gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: Art

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 Cantú IVMarcos

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Maclovio Cantú 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

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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 Peña Salinas

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Check out my interview with Mexican artist Claudia Peña 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 Dürer, 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.

An afternoon at the Barnes

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On a recent visit to Philadelphia, my first visit actually, I went to the Barnes Foundation to fulfill my art lover’s instinct. The Barnes is a very unique place where art is displayed in the most unusual way. It’s not like when you walk into the Art Institute of Chicago or the MET in New York City, where the art is hung at eye-level, typically with individual works lined up parallel to one another. At the Barnes, the art is displayed in a way that can be overwhelming, as there may be upwards of 100-200 works in a small room, virtually one on top of the other. Furthermore, there are paintings, drawings, metalworks, and pieces of furniture all mixed together, often from very different time periods and of very different subject matters. The collector and founder of the museum, Albert C. Barnes, was interested in displaying art according to line, texture, and color rather than according artist, time period, or subject matter. The result – the intriguing experience that is a trip to the Barnes.

Not only is the art displayed in an unusual way, there are no didactic labels informing the viewer of the artist, title, or background information. There are, however, booklets in each room that outline what each work is according to a diagram. Referring to the booklets as you browse through the galleries is like embarking upon a scavenger hunt or navigating through a maze. While the booklets are helpful in informing you what the works are, not having didactic labels next to each individual work forces you to evaluate the work based on its aesthetics alone, rather than its prestige and who it’s by. In this way, the works of art are on the same playing field, as opposed to arranged hierarchically based on the artist’s reputation.

A visit to the Barnes is essential if you’re ever in Philly, and I definitely plan on going back the next time I find myself there.

Paris, the center of the world

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“Foreigners belong in France because they have always been here and did what they had to do there and remained foreigners there. Of course they all came to France, a great many to paint pictures. So it begins to be reasonable that the 20th century needed the background of Paris, the place where tradition was so firm that they could let anyone have the emotion of unreality. Paris was where the 20th century was.” – Gertrude Stein

Experiences as works of art

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John Dewey believes that certain extraordinary experiences can be works of art – the kinds of experiences that make us feel completely in the moment and that are really memorable. I have to agree with him because there are certain experiences that stand apart from others because there is a certain feeling of genuineness about them – things like a Sunday drive or an outing to a place you’ve never been before that you end up thoroughly enjoying even though you had no expectations.

Many of the experiences that we have on a day-to-day basis do not possess an extraordinary quality. However, some experiences seem to evolve in a way that is very satisfying to us and perhaps we learn something from the experience that helps us makes sense of our lives or enlightens us in some way, giving us direction.

Likewise, many things in life are constantly evolving, which is why it is so important for us to fully immerse ourselves in an experience so that we do not miss the evolution of the experience. Dewey argues that it is when we are fully immersed in an experience that we are living most artfully. If one focuses on an experience and becomes part of the experience and directly involved with it, rather than standing outside the experience looking in on it, one can have a truly magnificent experience. On the other hand, if one goes through life not paying much attention to his experiences, therefore preventing the possibility of an extraordinary experience, this would be an indifferent stance toward life and not recommended by Dewey, or myself. Clearly, the former attempt of truly immersing oneself in an experience in order to have a unique, extraordinary experience is the better path through life, as it is richer and more fulfilling. 

Brilliance meets unpleasantness

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The truth is, brilliant people are usually not very pleasant. It just goes with the territory. There is a certain level of anti-socialness, rudeness, and ruthlessness that goes along with people who are very intelligent, intellectual, or gifted in a certain area. Their talent seems to give them a bit of an excuse to be unpleasant, however frustrating it is for those around them. Examples that come to mind are authors, artists, and world changers such as Jean Paul Sartre, Vincent Van Gogh, and Martin Luther King. Should their brilliance give them an excuse to be unpleasant? My immediate answer is no, but then I wonder if it’s something that they can help or not. Maybe because they are so brilliant they just can’t help but be unpleasant because the world disgusts them so much. It’s like they are too good for the world. So how do we appreciate them for their skills and accomplishments despite their unpleasantness? It’s not easy and requires a tremendous amount of patience, but if we can recognize their passion and rare talent, we can begin to respect and appreciate them.