Feb 292024
 

The National Museum is a public art project founded and curated by Jon Rubin and presented by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Different artists are invited to change the name of the museum and an essay is written using the title as a jumping off point. The first iteration is by artist and writer Pablo Helguera.

About the project from Jon Rubin’s website

The National Museum repeatedly asks which stories, histories and futures are deemed worth saving and which are ignored or forgotten. Each month, a different artist is invited to change the name of the museum and a national writer is invited to use that museum title as the jumping off point for an essay. In its first year, the project currently consists of storefront signage, street posters, printed broadsheets, a website and monthly accompanying essays.

When a name starts with “The National Museum” it triggers contentious and political associations with borders, nationhood, even citizenship and belonging. Who gets to determine the belonging of an entire group of people bound only by the fact of their geographical location. There’s something absurd about that, if you think about it. Instead of claiming ownership over a diverse populous or even a disparate set of objects, can the notion of the “national” be rethought as something that is less tangible, less object-oriented?

There is a fundamental hubris and absurdity in calling something, anything, a museum, let alone The National Museum. But, in many ways, it’s really no different than any other museum that someone, usually with far more money, privilege, and power than any of my artist peers or myself, has simply made up. So, in a way, the project functions as a kind of loophole or work-around, a participatory fiction that allows a variety of artists to put forth an ongoing series of grand propositions, a theoretical institution that repeatedly brings into question the certainty and reality of our pre-existing institutions.

The National Museum elucidates how museums, especially national ones, are perhaps no different than the nation-states in which they reside. Each is an imagined political construct, a collective fiction used to collect, categorize, narrativize, and control. Throughout modern history museums have used the collections they steward and the stories they tell to validate extractive legacies of colonialism. And, although our current museums, both national and private, are staffed by people with experience in the arts and humanities, the ultimate decision-makers in many of these institutions are wealthy donors and trustees who derive financial benefits from, and exert ideological control over, the fundamental mission of museums. So, while the general public think museums are nominally for “everyone,” the truth is that they are delimited by economic, geographic, racial, and cultural boundaries that restrict their function, design, and access to select publics.

Pablo Helguera’s essay on building façades as art and metaphor, Creditable Unrealities, is included on the broadsheet for the project (as well as his Substack Beautiful Eccentrics) and is a highly enjoyable read.

It includes this passage on how he came up with his name for the museum-

“Ultimately, I reasoned that façades are  the most direct indicator of the time when they were built:  they are the things that we try to use as visual reference to identify a city we know in a historic photograph; they are time markers. And when it comes to museums, they traditionally seek to project timelessness, especially those august institutions whose neoclassic façades promise a container of art for the ages. So I thought that this façade should be the threshold not of art history but of our own awareness of that history and our minuscule place in it, knowing that the present that we are living so vividly will soon wash away, largely unimportant within the broader scope of human life. In 2001, doing research on people who consumed ecstasy, I was struck by the effect that their drug had in some people’s temporal awareness, and how it resonated with my own  (drug-free) experiences. Thus the phrase “I have nostalgia for the moment I am living”, which gave the inaugural title to the National Museum.”

The next iteration of the museum will feature Edgar Heap of Birds (Hock E Aye Vi). The broadside will be written by poet, writer, lecturer, curator and policy advocate Suzan Shown Harjo.

Oct 042023
 

Mark Georgiades, “Ghost of the Abandoned Bride”, Metal Steel and copper

Shelly Steck Reale, “The Fate You Choose”, Ceramic, wood, moss

Spooky season has begun and Florida CraftArt’s current exhibition Ghost Stories, curated by Catherine Bergmann (Curatorial Director of Dunedin Fine Art Center), is a perfect way to start celebrating.

The following artists are featured in the exhibition: Alegrobot, Demeree Barth, Karen Brown, Wendy Bruce, Joyce Curvin, Creative Clay, Coralette Damme, Katie Deits, Ed Derkevics, LA Finfinger, Eric Folsom, Janet Folsom, Mark Georgiades, Kristina Gintautiene, Erin Griffin, Cort Hartle, Judy Heady, Emma Hobbs, Pam Jones, Polly Johnson, Tyler Jones, Janna Kennedy, Traci Kegerreis, Betsy Lester, Cindy Linville, Richard Logan, Trent Manning, Francine Michel, Elizabeth Neily, Jacqueline Philip, Nick Reale, Shelly Steck Reale, Christine Renc-Carter, Jennifer Rosseter, Addie Rodriguez, Cooky Schock, Donna Slawsky, and Brandy Stark.

On Thursday, 10/5/23, in partnership with Keep St. Pete Lit, a group of local writers will be telling ghost stories at the gallery inspired by pieces from the exhibition. The reading will take place at 6pm.

