Tag contemporary art

CTColumn:: Echo From The Art Jungle

“Where does she get it from?” the private view art mingling Londoners mumble over the free drinks each First Thursday, First Wednesday, First Tuesday and on the odd nights when the brave and special galleries choose to have their openings. I remember coming to London and being incredibly art thirsty; drooling over brush strokes, contrasting oil textures and ten thousand other versions of creative expression. It didn’t take me long to wonder what the rest of the crowd was doing there. Where they really only there for the free drinks? During the exhibition of the wandering artist, whose name I cannot remember, in a Mayfair gallery a couple of years ago, a Ugandan Indian, whose name I shall keep anonymous, came up to me with slightly sleepy wine-eyes and declared that he was indeed an art lover. We had a chat and as a result, I ended up on a mailinglist which supplied all previously wealthy (at least in their dream world) West-End folks with a weekly e-mail report of where to go for the free drinks. Yes, I did give him my business card and hoped that he would buy one of my paintings, because my older and more experienced friends told me to network, and the man did have a nice suit and Regent Street was gleaming as prosperous as ever before.

“Where does she get it from?” used to sound like a peculiar question with no substance, until I realized that many people have no conception of creativity and what it feels like to be grabbed by that invisible powerful force that makes you walk your garbage to the tube, put on skirts inside out and eat breakfast for lunch and dinner. Observe, sketch, research, paint, and paint, and paint, and then document, throw it all online on a webpage, contact galleries and go networking. Oh, we all know the drill and it can make a wreck out of any passionate artist burning with the will to break through. How many artists come to London for a couple of years and then give up? It can be chocking to realize how many amazing artists there are out there in the complex business jungle that is built around and feeding off creative expression, and in addition, the numbers of foreign painters represented by London galleries (not including the internationally recognized) are not many.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Newtons_cradle_animation_book_2.gif

I started writing about artists because I found that the focus on art was consistently and close to entirely on the economic value and the trade of the same; the artist’s journey is absent. We must remember that we are not producing commercial objects. The story is infinitely more beautiful, and/or painful, and definitely more complex. Let’s rise above the competition mentality and focus on the real work.

Elinrós Henriksdotter, Founder and Chief Editor

Art quote:: The artwork will not let me lie

“..it is very hard to always be very strong, but I try to do it, and to have a lot of courage and faith. It is not that I am doing the right thing; I am doing the only thing I can do. There is no other way I can do my work. I cannot think about what will happen and who will see it and what will they think? I can only do what my heart says, because if I lie… I cannot lie. The artwork will not let me lie. I think it is beyond me, really, beyond me as a person and as an artist.”

Excerpt from Noam Edry – A constant battle for the freedom of speech in a web of taboos and envy

Art quote:: Silverthorne on the reality of prostitution

“To understand a Boystown it is necessary to appreciate that in the borderland there are a number of divides; geographic, economic, religious and cultural. In a maquilladoro, a factory on the Mexican side of the border often owned by an international business, a woman might earn eight dollars a day. Working as a prostitute she will earn $40 to $120 for thirty to forty five minutes. The client usually pays $10 to $20 to the club for the rental of the room. Two clients a night seems to be average. For the prostitute there is a performance in doing her job well and conforming to the expectations of the customer. In some clubs if the client does not have an orgasm he can demand his money back for services not successfully rendered. His payment will be
refunded.”

Excerpt from interview Jeffrey Silverthorne Live in London – part 2 – Desire, Struggle and Confusion

Art quote:: Why photograph dead people?

The morgue happened for me when the Vietnam War ended, a war which I saw as an obscenity. We were still watching stuff on television and listening to things like “We got 43 and a half of them and only two and a half of us!” That is weird, to watch dinner while you are watching people being blown away. I was fortunate to get out of the draft. The whole thing didn’t make sense to me and in 1972, when I decided to make the morgue pictures, it was a different world and Rhode Island was a small place. I went up to the Attorney General, who was probably the only honest politician around at the time, and told him about what I was interested in. His office was across the street from where I went to school, which at that point still had a good reputation, and we talked for an hour. Finally he said “I don’t see any problem with what you propose.  We are not the best department, but we don’t have anything to hide.” There was a little bit of delay in terms of formal letters, but then I was given permission over the telephone. His secretary shouted to him “It’s a photographer guy; he wants to know if he can go to the morgue?” And that was it!

