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Category Archives: Art

And so begins the summer shows. You spend this time catching up on fall seasons or just tolerating the summer seasons until the season premiere of “Glee.” Well, maybe that’s just me, but other than “Mad Men,” there’s not much to look forward to until fall. So, I watched the premiere of Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” with much skepticism.

The show is the same premise as “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” except with fine artists with varying specialties.

Here’s how it goes:

  • The artists get a challenge that they get about day and a half to complete.
  • Their projects go up in the gallery where the judges and some selected or general public view the work.
  • Someone gets picked as the best and they get immunity and someone gets kicked off.

Whoever wins the whole enchilada goes home with $100 grand from Prismacolor and their own solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. Sweet, no?

Being the art school kid, my first thought about this show was, “How can they make art a competition?” “Who are these snobs to say what’s good and what’s not?”

But how hypocritical of me. I get graded for art, be it writing or graphic design, all the time. And if I’ve learned anything in school, it’s that there is good art and there is bad art. Art should communicate and make you feel something, or nothing, if that’s what was intended. So, I gave it a chance, and I’ll be damned if I’m not hooked.

Contestants range from a grey-haired cooky landlord to an untrained amateur filmmaker.

Judges: Jeanne Rohalyn, Simon de Pury (the Tim Gunn of the show), China Chow, Bill Powers and Jerry Saltz

Executive Producer and art-enthusiast Sarah Jessica Parker encouraged the artists, “Be brave, be competitive, be yourself.”

My favorite artists to watch (not my favorite artists, just the best to watch):

Miles

Miles is a young art student from the University of Minnesota. He wears his shirts inside out, his hair is often disheveled; he wears art school like he owns it. Yeah, OK, he’s a bit of a heartthrob. Don’t let the photo fool you though, he’s got some massive bags under his eyes. (Still cute though.)

I’m no doctor, but Miles’ OCD is probably the cause of these premature puffy eyes. Miles loses sleep over it. In the last challenge, contestants had to make a sculpture from found objects—a junkyard of old technology. Overwhelmed by the site and the urge to organize every piece of it by date, he just slept while he was supposed to be getting supplies.

But he knows how to make a dark room in hours and use every material you’d ever need which has helped him win the past two challenges.

Judith

I can’t be sure of her exact age, but she could be a grandparent of several of the contestants. Still, she’s on her game—a game she’s been playing for a while and doesn’t intend on changing.

She’s stuck in her ways, as outrageous as they may be, and she isn’t budging for anyone. She’s not hard on hearing, but critiques seem to go on deaf ears. Established as she may be, she’s a bad sport.

Erik

Erik’s only evidence of artistic experience in the public’s eye is his short film “The Ghost of Christmas Presents” at the Cannes Film Festival. His work is dark despite his constant smile.

His work has that kind of got that misunderstood teenage angst about it, but he’s no teenager. I’m rooting for him, but in the first episode as part of the bottom three in the competition, he used his inexperience as a crutch.

Nao

She’s the loud-mouthed curvy performance artist with attitude and an opinion on everything—the only opinion. She got put in her place in the first episode when her high-concept portrait of Miles. Too high-concept for anyone to understand…or like. Her motto: “I’m not responsible for your experience of my work.”

But does this show contradict the point of art?

Fine art has always had this reputation as being a secret for the elite. Even with the greats, Basquiat, Warhol, Pollock, it’s all about being in the circle, being able to afford the circle…or so it seems. It’s an underground sensation of what’s new, what hasn’t been done, but it’s not underground–it’s everywhere.

Art is communication.

Is fine art being exploited by putting it on reality television? Is this the last stop on the way to some sort of Big Brother TV generation? Or is this just the exposure the art world needs? Maybe now, people will get it, or try to. If nothing else, realize there’s not as much to get.

People who don’t think art is a competition are fooling themselves. Everything is a competition, it’s just a matter of whether you acknowledge it. Trust me, if money is involved, you have an opponent.

Wednesdays at 10/9c “Work of Art” comes on Bravo. The first two episode have aired, but Bravo tends to play them often. I recommend it.

