Russellville potter Winston Taylor, 62, has been named the 2011 Arkansas Living Treasure by the Arkansas Arts Council, the agency announced today. A Little Rock native, Taylor is a pottery instructor at the Arkansas River Valley Arts Center.
From the Arts Council press release:
The 62-year-old said he never imagined he would be making his living as an artist. “I was always interested in cars throughout high school. I thought I would be a mechanic or race car driver or aircraft mechanic,” he said. “I never took an art course until I was out of high school.” Taylor, who owned a body shop in Little Rock for nine years, said his work is heavily influenced by his mechanical background. “My pottery pieces are geometrical, mechanical looking and industrial, very minimal.”
Taylor is working on a sculpture that the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church will auction to benefit a program building water wells in the Congo. For more information, go here.
"A Couple Ways of Doing Something" at the Arkansas Arts Center does a couple of things. It brings a cohesive show into the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery, usually dedicated to the Arts Center's collection and a beautiful exhibit space, and it brings word art — poetry — in as well. The Aperture Foundation-organized exhibit pairs poems by Bob Holman with photographs made by Chuck Close from daguerreotypes. Close made the daguerreotypes of friends — Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Kiki Smith, etc. — and scanned those imperfect photos to create 26 1/2-by-20 inch pigment prints and enormous 103-by-79 inch jacquard tapestries. The photos are actually woven into the tapestries, by means of a computer program that Close himself helped advance.
The result: Arresting portraits, part in exact focus, down to the pores, part a blur, the spotlight-reflecting eyes the focal point. The funny thing — given that Close is known for his photorealistic drawings and paintings — the softness of the enlarged daguerreotypes makes them something like drawings. You might not think that way if it wasn't Close, but it is.
The poems are meant to reflect on the person in the portrait, and with a few exceptions, they are difficult to grasp. For example, Holman's poem paired with the photograph of sculptor Kiki Smith begins:
Kiki everywhere it the it
Flyerama drama spidry
Kooku a lotta the blocka ...
I think it might be personal. Easier to understand is the poem with photographer Cindy Sherman's portrait:
All those other portraits of me
All those other portraits of me
Are just portraits
Not of me, no
Not of me, no
All that artifice inside the frame
Hold it right there in my hand
Hold my hand
Hold it right there
The tapestries, while amazing technologically and beautiful, don't have the same power as the pigment prints. Maybe fabric doesn't have punch. But they are quite amazing.
Included in the show is a photograph of sculptor James Turrell in the show. I'm going to see the Turrell skyspace on the grounds of the rising Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville next week, and will blog about it then.
Because of protests by archeologists and anthropologists, The Smithsonian Institution is considering canceling its upcoming exhibit “Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds,” Chinese artifacts recovered from an Arab ship sunk in the ninth century.
Why Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler museum directors thought for one minute that it was ethical to exhibit artifacts — rare and lovely though they may be — that were salvaged without regard to science is a mystery to me. An article in the New York Times notes that the salvage company that mined the goodies from the bottom of the sea was paid $32 million for the artifacts by the Singapore government. The excavators' goal was not to study this historic find, which is evidence of Chinese sea trade with the Middle East, but to make some big bucks.
Same reason Arkansas museums shouldn't exhibit Indian artifacts dug up without regard to the information they hold in situ. Archeologists learn from artifacts by examining their context, recording them in situ. If you're digging up an artifact and walking away, what you've got is art, yes; a money-maker, maybe; but museums should shun you for what you've cost history.
"Reel to Real"
On the 150th anniversary of the explosion of the Sultana, the steamboat that was carrying freed Union soldiers home on the Mississippi River (1,800 died) in 1865, the Historic Arkansas Museum will screen a documentary about the making of "Gone With the Wind." If you have already have a ticket, you can go to the sold-out film, at 6 p.m. tonight at Argenta Community Theater and hear GWTW collector James Tumblin and documentarians Craig and Brent Renaud talk about it afterward. The event is a run-up to the Sunday opening of HAM's exhibit, "Reel to Real: 'Gone with the Wind' and the Civil War in Arkansas," in which the celluloid South, in the form of priceless movie artifacts, will meet the truth of life in antebellum Arkansas head-on, as I write in this week's Art Notes column.
Vivien Leigh's Best Actress Oscar — worth more than $2 million — and costumes from the classic 1939 film, including a suit Clark Gable wore as Rhett Butler, are among the 123 objects from the Shaw-Tumblin Gone with the Wind Collection that will make up the "Reel" part of the exhibit, HAM's contribution to events marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. There will be a projection room as well, featuring screen tests of, among others, Leigh, Butterfly McQueen and the unsuccessful Lana Turner, who lost the role of Scarlett O'Hara to Leigh.
