Over at the DG, I write about two exhibits at the Albany Institute of History and Art: the Hudson River School and Currier & Ives.
Click here to learn more.
Over at the DG, I write about two very good local photo exhibits - one showcasing the photography of Gordon Parks, and the other featuring the work of a half dozen photojournalists.
Click here to read more.
Over at the DG, I write about the Winslow Homer exhibit "Weatherbeaten" at the Portland Museum of Art.
Here's an excerpt:
"I usually travel to my parents’ house in Maine for Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception.
And though my parents have only lived in this house for about eight years, it’s a place I know well: My grandfather grew up there, and we spent one or two weeks there each summer when I was a kid. On Friday we did one of my favorite activities: The Cliff Walk on Prouts Neck. Prouts Neck is a rocky peninsula just down the road from my parents’ house, and the cliff walk winds around the peninsula, over sandy beaches and rocks, offering an expansive view of the sea. The area is best known as the home of the great American artist Winslow Homer, whose studio on Prouts Neck was recently refurbished by the Portland Museum of Art and opened to tour groups. Many of Homer’s most famous paintings depict the rugged coastline of Prouts Neck and the pounding surf; his studio features a deck from which he could observe the ocean in all seasons and types of weather.
The first Homer painting I ever saw, the foreboding 1885 oil painting 'The Fog Warning,' belonged to my grandfather, whose parents knew Homer, and hung in his living room. My great-grandparents ran a hotel on Prouts Neck called the Checkley House and Homer stayed there before moving into his studio. I’m not sure how close my great-grandparents were to Homer, but the Checkley House did feed him; according to my father, Homer would lower a flag when he wanted food. This personal history probably helps explain why I’m such a big fan of Homer, but his work continues to touch and resonate with many people, as I discovered when I went to the Portland Museum of Art’s 'Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine' exhibit on Saturday.
Click here to read the whole thing.
If you're like me, and own too many books, this Yahoo Homes piece might give you some ideas on how to create more space for your precious literary objects.
Knowing of my love of M.C. Escher, a friend passed along a link to photos of an extremely cool Lego project, which combines Escher's famous "Relativity" lithograph with characters from "Star Wars."
Anyway, click here to check it out.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about walking the High Line, an elevated railway in New York City that's been converted into a public park.
Now I learn that a replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive, created by artist Jeff Koons, might one day hang over the High Line. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, the sculpture, at least as its depicted in an illustration provided by Friends of the High Line, looks crazy. On the other hand, I like crazy things.
Click here to see what I'm talking about.
I'm a big fan of street art, and I enjoyed this piece on Salon about the beauty of street art. There are lots of pictures, so check it out.
Click here to see some pictures of cool staircases.
Here's a story about a cool project: A group of New Yorkers are hoping to create an underground park called Lowline.
Similar to the High Line urban park, which occupies an abandoned railway, this park would be located in an abandoned trolley terminal on the Lower East Side.
I'm in favor of parks, particularly parks in unusual locations. Hopefully the underground park will raise the money it needs and reach fruition.
This is pretty cool: New York City is using haiku to promote awareness of cyclist safety. The poetry is printed on colorful signs, which are being installed at high-crash locations.
"Oncoming cars rush
Each a 3-ton bullet
And you, flesh and bone."
I love it! We need bike safety haikus in Albany!
When I worked in Birmingham, my office was located downtown, and you could easily walk to restaurants and offices. During one fire alarm, I remember taking off with my photographer friends, and walking around the neighborhood. In my current job, my office is located at least a mile from downtown. You can walk to a deli, and there are some nearby businesses, such as a car mechanic and the local transportation authority. But the location of the DG has always displeased me. I've always believed newspapers should be located in the heart of the community they cover, rather than the suburbs or the outskirts of town.
In the New York Times, Louise Mozingo, a professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning, builds a compelling case against suburban offices. (My office isn't located in a suburb, but it often feels like it is. The Albany Times Union is located in an even more horrible location, out near the airport in the town of Colonie.) She writes, "IN an era of concern about climate change, residential suburbs are the focus of a new round of critiques, as low-density developments use more energy, water and other resources. But so far there’s been little discussion of that other archetype of sprawl, the suburban office.
Rethinking sprawl might begin much more effectively with these business enclaves. They cover vast areas and are occupied by a few powerful entities, corporations, which at some point will begin spending their ample reserves to upgrade, expand or replace their facilities."
Click here to read the whole thing.
The September issue of Harper's, which I just got around to reading, features several drawings by New Orleans-based artist Bruce Davenport Jr., who lives in the Lower Ninth Ward and draws junior high and high school marching bands. According to the magazine, many of Davenport's drawings depict marching bands from schools forced to close down after Hurricane Katrina.
I loved Davenport's drawings. They are vibrant and meticulous, and a fine testament to the many students who devote their time and energy to marching band.
The Harper's gallery can only be accessed by subscribers, but I found a number of other websites with information about Davenport and examples of his work.
To read a little about Davenport and see some examples of his work, visit Argot & Ochre.
For an article about Davenport, visit the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
For an interview with Davenport, visit Left of Black.
In his blog Get Visual, my colleague David Brickman reviews the Bill Griffith exhibit at BCB Art in Hudson.
Griffith is the creator of the cult/underground comic strip "Zippy the Pinhead," which I grew up reading in the Boston Globe. Brickman writes:
"Irreverent, absurd, existentialist - Bill Griffith’s Zippy the Pinhead embodies these traits as only a character born out of the San Francisco underground comics scene of the 1970s could. Yet in 2011 he is going stronger than ever, in syndication to about 200 daily newspapers, out in a new book, and now appearing in an inspired exhibition at BCB Art in Hudson.
Titled Are We Having Art Yet? Selected Drawings 1978-2011, the show presents numerous original inked versions of daily strips, several inked originals of a 1990 Zippy calendar, a few pencil renderings of early Zippy covers, and signed inkjet prints of other Zippy material. All the work on the walls is in ink or pencil – i.e. no color – and was, of course, created for reproduction, so it has that special quality of blacks and whites, of hatching and cross-hatching, that gives all graphic art a certain eye-appeal."
Click here to read the entire piece.
Over at his visual arts blog, my DG colleague David Brickman writes about public art, specifically the controversy over an abstract 9/11 sculpture in Saratoga, and the exciting Living Walls project in Albany.
Here's an excerpt:
"Amid all the hubbub surrounding the 9/11 anniversary, there was the unfortunate story of how this significant piece of art has been turned into a political football by various folks in Saratoga Springs, who decided they didn't like either the initially approved siting of the 25-foot-tall abstract memorial, or a second proposed location (for a good overview of the debacle, read Tom Keyser's coverage from the Times Union).
It always galls me when people who otherwise do not involve themselves with art suddenly feel entitled to act against it when they see something they don't like being given prominence in public. A couple of significant examples from the recent past include the removal of a long-standing sculpture, which critics compared to a collapsed staircase, from its spot near a government building in downtown Albany; and the very controversial and expensive removal of a monumental Richard Serra sculpture from a public square in Manhattan.
In the Saratoga case, the smell is the same - if this were a bronze image of a thoroughbred horse or a ballerina or a heroic firefighter, I am sure there would have been no outcry. But it's not. It's an abstract sculpture made of 9/11 tower steel, and some people are uncomfortable with what it represents to them, so they consider it their right to spontaneously become public art critics."
Over at his blog Get Visual, photographer and DG colleague David Brickman reviews a two-part sound installation by French composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot.