Monday, March 10, 2008

Wanna be in a museum show?

Is this an asskicking blog or what?

I'm about to give all of you resume-builders an opportunity to be included in a museum show.

Not just any museum, but the museum that bewitched me -- when I was a kid in Brooklyn -- into loving art.

This March, the Brooklyn Museum, is inviting photographers to electronically submit [sorry about the split infinitive] digital images for a unique upcoming photography exhibition called Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition.

The first part of Click! is the submission process that ends this March 31st. Details can be found at this website.

Aren't you glad that you read this blog?

Click! takes its inspiration from the critically acclaimed book The Wisdom of Crowds, in which New Yorker business and financial columnist James Surowiecki asserts that a diverse crowd is often wiser at making decisions than expert individuals. The exhibition will explore that idea in the context of visual art, inviting visitors to an online forum to evaluate the artists’ submissions.

Those submissions chosen by the online audience will be in the Museum exhibition, opening June 27, 2008.

The public will choose an art exhibition? There must be something illegal here...

Something refreshing.

Start sending your photos by clicking on the widget above or go here.

Jerks of the Web

Ah! An explantion why people who are quiet weasels in real life turn into boisterous jerks online.

This article really describes a couple of art bloggers that I know... well, I really know one of them.

CityCenter's Public Art

CityCenter, is a joint venture of MGM MIRAGE and Dubai World, and it will be a vertical city that opens in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip between Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts in late 2009. The more than $8 billion development combines approximately 2,650 private residences; two 400-room non-gaming boutique hotels; a dramatic 61-story, 4,000-room resort casino; and a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district into a single urban core.

And today, MGM MIRAGE unveiled a $40 million Public Art Program for CityCenter.

Opening in late 2009, CityCenter will feature works by acclaimed artists including Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Nancy Rubins, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Frank Stella, Henry Moore and Richard Long, among others. Validating CityCenter’s status as a cultural destination of worldwide significance, the CityCenter Fine Art Program will feature numerous sculptures and fine art installations in both interior and exterior locations to create a dynamic and enriching fine art collection. The program is designed to become a benchmark for enlightened corporate involvement with the arts on a global level and will be one of the world’s largest and most ambitious corporate art programs. Additional pieces will be announced at a later date.

“CityCenter will be an international architectural achievement that integrates the talents of world-renowned artists, architects and designers in one development; it will be a landmark of global taste and style,” said Terry Lanni, Chairman and CEO of MGM MIRAGE. “The CityCenter Fine Art Program will be the first initiative of its kind to merge public and corporate interests on this grand scale, and we’re proud to deliver this prominent force in contemporary art and culture to Las Vegas.”
Read the NYT story here.

Update: I asked CityCenter if they had any local Las Vegas artists in the group of artists selected for public art; the answer was no.

The Shaping of Color Field

by Rosetta DeBerardinis

I departed the island of Baltimore last week to attend the preview of “Color as Field: American Painting 1950-1975,” the new exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

After some lovely pastries and Dean and DeLuca coffee poured from boxes we ventured upstairs to its third floor gallery. Once you emerge from the elevator you become captivated by the large scale chroma-stained canvases which are so imposing that you feel child-like staring up at them. Signage on the walls with names we have all heard or seem before like: Frankenthaler, Louis, Olitski, Motherwell, Gottelib, Davis and Gilliam. But, this is not a block-buster exhibit for the masses intended to draw record numbers of crowds; it is a significant documentation of 39 works by the early pioneers of American art.

Due to limited government funding for museums and art institutions, there is now greater reliance upon garnering private donors to underwrite exhibits. This exhibit is organized by the American Federation of the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation, Gene Davis Memorial Fund, Golden Artists Colors and several individual donors, and few of the works are from the Smithsonian’s own collection.

But, if this exhibit is an example of what can be done without the government, I say ‘thank-you’ now we can really have first-class art shows which are thought-provoking, scholarly and challenging. No, there is no audio-guide with snippets of history or narrative story-telling. This show is intended for those well-versed in the subject-matter, so if you are not, I suggest that you dust off an art history book or Google ‘ColorField’ to ensure that you won’t miss the importance of this historical exhibit.

And, if you negate the importance of the abstract expressionist and chant along with the masses “even my child could do this” then you need to purchase the easy reading color-illustrated exhibition catalogue, written by its guest curator Karen Willkin, a specialist in 20th century modernism.

The post-war Color Field painters abandoned the gestural strokes, the all-over painting and pouring inaugurated by Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionists, and instead concentrated on color, spatial ambiguity and process. Their aim was to unify a colorful abstract image or shape on a large surface. This 1950s movement was more about color than form; however, both movements sought to reveal the unknown -not to report just on the visible.

Artist Helen Frankenthaler led the way by applying thinned oil pigment to stain the unprimed canvas. After visiting her studio in New York City in 1953, artists Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis (both then teaching in the District of Columbia) returned there to experiment with their newly found technique.

My favorite painting in the show is Frankenthaler’s large scale, ‘Off the White Square’ done in 1973 because it exemplifies the new power and presence of acrylic pigment -- which had just become available when she began using ten years earlier.

And, as they say "the rest is history," because America now had its second artistic movement, the Color Field school, which included Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Walter Darby Bannard, Jack Bush, Gene Davis, Friedel Dzubus, Sam Francis, Jules Olitski and later Larry Poons, Frank Stella, Ronald Davis and Sam Gilliam. These are artists who elected to concentrate on pure contrasting hues of color rather than light versus dark. In the words of Frank Stella “what you see is what you see.” However the significance of this exhibit extends beyond what the viewer sees on these colorful canvases. It is a historical event documenting the difference, similarity and distinction between abstract expressionism and color field painting along with the progression of American art.

The exhibition is in three-parts: an introduction to the origins of Color Field painting, its pioneers, and its later practitioners who pushed its further. It begins with Rothko, and the Abstract Expressionists, then to Frankenthaler’s departure from Pollock and the color field artists who followed with a new abstract form based on expanses of radiant unmodulated hues by staining, painting and spraying. And it concludes with the later generation often linked to the influential art critic Clement Greenberg, who curated the 1964 exhibit “Post Painterly Abstraction” and is credited along with art historian Michael Fried for defining and establishing the framework for interpreting the art form known as field of color, later coined "Color Field."

This exhibition is the first major examination of color field painting, and the District of Columbia is the only East Coast city to host this landmark exhibition. After its debut there it will make its final stop at the First Center of Visual Arts in Nashville, Tenn. in June.

On exhibit thru May 26th, 2008 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (202) 633-1000\ (202) 633-7970 (recorded museum information).