ART AT BAY Best of 2013: Top 6 Hip Hop Moments in Art

trophyWe finally begin our “Best of 2013” lists.  I never liked writing them and always enjoyed reading them for the same reasons: they’re reductionist, judgmental, and sound-byte sized thoughts.  Thus, to appease ourselves as both writers and readers, we decided to bring you a series of ‘alternative’ best of 2013 lists.  We begin with the best moments in hip hop in art in 2013.  Over the past few years nary a music genre has been as involved with the art world as rap and hip hop.  Here are some of our favorite moments over the past year.  Have some of your own?  Share them with us in the comments below or on Facebook.

6.  Jay-Z and Marina Abramovic

Perhaps it had been coming for a while.  In retrospect it seems Marina Abramovic’s credibility died a slow death.  Yet, on the day of her Picasso, Baby “performance art” collaboration with Jay-Z it felt like it was murdered.  Athough, tweets such as this one:

turned out to be histrionic, the art world’s esteem for Abramovic hasn’t since been the same.  The video of Jerry Saltz “performing” with Jay-Z is almost as difficult to watch as that of Mos Def’s force feeding (see #1).  There was too much wrong with the piece to sum up in a “best of” list, but it seems it can be summarily explained simply by checking the pictures of rich people dancing with Jay-Z and calling it performance art.  To me it seemed more akin to a marathon session of ego heavy petting with an over-dose of lip biting and excessive upper body movement dancing.

wha5. Diddy mistaken for Kanye

This moment makes the list for its sheer tragicomic hilariousadness.  At the VIP and press preview for Art Basel Miami, Jeffrey Deitch reportedly said “Hi, Kanye” to Sean “Diddy” Combs.  Diddy stayed classy and laughed it off.  Deitch explains:

There was a big crowd gathered at the entrance to an art fair booth. I asked the dealer what the commotion was about and she said, ‘Kanye is here.’ I could only see the person from the back, and went over to say ‘Hi Kanye’. To my great embarrassment, it turned out to be P Diddy. He thought it was very funny, especially since we had spent several hours together visiting my street art show in Los Angeles.

It honestly seemed like an innocent mistake rather than an example of the so-called cross-race effect.  Still funny.

Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, 2013

Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, 2013

4.  Lupe Fiasco ‘Bound’ solo show (please no “Can’t Touch This” headlines)

Personally, I really like the musical work of Chicago’s Lupe Fiasco.  Beyond his early albums, having his Twitter keys snatched by his management following some Marxist tweets perhaps revealed further promise (and a pleasant contrast against hip hop materialism).  Lupe Fiasco, under his real name Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, ventures into visual art with his current solo exhibit, Bound, at the West Village gallery Anonymous.  The anchor of the show is a series of ‘ironic’ photographs – photos of Jaco touching “Do Not Touch” signs in various art museums.  The images are mildly entertaining with clear commentary on institutional art spaces and private property.  However, the work seems like it would feel more at home as Tumblr blog or Instagram account.  The work is accompanied by deterrents as that, as the gallery describes, work as a “physical/psychological barrier, or Boundary if you will, between the photo and the observer.”  Had this come from any of the other rappers on the list (save for Mos Def) it would’ve been a hit with me – perhaps I expected more from Lupe Fiasco.  Did you read those tweets?  This guy is smart.  Still, ‘A’ for effort and the witty idea.  I’m curious to see what any future visual art outings will look like.

K._West_(cropped)3.  Kanye West…in general.

Kanye West’s life of late, especially in 2013, has made for gripping reads (and even critical discussion).  Being a regular in the art world a lot of the TMZ-ish news involved art in some way.  For example, there are his self comparisons to Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.  We also enjoyed a recent claim that his career is a “giant art project” (perhaps a la Joquin Phoenix’s rap career?).  Don’t forget his sit-down with super curator Hans Ulrich-Obrist which gave us “What did I paint when I was a kid in art school? I would paint music.”  We even got a critical deconstruction of Kanye West and his career courtesy of Jerry Saltz.  Still, despite the general tone assigned to coverage of Kanye its difficult for me to doubt that he is indeed the genius he eagerly admits to being.  In fact, he seems to be cut from the same fabric as Bret Easton Ellis: we’d love to dismiss them entirely because of their sheer arrogance and general jerk-ishness if it weren’t for their undeniable smarts and talent.  In regards to Kanye West, however, it does/can reveal a lot about how a largely white media may attempt to undermine an arrogant black creative.

