Dec 2, 2011

TREND| Lego Art

Nathan Sawaya, Grasp, Lego
It's safe to say that just about everyone has had an encounter, as a child or an adult, where they pieced together some kind of building, or car, or abstract sculpture using the miniature building block toys that are known as legos. Legos are a simple and classic toy that can be used however its handler sees fit. But more impractically, these little plastic pieces can be forged into decadent art sculptures.

REVIEW | UnNaturally, Mary-Kay Lombino, Independent Curators International, 2003

Mary-Kay Lombino's Unnaturally, 2003

The book UnNaturally is an essay by Mary Kay Lombino, the curator of the UnNaturally exhibition. Both the book and exhibition explore the concept of faux nature and the confusion between real and fake environments. Have humans seen so much man made nature in places like malls, airports, and amusement parks that they can no longer pinpoint where real ends and fake begins? UnNaturally explores this issue and more with work from nineteen artists.

TREND | Ice Sculpture Melting Points

Nele Azevedo, Melting Men, installation photograph from Berlin, Germany, 2009.
Ice sculptures have a distinct presence in our contemporary culture. Ice Sculptures are used for decorative reasons or they can have functional purposes. Sculptures made from block ice originated in the field of culinary arts as a decorative way to keep foods cool while sitting out on a buffet. Ice sculptures are popular at special or big events because of their limited life span before melting. Although most ice sculptures are created by artists for entertainment or decorative purposes, this blog entry focuses on three contemporary ice sculptures created by artists who use this medium to demonstrate current social issues; Main Street Meltdown by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese (Ligorano/Reese), Melting Men by Nele Azevedo, and Ice Bear by Mark Coreth and Duncan Hamilton.

REVIEW| Icons: The DC Comics & Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee

Jim Lee & Bill Baker (authors), Titan Books, 2010

Watch out Stan Lee, Jim Lee is here to stay!

In the past ten years there has been a shift in media from comics to animated series to movies. These movies that have dominated the box office have become a major part of our culture today. However, while many people are watching the movies, an enormous amount of people are becoming interested in comics; not just the 'geeks' and 'nerds'. Among the unsung heroes who I believe should be credited for this rise to popularity in the masses is Jim Lee who has illustrated some of the most beautiful comics I have had the pleasure to read.

REVIEW | Custodial Corner, 4th Floor JCM Texas State, San Marcos

Custodian, Mountain Vinyl Covers, 2011

On the forth floor of the JCM fine art building at Texas State University there is a small, glass wall case that went unused semester after semester until a mystery custodian decided to occupy the space.  The case is located in the back left corner of the forth floor near the mens rest rooms.  The "Custodial Corner" as it is so cleverly named, gives this one man a chance to show off his collection of old vinyl covers four at a time. The physical content coupled with the back story of the curator come together to create a very interesting exhibit.

REVIEW | Come Forward - Emerging Art in Texas

Into the Woods (detail), oil and acrylic on found backdrop, 9ftx18ft, 2006
Looking at Emerging Art is looking who is making new art.  This book is the catalog for a group of emerging artists that were chosen to have their works displayed in the Dallas Museum of Art in 2003.  I thought it would be interesting to see what these artists were producing now.  I picked the book at random from the library and found a few surprises inside.

REVIEW | The Echo of Milennia III - Portaits of potters | Kyusun Lee

The activities, fundamentally that requiring the creativity, always pursue something new. The old thus becomes what to be renewed, and it must be the destiny of the artists to create the new. But the old, though it is neither claimed to stand or is nor put in front, always tent to be reflected in artists’ works. I have read an exhibition catalogue of Kyusun Lee, Korean ceramicist and it is his 14th solo exhibition held in Seoul, Korea in 2007. In his pieces, I found that he not only future-oriented but also incorporated the past.


