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.


Art Heals: Charleston Comes Together

posted by – 07/09/15 @ 5:13pm


We have all heard about the atrocity, which was racially charge, that occurred in Charleston recently that resulted in the death of 9 people at a church meeting. With many facets of life, it is difficult to express emotion in a healthy way, and for Charleston, art has become one way in which its citizens have been able to convey their feelings towards this incident.

I believe that it is the want and need to connect to something on a deeper level. In the broader scheme of things, the creation of something meaningful out of meaninglessness can be therapeutic in its own right. Many times in the creation of art, artists are reaching a point where the conscious and subconscious work together. The conscious act of working on a work of art subconsciously helps one, especially in this case, deal with the results of foreign concepts and incidents. The joy that spectators receive from the art helps to put them in a better space as well. All justification to the why is speculative, but it is a fact that the passion felt through the creation and viewing of art reaches us in an almost inexplicable way, giving us better, healthier perspective and understanding.

Read more here in this Huffington Post article that chronicles the transformative ways in which art is helping Charleston heal. #CharlestonStrong

Instagram as Art: Richard Prince’s “New Portraits”

posted by – 07/03/15 @ 4:33pm

The Huffington Post recently published an article about appropriation artist Richard Prince, the artist who refurbished random Instagram photos in his 2014 exhibition “New Portraits.” The exhibition sparked controversy, raising questions regarding copyright issues and originality.

"New Portraits"

“New Portraits” /

The show is made up of enlarged copies of Instagram photos, posted by both celebrities and ordinary people, with Prince’s own comments at the bottom of each. The pieces reportedly sell for $90,000. The exhibition calls into question the notion of ownership in the Internet age, as well as the importance of personal branding.

"New Portraits"

“New Portraits” /

“New Portraits” also highlights the role Instagram plays in today’s art world. As a purely visual medium, Instagram offers everyday users a way to express themselves, as well as a platform for artists to promote their work and establish their brand. The age of social media calls for fluidity and flexibility, and Prince’s work highlights the changing nature of ownership.

Printing the Past and Present for the Future

posted by – 06/23/15 @ 3:39pm


A recent article in The Atlantic describes the formative steps the Smithsonian is taking in order to preserve and protect the artifacts so delicate and yet so critical to understanding human history and culture, or what I’d simply like to call the Smithsonian’s attempt to create a “future for the past.”

Essentially, technicians and conservators at The Smithsonian take an object, scan it, then create a 3D cast of the object, which is further processed to make it look like the original. These copies are kept by the Smithsonian to be brought out for special occasions, as the original collection owners rely on the income from these artifacts. The concern here is, do the objects hold onto their authenticity once there are copies? This highly intriguing article discusses the “benefits of accessibility…pitted against those of authenticity” and the ongoing quest by museums and others of how to integrate the ever-changing world of technology into the world of antiquity.

Not only is 3D printing going to be progressively used in preserving the past, but it is also going to be transformative in the contemporary art world as artists, including our very own Carol Prusa, as seen below, are ever increasingly experimenting with and using 3D printing as a medium of artistic expression.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 3.36.07 PM

3D printing is literally and figuratively shaping the worlds around us, keeping our head on a swivel while leaving us attentive to the subtle nuances created by increased use and appreciation for rapidly changing technologies.



Romancing Banality: The Art of Lyle Carbajal

posted by – 06/19/15 @ 2:33pm

Lyle Carbajal’s roving exhibition Romancing Banality incorporates elements from years spent traveling, absorbing new cultures. Nashville is the exhibition’s third iteration, following openings in Seattle and New Orleans. Carbajal lives in each city for months leading up to the opening, incorporating himself into the city’s culture.

“It’s a city’s Zeitgeist that interests me,” said Carbajal, “The sights, the sounds, the way its people either cherish or disregard artistic forms, the city’s visual connection to the past and whether or not it recognizes its indigenous culture.”

Romancing Banality

Visitors to Romancing Banality find themselves immersed in an authentic, urban/primitive experience completely lacking in pretense. Capturing the spirit of anti-artistry and folk art, Carbajal seeks inspiration in the everyday.

“These are the truths I perceive through my eyes, my journeys, and my exploration as an artist,” said Carbajal of his work.

The effect of Romancing Banality in the gallery space is truly transformative. In addition to the paintings and multimedia works adorning the walls, Carbajal installed a half-scale model of a carcineria in the center of the gallery. He is also exploring film as a medium, and a film shot and produced entirely in Mexico is projected onto one of the gallery’s walls, furthering the multi-sensory experience that is Romancing Banality.

Art Basel 2015 Opens

posted by – 06/16/15 @ 5:05pm

With the opening of Art Basel 2015 in its founding city this week, I’d like to shed some light on this wonderful European exhibition of art from around the world.


Distinctively located on the borders of Switzerland, France, and Germany, Basel provides the most strategic location for the exhibition of over 300 leading galleries from Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia. The works presented at the 2015 Art Basel show encompass most mediums of Modern and contemporary art imaginable from sculpture and painting to videos to performance art by both well-known and newly emerging artists.


Over 90,000 art lovers—collectors, gallerists, artists, curators, and simple art enthusiasts—from across the globe attend Art Basel each year. The attendance and the involvement of buyers has been crescendoing recently as the arts become more prevalent in the public’s eye. Founded in 1970 by a few gallerists in Basel, the show has increased its attendance from 16,300 people in its initial show to almost 100,000 people estimated for this year. Basel is not the only location for this sophisticated “arts fair” either, which also takes place in Miami Beach in December and Hong Kong in March.

Described as the “Olympics of the Art World,” Art Basel has figured out the formula for an art show: find and provide the platform for excellent art and let it speak for itself. Each work of art has a unique effect on every individual. We are all idiosyncratic with distinctive perspectives stemming from our own experiences in life, and the discernment we all have for art is just as original as the art itself. With Art Basel, the collection of art of over 4,000 artists from these hundreds of galleries drives the success of this “arts affair.”


Already at the incipient of this year’s showing, Leonardo DiCaprio has shown his man-bun and museum and private collectors have been seen in full force. (


Among the attendees for the Miami Beach Art Basel in 2014, were our very own Susan Tinney and Sarah Wilson, who hope to some day make the trek to Basel for the experience of a lifetime.

Spanish Sculptor Jaume Plensa Exhibits at Two Nashville Venues

posted by – 05/06/15 @ 1:33pm

Jaume Plensa is the latest international artist to bring his internationally acclaimed art to our city. Exhibiting work here for the first time,  the artist is bringing work to display at Nashville’s two largest art venues: The Frist Center for Visual Arts and The Cheekwood Museum & Gardens. Though the majority of the large-scale works will be installed in the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Frist will also share a few pieces of the collection.  Plensa’s large-scale sculpture Isabella will be displayed at the entrance of the Frist Center, accompanied by a “sister” sculpture in the Cheekwood Gardens. there will be a series of small-scale works inside the Frist, as well.

"Sho" stainless steel, 2007


Plensa’s work deals with the human figure, transforming the dimensionality of the human form to create intriguing silhouettes while manipulating the material to transform the way we think of the human experience. “Plensa’s body of work is primarily inspired by the complexities of the human condition. He is known for the exploration of the tension between the interior and exterior life. The artist uses a variety of materials—from cast iron to steel and bronze to alabaster and synthetic resin—choosing the material which will best communicate his idea for the image. Plensa’s portraits are a radical reinterpretation of what is usually considered the domain of a more classical art.” (

"Paula, Rui Rui, and Awilda"


The artist’s work is likely to raise a great deal of conversation while on exhibition. This is the most in-depth display of his work in the country since 2010. While the artist has publicly exhibited in many major US cities, there has never been a show in our region. This should be a fantastic and rare opportunity for our city to experience world-class large-scale sculpture.