2.  Pharrell and Daniel Arsham Casio Sculptures

Pharrell Williams and Daniel Arsham

Pharrell Williams and Daniel Arsham

Producer/songwriter/singer/rapper Pharrell Williams is another hip hop artist that is definitely not new to art.  Check out some of his sculptural work at Galerie Perrotin or previous collab with Takashi Murakami.  Pharrell sightings were a staple at this year’s art world spring break…er Art Basel.  While I may find his visual work unimpressive he at least seems to genuinely enjoy contemporary art, in contrast to other hip hop artists that often appear to treat art collecting as simply the new and classier “making it rain”.  For his collaboration with Daniel Arsham a series of 1980’s Casio Keyboards were created using material such as volcanic ash.  The keyboard, the instrument Pharrell first used to create music, are created in a way to make them resemble fossilized archaeological finds.  If perhaps a bit conceptually obvious, the work is at least sincere.

1. Yasiin Bey/Mos Def – Guantanamo-like Force Feeding

It was never entirely clear whether this entry was a proper performance art piece or something else entirely.  Regardless, it was definitely a powerful protest and perhaps the most artistic thing on my list.  Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) created the video in collaboration with the human rights group Reprieve.  In it he undergoes force feeding according to guidelines for the procedure as it’s carried out with Guantanamo detainees.  I’ll admit the video is disturbing and I couldn’t watch it in its entirety.  Bey is clearly in extreme pain throughout and at one point begins sobbing.  I admire his commitment and though the bar for rapper-based performance art isn’t especially high, Bey’s video carried serious impact.

I Went To Vice and Tried to “Get” Hipster Posturing

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It’s understandable: feeling intimidated, or shy, or as if your somehow out of the loop when first visiting art galleries or fairs is common.  I’ve felt the feeling of “not getting it”.

A recent Vice article, though (as well as its preceding piece) seemed to be not so much a sincere admittance of “not getting” art and more of hipster posturing under the “You Smelled It, You Dealt It” principle.  That is, no one hates on hipsters more than other hipsters.  I suspect something similar is going on in these Vice articles.  Below are some personal responses to the most recent article’s three main lines of faulty reasoning.

ART BASEL MIGHT BE THE WORST PLACE TO TRY TO “GET” ART

If you are sincerely trying to “get” art, is there a better place to do it than Art Basel? Yes.  It’s called “anywhere else.”  If you are seeking to make a last-ditch effort toward a deeper understanding of art within an art world context and you chose Art Basel and its satellite craziness, I would know at least one of two things about you: (1) You are insincere about your effort, or (2) You put poor forethought into your decision.

I don’t want to sound like I’m hating on Art Basel or any of the other fairs – I had an amazing time this year.  However, it sounds like our Vice writer went to the Zach Morris of the art world when he needed Screech.  We don’t go to Basel to get art.  We go there to just get it…as in buy it.  Thus, we don’t treat art fairs like art museums.

Typically, the work at Basel lacks artist and curator statements.  There is a lot of art; you can either give most of the work very little time (as in “I’ll slow down as I walk past that booth”) or you can give an appropriate amount of time to a small fraction of the art.  Few people have time to have meaningful conversation on what art “means” – had you found me, I’d have been able to give little more than a bon mot, far short of meaningful critical discourse.

If you want to “get” art, perhaps the common sense thing to do is spend a long time alone with it, have a serious conversation about it, do some honest introspection on how it does or doesn’t affect you.

SO YOU DON’T “GET” THE ART MARKET.  NOBODY DOES.

Our Vice writer seems to be the victim of an important (and annoying) mix-up: he’s confusing art with the art market.  It’s vital and bears repeating bolded, underlined and italicized: Art and the art market are not the same thing.  There is a lot confusing and morally ambiguous about the way art is bought and sold.  However, it shouldn’t have much of a bearing on “getting” art (except, of course, for art that comments on the market).  That said, if you don’t entirely understand the art market, it’s alright – nobody does.  Accordingly, people who supposedly “get” art, level the same complaints at the way its bought and sold and admit a similar confusion with the forces behind it.

