Saturday, March 31, 2007
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Manhattan art gallery canceled on Friday its Easter-season exhibit of a life-size chocolate sculpture depicting a naked Jesus, after an outcry by Roman Catholics. The sculpture "My Sweet Lord" by Cosimo Cavallaro was to have been exhibited for two hours each day next week in a street-level window of the Roger Smith Lab Gallery in Midtown Manhattan. The display had been scheduled to open on Monday, days ahead of Good Friday when Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus. But protests including a call to boycott the affiliated Roger Smith Hotel forced the gallery to scrap the showing. "Your response to the exhibit at the Lab Gallery is crystal clear and has brought to our attention the unintended reaction of you and other conscientious friends of ours to the exhibition of Cosimo Cavallaro," Roger Smith Hotel President James Knowles said in a statement addressed to "Dear Friends." "We have caused the cancellation of the exhibition and wish to affirm the dignity and responsibility of the hotel in all its affairs," the statement said. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights had called for a boycott of the hotel, writing to 500 religious and secular organizations. "This is an assault on Christians during Holy Week," said Kiera McCaffrey, director of communications for the league, which describes itself as the largest U.S. Catholic civil-rights group. "They would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the prophet Mohammad naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan," she said before the cancellation. The archbishop of New York called the sculpture "scandalous" and a "sickening display." "This is something we will not forget," Cardinal Edward Egan said in a statement. Matthew Semler, the artistic director of the gallery, said earlier that the hotel had no knowledge of what the gallery planned to show and was being unfairly targeted. Moreover, he said the work was not irreverent. "It's intended as a meditation on the Holy Week," Semler said of the sculpture, which depicts Jesus as if on the cross. Easter Sunday, this year April 8, is celebrated as the day of Jesus' resurrection. A photo of the piece on the artist's Web site (http://www.cosimocavallaro.com/) shows the work suspended in air. New York is familiar with clashes between art and religion. In 1999, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani tried to withdraw a grant from the Brooklyn Museum of Art for a painting depicting the Virgin Mary as a black woman splattered with elephant dung adorned with cut-outs from pornographic magazines. Current Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a different approach. "If you want to give the guy some publicity, talk more about it, make a big fuss," Bloomberg told WABC radio. "If you want to really hurt him, don't pay attention." © Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.
I’m not a Bloomberg fan, but I have to agree with him on this one. There is no such thing as bad publicity. On that same note, despite related emotions regarding the subject of the work, one would be hard-pressed to deny the amazing execution of the actual sculpting of this life-size figure in chocolate. – DN
Friday, March 30, 2007
Thousands of Chinese students have taken part in a giant piece of performance art to pay tribute to the country's farmers.
The university students chanted: "I am the son of mother earth," as they stood in a field of 96 faces they had dug out of the soil.
It took a day for the students from the college of Fashion and Arts, Zhongyuan University of Technology, to make the 96 faces in a field on their campus.
The work was named 'Lao Wan' (Old Ten Thousand) by its creator, Professor Wang Gang.
Prof Wang says he wants society to be more concerned about farmers, reports Zhengzhou Evening News.
"Lao Wan represents hundreds of thousands of diligent Chinese farmers. They work this land all day long and from generation to generation. They are rooted in the soil," he said.
Ananova News Ltd. 3/30/07
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Inexplicably, I find myself more readily drawn to villages and townships as opposed to cities – as the years wane on. Is it a sign of age? Is it the responsibility of fatherhood? I spent the majority of my first three decades dreaming of busy metropolitan streets and sprawling downtown high-rises. Yet somehow, I continuously find myself returning to the quieter lives of small rural communities. Experiencing the cultures of familiar lives. Documenting the interactions of youthful big-city dreamers and the content village dwellers. Realizing the compromise that brings them together, not settling for anything short of “good enough”. – DN
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I find it interesting that every city claims to be number two in the nation’s art market chase. While a student in college, I constantly heard the merits of living in Chicago, the second greatest art capital. After moving out west, I was imbued with the continuous battles between Santa Fe and San Francisco for the title of best second fiddle. Los Angeles never really hit the radar; I was told it was due to the nature of the city’s layout and the distance between viable art centers. Yet here we are, reading an article claiming LA as not just a great place to make art, but the indisputable second in command for the past twenty years.
While I agree that being in an art mecca does make this career choice a bit easier from a financial standpoint; I don’t believe it is the only option for a professional artist. Andrew Wyeth has successfully avoided the city race; Jackson Pollock did his best work after moving to the country. At what point does painting towards a market and a city’s competition for second place interfere with the actual creative process for original art? – DN
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We are currently working to make a cohesive manifesto based on the many discussions we’ve had with our members and other artists. Unfortunately for you, we have not been very concerned with the ability of the artist or critic to fully understand our movement. We are not trying to force our philosophy on other artists and we are not necessarily looking for new members. IANDI is a movement built on close communication between it’s few members for the purpose of inspiring each other to do art. It is a movement for it’s members, not everyone.
To answer another one of your questions, we are an “anything goes” philosophy. We believe in supporting each other to pursue any medium of art we’d like. We don’t go into it blindly, we are all trained artists and art historians that understand the importance of learning how to use a medium. The point of trying a new medium is not to tell people you can use all sorts of mediums, like a “genius”. We promote using different mediums because not all ideas can be expressed through a single medium, the problem is that most artists fear trying new mediums because they might loose their audience. IANDI provides an environment for it’s members to have the support to try new things and truly believe that all mediums are equally important.