Below are a few more selections-

Work by Alegrobot, Hand sculpted paper clay, acrylic paint

Janet Folsom, “Apparitions”, Mixed media (top left); Eric Folsom, Gravestone, bronze on marble; Donna Slawsky, (top right) “The Devil’s Work”, Stained glass, beads, and Creative Clay, Stephanie,(bottom right) “Monkey Dreams”, Mixed Media

About Creative Clay, who contributed several works to the exhibition-

“Creative Clay achieves its mission by providing ongoing studio arts workshops for individuals with disabilities five days per week. Creative Clay teaching artists provide students with education and experience in artistic techniques, as well as vocational skills related to the display, promotion, and sale or their expressive work.”

Katie Deits, “Haunted by the Past”, Ceramic, cotton, pencil, acrylic paint (left) and Nick Reale, “Out of the Wood” wood sculpture

Francine Michel “Mysteries of Urraca Mesa”, Water mixable oil, collage

Ed Derkevics, “Burnt Offerings”- “3 Potions” and “Jagged”- Mixed Media, recycled found objects

Janna Kennedy, “Souls and Pharmaseuticles”, 1800s Cabinet Cards, 1902 Pharmacy Ledger & Medical Ads, 19th Century Medicine Bottles

Kristina Gintautiene, “Slava”, Birch cradle board, Tissue paper, wax, oil pigments

LA Finfinger, Ghost Ceramic work (bottom left); Alegrobot, “(For the Record) he ordered the special”, Vinyl record, paper clay; Traci Kegerreis, “The Lost Lenore”, Mixed media (center top); Demeree Barth, “Remembering Sedlec Ossuary”, Clay, bullet casings, wood display stand, found objects (bottom right)

 

Sep 212023
 

This two story mural of Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, is located in his hometown of Springfield, Oregon.  It was designed by Craig Ferroggiaro of Portland and painted by Old City Artists of Los Angeles.

Sep 012023
 

Music producer Rick Rubin’s book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, is a quick and enjoyable read. The short chapters are broken up with smaller ideas, like the ones pictured above. Although a lot of it felt familiar, there were definitely moments and ideas that were helpful and even inspirational.  His advice on editing and completing creative projects I found particularly useful. Others may find they get more out of other sections.

If you don’t know much about Rubin’s career, he’s had an amazing creative journey himself. From founding the famous Def Jam label in college and playing in a punk band to producing albums and songs for a wide variety of musicians. From early hip hop artists to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash and Jay Z to Adele- it’s worth checking out his wide range of work.

Below is LL Cool J’s Going Back to Cali which Rubin co-wrote and produced. Rubin talks about working on this song, as well as many others, in this article in Rolling Stone magazine.

Jul 252023
 

Currently at the University of Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum is Rico Gatson: Visible Time. The exhibition includes a collection of the artist’s paintings and works on paper, video works from 2001-present, and a life size mural of author Zora Neale Hurston.

From the museum’s website about the exhibition-

For more than two decades, Brooklyn-based artist Rico Gatson has been celebrated for his vibrant, colorful, and layered artworks. Inspired by significant moments in African American history, identity politics and spirituality, his oeuvre includes images of protests and longstanding injustices—touching on subjects like the murder of Emmett Till, the Watts Riots, and the formation of the Black Panthers—as well as dynamic abstract geometries that celebrate Pan-Africanist aesthetics and Black cultural and political figures.

About the mural, Zora III, commissioned by the museum (pictured above)-

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. She portrayed racial struggles in the early-1900s American South and published research on hoodoo (a set of spiritual practices, traditions, and beliefs created by enslaved Africans in the Southern U.S.). The most popular of her four novels is Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937. Born in Notasulga, Alabama, Hurston grew up near Orlando, in Eatonville, Florida, incorporated in 1887 as one of the first self-governing all-black municipalities in the country. Despite her landmark achievements, Hurston died penniless and in obscurity in 1960-her novels and other writings largely unknown, until they were single-handedly rescued by novelist Alice Walker in 1975. Through his wall painting Rico Gatson extends the monumental impact of Hurston’s legacy-and Walker’s- into a visual arena reminiscent of the Mexican Muralists and hand-painted cinema signs.

“Untitled (Seven Panels)”, 2022 acrylic paint on wood, in seven parts

From the museum’s wall plaque about the above paintings-

According to catalog contributor Mark Fredricks, Rico Gatson’s “panel paintings” resemble “a musical framework.” Arranged together along a single wall, the “rhythm” animating their colorful compositions and their “uniformity of structure” suggest, anthropomorphically speaking, musicians in a jazz combo. One of the many ways in which Gatson draws on music as a lasting influence in his art, his seven panels approximate what legendary jazz player Albert Ayler described as “the healing force of the universe,” but in three dimensions.