Diego Mireles, Medicine Dude

The above piece is just one of many in the show Monster Show Six at Domy Books on East Cesar Chavez in Austin,TX.  Domy Books sits quietly in East Austin and is not only a small bookstore but also doubles as a gallery.  Upon entering Domy you are greeted by an employee sitting at the front desk who is more than willing to answer any questions you may have.  Domy carries a handful of local zines, editioned books, and a good variety of contemporary art magazines.  So why the name Monster Show Six?  For the past six years Domy has had an annual Monster Show that shows a group of artist both local and international.  Monster Show Six featured the work of 152 artists.

REVIEW | PICASSO ON ART: A Selection of Views, Dore Ashton (Ed.), Da Capo Press, 1972

Picasso On Art: A Selection of Views, Dore Ashton (Ed.), 1972

In "Picasso On Art", Dore Ashton collaborates with many of Picasso's dearest friends and close acquaintances to bring together some of Picasso's different philosophies on art and life, as well as a variety of techniques and influences that had an affect on him and his work. All of the testimonies created by people that really didn't know him were thrown out. Many people don't think of Picasso as their first thought when the words contemporary art are shouted out. Most of this is because of his death in the early seventies and people's tendency to try and leave the past behind. But history repeats itself, and most artist would agree that he was way ahead of his time. Picasso still has a lasting effect on many young contemporary artist.

REVIEW | NCFE Handbook to Understanding, Preparing for, and Responding to Challenges to Your Freedom of Artistic Expression, National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, 1998

"Freedom of artistic expression is the principle that an artist should be unrestrained by law or convention in the making of his or her art. Artistic freedom is vital to both the cultural and political health of our society. It is essential in a democracy that values and protects the rights of individual to espouse his or her beliefs."

REVIEW | Jeff Williams: There is Not Anything Which Returns to Nothing, Artpace, San Antonio, TX

Jeff Williams, Tension and Compression, 2011
 This was my first visit to the Artpace gallery in San Antonio which happened to be on the day after three new exhibitions opened.  Since I was unfamiliar with the space a kind employee guided me around the building and explained that the gallery runs a residency program with three artists, (one local, national, and international), displayed at a time for two months.  As I explored the gallery and interacted with the newly displayed exhibitions, I began to notice there was something intriguing about Jeff Williams' work that kept calling me back to his space.

REVIEW | The Nature of Photographs by Stephen Shore

The Nature of Photographs by Stephen Shore, 2007

For me, The Nature of Photographs by Stephen Shore is the quintessential reference guide for me as a student of photography.  Full of beautiful images from the past century and a half as reference guides for each corresponding section, insight and in depth looks at why we shoot what we shoot as well as technical aspects of what makes an image successful and intriguing. The book is broken up into four main sections, The Physical Level, The Depictive Level, The Mental Level and Mental Modeling.  Each section digs beyond the surface to provide a detailed elucidation of the subject matter. The layout of the book is also aesthetically pleasing, the clean layout of text and white backdrop allow the images to leap off the page.  

Dec 1, 2011


Part of Mollie Ryan's Collection

WOW... is all I have to say about the student show in the gallery. The artwork in this show was spread out in an inviting way. It was not over whelming like I found some of the past shows to be. It had a good amount of artwork and their was a certain ease about how everything flowed together. 

Profile| [Kseniya Simonova]

Photo taken by Xinhua/Reuters photography 

Kseniya Simonova was born in Yevpotoria, Ukraine in 1985 to artist, and teacher, Irina and former military officer, Alexander Simonova and grew up drawing, painting and designing with her mother. Simonova majored in psychology at the Tavrida National Vernadsky University where she graduated with honors in 2007 and despite the discouragement from her parents, soon after graduating decided that she wanted a career in art. Today, she is known internationally for her performance art. Camera set-up above, projecting her work onto a screen, she performs for audiences and since being discovered in 2009 after winning, “Ukraine’s got Talent,” has done over 200 shows, or what she calls, “sand stories.”