Our movement is better explained face to face, because it’s about the group sharing ideas. I’m sorry I cannot cut and paste the perfect answers to your questions, but please feel free to read through our old topics. I really appreciate that you took the time to open up a discussion with us, and I hope to hear more from you in the future. I’m sorry that you’ve had such bad experiences with contemporary art movements, but maybe they are trying to achieve too much. IANDI is a very small group that loves art and works everyday to help each other push their art in new directions. Not compromising ones creativity for the sake of pleasing the invisible audience is key. I hope I addressed some of your questions, if not please let me know. – E.K. Wimmer
Monday, March 26, 2007
IANDI (pronounced eye-ahn-dee) is the label we have given to ourselves. We, as IANDI, believe that the art world is ready for a crucial shift. Art has long been deemed an invention of the inspired mind. We, as IANDI, agree. However, the art world often imposes restraints on the creativity of an artist. Once an artist has shown excellence in one specific style or medium they are frequently pigeonholed by their expertise. We, as IANDI, do not think that this is necessary or natural for a truly artistic mind. Why then, IANDI asks, should artists allow their creativity to be squelched by such unnatural constraints? IANDI is the opportunity for all artists to pursue any art form(s) of their choosing. Emphasis on the group over the individual allows an artist more freedom to follow their artistic interests. We, as IANDI, feel that a forum of discussion and encouragement are important to the development of art. IANDI also believes that there should be no limitations on subject, style or medium. Creativity should be allowed to follow a natural evolution. Spontaneity is an important aspect of the IANDI movement. Art often presents itself spontaneously and we, as IANDI, believe that these impulses can lead us down new paths of artistic development.
IANDI Guiding Principles
() Adherence to one style or medium can compromise ones creativity.
() One should educate themselves about the history of a medium or style before pursuing it themselves.
() A group is more creative than an individual. The art is more important than the artist.
() An artist should not over think a composition at the expense of creativity.
() The notion of the masterpiece should be disregarded.
() One should not compromise their work for the invisible audience.
So far the membership seems to be a total of four, but who am I to judge, my own Immersion Travel Art movement seems to boast a grand total of one, at this time. I found IandI’s general statement to be a little too vague for my taste, which - I can only assume, is I why they created the “Guiding Principles” section.
Spontaneity is deemed important in the paragraph, but not with the choice of unfamiliar mediums – only when working composition? (According to numbers 2 and 4 of the guidelines). Education is important in the understanding of medium and style but irrelevant when approaching works classified or assumed to be masterpieces? I definitely have questions regarding these ideas, they may even win me over with a tactful reply (I have asked and am awaiting a response). However, I believe I will have trouble reconciling the concept that the group is more important than the individual. Despite all my socialist tendencies, first and foremost I care about myself and the art I’ve create above that of all others. If I didn’t feel this level of passion for my art, why would (or should) anyone else? Finally, the name is intriguing if not ironic. Though it is pronounced one way it reads as “I” and “I”… seems self-centered enough for me join, but their philosophy seems to fly in the face of ego-maniacal fantasies… where’s the fun in that? – DN
Friday, March 23, 2007
"In May 1961, some brash young figurative painters threw down the gauntlet to the modern art establishment. Today, several of those artists are still friends and still painting together, teaching a once-a-week figure painting class that has been going in some form since the late 1950s. And now, after years out in the cold, the Painting Group, as they call themselves, is having a modest comeback." - New York Sun 03/23/07
Where can abstraction (modern art as it is specifically described in the above partial article) and figurative work comfortably coincide? Now, I’m not referring to work such as the manner in which Picasso, Braque or even de Kooning experimented. Their techniques, though impressive, would never satisfy the egos or artistic intentions of the majority of typical figurative realists. Despite the seeming distance between these drastically different styles (hard-line realist and strict abstractionist), I believe this cohesive emergence of conflicting philosophies is possible, I have even experimented with the coexistence of these ideals in my own painting. However, it has been an unending point of tension between contrasting factions of the visual art world ever since the emergence of the Impressionists.
While living in Santa Fe, I began a series of life-size figurative scrolls – but stopped when I realized that their presence was unnecessary due to the overabundance of nudes already in existence, there. Part of my plan in returning to the southern Midwest was to restart work on the series of nudes and to discover validation for their importance in contemporary art as well as the lives of citizens residing in the “bible belt” of America. I’m not looking to expose prudish behavior or even to dissect century old Victorian ideals, I just want to prove to myself that the work I design holds universal importance. Even in this land-locked region that first met my own creation. – DN
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The above crate was built to transport twenty-two small paintings to the gallery show in Billings, Montana. I used veneered half-inch plywood with 2x4’s for reinforcement. The interior was lined (stapled in place) with egg-shell foam – like the type used for sound-proofing in music studios (or even the type used as an additional layer on mattresses).
The total weight including twenty-two paintings (each individually protected in bubble-wrap) was 120 lbs. Time to build and pack was about a day (including my slight OCD causing me to recheck everything three times). The cost for DHL to ship 2000 miles - $60... priceless! – DN
Friday, March 16, 2007