Representing the "Real" are treasures from the HAM's own vaults: Women's diaries that record the events of the war, letters from soldiers, photographs, weapons, and a Confederate uniform are among the 142 museum objects on display. The South of "Gone with the Wind" was a far cry, the exhibition will show, from pre-Civil War Arkansas, a poor state lacking roads and dependable river transport. But growing cotton wealth and the number of enslaved workers, which numbered 110,000 in 1860, pushed Arkansas into secession on May 5, 1861, nearly 150 years ago to the day of the exhibit's opening.
James Tumblin, owner of the collection, will be in Little Rock for the sold-out screening Wednesday night of the documentary "Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind" at the Argenta Community Theater. He and filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud will hold a question and answer session after the event. Tumblin started the collection in 1961 when he picked a costume up off the floor at Western Costumes in Hollywood and offered $20 for it. A card that fell out of the dress indicated it had been created for "Gone with the Wind." Fifty years later, Tumblin has more then 300,000 GWTW artifacts, which he assembled with the help of Dennis Shaw. (He said the collection is not named Tumblin-Shaw because it sounded like someone falling down.)
"Reel to Real" will stay at the museum until the end of April 2012.
The "Expressions" art show and sale of work by clients of Birch Tree Communities has become a huge event, filling the Arkansas Governor's Mansion ballroom to capacity. Here's why: the clients of Birch Tree are dealing with various forms of mental illness, and the agency's art program is helping them give expression to their thoughts. The result is naive, honest, highly original and colorful. Here's another good deal: The artists get to keep the dough.
This year's event, the 9th annual, is Thursday, April 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Get in line early before the doors open so you can make sure you get the painting you want; there will be 250 to choose from. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at the door. There will be libations, hors d'oeuvres, live music and a live auction of paintings judged to be the best in the show.
Birch Tree Communities is a private nonprofit organization serving over 400 Arkansans with serious and persistent mental illness throughout the state.
WRI Legacy Exhibit
The 2011 Winthrop Rockefeller Legacy Exhibition opens next week at the WR Institute atop Petit Jean, in conjunction with the institute's Legacy Weekend. Proceeds from the sale of the art support programs at the Institute, a division of the University of Arkansas system funded by the Winthrop Rockefeller Trust. The opening reception, which doubles as a welcoming reception for new WRI head Christy Carpenter, is set for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 29, with entertainment by the Dave Rogers Trio.
The event is free this year, and will be followed by a panel discussion, "Using Creativity to Build a Competitive Economy." Moderator will be Clay Mercer, who was with the Arkansas Arts Center development office until the first of April and who is now founder and "chief idea officer" of the Think Bigger Group. Panelists are artist David Bailin, who curated the Legacy Exhibition; Bryan Barnhouse, senior project manager of the South Arkansas Growth Initiative; Michael Chaffin, Capital Hotel COO; and Arkansas Arts Council Executive Director Joy Pennington.
Selected were works by 30 artists, listed here in alphabetical order:
Beverly Buys, Hot Springs
Gary Cawood, Little Rock
Les Christensen, Jonesboro
Warren Criswell, Benton
Brad Cushman, Little Rock
Hamid Ebrahimifar, Little Rock
Eric Freeman, Little Rock
Thom Hall, Little Rock
Neal Harrington, Russellville
Robyn Horn, Little Rock
Holly Laws, Mayflower
Margaret LeJeune, Batesville
Evan Lindquist, Jonesboro
Matthew Lopas, Conway
Tonya McNair, Little Rock
William McNamara, Ponca
Dusty Mitchell, Mountain View
Cindy Momchilov, Little Rock
Ray Ogar, Little Rock
Maxine Payne, Greenbrier
Sammy Peters, Little Rock
Michael Peven, Fayetteville
Robert Reep, Little Rock
Carey Roberson, Arkadelphia
John Salvest, Jonesboro
Katherine Strause, Little Rock
David Warren, Little Rock
Michael Warrick, Little Rock
LaDawna Whiteside, Fayetteville
Steven Wise, Rogers
I've been out of town and out of touch, and apologize. It's not too late, however, for Eye Candy to tout the Greatest Show on Earth Day at Stephano's, which is having its second after-hours reception tonight from 4-9 p.m.
On Saturday, Wild Birds Unlimited folks will have recycled bird feeders at the gallery, the Green Corner Store will display green products and United Cerebral Palsy will take old toner cartridges for recycling.
Stephano's is at 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" played by Yo-Yo Ma, danced by L'il Buck.
From a Facebook heads-up from artist Kyle Boswell comes this fascinating Guardian story on Christian protesters in France slashing "Immersion (Piss Christ)." After 1,000 Christians marched on the museum, a few fought with guards at the museum and damaged Andres Serrano's controversial photograph, along with another of his works depicting the hands of a nun.
