Tuesday, October 27, 2009

By the Maker of "Tank Man"

This past June marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989.  One of the iconic images of that time is a photograph of a young man facing down a row of tanks.  Variously called "Tank Man" or "The Unknown Rebel", the photograph was taken by Jeff Widener, who didn't realize the power of the image at the time:

"When I saw the column of tanks come down the Chang'an Blvd. I told the student Kirk that the lone man was going to screw up my composition. I was not thinking clearly with the concussion and I also was suffering from a severe case of the flu. Only a few days later when some of the other international news photographers congratulated me did the full importance of the image sink in. After all, after witnessing everything that I had seen over the previous few days, nothing really seemed far fetched."
(From an e-mail interview of Jeff Widener by About.com Asian History Guide Kallie Szczepanski.  The full interview is here.)

Widener will be giving two lectures and showing recent work at the University of Hawaii:  for the general public 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 30, at East-West Center's Keoni Auditorium.  Widener will speak to UH Mānoa students and faculty at a free lunchtime discussion on Monday, November 2, at noon at the East-West Center's Ohana Room.  For more information, click here.

An interesting side note:  although Widener's photograph is probably the best known, there were several other photographs taken, including one from street level.  And a video.  Remarkable.



AHA President Anthony Randall has booked the AHA Christmas Luncheon at Kaimana Beach Hotel,
Hau Tree Lanai, Sans Souci room. Saturday Dec 12 from 11:00 to 2:00. It was so
nice last year and it will still be $30.00 per person.  Menu is:
Leahi Leisure Lunch Menu (Buffet Style)

Mix Green Salad with House Dressing
Chicken Alferdo with Linguni Pasta
Chef's Choice of Dessert

Coffee, Hot Tea or Iced Tea

Space is limited to 40 so please e-mail him at:  randallt001@hawaii.rr.com to RSVP and for payment information.  Bring a wrapped gift, something from your studio, for a gift exchange.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Art can also be found in a rice field - - -

Sometimes you get interesting stuff in e-mail . . .

Beautiful and amazing....no computer/digital tinkering, no ink, dyes, spray painting.....the farmers actually plant different colored plants to create the intricate designs.

Art can also be found in a rice field - - -


New AHA Committee Members

Publicity Warren Stenberg  262-8306 warsten.art@hawaiiantel.com
Membership   Anthony Randall  398-1863 randallt001@hawaii.rr.com
Paul Staub to Exhibits 393-6144 paul@kaha-kii.com 


Press Release

Honolulu, Hawaii—Art exhibit “A SEARCH FOR ULTIMATE TRUTH”, featuring a range of 2-D  and 3-D work, from photo essays of sculptures, to paintings, mixed media and wall sculpture, delving into the search for fundamental principles of human existence; an artistic exploration of the underlying harmony among religions and cultures.
Confused and overwhelmed by the plethora of information today about spirituality, spiritual practices, “New Age” ideas, books, tapes, spiritual teachers, prophecies, religions, etc, and seeing the resultant friction among different groups, the artist developed ‘spiritual indigestion” of a sort. In response, Bennett began a personal, serious, inner and outer search for what was common among all of them, an eternal Truth.  The search brought the artist from the jungles and shamans of Peru, to the deserts of New Mexico, the Dalai Lama, the “Hugging Saint” of India, the sweat lodges and other ceremonies of the American Indians, and from the Bible to the Bagavah Gita and other esoteric writings.   Like Dorothy landing in Oz, the journey took on a spirit of adventure where fact was stranger than fiction, where saints and mystics abound, and the chaos of human existence develops into a seamless whole, complete with a personal gift of the Ruby Red Slippers.
Opening; Sunday, 15th November 2009,  
Artist’s reception; Friday, 20th November 2009,   5 -8-30 pm
Location; Gallery on the Pali, “A Socially Conscious Gallery”, First Unitarian Church, 2500 Pali Highway 96817,  (808) 526-1191
Hours open; M - F 9-8; SS 1-4 

Proposals Requested for Kapolei Hale Art

Proposals Requested for Kapolei Hale Art
The Commission on Culture and the Arts of the City and County of Honolulu wishes to commission two works of art for Kapolei Hale, 1000 Uluohia Street, Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii . One work of art shall be installed on an existing interior wall; the other shall be at the front entrance of the building. This request for proposals is open to all artists (or artist teams) residing or working in the State of Hawaii . The budget for the interior work of art is $50,000; the budget for the exterior work of art is $38,000.
All applications must be received by 4:00 p.m. on February 1, 2010 at:
Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts
Attention: Art for Kapolei Hale
530 South King Street , Room 404
Honolulu , HI 96813
All questions regarding this Request for Proposals should be directed to the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, (808) 768-6622, email: tlaitila@honolulu.gov.

