Eggshibition XX, "Evolution of the Egg," the annual auction of egg-shaped sculpture to raise money for Youth Home, cracks open tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center at UALR. Auctions will be both live and silent and the ticket price — $50 — gets you hors d'oeuvres and libations while you bid.
First Lady Ginger Beebe and glass artist James Hayes are among the eggstra-special contributers to the auction.
Youth Home is a private non-profit that provides residential and day therapy for troubled kids.
Don't forget the art event "Corazon Art Auction" this Saturday at the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative, 608 Main St. The auction of heart-shaped art benefits the Center for Artistic Revolution. The event begins at 6 p.m. and the auction at 7 p.m. Ticket proceeds, $5 in advance and $7 at the door, as well as auction proceeds will help support CAR's work with adults and youth whose sexual orientation has caused them difficulties in this advanced society of ours.
Will Phillips, the student who refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance because of the government's denial of equal rights to LGBQT folks, will be the guest of honor.
Soda, water, wine and beer will be available for a donation; there will be heavy hors d'oeuvres and music.
We heard about this earlier from our art maven friend in Fayetteville, but just saw mention of it on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art website: The museum commissioned an artist to design a full page advertisement in the New York Times' special museum section that ran March 17. The ad announces that the museum will open on the (oddly whimsical, but I guess memorable) date Nov. 11, 2011.
Kay Rosen does text-based art, using words as art elements that expand on their meaning. In the case of the CBMAA commission, Rosen has played with the idea of reflection: the reflection of the various galleries in Crystal Springs, the viewer's reflection on art, the play of ME turning into WE.
Don't know what a full page advertisement in the New York Times costs — about $25,000? — but we're not worried about what that will do to Alice Walton's budget.
The artist's statement from the CBMA website:
REFLECTION draws its inspiration from the position of the museum pavilions at the edge of the ponds, from language (the structure of the letters M and W), and from the newspaper format whose fold falls exactly where the two entities meet. M and W are the only two letters in the alphabet that can be paired and inverted to form a vertical symmetrical relationship, as if they were mirror images of each other. Enlisting Eʼs to form ME and WE, against backgrounds of green (trees) and blue (water), the pronouns represent the individual and the community and their relationship to art, to nature, and to each other.
Now the question is: Will New Yorkers come running? We're glad no airfare will be required to see CBMA.
There are 119 pieces of art — 120 if you count the two-sided Toulouse-Lautrec drawing — in the Arkansas Arts Center’s “The Impressionists and Their Influence” exhibit that opens Friday, and you will want to spend some time with virtually all of them.
No, there are no Monet haystacks here, or Tahitian Gaugins or Seurat pointillism. Manet’s “Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” remains safely in France. But all those artists are represented — the Monets are particularly fine — and while the Arts Center hasn’t turned into the Musee d’Orsay it has so much to offer in this exhibit that you’ll need to go at least twice, if not three times, to take it all in.
Everybody loves impressionist work, so it’s hard to conceive that when it was new, in the mid-nineteenth century, it was as unacceptable as art as cans of Campbell’s soup were 100 years later.
“Everybody loves” is not an exaggeration, which is why I can write this review using the artists’ last names and nobody wonders who I’m referring to. This popularity is perhaps on the minds of those who run things at the Arts Center, still recovering from its budget-busting “World of the Pharaohs” exhibit of Egyptian artifacts that opened in the Early Dynastic Period and ended last July. (It actually ran only seven and a half months, but surely seemed much longer to both Arts Center regulars and bean counters alike.) There will be no sticker shock here — the tickets are a very reasonable $10 tops (less for seniors, youth, military, etc.) — and the Arts Center can count on a good crowd to see some of the loveliest drawings and paintings ever made, thanks to the Arts Center’s own fine from the collaborating High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Jackson T. Stephens Charitable Trust for Art, and private collectors.
The star of the show is Monet’s “Houses of Parliament in the Fog,” 1903, a painting so ethereal as to be barely there. Monet painted parliament repeatedly, as he did his haystacks and the cathedral at Rouen, to capture the variety of light. This version of “Houses of Parliament” teeters on the edge of beauty, threatening to fall into indifference, but stay with it a bit.
