Friday, November 30, 2012

Christo's Monumental "Mastaba" from 1979 Might Actually Get Built

In 1979, land artists Christo and Jean-Claude put together plans for their largest and only permanent work, Mastaba, a modern pyramid-like structure made out of oil barrels. But from the outset it was questionable whether it would actually ever get made. Now...with no finishing date set, the artist says a place has been picked and funding is in order...Take a look at this behemoth.,0,5715701.story

I actually like a bunch of Christo's work. I think it's very striking and, at the very least, it creates a surreal landscape within our very real world. This piece I'm not so sure about though. I think it would be awe-inspiring, interesting, and iconic....but it also gives me the feeling that the guy is trying a bit too hard to make some really big.

It's not that the idea is bad or anything like that...but the scale of it borders on ridiculous. Being that similar structures, such as the pyramids, were extremely important to culture and the life of the egyptians, this piece seems a bit sterile, using it's size to gain attention and praise over it's purpose. Maybe that's the point...but when you encounter the pyramids, there's a multi-thousand year history of culture which informed the size and grandeur of the monument...Here, it seems, you just have someone making something as big as financially possible.

Maybe I'm wrong...but the fact that no one's really found a reason to make a structure as big as the pyramids since they were made makes me think that this piece, simply being a solid block of art, probably doesn't require it either.

*Note. I know there are structures since the pyramids that are gigantic....including sculptures. However, I believe the majority of those are probably somewhat usable through religious ceremony or interior space. For instance, if this was a building to house the UAE Contemporary Art Museum, I think it would be far more worth it.

DNA Photographed for First Time.

It only took 59 years, but we've finally found a way to photograph DNA and, eventually, see the double-helix proposed by Watson and Crick...take a look.

CHI 2 MKE. Step 5.

Take a look at the latest update to my recent commission...

Through Our Eyes. Madison.

And the a new photo of my recent piece, set to go out on its way to Minnesota soon.

Madison, seen through the eyes of an individual, revealing a city and culture unique, even to the people who were there alongside him.

The piece was created for a dear friend who just left Madison as a way to always keep it in his mind (and home). The objects and places are all taken from a list made by the friend, placed onto the piece in a "stream-of-consciousnes" approach to better depict the personal and unique memory of the place rather than the actual layout.

To comment on the geography or lack-there-of, this is the first piece of this type that has been based off of a real location instead of dream imagery or storytelling, such as the following piece ( so it's a been a bit of a learning curve to get the personalization along with the right amount of recognizable structure. I just started a similar project that is based around the idea of a "primitive schematic" of an old car which would be a bit more true to reality in terms of placement of the objects, and I'd also like to continue this concept with more locations...a cemetery being one that i think would translate well.
I'm definitely looking forward to creating some pieces that keep the layout more true to reality, but with this first piece, I felt the extreme personalization fit best with my experiences in Madison, along with how the friend (who the piece ultimately has to please) tends to remember the city.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Debunking Ancient Aliens.

To be totally honest, I love the Ancient Aliens show. It's entertaining and fun, even though I don't believe a word of it...and it lets me look at awesome structures from antiquity without forcing friends to watch too boring a documentary...But one thing's always annoyed me...they never put on any skeptic who could easily refute nearly all of their claims, yet if you simply do some research, most of the "evidence" supporting Ancient Aliens can be explained away...

Unfortunately for history, most people aren't going to do this research. Fortunately for us lazy folks, there's Youtube...I found a 3 hour documentary that, at least one hour in, does a great job of challenging some of the most basic to the most convincing of the Ancient Alien evidence. Take a look...

"No Substantial Progress" in Fiscal Cliff Discussions.

Speaker John Boehner offered a grim view of talks currently in progress in an effort to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, saying there had been "no substantial progress" between the House and the White House. The republicans say that they are open to tax hikes on the wealthy as long as democrats are willing to make substantial benefit and spending cuts, but democrats say the republicans are simply stalling and unwilling to negotiate. Take a look.

Water Ice Found on Mercury.

You'd probably assume the closest planet to the Sun would be a steaming ball of gas and various forms of partially molten, extremely hot rock...but  I suppose that's why scientists don't assume. New research has concluded that the north pole of Mercury, which is constantly shielded from the sun's rays, has vast deposits of water ice and what may be organic material...check it out.

Daniel Fleming at MilwaukeeHome

Check out this featured shirt at MilwaukeeHome with original artwork by Daniel Fleming, and check in at the store or back here on the blog as we are working on a collaborative project to bring Milwaukee some Fleming-esque clothing options.

Great Holiday gift anyone?

Old Friends. We Are Giants Take-down.

A number of great pieces made their way back to Plaid Tuba last night with the take-down of "We Are Giants., my most recent show located at Front Room Photography. From all accounts I heard, the show looked really nice and I think it had some of my best work from the past year. It was a great space and, being that it stayed up for an extra two months, I think it's safe to say it was well-enjoyed. I'm a bit disappointed that nothing sold, but then again it gets to go up at the studio and, hopefully, will catch some eyes in the coming months. Take a look at the work that came down and make sure to stop by Plaid Tuba to see it in person!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm In Love With My Car.

Art and cars usually aren't the first two things you'd pair together in terms of interests...but maybe that's just cuz there isn't that much good car art?

Introducing a new project in associating with a local Mercedes showroom, Parsifal; I'll be doing a "primitive schematic" series inspired by classic Mercedes for a showing to be announced as the project progresses. It will be a number of pieces with a variety looks and executions on the concept, but all will be based around the Mercedes 300SL through a few generations...take a look at the car in the showroom to get an idea of what we might be planning...and keep checking in for updates!

