Month: February 2011

Photography: Art’s Unsung Hero?

posted by – 02/23/11 @ 12:47pm


Sometimes I feel as though photography suffers from middle-child syndrome in the art world. Its haughty older sibling, painting, has long enjoyed praise and recognition, and its younger sibling, sculpture, rebelliously bends the rules, and its contours. I realize that I am being a bit anachronistic: as one of the more recent art mediums, photography is the “younger child” and, arguably, one of the more misunderstood techniques. Oftentimes, we dismiss photography as a hobby, or Sunday afternoon activity–any Joe Schmoe can shoot a tear-streaked young woman on his Canon, convert it into sepia on Photoshop, and call it “art photography.” Likewise, because photography permeates so many different realms of media–magazines, family reunion slide shows, even TwitPic–its role feels oddly undefined in the art world.

I’m not here to crusade for photography, per se. Rather, I’m just an observer, looking to remind you that photography is–at its basis–about the fleeting, the ephemeral. A seemingly mundane moment in time becomes a psychobiography, or a glimpse into the unapologetically real. By looking at a photograph, we can wander down avenues of dialogue we never imagined possible. All of this from a single instance, immortalized. Or, is photography not about verisimilitude? Is it, in fact, an exercise in “point and shoot?” I won’t argue that it’s a flawless medium, but the tricks and treats it plays on the human mind are fascinating.

Last winter, we featured Sharon Lee Hart’s stunning series of farm animal stills. Her photograph of a goat, “Duncan,”–peering quizzically into the camera–was uncanny. One felt as though he/she was experiencing a chance reunion with an old friend, or crazy Uncle Duncan. The viewer may have even felt a little punch-drunk, oscillating his/her vision between the blurred background, and the stark frontality of the farm animal.

Or, maybe, the photograph was just a goat.

Forever Young: Art Collecting as a 20-Something

posted by – 02/19/11 @ 5:54pm

brettdepalma7For young adults, the concept of buying art seems ensconced in another world, a world inhabited by those schooled in esoteric jargon, like oeuvre or Agitprop. Although the 20-something set wields a fair amount of disposable income, and increased levels of autonomy in the lecture hall, law firm, and dive bar, we still relegate ourselves to the proverbial “kid’s table.” There seems to be this mindset that we should let the adults be the proprietors, and the ones who fill the walls with art.

Let’s turn this mindset on its head. As a young woman living and working in Nashville, I would love to see more young people engaged in art collecting. With each month’s First Saturday Art Crawl at Tinney Contemporary, a dizzying amount of young folks traipse through our doors, soaking in the artwork, and engaging in intelligent dialogue. What, then is contributing to this chasm between viewing a work of art and collecting it for personal consumption?

Rather than put forth a long-winded treatise on art collecting, I’ll try to keep it simple. To start, here are a series of words that come to mind when I think of art collecting: intrepid, organic, confident, impulsive. At its root, art collecting is not merely a delicate bureaucratic dance, or a formulaic process. Sometimes, it’s best to view it from a different angle: as an exercise in spontaneity. As a jumping-off point, here are ABCs of art collecting for young adults:

Ask questions. It’s worthwhile to begin by asking yourself: What split-second moments of highly-charged emotion have I recently had? What inspired them? What location would I like to see this work of art? Armed with these answers, you can then get to know the artist, the gallery and its owners—even the crowd that frequents the locale. Don’t be hesitant to ask questions about the collecting process, and the artist as an individual.

Browse. As simple as it sounds, sometimes art collecting is merely about the hunt. If you establish your parameters—whether financial or aesthetic—the next step would be to simply look, look, look. Attend as many art crawls or events as you can at local galleries, to get a feel for the venues that closely match your preferences.

Commit. Just buy the piece. If Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, and other psychological literature has taught us anything, it’s that impulse buying often bears more satisfactory results than a carefully choreographed purchase. At the end of the day, you are collecting, not beleaguering yourself.

The Native Has Entered The Building: A Play By Play of Collector’s Art Night

posted by – 02/12/11 @ 4:34pm


Last weekend, Tinney Contemporary blazed new trails in the art community. On Friday, February 4th we kicked off Brett De Palma’s solo exhibition–Return of the Native–with the first-ever Collector’s Art Night. We opened our doors to 100 guests, who came in to get an intimate look at De Palma’s work. On Saturday, we welcomed the usual crowd to the First Saturday Art Crawl. Hundreds poured in to get a glimpse of De Palma’s quirky use of color and mixed media. The result? a weekend of food, dialogue, and art.

Friday, February 4th: Inaugural Collectors Art Night

5:00 P.M.: Brett De Palma and crew arrive to help set up his film, “Tombstone, Unknown.”

5:34 P.M.: De Palma walks us through the inspiration behind some of his work. Of note: Droopy’s Dream. De Palma plays with the question–“what do dogs dream about?”

6:22 P.M.: The first few guests start trickling in. Uncork the wine.

7:15 P.M.: De Palma reveals his artistic philosophies. Some memorable insights: De Palma employs childhood creations from son Malcolm in his work. He also considers artists and their audiences the “aristocracy” of today’s world.

8:45 P.M.: De Palma stays late to mingle with fans and guests.

5 Reasons to Get Excited About Brett De Palma

posted by – 02/02/11 @ 12:40pm


5. He’s a Nashville native–there is nothing we love more than some homegrown talent. Especially when that talent takes New York City by storm.

4. De Palma is not afraid to embrace color–from Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, to Taking a Dive For the Queen, his works are awash in unimaginably bright shades.

3. His keen wit–“I have only recently emerged from the Cave of Fire, Water, Ice, Smoke, and Mirrors through the Academy of Education to the Institutionalized Greed of Leveraged Mergers and the Golden Age of Class Consolidation and Private Property into the Light of Hometown Celebrity Sunshine!”

2. Parrot Opera–Whether it’s the painted utopia in the background, or the velvety curtain revealing the parrot, this work’s intricate elements invite open-ended interpretation. It’s works like Parrot Opera that remind us why De Palma can so aptly “open possibilities rather than restrict freedoms.”

1. He’ll be right in our backyard this weekend–This Friday, February 4th at Tinney Contemporary from 5:30-8:00 P.M. you can engage in a dialogue with De Palma himself at our Inaugural Collectors Art Night. Or, stop by on Saturday, February 5th from 6:00 – 9:00 P.M. for the First Saturday Art Crawl.