        Simonova is a sand animation artist. Performing on a light box she tells stories to her viewers in scenes created from a mix of volcanic sand and salt. Her performance on the semi-finals of, “Ukraine’s got Talent,” (The Story of War) has been called a requiem for those that died during the, “Great Patriotic war” or World War II.  Unfortunately, she has not yet made her American d├ębut so most of her American fans have only seen her via the Internet. In an interview with Simonova she explains that after the, “credit crunch,” in the Ukraine took away their successful Bilingual Magazine, “Chocolate,” led her and theatrical director husband, Igor Paskar to collaborate for the idea of performing sand art, she states:
  “It just collapsed, many people go crazy, but we didn’t because we did this, so thank this and thank the crisis because finally it was the reason we started to do this.”

Kseniya Simonova (Scene from Story of Troyans) 2009

            Simonova, telling her husband that it was too difficult of a medium, originally refused the idea. However, the crisis almost left them no choice. First, attempting to no avail to use beach and river sand, they began researching different types of sand online. After deciding that very expensive, volcanic sand would be best for the job, Igor sold all his printing equipment to invest in about 7 pounds of sand for his wife’s new artistic, money-earning endeavor. For three straight months, from 10pm to 4am Simonova trained painstakingly in a small dark room in their home, as she explained in aforementioned interview, she had to retrain her vision to see items, and people as they would appear in sand. She has many different performances viewers can watch online, and has become known as an Internet sensation. Putting her new found fame for good use, she has recently become a spokesperson for, “Children of Chernobyl,” (COCC) a not-for-profit organization that evacuates kids from the radioactive Chernobyl region and provides them with critical medical care, new homes, and excellent education in Israel. She performed a story called, “Eternal Tears,” in their honor on the 25th anniversary of the disaster in Rotterdam. Simonova has performed in fifteen different countries, for presidents and members of the British royal family. Her exposure as an artist the past couple of years has been immense. She was honored country-wide in Ukraine by both the Supreme council of Crimea and the International Organization for Migration, and states that she can no longer walk around her hometown without being recognized in the streets and with a population of nearly 200,000 citizens, that’s no small feat. All this with just volcanic sand, fingertips and a light box, “Thank the crisis.”

-Rebecca Wallace

Review | The Photographer's Manual: How to get the best picture every time, with any kind of camera | By: John Freeman

Although not a traditional art book, "The Photographer's Manual" By John Freeman is by far my favorite photography book.  When I was about twelve years old I got my first camera for my birthday, and Freedman's "Photographer's Manual" and I still reference it regularly to this day.  "The Photographer's Manual" explains everything from the most basic disposable camera to the most complex professional camera, from basic natural light to studio lighting techniques, and almost every other aspect of photography.

REVIEW| Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings| Blanton Museum of Art

Amongst the grand European paintings and the eccentric neighboring hall of contemporary art, guarded by the roman busts of warriors and thinkers, there lies the collection, Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings from the BlantonMuseum of Art, shown September 18- December 31, 2011. 

REVIEW | Too Loud A Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal

Too Loud A Solitude By Bohulmil Hrabal

"Too Loud a Solitude" is a book by Bohumil Hrabal. The book was self published in 1976 and then later published in 1990. It is story about a man who works compacting old and new book that may have never been read and his efforts to saves the books from their death sentience with the hydraulic press. I found this to be really sad but beautiful story.

REVIEW | Anthony Caro: A Life in Sculpture, Julius Bryant, 2004

Anthony Caro: A Life in Sculpture, Julius Bryant, 2004

When most people hit about 65, they’re ready to throw in the towel and retire, but Sir Anthony Caro isn’t wasting any of his life, and put out a whole new collection of work at the age of 80 years old in 2004.  The work was introduced at an exhibition at Kenwood House, London and to accompany this exhibit, Merrell published a book by the exhibition curator, Julius Bryant. Anthony Caro: A Life in Sculpture includes two interviews with Caro as well as 50 color illustrations and gives insight to what life is like as a sculptor, with emphasis on his latest collection in 2004.