“Don” 2022, Color pencil and photo-collage on paper

“Sidney” 2022, Color pencil and photo-collage on paper

“Miles #2″ 2022, Color pencil and photo-collage on paper

Below are images are from Four Stations, one of the five moving image works in the exhibition. For this work, Gatson traveled to Money, Mississippi and took handheld footage along the trail of places and events that led to the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

“Four Stations” 2017

On one of the smaller screens is Gun Play, 2001, a film collage that mixes sequences from Foxy Brown and The Good, the Band and the Ugly, combining them together with kaleidoscopic effects.

“Gun Play”, 2001, single-channel video, color, sound

This Thursday 7/27/23, the museum will be showing Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, the last of the three films chosen by Gatson to accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition will close on Saturday, 7/29.

Jul 142023
 

The 2023 Emerging Artist Exhibition in Creative Pinellas’ gallery space highlights work from the ten Pinellas County artists chosen by the organization for this year’s Emerging Artist Grant.

Above are sculptures by Amy Wolf. She has written several articles for the Creative Pinellas website which give some insight into her work and are worth a read.


According to artist Kimberly Engel, the paintings above “explore vibrant color interaction while inviting viewers to meditate on an illusive horizon line where sky meets water.”

From the Creative Pinellas website-

Kimberly Engel is a contemporary abstract painter who lives and works in Clearwater, Florida. Her distinct gestural style combines a love for color interaction with spontaneous mark making. Engel’s paintings explore levels of transparency, evoking depth and light. She is inspired by the constant presence and changing states of large bodies of water. She has lived on the shore of Lake Erie in Euclid, Ohio prior to moving to the Gulf Coast.

Engel describes her process as an exploration of herself and ultimately the dissolving of herself mirrored in the process of making and deconstructing works. Her gestural marks have been described as both compulsive and somewhat calligraphic. They undulate and disappear under thin veils of color.

Also check out her Instagram.

Denis DeBon created the unique glass works seen above.

His biography from the gallery website-

Dennis DeBon is the creator of EnergyWebs, which are one-of-a-kind works of modern glass art. He is often been compared to artist Jackson Pollock. Like Pollack, Dennis uses simple artistic techniques and has combined reverse painting on glass with spin art and taken both to a whole new level.

Each EnergyWeb is cut from a large sheet of plate glass, then free-style hand-cut into shape, scalloped, polished then spun. Dennis uses a multitude of application techniques and color combinations when creating each piece before firing and hand-signing them.

Every EnergyWeb is a unique, one-of-a-kind work of modern glass art and he is the only artist in the world creating them.

In addition to selling his artwork at fine art festivals across the country, Dennis was commissioned as the artist to create the Richard Dawkins Awards. In addition, his past creations have been presented to James “The Amazing” Randi, Carl Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan,  and the Zora Neale Hurston and the Koi Society of America award winners.

Dennis was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, where he studied photography and graphic design.

He now lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida and when he isn’t creating art, you might find him writing screenplays or in the boxing ring . . . working as a professional boxing referee.

For more of the artists in the exhibition, head to the pages below.

Jun 212023
 

These days it’s hard not to think sometimes about the end of the world. But have you started putting together a plan? Thought about who would be good in a crisis? Put together a pros and cons list of your friends, family and acquaintances?  Wondered if things would actually be better?

Finn Schult’s current exhibition Everything You’ve Ever Wanted at Gallery 114 at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City location, presents an interesting take on the current state of things for those with the end on their minds.  It includes paintings, animal traps, an ipod and walkie talkie, as well as a book containing photos, prepper information, journal entries, drawings, and some pros and cons for the people in his life, including his mom. The paintings are titled “L’appel Du Vide” a French phrase meaning “the call of the void” or the urge to jump when you are standing in a high place.

From the gallery’s website-

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted is a solo exhibition of new work by Finn Schult (b. 1993, Naples, FL) reflecting on the inevitability of the end of the world and the fantasy of apocalypse as catalyst for utopia. Schult’s multimedia series exists as fragments, sketches and interludes distilled from an otherwise deranged web of theories. At times, the artworks presented in Gallery114@HCC feel terroristic, violent and unbearably bleak–at other times, they remind us of the beauty inherent in loss, longing and love. Schult’s work yearns for a world that doesn’t yet exist and mourns for a world that isn’t yet gone, answering the cry, “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?” with “The only way out is through.”

There is also a video in the exhibition, Where r u rn? which mixes a variety of imagery with a bit of author and mystic Terence McKenna’s 1999 final interview where he discusses “the fire in the madhouse at the end of time”- the possibility of the craziness in the world being a sign of the dying of our species.

This exhibition closes on 6/22/23.

