The Modern Day Rain Dance

posted by – 11/04/15 @ 6:02pm


           As the third year of California’s historic drought comes to an end, the lack of rainfall is beginning to become the rule rather than the exception in the Golden State. California will have been an official state of emergency for a whole year in January, yet to the chagrin of many residents, there do not seem to be any rain clouds on the horizon. However, in the midst of this unprecedented lack of rainfall, artists have found a way to provide Californians with the comfort of a rain shower, while also raising questions about global warming and the social responsibility of residents in the face of a dwindling water supply.

Enter the Rain Room. Originally created by London-based rAndom International, this artificial rain shower is relocating to an area where its message is particularly salient: Southern California. The exhibit is set up as a room with grated floors and ceilings, which facilitate the recyclation of water and the creation of an essentially endless rain shower. The room uses 3D sensors that track the movements of viewers and cut off the fall of water directly over their heads, allowing viewers to feel the unique sensation of traversing through a heavy rainstorm without being drenched by water.

To Californians, the message of water conservation combined with the sensation of being so close yet so far away from water has hit home in a big way. To the surprise of the show’s curators, 17,000 people have already pre-purchased tickets to view the exhibit, which many see as a harbinger of good things to come. However, given the ascetic beauty of the show combined with its message of sustainability, it is not surprising many Californians have found the exhibit appealing. In the face of the worsening drought, the reduction of daily water usage has become an integral part of life for many Californian families. The average American family consumes 400 gallons of water in a single day, and the Rain Room uses a mere 528 total gallons that are continually recycled throughout the room to produce and essentially endless rain shower. The message is clear—in the face of environmental change, a calculated and robust effort to increase the sustainability of our resources can create conditions of abundance even in the face of a changing climate. For Californians, this model is already a part of life, but it is not yet for the rest of us. The plight of California has provided us with a possible glimpse into a world in which we continue to take from the planet more than it can give, but the message of the exhibit suggests a potential solution. However, in the mean time, we can only hope that the Rain Room brings with it an end to California’s historic drought, and that by learning from the lessons of the Golden State we won’t ever need any rain dances of our own.

Art donors are increasingly giving works of art to non-profit organizations

posted by – 11/03/15 @ 4:08pm

 ‘Dandelion Seed,’ a kinetic sculpture by Bill Wainwright, was donated to the Boston Children’s Hospital by a collector. Photo: Jessica R. Finch

‘Dandelion Seed,’ a kinetic sculpture by Bill Wainwright, was donated to the Boston Children’s Hospital by a collector. Photo: Jessica R. Finch

In an interesting article posted in the Wall Street Journal two days ago, an unusual observation and subsequent discussion is brought to light. In recent times, many art collectors have decided to donate their works of art to smaller non-profit organizations such as hospitals, libraries, retirement homes, etc instead of museums. Many of the donors said that they decided to do this because if their works were donated to a museum, they would most likely be put in a large warehouse for storage, where they would get little installation exposure. This phenomenon seems like a great idea, especially when there are monetary, societal, and emotional benefits coupled with little costs associated with these decisions.

Jessica R. Finch, art program manager at Boston Children’s Hospital says, “studies have shown that artwork helps to reduce stress and boredom, reduces blood pressure and increases white-blood-cell count, all of which are factors in the healing process.”

Donors also receive significant full fair market value tax write-offs for their donations, depending on certain stipulations of course.

One cost associated with this is the insurance costs for these non-profits increasing with the acquisition of such works and the security associated with the pieces contact with mentally handicapped individuals in a retirement homes (a concern cited in the article).

Collecting art for non-profits also can have very significant benefits monetarily if the value of a piece donated to their organization increases dramatically such as a hospital’s purchase of a Milton Avery piece in the 1950’s.

While you can’t go wrong donating your works of art to a museum, there are certain social welfare benefits associated with donating to other organizations such as these non-profits that wouldn’t be realized if a piece is simply sitting in storage.

“Level of Confidence” interactive installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer grabs more than just your attention

posted by – 10/27/15 @ 2:32pm

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On September 26th, 2014, forty-three male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teacher’s College were kidnapped while on their way to a protest. According to many sources, buses they were taking into town were stopped by police to keep them from the area of protest. The altercation turned violent quickly, some men were killed on the spot and the rest were kidnapped and handed over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, who are said to have brutally murdered all forty-three students. Their bodies have yet to be found (

There have been many protests and much political unrest since the disappearance of these men. People are still, one year later, in anguish.

