Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Art & Music

Having my arm in a sling has taken me out of the studio for a while. I've spent a lot of time reading and listening to music. Both activities are generating ideas, making me want to get to the studio even more.

I've been fascinated with Morton Feldman's music and how many of his ideas grew out of his associations with with members of the New York School. He was a very close friend of Philip Guston and composed two pieces titled For Philip Guston, the second one lasting over 4 hours. One of his first breaks in the music world came when Jackson Pollock asked him to compose the score for the famous short film about Pollock from the early 50's. Other works include a shorter pieces For Franz Kline and the gorgeous Rothko Chapel which was commissioned by the Menils to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the chapel in Houston. Feldman was committed to abstraction in music, painting and all other art forms. This commitment caused a premanent rift with Guston as the painter began to re-introduce objects into his work during his last decade.

Every artist I know is deeply interested in music though usually rock, not modern concert music. In writing the catalog Material World, I described one artist's work as sharing qualities with the musician Brian Eno. Since Eno is one of my all time favorite artists, this was a very positive remark.

A number of musicians are also serious visual artists. Eno has created numerous video and light installations. David Byrne of Talking Heads has worked in photography, film and installation. Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) quit music all together to concentrate on his painting for the last 20+ years of his life.

I'll be exploring the subject more thoroughly in future posts.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Well, its a game actually. Earlier today I was discussing with another artist about how our childhoods may have played a role in our work. I remembered a game my family had in the early 70's called Masterpiece. My memory was you bought and sold art- knowing that you were selling a forgery or a Masterpiece. What was really cool was the game came with a lot of postcard images of real art- in our case, the work all was part of the collection of the Chicago Institute (no I don't remember this fact, I just looked it up). Even at that early age, I was drawn to the contemporary works more than the old masters. I think it would be cool to have a 2011 version but the $1m top value would simply be the entry level work.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Material World is Winding Down

This great show has closed and tomorrow we take down the work. It is always a little sad to take down a good show and this is no exception. I've learned a lot through the process of putting this exhibit together. As in most endeavors, clear communication must be a key element if you are looking to be as successful as possible. This will be a top priority for me as I look to continue curating shows.

The three key retail elements - Location, Location and Location certainly came into play. I admit, I assumed we would get people to come out to Hyattsville to see a show with so many top DMV artists but attendance at the opening and the gallery talks was good but not great.

I put a lot of effort into documentation and the show will live on with through the online catalog.

I appreciate the efforts of all the artists (Marie Ringwald, Matthew Langley, Michael Janis, Katherine Mann, Sherill Anne Gross and J.T. Kirkland) along with the help of my wife Lori Anne (editing and great general support) and my daughter Heather for video duties. Thanks again to Jesse Cohen and Fine Arts Ventures/artdc for the opportunity to mount this fantastic show.