Newsletter © Sept '04
& Social Change
A R T F O R
A C H A N G E
1) - REGIME CHANGE... 25 artists on the US national elections
2) - THE WPA DECADE... Social Realism of 1933-43 at the NY Nassau
County Museum of Art
3) - TAKING OUT THE TRASH... Tate Gallery janitorial worker becomes
4) - THE RENAISSANCE - OLD AND NEW... The 500th anniversary of
STUCKIST PUNK VICTORIAN... The Liverpool Walker Gallery Exhibit
6) - ELECT THIS!... Artists tackle the US elections
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thuggery at Regime Change exhibit
25 artists on the
US national elections
With the US
presidential elections almost upon us, the
A Shenere Velt Gallery of
Los Angeles presents a group exhibition exploring the de/construction
of the works to be displayed is Wayne
Coe's humorous painting (above), portraying thuggery
between corporate fast food icons. Coe's artwork poses the argument
in cultural terms... has the US spawned an irredeemably violent
society that will remain unaffected by elections? Dozens of other
artists will be asking equally profound questions in this must
see exhibit. Regime Change will be on display Sept.
13th - October 31st. 2004. The Opening
Reception, with many of the participating artists,
will be held on Sunday, September
19th., from 3 - 5 pm.
The gallery is located at, 1525
S Robertson Blvd, Los
Angeles, CA 90035.
Phone: (310) 552-2007. Web:
Social Realism of 1933-43
NY Nassau County Museum of Art
exhibit traces the reaction of American artists to the great depression
as well as their involvement in the federal programs of the New
Deal Works Progress Administration
(WPA). The show features art by WPA artists Reginald
Marsh, Ben Shahn,
Raphael Soyer, and
Earth Laid Bare"
Alexander Hogue 1935
America, one of the strongest currents in the art world was that
of Social Realism. The social
realists focused on the lives and concerns of working people,
and the practitioners of the school insisted on realism as the
best way of imparting their progressive messages to a mass
audience. Heavily influenced by their contact with revolutionary
muralists like Diego Rivera
of Mexico, many US artists shared the view that art belonged to
the people and that it was essential for the betterment and general
uplift of society.
pushed for government support of the arts and many of them became
heavily involved in the WPA. This exhibit illustrates how the
US art scene benefited from WPA support, which encouraged and
backed art and artists during the tumultuous 1930's.
This exhibit is currently running until October
31st., 2004. For
more details, visit the NY Nassau County
Museum of Art website, at: www.nassaumuseum.com
OUT THE TRASH
Tate Gallery janitorial worker becomes art critic
past August 26th, a janitor at the London Tate
Gallery was doing her rounds when she noticed a bag
of garbage left sitting in an exhibit area. The cleaning woman
promptly threw the rubbish out, where it was done away with in
a trash compactor. Only later did horrified museum personnel realize
that the tossed junk (the clear trash bag filled with crumbled
newspaper and other bits of debris shown at left) was the "art"
of German-born post-modernist, Gustav
not garbage.. it's art, really!
costly acquisition titled, Recreation
of the first public demonstration of auto-destructive art,
featured Metzger's trash bag propped up against a table over which
hung a "painting" made of nylon daubed with acid to destroy it.
Embarrassed Tate officials explained the work "wasn't roped off",
so how would the cleaning woman "know what it was supposed to
be?" Indeed, how are "ignorant" working people to tell the difference
between art and garbage? Obviously, roping off the trash sack
would have clearly transformed it into an exalted work
masterwork was eventually rescued from the trash compactor but
declared too badly damaged to be put back on display. Metzger
graciously "created" another bag to be placed on view, this time
under stipulation that the litter bundle be locked away each evening
for safe keeping from marauding janitorial art critics.
Gustav Metzger first advanced
his notion of "auto-destructive art" in 1960. He has demonstrated
his talents in public by "painting" stretched nylon sheets with
hydrochloric acid, resulting in their disintegration and total
ruin. Metzger believes all artworks ought to have a limited existence,
after which they should be obliterated. If that's the case, then
why was the cleaning woman not congratulated for her admirable
role in helping the garbage fulfill its artistic destiny? _________________________________
RENAISSANCE - OLD AND NEW
The 500th anniversary of Michelangelo's David
One of the world's great
art masterpieces will be celebrating its 500th anniversary this
month, Michelangelo’s “David”. Untold millions have flocked to
Florence Italy over the centuries in order to view the magnificent
statue... and still they come in record numbers.
