Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nancy Grossman

* I was recently reminded of an artist who gained notoriety in the 1960s and 1970s: Nancy Grossman. While she has worked in sculpture and mixed media, it is her drawings that intrigue me, particularly her "Gunhead" images. Even though her work was created 30+ years ago, these drawings are relevant to the present day. These drawings make us confront the violence endemic to ourselves as individuals and as a society and how intimate we are with weapons and the destruction mindset. In our highly technological age we are so intimate with these weapons, we are practically conjoined to or hybridized with these weapons--at the same time our awareness to their effects is distanced and blinded. As we invent more destructive and complex weapons, we move further out from intimacy with the victims. A soldier can bomb a village or town from hundreds of miles away and never see a drop of blood. More than any other situation, war exhibits man's inhumanity to man. In light of current events, Grossman's drawings become more and more poignant.

Gunhead, lithography crayon on coated paper, 1975

Liliaceae, lithography crayon, graphite, wash and paper collage on paper, 1973

Hitman, lithography crayon, graphite, wash and paper collage on paper, 1973

Nancy Grossman's biography at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery in New York

Nancy Grossman on ArtNet

* Photo is by Richard Avedon. Nancy Grossman is on the right pictured with fellow artist Anita Siegel.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Art Minute from Richard Serra

Above: Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipse IV (1998) and Intersection II (1992) being installed in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at The Museum of Modern Art in preparation for "Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years" (June 3-September 10, 2007).

Music courtesy of I am Robot and Proud from the album Grace Days on Catmobile Records. For more information on I am Robot and Proud, please visit

© 2007 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Friday, May 11, 2007

OOPS! He Did it Again

Artist Daniel Edwards has created yet another controversial celebrity portrait. The most recent one was of Britney Spears giving birth to her son on a bear skin rug. The artist is represented by Capla Kesting Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Here are a series of articles on the latest piece, a "Plastered Paris" sculpture called The Paris Hilton Autopsy.

Capla Kesting Gallery Photo

Behold, The Paris Hilton Autopsy....

Reuters Photo

The artist has also created a "little shrine" to Red Sox player Ted Williams' head, and a portait bust of Hillary Clinton. I have to say that this guy is really starting to grow on me. What do you think? Are you offended? Why or why not? Are you acting offended but secretly (and somewhat guiltily) laughing? What kind of artist is Daniel Edwards? Please share.

A couple of short films:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sofa? Car?

Li Hui's piece Sofa? Car? appears in May's Art in America. It's his modified Fiat 126P with sofa that appeared in a Shanghai exhibition at Contrasts Gallery called "Crossover: Beyond Art and Design." Clever and fun! Perfect for the car lovin' couch potato!

Li Hui's biography at Artnet

An Original Poem by Me

As promised recently, I've decided to share a poem that I wrote with my seventh grade mind. The class at the time had to create a poetry journal that included freeverse/unmetered poems, freeverse/metered poems, sonnets, limericks, Haiku, and cinquain poems by various poets as well as our own original work under the same categories. I included work by the following poets in my journal: Carl Sandburg, William Carlos Williams, e.e. cummings, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Shiki, Basho, Daigaku Horiguchi, Okura, Shakespeare, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

My Freeverse/Unmetered Poem.....

Spring Garden

In the spring garden
Where the tulip grows
In the path beneath,
A girl is walking.

© Stephanie Lewis, 1985

* Look for more of my seventh grade poems in the future.

Learning to Appreciate Art

The Connoisseur, by Norman Rockwell,
oil on canvas mounted on board
(originally published on the cover of
The Saturday Evening Post,
January 13, 1962)

The top thing teachers want to accomplish during the course of a semester is to have the material they teach retained and preserved over time in the minds of their students. This semester, I put the following question on my Art Appreciation final.

Discuss five things about art/art history that you will take with you as a result of taking this course and discuss what is memorable about them.

I put the question on the test to not fish for compliments or engage in shameless self promotion, but to find out what students might say after a rather intensive semester of looking at and discussing 35,000 years of art in the equivalent of a blink of an eye in a standard semester. I put the question on the test to find out how individuals would be impressed by art. I put the question on the test to punctuate the semester and send them on their way with the question as the last topic of discussion. The following is a selection of insightful remarks from the class. The names are not listed to protect the privacy of the individuals.