Tory Laitila, 808-768-6622

Three artists

Opening Reception of three acclaimed Hawaii artists, L to Rt:  artist Satoro Abe (seated), artist Warren Stenberg (AHA member), Sandy Pohl (Gallery owner) and artist Harry Tsuchidana. Louis Pohl Gallery, Oct.15th  (Photo courtesy Charlene Hughes)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Honolulu Arts Beat - Photos of the Contemporary Show

Our friends at the Honolulu Arts Beat did a nice piece on the Contemporary Show! Check it out here: Photos of the Contemporary Show

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Art Teachers and Leaders of Art Groups Exhibition

The Art Teachers and Leaders of Art Groups Exhibition, sponsored by the Association
of Hawaii Artists will be at Pauahi Tower, Lobby Level, 1001 Bishop Street and runs
from August 10 through September 4. Gallery hours are M - F 7am - 6pm and Sat.
8am - 2pm. This is an artist's invitational event.

An Artist's Reception will be Monday, August 17, 5pm - 7pm
Info call 234-0585

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why I Can't See a Painting: The Semiotics of Jon and Kate Plus 8

[Editor's Note: I wrote this when the Jon & Kate brouhaha first broke, but never got around to finishing it. It's still not finished, but I'm running it just because I still think the issue (whether context is necessary to understand art, not Jon & Kate per se) is interesting and because perhaps the context of the article itself has changed from it was first written and, if so, what does that do to one's understanding of the article . . . or Jon & Kate?]

"The law of trainwrecks—hard to watch, harder not to watch—was in full effect during last night's Jon & Kate Plus 8." - Joal Ryan, Eonline, on Yahoo!

Just to be clear: I (that is, your Paint Rag editor) don't watch "Jon & Kate Plus 8," TLC's reality show about a couple (the eponymous Jon and Kate) with eight kids (fraternal twin girls and fraternal sextuplets, three girls, three boys). I do, however, have a fascination with the commentary about the scandal that surrounds the show. As Chandler Bing might say, ironically, "Could I be more post-modern??"

For those who don't know, allegations recently arose that Jon was having an affair, then allegations arose that Kate was having an affair (with one of the bodyguards on the show), then there were renewed questions about the welfare of the children on the show, including whether child labor laws are being violated. In short, the reality of the situation is that the attention and celebrity occasioned by their status as television stars has, in the usual course, morphed into a tabloid fascination with their foibles.

Against this backdrop, the season premiere was, shall we say, a trainwreck. There's plenty of general criticism and kibitzing out there, including speculation that TLC will make the "will they get divorced?" question part of a season long arc that will end in a cliffhanger finale. Like I say, perversely fascinating.

But the reason I bring this up is this quote by Time's TV Critic, James Poniewozik, in his blog entry: Jon & Kate Plus 8: This Would Be the 'For Worse' Part:"

"It's clear what Jon & Kate has become now: It's The Hills for old people. Like MTV's reality show, it's less a TV series than a media environment, where the broadcast itself is only the starting point. You need to follow the coverage in the tabs and on the gossip shows in order to get the full storyline and the context.

Watching the confessional interviews themselves last night—with all those publicist-managed phrases about "my choices" and "this situation"—would have been near-unintelligible to someone who hadn't followed any of the wider media coverage of the show."

This was interesting to me . . . does one now need to know the broader societal context in order to understand a television show?

The proposition sounded familiar to me and finally I placed it . . . Tom Wolfe's "The Painted Word." Wolfe's skewering of contemporary art (circa 1975) begins with him reading New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer's review of show called "Seven Realists" one Sunday. This passage catches his attention:

"Realism does not lack its partisans, but it does rather conspicuously lack a persuasive theory. And given the nature of our intellectual commerce with works, of art, to lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial—the means by which our experience of individual works is joined to our understanding of the values they signify."
Wolfe goes bananas:

"What I saw before me was the critic-in-chief of The New York Times saying: In looking at a painting today, "to lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial." I read it again. It didn't say "something helpful" or "enriching" or even "extremely valuable." No, the word was crucial.

In short: frankly, these days, without a theory to go with it, I can't see a painting.

Then and there I experienced a flash known as the Aha! Phenomenon, and the buried life of contemporary art was revealed to me for the first time. The fogs lifted! The clouds passed! The motes, scales, conjunctival bloodshot, and Murine agonies fell away!"

Damn! All I wanted to know was, what the hell kind of theory do you need for realism??

Do we really need to know context for a painting? What about Jon and Kate . . do we really need to read People Magazine as a prerequisite for watching a television show?

Art in a Warehouse with No Lights

[Editor's Note: Click the title link to go to site for video and photos.]

By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 26 July 2009 0251 hrs

SINGAPORE : Most of us would be used to viewing art pieces in a gallery or museum with lights to highlight the works.

But a group of artists went off the beaten path recently - by showing off their works in an industrial warehouse with no lights.

And the response was overwhelming - over 2,600 people ventured into the dark and enjoyed the show.

Organisers of the exhibition titled 'Blackout' wanted visitors to step out of their comfort zone.

"When the lights go off, what happens is your senses come alive - your sense of touch, the way you look at things, the way you walk. So that's why the works are so interactive," said Alan Oei, curator for 'Blackout'.

And visitors got to step on eggs, for example, in an art piece that's about challenging people to do what they normally wouldn't.

Another piece has dozens of paper planes dashing out from one single point. The artist wanted viewers to feel the sudden rush of flight when the light flashes.

Then there's a piece that addresses consumerism. It comes in the form of a sculpture made up of junk food wrappers and in the shape of a man puking over toilet bowl.

"This is a big difference from what normal art exhibitions are like. (It's the) first time I'm seeing something like this... The kids love them," said one exhibition-goer.

