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Posts Tagged ‘art’

Bob Ross by the Numbers, and Other News

April 15, 2014 | by

bob ross joy of painting

A publicity still from Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting

 

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A Week (or More) in Culture: Mimi Pond, Cartoonist

April 4, 2014 | by

GoatSaturday, February 28

We fly from our home in Los Angeles to York, Pennsylvania, so that my husband, the artist Wayne White, can begin building an art installation commissioned by York College of Pennsylvania. It will be constructed inside an historic former Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall in downtown York, now an organization called Marketview Arts. All of York is crazy historic, dating back to 1740! Temporary capital of the Continental Congress! Articles of Confederation drafted and adopted here! Home of the Underground Railroad! WHAT? This is a mind-blower for a history-loving girl from Southern California, where they tear down anything older than 1967 and replace it with a building made out of Popsicle sticks and Elmer’s Glue. Read More »

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Sit on It

April 2, 2014 | by

The art of sploshing. (Contains mildly NSFW photography.)

1 ©mHBurgess2014

© Martha Burgess

The Friday night before last, on an otherwise abandoned block in Gowanus, I spied a young man and woman; she was carefully carrying a plastic bag that contained a boxy package. “Are you here for the sploshing?” I asked. They were. I followed them to their destination—Trestle Gallery, a nonprofit art organization affiliated with Brooklyn Art Space, on the first floor of a building that once housed factories. Was it their first time sploshing? I wanted to know. It was. And me, would I be participating, too? No. I was only there to watch.

I’d learned of artist Martha Burgess’s “Cake Sit” a few months prior, over dinner at Omen, the serene, Zen-like Japanese restaurant on Thompson Street. The novelist Monique Truong, whose Book of Salt I often cite as one of the best examples of food writing, turned to me and asked, with wide-eyed excitement, “Have you heard of cake splooshing?!”

Although I spend an inordinate amount of time writing, thinking, and talking about cake, to say nothing of eating it, this splooshing, as Truong called it, was new to me. People, she explained, sit on cakes and get off on it. Read More »

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Paper Moon

March 14, 2014 | by

Images via Amusing Planet

Images via Amusing Planet

There is no time that is not hard and complicated. Disaster is never far away. But in the immortal words of Fred Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” This can be hard for grown-ups to remember when buildings explode or planes vanish out of the sky.

One of the true helpers, if you ask me, was Akira Yoshizawa, whose work stopped me in my tracks when someone shared it with me earlier today. “The grandfather of origami” was born on March 14, 1911, in Kaminokawa, Japan. Until his forties, he lived in poverty, choosing to devote himself wholly to the art of paper-folding. He was frequently inspired by nature. Read More »

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Anthony Cudahy

January 7, 2014 | by

Anthony-Cudahy-Studio-Portrait

Cudahy in front of his painting Untitled (Vanessa).

I was first introduced to artist Anthony Cudahy in 2011, when I interviewed him for Guernica. I was moved by his fleeting scenes of silence—a woman pinning a boutonniere on an unseen man’s tuxedo jacket, two girls hugging in a bedroom while one stares at herself in the mirror—and amazed by the wide range of work from an artist so young (he was only twenty-two). When Adrian West pitched his translations of Josef Winkler’s novel Graveyard of Bitter Oranges for the Daily, I immediately knew Cudahy’s work would best accompany Winkler’s tales of death and phantoms in an unfamiliar country. Both invoke the Flemish hells of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel the Elder—lively, complex, symbolic, the best kind of fever dream.

I met with Anthony at his studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he is an artist-in-residence for the Artha Project. Amid the stacks of wood planks from the neighboring furniture studio and the incessant clanking of pipes, we discussed the benefits of the Internet for the art world, growing up in Florida, and his hatred of the color yellow.

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A Corner of Paradise

December 16, 2013 | by

BK_final_page_10

The opening to Betsy Karel’s new book of photography, Conjuring Paradise, is a poem by Kay Ryan titled “Slant.” It wonders at the randomness of loss, suspecting that its arbitrariness may be otherwise:

Does a skew
insinuate into the visual plane; do
the avenues begin to
strain for the diagonal?
Maybe there is always
this lean, this slight
slant …

Her imagining of a plan behind loss has a theatrical cant—the man behind the curtain—but the poet’s conclusion that it’s perhaps wiser to let this observation go unnamed is a subtle riff on Emily Dickinson’s “tell all the truth but tell it slant.” Both poems imply that the truth of the matter is always set obliquely, and thus never fully seen. What, then, do we really understand of it?

Karel’s images follow the same principle, looking at paradise through the lens of loss. She visited Waikiki, on the island of Oʻahu, in 2004 with her husband, who was dying of cancer; he found solace and pleasure in the tropical resorts, his symptoms temporarily alleviated. After his death, Karel returned to the area to make the photographs in this book, and the images she captured reflect this uneasy enterprise. Torpid and tanned beachgoers, ocean-themed decor, gifts shops and bars, the aqua splendor of swimming pools—each scene feels caught between a facile, picturesque serenity and a jarring sense of unreality. Ryan’s impression of a “skew” in the “visual plane” is rendered literal in Karel’s photographs: the strange angle of a balcony set against the sea, of painted waves rolling over a hallway, of a flashy sports car parked, as though forgotten, in the blank corner of an entryway.

Tropical splendor is just out of reach, as when plumes of sea spray block access to the ocean or the rich Hawaiian landscape is supplanted by a painted backdrop (can those smiling tourists discern the difference?). In one image, a giant screen, partially unfurled, hangs between Karel’s camera and the promise of palm trees and blue sky. If you can only see paradise out of the corner of your eye or through a squint, Karel seems to ask, is it real?

 

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