September 8th, 2004,
500 years to the day that the statue was unveiled, the citizens
of Florence celebrated the art treasure with fireworks, concerts,
exhibitions, and symposiums. The much beloved statue has been
carefully cleaned by restorers, who removed centuries worth of
grime and dirt in a process that took eight months and cost $600,000.
was only 26 years old when he created the statue between 1502
and 1504. Carved from a single block of marble, the artist's monumental
work has become one of the most enduring artworks in history.
It exemplifies the renaissance spirit that viewed humanity as
noble, heroic, and capable of grand accomplishments. Antonio Paolucci,
superintendent of city museums in Florence, said “We want David’s
500th birthday to spark debate, to be controversial, to challenge
people about what art is today… not just what it was 500 years
500th anniversary affords us all the opportunity to contemplate
the meaning of art. Today’s post-modernist dominated art world
puts forth the view of humanity as corrupt and totally incapable
of affecting change. The rules and traditions of art have been
ridiculed and rejected to the point where even a trash bag is
now considered to be high art. If Michelangelo created his remarkable
statue today most museums, galleries, art publications, and art
critics would simply dismiss the work as clichéd and corny… if
they were to acknowledge it at all.
art world’s obsession with all things pointless, ugly, and uninspiring,
Michelangelo’s “David” remains as beautiful a testament to the
human spirit as when it was first unveiled. It is the exemplar
of what art can and should be.
It calls upon modern
day artists to initiate
a new renaissance for our time…
a transformation already underway.
The Walker Gallery Exhibit
September 18 2004 - February 20
Punk Victorian is the first museum exhibit to
recognize Stuckism, the international
art movement for "contemporary figurative painting with ideas"
founded in 1999 by artists Billy Childish
and Charles Thomson. Stuckism
offers a radical critique of post-modern art, denouncing it for
being nothing more than the "dull, boring, brainless destruction
of convention." Stuckists believe that figurative painting should
regain dominance in the art world, and they've declared "there
will be a spiritual renaissance in art because there is nowhere
else for art to go." The
Walker Gallery is one of
the best known museums in the UK, and home to a world class collection
of paintings that range from Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite masterworks
to contemporary British artworks. Artists included in the gallery
collection include Rubens,
Lucian Freud, and many others.
The Walker is located at: William Brown
L3 8EL Merseyside. For more
info, visit the Walker website, at: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker
Artists tackle the US elections
Organized by SPARC
Gallery in Venice California and mounted to coincide
with the national elections, the aim of this show is to "celebrate
freedom of expression, provide creative commentary, reveal the
unseen, and to tell the truth." Opening on Sept. 11th
and running until election night Nov. 2nd., the artworks in the
exhibit run the gambit from video installations and sculpture
to paintings, drawings, and prints. One of the highlights of the
show is a wall covered with over 1,000 small hand painted portraits
of US soldiers killed so far in Iraq. An adjacent wall presents
portraits representing the 10,000 or more Iraqi civilians killed
to date. The result of a collaborative effort between five different
artists, the "walls of mourning" present the true face
of war. Mark Vallen will be
displaying one of his pencil drawings, along with dozens of other
artists known and unknown.
Reception is Sat.
Sept., 11th., from 5 - 9 pm.
A panel discussion on the so-called "Patriot Act" takes
place on Thur. Sept. 23rd.,
at 7:30 pm. An artist's
talk will take place on Thurs. Oct. 21st.,
at 7:30 pm. The big event
is the Election Night Closing Party
held on Tuesday Nov. 2nd.
Original artworks will be auctioned off, and more importantly,
the public is invited to the gallery to celebrate (or bemoan)
the election results. SPARC
Gallery is located at 685 Venice Blvd.,
Venice California, 90291.
Phone: 310-822-9560. For more
|Mark Vallen's ART FOR A CHANGE
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"If you refuse to study anatomy, the arts of drawing and perspective, the mathematics of aesthetics, and the science of color, let me tell you that this is more a sign of laziness then of genius. Down with lazy masterpieces!"
~ Salvador Dali