Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Plein Air Easton

Just four years ago Plein Air Easton got started as artists worldwide have begun to return to painting in the Plein Air style, and once again, as they did in 19th century Europe, are leaving their studios to paint and draw outside... on roadsides, on the beach, on top of mountains, in their gardens and yards, and even in city streets to capture landscapes, still lifes, figures and architecture in their natural elements.

I think that the resurgence of this movement, much like it happened in Europe in the 19th century, may be a reaction to the overwhelming presence of technology in our daily lives.

plein air easton

The festival goes from Monday, July 21 - Sunday, July 27, 7:00am-5pm... but there are tons of associated events in the gorgeous and tiny Maryland seaside village. All the details are here.

Artists' Talks: Bethesda, MD

On Saturday, April 5th, Marie Ringwald's really cool Neptune exhibit (I saw it recently through the gallery windows) ends with an artist’s talk at 5 PM.

There are some nice installation shots here.

Fair Report: Arteaméricas 2008

I hear that Arteaméricas 2008, the sixth edition of this international art fair focusing on Latin American Art broke all kinds of sales records.

Miami's Cernuda Arte, which focuses on vintage and some contemporary Cuban art had total sales that surpassed 800,000 dollars, including a landscape painting by Tomás Sánchez, a Wifredo Lam oil on canvas, and works by René Portocarrero, Mariano Rodríguez, among other Cuban masters and contemporary artists.

Tomah High School District... tsk, tsk

Time for this Wisconsin High School to be embarrassed nationally:

A Tomah High School student has filed a federal lawsuit alleging his art teacher censored his drawing because it featured a cross and a biblical reference.

The lawsuit alleges other students were allowed to draw "demonic" images and asks a judge to declare a class policy prohibiting religion in art unconstitutional.

"We hear so much today about tolerance," said David Cortman, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal advocacy group representing the student. "But where is the tolerance for religious beliefs? The whole purpose of art is to reflect your own personal experience. To tell a student his religious beliefs can legally be censored sends the wrong message."
Read the AP story here and read the complaint here.

Here is the offending drawing:
Offending artwork
If there's actually a class policy "prohibiting religion in art" that worries me a lot; does that policy extend to the teaching of art and art history? If so that would leave out most of the ground floors of most of the planet's art history and several floors and the basement of art itself.

What a stupid, narrow-minded, ignorant, barbaric policy! What sort of troglodytes are these policymakers? (My apologies to Cavemen/women everywhere).

It gets worse... apparently the below two drawings got a passing grade.
Demonic drawing in frame

Demonic darwing 2

I think that all three of these works - as art - are pretty bad and pretty much what one would expect out of your typical High School student.

I also think that perhaps the art school teacher - or whoever made the decision to censor and fail the first drawing - must have skipped his or her Sunday School classes, or his religion classes in college, for aren't devils and demons also religious art?

They are aren't they?

Satan in his many names and incarnations and depictions (of which the above two are truly bad, especially the one in which he sorta looks like Gene Simmons from KISS) are also part of multiple religions, including playing a major, Oscar-winning role in Judeo-Christian religion.

So why were the depictions of Lucifer OK under the school's idiotic prohibition of religion in art, but not the one incorporating both Christian imagery and text into the artwork?

The case can be made that all three pieces could come from Biblical references - in fact, they almost look like they could have come from the same artist, don't they?

I am sure that they don't, but you get my point.

It leads one to wondering to what would have happened if the student had used his average art skills to depict something from the old Norse pantheon, or from Buddhism, or Native American beliefs, or God forbid (pun intended) from Islam?

Nothing probably, as I suspect that since the average member of the Tomah High School Art Censorship Board seems to have skipped "World Religions 101" in their educational background, a crude drawing of Loki would have received a pass in this class rather than a fail for depicting religion in art.

What else or specifically is prohibited in art classes at this High School? According to the lawsuit: "violence, blood, sexual connotations or religious belief." Also "drugs, gangs or religious symbols." Also according to the lawsuit (see page 13), there is apparently a host of other religious artwork by students floating around this High School's halls and walls.

This makes my head hurt...

Also in C'ville

Rob Tarbell's "No Mirrors: new smoke work" opens in Charlottesville's Les Yeux du Monde Gallery this coming Friday April 4th, 5:30 - 7:30 pm.

Questioning Jasper Johns

Read Robert Zaller's essay on Jasper Johns' place in American art history here.