"It’s very new, to have an exhibition in the dark, and it’s quite groundbreaking," said another.

Organisers said the idea for a free art show in the dark at a warehouse came about when the building owners had a gap period.

13 artists then got together over three months to present their take on darkness with a space slightly larger than a football field.

Over 1,000 visitors turned up the night the show opened.

Following the overwhelming response, organisers now have plans to do similar exhibitions in other locations in Singapore. Talks are also underway to bring the concept overseas to places like Japan. - CNA /ls

The art of a recession: Gallery owners struggling

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Art gallery owners across the country are finding they have a tough sell these days.

With houses going up for auction, unemployment continuing to rise and the threat of layoffs seemingly ever-present, many gallery owners in art communities such as Scottsdale, Ariz., Santa Fe, N.M., Portland, Ore., and New York City are closing shop, going broke to stay open or drastically changing the way they do business.

"Art is a very discretionary sort of object, and we are in the worst recession arguably in the postwar era," said Jay Bryson, a global economist with Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, N.C. "Obviously somebody who has lost their job in a factory in Indiana probably is not buying art."

Even people with plenty of discretionary money aren't spending much on it.

"You're a billionaire and you took a 40 percent hit on your portfolio, now you only have $600 million left," Bryson said. "That's still pretty deep pockets, but 40 percent is 40 percent."

In the gallery district of downtown Scottsdale, at least a half dozen galleries have closed in the past year or are in the midst of closing. Others still are wondering how much longer they can make it.

One recent day, Leslie Levy sat quietly amid the contemporary art she sells in her gallery, which was just as deserted as the streets outside, where the temperature was in the triple digits.

The summers here are always slow because of the heat, but this one is much worse than usual. That's partly why Levy is closing her doors at the end of August after 32 years in business and becoming a private art dealer online.

"I'll tell you what — if I was younger, I'd just keep at it knowing we've not seen times quite as bad as this before," Levy said.

Longtime customer Marylyn Gregory of Bernardsville, N.J., came in the gallery that day to see it one last time and check out what pieces Levy had left of her and her husband's favorite artist. Gregory told Levy she was surprised and upset when she heard the gallery was closing but added, "You're probably doing the right thing."

Gregory didn't end up buying anything that day, saying she needed to check with her husband. Before, she might have been more spontaneous.

"Sometimes you'd go to an opening and have a glass of wine, and you're like, OK," she said. "It's certainly the method to get everyone to open their checkbooks."

But like many other art lovers, the Gregorys are more conservative with their money these days.

Levy understands. "People are watching what they spend — cutting back and spending on the necessities of life. That makes sense to people."

Becky Smith knows that all too well. She owned the Bellwether Gallery in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood for a decade, but closed at the end of June after watching her revenue plummet to $80,000 gross in the first quarter of 2009. She had $40,000 net, and $10,000 of it went to rent each month.

The $80,000 figure was down from about $350,000 the same quarter in 2008 and about $600,000 during that period the year before.

"I was really startled," Smith said. "It was the spring of '08 where I saw three shows that should have been blockbusters underperform, and I was in shock.

"Things were booming so intensely a couple years ago and the pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction, it was impossible to know where I stood," she said. "And I didn't want to be paying for a storefront while I was figuring it out."

In the past two years, at least 24 galleries have closed in Manhattan, mostly in Chelsea, according to New York City-based Artnet magazine, which covers the fine art world. "That's really dramatic," said Artnet editor Walter Robinson.

In Santa Fe, N.M., between 10 and 15 galleries have closed this year, said Christy Walker, managing director of the Santa Fe Gallery Association.

"A lot of people have this idea that running a gallery, the owners make a lot of money, when it's just a lot of effort to make a living off of it," she said. "It's a hard business to be in, and when things are good, things are good, and when times are tough, it's a really tough business to maintain."

Kraig Foote of art one gallery in Scottsdale has done everything he can think of to avoid shutting down.

His house is about to go up for auction because he hasn't made a payment in seven months, he has laid off his two employees and he has resorted to selling his own beloved art collection for a fraction of what it's worth.

"I have given up everything," he said recently in the very empty gallery, which sells work by local high school- and college-age artists.

And still, the threat of closure looms.

"I'm trying to make it to December," Foote said. "I think people will start spending again once they get to the next holiday. They'll say, 'We've saved, let's get something.'"

He paused. "I don't know."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Yorker Cover Art, Painted With an iPhone

[From NYTimes.com]

May 25, 2009

Some people send text with their iPhones, and some play games. The artist Jorge Colombo created this week’s cover for The New Yorker with his.

Mr. Colombo drew the June 1 cover scene, of a late-night gathering around a 42nd Street hot dog stand, entirely with the iPhone application Brushes. Because of the smears and washes of color required by the inexact medium, it comes off as dreamy, not sharp and technological.

“The best feature of it is that it doesn’t feel like something that was done digitally; quite the opposite,” said Françoise Mouly, the art editor for The New Yorker. “All too often the technology is directed in only one direction, which is to make things more tight, and this, what he did very well, is use this technology for something that is free flowing, and I think that’s what makes it so poetic and magical.”

