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Understanding Art and the Art World
Understanding Art and the Art World


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The Future of Art.

Legitimate art forms today such as abstract art; tattoos; computer-generated art; shock-value art; graffiti are often just “surface art”. Art mimics the sign of the times we currently live in. A comparison would be like the line on an EKG that goes straight when there is no life left. We have leveled the “playing field” with art that is mostly surface and no depth.

Our very culture has become “surface”. Mitch Albom, a noted author and radio personality in the Detroit area was at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem believed to be where Christ was crucified.  Mick Jagger walked in and people were more interested in photographing Mick rather than be in awe of the area they came to visit.

Art creations can have beautiful colors, designs and clever juxtapositions but where is the depth of meaning? Tattooing, done on the surface is a good example of art with no depth. It may have some meaning for the owner but it doesn’t go into a deeper realm for others. My question is: Where is art going to go in the future?
It is rather obvious that art will evolve somewhere. Usually the opposite of what is current today. Sooner or later depth of meaning will come back into play. Art will once again say something beyond a glossy cover.

An example of in-depth art is attached - Salvador Dali’s “Santiago El Grande”.
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Is modern painting as a serious art form dead? This was a topic of discussion on a LinkedIn web site recently and the answer is-- in some venues, yes. The good news is that out of these ashes, clear, meaningful art will arise.

Art in major galleries today is suffering like a drug and/or alcohol addict. It’s addictive to get a lot of publicity for creating off-the-wall works. Sometimes these “addicts” have to hit rock bottom before climbing out of the abyss. Rock Bottom is definitely here.

In New York at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) there is a show of disparate works, Alibis, by Sigmar Polke. He states “ Art is Lies. Lies are art, Right?” He strove to have “no meaning” in his art. He succeeded.  His works do not draw one in. One doesn’t know where to look. One can easily breeze right by his massive amount of work.

In an odd way Polke’s work relates to a show at the Asia Society in NY, “Golden Visions of Densatil” The Communists, attempting to destroy all art, literally obliterated the Densatil Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in their cultural revolution.  Fortunately, photos of the Monastery before the destruction show the art. It was like looking into a home on the TV show “Hoarders”. Chaos reigned with hundreds of pieces of art jammed together and stacked at least 10 feet high or higher in the monastery. Again, one does not know where to look. However, some of the art from Densatil was rescued and brought together for a show at the Asia Society. Here the works were separated, each one given a chance to breathe and be viewed separately. In this setting they are more meaningful and one is drawn to take a closer look.

This is where art is going. Rising from the ashes, look for art that is clear and meaningful. Even if one doesn’t understand the work one should have a sense that the artist is trying to say SOMETHING.
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“Inner Landscape”
3rd Annual Spring Group Art Exhibition 
Ecumenical Center for Art and Spirituality
St. Francis Retreat Center
DeWitt, MI

May 4 - June 12, 2014       

This juried art exhibit explores the idea of how our inner self is related to a “landscape” that is in one’s mind. 

An inner landscape is a place of refuge we create in our minds. Although it looks different for each individual, all inner landscapes have this in common: they are a place of power and a place of peace. There was a large variety of media: a water scene, tapestries, a woodcarving, poetry, a construction plus oils, watercolors and photography.

I enjoyed Cindy Evans peaceful watercolor, “Gone Fishin’  and Brad VanderMoere’s oil, “What Was, Is and Is to be”. The light emanating from his egg form really DOES emanate light. A power shows even from it’s small size.

The most eye-catching work was  “Three Muses for Belles” by Christine Hampton. Three large (4ft-5ft tall) figures of women were made out of recycled materials. They included hula hoops, window screening; packaging material, pvc pipe, flanges, a microphone stand; newspaper, and more.  The most interesting effect was the “beautiful necklaces” (see photo below) on each woman cut out from paper doilies and painted gold. I sensed an edginess to these works rather than “power” or “peace”.

Another point is that large works of art (anything over 3’ x 4’) need room in order for the gallery goer to be able to stand back and view adequately.  It is difficult to get a sense of the meaning of a large work when it is hung in a narrow hallway.

Coming up next week: Entering Juried Art Shows
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EVERYWOMAN Arts Exhibition 
Center for the Education of Women
4th Floor Rackham Building
University of Michigan

March 3 - May 23, 2014       
Ann Arbor, MI

This invitational art exhibit is celebrating the 50th Anniversary for the Center for the Education of Women. It is at the Rackham Graduate School on the campus of the University of Michigan. 

What is interesting is that 6 of the 20 artists invited for this show are men. Their takes on the feminine are worth trucking up the stairs to the fourth floor to view. (The elevator takes too long!)

The works as a whole show the high quality and diversity of everyone chosen for this Art Show. However, the oval 3 dimensional background of a work “Equestrian” an archival inkjet print by Morgan Barrie, overwhelms the clever juxtaposition of the woman in front of a saddle. 

Other works that also stand out are an abstract “Garden of Women and Children” by Stephen Fessler; a beautiful ink on paper “Flight to Freedom” by Barbara Murphy and a modern ‘Mona Lisa’ smile in a photo “Coppermine Worker, Myanmar” by Nancy Hopwood- a world-wide traveler. See the attached photo.

Coming up next week will be a review of the art exhibition “Inner Landscape”, the 3rd Annual Spring Group Art Exhibition, St. Francis Center, DeWitt, MI.
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Mission Art and Music - 2014
First Presbyterian Church
300 E. Grand River,  Brighton, MI
March 16, 2014  - May 10, 2014

This is a very nice show for artists run by  the First Presbyterian 
Church as a fund raiser for their Guatemalan Mission efforts. No entry fee is a plus feature, practically unheard of, and they only take 20﹪if you sell a work which they send to their Guatemalan Mission.

The award winners were: Lawrence Falardeau - “Gathering of Souls”; Sandy Hanert - “Pond Reflections”; Jon Nelson, “Cloud Forest Children” and Over All Best of Show went to Dean Rogers for “Flight Plans”

I enjoyed “You are the Light #2” - a shadow weave work by Gisela Bosch, “Verdant Pond ” by Sandy Hanert and a giclee work, “Approaching Spring” by Phil Gibbon.

A BONUS at the reception was the entertainment choreographed by Lori Fithian of Drummunity of Ann Arbor, MI, ( a percussion performance done by anyone who was at the reception.  There were Seniors, Moms and Dads, Teenagers, and even small Children. It was truly amazing to see this multi-generational group, without any expertise, following Lori as she led them through many different rhythms using drums, and other things one can bang on.  I even saw what looked like pieces of corrugated piping (a smaller version of what you buy for your downspouts) that was available to run a stick along it’s side. Anything to make noise!

For more information contact Gisela Bosch - 
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Whether at a prestigious art museum, local library or place of worship, art can be found everywhere. But what makes one piece better or different from another?

Price and name recognition are the least important variables. Anywhere there is an art showing, find at least one art piece that you relate to. If you find several works of art, eliminate until you get down to one or two. 

Jury Fine Art like a professional
 by asking yourself these questions:

1. Is the work Fine Art? Fine art here is defined as an oil, watercolor, acrylic or other media on canvas, paper or other background. (Other legitimate art forms which I may talk about later are sculpture, crafts, illustrations, prints, photos, projected art, giclee and/or computer generated art.)

2. Is the work thought-provoking? Does it engage your mind? (*See Henri Matisse - “Dessert: Harmony in Red” -  Hermitage Museum.)

3. Is the design pleasing to your eye? 
       ( *See Charles Demuth -”Zinnias and a Blue Dish with Lemons” - National Gallery of  Art.)

4. Is the work seducing you? Do you feel compelled to go back for a second look?   Does it   still appear fresh? Have a spark? (*See Giovanna Garzoni - “Figs Bowl”  
privately owned.)

5. Does the work reveal more the second time around? (*See Helen Frankenthaler-“The Bay” - Detroit Institute of Arts.)

6.   Would you like to own it?  If so, then this will become an investment instead of a simple purchase if it meets the above criteria.

Tip: I always look for something unique=slightly out of place. (*See  René Magritte- “The Field Glass” - The Menil Collection - Houston, Texas

(*These works can be looked up on Google.)
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