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(Untitled) - Art Scene

This site is dedicated to all that I find interesting in the world of art...It's just that simple
February 01, 2012
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RIP Don Cornelius & Mike Kelly

Seconds after I learned that the American cultural icon, Don Cornelius, died from an apparent suicide today, I found out that Mike Kelly died from an apparent sucide today as well (thanks to artist Kara Walker posting the news on her Facebook page). My heart and prayers go out to their families. Here are a couple of "Forget Me Nots" in memorandum:

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February 01, 2012
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The Return of the Overextended "Art" Blogger

I had every intention of keeping this blog current, posting posts on anything that had to do with art that I found interesting. Commentating on shows, movements, documentaries, controversies, etc. Well, I've been slacking in my hobby, picking up several others, including, but not limited to, writing on two other blogs, writing a novel and short stories, reading a ton (books, blogs, magazines), trying to find full-time employment in our cruddy economy in CALIFORNIA (of all screwed up places to live), trying to land a husband in judgmental CALIFORNIA (of all screwed up places to live), learning French (though I should be learning Spanish since I live in California, but I like French...so....), and providing comical commentary along with my sister in our living room on competition reality shows, such a Project Runway All-Stars, Celebrity Apprentice and Biggest Loser. As a matter of fact, I do have to admit that I also allow my brain to waste away watching Jersey Shore, all of the Real Housewives on Bravo...actually all of the reality shows on Bravo...I love Andy Cohen though and his show, Braxton Family Values, Jerseylicious, Jersey Couture (Jersey Jersey Jersey!), Love & Hip Hop, Mob Wives....and that's all. So, as you can see, I have been pre-occupied...I never said rightfully so though. No one reads these posts anyway, but I enjoy writing them SO...there ya go.

Occasionally I Google myself. Who doesn't, right? I Google my usual internet handles and my name and I search to see if there is any inappropriate posts or pictures floating around of me. Thank goodness no. Everything is kosher (especially since I do not post most pictures to be public and if they are, I don't post pictures of myself. One needs to be more cautious now-a-days), but when I was going through Google search recently, I came across an OnSugar blog post blogging on my blog, or rather promoting it...or whatever. I was shocked. I thought no one ever paid attention to this blog and would never actually be found by OnSugar staff, but I find it pretty damn elating that they would. The blog that they were posting was my blog on Work of Art season 1. I read through it, cringed a bit, like I do every time I read something that I wrote a while ago, and decided to login and check out my little deserted project. In reading it, I thought that it may be a great idea to throw it back into the mix and seriously try to post SOMETHING at least once a week, just for funs. I know that now-a-days it's a good idea to have a track record of your writing if you indeed do write. Hell, I might get lucky and be scouted into a full-time job where I can actually make money and pay my bills. Ah, that sounds so wonderful! Therefore, I guess I am back and going to put myself back into action. Afterall, what's the harm?

August 24, 2010
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And the Winner is.....a Couple of Weeks Ago....

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...Abdi Farah won the first season (possibly only season) of Bravo's "Work of Art"...thank goodness. Out of all of the artists on the show, I loved Abdi the most. I thought his art was the most connected to himself as a thoughtful human being and simultaneous connected to the world that we live in. Though the art world loves the aesthetic of Miles Mendenhall, one of the runner-ups, his artwork is too inward, too much about him and nothing else. There's no connection to his work besides the amazement over his great technical skill and creativity. The artwork that Miles made on the show was not coherent, did not tell us anything about the world, only himself, which I don't find to be that interesting. Great, Miles, you have a sleeping disorder. Great, Miles, you have ADHD.  Looking at Miles' artwork, it's obvious that he is one self-absorbed individual. Throughout the competition, he showed his character to be a egotistical young man who is stuck in a very very small art community where he is the star. This happens a lot when you are one of the only compelling artist at your University. I personally feel that great artists are few and far in between. In regards to contemporary art, I see a lot of shit and I see very few art works that rock my world. Lately, I have found myself gravitating towards Hyper-realism, which tends to be a dirty word in the art world. It's like fashion right now, anything polished is not cool. It's hip to be a tattered mess. It's hip to look like you rolled out of bed and grabbed your clothes off of the floor and threw them on your body. It's cool to look immature. If you're not wearing a plaid button-up, pocketed shirt then you are so not interesting...and if you are not wearing a scarf in 90 degree weather, you really are so uncool. Well, that's why I have my style blog, CinchedIn.com (which eventually I will have time to really develop into something) because I still hold the old fashion Gods on a pedestal. I still bow down to the kings and queens of polished style - Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Coco Chanel...Anyhoo, I am gravitating to hyper-realism because I am craving that "awe" over the artists' hands, in addition to great content. It's like craving a delicious piece of cured meat that you had ages ago in Spain. Many contemporary hyper-realist painters and sculptors do not have highly regarded dealers chasing after them because these works tend not to say much, but the ones that do (Audrey Flack, Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Ron Mueck, etc) are the ones that I covet.