Mr. Colombo bought his iPhone in February, and the $4.99 Brushes application soon after, and said the portability and accessibility of the medium appealed to him. He began the scene by beginning with the buildings’ structure, then layering on the taxis, neon lights, hot-dog stand and people. (A video of the process is available at newyorker.com beginning on Monday.) [Editor's Note: check out the video; it's pretty cool!]

It “made it easy for me to sketch without having to carry all my pens and brushes and notepads with me, and I like the fact that I am drawing with a set of tools that anybody can have easily in their pocket,” he said. There is one other advantage of the phone, too: no one notices he is drawing. Mr. Colombo said he stood on 42nd Street for about an hour with no interruptions.

“It gives him an anonymity in the big city that an artist with the easel wouldn’t have,” Ms. Mouly said.

“Absolutely nobody can tell I am drawing,” Mr. Colombo said. “In fact, once I was doing the drawing at some place, and my wife was around, and they asked her why did I have to work so hard? I seemed to be always on my iPhone sending messages.” STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

AHA Mailbag

[Editor's note: Still experimenting with listing various AHA Bulletin Board type announcements in the Paint Rag. I tend to think this is redundant with the Bulletin Board, takes up a lot of space, requires a lot of editing and attention and breaks the flow of the Paint Rag. My feeling is that this type of item is better handled via the Bulletin Board (click here). But we'll see.]


Aloha everyone, AHA needs a volunter to make postcard and e-anouncements for our Aloha show and Contempporary show using Vista Point or some such program. The position involves only a handfull of invitations and or announcements of our coming show receptions. Without this we cannot reach a bigger audience of guests for our award shows. Please let me know asap if anyone is willing to take this on. Mahalo, President Tony randallt001@hawaii.rr.com or feel free to call me 398-1863. We need the Aloha show postcards done and printed by entry day July 31.
Aloha everyone, as of today we only have about 3 artists for our Summer Sizzle show at HCC. Theme is pretty open but we have no artists. Anyone interested please contact Priscilla or myself asap. Entry day is Sunday June 28 9 a.m. AHA doesn't want to lose HCC as a venue but we need to supply the demand . . . Mahalo, President Tony For Prospectus, click HERE.
Aloha , We are in need of a new web master for the AHA web site. If anyone is interested please contact myself or Priscilla. My e-mail is randallt001@hawaii.rr.com or feel free to call me at 398-1863 Mahalo, President Tony
Warren Stenberg is our new publicity chairperson for the AHA. He will be responsible for marketing the AHA activities to the public by contacting the newspapers, radio and other media of our events. His phone number is: 262-8306 and his email address is: Warsten.art@hawaiiantel.net.
Dates: Friday, July 31, 2009 (Intake Day: from 9:30am to 10:30am) to August 24, 2009 (Take Down Day: from 12:00pm to 2:00 pm)

Gallery Hours at Honolulu Hale: Mon.-Friday from 7:30am to 5:00pm.

Reception: Friday, August 7, 2009, 5:00PM - 7:00PM. Entrants are requested to bring a pupu to share.

Juror: Mr. Michael Schnack, owner of Cedar Street Galleries.

Awards: Best in Show, 1st Place, 2nd Place and 3rd Place with 3 Honorable Mentions.
The Contemporary Museum
June 26, 2009 (1-3 p.m.)
$15 TCM members; $20 non-members

Take a summer break from email and treat someone special to a handmade origami card. This unique summer workshop is open to all ages, keiki (6 and up) and adults alike. Three different origami models will be taught from the very simple sailboat, to the low-intermediate twist fish, to the more challenging butterfly. Learn at your level and then create unique note cards with beautiful handmade papers. Come ready to have fun! Reservations are required. Please call (808)237-5217 or email Quala-Lynn Young, Curator of Education at qyoung@tcmhi.org.
Artwork created by City and County of Honolulu employees and their family members will be on display July 13 to 28 at Honolulu Hale.

Fourth Annual Exhibit of The National Arts Program® in Honolulu is being presented by The National Arts Program Foundation and the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts. The program was established in 1983 by The National Arts Program Foundation to identify the artistic talents of our nation. The program involves employees and family members of municipal and county governments and businesses, and is gradually expanding to include the general public. All works will be judged by professional arts practitioners in the following categories: amateur, intermediate, professional, and youth.

It currently reaches more than 450 cities and communities in 44 states and the District of Columbia in 84 annual venues. The City and County of Honolulu is currently the only organization in the state of Hawaii to participate in this program.

Exhibit hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Exhibit viewing is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts at 808-768-6622 or visit www.honolulu.gov/moca.