You also went to some people’s homes?

Yes, there were pick-ups. Since I had clearance the police let me in.

From interview Jeffrey Silverthorne Live in London – part 1 – “I am speaking through hundreds of tongues”

 

©Jeffrey Silverthorne – Boy hit by car, 1972-74

 

 

Art quote:: “To be able to do my work I have to be both male and female”

“To be able to do my work I have to be both male and female.  A woman with balls, balls of steel. I had a g-string made of little sparkling silver beads sewn onto my futuristic silver suit with massive shoulder pads like a silver platter, like a man.”

Excerpt from 

Review:: ‘This Bloody Excrement Is My Testament’

 

Art quote:: The first time a woman realizes that she has a man’s gaze on her and she blushes

In your video Mitzvah Tantz from 2005, we see a Jewish ceremony intersected with video footage of your belly-dance followed by flashes of an Arabic belly dancer towards the end. Mitzvah Tantz means ‘mitzvah dance’ or ‘commandment dance’ and this is the tradition of the men dancing before the bride on the wedding night, after the wedding has taken place.

There is an air of you struggling towards something, your mind appears to be slightly bothered and interfering with the movement of your body as your eyes stare thoughtfully into space, possibly watching the video while you are dancing. You are lightly dressed in a plain white belly dancing outfit that is designed to evoke desire and passion and to allow the body to move freely without restriction. 

How did you learn belly dancing, did you teach yourself or did you study?

Well I knew for a long time that I wanted to learn belly dancing and I don’t know what comes first; my art or my life? Because many times I combine my passions in my art and it is like an excuse to learn something or to go through an experience. I tell myself that it is for the art. For a long time I wanted to make work about belly dancing, but it took me years to feel like I was ready. Belly dancing is very provocative and very erotic. You have to be a woman, you cannot be a girl and I just didn’t feel like I was ready. And then in 2005 for my final year of the BA at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, I was determined I would do it. I studied in various studios, under several teachers, but I studied mainly in Jerusalem at a Centre for Dance called Arabesque. After I made this piece in 2005 I became a belly dancer dancing professionally. I was even on TV with it and I taught it as well. I have the funniest stories of ending up dancing on bars, almost falling over all the bottles. One night I was dancing in front of my art teachers by mistake, but they didn’t recognize me. I fell off the bar and landed straight near their table saying ‘”Hi!” They couldn’t believe their eyes! I also made my own costumes, because I didn’t have money to buy professional ones.

 Photo: Stills from Mitzvah Tanz, 2005, All rights reserved

When I became a teacher I developed a certain way of teaching combining contemporary dance with belly dancing and Tantra. It is all about freeing your pelvis; your inner woman and your passions. You really have to be freed and I used to be very tight, very in control all the time and I only let myself go when I made art. So it was very hard for me. Eventually, for the video Mitzvah Tantz, I recorded myself learning. What I show in the video is the process of learning; it is not a great amazing sexy dancer. It is a child learning to walk. It is the clumsy awkward movement; it is the body not doing what the mind wants it to do. It is the lack of control and too much control. I would take out the camera from school, position it in front of me in my room and practice, wearing provisory outfits, like a scarf wrapped around me. When I looked back at it, all those moments when my body didn’t do what I wanted it to do; I loved those specifically. I concentrated only on two movements out of the entire dictionary of dance and I repeated them throughout that whole film.

In Mitzvah Tantz, and with my painting at the time, I wanted to show the moment when a woman stops being innocent, when a woman sees that she is being looked at for the first time. The first time a woman realizes that she has a man’s gaze on her and she blushes. The first time a woman exposes herself to a man. I thought “Where is this innocence?”