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In March of 2015, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer created a technologically integrated artistic installation which uses biological algorithms to best match the viewer of the installation with one of the forty-three victims of this crime, giving a “level of confidence” for the relative accuracy of your facial features compared to the victims. It is a very innovative installation to say the least. But it is not the innovative side for which most people commend the installation, rather it is the emotive side. Just like Charleston’s use of art to cope with the recent shooting, the viewers of this installation are meant to connect with the victims. This almost physical connection, where you see your own face next to the victims’, allows you to connect with the victims, to sympathize with them, to feel empathy for their loved ones. Connection helps people heal.

With the explosion of mass media’s influence over the way we view mass shootings here in the states, mass kidnappings in Mexico, or any other instance in the world where atrocities are committed against multiple people, it is hard not to become frustrated, confused, hardened. You get angry at the ones responsible. There has been incredible resistance to the media’s portrayal of the perpetrators, in which they give them the spotlight which sometimes was the impetus for the crime in the first place. This installation allows you to connect with the victims, not the perpetrators, which is crucial to healthy grief. An installation like this for all barbaric acts committed anywhere in the world would be a great use of resources. It could help the anger turn into healthier, more stable emotions, which could translate into greater change and more harmony within the communities affected.

Street Art Finds a Home in Atlanta

posted by – 09/30/15 @ 4:50pm

Street Art by Roa               

There are few cities in which side by side to a primarily southern, conservative population exists a vibrant culture of avant-garde, organic artistic creation. Today, the booming urban sprawl of Atlanta has provided artists with a niche to define themselves, which is limited in the traditional avant-garde meccas of NYC and LA, where the players and styles, particularly in street art, have already cemented their identities within the art world.

Street art, pioneered far away from the metropolises of the southern wild, has taken root in city once defined by conservatism and a reverence for tradition. Over the past 30 years, Atlanta has grown from a sleepy medium-sized city of 2 million to one of the largest city centers in the U.S. This demographic shift has brought with it the headwinds of the street art movement, which over the past several decades has grown to a level of national prominence, especially among millennials, as pioneers like Banksy, Shepard Fairy and others have consistently pushed artistic boundaries forward. The often politically charged and controversial works of street artists seem at first glance out of place in a generally traditional city such as Atlanta, but the relatively low cost of living and lack of established artists has created an environment of opportunity for young, ambitious artists. The result is a budding artistic movement that channels street art into confronting issues in southern communities, ranging from race issues to marriage equality. The Goat Farm, for example, is an old cotton gin turned into an artistic think tank meant to provide the city’s artists with an environment to display their work and share their ideas. This blend of southern culture and boundary-pushing art is truly unique and beginning to define a new artistic paradigm in Atlanta.

Hearing this story, it is hard not to notice parallels and more importantly the opportunities between Atlanta and Nashville. The thriving presence of musicians in Nashville is strikingly similar to Atlanta’s well established hip-hop scene, and provides an artistic foundation that could easily be augmented by the addition of forward-thinking, visual artists. Not to mention, our skyline is littered with the silhouettes of cranes as high-rise apartment buildings pop up across the city, and droves of millennials move here due to the affordability and opportunities that Nashville provides. An optimist would bet that Nashville has positioned itself well to receive an influx of artistic variety as our population booms over the next decade. Let us hope that the growth and artistic diversity that has transformed Atlanta will find its way into our city as well.

Window View

posted by – 09/25/15 @ 5:52pm


MD 14 GRUNEWALD 80″ x 96″ oil on linen with acrylic resin


The following reflection was written by Bob Hazyzlett in response to Tinney Contemporary gallery current show ” Observations , Integrations , Pareidolia  and Polysemy”  New Works by James Perrin. This refection is being presented in order to advocate more of Nashville’s amazing artist viewers transformation  into active participation through written expression.

“I recently saw the painting “ MD 14 / Grunewald as I passed by the Tinney Contemporary gallery on 5th Avenue. The painting pulled me into the gallery for a closer look. The  black background, vibrant colors, and a blend of the abstract and representational styles was fascinating. This painting reminded me of an art project commission for a dorm room at my first Air Force base many years ago. I drew a sketch and my roommate and I paid another airman to spray paint and entire wall of are room. The background was black with multicolored with steel I-beams tumbling towards the viewer. The paint odor permeated the entire building. The artist sinus passages were coated with paint, but it was well worth it. We had what was probably the most unique room in the Air Force!”