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And so begins the summer shows. You spend this time catching up on fall seasons or just tolerating the summer seasons until the season premiere of “Glee.” Well, maybe that’s just me, but other than “Mad Men,” there’s not much to look forward to until fall. So, I watched the premiere of Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” with much skepticism.

The show is the same premise as “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” except with fine artists with varying specialties.

Here’s how it goes:

  • The artists get a challenge that they get about day and a half to complete.
  • Their projects go up in the gallery where the judges and some selected or general public view the work.
  • Someone gets picked as the best and they get immunity and someone gets kicked off.

Whoever wins the whole enchilada goes home with $100 grand from Prismacolor and their own solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. Sweet, no?

Being the art school kid, my first thought about this show was, “How can they make art a competition?” “Who are these snobs to say what’s good and what’s not?”

But how hypocritical of me. I get graded for art, be it writing or graphic design, all the time. And if I’ve learned anything in school, it’s that there is good art and there is bad art. Art should communicate and make you feel something, or nothing, if that’s what was intended. So, I gave it a chance, and I’ll be damned if I’m not hooked.

Contestants range from a grey-haired cooky landlord to an untrained amateur filmmaker.

Judges: Jeanne Rohalyn, Simon de Pury (the Tim Gunn of the show), China Chow, Bill Powers and Jerry Saltz

Executive Producer and art-enthusiast Sarah Jessica Parker encouraged the artists, “Be brave, be competitive, be yourself.”

My favorite artists to watch (not my favorite artists, just the best to watch):

Miles

Miles is a young art student from the University of Minnesota. He wears his shirts inside out, his hair is often disheveled; he wears art school like he owns it. Yeah, OK, he’s a bit of a heartthrob. Don’t let the photo fool you though, he’s got some massive bags under his eyes. (Still cute though.)

I’m no doctor, but Miles’ OCD is probably the cause of these premature puffy eyes. Miles loses sleep over it. In the last challenge, contestants had to make a sculpture from found objects—a junkyard of old technology. Overwhelmed by the site and the urge to organize every piece of it by date, he just slept while he was supposed to be getting supplies.

But he knows how to make a dark room in hours and use every material you’d ever need which has helped him win the past two challenges.

Judith

I can’t be sure of her exact age, but she could be a grandparent of several of the contestants. Still, she’s on her game—a game she’s been playing for a while and doesn’t intend on changing.

She’s stuck in her ways, as outrageous as they may be, and she isn’t budging for anyone. She’s not hard on hearing, but critiques seem to go on deaf ears. Established as she may be, she’s a bad sport.

Erik

Erik’s only evidence of artistic experience in the public’s eye is his short film “The Ghost of Christmas Presents” at the Cannes Film Festival. His work is dark despite his constant smile.

His work has that kind of got that misunderstood teenage angst about it, but he’s no teenager. I’m rooting for him, but in the first episode as part of the bottom three in the competition, he used his inexperience as a crutch.

Nao

She’s the loud-mouthed curvy performance artist with attitude and an opinion on everything—the only opinion. She got put in her place in the first episode when her high-concept portrait of Miles. Too high-concept for anyone to understand…or like. Her motto: “I’m not responsible for your experience of my work.”

But does this show contradict the point of art?

Fine art has always had this reputation as being a secret for the elite. Even with the greats, Basquiat, Warhol, Pollock, it’s all about being in the circle, being able to afford the circle…or so it seems. It’s an underground sensation of what’s new, what hasn’t been done, but it’s not underground–it’s everywhere.

Art is communication.

Is fine art being exploited by putting it on reality television? Is this the last stop on the way to some sort of Big Brother TV generation? Or is this just the exposure the art world needs? Maybe now, people will get it, or try to. If nothing else, realize there’s not as much to get.

People who don’t think art is a competition are fooling themselves. Everything is a competition, it’s just a matter of whether you acknowledge it. Trust me, if money is involved, you have an opponent.

Wednesdays at 10/9c “Work of Art” comes on Bravo. The first two episode have aired, but Bravo tends to play them often. I recommend it.