There are four Monets in the exhibit, arranged in chronological order to show the artist’s evolution, interim Director Joe Lampo explained at a press preview. The earliest is “Autumn on the Seine, Argenteuil,” 1873, a beautiful canvas of yellows and pale pinks and blues and greens, the dabs of color giving the impression of leaves (to the horror of the French Academy), the short strokes the impression of their reflection in the water. In between that and “Houses of Parliament” are two richly painted Monets that will be familiar to frequent visitors to the Arts Center, one depicting an apple tree in full fruit and the other a river at dusk, both the property of the Stephens Trust.
A small (10 and 5/8 inches by 9 inches) and very Renoir Renoir just acquired by the High, “Woman Arranging Her Hat,” is another highlight, a brilliantly hued combination of brush strokes that form a woman in the foreground and become almost sheer abstraction in the background in their suggestion of trees and rocks.
Pissaro’s “Snowscape with Cows at Montfoucault” is a small beauty, also from the High, painted in whites and masterfully subdued thalo greens, with the most tidy lines preserved for the off-center cows being walked down a snowy lane. Another Pissaro, “Kensington Gardens, London,” from the Stephens Trust, is fascinating in its odd technique. Painted 16 years after “Snowscape,” Pissaro is experimenting here; he’s placed figures in saturated reds and greens and purples atop a flatly-rendered field of sketchy green grass, like cut-outs. In that same off-track vein is one of the show’s many (and wonderful) Vuillards, his “La Villa Les Ecluses, St. Jacut, Brittany,” painted with big patches of flat color. The Arts Center’s own “Le Peintre Forain,” a 46-inch tall pencil by Vuillard, one of my favorite works in the AAC collection, is tucked away here; don’t miss it.
Some surprises for those of us who have only skimmed the surface of impressionist art history: Ker-Xavier Roussel and his “Sleeping Diana.” This painting by Roussel, who was of the Nabi school rather than an impressionist, is crazy fascinating, focusing not on the rural, but the mythical, and not the atmospheric but on wild combinations of hot bright reds with deep aquamarines. A dark skinned woman robed in orange could have stepped right from Gaugin’s work into this canvas.
I’ve just gotten started and there is so much more to write about: Frederic Bazille’s 1865 “The Beach at Sainte-Adresse,” The High’s wonderful Bonnard “The Breakfast”; a pen and ink of a sleeping drunk by Forain (the artist drawn by Vuillard); the family grouping of work by Berthe Morisot, her daughter Julie Manet and her niece Paule Gobbilard; Henri Gabriel Ibels’ “Woman from Behind” and Toulous-Lautrec’s “Etude de Femme” … and then there are the American impressionists, with Cassatt pastels and the Bonnard-influenced Frederick Carl Frieseke’s “Girl in Blue”; the William James Glackens drawing of a crowded American beach next to Childe Hassam’s sophisticated subject matter in the “Tuileries Gardens.”
And I’ve just seen it once. Imagine how one could go on after a couple of visits, after the work has really sunk in.
Some numbers: The exhibit includes 50 works from the Arts Center Foundation collection, all on paper; 29 paintings and 18 works on paper from the High; 11 paintings and five works on paper from the Jackson T. Stephens Charitable Trust for Art, and seven works on paper from private collections. The exhibit runs through June 26.
Work by the Thea Foundation's Visual Arts scholarship winners, high school seniors from across Arkansas, is on exhibit now through April 10. First place and a $4,000 scholarship went to Victoria Anzaldua, Lake Hamilton High School, for her painting "Intertwined." The foundation awarded $25,000 in scholarships and another $1,500 in awards to juniors.
Submissions were in all media and were to use the theme "Amazing Butterflies," based on an art piece by Thea Kay Leopoulos, in whose memory the foundation was formed.
Other winners and their scholarship amounts:
Emily Murphy, 2nd place, Jonesboro High School, $3,500; Allison Armstrong, 3rd place, $3,000, Pottsville High School; Kyndal Rose, 4th place, $2,500, Central High School; Katherine Novy, 5th place, $2,000, Morrilton High School; Rowel Tun, 6th place, $2,000, Hall High; Glenn Fiscus, 7th place, $2,000, Jacksonville High; Jordan Stubbefield, 8th place, $2,000 scholarship, Brookland High; Elise Warner, 9th place, $2,000, Sheridan High; Bree Rose, 10th place, $2,000, Lake Hamilton High.
