Friday, March 26, 2010

Art Roulette: Cleveland

I can't find a whole lot that's interesting from my usual sources this week, so I'm trying something new: Art Roulette! I'll pick an random city, Google its name next to the word "art," and choose something interesting from the results.

This week, Cleveland! The Cleve; the Forest City; the butt of so many 30 Rock jokes. According to the
Cleveland Plain Dealer (best newspaper name ever, by the way), a local gallery is shaking things up by questioning what art has to do with objects. Spaces gallery (an apt name if there ever was one) wants to bring art beyond the gallery space. Their most recent exhibit, " a most dangerous manner"--which unfortunately ended today--confronts economics, class, and power in texts, off-site installations, and events.

In my job at the MFA Boston, I field ever so many complaints from crusty longtime visitors about how so many things have Changed, capital C, and what a shame it is that things can't stay exactly the same as they were when they visited in [insert your favorite year here; I've heard everything from 1948 to 2006]. As for Spaces Gallery, I hope this experiment in boundary-pushing works out for them, because it's going to be difficult--even for fans of contemporary art--to walk into a favorite gallery and find that it doesn't include objects anymore (or at least not the sorts of objects they're used to).

That being said, though "art without objects" is a high concept to grasp, Spaces is making room (haha) for participation and hopefully increased accessibility. Not confident in your ability to talk about contemporary art? The gallery sponsors outings (
"Space Invasions") to area museums for group discussion and critique. Always aspired to be an artist yourself, but not sure where to start? Join Corrie Slawson's Work Party as she transforms vacant midtown industrial spaces and assembles found objects from the lots back in the gallery. It sounds like so much fun, it almost makes me want to move to Cleveland! Cool roundup of the project here.

But the only downside to art without images is that I couldn't find a relevant image to put on this here blog post. So I'm all bland and black-and-white today. Blame Spaces--or fist-bump them? Hmm.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Child's Play

My trusty Vulture feed informed me today that there is a three-year-old named Ruby Ellenby with her own gallery show in San Francisco (profiled here in the San Francisco Chronicle; above photo by Ms. Ellenby herself). And I screamed (internally, of course): Where is my frickin' gallery show? I'm 28! And my photos are so much better than hers!

Also, my assessment is that these pictures could have been taken by practically anyone with a medium quality digital camera. Come on, Ruby Ellenby, weak sauce. If you're going to have a retrospective at the age of eleven, you've gotta step up your game.

In all seriousness though, more children should be exposed to art-making at home, because goodness knows they aren't always going to have the opportunity at school. And thanks to her photographer parents, this little gal has a heck of a head start.

But again, where is my frickin' gallery show? Because taking pictures makes me feel like a princess, too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How many Elvises can dance on the head of a pin?

The CBS Sunday Morning show: not just for old people anymore! This past Sunday, Mark Strassman profiled British "micro-sculptor" Willard Wigan, who makes art so tiny he once accidentally inhaled it. You can't see most of his art without a microscope. His pedestals are the eye of a needle or the head of a pin; his paintbrush is hair of a dead fly. Behold: Tiny Elvis! YES!!!

Reverse trompe l'oeil is cool; creeps me out

Alexa Meade doesn't paint canvases. She paints real, live people to look like canvases. And while I think this is amazing and sooo unique, I gotta say that seeing this in person would scare the bejeezus out of me, especially if I just happened to run into this guy on the subway on my way to work:

New Post! Wooo!

Hello, 2010! After skipping a year of life, I have officially quit grad school, and thus I am resuscitating my blog. (Now with less inane commentary! More posts that way!)

With March comes Spring rain, pretty flowers, and potholes. And some British dude named Pete Dungey (who clearly needs to pay the Bay State roadways a visit) has been prettying up potholes with tiny guerilla gardens. Which, while beautiful, make last summer's basil plant failure that much more depressing to yours truly. Check them out!

Monday, May 5, 2008

On a dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets...

It's time to come clean: I'm an NPR junkie. I download "This American Life" podcasts and sing the Be-Bop-A-Re-Bop Rhubarb Pie song whenever I'm feeling out of sorts. My mornings begin with "The Writer's Almanac," and my work days often end with "All Things Considered." I own a tote bag. Okay, I own several.

So this past Saturday, when "A Prairie Home Companion" was broadcast live from the Bangor Auditorium, I was in heaven indeed. And yes, I was there. Allow me to geek out for a moment. There was Garrison Keillor.
Sound Effects Man. David Mallett. Maxine Kumin. Garrison Keillor. Four talented fiddlers from around the state. A bunch of great jokes at Stephen King's expense. Also, did I mention Garrison Keillor was there?

Some observations:
-I consider GK to be America's greatest living storyteller. He's a joy to listen to on the radio. In person, with no script, he's even more so. My favorite part of the performance was before the show went on the air, when he meandered through the audience and greeted latecomers with handshakes and kisses on the cheeks as they found their seats. It actually kind of makes you want to be a little late for the next local broadcast, doesn't it?
-According to my insiders at the Maine Center for the Arts, the APHC people arrived in Bangor on Wednesday, spent some time getting to know the area, and wrote the show in three days before Friday night's rehearsal. And they even got the Maine accents right! Very impressive.
-Maine alums: I promise, you've never heard the Stein Song played this way before. It took me a moment to even realize what I was listening to. Squee!
Random discovery of the week: David Mallett and my dad were fraternity brothers. I'm sitting there completely engrossed in his beautiful songs, and Dad turns to Mom and says, "remember in college when Dave used to try to get us drive up to Big Squaw Mountain with him every Friday to play? No matter what the weather. He was pretty crazy back then." So my dad is friends with a folk music legend. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, seeing as my dad is friends with pretty much everyone in the state of Maine.
-If you ever find yourself faced with a choice between a career in investment banking and a career as a voice actor, do what Sound Effects Man Fred Newman did and choose the latter. Clearly, he made the correct decision.