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This summer, since I will not have endless imminent deadlines and projects to turn in, I have to find a hobby. I’ve had a lot so far, but never gotten far past amateur with any of them: oil painting, jewelry making, cooking, My next amateur endeavor is going to be encaustic painting.

It’s a process of painting with hot colored beeswax. A lot of people pay a fee in a studio when they’re getting started. Buying all the supplies can be pricey, but if you plan on doing it for a while, it’s worth it.

From what I understand, you need different colors of wax, a wax hotplate thing, and whatever you are painting on.

I’m sure there are many more intricacies I will find out along the way. In a few mere months, I just might be an encaustic Picasso or da Vinci.

In one of my first posts, I mentioned wanting to become a culinary artist or a tattoo artist, if not a writer. Well, I’ve been writing, but neglecting my other passions. I was thinking about what kind of chef I would be if I took up cooking.

Probably smack dab in  the middle of these two:

Liquid Nitrogen Capirihna by Chef Jose Andres

Paula Deen's "brunch hurger"

I don’t know what that top thing is, but it looks cool. Jose Andres got a spread in GQ’s “Men of the Year” issue for his success in culinary arts–and I do mean arts. He’s always experimenting and tampering with dishes until his customers begin complaining that they like it and he should just leave it alone. His restaurant is one where you get 10-30 courses. Each one, just a bite…or less.

Yes it’s very beautiful, and I’m sure dinner at his place is an experience, but I’m afraid it veers too close toward an experiement.

Mrs. Paula Deen however has some guarantees: lots of fat, lots of butter and lots more butter. Something about two Krisy Kreme doughnuts sandwiching a hunk of meat and  an egg, doesn’t say home cooking. It says heart attack.

I would make food attractive, but comforting. Healthy, but indulgent. Sophisticated but fun.

But maybe not that fun.

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Even though I’m fully aware of what you can to in Photoshop to make someone twenty pounds lighter here and take out  a blemish there, sometimes more than that is done, and with a barrage of media flashed in my face, I admit that everytime I see the cover of a magazine, or a billboard, my first thought is not always, “Well that must be fake.”

Last year in France and the UK, politicians wanted to regulate the use of alterations made with the use of Photoshop. French parliamentarian Valerié Boyer suggested putting  a label on the image.

“Swinson’s proposal doesn’t yet have an enforcement suggestion, but it does have a rating system: images would be rated on a scale of one to four, with one being simple enhancements such as lighting adjustments, and four being major digital surgery such as bulking up Gordon Brown to Rambo-level buffness.” (The Register)

This is not just triggered by the recent fad of brutal reality, it’s all about the kids. A teenage girl sees how thin a celebrity is or  flawless their skin is and by trying attain that is like trying to attain the impossible. Here’s a somewhat mind-blowing video. There is nudity, but don’t be offended. It’s just pixels people.

This is stuff you can do with Photoshop CS3 and CS4, so with CS5 and the content aware tool, are we going to believe anything we’re seeing? Is it fiction photography?  The technology is great, but when covers of the same person in the same year look completely different, design seems to veer into the territority of morality.

Madonna is a pop goddess, so they can’t have ner published looking like the grim reaper.

Scary, huh?

Art is coming into this new genre of re-appropriating. Maybe along with that is he art of digital retouching. There are whole firms with this sole purpose and they have laundry lists of celebrity clients that won’t let a photo be published until they’re personal retoucher has done their nips and tucks.

France is onto something. The legalities are still up in the air, but making a sort of warning label on drastically altered photos would change the world of photography, graphic design, advertising and publishing–or so you would think. But the surgeon general’s warning on cigarettes didn’t eliminate smoking.

Is it art, or just a false reality? Is the real art to be found in the beauty of reality? Personally, I think clone stamping a blemish or erasing some distracting frizzy hairs, is nothing to feel guilty about, but when things are being altered to make people look anatomically questionable, then there is an issue.

If you don’t know, I love GQ magazine. Yes I know it’s a men’s magazine. Yes I know I’m not a man nor do I want to be. I’m not a tomboy, I’m straight and I like girly things, I just also like GQ. Here’s why:

  • It’s well-designed.
  • There are good articles.
  • There are great photos
  • There are hot men on the covers.
  • I LOVE the letters from the editor.