MAYBE THERE ISN’T ANYTHING TO “GET”

Finally, we arrive at the reason I keep surrounding the word “get” in quotation marks: it makes no sense.  Using the word “get” in this sense reminds me of jokes – you either get them or you don’t.  There is a punchline with a singular interpretation that makes the joke funny.  I’m thankful that this is not at all how contemporary art works.

I understand the feeling of being the only one not laughing at a joke, and can see how this feeling could crop up at a gallery reception or art fair.  However, unlike a joke, meaning is not pulled out of contemporary art as much as meaning is put into it.  In today’s art, a viewer’s interpretation is just as valid and relevant as the artist’s.  To a large degree, the artist and their work exist independent of each other; when an artist releases art into the world they also relinquish control of its interpretation.  Whereas Modernist art may have had specific messages, contemporary art is more of a setting for conversation – perhaps, akin to the difference between books and video games.

Admittedly, artists have intentions behind their work and often articulate them in horribly convoluted jargon-filled artist statements.  Still, this is no reason to shy away from making any critical connection with the work.  If you don’t understand the artist/curator statement, it’s likely not your fault and definitely not your problem.  Give the artwork due consideration and find out what it does or doesn’t mean to you personally.

*  *  *

There is a lot wrong with the art world – wages, compensation, racism, sexism, elitism, and the list extends ad nauseam.  At times, complaining about the art world seems to be what the art world does best.  But to write off contemporary art completely is either shortsighted, myopic, histrionic, or just naive.  If you’re looking to raise your hipster hit points, blanket hating is often the most efficient way doing it.

If you are sincerely looking for the value in contemporary art and haven’t yet found it, keep looking with an open mind – I promise it’s there.

[Support our Sponsor!] The Art of Kathleen Elliot and Huguette Despault May at the Selby Gallery

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Huguette Despault May, Umbilicals, 2009, 50″ X 38″

The Selby Gallery‘s upcoming exhibit is a skilled exercise in comparing and contrasting.  Opening  January 6th the dual exhibit Glass and Charcoal will feature the work of artists Kathleen Elliot and Huguette Despault May.  Elliot is a glass artist creating work based on natural imagery.  May works primarily in charcoal with an intense concentration for detail.

Their two mediums are particularly different: the dimensionality, lines, texture.  The contrast of each can intensify the other’s impact and make for an intriguing pairing.  However, in a way, the mediums are similar.  Each of the artists work and material have a certain tie to nature.  Glass and charcoal – both come from the earth with little interference and is reflected in the art of both Kathleen Elliot and Huguette Despault May.  The dual exhibit will likely approach much of the same themes and concepts yet from varying perspectives.  A highlight of the exhibit will surely be the artist talk and preview to be held on January 16.  Be sure to be on hand and learn more about the work of each of these artists.

Ringling College’s Selby Gallery is a beautiful 3,000 square foot space.  Aimed at offering students and the surrounding community exposure to acclaimed artists, the gallery sets out to be “both a center of learning and hub of extracurricular activity.”  Selby Gallery has developed a reputation beyond that of a college gallery and into as one of Sarasota’s best destinations for contemporary art.

Glass and Charcoal: The Art of Kathleen Elliot and Huguette Despault May will be on view January 6 through February 12.  Luncheon & Artist Talk with Preview: Thurs., Jan. 16, 11:30 am (Call 941.359.7563 for reservations.)  Opening reception Friday January 17, 5-7 pm.  Director’s Tour Monday, January 27, 11:30 am.  Selby Gallery is located on the Ringling College of Art and Design campus, one-half block east of 2700 N. Tamiami Trail on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Sarasota.  Hours are Monday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and Tuesday, 10:00 Am – 7:00 PM.

ART AT BAY is Two Years Old!

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One of the past year’s many highlights: Hanging out with Tampa artists Kimberly Meadows, Neil Bender, and Justin Nelson at Aqua Art Miami

Two years ago I wrote the first blog post for ART AT BAY and today I write the 159th.  A lot has happened in the past two years with the blog generally and me personally.  The blog is still here, and I’m now joined by three other writers.  We’re slated to release the first print issue of ART AT BAY next month.  My wife gave birth to our first child, a daughter.  I became a contributor for Hi-Fructose Magazine and exhibited once as an artist.

