Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fab Fun Florida. . .

I've been in fabulous, sunny, Fort Lauderdale, Florida since Sunday afternoon and l'm loving every second of it. One lovely excursion yesterday was to the Coconut Grove Art Festival in Miami. It was a massive collection of some truly outstanding work by hundreds of talented artists and I'm glad I was able to attend on the last day of the event.

One sculptor in particular whose work was particularly compelling in a kitschy, voyeuristic manner was Marc Sijan. His works are startlingly lifelike poly-resin casts of live models which he sculpts and paints to an uncanny level of realism. I've either seen his work, or similar, somewhere before as it rang familiar, but nevertheless, it packs a whalop upon close inspection. Here are a few snaps I took of his work on display. . .

A cherry lover no doubt.

This model seemed to be popular with the artist

This work was particularly unsettling/amazing. Every pore seems to be accounted for. Of course, that is to be expected with a cast from a live model, but the artist truly has enhanced these works to add new dimensions to their lifelike appearance.

See this happy-go-lucky bald chap. He's not real.

By the way, the next time you find yourself in Miami, and are in the mood for something with a touch of European/Latin infused Bohemia - head over to 412 Espanola Way and Cafe Nuvo for a brilliant Mojito and an the outstanding "Europe's Favorite" platter for two. You'll be ever so happy you did. Plus, the people watching is fab. You'll never know when a Cuban model may show up for a photoshoot.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keith Haring–on this day, Feb. 16. . .


Keith Haring was a visionary visual pop artist whose work seemed to be everywhere in the 1980’s.

Bill T Jone And Keith Hering G

In 1982, Haring had his first New York one-man show at the Shafrazi Gallery.


kh3Untitled, 1982
marker ink and acrylic on found canvas
86 x 86 inches
218.44 x 218.44 cm

kh4Untitled, 1982
vinyl paint on vinyl tarp
72 x 72 inches
182.88 x 182.88 centimeters


Haring opened Pop Shop in New York City in 1986. The store sold posters, t-shirts, and other items baring his artwork and designs. He was also interested many social causes, painting an anti-drug mural that same year. In all, he did more than 50 public works and held numerous workshops for children. In 1988, Haring discovered that he had AIDS. The next year he created the Keith Haring Foundation to support AIDS organizations and children’s programs.


Sadly, Keith Haring died on this day, February 16th in 1990 at the age of 31. Click on this link to read more about the fascinating life and brilliant, though sadly short-lived, career of this influential artist here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rest In Peace Betty Garrett


Somehow, the news of the passing of Betty Garrett three days ago slipped under my radar. I first became aware of her as a child growing up in the 70’s. She was a regular on television portraying Archie Bunker's liberal neighbor Irene Lorenzo in All in the Family and landlady Edna Babish in Laverne & Shirley. I was a fan of both of those programs and it was difficult not to notice the vitality, spunk, and fiery charisma Betty Garrett infused into those roles that certainly would have been missed had they been portrayed by a lesser actress.

Betty Garrett, lower right, in the cast of Laverne & Shirley

While she was quite good in those roles, her career consisted of far more than the sitcom sessions. She had a long and glorious career as a dancer, singer, Broadway star and musical film star. 

Though she and her husband Larry Parks had to suffer through the indignities of the Black List in the 1950’s she still managed to find work, she managed to land on her feet leading her to a career that only ended when she passed. According to to this LA Times obit, just last Wednesday, she “went to dinner with friends and afterward taught a weekly musical comedy class at Theatre West, the nonprofit theater she helped found in North Hollywood half a century ago.”

Now that’s what I call an artist.

In Memoriam
Betty Garrett
May 23, 1919 - February 12, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Al Pacino to play Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse and Al Pacino … Photograph: Carl Van Vechten/Corbis and Frederick M Brown/Getty

This is intriguing – one of my favorite actors will portray one of my favorite painters on screen. Academy award winner Al Pacino will play the French artist Henri Matisse in a film about the painter's relationship with his nurse, model and muse, Monique Bourgeois, Variety reports 

Producers are still searching for two female leads for the film, titled “Masterpiece”. In 1941, Matisse, who lived most of the year in Nice in the south of France, developed cancer and underwent surgery. During the long recovery he was particularly helped by a young part-time nurse, Monique Bourgeois, who had answered his ad seeking "a young and pretty nurse" and who took care of Matisse with great tenderness.

Matisse asked her to pose for him, which she did. Several drawings and paintings exist. She later became a Dominican nun, and the pair re-encountered each other in Vence, France, where she inspired him to decorate the Chapelle du Rosaire, often known as the Matisse chapel and one of the most important works of art of the 20th century.

Bourgeois, or Sister Jacques-Marie as she was later known, died in 2005. She insisted her relationship with the painter had always been purely platonic. "I never really noticed whether he was in love with me," she told an interviewer in 1992. "I was a little like his granddaughter or his muse, but he was always a perfect gentleman."

matisse sisterJ-M
Henri Matisse and Sister Jacques-Marie

The Indian-Canadian Oscar-nominated film-maker Deepa Mehta is set to direct a script by Donald Martin.

Monday, February 07, 2011

While thievery sucks, Art Thievery REALLY sucks…


It seems some unscrupulous person literally lifted a stunning eight-by-ten, black-and-white Polaraid snapped by photographer Jason Lee of the late actor Dennis Hopper  from a Los Angeles art gallery following the opening of a new exhibit, Friday night. 

Not only as a  professional visual artist who has had work stolen myself but also as someone who owned and operated a successful art gallery in Washington, DC for 11 years, I can tell you how reprehensible this is and how much it sucks.

This work is described as “extremely sentimental” to the photographer. So much so that Jason Lee has offered a no-questions-asked, no charges pressed, anonymous return of the work  reward of $25,000.

It is my sincerest hope that the perpetrator/s return the work, and if they have any self-respect at all (doubtful), they will refuse the generous reward.

More on the crime here - WE NEED YOUR HELP. Please spread the word.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Google Art Project: 'Street view' technology added to museums

Preview of the Google Art Project

Here’s some exciting news for all of you museum and gallery lovers out there (myself included). It seems that Google is bringing its "street view" technology indoors. With the launch of the Google Art Project, announced at a press conference in London this morning, Google jumps into the online art arena with tools that will allow web surfers to move through 17 of the most prominent art galleries in the world, with the option to look more closely at individual art works, including some that will be digitized so exhaustively that individual paint strokes and hairline cracks in the surface will be visible.

I think this is a brilliant and innovative idea that will only help bolster interest in the visual arts, especially for students around the world who have no access to these masterworks. It’s better to have an experience with the work on a computer than not at all.

For a complete article regarding the event, read about it in the Washington Post’s ArtsPost here: