gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: Art

“In Search of the Eclectic”

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I came across this article through Chicago Gallery News because I like to keep up with what’s going on in the art scene in Chicago, and while this piece is more about a private collection than a gallery open to the public, Sally Schwartz‘s collecting, or ahem, hoarding habit, reminds me a little bit of myself. Schwartz runs the Randolph St Market Festival, which is a monthly flea market that features hundreds of local Chicago vendors and artisans. So constantly being around all these treasures is right up her alley.

I’ve also gone antiquing with my parents over the years and have developed an interest in collecting unique, interesting items as I see them, rather than waiting to buy things when I need them. This has resulted in several boxes of random things that I’m storing in my parents’ attic, probably much to their dismay. But I blame them for instilling this love for antiquing in me!

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I enjoyed how the article illustrates Schwartz and her husband bringing their collections together, even though they are so different – hers comprised of older vintage pieces and his of newer modern pieces. I can also identify with the fact that while their children are intrigued by their collections, they claim they’ll get rid of everything one day. I sometimes get frustrated by the sheer volume of things my parents collect and dream about the burden that would be lifted if I got rid of everything; but, on the other hand, there are so many stories tied to the pieces and sentimental value connected to them, that I may end up holding on them ūüôā Just as Schwartz is holding on to her collection in case the kids change their minds. How about these photos of their collection…dreamy!

Cultural divides

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Over the past several months I’ve been conducting oral history interviews with Latino/a artists for one of my jobs. Some interesting and surprising conflicts have arisen that I definitely wasn’t expecting, and am even a bit bothered by. I consider myself a very open-minded person when it comes a variety of things like race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc., but what I’ve learned recently is that sometimes people can view this open-mindedness and willingness to engage with those who are different from us as a negative thing, and even a hostile thing.

To put things more concretely, I was speaking with a young Latina artist in Pilsen, the Latino neighborhood in Chicago, and she was bothered, insulted almost, by the fact that I wanted to explore the neighborhood, meet the locals, and try to have an authentic experience there. She proceeded to tell me that there was no way I could possibly have an authentic experience because I as was not Latina, I did not speak Spanish, and I did not grow up in the neighborhood. She said that the “authentic” experience I was seeking was clouded by any preconceived notions of what I thought her culture was about. She was frustrated that white people were visiting her neighborhood to see it for themselves and then trying to build it up because it was still affordable to do so. She opposed the gentrification process that was and still is happening in Pilsen, particularly in regards to the artist community. The artist community that Pilsen is now known for does not typically include the artists who have been living in Pilsen for decades. She felt as though these artists who have recently been moving into Pilsen are trying to replace the artists who were already there, and then pretending like they own the place. I can completely sympathize with the frustration with this kind of gentrification, but I do not think that someone who wants to explore a neighborhood and a culture with genuine interest should be lumped into the same category.

I countered all of this by arguing that not everyone who visits the neighborhood wants to replace what’s already there or try to change it. Some people are genuinely curious about other cultures, and not only curious but truly eager to learn more, engage with, and try to experience things with the locals. She was still insulted and offended by this proposition, insisting that there’s no way an outsider could have a genuine experience, precisely because he/she was an outsider.

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I left this encounter feeling so frustrated because I felt like she was prejudice against me, while I was not at all prejudice towards her. I was left feeling like there’s no way that two people who are fundamentally different from one another ethnically, which is out of their control, can come together and learn from one another. It was as if she encouraged segregation between cultures and as if she didn’t want to share her culture with anyone, nor learn about another’s culture. This was very frustrating to me because while I am a white American female, I was born in Europe and grew up there for the first eight years of my life. My mom has taught ESL (English as a Second Language) to people from all over the world for many years, and I myself am now teaching ESL as well. I also volunteer at a non-profit that helps Spanish speakers with a variety of things, where I help with their citizenship classes. I have friends from diverse cultures, and in fact I prefer to surround myself with people who are different from me because I feel that there is so much to learn from them. I definitely have a genuine interest in exposing myself to different cultures and experiencing things as they do the best that I can. So I too was insulted by her for not understanding this genuine interest of mine in wanting to explore her neighborhood and do as the locals do.

Although frustrating, this was interesting perspective to be confronted by, which made me think more about what I was trying to accomplish by surrounding myself or exposing myself to other cultures. Despite her pessimism and unwillingness to accept me into her neighborhood, I’m still all about mixing cultures because there is truly so much learn.

EXPO Chicago

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Last weekend I went to The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art at Navy Pier in Chicago¬†and saw an absolutely overwhelming amount of art. There were over 100 galleries represented from around the world, as well as some special exhibitions. What was probably the coolest thing for me, was seeing Pearl Lam Galleries, as I have a friend from graduate school who works at their Shanghai location. I didn’t know the gallery was going to be there, much less that the woman I spoke to actually knew my friend! So, of course, we took a selfie together and sent it to her. Another cool finding was to see some works by Maria Tomasula represented by one of the galleries there, who teaches Art at Notre Dame and who I’ve worked with at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture on an oral history of her life and work.

These are some of the artists represented at the EXPO that I was most taken by.

Paolo Ventura

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Paul StrandWall Street  

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Andrew Moore – Cuba series

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Francesco Pergolesi

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Robert and Shana Parkeharrison

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Ysabel Lemay

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Robert Greene

Yayoi Kusama

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Sally Mann

Anthony CaroArena Pieces 

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Andrew Millner 

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Herman de Vries

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Boomon Naksan

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Elizabeth Patterson

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Hendrik Kerstens

Rene Romero Schuler

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Michael Eastman¬†– Fidel’s Last Stairway

Liliana Wilson – Chilean artist based in Austin, TX

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I was recently introduced to this artist by my boss, who is an expert and possibly the most prolific collector of Latino art in the U.S. The artist’s name is Liliana Wilson, and originally from Chile, she now lives and works in Austin, Texas. I think her depiction of women and children is so sweet, and I’m already dreaming of decorating my future kids’ bedrooms with some of her works, especially these:

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(If I have two girls…)

I highly recommend checking out her website and shop. Her pieces are very affordable! Having seen a couple of her paintings in person, I can tell you that they look even better than the pictures Рthe colors are vibrant and the faces appear even sweeter and more delicate.

Latino artists in the Midwest

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Recently, for my job at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, I’ve been conducting interviews with Latino/a artists along with Art Historian Amelia Malagamba¬†in an effort to compile oral histories and trace Latino art in the Midwest. Not only are their families’ migration stories very interesting, as well as what inspires them artistically, they produce beautiful work that I think is worth looking at. Here are just a few examples:

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Ramiro Rodriguez –¬†Elementos de Chavon

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Ramiro RodriguezGreat Blue

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Maria TomasulaHeritor 

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Maria TomasulaVirgin of Guadalupe 

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Maclovio Cant√ļ IVMarcos

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Maclovio Cant√ļ IV

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Ricco DiamanteWinter Solstice 

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Ricco DiamanteAtargatis

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Salvador MoyaAlien Status

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Salvador MoyaFeeding Hearts

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Elena Zarandona

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Elena Zarandona 

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Federico Rodriguez

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Federico Rodriguez

Yale Art Gallery

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On my most recent trip out east, I went to the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven, CT and it was such a nice surprise. Museums affiliated with colleges and universities are usually on the smaller side, but the Yale Art Gallery is impressive not only in size, but certainly also in the scope of its collection. The museum addition by Louis Khan is very nice, especially juxtaposed next to his design of the Yale Center for British Art (also a nice building and extensive collection). Here are just a few of my favorites from the collection!

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Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Valence with Grey Cloud

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Jacques Villon, Color Perspective (Horizontal) 

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Ando Hiroshige, Kanazawa in Moonlight (Buyo Kanazawa Hassho Yakei)

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Odilon Redon, Nasturtiums 

An Interview with artist Jovencio de la Paz

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I recently conducted an interview with artist Jovencio de la Paz for MAKE Literary Magazine.  He spent several years in Chicago, as both a student and an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and now lives in Eugene, OR, where he teaches Art at the University of Oregon. As an immigrant to the U.S., he is interested in the Batik method of dying textiles with natural indigo, as is common in Southeast Asia. He is also cofounder of Craft Mystery Cult, which he started along with some fellow classmates at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

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Check out the interview here!

An interview with artist Claudia Pe√Īa Salinas

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Check out my interview with Mexican artist¬†Claudia Pe√Īa Salinas, now up on makemag.com. She discusses some of her installation pieces, use of architectural space, self-published books, and fond memories of trips to the Art Institute of Chicago.

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99 Caribbean Sunsets Video Still 

An Interview with artist John Knuth

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As part of my internship for MAKE Literary Magazine this summer, I had the pleasure of interviewing L.A. artist, John Knuth. We talked about the process behind his famous fly paintings, in which flies defecate on a canvas, resulting in beautiful colorful, abstract paintings. We also discussed his smoke-flare paintings, what has influenced him as an artist, and his love for Chicago.

detail-3 Nothing Without Providence
David B. Smith Gallery
Denver, CO
2015

Check out the interview here!

Constructing Space in European Prints

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I took a class on The Invention and Revival of Prints, 1500-1900, this past Spring at the University of Chicago, and as part of the class we put together a small exhibition revolving around the theme of space. Our interest lied in the ways in which space can be created, exaggerated, and used to tell a narrative. We selected ten prints that we thought exemplified this theme, including works by D√ľrer, Piranesi, and Tissot. For the exhibit, I wrote two didactic labels, as well as the introductory text.

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It is now up at the Smart Museum on the University of Chicago campus.