An Exhibition of New, Recent and Rediscovered Works by five Association of Hawaii Artists members: David DEVENOT, Charlene HUGHES, Ruth Laird PISTOR, Warren STENBERG & Hank WHITTINGTON

July 1 thru July 30,2009
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden Gallery
45-860 Luluku Road, Kaneohe, HI 96734

Please join us at our Artists' Reception

Please Join Us *** Ample Free Parking
(Call for more info: 262-8306)
You can get more information regarding Gallery Openings, spotlites on art
exhibitions like the Haleiwa festival, at the website: http://www.honoluluartsbeat.com

One of the features at this website has Ward Centre GAllery News: Susie Anderson has been invited to represent Oahu at the "July 4th Makawao Paint-Out Invitational - Painting a Volcano from Crater to Coast!" 22 plein air artists will be painting for 7 days from June 28 to July 4th at locations on the Island of Maui: Tedeshi Winery, Harvest Dat at O'o Farms, Alii Lavender Farm, and at the Grand Wailea Resort. Susie will be posting an updated schedule at her website: www.susieanderson.com

Mark Norseth will be having his "3rd Annual Summer Painting Demonstration" on
Saturday, June 20, 2009. Watch Mark's demonstration, bring a light suppper if
you wish, and be part of the onlookers. For details, contact Mark at: 263-2013,
or email him at:mark@marknorseth.com
On display at the First Hawaiian Center, 999 Bishop St. There were 56 artists juried into the show from hundreds of entries. 15 of the artists did self portraits. Show runs through September 11, 2009 and is organized by the MACC. The First Hswaiian Center hours are 8:30am - 4:00pm Monday thru Thursday, and 8:30am = 6:00pm on Friday. The Schaefer Portrait Challenge is a spectacular exhibit, not to be missed.
Connie Hennings-Chilton showed her work in Fukuoka Japan in June along
with a Hula Festival at the Fukuoka Sun Palace Hotels and resort, June 6-7. The
main sponsors of the event - Aloha Monarch RKB Hawaii. One of her pieces to be
featured in their brochure is LEGEND OF THE TARO.

Roger Ebert Movie Review: My Kid Could Paint That (PG-13)

Cast & Credits With Marla, Mark and Laura Olmstead, Anthony Brunelli, Elizabeth Cohen and Michael Kimmelman.

Sony Pictures Classics presents a documentary produced and directed by Amir Bar-Lev. Running time: 83 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for language). Opening today at the Music Box and Evanston CineArts.

By Roger Ebert

The truth lurking beneath "My Kid Could Paint That" is that your kid couldn't paint that. The documentary considers the perplexing case of Marla Olmstead, a 4-year-old girl from Binghamton, N.Y., who got a lot of publicity because at her age she was producing abstract paintings that sold for hundreds and then thousands of dollars, were awarded gallery shows, generated a firestorm in the art community, and were the subject of a controversial segment on "60 Minutes."

The paintings are pretty good. They are as good as some, not most, abstract paintings. They play into the hands of those who dismiss abstract art as the process of applying paint to canvas with a technique that looks random and unconsidered. Some, not all, abstract art gains its importance not because of its intrinsic quality but because of its price. At $25, it looks like dribbles. At $25 million, it looks like a masterpiece.

The story as told by Mark, Marla's dad, an amateur painter himself, is that one day little Marla was on the kitchen table while he was painting, and she grabbed a brush and started painting, too. The child showed an instinctive feeling for color, pattern, composition, texture, and because of her age and the abstract-art-debunking angle, she started to get worldwide publicity.

The problem was, no one had actually seen Marla creating a whole work from start to finish except, presumably, her parents. "60 Minutes" came to do a piece on the girl, put their equipment all over the house, and installed a secret camera in the basement ceiling. Through it, they were able to see Marla beginning a painting with urgent whispered instructions from her father. We never see him touch a brush to the painting, but on the other hand, the finished painting doesn't look like a "Marla" but like something any child could paint.

Is the little girl the star of a hoax by her family? Amir Bar-Lev, the maker of this film, says he doesn't know, and the film has an open ending. He grew quite close to the Olmsteads, and at times worried that he was betraying their confidence. My own verdict as an outsider is, no, Marla didn't paint those works, although she may have applied some of the paint.

But it's more complicated than that. As I said, some of the paintings are pretty good. People might pay hundreds if they were by a kid but would they pay thousands unless they actually liked them? The irony may be that Mark Olmstead is a gifted painter who could never break into the closed circle of abstract art without a gimmick like Marla.

My favorite modern painter is Gillian Ayres, OBE. Ayres (born 1930) is a well-known British abstract expressionist whose huge canvases, often measuring several feet in their dimensions, look like finger painting, because they are. With untrammeled exuberance, she paints in bright colors with a thick impasto. Chaz and I had not heard of her when we saw one of her paintings in a warehouse, and simultaneously agreed we loved it. I append an Ayres painting, one of 14 in the Tate Modern. No, a kid couldn't paint that.

In the last analysis, I guess it all reduces to taste and instinct. Some paintings are good, says me, or says you, and some are bad. Some paintings could be painted by a child, some couldn't be.

Ivory sculpture in Germany could be world's oldest

[From Yahoo! News - for some reason, there's been a mini-run of art articles on Yahoo! recently.]

BERLIN – A 35,000-year-old ivory carving of a busty woman found in a German cave was unveiled Wednesday by archaeologists who believe it is the oldest known sculpture of the human form. The carving found in six fragments in Germany's Hohle Fels cave depicts a woman with a swollen belly, wide-set thighs and large, protruding breasts.

"It's very sexually charged," said University of Tuebingen archaeologist Nicholas Conard, whose team discovered the figure in September.

Carbon dating suggests it was carved at least 35,000 years ago, according to the researchers' findings, which are being published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature.

"It's the oldest known piece of figurative sculpture in the world," said Jill Cook, a curator of Paleolithic and Mesolithic material at the British Museum in London.