To get my sister engaged more in art (because she does not quite understand the art world and thinks contemporary art is ugly), I showed her that "never fear, the artist's hand is still here" by introducing her to hyper-realist artists. She felt for many years that the refined artists hand disappeared with the Italian Renaissance, which is so not true...it actually disappeared for a while with the introduction of modernism, but it came back in the 1960s (I can see how too much abstract, conceptual and minimalist art can be maddening)! So, we watched Work of Art together and actually she walked away learning how she is suppose to look at art. She turned to me and said, "I think that I can go to a museum and actually know how to think about what I am seeing." Yes, it is strange that she felt intimidated to have her own thoughts on art, but I can see how art makes her feel that way. One of her observations was that Miles' artwork is selfish. She couldn't connect with it. Then she'd ask me, "I'm suppose to have a reaction right?" I told her "If you don't have a reaction, something is definitely wrong. You don't need to be an art connoisseur to FEEL art." Don't get me wrong, staring at Cecily Brown's paintings looking for images of sex is compelling to me, as she makes me feel like a dirty voyeur, but there is nothing dirty about being able to see an image clearly...literally and figuratively. Miles had this way of making you feel stupid if you don't know how to understand his art, which only makes the viewer believe that he's only making art for himself and a small group of people. That's just wrong! Back to Cecily Brown briefly, when viewing her paintings, I realize that there's nothing dirty about sex so how...why...when did I start having these thoughts? What makes sex dirty? What makes other people having sex dirty? Why do I feel dirty searching for a cock or a breast in her painting and counting how many bodies are in the painting? Why do I want to have sex staring at her paintings!? Why?! Oh, God, I am a pervert! Well, that's the point. Cecily is pushing you out of your comfort zone by forcing you to look at something very private, but very taboo to see in public. What does this say about humanity and socially learned behavior? What does this say about yourself? What does this say about the world? Are these paintings actually about sex, or about our world in general. Cecily's paintings are layered with meaning on top of meaning as she attempts to make us think more coherently about our environment, as she tells us about the world we live in. Prudishness is just excessive modesty, reservations stemmed from "moral" beliefs, which is, as we should know, a very subjective term. Defining what our moral code is differs from person to person. Some people believe that it is their moral right to carry a weapon, some do not. Some people believe that it is moral for all people, not matter their sexual orientation, to marry whoever they so choose, while some do not. I live in California and the number one moral debate right now is over same sex marriages. Abdi's successful artwork actually takes you through thought processes like this, while Mile's artwork never did.

The third finalist on the show, Peregrine Honig, had a good showing. Unfortunately, as you can tell, I do not intend on describing any of these artists' artwork as you can google them and take a look yourself (some art critic I'd make!), but Peregrine's show was a bit of a cluster-fuck after awhile, though her concept was great. Looking at her entire exhibition, you can tell that her theme was innocence lost. She had this awesome piece titled Twin Fawns (see left) of two baby fawns that were taxidermied. They were wrapped up together to appear as if they were cuddled close for warmth as they slept. This image is a tear jerker for sure. Looking at it, you think of victimized children or just children who tragically lost their lives due to an accident! She has another piece of a wax sculpture of the head of a young boy with a long neck laying on his side, his neck cricked over as if he was victimized, but still having a sweet face.