Honorable mentions went to Woojin Ahn, North Little Rock High School; Catherine Joo, Southside High School; Vicki Jou, North Little Rock High School; Ellis Milligan, Cabot High School; Kalin Salman, Little Rock Christian Academy; and Alison Stubbs, North Little Rock High.
Thea also awarded $100 prizes to the top 10 of the 15 juniors winning mention. Work by all the students can be seen on Thea's website.
A sculpture by UALR professor Michael Warrick was unveiled today at UAMS' Rockefeller Cancer Research Center at a ceremony honoring the late Sen. Jerry Bookout of Jonesboro. "Transformation" is installed in the Bookout Translational Research Center on the fourth floor of the cancer center.
Bookout, who had a 34-year career in the state legislature, was treated for lymphoma at the cancer center. He died in 2006. The state contributed $36 million to the construction of the new cancer center, which matched privately raised funds.
I've got a question in to UAMS about who commissioned the work — UAMS or the Bookout family.
"Hiroshima," the thesis exhibit of University of Arkansas Fayetteville graduate student Hisae Kimura Yale, opens March 28 in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit combines sculpture and installation art to express Yale's thinking about the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, where she was born, and the coincidentally quite topical issue (thanks to the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan) of nuclear technology. (The actual title of the exhibit can't be posted here because it uses Japanese characters the website won't pick up. Hiroshima can be spelled four ways in Japanese, according to a UA press release; the one in the exhibit is the one specific to Hiroshima bombed.)
A reception for the artist will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 31. The University of Arkansas’s Japanese Student Association and the American Red Cross will take donations to aid the victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Fayetteville artist LaDawna Whiteside, whose "Animal Architecture Drawing" installation won the Grand Prize at this year's Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center, is showing works on paper at the University of Arkansas's Fine Arts Building.
The show, "Interwoven: Global Concord/Entretejido: Concordia Global,” goes up March 28 in the hallway gallery space and runs through April 29. Her linear technique is a sharp departure from her atmospheric application of paint on canvas, but both styles are about space and image placement.
More about Hisae Kimura Yale's show in the Fine Arts Gallery, "Hiroshima," which also opens March28, later.
The thing about the paintings of Benini, the Italian-born artist who helped build Hot Springs’ art scene and now lives in Texas, is that they sometimes require you to befriend the circular and the shaped. That doesn’t come naturally. Shaped canvases fall into that netherworld of beings that straddle form, like tadpoles and toads, caterpillars and butterflies — sculpture and painting. I find them hard to like; circles put edges on images in ways that rectangles, thanks to our Western eye, don’t. Ken Noland turned his square paintings 45 degrees to make them diamonds, and that drove me nuts, because they were no longer about lines and color in space but about line trapped in a shape.
But Noland was all about flatness, and Benini is all about dimension and light. Even when he’s working on a flat surface, Benini’s images curve. The circular and shaped canvases make a kind of sense.
So keep all that in mind, or at least some of it, when you go to Greg Thompson Fine Art in Argenta to see the current exhibit, “Benini: The Painter’s Journey.”
The show offers up some atmospheric paintings from his Kaos series of the past several years and some earlier works, like aluminum roses and ribbons from the 1980s and 1990s. Benini lately combines his precise airbrushed trompe l’oeil glow with thick (and highly controlled) splatters around (and standing out from) the edges; think Jules Olitski walking in space.
Benini joked at the opening reception for his show last Friday, during the third Friday Argenta ArtWalk, that he’s gotten old so now he drips. He will be 70 this year, his wife and tireless promoter, Lorraine Benini, said, but he has in no way gotten old; his strength shows in the large canvases and careful, intentional application of paint.
Besides creating circular paintings, Benini also dares paint in pink. His 30-inch-by-40-inch (rectangular) “Courting Kaos: Open Pleasure,” for example, is a rosy glow framed by gold and pale pink splatters; the splatters are so thick they run together, obscuring the pink background but not blending themselves. A dominating 73-inch-by-48-inch acrylic, “Face of God: Dodici,” completed just before the exhibit, is also on the Kaos theme — a canvas that seems illuminated in its center, in this case saturated in red, receding from its edges of gold and pink splatters. In “Courting Kaos: Between” Benini offsets a rusty red background that changes from dark to light in a horizontal, rather than central, fashion; here the splattered edges, in black, gold, gray and white, nearly converge, squeezing the background from left and right. The palette’s combination of colorless/deep color is tremendous.