Stones in Israel and Africa almost twice as old are believed to have been collected by ancient humans because they resembled people, but they were not carved independently.

The Hohle Fels cave discovery suggests the humans, who are believed to have come to Europe around 40,000 years ago, had the intelligence to create symbols and think abstractly in a way that matches the modern human, Conard said.

"It's 100 percent certain that, by the time we get to 40,000 years ago in Swabia, we're dealing with people just like you and me," Conard told The Associated Press, referring to the southern German region where the sculpture was recovered along with other prehistoric artifacts.

Conard believes the 2.4-inch-tall (6-centimeter) figure may have been hung on the end of a string. The left arm is missing, but Conard said he hopes to find it by sifting through material from the cave.

The Hohle Fels sculpture is curvaceous and has neither feet nor a head, like some of the roughly 150 so-called Venus figurines found in a range from the Pyrenees mountains to southern Russia and dating back about 25,000-29,000 years.

But Cook warned against trying to draw any connections between the Venuses and the Hohle Fels figure, saying that would be like comparing Picasso to a classical sculptor — too much time had passed.

"I wonder whether at this point we're looking at figures which are unique within themselves and unique within the cultures that they're arising in," she said.

Archaeologist Paul Mellars, of the University of Cambridge, suggested a clearer continuum.

"We now have evidence of that sort of artistic tradition of Venus figurines going back 6,000 years earlier than anybody ever guessed," he said.

Neanderthals also lived in Europe around the time the sculpture was carved, and frequented the Hohle Fels cave. But Mellars said layered deposits left by both species over thousands of years prove the sculpture was crafted by humans.

"Nothing within a million miles of this has ever been found in a Neanderthal layer," Mellars said.

The archaeologists agreed the sculpture's age and features invite speculation about its purpose and the preoccupations of the culture that produced it.

Cook suggested it could be symbol of fertility, perhaps even portrayed in the act of giving birth.

Mellars suggested a more basic motivation for the carving: "These people were obsessed with sex."

Conard said the differing opinions reinforced the connection between the ancient artist and modern viewer.

"How we interpret it tells us just as much about ourselves as about people 40,000 years ago," he said.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More on Artists of Hawaii

Artists of Hawaii 2009 opened May 13 , with 86 pieces by 64 artists selected from a field of over 900 submissions. HPR's Noe Tanigawa spoke with this year's juror, Laura Hoptman, when she was in Honolulu for the final jurying. The link to the interview is here: HPR Interview.

Also, the Academy of Arts has a link for the show: Academy Site. If you go to the "Artists" page and click on a name, you'll see that artist's work.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shows, Calls for Artists, Workshops, etc.

[Note: For further information on any of the items, click on the link and you will be taken to the AHA Bulletin Board post. If you are not a member of the AHA, you will have to register and be accepted by a moderator.

Items for this page should be sent to the AHA Bulletin Board manager, Chieko Higuchi, at higuchic002@hawaii.rr.com.]

Calls for Artists:

  1. Call for Artists for "Da Kine: Local Perspectives" by David Behlke & Associates (June 6)
  2. Hawaii Watercolor Society (HWS) Annual "Small Kine Show" (May 31; must be member)
  3. Call To Artists Assistance for Next Honolulu Country Club (HCC) ArtShow (June 28)
Happening Now:
  1. "Ancestral Reflections 1", photo by Osvaldo Flores, through May 28
  2. "Serenity" and "Embrace", photos by Osvaldo Flores, through June 26
  3. "Artists of Hawaii 2009," with works from AHA members: Virginia Carabelli, Winner of The Reuben Tam Award for Painting, Francisco Clemente, Margo Cook, Douglas Ing, Charlotte Maxwell, Dennis McGeary, Vernon Miyamoto, Roy Okano, Frank Oliva, Jacquelene Watson, through August 16
  4. "A Geisha's World", a mixed media collage show by Warren Stenberg at Honolulu Club, 5th Floor, through June 27
  5. "Art.....Exercising Emotions" by Ed Furuike at Honolulu Club, 7th Floor, through July 4
Coming Up:
  1. Schaefer Portrait Challenge Exhibit, May 29 - September 11
  2. "Analytical Cubism;" a drawing class with master artist Harry Tsuchidana, October 18

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just for fun

Ignore the subtitles . . . identify the image . . .

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting "The Message!"

[Editor's Note: Here's an interesting take on portraiture that showed at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition "RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture" ran February 8, 2008 to October 26, 2008. Kehinde Wiley was one of the artists in the exhibition.]

Artist's Statement: Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley’s portraits of African American men collate modern culture with the influence of Old Masters. Incorporating a range of vernaculars culled from art historical references, Wiley’s work melds a fluid concept of modern culture, ranging from French Rococo to today’s urban landscape. By collapsing history and style into a unique contemporary vision, Wiley interrogates the notion of master painter, “making it at once critical and complicit.” Vividly colorful and often adorned with ornate gilded frames, Wiley’s large-scale figurative paintings, which are illuminated with a barrage of baroque or rococo decorative patterns, posit young black men, fashioned in urban attire, within the field of power reminiscent of Renaissance artists such as Tiepolo and Titian.

