Category: Art World News

Discovering Frank Larson: Found Photography from the 1950’s

posted by – 08/30/16 @ 2:49pm

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Upon his passing in 1964, an unopened box of Frank Larson’s negatives was left sitting in an attic for 64 years.  Grandson, Soren Larson, discovered this box, containing 100 carefully sorted and labeled envelopes.  He took on the task of digitizing the images and minimally editing them in photoshop. These images, along with their family history, can be viewed at franklarsonphotos.com.

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Frank Larson’s photographs give viewers a unique glimpse into the everyday life of New York City in the 1950’s.

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This dedication to his grandfather isn’t Soren’s only attempt to preserve his family’s art: He also compiled a website for his own father, David Larson.  Soren recounts, “My father also used to speak with admiration about his father’s love of photography and his weekend trips with his Rolleiflex into the city to film places like the Bowery, Chinatown and Times Square.” Perhaps these trips inspired David’s career as an artist.

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Soren proudly displays his father’s body of work – a dense, philosophically themed collection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures.

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10,000 pieces of wood create 1 hollow sanctuary

posted by – 05/24/16 @ 2:41pm

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Katie Paterson’s latest installation at Royal Fort Gardens in Bristol, England, titled “Hollow”, was created using samples from over 10,000 different types of wood. She describes her creation as “a microcosmos of all the world’s trees”. The wood samples that comprise this work were collected from around the world, and they are the result of three years of dedicated work and travels. Paterson uses many common tree species, such as redwoods, ginkgos, cedars and palms. In addition, she managed to obtain a piece of a 5,000-year-old Methuselah tree, one of the oldest living organisms in the world, as well as a piece of railroad from the Panama Canal Railway and wood from the Atlantic City Boardwalk that was destroyed in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy.

Paterson’s sculpture encompasses almost the entire arboreal history, containing a sample of petrified wood thought to be 390 million years old, along with pieces of the oldest and youngest trees in the world. Many of the trees are closely linked with important stories of humanity, such as the Indian Banyan Tree, the tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment, and the Japanese Ginkgo tree in Hiroshima, the tree which survived World War II. The sculpture also represents almost every country on the planet.  Though it more closely resembles a native american wigwam or a pile of wooden blocks from the exterior, the interior of the sculpture holds thousands of wooden rods of varying sizes that extend downward from the ceiling and upwards from the floor, creating the appearance of stalactites and stalagmites. Two people can fit inside the sculpture, which serves as an enclosed, meditative space where one is literally surrounded by the history of the world. Sunlight enters the sculpture through openings in the roof. This filtered light resembles the dappled effect of sunlight through a forest ceiling.

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Several of Paterson’s past projects have also experimented with fusing the natural world and its sciences with artistic sculpture and installation. “Hollow” was commissioned by the University of Bristol and made in collaboration with Zeller & Moye architects. The installation will be permanently located in the Royal Fort Gardens in Bristol, England. To read more, see the article here.

“Widespread chill” in art sales has auction houses changing their tactics

posted by – 01/31/16 @ 12:58pm

Picasso’s ‘Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)’ (1955), which broke global auction records when it sold at Christie’s last year.

Art sales have been making headlines for a few years now due to their exorbitant totals for works from big-name and newcomer artists alike. According to one estimate by Citi Private Bank, the average annual growth rate of the global art market since 2000 lies around 13%. In just two consecutive days of auctions in May 2015, Christie’s and Sotheby’s combined reported sales topping $1 billion. At Christie’s, Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)” cost one investor a pretty penny – a record-breaking $179.9 million.

But the art market bubble does not appear to be expanding as quickly as it once was. According to the same Citi Bank report, annual growth rates are now hovering around the 9% mark. In the Wall Street Journal, writer Kelly Crow attributes slowing growth rates to “falling oil prices, volatile stock swings and China’s deepening economic woes,” among other things. When the stock market fluctuates and worries buyers, they are less likely to take risks with their investments. And like stocks, art values can vary widely and drop suddenly. Nonetheless, Kelly’s cited experts remain confident that the we will not see an art-market crash.

Auction houses, too, are paying close attention to changes in customer mindsets and purchases. For example, Sotheby’s will “focus on artists [they] know sell well,” rather than showcasing newcomers that are still foreign to buyers. More attention is being paid to guaranteed sales, making the practice of auction more “choreographed.” If that meets securing a bidder to appease the seller’s mind, many auction houses are ready to do that. While sales estimates are lower and some art values are decreasing, experts maintain a positive outlook since, historically, art has been a secure market in which investors can secure and protect their wealth.

As Edmond Francey, head of Christie’s contemporary sale this coming February, puts it: “Sometimes you need to reassure a market.” And until global markets generally stabilize, auction houses will be doing just that.