The archived show in its entirety can be found here. Photo of the performance by Bridget Brown for the Bangor Daily News.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hip-Hop + Baseball ÷ Fat Guys = Awesome

As far as I can tell, Kanye has blogged about this just yet, so here goes:

Something very exciting is happening in the world of dance. No, it's not Big Boi's collaboration with the Atlanta Ballet (though it definitely deserves an honorable mention). The Florida Marlins, whose stripped-down lineup (besides Hanley Ramirez) surely needs some cheerleading this year, have assembled a troupe of all-male, all-plus-sized dancers to perform at weekend home games. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Florida Marlins Manatees. Count me excited.

My official review: it's good for baseball, and good for dance. The Marlins have been struggling with attendance since they gave up Beckett (who am I kidding, since forever), and they had to do something soon. Truly, they're not half bad for a bunch of guys who have never danced before. But I don't think the choreographed routines show off their skills enough; they're actually at their best when they freestyle. Check it out:

My only complaint: where are the female plus-sized dancers? From the words of John McGraw and the Sistahs: "One percent of ballplayers are leaders of men. The other 99 percent are followers of women."

Excuses, excuses

I've been trying to think of a good explanation for letting my blog lapse for the entire month of April. I was going to go with the requisite, "I'm a grad student. Blerrghh." But I use that excuse for everything. And the real reason (which I'll refer to simply as "personal issues") is too confessional for a blog about art. I could conveniently claim that I've been doing a bunch of academic work and just haven't thought about blogging, but, well, that just wouldn't be true.

But lo and behold, I've found the perfect reason to let myself off the hook: Kanye West has rendered me irrelevant.

For serious. Stop reading this blog right now (well, after this post) and head on over to Kanye's blog instead. Dude's got everything covered: contemporary art and design, architecture, music, and a smattering of liberal politics every now and then.
New York Magazine has already beat me to it and dubbed him the World's Greatest Blogger, so obviously you're wasting your time here. The posts are delightfully to-the-point (if a bit consumerist) and written by Kanye himself, who attended art school briefly and actually knows what he's talking about. And if that's not enough, you can even e-mail Kanye some photos of yourself in Stronger glasses, Kanye's own contribution to avant-garde fashion design:

You're out of excuses. Now git.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good, Clean Fun

And just like that, it's springtime in Boston. And yesterday was the perfect day for a pillow fight.

March 22nd was International Pillow Fight Day, and thanks to urban playground group Banditos Misteriosos, an estimated 500 Bostonians gathered in Copley Square at 2pm and whacked each other with pillows. The rules were as follows: Before the fight begins, act natural. Bring a soft pillow. Don't wear glasses. Don't hit the folks with cameras. Go all out.

After getting walloped a bunch of times by some overenthusiastic college boys, I got out alive (and with only a slight headache) after 7 straight minutes of earnest pillow-fighting. (The fight went on about 20 minutes.)
I have to say, this was one of the best (and geekiest) times I've had in Boston so far. (It's a tie with the Buffy Sing-Along, which sadly is no more.) Hopefully it was the first of many experiences with the Banditos and with Boston's Improv Everywhere spinoff, the Boston Society of Spontaneity. It was such pure, simple fun. Every single participant, no matter what age, was laughing, smiling, and playing. With total strangers. How often does this happen in Boston, the city where we stare off into space on the subway and celebrate important sports victories with full-on riots? A modest proposal: the next time the Sox win the series, free pillows all around!

If you're wondering what it was like to be there, someone in the center of the action posted this great video on YouTube. Hope to see you at the next pillow fight!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dim Sum

This week's roundup of art news I happen to find interesting:

-The Boston Ballet has announced that it is cutting nearly 20% of the dancers in its company. Times are tough, sure. I get that. But, boo. Just, boo.
-Isaac thinks redneck sports in Maine are kind of like Dadaism. I think he has a point, but a true redneck would probably call him an "overeducated owta-stateah" and send him down the river in one of those giant pumpkins.
-As promised, here are some images from Mikhail Baryshnikov's current photography show, Merce My Way, at 401 Projects. They're not as groundbreaking as everyone's making them out to be (they show movement, while dance photography has traditionally stuck to showing form), but I admit they've grown on me. Even though I think they ought to have been done in film, not digital. What can I say; film is just better.
-Joss Whedon has co-written, and is currently filming, a limited Internet musical series called "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," starring a couple of my favorite actors, presumably in tights. Joss is clearly very good at writing musicals, and I can't wait for his next go. And look, Mom! No producers!
-Zach took me to Northeastern University last weekend to see Anthony Rapp sing and speak, and it was my favorite thing I did during Spring Break. Rapp sang some some of his own songs, some songs from Rent, some songs from other musicals, and some unexpected covers, of which my favorite by far was Courtney Love's "Miss World." And check out this bit of exciting news. Two original cast members? Hells yeah.