[Visit the webpage here and here.]

Texas museum acquires Michelangelo's 1st painting

(From Yahoo! News)

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Kimbell Art Museum will soon be the only U.S. museum to display a Michelangelo painting after acquiring his earliest known work, a rare treasure that was tucked away and doubted as authentic for more than a century.

The museum declined to disclose how much it paid for "The Torment of Saint Anthony," a 15th-century oil and tempera painting on a wood panel that depicts scaly, horned, winged demons trying to pull the saint out of the sky. Experts believe he painted it when he was only 12 or 13 years old.

And only four such works — including this one — by the artist exist, and two of them are unfinished. Most of his paintings are frescos, the famous scenes on the ceiling and wall of Rome's Sistine Chapel.

"This is one of the greatest rediscoveries in the history of art," Eric M. Lee, the Fort Worth museum's director, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The evidence could not be stronger. It's like a detective story, like a mystery, and it involves one of the greatest artists of all time."

The painting was exhibited as late as 1874 in Paris. But some questions about its authenticity had surfaced through the years, and after a London family acquired it in the 1900s, the painting was kept privately and largely forgotten in the art world, Lee said.

Last summer an art dealer bought it for nearly $2 million at a Sotheby's auction and then took it to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where one department chairman shared his hunch that it was the work of the Renaissance artist, Lee said.

Experts in the Met's paintings conservation department carefully cleaned it by removing decades of dirt, as well as paint layers that art restorers had applied through the ages to fill in chips or dull areas, Lee said.

When they examined the painting further using X-rays and infrared technology, they were able to see how the artist made certain brush strokes, scraped paint layers to achieve detail and even changed elements of the painting before the final version, Lee said.

Museum experts said they determined it not only was Michelangelo's — based on similarities to his other works and the artist's stories of the piece as told to biographers — but also that it was his earliest work — based on its age and details in the painting. The confirmation came a few months ago, and then the Kimbell decided to buy it, Lee said.

The generations of dirt and paint buildup had obscured the painting's identity, and some doubted its authenticity because a similar painting existed, Lee said. But an art expert who extensively studied both paintings said the other was done in the 17th century.

Michelangelo's piece has previously been known as "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" because he was inspired by a similar engraving of that name while learning to be an artist. But after the Kimbell acquired the oil painting, Lee decided to change its name because that engraving depicts a different scene, he said.

The painting will be displayed at the Kimbell starting this fall after a summer exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Lee said he may loan the painting to other museums later for traveling exhibits.

"This could not be a rarer object," Lee said. "That's why this is such an extraordinary opportunity."


On the Net:

Kimbell Art Museum: http://www.kimbellart.org

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Art student's car vanishing act

From BBC News:

A design student made a battered old Skoda "disappear" by painting it to merge with the surrounding car park.

Sara Watson, who is studying drawing at the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan), took three weeks to transform the car's appearance.

She created the illusion in the car park outside her studio at Uclan's Hanover Building in Preston.

The car is now being used for advertising by the local recycling firm that donated the vehicle.

'Just amazing'

Ms Watson, a second year student, said: "I was experimenting with the whole concept of illusion but needed something a bit more physical to make a real impact."

She was given the Skoda Fabia from the breaker's yard at local firm Recycling Lives.

Owner Steve Jackson described her work as "amazing".

"When I first saw the photos I was convinced it was something which had been done on the computer," said Mr Jackson.

"But when you look more closely you see the effort and attention to detail she has put into it. It is just amazing."

2009 Water Conservation Week Poster and Poetry Contest

Nearly 3,500 posters and more than 200 poems were entered in the 2009 Water Conservation Week Poster and Poetry Contest! The entries are currently being reviewed and the winners will be announced in early April.

Lots of entries. Staff sort and layout entries for judging.

To see a short video news story of the poster contest judging, click here. Click on individual photos to view larger images.

The judges deliberate.
Judges Alison Ibara-Kawabe, Anthony Randall and Arthur Aiu review poster contest entries.

The contests are held annually to teach Oahu's keiki about the importance of water conservation. The poster contest is open to Oahu students in kindergarten through the 6th grade, and the brand-new poetry contest is open to Oahu students in grades 7 through 12. The winning and honorable mention posters and poems will be showcased in the 2010 Water Conservation Calendar, which will be available in December 2009.

Entries galore. Staff sort and organize entries post-judging.

Click here to download and print the 2009 Water Conservation Calendar.

For more information about these annual contests or calendar, click here, call 748-5041, or email contactus@hbws.org.

Thousands of Entries Received for the 2009 Water Conservation Week Poster & Poetry Contests
Privacy Policy | Publications | Bids & Proposals | Contact Us | Calendar | Home
© Copyright 2004 Board of Water Supply, City & County of Honolulu. All Rights Reserved..

Lego Torture Scenes Protest Media Censorship

From Wired Online:

By Jim Merithew and Keith Axline Write to the Author

A few weeks ago, the Obama administration released controversial memos from the Justice Department describing torturous techniques used by CIA agents while interrogating terror suspects. Since then, media and news outlets have been saturated in moral discussions: Should the CIA have tortured the detainees? Should Obama have released the memos?

But few have questioned the media's self-censorship in reporting on these techniques while they were in use.