REVIEW | Beyond Green toward a Sustainable Art, Stephanie Smith (Ed.) and Victor Margolin (Ed.), Smart Museum of art, University of Chicago, 2005

Beyond Green Toward a Sustainable Art is the catalog for a traveling art show that explores several ideas and practices of artists working with sustainable art. Sustainability “speaks to a wide spread desire to find socially and environmentally responsible… ways of living and working” rather than focusing only on the environmentally consciousness, or “greenness” of art.  Beyond Green and the artists involved in the exhibition focus on the aspect of recycling and up-cycling, community, activism, and food systems among other ideas of sustainability.   

REVIEW | You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney, Penguin Group, 2011

" You are not so smart"
David McRaney
In “ You are not so smart”, David McRaney analyzes the unique ways that people are not so smart. He takes the human as an individual and breaks down the psychological ways that we “think” we maintain our individuality, out multi-layered personalities, and our reactions to everyday scenarios. When in fact, McRaney shows us that overall everyone thinks and reacts the same. At first I am sure that there does not seem to be any obvious connection between “You are not so smart” and contemporary art. Yet on a deeper level the psychology that McRaney has opened my eyes to and the connection that it seems to have to contemporary art is phenomenal. Some key points out of the 48 chapters that seemed to hit spot on with the structure of contemporary art/artist deal with things like: Confirmation Bias, Introspection, The Affect Heuristic, and Attention.

REVIEW | Basquiat, Marc Mayer, Merrell Publishers, 2005

When it came to reviewing a book that addresses contemporary art, Brooklyn Museum’s Basquiat was an easy choice for me. Published in 2005, the book is a collection of essays about my all-time favorite artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, a Brooklyn-born artist who was only twenty-seven years old when he died. His artistic career lasted only a brief 8 years, and is summarized by the book as “meteoric and often controversial.” Each essay discusses different subjects: Basquiat in history, Basquiat in hip-hop culture, Basquiat’s “defining years,” etc. As childish as this sounds, my absolute favorite thing about the book is the pictures. Printed on thick paper that is undoubtedly as sturdy as it is expensive, the book shows every color and brush stroke in a way that I feel Basquiat would approve of.

REVIEW | I Love Kawaii, Charuka, Harper Design, 2011

I Love Kawaii, Charuka, Harper Design, 2011
Do you like cute? Of course you do. Not many of us can resist the temptations of a puppy or kitty looking up at us begging to be played with. That is unless you are Ebenezer Scrooge or have a black hole for a soul. That brings us to I Love Kawaii, a book comprised of a compilation of artists from around the world that indulge in the creation of Kawaii. Kawaii is a Japanese word meaning super cute or adorable and thus is the perfect term for this colorful and super sweet superflat artform.
Freeze!, Superduex, T-shirt, 2008

Nov 30, 2011

Review | The Dazzling Instant

Migrant Mother, Dorothea Lange 1936
I had been itching to go see this exhibition, The Dazzling Instant, up at the Witliff Collection ever since I heard that it was of almost all black and white traditional photography which presented some hugely iconic photos including; Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, Ansel Adams Moonrise Over Hernandez, and Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal. It was pretty surprising to see works by such huge names in photographic history like Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson in the Alkek library of all places but I was extremely pleased nonetheless. It was also very refreshing to see an entire exhibition of traditional photography even though the process is someone dated and some say falling out of fashion, it is still very current and practiced among contemporary photographers.

REVIEW I Beautiful Losers, Alex Baker, Aaron Rose, Christian Strike, New York: Iconoclas, 2005

Alex Baker, Beautiful Losers,  New York: Iconcolas, 2005.
The book I read was entitled Beautiful Losers.  This book was a collection of personal and biographical essays about various street artist and their rise to success in the contemporary art world.  Its purpose was to illustrate the importance of bringing an exhibit of street art into a museum atmosphere.   Beautiful Losers was meant to take beautiful artwork done by a mystery artist and highlight that person’s talent, giving them an identity to the art world and society.  Most people who run a museum are in a higher class of society and do not have an appreciation for an artist who may not have an education (such as several of the artist from the essays).   Yet, the crowd that museums attract can relate to the pieces of street art being displayed because they see street art everyday.  By showing the essays and background story of the different artist, the book is able to convey a sense of understanding between the reader and the artist writing their story. 