I’ve spoken with many awesome artists, gallerists, writers, and art lovers over the past year.  Reflecting on it all, I find myself more optimistic than I was when I wrote this post last year.  Tampa Bay seems poised to not only take its place as a significant art community, but more importantly it seems ready to accept itself.  I’m continually seeing more collaboration span the Bay.  I see people in our little art scenes lend a hand, some money, some time, some hard work, some resources for the sake of art and what it does locally.  I’ve seen it done for me.  It’s nice to witness our favorite artists mature and new artists gearing up to get involved.  Some awesome things are going to happen in our little art world on the Bay.  I hope you continue to stick with me and ART AT BAY as we provide a forum to talk about it and give it some attention.

Thank you.  Please believe me as sincere when I say, you guys are awesome, seriously awesome.

-Danny Olda

Art at Bay’s Basel Guide 2013

MIAMI 2013

Overwhelming, I know.  The early days of December seem to bring to Miami countless exhibitors in countless fairs and just a week to check it out.  Personally, I’m even finding the abundance of guides to the Miami Art Fairs staggering.  Thus, rather than burden you with another guide we thought we’d just give you a peek into what some of the ART AT BAY staff plans on checking out and why.  See you in Miami!

Danny Olda’s Guide

My personal circumstances are only allowing a two night trip to Miami.  In order to make the most of my time I figured I’d be a nerd about it and actually list every exhibitor I specifically wanted to see in each of the fairs I’ll be heading to.  I won’t bother you with an exhaustive list but here are some of my highlights for two of the fairs I’ll be stopping by.

NADA Miami Beach-NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) is perhaps the only non-profit fair in Miami.  This may account for the particular perk of free admission to the public.  Please don’t let this lead you to believe that this somehow reflects poorly on the caliber of the exhibitors.  My list for NADA is long but there are three I particularly wanted to see.  The Horton Gallery of Manhattan’s Lower East Side has had an impressive queue of exhibitions over the last year.  Last spring’s Trudy Benson solo show alone made my tug toward NYC just a bit more taut.  I’m also really looking forward to seeing another LES gallery at NADA: Klaus Von Nichtssagend.  As a brick and mortar gallery, Klaus has been especially supportive of digital and New Media art (e.g. check out last spring’s Sarah Ludy solo).  I’ve also especially enjoyed Klaus_eBooks – a series of interactive artist ebooks that serve up a pleasantly confusing mix of art, literature and digital art.  They are seriously interesting and offer much more interaction than many would expect from a gallery.  Finally, there’s Chelsea’s Foxy Production.  Foxy Production also consistently hosts awesome exhibits.  I especially love the work of Sterling Ruby from the Foxy Production roster and hope to see some of the artist’s work in Miami.

ART UNTITLED-ART UNTITLED is fairly new – last year was its first.  Still, it got off to a strong start with good reviews and seems set to do likewise this year.  I’m particularly stoked to see booths from some publications that I love.  My first stop will likely be with one of my favorite art bloga: Art F City.  It’s always a pleasure reading editor Paddy Johnson’s work – I saw a lot of you recently shared her New York Times piece on paying artists fairly.  When Art F City makes it to fairs they seem to find exciting ways of exhibiting/selling digital art.  This year is especially interesting.  Cloaque is an art Tumblr that is perhaps best described as a never-ending mind-eating digital tapestry.  Art F City will be premiering a print of the blog feed, a football field-sized(!) print.  Take a second to check out Cloaque, you’ll quickly get an idea of how awesome this print could be.  UNTITLED will also feature booths from a couple of arts and culture mags that particularly enjoy: Esopus and Cabinet.  Both are a bit difficult to find in local book stores so I snatch them up whenever I see them.  Stopping by their booths in Miami may be good time to finally get subscriptions.  I also need to mention the Jeff Bailey Gallery.  A sports metaphor?  Jeff Bailey sort of reminds me of the Rays: they’ve developed a strong roster of artists through emerging artists/farming.  There’s something special about a gallery with this kind of quality that is also so open to emerging talent.  Check out their past exhibits to see what I mean (or better yet, check them out at UNTITLED).

Victoria Casal-Data’s Guide

I’m happy to announce that I will be making my rounds through Basel with press pass and camera in hand. I will be crafting top ten lists based on a few fairs for Beautiful/Decay. Last year I was unable to enjoy Basel properly due to school, but now I am free to conquer Basel with all my might. Looking forward to meeting art bloggers, artists, and gallery owners. You will find me in the following:

Fairs

Art Basel Miami-Art Basel can be quite intimidating…there is a lot to see. It is also quite pricey, but honestly, it is worth your $$$. It is held in the Miami Beach Convention Center. From the old Modern masters, to the top contemporary artists, you can find everything here. My favorite thing about Art Basel would have to be their out most responsibility to make it a solid international Art fair. You will find galleries from Eastern Europe to South America. The diversity is quite compelling,  and it will create an interesting multicultural dialogue within you, and amongst those that are around you.

PULSE-PULSE Miami, now in its eighth year, has become one of the leading Contemporary art fairs held in Miami. The PULSE venue is split into two distinct parts. One section of the fair is comprised of gallery booths showcasing works of multiple artists. The other section, IMPULSE, is dedicated to select galleries featuring works by a single artist. Artists who have work on display in this section are put in the running for a cash prize, which is awarded to one artist at the end of the fair. Last year, German artist Nadine Wottke was honored with this unique distinction for her porcelain relief sculptures. One of my favorites on display is the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

José Parlá, DeKalb Avenue Station, 2011 Acrylic, ink, oil, collage, plaster and enamel on canvas Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

José Parlá, DeKalb Avenue Station, 2011
Acrylic, ink, oil, collage, plaster and enamel on canvas
Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

NADA– As Danny mentioned, this fair is one of the few non-profit fairs at Basel.  Twenty-five galleries from fourteen countries will be on hand with works from emerging global artists. Look for these upcoming galleries: Marlborough Chelsea, SculptureCenter, Alden Projects, American Contemporary, Nicelle Beauchene, Brennan and Griffin and Callicoon Fine Arts.  NADA’s “special invite” preview is on December 5th, which I will be attention, is from 10am to 2pm. The fair is open to the public — free of charge — after 2pm on the 5th and through Sunday, December 8.

Robert Lazzarini motel door (kicked-in), 2012 With Marlborough Chelsea Gallery

Robert Lazzarini
motel door (kicked-in), 2012
With Marlborough Chelsea Gallery

Miami Project- Miami Project, the fair  started last year by the ArtMrkt fair group (whose events include Texas Contemporary and ArtMrkt Hamptons), is returning for a second edition. Fifty-six galleries are on tap, including the most famous of most: Fredericks & Freiser, and Yossi Milo.

Ring Master, 2013 Ink, acrylic, and glitter on paper: 30 x 22 inches With the Fredericks & Freiser Gallery

Ring Master, 2013
Ink, acrylic, and glitter on paper: 30 x 22 inches
With the Fredericks & Freiser Gallery

Brazil Art Fair– Brazil will getting a lot of attention this year with over 40 galleries exhibiting at the new Brazil ArtFair running from December 3 to 8 in Woodson Park on NW 36th Street in Midtown. Their goal is “to go beyond your everyday art fair…with a private initiative for the promotion and internationalization of Brazil’s art market,” the fair’s founder Michel Serebrinsky explained to Art Info. Some galleries to watch: Multiplique Boutique, Lourdina Jean Rabieh, and Paralelo Gallery.

Panta Rhei, folhas sintéticas, 2012 Lourdina Jean Rabieh Gallery

Panta Rhei, folhas sintéticas, 2012
With Lourdina Jean Rabieh Gallery

Parties/Art & Music Events

Basel Castle – Basel Castle, produced by the Overthrow Collective in association with Embrace and ABV Gallery, is an art and music festival combining street artists and upcoming electronic musicians. The fair, on view all day on Dec.7th, includes unique interactive games, installations, exhibitions, and live performances by both the artists and musicians. The line-up includes Nychos, Skinner, Matt W Moore, Meggs, Jeremyville, Buff Monster, Madsteez, and a DJ set by SBTRKT,  amongst others.

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Hyperallergic’s cocktail part at Aqua Art Miami- On Friday, December 6, from 6 to 8 pm, our favorite blog, Hyperallergic, will be hosting their second cocktail party at Aqua Art Miami (1530 Collins Avenue, South Beach, FL). Great opportunity to meet with the brilliant writers; Danny and I will definitely try to talk to Alicia Eler about her Selfie theories while having a cocktail or two. You can RSVP here.

Hyperallergic’s ‘Blogger’s Tour’ of Art Miami-On Saturday, December 7, at 11am, you can join Hyperallergic’s editors Hrag Vartanian, Mostafa Heddaya, and Jillian Steinhauer at Art Miami and Context for an hour-long tour of the fair. The tour includes stops at the fair’s highlights, and an opportunity to engage in dialogue with dealers, who will be available to answer questions about the artworks on display. The tour will be followed by a lively Informal discussion. You can RSVP here.

Juxtapoze Magazine Party– Juxtapoz  is moving into a private beach house at the Shore Club (1901 Collins Avenue, South Beach) for a four-day series of parties and events with San Francisco’s Chandran Gallery. They’ve scheduled art installations by Geoff McFetridge, Andrew Shoultz, Monica Canilao and SWOON, and even an evening hosted by Shepard Fairey. The spot will be happening from December 4 until the 7th, but many of the parties are invite only.

Darkside visual and audio exhibition – Milk Studios and Moishes Moving are hosting an incredible show with Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington’s Darkside and an art installation by Children of the Light. The showcase space is located at 318 NW 23rd Street. Darkside will be performing on the 5th of Dec at 10pm.

Shlohmo – American electronic musician from Los Angeles, Shlohmo will be performing at Bardot on Dec. 7. Since I will attending Bastle Castle that night, I will be missing this show. However, if you are a fan of innovative, downtempo electronic music, this is the show for you.

[Support our Sponsor!] Theo Wujcik: New Paintings at Selby Gallery

The first time we met he related a memory of throwing off their clothes and jumping into a collector’s pool with Jean-Michel (Yes, as in Basquiat).  I suppose it isn’t surprising such an artist is cherished by the local community.  Really, though, it is his painting that’s secured him in the esteem of Tampa Bay.

Wujcik’s work is often about pop culture but somehow beyond pop art.  His work explores some of the subtext of cultures while tackling the nuances of painting itself.  Each new series of work seems to bring along a refined conceptual efficiency.  Thus its with some excitement that new work from Theo Wujcik is now exhibiting at Sarasota’s Selby Gallery.

The show is an interesting combination of solo and dual exhibit.  Selby Gallery is exhibiting in inter-institutional conjunction with State College of Florida which is presenting the work of Kirk Ke Wang.  Wujcik and Wang work in nearby studios often meeting to discuss new work and the concepts behind it.  Though both have a way of getting at the politics behind pop-culture, ethnic cultures, and art making they differ markedly in execution.  Exhibiting the two together in a way offers two perspectives of the same landscape.  Especially interesting is the fact that Theo Wujcik created entirely new work specifically for this exhibit.

Ringling College’s Selby Gallery is a beautiful 3,000 square foot space.  Aimed at offering students and the surrounding community exposure to acclaimed artists, the gallery sets out to be “both a center of learning and hub of extracurricular activity.”  Selby Gallery has developed a reputation beyond that of a college gallery and into as one of Sarasota’s best destinations for contemporary art.

Theo Wujcik: New Paintings is on view through December 11.  Selby Gallery is located on the Ringling College of Art and Design campus, one-half block east of 2700 N. Tamiami Trail on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Sarasota.  Hours are Monday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and Tuesday, 10:00 Am – 7:00 PM.

Theo Wujcik, Dragon, 2012, 90”x84”; Joe Triana, photographer

Theo Wujcik, Dragon, 2012, 90”x84”; Joe Triana, photographer

Public works of art at USF: A photo review

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If you are a USF student, chances are you’ve seen some of these public pieces while walking around. There’s always something, and it is always interesting. I think this was my favorite part of being a student here- it was never a dull day. This is a collection of photos of some of the works found throughout USF’s Tampa campus in the last few years. If you have any more photos you can share with us, please do! (via theartatusf)

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Jason Lazarus, Occupy University of South Florida at Tampa public display and occupation, 2011. All images courtesy of the artist. For more info on this piece check out this article.

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‘An Open Source Dialogue’ in the Fine Arts Building hallway.