Also, most women’s magazines have at least one headline on the cover advertising a crash diet or making yourself look younger or your hair shinier, which I find distracting and depressing. Also, the celebrity articles tend to be written from the angle of paparazzi instead of a  journalist.

Anyway, I want to share some blurbs from one  of my favorite things I’ve read in the magazine. It’s an open letter that snuck in on the last page. It’s called “Dear (Possibly Doomed) Class 2010.”

We’re all on our way to graduation, and people are suggesting to stay in school because the job market sucks. If you want more schooling, fine, but if you’re trying to avoid facing the cutthroat world of classifieds, it seems like you’re just delaying the inevitable and racking up more student debt in the process. That’s where I stand and here’s where GQ stands (It’s quite a bit of text, but trust me, it’s worth it):

“Well, you finally made it. You graduated! You spent four years (or eight, or ten–no judgments!) and eleventy billion dollars of your parents’ money, and now you’re a bunch of learned-ass adults. Or maybe you just spent five minutes on the University of Phoenix Web site, clicked ‘print diploma’ and went downstairs to do a couple of pre-Family Guy bong rips, because hangin’ out on the quad with a bunch of losers doesn’t fit into your life-plan right this second.

………..

“Now for the bad news. You’re joining the workforce in the middle of a jobless recovery, which is basically the O’Doul’s of economic rallies. It’s  no picnic out here. Or, okay, it’s a picnic, but it’s a Cormac McCarthy The Road type of picnic, there’s not enough canned peaches in the shopping cart, and everybody’s calling dibs on the one bullet. And also there are fire ants.

Mighty institutions people once took for granted–banks, newspapers, American Idol–are crumbling, and while most of them deserve to, the problem with a world without mighty institutions is that mighty institutions used to employ a lot of people. You could always get The Man to finance your lifestyle. No more. That unpaid internship you’ve got your eye on? Be prepared to flight somebody for it. Possibly your dad.

………..

“Frankly we’re wondering if you guys are going to be able to handle Malaise 2.0. Most of you were born in 1988, which means you were 3 years old when Nevermind came out (which makes us 826). You’ve never known hardship. ..You’ve also never lives in a world without Intenet, which means you’ve grown up with an exaggerated sense of your own self-importance…you posted ‘response’ videos on YouTube; poured out your every typeable thought on a  glittering, blinking MySpace page.

You had access to all the machinery of self-promotion before you really had a self. You thought of fame as a birthright.  And now you’ve been booted into a world that will LOL at your sense of awesome-life-entitlement, then offer to ‘hire’ you to blog for free.

………..

“We know how we sound, Oh-Tenners. We sounds old. Carson Daly old. Eddie Vedder old. And jealous. We did not, after all, actually graduate from college. We went, and then we went less often, and then we decided we were finished…But once we made that decision, we set about starting a life, secure in the knowledge that–because we’d never actually done anything–no one gave a crap about us or our burning conviction that we were too good to make some dude’s latte.

We advise you to proceed under the same assumption, graduates. Having a thousand Facebook friends means about as much in 2010 as a personalized-license-plate key chain meant in 1990. We live in a moment when anybody can make a name for themselves; the game you’re suiting up for is about making  that name matter.”


There have been many disputes about the entitlement generation with our iPhones and our constant Googling. Well here’s the long and short of it: Every generation will attempt to make information, transportation and communication more instantaneous and accessible. Whether with the invention of the iPhone, the Internet, the mobile phone, the car, even the written word, we’re all trying to move things along, and why shouldn’t we?

Do we feel entitled? To a certain extent, yes. But are we apathetic? Are we lazy? Do we have a superiority complex? I think not. When we feel we are entitled to certain technology, certain information, or (in the art world) certain design that isn’t available, we think, “How can we make it better?” “How can we make the things we want and need?” And that’s the start of progress.

