Archive for July 2009


Portraiture is my thing. It's just the one form of art that speaks to me emotionally more than anything else.

The NPG London has an interesting Gay Icons exhibit currently going on and will also be celebrating icon Twiggy's 60th birthday with an exhibit of photographs. Super cool. Plus check out the prize winners of the BP Portrait Award 2009 as well as enter next year if you're over 18 if you think you have the chops.

The National Portrait Gallery Washington has a fantastic online exhibit of Time Magazine cover art. It's interesting to peruse through the art and ponder the timeliness of current event art, for example this piece by Frank Gallo depicting then sex symbol Raquel Welch, which supposedly was deemed tasteless and generated many written complaints.

Mercedes Helnwein: East of Eden

"With her new exhibition, Mercedes Helnwein lets loose again the strange and addictive world that inhabits her drawing table..." Thus begins the press release written by actor and art collector Jason Lee. To read the full press release go here. I've posted about Mercedes many times in the past, she is a known favorite of mine for her Alice in Wonderland-like cinematic drawings. Now you will have a chance to see her work at her upcoming show, titled East of Eden at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery on LaBrea Ave, opening reception Saturday Novemver 21, 8-11pm. While you are waiting watch this lovely movie chronicling the birth of one of her pieces.

Artist and Filmmaker Laurel Nakadate.

Laurel Nakadate is an American photographer and filmmaker whose work is about loneliness and seduction, and often the power play and similarity between older men and very young women. She performs in her stills and films, and they often provoke an uncomfortable feeling for the viewer. I stumbled upon an excellent interview with the artist on flavorwire today, and Nakadate's website is full of accomplishments and interesting to browse through as well. She also currently has work at the Tonkonow Gallery in New York.

Perhaps it's because I've been recently swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and have water on the brain, but I love Jill Greenberg's (the self-professed "Manipulator") "Underwater" Series. There's a hint of Vanessa Beecroft in there I think...

Fashion fix today...

First looks at "September Issue," the documentary about Vogue editor Anna Wintour. I worked in the editorial business for a couple of years, and I remember just how grueling the deadlines were. A production every month! And the magazine had to get out! So I'm eager to see how she is presented here. I have felt for years now that Vogue has gotten rather stale as a result of one singlemost powerful tyrant ruling the industry, so I want to see how this documentary is going to pan out. Plus I believe it touches on the debate over photo retouching...which obviously brings up the bigger question of how these little decisions have a greater impact on women and society when it comes to consumerism and body consciousness.

Another fashionista I always had a girlcrush on was Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Today is the TEN year anniversary of the plane crash if you can believe it. I have often frequented the internet to find a compilation of photographs of her style with little luck. Huff. Post today has a nice sampling. The thing I love the most about her is that she never tried too hard, even with all the attention focused on her. She always wore the clothes and not the other way around. And I still just love her nose, and wish Hollywood was more reflective of that kind of a quirky glamourous look.

Beale Memorabilia...

I know with the recent HBO Remake of the classic Grey Gardens that this may in fact be overkill, but these sites are new to me... and It's still fun sifting through the eccentric whatnots of the Beales...anywhere else this stuff would be considered garbage, but trash in their presence still had style. I stumbled across them today and it made me think about how few originals there are in the world, but Little and Big Edie were definitely that.

"Bitch is the New Black" at Honor Fraser

Honor Fraser presents its annual summer group show titled “Bitch Is The New Black” and curated by Emma Gray. Should be an interesting show...Her site's press release says:

The group show spotlights fourteen Los Angeles-based women who are all emerging or established artists from roughly the same generation and are bright lights on the local scene. All share a certain maverick outlook and ballsy attitude that distinguish them at a time when their male counterparts continue to receive the lion’s share of the artworld’s attention.

A wide range of interdisciplinary work will be on display: painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance. The works also display a diverse range of attitudes toward female identity politics. Kirsten Stoltman delivers straight from the hip, describing herself as a ‘self-destructive feminist’. Annie Lapin, who studied under another of BITNB’s featured artists, Catherine Opie, could have her outlook described as ‘post-feminist’. Cathy Akers pees standing up like a man in her pee performances and uses the trope ‘hertopia' to describe her dioramas. Rosson Crow often utilizes typically male bastions, like the stock exchange, butcher shops or oil fields as her subject matter. Other artists avoid the “f”-word altogether.

Thematically, the exhibition was inspired by the Anne Sexton poem Consorting with Angels. The title of the exhibition, an incredibly glib fashion term, was repurposed from a snippet of dialogue from Saturday Night Live that was broadcast during the 2008 presidential election. Tina Fey celebrates the idea of a woman president as a “bitch,” reasoning that “bitches get stuff done.” A few episodes later her cast mate Tracy Morgan rebutted Fey’s statement by saying: “Bitch may be the new black. But black is the new president, bitch!” Most importantly, the title asserts the artists’ shared independent streak. “Bitch Is The New Black” isn’t re-envisioning a new collective feminist consciousness; it is about celebrating talented artists in the city of Los Angeles who happen to be women –- with attitude.

Artists: Cathy Akers, Kathryn Andrews, Rosson Crow, Krysten Cunningham, Pearl C. Hsiung, Annie Lapin, Shana Lutker, Ruby Neri, Catherine Opie, Amanda Ross-Ho, Anna Sew Hoy, Mindy Shapero, Kirsten Stoltmann, Bari Ziperstein

The Place of Women on the Supreme Court.

Gearing up for the Sotomayor confirmation and all that she's going to have to endure when it comes to defending that statement about being a "wise Latina woman..." the NY Times had a fantastic article/interview about Ginsburg's take on being the only woman on the Supreme Court and how she's looking forward to ending that streak. I particularly loved this response she gave in regards to working with men over the years:

I always thought that there was nothing an antifeminist would want more than to have women only in women’s organizations, in their own little corner empathizing with each other and not touching a man’s world. If you’re going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers.
photo: Ruven Afanador for the NY Times

Michael, today in LA.

Helicopters overhead, feeling of movement in Los Angeles...acknowledgment of music as American spirituality, Christ-like iconography for our Michael...thinking about it all...our collective childhoods, the many markers on the timeline of sounds we really really loved.

RIP Pina Bausch

After a wave of celebrated artists' deaths we lose another genius...Pina Bausch. Pina's choreography has always been breathtakingly special to me. From the first time I experienced her work I would seek out her dance pieces because to witness her choreography was something otherwordly. When dance takes you to another place with chills and colors and astonishing costumes, story...she made me weep, and the dance world will truly miss her. Appreciation article in the LA Times today.