Feb 022023
 

 

“History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are but, more importantly, what they must be.”- Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Dr. John Henrik Clarke was an American writer, historian, professor, and pioneer in the creation of Pan-African and Africana studies. He taught at both Hunter College in NYC, where he established the Department of Black and Puerto Rican studies, and Cornell University where he was the Carter G. Woodson Distinguished Visiting Professor of African History at Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center.

The mural pictured above, Dr. John Henrik Clarke and the Mundari Tribe by Reginald O’Neal, was created for the 2022 edition of SHINE Mural Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.

 

 

 

Dec 132022
 

“Thru” by Jessi Sherbet and “Remi” by Mia Makes It (sculpture on the right)

“Untitled” low fire ceramic by Mike Cannata

There were so many great artists showing work at the group of galleries in the Kress Building in Ybor City, this post needed to be split in two. For part one, on Tempus Projects’ three spaces, head here.

Quaid Gallery is an artist cooperative gallery founded by a group of Tampa artists and is focused on contemporary artists creating mixed media exhibitions. In addition to monthly curatorial projects, they are planning to host events which will include readings, drawing nights and film screenings. Liquid Snow is their current exhibition and included the artwork pictured above by Jessi Sherbet, Mia Makes It, and Mike Cannata.

Parachute Gallery is showing One and Only · يكتا , which centers around the project Green Wedding by Fort Myers, Florida-based Iranian artist, Leila Mesdaghi.

From the website’s description of the project-

In late 2021, Mesdaghi traveled to her childhood home in Tehran, Iran, to throw herself a wedding, sans partner. She writes, “As a child I had dreams about getting married and having a wedding in our house. An Iranian wedding is a heavily glamorized and festive event where the bride is treated like a princess and guests come celebrate and admire her with gold and jewelry. I decided to have a wedding for myself. I made my dress at a high-end fashion boutique, bought a beautiful gold ring with my dad’s money, hired Maryam Saeedpoor (a well-known photographer,) a hair stylist, played Persian wedding music, and had a few friends plus my aunt and uncle as my guests.”

Documentation of the ceremony—a series of six limited-edition portraits by Saeedpoor and a collaborative video piece with director Khashayar Khalilkhani and vocalist Mahboubeh Golzari, reciting a poem by Iranian poet Houshang Ebtehaj about love and longing—beautifully articulates the complex emotions behind the project.

The photos and dress are seen in the image below, along with the work of six regional and national artists whose work ties into this project thematically. These artists are Sharareh Allahyari, Jordan Blankenship, Golbanou Moghaddas, Pottery Boys – Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand, and Rebecca Stevens.

Tampa artist and photographer Jenny Carey has opened a new space, Gratus, which is currently showing her work. She also had her book, All I See Is Your Glinting: 90 Days in the Pandemic, which she created with Gianna Russo, the inaugural Wordsmith of The City of Tampa, available for sale.

For more of Carey’s work and to see what’s next for the gallery, check out her Instagram. She also founded Creatives Exchange, a collective of professional women artists in Tampa.

Finally, Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FL, once a week for three weeks is hosting a mystery local artist. During the event the artist of the evening was revealed as Selena Ferrer. This week on 12/15/22, the last artist will be revealed. Also check out the gallery’s Instagram for updates.

Sep 162022
 

Started above a Detroit record store in 1969, CREEM magazine would go on to cover the music scene until 1989. Now, 33 years later, it’s back. The first new issue of “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” is now in print and online- with a cover by artist Raymond Pettibon.

CREEM magazine gained a loyal following for both its unique writing and format. It also covered the punk, new wave, and heavy metal scenes in a time still dominated primarily by pop and rock music. Lester Bangs, who became more widely known after his portrayal by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous, was editor of the magazine for five years. Cameron Crowe, who wrote and directed that film, also contributed articles for CREEM.

The premiere issue of the magazine has something for every music fan, while keeping the feel of the original. Special Interest, Mac DeMarco, Amyl and the Sniffers, Warthog, and KeiyaA are among the current artists covered. There’s an article on an album by The Osmonds and an excerpt from an unreleased book on The Who. Features from the original magazine like “Stars Cars” and their letters section also make a return.

This Wednesday (9/21/22) at The Grammy Museum, there will be a screening of the 2020 documentary  CREEM: America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine. The film will be followed by a conversation with JJ Kramer (CREEM Chairman and son of CREEM founder Barry Kramer), Jaan Uhelszki (Editor at the original CREEM and Editor Emeritus today), and Dave Carnie (CREEM Editorial Director), moderated by journalist Scott Sterling.

CREEM also just released a special David Bowie edition of the magazine. It includes articles from past issues, as well as an interview with Brett Morgen, director of Moonage Daydream, the new Bowie documentary which opens in theaters today, 9/16/22.

There are digital and print subscription options for the quarterly magazine and all subscriptions give you access to the digital archives- all 224 of the past issues.