TREND| Seedy Art Gallery Owners

Hans Gissinger, Larry Salander, 2008.
 I am a young up-and-coming painter, and have been looking towards exhibiting my work in galleries. My father turned in my direction during this Thanksgiving weekend to explain to me, "Catherine, there are perils of not having a trustworthy representative". In this treasured discussion he brought up the lucrative names of Andrew Crispo, Larry Salander, and Charles Saatchi. Each man bringing a different aspect to the trend of seedy gallery owner; Crispo brings the element of mafia, Salander hauls his massive debt, and Saatchi is a gambler. Thus begins my research of these seedy men and each man's mistakes in trampling the art scene.

REVIEW | On Modern American Art | Robert Rosenblum | Harry N. Abrams | 1999

Robert Rosenblum, Harry N. Abrams, 1999

Where we have been, where we are, and where we are going is the idea behind the construction of On Modern American Art.  It is notable as a book that in its construction points out the relationship between current artists and their predecessors. This book is a selection of essays by Robert Rosenblum which was put together by Editors James Leggio and Barbra Burn, Designer Maria Miller, and photo Editor Jennifer Bright.

REVIEW| Seven Days In the Art World, Sarah Thornton, W. W. Norton & Company 2008

I would have to admit trying to understand the Contemporary Art world dose not always come easy for me. At times it is hard to distinguish what is really art and what is not. It might seem as if I am still living in the past with classical artwork, or maybe just nervous to get my hands a little dirty with Contemporary Art. Through the semester I learned and accepted that we as artist have to create art as of today. Times have changed tremendously and it does not seem that it will slow down anytime soon. Therefore I’m more open minded when it comes to contemporary art, but indeed there is a lot to still learn.

TREND| The Artist is Present/Nude

Jeff Koons, Llona on top (Rosa Background) oil inks on canvas 96 x 144 inches 1990

Nudes are nothing new in the world of art, the human form has been depicted since cave paintings and perfected through Roman sculpture and the Renaissance. The modern Nude made a splash with the help of photography and Edouard Manet's Dejeuner sur l'herbe. Bringing the form into the everyday and purposely realigning the audience with the reality of the model as present and meaningful. 

REVIEW | BFA Thesis Exhibition I, Joann Cole Mitte Complex, Gallery 1, San Marcos, TX

Jody Cross, Ocean Totum, 2011
I visited Texas State’s very own Gallery 1, located in the Joann Cole Mitte Complex, the same gallery that I pass by 5 days a week when I go to class. The Joann Cole Mitte Complex was one of the first buildings I went inside and explored when I visited Texas State as a senior in high school. Part of the reason I chose to come to this university was because of the two galleries in this building. They were awe inspiring and I told myself that I wanted my art work to hang in there one day.

REVIEW | Landscapes: Katie Maratta & Randy Twaddle, D Berman gallery, Wimberley

Landscape: Katie Maratta & Randy Twaddle, D Berman, Wimberley

This past week, as the hoards of shoppers crowded the malls and shopping centers on Black Friday, in America, I found myself standing in the D Berman gallery, looking at the curiously intriguing landscape pieces of Katie Maratta and Randy Twaddle. I found myself not feeling the same uninterested impression as I would with the mass produced landscape paintings from cheap motels. The structure of the exhibition and placement of the art pieces set the mood for the viewer to feel a sense of nostalgia for the beautiful mundane. The works of these two Texas artists depict scenes of everyday landscapes that most people would never take a second glance at; conveying the importance as well as re-innovating a genre a of the visual arts. 