I’m still uncomfortable with the circle-shaped paintings, though their conjured spherical images are wonderful. We're not supposed to be comfortable with art, anyway; Benini avoids the decorative, which is fairly hard to do in abstract art.
One of my favorite pieces in this show is from the 1990s: a metallic ribbon that furls about a red star. It’s Benini’s paean to Texas, where he and Lorraine now have a Hill Country sculpture ranch on a hundred-plus acres once owned by LBJ.
The show runs through May 18. Greg Thompson Fine Art is at 429 Main St., North Little Rock.
Just eight months out from its opening, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced today new hires: the deputy director of art and education, a director of curatorial and a curator of American Art. All are already on staff.
Matthew Dawson, deputy director, comes from the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, where he was senior project manager and director of public programs. Prior to that, he was creative director at the Art Gallery of Ontario; he's been in the museum and architecture field for 20 years. He holds a master's degree in architecture from Princeton University. He'll oversee curatorial and education functions, the CBMA press release said.
New director of curatorial David Houston, a curator, professor and public art administrator for 27 years, comes from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, where he served as chief curator since January 2001 and co-director since January 2010. His master's in art history comes from the University of South Carolina.
American Art curator Kevin Murphy, has been at the The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., where he served as Bradford and Christine Mishler Associate Curator of American Art. He has also taught art history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he earned his doctoral degree, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
The three new curatorial suits join CBMA curators Chris Crosman (collections) and Manuela Well-Off-Man (assistant).
H.L. McGill, who was named director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in December, is already gone. I've got a call in to the Department of Arkansas Heritage to find out if he was terminated or quit.
McGill, who formerly worked at DAH, succeeded Constance Sarto, who left last March.
Update: DAH Director Cathy Matthews confirmed that McGill was terminated, but could not comment further.
Artist Nancy Sadler called today to let me know about the art scammer who is contacting artists whose works appear on the Arkansas Artists Registry and pretending to want to buy work. Here's how the scam works: The buyer, in this case a man identifying himself as David Osborne of Texas, e-mails the artist, asks for a price, says he'll pay it, but is leaving the country and needs it shipped. He then sends the artist "money" — in the form of bad checks — for shipping. Sadler received two checks for $2,900 with instructions to deposit them and return a sum to Osborne for shipping. She smelled a rat and checked up on the scam. Apparently others on the registry have gotten the same call.
Osborne, or whatever his name is, isn't the only scammer. A little googling turned up the name of Debby Barnes, who several artists have complained about on the stopartscams blog.
If it sounds too good to be true, it isn't true. Sadler called the Attorney General's office. It wasn't news to them.
(I chose Sadler's painting "Vermont Snow House" above from the registry's collection because I liked it, not because, to my knowledge, it was involved in the scam attempt. Vermont plus snow ... my thing.)
A little update: Robin McClea, who manages the registry for the Arkansas Arts Council, said she doesn't believe anyone has lost any money, but that several artists have called the office to report receiving the e-mails. She has sent out two notices to registry members, warning them of the scam.
It's been 16 or 17 years since Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, otherwise known as The Art Guys, appeared at the Arkansas Arts Center. They've stuck with their performance/dada/3D pop art/crass commercialism shtick all these years; and while you may feel a tad bit exploited by them, they're also great fun.
The Bradbury Gallery at Arkansas State University is showing their exhibit "Right Before Your Eyes" through April, and the guys themselves will give a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. March 30 in the gallery. The show runs through April 15.
M2 Gallery at 11525 Cantrell Road (Pleasant Ridge Town Centre) is celebrating its fourth anniversary TONIGHT with a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The gallery will feature new work by stable artists Michele Mikesell, Jason Twiggy Lott, William Goodman, Robin Tucker, David Walker, Nathan Beatty, Cathy Burns, Lisa Krannichfeld, Melverue Abraham and Selma Blackburn.
Thanks to Cathy Burns for pointing out the error of my earlier post! And here's another thing to add: Add to the list of artists whose work will be in the show Frank Milo and Zilon. DJ Joey Smoke will provide the music.
Gallery 26 will host a reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday for its new exhibit of works by Dominique Simmons and David Warren.
Simmons is showing prints and drawings from her "Persistance of Spirit" series, metaphorical landscapes and animal images. Warren has been working in copper etchings and linoleum cuts to create "my own personal mythology."
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