Thursday, May 31, 2012

Portrait Yawn

I understand that a commission to execute the President's official white house portrait is not the time or place to produce avant garde art - but geez - does it get any duller than this crap?

George Bush official portrait by John Howard Sanden

Follow Me on Twitter Poster

I always find it amazing to discover what images an audience will latch onto. Often times an artist has a fleeting idea that they just put out with little expectation and the audience response overwhelms you. 'Follow Me on Twitter' was such an idea. I thought that it was funny and relevant but didn't consider it a serious piece - so much so that I left it out of the 'Plantation (plan-ta-shun)' exhibition at Redux. I recently included it in the latest exhibition at the Art Institute of Charleston titled 'Manifesting Memory - Plantation Legacies of the South' and quite a few people have relayed that it is their favorite piece. I had a request for a poster so here it is:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Psychology Today post on exhibition

Arthur Dobrin, a professor at Hofstra University who teaches applied ethics, had a chance to see the 'Plantation (pla-ta-shun)' exhibition at Redux and wrote a post on his reaction to it:

Helping us to remember correctly: The Art of Colin Quashie

Charleston is a beautiful city and a lively destination site filled with hot restaurants and nightlife. Charleston is also said to have the port of entry from more than half of the slaves brought to the United States. There is one museum dedicated to slavery in the city. While nicely done, it fails to convey the horrors of slavery. Whips and shackles seem more like art objects rather torture devices.

Although there is mention that in the South up to 50,000 slaves escaped each year up until the Civil War, you learn nothing about the Stono Rebellion, the largest slave uprising on the British mainland prior to the American Revolution, or the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy, in 1822, which precipitated a vicious backlash by whites and led to 35 hangings.

What art that is available in the City Market reflects the stylized view of the South. Billowing skirts against black skin and blue sky that idealize the Gullah culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry are the main motifs. Charleston is surrounded by the nostalgia of Gone With the Wind. Many housing sub-divisions are called Plantation something or other, a nomenclature that strikes my Northern ears as chilling.

The shock of slavery and racism was best conveyed to me by the work of Colin Quashie, a contemporary artist living in Charleston. “Plantation,” the exhibit of his work at the Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, struck me in the gut. His work is described as Op-Ed Art. In it Quashie brings together the past and the present through creations such as Plantation Monopoly and a riff on the J. Crew catalogue that features items such as a chic black tie that is a hangman’s noose.

Quashie’s work doesn’t go down well with a chamber of commerce and it hard to imagine the tourist office directing traffic to his studio. Psychic pain and historic truths aren’t good for business. But artists aren’t meant to make us comfortable but to break through the frozen seas of self-satisfaction. Quashie is very good at bringing an ax to the collective unremembering

I was granted permission to take photos of the exhibit, so I assume that it is OK to include two that I took.

Original Blog post can be read by clicking here: Psychology Today

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Carolina Arts Blog

Tom Starland made the trip to see the exhibition before it closed - glad that he could meke it and see the work in person that he decided to put on the cover. Wrote some nice comments -  Once again, thanks Tom, for everything. Hope our paths cross again real soon.

You can read his blog post here: Carolina Arts Blog

Halsey on Spoleto

Motoi Yamamoto
Return to the Sea: Saltworks

May 25 – July 7, 2012

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art has organized a major traveling exhibition of new work by contemporary Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto. The exhibition will premiere in Charleston May 24-July 7, 2012, as a featured presentation of the Spoleto Festival USA. Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto will travel nationally after its inaugural presentation, including stops in Los Angeles, CA, Charlotte, NC, and Monterey, CA. The centerpiece of the exhibition will be a site-specific installation created entirely out of salt by the artist during his two-week residency at the Halsey Institute.

Curated by Mark Sloan, director and senior curator of the Halsey Institute, the exhibition will also feature a series of recent drawings, photography, sketchbooks, a video about the artist, and a 170-page color catalogue documenting fourteen years of the artist’s saltworks around the world. The catalogue includes essays by Sloan and Mark Kurlansky, author of the New York Times best seller, Salt: A World History. The video, produced by Sloan and Emmy award-winning videographer John Reynolds, will include interviews with Yamamoto at his studio in Kanazawa, Japan, insight into his creative process, still images and time-lapse videos of many of his previous installations, and an overview of the fascinating history of salt in Japanese culture.

Yamamoto and the Halsey Institute are collaborating with the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston’s (CAC.C) Studio V Design and Build class to create two viewing platforms for the installation. This will be the fifth collaboration between the Halsey Institute and CAC.C’s Studio V class. The students, led by Ray Huff and David Pastre, will design and build a large platform in the Halsey’s main gallery to provide visitors with multiple vantage points of the large saltwork. The students will also build an outdoor viewing platform for the gallery window fronting Calhoun Street, providing curious passers-by with a glimpse of the installation 24 hours per day.  These platforms will be in use during the run of the exhibition and also for Yamamoto’s residency, May 17- 24.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Final Numbers Are In!

112,795 downloads for the April issue of Carolina Arts with my art on the cover! That's 29, 955 more than the March issue. They usually average around 80,000 downloads a month so we'll see if I've set a record or this is a natural upswing of the online mag's popularity (I hope so). Time will tell. You can still download by clicking on the cover. Thanks everyone!