Flickr user Legofesto (who prefers to remain anonymous) was fed up with news outlets refusing to publish images depicting torture due to their graphic nature. So he recreated the images and first-hand accounts using Legos to protest what he saw as irresponsible censorship.

[Click here for slideshow. Be advised that it's somewhat disturbing. You've been warned.]

The use of children's toys is at once sanitizing and horrifying and many of the images have received thousands of views. We post selections from Legofesto's series here as a gallery, accompanied by remarks from the artist.

Photo © Legofesto

Mission Impossible: The Code Even the CIA Can't Crack

From Wired

By Steven Levy
Email 04.20.09

The most celebrated inscription at the Central Intelligence Agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia, used to be the biblical phrase chiseled into marble in the main lobby: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." But in recent years, another text has been the subject of intense scrutiny inside the Company and out: 865 characters of seeming gibberish, punched out of half-inch-thick copper in a courtyard.

It's part of a sculpture called Kryptos, created by DC artist James Sanborn. He got the commission in 1988, when the CIA was constructing a new building behind its original headquarters. The agency wanted an outdoor installation for the area between the two buildings, so a solicitation went out for a piece of public art that the general public would never see. Sanborn named his proposal after the Greek word for hidden. The work is a meditation on the nature of secrecy and the elusiveness of truth, its message written entirely in code.

Almost 20 years after its dedication, the text has yet to be fully deciphered. A bleary-eyed global community of self-styled cryptanalysts—along with some of the agency's own staffers—has seen three of its four sections solved, revealing evocative prose that only makes the puzzle more confusing. Still uncracked are the 97 characters of the fourth part (known as K4 in Kryptos-speak). And the longer the deadlock continues, the crazier people get.

Whether or not our top spooks intended it, the persistent opaqueness of Kryptos subversively embodies the nature of the CIA itself—and serves as a reminder of why secrecy and subterfuge so fascinate us. "The whole thing is about the power of secrecy," Sanborn tells me when I visit his studio, a barnlike structure on Jimmy Island in Chesapeake Bay (population: 2). He is 6'7", bearded, and looks a bit younger than his 63 years. Looming behind him is his latest work in progress, a 28-foot-high re-creation of the world's first particle accelerator, surrounded by some of the original hardware from the Manhattan Project. The atomic gear fits nicely with the thrust of Sanborn's oeuvre, which centers on what he calls invisible forces.

[Read the complete story . . . here . . .]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazing Night - Part I

By Philip Riley

At First Night in Honolulu, I met a girl named Walter who took me on a journey through art history. Her grey hair frizzled out like hot wires and in her Rubenesque figure she strode with great pomp and I followed her into Hanks Café.

“Nice head of hair,” I said. She scowled darkly like the huddled figure from an Edvard Munch. For all that I stifled a laugh.

“What’s wrong with you?” She asked with the earnestness of Edgar Degas.

“I’m fine,” I said ogling at her with one eye. Her Mona Lisa presence and dark eyes intoxicated me.

“Would you like to go eat pizza?" I asked.
“Why would I want to do that?”

“You mean you won't?” With the intoxicated flourish of a Frans Hals I pretended to pout. She examined my face with a sneer, like a surgeon looking for a disease.

We walked silently up Nuuanu toward Hotel Street bound by an artistic muse. It bound us in spite of the surface animosity for underneath it beat the blood of art history. I saw a man named Roy hovering in a space ship in a Rothko haze above St. Mark’s garage. He launched a beam of blue light from his space bazooka and we found ourselves the same color as the buildings, lamp posts, and traffic signs. Around us people walked in and out of doorways like a Hieronymus Bosch painting except we were walking in a Picasso blue period.

“How do you like this show?” Walter said, and then sprouted a Salvador Dali mustache that resembled rat’s tails.

“It’s an amazing night,” I said.

“We have no control over this,” she said.

Stopping at Hotel and Nuuanu she emptied her pockets of thick sticks of chalks. We moved slowly like Tai chi as we drew.

Roy waved from his spaceship grinning like Toulouse-Lautrec. We waved to him, our chalk scratching the concrete. Cars honked more and more frequently. We blocked the intersection timelessly and though the police station was only a block away no police interrupted us.

“Wow, it’s a regular Caravaggio,” said Walter stopping to survey our drastic chiaroscuro composition.

Then a man named Romeo burst onto the scene with Rosarina’s pizzas decorated in boxes with a Mondrian pattern.

“I’ve got pizza.” He said with a big smile as he gave the frustrated drivers pizza which they ate with faces contorted like German expressionists paintings.

Flirting with Walter, Romeo said, “My old friend Michelangelo painted on my ceiling a long time ago.” Then the two left me alone in the middle of Nuuanu posed like Rodin’s “Thinker.” Roy zoomed away in his spaceship till he was only a point in the Kandinsky sky.

Next: Roy goes to the planet of the Loonies.

HCC Open Show Winners

[Photos courtesy of Roy Okano]

1st Place - “A Special Place” - Maurice Hutchinson

2nd Place - “Washed Up in Horan's Yard” - Sue Roach

3rd Place - “As Evening Falls” - Maurice Hutchinson

Honorable Mention - “The Hula Sister's Free Show” - Ann Corum