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Student work by Laine Nixon

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A student’s large-scale piece for the Contemporary Art Museum’s We Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: MFA 2013 Graduation Exhibition.

‘Our Table’ Visualizes the Repulsiveness of Abductions in our Local Community

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Melanie Graham’s ‘ Our Table’, an installation inspired by the awareness of violence involving women and girls, creates a subtle but powerful message.

Graham’s installation seemed at bit unorganized at first, but once examined, I noticed that her concepts, especially the parallels she creates between food decay and abductions, are quite interesting and ingenious – not to mention quite impactful.

The Project is based on personal research and meetings with the families of missing women and girls. Her discoveries culminated in a planned feast especially dedicated to the six missing/ abducted women and girls featured in the show. With the exhibition, she hopes to draw attention to this growing issue of social injustice in our culture.

‘Our Table’ is comprised of five tables, each accompanied by personal photos provided by the families, favorite foods, and personal objects. The show is tied in quite nicely with Graham’s poetry; brilliant and powerful words that addressed the issues at hand quite strongly.

“I had a thought one day, that if anything terrible ever happened to her, I’d never be able to drink another Dr. Pepper (Graham said), which led me to pondering the emotional connections we have with food and people we love, which in turn made me think about the families of missing people.”

If there’s once thing that still lingers in my mind about this particular installation is the rotting food. I guess I forgot to mention that the food placed on these tables have been there since the day of the opening (Nov. 12th, 2013). As you can imagine, fresh foods go bad pretty quickly if not refrigerated. Except for the McDonald’s burger and fries found in one of the girl’s tables, much of the food left behind, has been filled with black and green mold. The decay is quite repulsive, and I think that this is what Graham was looking for.

Although the smell wasn’t an issue ( all of the fresh foods were covered with a glass lid), it was impossible to not imagine the smell of the rooting foods. Both the look and the smell (even if imagined) lingered throughout my visit, and well after it too.

Graham’s ‘offerings’ were not just a gesture of respect and memorial, but they were also a literal translation of the sickening behavior of the abductors-the only cause of the missing girls and women.

Graham is currently in a Master’s of Fine Arts program and has a PhD in Creative Writing. Her goals are to complete her MFA and publish her first book about America’s cultural obsession with violence.

The exhibition is up in display until November 26th,2013 at the Centre Gallery at USF.

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#TwitterCrit: What is the Role of Art Museums?

TROLL DOLL VISITS LOUVRE - GENERAL FEELING OF BEING CREEPED OUT SPREADS THROUGHOUT PARIS

LARGE TROLL DOLL VISITS LOUVRE – GENERAL FEELING OF BEING CREEPED OUT SPREADS THROUGHOUT PARIS

“What is the role of art museums?” – It seems like a straightforward question.  As we explored ie during our latest #TwitterCrit session, however, what an art museum should or should not do became a bit ambiguous.  Below you’ll find our conversation?  What are your thoughts?  Continue the conversation in the comments section!

twittercrit no-2

ART AT BAY…the Magazine.

The cover of the upcoming ART AT BAY Issue 1.1 Artwork: Anthony Record, Similar Scars, 2013

Cover of the upcoming ART AT BAY Issue 1.1
Artwork: Anthony Record, Similar Scars, 2013

For about the past three months we here at ART AT BAY, joined by new contributors, have been working hard on a new project.  This January ART AT BAY the blog will be joined by ART AT BAY magazine – a print quarterly.

The magazine is really a natural progression of our original mission: we want ART AT BAY to be a catalyst to conversation  and ultimately encourage serious thought on art in Tampa Bay.  A magazine format seems to suit that goal well.  We wanted a format you could get comfortable with and take your time enjoying.  We wanted a format that befits the serious thought and attention we know our readers already give contemporary art.  This magazine was made with you in mind and I hope you feel that way when you read it.

We’re very excited.  Personally, I’m crazy excited.  The talented contributors, the fascinating subjects of their articles, and everyone’s hard work has given ART AT BAY magazine the beginning I hoped for and an awesome foundation for a promising year. However, it’s really your help that has made ART AT BAY possible and the main reason I’m so excited.

ART AT BAY Issue 1.1 is just about done and ready to print!  There will be many more details through the next week, so please stick with us as we get ready to kick off this exciting project.