So, now Work of Art is over. Will their be a second season? Maybe, but I really don't think so. The producer's/creator's choice for artists were not good. After holding auditions, this is the best that they found? Maybe if their is a season 2 then they'll do better choosing artists. I know many many artists that are much better than the artists featured on the show that they probably wouldn't have chosen. I adore Abdi, but is he the next great artist? I don't see that yet. He has much more development to go. He's still a bit green and learning who he is as an artist. This is a great way to start though! Miles needs to learn how to get over himself and Peregrine needs to learn to edit.

July 13, 2010
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Bravo's 'Work of Art' - Exposing the Business of the Art World

I will be one of the first people to admit that I am a Bravo TV-aholic. I watch that shit like I get paid for it - ALL of the Real Housewives, Shear Genius, Make Me a Supermodel, Project Runway (now airing on Lifetime), My Life on the D-List, Work Out, The Rachel Zoe Project, etc etc etc. I mean, Bravo has so many damn Reality TV shows that it's even hard for me to keep up with them. Their new show 'Work of Art' is no different for me. I heard that this show was in the makings over a year ago and was anticipating it's arrival. I had this sinking feeling that this show was going to be nothing but a disaster, imagining mediocre artists from different backgrounds working in vastly different mediums with different levels of success and education creating work based on a weak theme and then being judged by some of the art worlds "greatest" art critics and gallery owners. First off, considering that I am a Bravo TV-aholic (more so a Bravo TV competition show-aholic), I know quite a bit about the production of these so-called competition Reality TV shows. For instance, the judges aren't exactly the real judge of the show. That honor goes mainly to the producers (which often happens to also be a judge, i.e., Keidi Klum of Project Runway). It says so in tiny letters at the end credits. To create better ratings, you have to have a good mix of drama. Though Joe Schmoe may be an awful designer and should have been eliminate a while back, if he is a schmuck, he'll tend to boost the show's ratings because people are so eager to see bad behavior...idiots at play....and he'll rouse all of the contestants and either bring out the best or worst in them. Therefore, Joe will stay on the show until nearly the finale, sometimes making it to the finale. Contestants of these shows often catch on and exploit the shit out of being a villain, i.e., Omarosa from The Apprentice and Wendy Pepper of Project Runway. Their whole career is built on this persona because people love it or love to hate it and it generates revenue for them. Let's not forget to mention the ever over-done casting stereotypes: the hot girl/guy, the jerk, the goof, the snob, the cut throat, the ditz, the backstabber/"game player", the beloved/girl or guy next-door, the wanderer, the eccentric, the professional, the old guy/gal, and lastly the slut. Place all of these individuals in tight quarters with time restricted challenges and dangle lots of money and the promise of a better future in front of them and watch them play their roles. These shows are designed to be that way. It is so utterly contrived, redundant, and absolutely ridiculous that I just love it. I don't love the drama of these competition shows as much as I love to judge the work produced by each of the contestants. What I really love about Bravo's new show 'Work of Art' is that it proves my point to many that the art world is first and foremost a business.

Art is as much about business as fashion is as much about business...and most of us don't see fashion as being anything else besides all about business (Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs...the fashion Kings). When I see the judges of 'Work of Art' - Bill Powers, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Jerry Saltz, China Chow, and even the show's mentor Simon de Pury, I see nothing more than business men and women. Of course, for artists to generate revenue and create a career out of doing what they love most - creating art - you need those business men and women. The idea of "art for art sakes" results in poverty. As an Art Historian, the only artist I know that made success out of creating "art for art sakes" was Rembrandt. He of course took commissions, but only under his standards and guidelines. He rarely let a patron dictate the outcome of his artwork. The problem with this idea is that it simply does not exist today in our market. In the back of every artists mind is "how do I make this work of art likable (or resonate) to the public?" To be a successful artist in the art world today, you have to "sell out" - if you will - you have to be adored by the very fickle art world and the people in it, which is dictated by demand. The art world is dictated by lots of money. I am one of those people who have no qualms about art for profit, but unfortunately this dilutes the production and creativity of art work and the public misses out on a lot of phenomenal artists because the market only wants to see particular types of art from particular types of artists that are hip. Many of these artists drop off relatively quickly once "their style of art" is no longer popular. As people want to wear the latest trends in fashion, art collectors want to collect the works of the hottest artists. There are some artists who reach iconic status and therefore their art is always coveted and probably always will be, resting as a status symbol for the elite (art by Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Julian Schnabel, Claude Monet, Picasso, etc etc).