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.

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.

 

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” / www.richardprince.com

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” / www.richardprince.com

“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.

“State of the Art” Addressed

posted by – 01/30/15 @ 4:57pm

As a Northwest Arkansas native, I can’t help but to share the love I have for the Natural State. Crystal Bridges Museum, Alice Walton’s controversial new mecca of American art, is located in the retail dynasty’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas. During my last visit home, I made the short drive to the museum to see their latest exhibition, State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now. This particular show had created quite the buzz for Crystal Bridges around the country, certainly the most notable since they opened doors for the first time in 2011. The show sought to display the landscape of American contemporary art. This included works from over one hundred artists, from all four corners of the country. The jurors made a point to discover those artists whose work had “not yet been fully recognized on a national level” (http://crystalbridges.org/). It seemed that nearly everyone I spoke to in Nashville had heard of the show, and had already formulated their opinions based on the venue.

Ialu wood, steel, plastic and electric motor 57 in. x 78 in. x 108 in. 2011, John Douglas Powers

Video of \”Ialu\”

As I coasted down the scenic drive leading to the museum entrance, I was eager to make my own evaluation. Once I had inhaled the natural beauty of the Crystal Bridges campus, a delightful patch of Ozark forest a world apart from Manhattan, I entered the State of the Art exhibition area with high expectations. Immediately I realized that this collection of works was in a separate sphere altogether from the collection of 18th century portraits and busts in the hall adjacent it. I entered the show through a hallway cloaked in a crocheted installation piece by artist Jeila Gueramian. The womb of thread evoked a sense of childish wonder, and marked the entrance into the space much like the rabbit-hole into Alice’s Wonderland. Soon I heard the dull screech of John Douglas Powers’ Ialu that was all-too-familiar. I had seen a piece by the same artist that was displayed during a recent show in Vanderbilt University’s Space 204 gallery, the alma mater of the now Knoxville-based artist. It was easy to become entranced by the mechanized structure subtly swaying to and fro in front of projected video. The hypnosis I was afflicted with while looking at that piece lasted throughout the show. Whether it was the wall-sized quilt of artist Gina Phillips or the patiently rendered carbon pencil drawings of Adonna Khare, beautiful digitally recorded video or old-master style painting, the work begged the viewer to stay and marvel at the devotion to quality these artists displayed in their work. It wasn’t about shock-value for these artists; it was about the intense dedication of time that many of these artists had poured into it. Along with Powers, the Nashville connections continued as the Tinney Contemporary’s very own Pam Longobardi displayed her meditative three-dimensional works of reclaimed ocean refuse and mesmerizing paintings. Longobardi was also selected to give an artist lecture during the exhibition. Continuing through the show, I began to make note of the value of craftsmanship the curators had shown in their selections. Some pieces bordered on neuroticism, but the effect on the viewer was one of powerful appreciation. After hours in the space, I found myself wishing for more time to stand among these works.

Pam Langobardi 

"Ghosts of Consumption/Archaeology of Culture (for Piet M.)"

 

"Ghosts of Consumption/Archaeology of Culture (for Piet M.)" found ocean plastic,steel pins 110" x 75" x 5"

 

As I pulled away from the museum, I struggled to concentrate my thoughts on any one particular piece. The show had ripped open the curtains of the contemporary art scene for this young art student. I think that the state of art, not the art market, was on full display at Crystal Bridges. It was interesting to me that such an expansive view of the art landscape would find itself nestled in my small corner of the state. However, it may rather be even more fitting that this work from artists who live and work out of the spotlight was displayed in a place nearly as inconspicuous as they are. Perhaps we should take note of the wonderful things going on in not-so-obvious places.

 

Carla Ciuffo’s Stasis: Heavenly Bodies

posted by – 01/05/15 @ 6:25pm

There is an air of mystery in the captivating pieces currently hanging in Tinney Contemporary. We were lucky enough to learn more about Stasis: Heavenly Bodies from an exclusive Q & A interview with the artist, Carla Ciuffo.

 

Part of the mystery in Ciuffo’s work possibly comes from the medium she used to print her images on.


M: You’ve worked with printing your images on many different surfaces, why did you find printing Heavenly Bodies on acrylic to be the best medium?

C: I really wanted to enhance the negative space in the images – so the art wouldn’t be confined. I also wanted to “project” them as far as I could without using traditional 3D methods. The acrylic creates depth, and expands the negative space. It’s clean, minimal, and allows the images to “float” a bit away from a wall.

 

Texts also heavily influenced the elements that work through her pieces.


M: As many of your works involve lyrical imagery, what narrative pieces inspire you the most? Are there particularly poets, authors, or playwrights that you found especially stirring in relation to Heavenly Bodies?