Dreaming As A King.

A little bit better photos of my recent piece Dreaming As A King. with details! Enjoy!

Tyler's "Madison" on Althouse

Big news this morning...the great blog Althouse decided to post my recent piece about Madison through the eyes of my good friend, Tyler Busey, who just moved away. Take a look by clicking the link and keep checking in as I keep adding and working on the piece...and if you like the concept and want one of your own, shoot  me a message and we'll work something out!

Thanks to Althouse for posting and Tyler Busey for the opportunity.

Rauschenberg's 'Canyon' Set for MOMA

In a battle between crosstown rivals, the landmark Robert Rauschenberg piece 'Canyon' is set to be donated to MOMA instead of the the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which had held the piece for a number of years. The agreement comes after a contest between the two museums to gain the favor of the owning family who had to donate it as part of a settlement with the IRS (a saga blogged about here
Take a look!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Strict Atheism is Unscientific

An interesting article on the topic of atheism and the assumption that, if you aren't an atheist, you can't fully believe in science...

Underground Museum Expansion Doubles as Above-Ground Art

Check out this great solution to expanding a museum while keeping a nice, open park available and attractive to passers-by. Not only do they keep the open space above ground, but they gain a large showing space and save money on a variety of energy needs.

What do you think? Would you like something like this or do you prefer the more elaborate additions from architects like Frank Gehry or, for Milwaukee folks, Santiago Calatrava?

Faces of People.

This is the second piece that I started this weekend, and while this piece was definitely more frustrating than Learn to Crawl (I painted and repainted about four different starting concepts before I reached the following) I am excited to get working on it again.

I'm really drawn to the absolute minimal representation of the person here. It's interesting, to me, how much of a human connection can come from some very simple lines and color...More to come as the piece progresses.

Madison...through our weird college-tinted glasses

I finally got started on a piece intended for a friend that just moved away and I think it's turning out nicely. I'm getting a fairly strong Keith Haring feel from the piece, which isn't that surprising, but it has surprised me how much more lighthearted this piece feels from the piece from open canvas ( Both were executed with the same media and technique, but the simple fact that one was largely symbol, while this more playfully illustrative, I think, has given this a far more easily accessible concept.

I'm not saying that's better than the piece from Saturday, it's just a different piece with different intentions. Take a look at the piece following a couple hours work...

A Closer Look: Learn To Crawl.

Here are some better photos of my recent piece Learn to Crawl, painted over the weekend. 

The piece is based off the phrase, "Before you run, You need to learn to crawl"and speaks to the basics of things...Too often do we look to the finish line and forget what got us there. Too often are we so interested in moving forward that we fail to learn from the past. Too often do we refuse to work, yet expect results.  

Too little do we recognize our own fallibility and so we must humble ourselves...

Before you run, You need to learn to crawl.

Best and Worst-run States in the US.

Take a look at this article documenting the best and worst-run states in the US...and interesting look into how the states are fairing in the slow economic recovery...

Banksy's Move From West Bank to Miami, Followed by Questions and Controversy

Three murals, allegedly by Banksy, that were controversially removed from their site in Jerusalem and put on show in New York are now on their way to a show in Miami to, as the gallery states,  "continue the debate" about the works. The pieces are not authenticated by Banksy or his authenticating organization, as they do not authenticate murals, for the fact that graffiti is illegal and such admission could land the artist in jail and that they may be illegally removed and sold without permission from whomever owns the wall. The gallery has said that the works will not be for sale in the new show, but will be there to continue debate on whether or not the works lose their significance when taken from their intended placement. Take a look...

Sinister Pop. When Pop Art Gets Serious.

Check out this review of a Pop Art show of a different kind.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Work From The Weekend.

Two new and exciting pieces came out of Plaid Tuba this weekend...The first is pretty close to done, if not at the ending point already...while the second has been a bit more finicky, but is finally showing up nicely.

The first piece is fairly different for me. It's largely white with some very simple and meandering marks. The color palette is subdued and limited, and the overall composition is rather airy...However I really like the sketchy aesthetic created...almost like each stroke was laid slowly over a long period of time, allowing each layer and object to be blurred, erased and covered by the markings of time.
Learn to Crawl

The second is more dense, due to the background, but still has a very open and meandering feel. Almost like the marks have yet to be set in if this composition is only temporary...and, o by the way, that feeling combined with the title, may just be a large part of the overall concept...chew on that for a while.

Faces of People

New and Sold!

From Saturday's Open Canvas event, a new piece, Dreaming As A King, was made, viewed and sold all within four hours...

Inspired by The Green King from a week or so ago, it took a while and a few tries to really get going, but I think the piece really turned out great. I was a little sad to see it go so quickly, without the time to really sit back and enjoy the piece...but I think I'll use that desire to create some new work based on this concept.

Here's The Green King for reference...

First up is a piece for a good friend who just moved away, a sort-of visual landscape of Madison...Check in this week to see how it's going...

Open Canvas 2.0

It was my second try at the Open Canvas event and I think it went even better that last year. The crowd was great, the beer was flowing and the bids were rolling in, with my piece getting $100 more than last year's final price.

I kept to a similar start, painting the background black and building up the color and detail from there...but this time I took a much more symbolic route focusing almost entirely on drawing.

I apologize for the bad photo and will update a better one soon, but it gets you the idea...I think one of the best things about the event is the great variety there is. There were a good number of landscape and realistic works, but there was also a decent amount of abstract and contemporary work as well. It's a little strange painting the above next to someone doing a serene lake scene, but it's also fun to see all the different reactions between the types of art.,,

I got my fair share of odd looks, but the people that liked it were really drawn to it...and I am excited to explore the concept more...