Nov 29, 2011

REVIEW | An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin, Grand Central Publishing, 2010

Steve Martins, An Object of Beauty, Grand Central Publishing, 2010

Steve Martin’s novel, An Object of Beauty, provides an enticing view into the fictional life of protagonist Lacey Yeager. Though the story is about Lacey, it is told in first person, omniscient through Daniel Franks, a long-term acquaintance of Lacey and writer for ARTnews. This proves to be effective, as the words of the novel flow flawlessly together. At times the words feel as though they are pieces of a larger art critique, metaphorically of Lacey Yeager as a piece of art, or better said, an object of beauty.

REVIEW | Wimberley Glass Works | Wimberley, Texas

Tim deJong and Jimmy Harwell, Tree Lamp, 2006

When I was 14 years old my family and I went on summer vacation in Breckenridge, Colorado. As we were driving around, my dad admiring the scenery and my mom and I looking for places to shop. My dad pulled the truck over at this oddly shaped shop at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains. As we were walking up I remember being very exciting. Mostly because I love trinkets and souvenirs and this place looked like it was going to be a treasure chest of unique souvenirs. When I walked in all I remember seeing was this huge pit of what I thought was lava, but turned out to just be a very large kiln. I watched these ZZ Top looking men blow glass. This was something I had never seen or heard of before so the fact that these men were twisting and turning these huge balls of fiery glass really caught my eye. I remember my favorite part about the glass blowing was the end product. It is so surprising and something I never expected.

REVIEW | Ryan McGinness: Works Rizzoli Press ,2009

Ryan McGinness, Works book cover, 2009
I judge books by their covers, especially the ones about art. Honestly I plucked it from the shelf in a hurry while rushing out of the library, figuring that it was cool because the font wasn't tacky. A week later I remembered that it wasn't a coaster and skimmed through it and came to the (wrong) conclusion that it was just a about some hipster and his silk screens, and once again I lost interest. The third time was a charm, and I ultimately ended up swooning not only over the artist, Ryan Mcginness but over the clever format of the book itself.

TREND | Rotoscope

Max Fleischer: Inventor of Rotoscoping

Rotoscoping is having a come-back. This old style of animation is quickly becoming the latest do-it-yourself way to make animations without resorting to computer programs such as Adobe Flash. The process seems simple. The most common technique is making a film, converting the film to stills, redrawing the stills, plug the stills into a simple movie making program and bingo-animation! For a truly flawless, high quality animation however, the steps are a little more complicated than that, not to mention time consuming.
Rotoscoping, created by Max Fleischer, is the process of drawing on top of live action film, frame by frame. Rotoscoping was used until the 1990's, when it was replaced by computer graphics. Because Rotoscoping is considered obsolete, specific techniques are highly guarded, passed down from Teacher to Student. There is a program called Rotoshop that uses a process called Interpolated Rotoscoping. Interpolated Rotoscoping is the process of drawing key frames and having the computer draw in movements between these frames. These programs, with the exception of Adobe Flash, are not for sale. Techniques vary from University to Art Schools, everyone having their own unique styles and tricks of the trade. There are many reasons why an artist chooses to utilize rotoscope. The biggest reasons are: a) rotoscope offers a more realistic, lifelike movement to animations and b) rotoscope allows the artist to be very "hands on" during the whole process.

REVIEW | Without Boundary, Fereshteh Daftari, MOMA, 2006

Without Boundary, Fereshteh Daftari, MOMA, 2006

Islamic, or not?

Burka, Keffieh, Jihad.  Are you familiar with these terms?

Again, Islamic, or not?

That is an interesting question that the book Without Boundary questions.  This book is an examination of the work that is called contemporary Islamic art.  Without Boundary takes a look at the formal aspect of historic Islamic art along with the identity of Islamic art and the faith that is Islam.  The book takes a poignant look at the artists and their work and how they have made strides to separate themselves from the misconceptions about Islam.

Nov 28, 2011

REVIEW | SWOON, Caledonia Curry, Abrams, 2010

Swoon is easily one of the most interesting street artists to emerge during the last ten years. She may lack the mystery of someone like Banksy or the mainstream notoriety of a Shepard Fairey, but her work is so strikingly human that it speaks to the soul. From her wheat pasted figures that have graced walls worldwide to a floating armada of hand made rafts, SWOON is a stunning look back at her first decade of art.