 

Excerpt from interview:

Noam Edry – A constant battle for the freedom of speech in a web of taboos and envy

 

Art quote:: DJ Food on his creative process

How would you describe your creative process?

I don’t know what I am doing. The day you know what you are doing, it’s time to stop, because then you are simply repeating a formula and the creativity is lost. I never sit down and try to do something. To me it is a search, a bit like gathering ingredients, not to use the well worn food analogy and I am actually a terrible cook. I gather elements from here and there, which could be thought of as different materials; textiles, paper or whatever. I weave some of them into shape, chop things down and end up with a collage. What I come out with is usually some sort of bastardized version of what I started off with.

Excerpt from interview DJ Food – From ten to tomorrow

 

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::Review DJ Food’s Cosmic Travels at Pure Evil

 

::INTERVIEW DJ FOOD – FROM TEN TO TOMORROW

 

Art quote:: Does commercial exposure have an impact on Silverthorne’s work?

What are your thoughts regarding the exhibition medium and does the fact that you are represented by commercial galleries have an impact on your work? 

“I always make pictures and I don’t consider the viewer, at all. While I am editing I am driven by the question “Was this getting what I want?”  “Was this getting what I am interested in?” Somewhere down the line, hopefully it is distant, I wonder “Gee! Maybe there is a sucker out there that would buy this stuff?” And then I send it off, or don’t. Preferably I let it wait a couple of years and see if it still has resonance. So you make things and you let go of some controls and it really is a kind of addiction of a microsecond. Although, for a while I made long exposures so I got more fulfillment. There is a thrill there.”

Jeffrey Silverthorne Live in London – part 1 – “I am speaking through hundreds of tongues”

©Jeffrey Silverthorne – Annunciation, 2006

Art quote:: Lori Nix and the Apocalypse

“I am interested in depicting danger and disaster, but I temper this with a touch of humor. My childhood was spent in a rural part of the United States that is known more for it’s natural disasters than anything else. I was born in a small town in western Kansas, and each passing season brought it’s own drama, from winter snow storms, spring floods and tornados to summer insect infestations and drought. Whereas most adults viewed these seasonal disruptions with angst, for a child it was considered euphoric. Downed trees, mud, even grass fires brought excitement to daily, mundane life. As a photographer, I have recreated some of these experiences in the series ‘Accidentally Kansas’.

In my newest body of work ‘The City’ I have imagined a city of our future, where something either natural or as the result of mankind, has emptied the city of it’s human inhabitants. Art museums, Broadway theaters, laundromats and bars no longer function. The walls are deteriorating, the ceilings are falling in, the structures barely stand, yet Mother Nature is slowly taking them over. These spaces are filled with flora, fauna and insects, reclaiming what was theirs before man’s encroachment. I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but at the same time I am fascinated by what a changing world can bring.” Lori Nix

Works from series ‘The City’ ::

Control Room, 2010, © Lori Nix

Aquarium, 2007, © Lori Nix

 Library, 2007, © Lori Nix

“Eighteenth century philosophers such as Burke and Kant wrote of phenomena that could excite sublime feelings when considering natural settings, dangerous situations, the unknown, and anything else that can threaten us or our belief that we live in a friendly and predictable universe that is under our control. The Sublime as a school of thought came to full force in the eighteenth century and was illustrated by these painters’ grandiose landscapes […] In contemporary art, the Sublime manifests itself in many different ways and in many different forms, but it is trying to achieve the same effect, the evocation of profound emotion.” Lori Nix

Art quote:: Georgia O’Keeffe on the beauty of animals’ bones

On her desert walks, O’Keeffe picked up sea shells, rocks, and skulls, pieces of wood and sun-bleached bones and took them home. When the desert trophies started appearing on her canvases, the critics drew parallels to death and resurrection, but for the artist the remnants of deceased animals revealed something else. In her own words: “The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive… even tho’ it is vast and empty and untouchable – and knows no kindness with all its beauty.”

O’Keeffe painted close-ups of other objects in the desert, such as rocks, trees, cliffs and mountains, for more than four decades.

Excerpt from feature Georgia O’Keeffe never goes out of style