These contestants of Work of Art are being heavily scrutinized by many of their fellow starving artists for "selling out", creating works of art that are truly uninspiring and, simply put, mostly pretty bad. They are referred to as "sell outs" because they let the business world of art dictate their creativity; therefore catering to the art world's needs and scrapping for their approval....whatever. You want to make a buck making art, it is what it is. All I have to say is that Picasso was a trend follower, but at the same time he was a trendsetter. He saw where the market was going and took two steps ahead to be on top of the market. Smart man with a keen, sharp eye on the art world and his business. I totally agree with Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City that the challenges are terrible. They are truly uninspiring and unimaginative - Ep. 1: Create a work of art that best describes one of your contestants based on the their own self-portrait and what you learned about them within the first two minutes of meeting them; Ep. 2: Turning trash into art; Ep. 3: Create a book cover for a famous work of literature (think Pride and Prejudice and the Time Machine). After all, to be a famous artists, you must be able to work commercial art too; Ep. 4: Create shocking art overnight. This was the worst challenge ever. They even brought in one of my favorite artists, Andres Serrano, as one of the guest judges. Of course, it takes much inspiration to create truly shocking art that isn't just of you showing your naked ass or spreading your cum over your drawing; and Ep. 5: Create a work of art that is inspired from your visit to the Audi show room in Manhattan. Can we say sponsor plug? I wanted to begin giving my commentary along with each episode when it first began (but never got around to), which I will begin to now (it's never too late...right?) So, to quickly give an opinion of the remaining contestants, sorting them from favorite to least favorite:

1) Miles - the sort of "rebel" of the group that enjoys taking naps during most of the show because he's ADHD and an insomniac. He is probably the most creative out of the bunch. It is obvious that he's done his homework and that he can think way outside of the box...except the shock art episode. They all did very bad except Abdi.....

2) Abdi - the jovial, high energy guy who doesn't know much about art history (which is one of the essentials of being a great artist. You have to know what's been done to create work that hasn't been done and is compelling based on our time). His works are very thoughtful and creative. His skill comes from his technical abilities, understanding scale, composition, and medium.

3) Nicole - so creative. She knows material very well, seemingly having experimented with a wide variety of media. Her craftsmanship is great. She reminds me of Eva Hesse a bit.

4) Mark - the photographer who has mad photoshop skills. He is creative and his photographs are beautiful and thoughtful. He should have stuck to his medium when completing the last challenge and creating his dark and depressing variation of Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie.

5) Peregrine - she is wacky and all over the place. An eclectic butterfly. I still do not have a grasp on her style besides knowing the fact that she is quite offbeat, quirky, and colorful.

6) Ryan - he made me laugh last episode laughing about how Miles and Nicole are a "match made in Urban Outfitter heaven." Well, he must be the poster boy for American Apparel. He is a painter, but from what I can see so far, he's not very engaging. He's made it through because his work is very mediocre and there has so far been work that is much worst. He needs to tug much harder on his creativity string.

7) Jaclyn - I have seen work after work after work of women creating work about the male gaze. Jaclyn uses her own nude body in her photography to approach the matter of the gaze, which through her translations translates to me that she had major body issues as a youngster. She definitely thought she was an ugly girl when she was a girl and probably struggled with it. There is nothing wrong with that, but her type of work I have seen time and time again. Boring!

and last AND least...

8) Erik - the self taught artists who really needs to pick up an art book or two, beginning with some theory. His artwork is excruciatingly elementary because he hasn't done his homework. He is too literal and not much of a deep thinker. To create good work, people, you have to know your predecessors...your history!

God bless Work of Art.

July 12, 2010
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May 07, 2010
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May 02, 2010
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Preview of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child Releasing on July 21, 2010

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April 27, 2010
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April 26, 2010
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April 25, 2010
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