM video

When I used to live in DC I used to be a talking head in MHZ TV's Artsmedia News program, directed by my good friend Harry Mahon.

Harry currently has the very cool video of AOM below.


Two paintings left overnight in a Goodwill donation bin in Toronto sold at auction for over $150,000 Canadian samolians (US$136,480).

Details here.

Art town: What’s brewing in lesser-known hot spots

Land as canvas: Albuquerque offers a full palette of art al fresco

By Robin Tierney

Art devotees know the way to Santa Fe, usually bypassing Albuquerque to the south. But expect that to change as ABQ creatives hasten urban and urbane renewal in New Mexico’s biggest city.

The art community there bears resemblance to the five dormant volcanoes that flank the city’s west side: smoldering disparate vents likely to become an inextinguishable force once erupting.

Signs suggest that time is drawing near, with art-centric events now erupting within and beyond ABQ’s revitalized Downtown arts district. New trolley, bus and rail choices make it easy to speed around.

At nearly every turn, there’s some gallery or mural or piece of public art. Nary a day goes by without an exhibition opening or art talk or sighting of artists at work on an installation, particularly with the “LAND/ART” collaboration that in early June unleashed a six-month tsunami of land-based art.

LAND/ART is a sprawling mega-variety show aiming to lay siege to senses and sensibility. Among the five dozen participants is Guggenheim Fellow Michael Berman, whose photos emanated from solitary wanderings through the desert. Basia Irland’s frozen carved books sow seeds as they melt in undernourished rivers. DJ Spooky weaves an acoustic portrait from field recordings made during journeys into Antarctic icescapes. Lynne Hull builds outdoor sculptures that double as wildlife habitat rescues.

A sense-shocking, mind-boggling array of photography, sculpture and mixed media burbles from downtown galleries such as 516 ARTS as site-specific installations emerge on the sacred lands ringing Albuquerque like an aura.
Brandon Maldonado
I plan to catch what’s taken root in LAND/ART when returning for another Albuquerque alt. art event: the GO! Arts Festival. The free downtown event runs Sept. 25-27. Several stages of local music and dance combine with contemporary art, making for a complete sensory assault.

Go! artists include Brandon Maldonado, whose “Los Fantasticos” paintings nabbed Best of Show at last year’s fest, and Daniela and Vladimir Ovtcharov, whose modern icons and other imaginaria are absolutely arresting.

The edgier visuals and vibe distinguish Albuquerque from other New Mexico artspots, says Christopher Goblet on the arts-boosting Downtown Action Team.

 Vladimir OvtcharovNow’s a good time to visit what “The Rise of the Creative Class” author Richard Florida dubbed the "Most Creative Mid-Size City." The arts offerings are diverse: Harwood Art Center (an old school) displays art from full-timers to homeless shelter denizens; Darryl Willison’s trippy comic cowboys color the walls at Old Town’s KISS cafĂ©; Working Classroom’s new downtown space mounts eye- and brain-teasers from city kids. A new film festival’s set to debut late summer. And there’s always the green and red chile.

If you must go to Santa Fe, the brand new Rail Runner stops in downtown ABQ.

LAND/ART event guide (sites, openings, talks):

Go! Festival info:

Albuquerque visitors info: