Art


V.23 No.35 | 8/28/2014
AZ/NM poster art by Jeremy “Eyerock” Arviso (detail)

Culture Shock

Crossing the line

Days of artacular events: Cross-pollinate in the desert with AZ/NM Connection, and rest from your labors at the Fierce Women Warriors party.
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Arts

A Peek Into Process

Christo gives a talk about innovation and invention

“Mein Kölner Dom, Wrapped” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
courtesy of the Tom Golden Collection, Sonoma County Museum
“Mein Kölner Dom, Wrapped” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Most artists have a specific medium, a way of rendering the world around them to be something more than what's already there. Whether it's painting, drawing, collage or something else, most artists are lucky to master one aesthetic. Bulgarian artist Christo, on the other hand, is a master of invention.

An artist in every sense of the word, Christo (and his late wife Jeanne-Claude) started with ideas, put them on sketches, collages and diagrams, then made these flat images into three dimensional installations that took over large plots of land. One need only see photos of Little Bay on the Australian coast with its cliffside entirely covered in fabric to grasp the magnitude of their work.

Christo answering questions
Mark Lopez
Christo answering questions
But the process is the interesting part, which is what Christo highlighted in a lecture at the Albuquerque Museum (2000 Mountain NW) on Friday, Aug. 22. Addressing a packed house, Christo detailed the many ideas that prompted his most famous works. He also discussed projects still in the making, including “The Mastaba,” a vast trapezoidal structure made up of oil barrels. If completed, it will stand near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Why are such projects still not completed? As Christo explained, “The difficult part is getting permission. Everywhere in the world belongs to somebody.”

What's impressive about these artworks is the time and planning that go into bringing them to fruition. Years are spent diagramming, speaking with engineers, getting permission from the people in power, and each detail is documented so as to make the outcome not only a structure for visible consumption, but a collaborative piece that invites viewers to become a part of it.

Then there’s the money side. Christo pointed out that for “The Gates” in Central Park, New York, they had to pay the city $3 million for three months of planning and building gates hung with saffron fabric in one of New York City's landmarks. That’s why his projects are funded by the ideas themselves, with Christo selling sketches of the structure's plans and earlier artworks to finance the new piece. If that's not ingenuity, I don't know what is.

The lecture provided fans and viewers with a deeper insight into these works. While it may seem arbitrary to see entire islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay surrounded by pink fabric or a mass of blue and yellow umbrellas inhabiting sections of Japan and Southern California, the ideas that prompt these works are not only visionary, but stand as testaments to the power of man to conceive, design and build something great. And hearing Christo talk so humbly about the process was a pleasure and a treat. Not to mention a privilege.

Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection

Showing until Sept. 14
Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
2000 Mountain NW
Hours: Tuesdays through Sundays, 9am-5pm
Cost: $2-$4, FREE Sundays from 9am-1pm
Arts

“The Painter’s Vision Is Not a Lens”

New work by Eric G. Thompson comes alive

“Morning Cup”
all paintings by Eric G. Thompson
“Morning Cup”
One question contemporary realist painters often get is, “Why not simply take a photograph?” Eric G. Thompson, a self-taught artist who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, answered this familiar assault with brio the other evening at the opening of his show at Matthews Gallery in Santa Fe (669 Canyon Road). He explained that what photographs can’t replicate is the energy contained in a painting. Thompson’s aimto “capture an emotion in time”expresses itself in every well-placed brushstroke he applies to the canvas. Even the familiar chalk-white Starbucks cup with its green logo and little brown sleeve in his painting “The Photographer” bristles with personality. Or consider the oversized greenish ceramic mug in “Morning Cup,” crosshatched with points of light. “Objects have spirit,” Thompson said. “An old cup is like a person.”

Thompson likes to call his paintings “visual haikus,” which spurred the Matthews Gallery to display snippets of great American poetry in the exhibit, samples from poets including Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell and Robert Frost.

“Coffee Shop Girl”
“Coffee Shop Girl”
A good example is Robert Lowell’s “Epilogue” paired with the painting “Coffee Shop Girl.” Lowell writes: “I hear the noise of my own voice:/ The painter’s vision is not a lens,/ it trembles to caress the light” [emphasis original]. These lines are reflected in the Coffee Shop Girl’s illuminated faceas pale as rice paper.

Later on, the poem continues: “Pray for the grace of accuracy/ Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination/ stealing like the tide across a map/ to his girl solid with yearning.” Though large sunglasses hide her face and her meager mouth is expressionless, the Coffee Shop Girl is ravenous. We see her frayed emotional state in the feathery brushstrokes in the background, the squirming reddish-brown tendrils of her ponytail, and the sparkling clusters of dandelion-like fur attached to the hood of her puffy coat.

“Spring City House”
“Spring City House”
In a similar way, Robert Frost’s “A Boundless Moment” provides a context for Thompson’s painting “Spring City House.” The first lines of Frost’s poem mirror the quiet loneliness of the house: “He halted in the wind, andwhat was that/ Far in the maples, pale, but not a ghost?” The broken teeth of a destroyed fence in the painting's foreground of give the ghost-like house a forlorn feel. The house’s surface is a clear expanse of creamy off-white dimpled with tiny pinpricks. Its eyelike window is dark: No one is home. To the right of the house, there's a hint of promise in the glimpse of a yellow field, tempered by the stillness of an abandoned chair on the porch next to it.

“The Photographer”
“The Photographer”
Thompson’s “The Photographer” places us in an anemic yellow light (not the usual harsh florescent shine) of the magazine section of a Barnes & Noble. The Photographera strapping bearded guy in a cap and hefty bootsappears mesmerized by a heavy magazine open on his lap. He seems alone in his thoughts. Two other people, turned away from him, are also engrossed in their reading, sampling something very private in a public space.

“Evening Glow”
“Evening Glow”
An Emily Dickinson poem posted next to the painting “Evening Glow” opens: “Ah, Moonand Star!/ You are very far/ But were no one/Farther than you/ Do you think I’d stop/ For a Firmament/ Or a Cubitor so?” In “Evening Glow” the branches of trees claw in every direction as the moon recedes into the background of a steel-colored sky. There is a quiet sadness in the warm, flickering light of a cottage window, as the viewer is on the outside looking in … so far away.

“Why not simply take a photograph?” How else to give voice to our common predicament than with oil, egg tempera and watercolor or with the pen and ink of our best American poets? In the end, we are not always lonely, but forever alone.

The Boundless Moment: New Paintings by Eric G. Thompson

Runs through Thursday, Aug. 28

Matthews Gallery
669 Canyon Road, Santa Fe
thematthewsgallery.com, (505) 992-2882

Hours: Monday-Saturday, from 10am to 5pm, and Sunday, 11am to 4pm
V.23 No.32 | 8/7/2014
“Cat, Rabbit, Owl” by Jim Kopp at Mariposa Gallery

Art Review

Galleries Get It Up

Flights of fancy

Anthropomorphic animals, archetypal trash, Plexiglas forests and cactus mapsit’s all on display at your friendly local gallery.

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“Hamsa” by Jacqueline Dodd, featured on the cover of Warren’s humanKind

Art Scenester

Come Together Right Now

By Alison Oatman
From synchronicities to the spoken word, a night of human-kindness promises spiritual dynamism.
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V.23 No.31 | 7/31/2014
“The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York,” serigraph with UV lacquer
All images courtesy of the Tom Golden Collection, Sonoma County Museum

Culture Shock

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Have Always Gone Big

By Lisa Barrow
Superstar environmental artist Christo comes to Albuquerque in Augusthere’s what you need to know.

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V.23 No.30 | 7/24/2014
Nkazi Sinandile and her granddaughter Thandiwe
photos by Littleglobe

Arts Feature

From War Zone to Melting Pot

How the International District reinvents itself through art

By Kristi D. Lawrence
ID Live! features the stories of International District residents told through art in all its forms, including sculpture, painting, mosaic, writing, photography, film and performance.
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V.23 No.29 | 7/17/2014
“Root Chakra”
Kailani

Arts Feature

Chakra and Awe

Graffiti writer taps into universal calligraphies

By Gail Guengerich
In her very first gallery show, subversive Burque artist Kailani melds darkness with light-filled spirituality.
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David Santiago’s enigmatic faces are unmistakable.

Art Scenester

MAS Attack Ready to Blitz the Albuquerque Art Scene

By Alison Oatman
Artists need admirers, and no one admires art more than other artists. That’s the driving force between a one-night-only Mutual Admiration Society.
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music

Now Hear This, Vol. III

Consumers of my dancing-about-architecture reportage are probably aware of my frequent use of the adjectival "blackety-black." It's really just an overly precious synonym for: atramentous, ebony, jet, obsidian, onyx, pitch, slate, sloe and the like. But thanks to British scientists at Surrey NanoSystems, there's now an honest-to-goodness blackety-black. It's called Vantablack (or super black), and it's record-breaking darkness absorbs all but .035 percent of light. It's so damn black that the human eye has difficulty discerning its dimensions. Like a freaking black hole. Its primary intended applications are terrestrial, space and air-borne optical instrumentation. But now hear this: The Little Black Dress will never be the same.

Blouse - "Into Black"

The Daily Mail reports that it's created using carbon nanotubes"which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between"and if that isn't enough, it's 10 times stronger than steel and conducts heat seven-and-a-half times more effectively than copper. Yeah. Owing to my obsessive-compulsive nature, themes prove irresistably attractive, so here are my favorite songs that pay tribute to blackety-black, er, Vantablack. Share your favorite black-centric tracks in the comments, fellow darklings.

Dead Can Dance - "Black Sun"

Beat Happening - "Black Candy"

Cosmetics - "Black Leather Gloves"

Nick Drake - "Black Eyed Dog"

Nina Simone - "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair"

Pictureplane - "Black Nails"

The Sandwitches - "Black Rider"

Timber Timbre - "Black Water"

The Velvet Underground & Nico - "Black Angel's Death Song"

More Videos

V.23 No.26 | 6/26/2014
More fun indeed
Billy McCall

Culture Shock

By Lisa Barrow

The nekkid eye

Journey into the exposed heart of Burque’s artworld with a celebration of the body, a drama about family and poetry to scare zealous patriots.
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