You'll recall that Jesse Helms didn't much like "Piss Christ," which Serrano made as criticism of phony fundamentalist profiteers, and the National Endowment for the Arts got raked over after "Piss Christ" was exhibited. France has its share of ultra-right-wingers as well, lead by the National Front party.
The gallery director isn't backing down. He's reopening with the damaged works on display "so people can see what barbarians can do."
Eric Peterson, a native of Greenbrier who is a principal in the Minneapolis architecture firm Architecture Alliance International, will give the fourth lecture in the "Art of Architecture" series at 6 p.m. April 19 at the Arkansas Arts Center. A reception precedes the talk at 5:30 p.m.
Peterson, whose firm is the architect for the $53 million expansion of the Little Rock Airport, will give a talk, "Vision 2020: Little Rock National Airport Transformed." The event is free.
The Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville kicks off its six-week Artosphere Festival on Earth Day, April 22, with the exhibit "Garden as Muse" and entertainment by musicians Shannon Wurtz and the DePue Brothers Band. Music starts at 5:30 p.m. and there will be opening remarks for the exhibit, featuring work by Sally Apfelbaum, Markus Baenziger, Syd Carpenter, Lois Dodd and Sarah McEneaney, at 6:15 in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery. Curator for the show is Andrea Packard, director of the List Gallery at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
Sally Apfelbaum, the artist whose photograph appears above, holds both an MFA in photography and a certificate in landscape design from the New York Botanical Garden. For more information on the other artists in the show go here.
The exhibit runs through June 4. Artosphere will feature dozens of events and performances at the Walton and other Northwest Arkansas locations. A festival pass ($79) gets festival goers into all events. The opening of "Garden as Muse" is free.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Hope is inviting all to come to church April 17, Palm Sunday, to celebrate the installation of the "Stations of the Cross," 14 paintings commissioned from artist Randall Good. The commission was a gift of Phil Cato, in honor of his family, and the work was exhibited at Blue Moon Fine Art Gallery in Hot Springs in 2008 before traveling to New York. Church is at 9 a.m., and Good will be honored at a 2 p.m. reception, where he will sign an exhibition booklet. The church is at 301 S. Elm St.
Fourteen sculptures selected for Hot Springs' annual "Invitational Sculpture Exhibition" on Bathhouse Row will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 15. The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Superior Bath House; Master of Ceremonies Davis Tillman will lead a procession and Kristin Howry Grant will provide musical accompaniment.
Artists whose sculptures were chosen for the four-month display are John Ellis of Batesville; Maritza and Terry Bean of Little Rock; Raouf Halaby of Arkadelphia; Wayne Summerhill of Hot Springs; Al Glann from Tuscon, Ariz.; DeWayne Hughes of Troup, Texas; Gregory Johnson of Cumming, Ga.; John Wolf from Midwest City, Okla., and Joe Slack from Oklahoma City. The work, both figural and abstract, is in bronze, marble, copper and steel.
An artists' reception is at 6 p.m. at the Quapaw Baths and Spa with food by Lee's Restaurant and Grill. The sculpture is for sale. The city buys one or more work each year for permanent display.
Amy Cappellazzo, an expert in post-war and contemporary American art and a deputy chair at Christie's International, the world's largest auction house, will talk about the world of art collecting on Sunday, April 17, in Bentonville.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, whose founder Alice Walton knows a thing or two about buying American art at auction, is sponsoring the talk, at 2 p.m. at the Old High Middle School Auditorium at 406 NW 2nd St.
Antique News writes that Cappellazzo "played a crucial role in the historic Christie’s sale in May 2004 which was the first ever Post-War and Contemporary auction to break the $100 million [mark], and she has been successfully co-leading the department since, culminating in the evening sale in May 2007 which totaled nearly $400 million."
Walton was bidding at Christie's auctions in 2004; it was in the "Important American Paintings and Sculpture" auction that year that she bought Charles Willson Peale's portrait of George Washington for $6.1 million. But did she bid at the Post-War and Contemporary auction that same month? Given what we think we know about her early collecting, maybe not. It was in that sale that a Pollock work on paper sold for a record $11 million.
From the CBMA press release:
“The beauty of art is that it evokes differing responses from every viewer,” said Don Bacigalupi, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art executive director. “Amy Cappellazzo’s deep appreciation of those responses, along with her extensive knowledge of art history and the market, is why she is one of the best in linking great works with collectors. She can provide a new perspective on the art of art collecting — and the international market as a whole.”
Coming to Boswell-Mourot, a show by two of Little Rock's best known artists, who are giving up a portion of their earnings to benefit the Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute. Here's a bit more on Weber; learn more about gallery owner Boswell here.
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