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If you don’t know, I love GQ magazine. Yes I know it’s a men’s magazine. Yes I know I’m not a man nor do I want to be. I’m not a tomboy, I’m straight and I like girly things, I just also like GQ. Here’s why:

  • It’s well-designed.
  • There are good articles.
  • There are great photos
  • There are hot men on the covers.
  • I LOVE the letters from the editor.

Also, most women’s magazines have at least one headline on the cover advertising a crash diet or making yourself look younger or your hair shinier, which I find distracting and depressing. Also, the celebrity articles tend to be written from the angle of paparazzi instead of a  journalist.

Anyway, I want to share some blurbs from one  of my favorite things I’ve read in the magazine. It’s an open letter that snuck in on the last page. It’s called “Dear (Possibly Doomed) Class 2010.”

We’re all on our way to graduation, and people are suggesting to stay in school because the job market sucks. If you want more schooling, fine, but if you’re trying to avoid facing the cutthroat world of classifieds, it seems like you’re just delaying the inevitable and racking up more student debt in the process. That’s where I stand and here’s where GQ stands (It’s quite a bit of text, but trust me, it’s worth it):

“Well, you finally made it. You graduated! You spent four years (or eight, or ten–no judgments!) and eleventy billion dollars of your parents’ money, and now you’re a bunch of learned-ass adults. Or maybe you just spent five minutes on the University of Phoenix Web site, clicked ‘print diploma’ and went downstairs to do a couple of pre-Family Guy bong rips, because hangin’ out on the quad with a bunch of losers doesn’t fit into your life-plan right this second.

………..

“Now for the bad news. You’re joining the workforce in the middle of a jobless recovery, which is basically the O’Doul’s of economic rallies. It’s  no picnic out here. Or, okay, it’s a picnic, but it’s a Cormac McCarthy The Road type of picnic, there’s not enough canned peaches in the shopping cart, and everybody’s calling dibs on the one bullet. And also there are fire ants.

Mighty institutions people once took for granted–banks, newspapers, American Idol–are crumbling, and while most of them deserve to, the problem with a world without mighty institutions is that mighty institutions used to employ a lot of people. You could always get The Man to finance your lifestyle. No more. That unpaid internship you’ve got your eye on? Be prepared to flight somebody for it. Possibly your dad.

………..

“Frankly we’re wondering if you guys are going to be able to handle Malaise 2.0. Most of you were born in 1988, which means you were 3 years old when Nevermind came out (which makes us 826). You’ve never known hardship. ..You’ve also never lives in a world without Intenet, which means you’ve grown up with an exaggerated sense of your own self-importance…you posted ‘response’ videos on YouTube; poured out your every typeable thought on a  glittering, blinking MySpace page.

You had access to all the machinery of self-promotion before you really had a self. You thought of fame as a birthright.  And now you’ve been booted into a world that will LOL at your sense of awesome-life-entitlement, then offer to ‘hire’ you to blog for free.

………..

“We know how we sound, Oh-Tenners. We sounds old. Carson Daly old. Eddie Vedder old. And jealous. We did not, after all, actually graduate from college. We went, and then we went less often, and then we decided we were finished…But once we made that decision, we set about starting a life, secure in the knowledge that–because we’d never actually done anything–no one gave a crap about us or our burning conviction that we were too good to make some dude’s latte.

We advise you to proceed under the same assumption, graduates. Having a thousand Facebook friends means about as much in 2010 as a personalized-license-plate key chain meant in 1990. We live in a moment when anybody can make a name for themselves; the game you’re suiting up for is about making  that name matter.”


There have been many disputes about the entitlement generation with our iPhones and our constant Googling. Well here’s the long and short of it: Every generation will attempt to make information, transportation and communication more instantaneous and accessible. Whether with the invention of the iPhone, the Internet, the mobile phone, the car, even the written word, we’re all trying to move things along, and why shouldn’t we?

Do we feel entitled? To a certain extent, yes. But are we apathetic? Are we lazy? Do we have a superiority complex? I think not. When we feel we are entitled to certain technology, certain information, or (in the art world) certain design that isn’t available, we think, “How can we make it better?” “How can we make the things we want and need?” And that’s the start of progress.

Tags: , , , , , ,