Bill Griffith in Hudson
Published on October 16, 2011 by Sara Foss

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.

Public Art in the Capital Region
Published on September 29, 2011 by Sara Foss

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."

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot at EMPC
Published on September 12, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at his blog Get Visual, photographer and DG colleague David Brickman reviews a two-part sound installation by French composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot.

Three Exhibitions At the Fenimore
Published on August 29, 2011 by Sara Foss

One of my goals this summer has been to get to Cooperstown to catch the Edward Hopper exhibit there.

In his blog Get Visual, David Brickman writes about three art exhibits at the Fenimore Art Museum: the aforementioned Edward Hopper exhibit, a small exhibit of photographs of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and a show titled "Prendergast to Pollock: American Modernism from the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute." 

On Blinky Palermo
Published on August 11, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at his visual arts blog Get Visual, David Brickman writes about Blinky Palermo, a German painter who died mysteriously in 1977 at the age of 1933, and "whose short, intense life's work is the subject of a retrospective at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson and at Dia:Beacon."

Click here to read the entire piece.

The Glass Art of Chihuly
Published on August 8, 2011 by Sara Foss

The Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston ends today, and I hope people got a chance to see it, because it was really good.

I wrote about it here and my friend Eric Perkins wrote about it on his blog Ray Bradbury's Love Camel. (He also talks about Winslow Homer, which makes his post doubly exciting.)

Font Talk
Published on August 6, 2011 by Sara Foss

I've never been a big font person, but I have seen the documentary "Helvetica," so I'm familiar with the theory that Helvetica is the typeface that represents the soulless corporate world, while other people consider it the perfect font.

Anyway, the New York Review of Books recently posted an attack on Helvetica by Edward Mendelson, which inspired Ravi Sarma to come to the font's defense on his blog. 

I don't have a dog in this particular fight - Zapf Dingbats, anyone? - but it is a welcome distraction from all of the idiotic debates over important issues that are currently taking place in this country.

Inspired by Winslow Homer
Published on August 4, 2011 by Sara Foss

We Fosses love Winslow Homer.

And so I was pleased to see that the August 2011 issue of Harper's Magazine features paintings by Steve Mumford, a Maine native and artist who, inspired by Homer, decided to embed with the 3/6 Marines in Marjah, Helmand Province, in 2010, and with the 2/3 Marines in Nawa, Helmand Province, in 2011.

In a post on the Harper's Magazine website, Mumford explains his decision to go to Afghanistan, and how Winslow Homer influnced him. He says:

"I grew up looking at Winslow Homer’s paintings and watercolors in Boston’s museums, and occasionally in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; I loved their drama and their seemingly straightforward realism. What I found moving about Homer’s work was that it wasn’t directly about the morality of the Civil War, so much as it sought to recreate the experience of the soldiers. His art rarely read as propaganda. It showed the powerful bonding among men on the front lines, as well as the terror. Homer had experienced it and drawn it.

It hit me unexpectedly that I could go to Iraq as an artist. By early 2003, it was already too late to be embedded, so I flew to Kuwait and haunted the fancier hotels until a couple of French journalists offered me a ride to Baghdad in their SUV. Recently, after many trips to Iraq, and with the country’s attention shifting to the worsening situation in Afghanistan, I joined the Marines in Helmand province to continue drawing America’s war zones."

Harper's has posted a couple of Mumford's drawings, as well as a gallery of Homer's famous Civil War studies for the magazine. Click here to check out the work.


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