Bob Hayzlett

Positivity Remains for Art Collectors During Falling Market Conditions

posted by – 09/08/15 @ 3:28pm


On June 12th of this year, the Chinese stock market bubble popped, a bubble which was mostly fueled by the myriad of enthusiastic mom and pop investors throughout the nation of China wanting to get in on the seemingly ever improving financial situation of the Chinese markets. As with most bubbles, one can see the potential for the popping coming closer as the market seems to expand into a incomprehensible echelon. There were rumors of colluding, fraud, and other typical blame-shifting maneuvers; it was in fact simply hedgefunds, pension funds, and other investing entities that watched the market closely, saw the trends, and within a single day, all decided to get out, crippling what once was and still is considered one of the most powerful stock markets on the globe. This “crash” that occurred in mid June had a rippling effect on economies all across the world.

With only 1.5% of Chinese shares owned by foreigners, there is little worry that portfolios were or will be directly affected, but it is the possibility of a considerably more contentious melt down that has put most markets in a downturn. Spectulation, not just actuality, affects markets dramatically, if not even more significantly.


But what does this speculation mean for the art market?

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From June 23rd to August 25th, about two months, Sotheby’s publicly traded stocks dipped almost 28% moving from around $47 to $34 a share. Currently prices are still hovering around the $34 mark. To give persepective using two large corporations, in the same time period Apple Stock dropped a little over 19% and Walmart Stock dropped a little less than 15%. The market trends have been negative for a time, and we are just now seeing a little bit of stabilization and bounce back from this fallout in many corporations. Now, Sotheby’s common stock is not the end-all be-all for analyzing the art market as there are many nuances associated with the art marketplace, but it is a nice starting block.

A recent opinion piece on by Kenny Schachter, a London-based art dealer, curator, and writer, highlights what has gone on in the recent past in the art market, citing his own experiences, what the present looks like, and particularly interesting, what the future seems to hold for the contemporary art market. He stays relatively optimistic in the article and speaks of people in the art world as “lifers,” as it is more about the art and enjoyment from the art than the actual monetary aspect, which will hold the market in relative stability.

Highlights include:

“…such relentless volatility, at least in short term, renders art and classic Ferraris and Porsches even more attractive and stable by comparison.”

“Look for people to hunker down with the things and people they know, buying obvious art by obvious artists from obvious art dealers and auction houses.”

“The prematurely high-priced emerging-art shakeout has been a good thing, and the market, for now at least, is still in rude health.”

The art market is one of the more unpredictable markets in the world, but within that volatility is this interesting sense of stasis and safety because of the ever-present human interest and need for the aesthetic and the creative. The art market usually fluctuates with significant changes in wealth, not necessarily market trends, so in the short run it is affected little, but in the long run significant trends can develop. Art collectors worldwide should not be worried about too large of a fallout in this space stemming from the Chinese bubble burst, but it always good to keep track of what goes on within certain markets when episodes like this occur.

The Sound of Visual Art

posted by – 08/27/15 @ 5:40pm



El Caiman, 2015 Stitched cyanotype collage on canvas, wire inner frame. 36″ x116″


Departure, 2015 . Hand colored gelatin silver print. 39’x49″


Expedito, 2015. Digital pigment and Cyanotype mixed media collage. 23.5″ x49″


The Sound of Photo Memory

What does visual art sound like? Many times there is a multilayer sensory experience that goes into the process of a work of art, but the audience are presented a final product that may not expose these layers. As I view Josè Betancourt current exhibition, CUBA: reconstructing memories, dealing with his visual memory of Cuba I think of what his memory sounds like. When I call to ask, he walks me through the sounds that play in his mind. Some of these sound made of musicians connected to his family. He speaks on how his soundscape would connect like the collage technique in works such as “ El Caiman.” They are woven together, playing off of one another. Also pieces like “ Expedito” which brings to his mind music overlapping, maybe one song fading into another more chaotic, an interlude of this, and a bridge of that, to make this abstract array of sound. But when asked about a work such as “Departure” he tells me this work could have a single song selection from the album “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis because of its depth and emotional texture. I leave this dialogue understanding how sound plays in his mind surrounding this show. It is amazing when us as viewers look beyond what is presented and ask questions that allow the artist to recall and re-imagine their process, which sheds new insight on the work.

Nashville Ranks #5 City for Creatives and #34 Large City to Live In

posted by – 08/06/15 @ 2:03pm


Lingering behind New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Kalamazoo, and Austin, Nashville has successfully risen over the years to the 5th position on SmartAsset’s Top 10 Cities for Creatives!

Nashville is already in this top position, yet possesses the potential to attract more creatives as the city puts the pedal to the metal in cultural and economic growth mode.

“While outsiders often associate Nashville with country music, the city’s cultural life goes far beyond twang and honky-tonk.”

Comparing the metrics of cost of living and number of creative workers (28 jobs included in this category for the research) per 10,000 workers, 176 of the largest cities in America were indexed according to attractiveness for creative workers, and Nashville is in the top FIVE.

This accolade, coupled with Nashville ranking #34 on WalletHub’s 2015 Best & Worst Large Cities to Live In, pushes Nashville further into the national spotlight, which will only continue to create growth for our city.

We must be careful, however, that our potential for rapid growth will not put us at a disadvantage when it comes to affordable living for the attraction of creative thinkers and doers to our community.

The Symbiotic Relationship of Art and Corporations

posted by – 08/04/15 @ 4:26pm


Warhol, Andy “Cagney” Unique silkscreen on paper 30 x 40 inches A signature part of the UBS Collection of works from the 1960’s

For years, businesses across the globe have collected works of art. But why?

This article from BBC Culture explores the phenomenon of the corporate art collection. Focusing on the collection of UBS Bank, the largest corporate art collection in the world, reporter Alastair Sooke dives into the reasons many corporations today decide to collect contemporary art.

A reason may be that “contemporary art represents a company as dynamic, active and growing – as being part of the world today – and it sends that message to everybody who comes in.” For me this reasoning makes the most sense. Contemporary corporations are progressive entities that serve to further innovation and value for the company and the world around them. Contemporary art also has a similar vein of innovative tendencies coupled with the creation of value for the viewer and the artist.

Some corporations also see it as a philanthropic venture when they purchase art directly from artists, bypassing auction houses and secondary market places, which more directly benefits the artist and communities in which they are involved.

A potential risk involved in collecting contemporary art is that, as art historian Jack Flam said, “One of the most striking qualities of contemporary art is its ability to shock, outrage, and provoke its audience,” which as you might imagine could be troublesome when attempting to accrue new clientele in the corporate setting.

An adherence to a similar artistic aesthetic across all parts of a corporation could help create a brand and create a potentially essential component of a company’s public, and private identity.

Most importantly, I believe, contemporary art serves as an inspiration for creativity. Corporations thrive on this creativity, because we as people are designed to create, specifically to create value for ourselves and others.

To find out more about the UBS collection click here.

Progressive Insurance also has one of the world’s largest corporate art collections. To see details on their collection click here.


Forbidden Fruit: Cuba’s Booming Art Industry

posted by – 07/22/15 @ 4:40pm

With the restoration of U.S.- Cuban relations this year, many aficionados of the art world are predicting a rise in sales of Cuban art. U.S. collectors were already able to purchase Cuban artwork due to a loophole in the trade embargo allowing for the purchase of cultural assets. However, the Havana Biennial in May was a major destination for American collectors, and a 2014 Wall Street Journal piece predicts an increased interest in the country’s artwork as it becomes easier for Americans to travel there and discover new artists.

El Caiman by José Betancourt

El Caiman // José Betancourt

The unique situation faced by Cuban artists – isolation, lack of supplies – lends itself to an art scene unlike any other. Many Cuban artists incorporate found objects and weathered materials into their work. Artists such as Los Carpinteros deal with social issues facing Cubans today. Increased accessibility to the nation will provide an unprecedented look into the work of talented, previously undiscovered artists.

Sea Escape // José Betancourt

In his upcoming exhibition at Tinney, Cuban-born artist José Betancourt explores his own relationship with his native country, which he left in 1971 at a young age. Cuba: Reconstructing Memories presents a series of altered photographs inspired by Betancourt’s memories of his childhood and provides a fascinating glimpse into his relationship with his past.