REVIEW | Jean Paul Gaultier : From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX

Herb Ritts, Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier, photograph, 1991
On a holiday trip to see the 'rents in Dallas/Fort Worth I had the good fortune to witness the astonishing exhibit of over 130 pieces of Jean Paul Gaultier's haute couture and port-a-pret collections exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art.  Intermingled amongst five rooms of couture-clad, talking, life-like mannequins one finds many contemporary photographs of Gaultier's masterful creations.  I hadn't planned on writing a review as at first thought I didn't deem it to be appropriate for the context of our class.  The more I thought about it, what better representation do we have of crossing boundaries than Gaultier and his contemporaries, transcending the gallery wall through his mix of the effeminate man and fearless woman? Gaultier is a perfect example of how there are very few gaps in the contemporary world between culture and art.  They intermix, as do the subjects of Gaultier's designs.

REVIEW | E.A.S.T. | Los Tres Tex-Mex/Huichol Experience

Gerardo Arellano, Untitled, 2011

When attending the juggernaut that is E.A.S.T you may be overwhelmed, much as I was.  There are hundreds of artists exhibiting paintings, sculptures, jewelry, poster design, and more along with bevvies, snacks, and tons of people.   The tour is on two consecutive weekends, Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 6 each day.  What was once a modest booklet that viewers could pick up to see a list of each artist's work and where to find it, has now been made into a chunky, high gloss, full color book of high quality photographs of many of the more spectacular artists work for the year.

TREND | Are Apps Art?

Jo Dunford, Untitled, Instagram, 2011

Technology is what drives the world today. Everywhere you look someone is on their Smartphone texting, emailing, surfing the internet, or taking pictures. In this aspect many of the Smartphone applications cover all areas of the spectrum. Some most popular today would be photo sharing apps that let you take pictures or make pictures and share them with your followers. The question is, “Is this art?” The images taken with these apps, for instance Instagram, Hipstamatic, and Mixel, create beautiful creations. But are they made through a machine to be art or since the human has made their own composition, does it reflect being an art piece?

REVIEW | Working in the Abstract: Rethinking the Literal, Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX

Susie Rosmarin, Blue Gingham, 1999, acrylic on canvas

METRORail trams slide dangerously close by as I zigzag my way through Houston's museum district in search of the Glassell School of Art, supposedly located next to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Contemporary Art Museum, but where exactly this glass tiled building exists I cannot say.  After a few wrong turns down one-way streets and a few harrowing escapes from seemingly inevitable collisions, I look to my right and see gleaming glass tiles.  This must be it.  I hook my car into the parking lot and confidently tell the security guard that I am here to interview the Curator for the Working in the Abstract exhibition.  He buys my lie and allows me to park in the student parking lot without worry of being towed.

REVIEW | POP How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture | Steven Heller | Allworth Press, 2010

POP How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture book cover, cover design by James Victore
Needless to say, with it's bright pink cover and yellow text, this book "popped" out at me. Now, I'm no graphic designer, but I have always been interested in what drives it, since it is always changing. One day the hot thing is a script typeface and the next, it's stiff, block letters. At first glance, this book may not seem to have anything to do with contemporary art. At least, not directly. And this is true. However, as I read through the attention-grabbing pages, I noticed the similarities between graphic design and contemporary art works like those reviewed in class. In a physical sense, the graphic design concepts Heller talks about are incorporated and seen in literal pieces of contemporary art work. While Heller speaks from a designer's point of view, it remained clear to me that many of the topics he discusses can be seen in contemporary art. I found it interesting that I haven't seen the medium with which Heller is most familiar with (graphic design) categorized very often as contemporary art, yet I believe it is, because of its nature. The sense of a transparent veil that covers both subjects is what captured my attention and I was really eager to find out just how far the underlying similarities go. For the sake of clarity, though, I will keep the two "categories" separated.