C: Perhaps. I am a voracious reader. Non-worldly stories influence me. Neil Gaiman, a favorite. There was also one book I was reading when I began working on Stasis, The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry:

“There is lace in every living thing: the bare branches of winter, the patterns of clouds, the surface of water as it ripples in the breeze…. Even a wild dog’s matted fur shows a lacy pattern if you look at it closely enough.” ― Brunonia Barry, The Lace Reader

“I’ll pit my God against your god any day, I say to the Calvinists. It’s not their god I’m praying to…. The God I’m praying to is neither male nor female. My God is the one who exists apart from all of men’s agendas, the God who takes you away when there is no possible place you can go.” ― Brunonia Barry, The Lace Reader

 

The illustrative manner of this body of works is evident throughout the collection and many of Ciuffo’s other works. However, Stasis appears more monochromatic in comparison to Ciuffo’s more colorful bodies of work such as Thrill, Pandora’s Box, and, Cloud 9.


M: How was creating Heavenly Bodies different and/or similar from past works?

C: When I began working on Stasis, it became an exercise in restraint. I began stripping away color. I was searching for the essence of an emotion – the emotion that was driving the work. Stasis became a neutral, non-judgmental place of refuge. A place with infinite possibilities but remaining an “in between” space. I like to call the series “life in between”.

…The most difficult work, for me, is paring it down to its simplest form. That’s Stasis.

 

Though Ciuffo worked to construct an image in its simplest form, she doesn’t necessarily expect everyone to experience the same feelings from viewing it.

 

M: What would you like for viewers to collectively feel and take from Heavenly Bodies?

C: That is entirely up to the viewer. I’ve enjoyed people sharing their viewing experiences with me – and they are all different. One common collective emotion that people seem to feel is a calming feeling. But – with a dash of uncertainty.

 

The artist uniquely defined Stasis: Heavenly Bodies for us, the way she herself views the collection.

 

M: How would you best describe Heavenly Bodies in your own words?

C: Finding positive in a negative space. A moment of total and absolute stillness in a non-judgmental atmosphere. A refuge of sorts before taking the inevitable next steps back into life.

 

And we have much to look forward to from Ciuffo…

 

M: Finally, are there any new projects that you are currently working on? If so, do you feel comfortable sharing with us any details about them?

C: I am working on a new collaboration for a much larger installation. It would bring “Stasis” to life. The images are of tiny, mostly androgynous pod people – that reside in a garden. Let’s just say those are the “seeds” of the project

 

 

 

 

Art Everywhere U.S.

posted by – 08/19/14 @ 1:27pm

Imagine the ordinary sights of your daily commute: bus stops, taxis, billboards and subway platforms. All of these things seem to blur together and become a mundane part of our everyday lives. But what if these things became platforms for showing some of the most famous pieces of american art? A new initiative entitled Art Everywhere U.S. is making this scenario a reality. In partnership with five leading museums across the country, 58 selected works of art will be integrated into public life in an effort to expand the reach of some of America’s most beloved pieces.

Started in response to the success of Art Everywhere U.K., a list of 100 works was reduced to a final 58 based on the votes of the american people. Artists featured include Mark Rothko, Chuck Close, James McNeil Whistler, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O’Keeffe and Mary Cassat. Museum partners include The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Dallas Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

For more information on Art Everywhere U.S. and and a list of selected works and location, visit  www.arteverywhereus.org. More

The New Realism

posted by – 01/23/14 @ 12:26pm

They say /that Napoleon /was colourblind /& blood for him /as green as /grass. – from Unrecounted by WG Sebald

As a student of art history, I look at a lot of art each day. Because of this, I have an unintentional tendency to glaze over images and objects without second thought. But the first time I saw Richard Mosse’s photographs, they stuck with me. I found myself sharing his work with friends, family, and even strangers.

His most recent body of work, collectively titled The Enclave, immerses the viewer in a challenging and sinister world, exploring aesthetics in a situation of profound human suffering. Like other conceptual documentary photographers, Mosse’s images blur the boundaries between art and reportage, undoubtedly challenging the received conventions of documentary photography.

Throughout 2012, Richard Mosse and his collaborators travelled through the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, infiltrating armed rebel groups in a war zone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres and systematic sexual violence. The resulting installation is a culmination of Mosse’s attempt to rethink war photography.

The large scale photographs were taken using a custom-built large format camera with infared color film. Interestingly, the film he used was formerly deployed by the military to identify camouflaged targets. The resulting images portray the Congolese landscape in a deep, unreal pink and the uniforms of the combatants a sickly shade of purple. At the heart of this project, as Mosse states, is an attempt to bring “two counter-worlds into collision: art’s potential to represent narratives so painful that they exist beyond language, and photography’s capacity to document specific tragedies and communicate them to the world.”