The persecution of Christians, and the transition of catacombs to cathedrals is very memorable to me. It's amazing to think about how Christianity has changed throughout time. Before, people were worshipping and praying in dark, damp, smelly places such as catacombs. Christians really appreciated what they had. Then Christianity was o.k., and cathedrals flourished and Christians worshipped freely. I think ancient cathedrals are one of the most beautiful things on this earth. To think about how much time was spent making them so breath-taking with the resources they had is amazing. The artwork which was created in cathedrals is truly fascinating. After learning about the production of cathedrals, and the work put into them, it makes them even more memorable to me.|

[The last thing I would like to mention] is the necessity of art-- confirmed. I always knew life would be boring if art did not exist. But that's not true, life would lack a heartbeat.|

In the past, viewing an abstract piece I wouldn't have looked twice at it, thinking it was a ten-minute work that a famous guy did for a few thousand. While this class didn't make me fall in love with abstract art, or artists, it did help me realize there is a method to the madness, and went a long way to help me with my closed-mindedness.|

The thing I will take from the class forever is the way critics react to new ideas. So many artists that we now call "great" went unappreciated in their own time. The "pioneers" of a new movement were cast aside for more "traditional" works. If these people wanted to be pure traditionalists, they would only observe cave paintings, for art has done nothing but evolve and change (over) time. |

[The last idea I take away from this class] is the understanding of Hitler's artistic talent. Though not a world history class, I've learned a good deal about what drove the man.|

I love photography and enjoyed learning about the origin and progression of it. I never knew it wasn't considered art at one point! Also, it seemed crazy to me that artists were trying to make their photography look like paintings! |

Learning about so many artists and their style(s) really helped me distinguish what I like and don't like. I loved learning about the different artists' crazy lives and now I want to go buy works by some of them! |

...I realized how to appreciate art for what it is. Whether it's a cave painting, or Marcel Duchamp's Fountain it has an underlined meaning and should be appreciated. I will use this by NO ASSUMING (of) the meaning. |

[The fifth thing to take from this class] is the overall knowledge of art that I did not have or think I was interested in. I enjoyed going to the art exhibit in Springdale to see art that I would never have seen or been exposed to. Although I found it rahter weird, I was able to look at it with the knowledge of how it was made, what it was made of, and what the artist was trying to portray. |

[Second, the discussion and video around "Degenerate Art."] I had no idea that Hitler's intolerance extended beyond his hatred for ethnic groups, but even extended to expressions of art and and any art he deemed "degenerate." |

[Third], is the way art compliments nature. I typically thought of art as a portrait or sculpture, but didn not have the thought of art complimentary to nature as in Stonehenge. |

Another thing I will take is that women are not really talked about in art. An example, is the Guerrilla Girls--they were trying to be recognized and to this day, a lot of women artists are overlooked. |

I also learned about what the masters of the Renaissance were really about. I had heard of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Da Vinci, but I didn't know some of the magnificent things they were responsible for. For example, Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel is probably one of the prettiest things I have seen. |

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Download Gilbert and George's Artwork
by 5:30 p.m. Tomorrow (CST)

Here is the article.

Go here to download.

The artwork is a nine panel piece that you can print off of A4 size sheets and assemble yourself. Here is what you will get....


There is more on Gilbert & George here. Also, click here to read an article on G & G by renowned feminist Germaine Greer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Wild Bunch

The semester draws to a close. I met with my Introduction to Drawing class for the last time. Here is a picture of the Art Posse.

(l to r): Sheree Barnes, Katie Glenn, Jennifer Spain, Lindsey Rominger, Alex Garcia, Linda Luanglathay, Justin Mabie (back), Raul Bonilla (front), Margie Pritchett, Innie Stam, Olga Ledyan, Jesus Torres, and Michael Ferrell (not pictured: Denis Rubaloff and Claudia Lutzen)

Having this class has led me to reconsider my policy on coffee consumption. This group had a lot of energy for an 8:00 a.m. class, and I can only attribute it to the rush of trying to stay alive on 540 during morning rush hour and/or the consumption, en masse, of large quantities of java. Studio classes have a different dynamic than lecture classes. The group is more "in the trenches" as a team and lasting relationships are more likely to be formed. Feel free to visit my webpage of student work on the NWACC site to see some new images I've added from this class to my collection from over the years. Push the "play" button to view an automatic slide show. Here are some highlights:

View from the Lighthouse (An Homage to Picasso Project)
by Claudia Lutzen; watercolor

She Thinks She's Better (A Figure Drawing Project)
by Raul Bonilla; charcoal

Homage to Picasso Project by Innie Stam; colored pencil

Magritte Project by Lindsey Rominger; mixed media

Figure Drawing by Olga Ledyan; charcoal

Self-Portrait as a Simpson by Katie Glenn; acrylic

Self-Portrait by Sheree Barnes; acrylic

To see more pictures of the last day of class click on the NEWS page on my faculty webpage.